Please be aware that this post contains information about the plot of the first episode of the second season of “Outlander,” which is titled “Through a Glass, darkly.”
After a terrifying encounter with Blackjack Randall (Tobias Menzies) in the 1700s, we last saw Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) setting sail for France. However, the premiere of Season 2 of “Outlander” took place in a completely different location. It took place in Scotland in 1948, with a distraught Claire reuniting with her first husband, Frank (Menzies). She was eager to find out the outcome of the infamous Battle of Culloden, to determine whether or not she and Jamie had been successful in altering the course of history.
More than half of the episode was devoted to Claire and Frank’s efforts to make peace with what had occurred to Claire in the past, while also looking forward to an uncertain future together. After that, we took a trip back in time to 1745, when Claire and Jamie arrived in France and got to know Jared, Jamie’s cousin, who was a wine merchant and Jacobite. Jared was played by Robert Cavanah.
In an interview with Variety, Balfe revealed that the opening sequences of the season were shot in Scotland and that they were filmed between Claire and Frank. “When I got the script, I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t wait for this,’ and I cried while I was reading it,” she recounts. “[Showrunner Ron Moore] wrote that episode, and it’s just beautiful because it’s so tragic – it’s so complicated, and neither one of them are wrong and neither one of them are right, and you can’t help how people feel and how they react depending on the circumstances.”
During those stressful times, when Claire revealed to Frank the truth about where she had been, who she had been with, and the fact that she was carrying Jamie’s child, Balfe noted, “Claire is someone who is grieving, and she is unable to see past that.” She is just someone who is so locked down at this point; the worst thing she could have ever imagined has happened, and in a way, how do you carry on living with that?
I did a lot of research about grieving and how people feel, and she is just someone who is so shut down. There is no denying that you go through the motions, but it is disheartening that you have to close the doors on your heart and put the key away. People are harsh with Frank, but can you even fathom what it would be like to be in his position?
The fact that Menzies had spent the latter half of Season 1 playing the role of Jack Randall and those viewers hadn’t seen Frank since Episode 8 of the previous season meant that the return of Frank at the beginning of Season 2 carried with it an additional amount of impact. “They were able to write some really interesting stuff because we move forward in the story, and she arrives through the stones pregnant.
Frank and Claire have to come to terms with that and what it means for their marriage, so that seemed like rich territory,” he adds of the difficult passages. “They managed to write.” “That also felt like it was a good payoff from having built Frank up in the first part of the season, to root it in the emotional cost of the story, in a way,” said the main character with a sense of satisfaction.
You are definitely up against some of the more fantastical components of the plot, such as the time travel and making that genuine and emotional, but I believe that we were able to pull that off. The challenges of it are that you are obviously up against something. I have the impression that this is a pretty wonderful episode, and it is a shocking and powerful place to begin.
Menzies cherished the opportunity to represent Frank when he lost control of the potting shed. Frank is a character who gives off the impression of being very reserved, although we get glimpses of the violence that lies beneath his calm demeanor back in the first season. “It was essential to see the true cost in him; the potting shed was a lot of fun because you get to trash a room, which is always enjoyable,” he laughs.
In the past, we saw Claire and Jamie making an effort to adjust to life in France, which was very different from Scotland in terms of the clothes, culture, and sensibility that were prevalent at that time. When Heughan and Balfe moved from the Highlands to the French court for Season 2, they experienced some culture shock, much like their characters did. Heughan acknowledges that just like their characters, they did.
In all honesty, it was a little disturbing, and Cait and I found it to be quite peculiar for a considerable amount of time. We went back to work with the expectation that everything would remain the same, but all of a sudden, there were different clothes, different sets, and the characters had a very different feeling,” he comments. We were always looking for Jamie and Claire, and we realized that the only time they were truly themselves was in the private times when they were together.
When they were in public, however, they were always keeping their guard up. They are both extremely excellent at it, and they are both quite adaptable, yet it does not sit well with them, and in the end, it just becomes too much for both of them to handle. Since Jamie has immersed himself in it to divert his attention away from the events that transpired at Wentworth, it is without a doubt becoming excessive for him.
Claire and Jamie were introduced to the mysterious Comte St. Germain, played by Stanley Weber, in the final minutes of the episode. Comte St. Germain is a French nobleman who immediately became at odds with Claire after she inadvertently became responsible for the loss of his ship and cargo. This occurred after she discovered that his crew was infected with smallpox. The animosity between the two will only intensify as the season progresses, according to Balfe’s preview:
“The Comte and Claire, in the beginning, it just feels like she’s used her big mouth to get herself into trouble again, and you see [him] as someone who just wants revenge, but as we progress in the season, you realize that there are darker things about the Comte St. Germain, and it’s a very interesting storyline.”