“Outlander” Season 2 kicked off a long way from where the Starz drama left off last year. Instead of the showing Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) trip to Paris, episode 1 started with a flash-forward to 1948. Claire landed in Craigh na Dun and was suddenly forced back into her old life. The nurse was not happy to reunite with her era.
Claire is by the standing stones and she finds a ring and starts screaming. “He was gone. They were all gone,” she says. “The world I left only moments ago was now dust.” She starts walking until a man in a car stops to ask if she is okay. When she hears that it’s 1948, she desperately asks him who won the Battle of Culloden. The man tells her that the British were victorious and Claire breaks down in tears.
Frank (Tobias Menzies) comes to a hospital in Inverness. Claire reflects on how noisy it is with cars and radios. She doesn’t seem excited to see her first husband. In fact, she is terrified when he steps towards her. She can’t forget how he looks exactly like Black Jack.
Claire asks if Mrs. Graham (Tracey Wilkinson) is still employed by Reverend Wakefield (James Fleet). She needs to speak with her. She’ll also need some clothes. Frank is fascinated by the corset she showed up wearing.
The Reverend has a scholarly friend look at Claire’s clothing. They don’t know how she got her hands on rare 18th century Scottish clothing. It’s been a week, and Claire still hasn’t said much about her time away. She has just been reading everything the Reverend has on the Battle of Culloden.
Claire talks about Jamie to Mrs. Graham and suddenly realizes that she has to talk about Jamie in the past tense. He’s been dead for two centuries now. “I just need to know if he really did die on that battlefield,” Claire says. Mrs. Graham reminds her that he promised he would fight alongside his men on the battlefield. She warns the younger woman not to spend her life “chasing a ghost,” especially when she has another husband.
That night, Claire invites Frank to her room to chat. She spends all night telling him the truth about her time-traveling. He says he is willing to believe her, but Claire knows that he is too rational to truly believe her. He says all that matters is that she is back in his life. He doesn’t care that she loved another man.
Losing her the first time was too painful for Frank. Everyone told him that Claire ran away with another man, and he is just so happy that she is back. Then Claire tells him that she is pregnant with Jamie’s baby. He seems joyful at first, but Claire quickly forces him to focus on reality. “I’m carrying another man’s child, Frank, and you need to think about what that means for all of us,” Claire says.
Frank get so frustrated that he raises a fist in anger, but he doesn’t hit Claire. He stumbles away to the shed and starts smashing clay pots, wooden crates, anything he can find. The Reverend isn’t concerned about the damage. He is concerned about Frank and Claire. He asks Frank if he wants to raise a child. Frank is sterile, and he convinced himself that without a wife, it wasn’t important. Now he realizes Jamie gave her the one thing he couldn’t. Roger (Rory Burns) interrupts and calls the Reverend “Father.” The Reverend says that children accept the world as it is presented. After his chat with the Reverend, he decides that he and Claire could raise this child together.
Frank offers Claire the opportunity to be a family, and they could move after he accepts a job offer at Harvard (away from the newspapers that are claiming Claire was stolen by fairies). He has conditions, though. He wants to tell the child that he is the real father. He also tells Claire that she has to give up her search for information about Jamie’s death. “He made me promise that I would let him go,” Claire says. “So I will. I accept your conditions.”
She hands over her 18th century clothing, but when she tries to take off Jamie’s wedding ring, she can’t. Frank says she can wait until she is ready. She watches Frank burn her clothing and then she flies to Massachusetts with him. Claire actually smiles as she takes his hand to head toward the skyscrapers of Boston.
As she takes his hand the “Outlander” Season 2 premiere finally takes viewers to where they left off last year. Claire is grabbing Jamie’s hand in 1745. Apparently, Jamie didn’t enjoy the boat ride to France much. “So I guess a trip to Boston is out of the question?” Claire jokes.
They head to their room, and Jamie admits that he can almost still feel Black Jack touching him. Claire assures him that he is safe, and she wants to focus on changing history. Jamie wants to help the Jacobite rebellion win the war, but Claire thinks they should stop it entirely. She doesn’t know the tactics that would help them win. She only knows the basics of what happened. It all ends in April 1746 at the Battle of Culloden.
It’s going to be difficult, but Claire believes if Jamie’s cousin Jared (Robert Cavanah) makes some introductions, they will be able to connect with the appropriate leaders who could make a real change. Jamie is concerned about lying to everyone, but Claire reasons that they could save thousands of lives and Highland culture.
Jamie realizes that they have to tell Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) something. They make it clear that they’re going to have secrets, and their friend is offended. Jamie promises him that they’ll tell him the truth…one day. But not right now.
Three weeks later, Jamie talks to his cousin Jared, who is suspicious of Jamie’s motives to be a Jacobite. He has never been overly political. Jamie shows him the scars that Black Jack left on his back, and Jared suddenly understands. However, it still takes a bit of convincing to get Jared to introduce him to the Jacobite leaders. Jared says he’ll consider it, but he needs a favor in the meantime. He needs Jamie to run his wine business while he is away.
During a morning walk one day, Claire sees a body brought off a boat with marks on the hands, and she has to follow him. She diagnoses it as smallpox, but there is nothing she can do. He is already dead. Claire wants to quarantine the men who came with the victim on the Count of St. Germain’s (Stanley Webber) boat. Jamie thinks she should leave it to the authorities to handle.
The Count wants to know who she is, so she introduces herself as a healer. He isn’t impressed with Claire. He is angry that his cargo and his ship have to be destroyed. It’ll cost him a fortune. “You will pay a price,” the Count says in French. “You will both pay.”
They watch his boat burn, and Jared tells them that they’ve made an enemy. “Another country, another enemy. Life with you is never dull, Sassenach,” Jamie says.
“Outlander” Season 2 airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. EDT on Starz.