The new Starz series “Outlander” technically premiered online, but plenty of fans watched the Aug. 9 premiere on television just to experience the Scottish time-travel drama’s first episode again. Check out what happened in the first episode (and trust us, you’ll need it to catch up for next week).
The episode begins by introducing audiences to Claire’s interior monologue, something that will recur throughout the series. She says, “Disappearances, after all, have explanations -- usually.”
Six months after the end of World War II, Claire is looking at a general-store window, longing for a vase. She had never lived in one place long enough to justify such a belonging. Claire was a nurse in the war, but now she has to adjust to a life where she isn’t covered in blood and guts.
She and her husband Frank go on a second honeymoon to Scotland after spending five years apart. While Claire was with the troops, Frank was overseeing spies and secret missions. Claire notes their relationship hasn’t been the same since they returned from the war. They’re both different people now, but they’re trying to rekindle the flame.
When they get to the Scottish bed-and-breakfast, blood is on the doorframes of many buildings. Frank asks whether Claire is sure that it’s blood. “I think I should know the look of blood by now,” she says.
The blood is traditional for Sowen. The owner of their B&B warns the couple that ghosts roam free on this druidic version of Halloween.
Frank and Claire explore Scotland, looking at historical spots where Frank can trace his family’s lineage. The local vicar helps Frank find documents mentioning his direct ancestor, Capt. John Randall, aka Black Jack. Mrs. Graham, the vicar’s housekeeper, takes Claire out of the room to share a cup of tea.
She tries to read Claire’s tea leaves, but they don’t make sense. She’ll take a journey, but stay in the same place. She’ll be around strangers, but one of them will be her husband. She reads Claire’s hand next, but she can’t determine the pattern. Her marriage line shows two marriages, but it is forked instead of broken. Although not superstitious, Claire senses Mrs. Graham might be foretelling something.
Later that night, Frank believes he saw a ghost. He should have felt a man who passed him on the street, but all he felt was a chill up his spine. He brushes off the topic when he speaks to Claire, and he decides to ask if she ever cheated on him during their time apart. The two make up quickly and have sex. Claire explains, “Whatever obstacles presented themselves during the day or night, we could seek out and find each other again in bed. As long as we had that, I had faith everything would work out.”
After they have sex, Frank decides he wants to wake up early to see local druids observe an old Sowen ritual by a circle of standing stones. They watch from afar as the women dance in cloaks with torches between the stones. They notice that Mrs. Graham is one of the druids there.
“They should have been ridiculous -- but the hairs on the back of my neck prickled at the sight, and some small voice inside warned me: I wasn’t supposed to be here. I was an unwelcome voyeur to something ancient and powerful,” Claire says.
After the sun comes up and the druids disperse, Frank and Claire check out the ritual site and take a look at the purple flowers before leaving. When Claire returns to their room, she tries to find the type of flower in a book. Frank suggests she go back to the area and grab a few. Frank will be busy working with the vicar, so he cannot go with her.
Claire picks some of the flowers when a gust of wind comes. She touches one of the standing rocks, and the screen goes black. Claire describes a car accident where she was asleep in the back seat and woke up while the car was going off a bridge into a river. That experience is the closest explanation she can give to what it was like to travel through time.
Claire wakes up on the ground, and starts to make her way back to the car. However, she discovers no road. She walks farther until she hears a gunshot and sees soldiers in red coats, old English army uniforms. She runs after a soldier tries to shoot her, but she stops when a man who looks like Frank is by the stream. She asks him what he’s doing, but quickly realizes it’s not her husband. He introduces himself as Capt. John Randall, and he tries to rape her.
Another man comes up and saves her. He calls her druid, and she doesn’t understand where he is leading her. He knocks her out to shut her up.
When she wakes up, her savior brings her to a cabin with other men, presumably on the other side of the war. Claire uses her maiden name, Beauchamp, so no one is led back to Frank. Although she met Capt. John, she still hasn’t determined that she has time-traveled.
The men decide they’ll figure out what to do with her later. They have an injured man, Jamie. They go to fix his dislocated shoulder, but Claire shouts at them to stop. They aren’t doing it properly and could break his arm. She puts Jamie’s arm back in place and creates a sling out of a belt for him.
When Claire realizes she can’t find a single electric light or see the city below lit up from the hills, she finally accepts she is not in the Scotland that she first came to with her husband.
Claire says, “As much as my rational mind rebelled against the idea, I knew in my heart, I was no longer in the twentieth century.”
The men are on the move, and Claire rides with Jamie, who covers her with his plaid to keep her from shivering. As they ride, they pass a large rock formation Claire and her husband saw at the beginning of the episode. Claire warns them that the English used to ambush the Scottish there. Jamie throws her off the horse into a ditch while the men go toward the English soldiers. Throwing her into the ditch saves her from gunfire. Claire thinks that she can escape, but Jamie catches up to her in a little while. He forces her back onto his horse.
However, Jamie fails to tell her that he’d been shot. While they’re riding, Jamie loses consciousness and falls off his horse. Claire tries to mend his wounds, but these troops aren’t prepared to properly care for the wounded. They have no clean bandages and Claire must rip the bottom of her dress to use as a bandage. She swears, which shocks all the men, and they move on. Claire arrives at the same castle she and her husband visited two days ago, except it isn’t as abandoned as it was a couple of days ago. Claire doesn’t know what’s about to happen, but she knows that this is going to be a long journey for her.
“Outlander” is shown on Starz Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET. What do you think the soldiers do with Claire? Sound off in the comments!