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Promising future for “Outlander”

What if time travel was possible? This is the question that is asked in the Starz original series, “Outlander.” Based on Diana Gabaldon’s book series of the same title, this show follows World War II nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) as she visits Scotland on a second honeymoon with her husband Frank in 1945. While there, however, she discovers a mysterious circle of magical stones. Intrigued, she touches the largest one and suddenly blacks out.

When she comes to, she realizes that she is in the middle of a battle between British troops and Scottish Highlanders …in the year 1743. Taken in by the Highlanders and unable to return to her own time, she must contend with threats from devious British Captain Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies), the beginnings of a doomed Scottish uprising and her unexpected feelings for handsome Scotsman Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).

The long awaited premiere of season two was this past weekend and it definitely delivered on all fronts. Season one left off with Claire and her now husband Jamie fleeing to France to both stop the ill-fated Scottish uprising and to escape the clutches of Jack Randall. Claire had rescued Jamie from Randall, but not before he was physically and emotionally tortured. While on their voyage, Claire surprised Jamie with the news that she is pregnant.

In a shocking twist, the first episode of season two begins with Claire inexplicably returning to 1945. Although Frank is overjoyed that she has come back, she is devastated at the prospect of never seeing Jamie again. She struggles to adjust to her old life, constantly reading through history books for any mention of Jamie’s fate in the uprising. For fans who want Claire and Jamie to be together, this twist is downright heartbreaking.

Halfway through the episode, though, the timeframe switches back to 1743. It shows Claire and Jamie just arriving in France before Claire’s jump forward in time. Together, they come up with a plan to stop the Scottish uprising from happening by using some of Jamie’s family connections. However, after Claire diagnoses an ill sailor with smallpox, the ship that he was on and its cargo must be burned. Angry at this huge financial lost, the ship’s owner, the Count of St. Germain, vows to make Claire pay for the trouble she’s caused.

Like with the first season, this one delivers on both the caliber of acting and use of setting. The chemistry between Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan is as evident as ever. Specifically in the scene where they are discussing the lingering effects of Jamie’s torture. Heughan’s portrayal of Jamie’s pain is matched by Balfe’s portrayal of Claire’s compassion and sadness. You believe that these two truly love and care about each other, which is the mark of a great pairing.

Shooting the first season in the beautiful Scottish Highlands made every episode very immersive. The same could be said for this second season. Although some of the shots were done in Prague, they took special care to make every detail like it would be on the historic streets of France.

All in all, this episode delivered on all the best parts of season one while adding some new twists to the mix. While many are still reeling from the shock and what it means for the future, fans are excited to see what the series has in store for next week.