So, you’ve been missing the world of Outlander? Let’s do a quick refresher on Season 3 before diving into the new season this Sunday, November 4.
Season 3 began by following Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) lives during 20 years of separation post-Culloden. Claire moved to Boston with Frank (the remarkable Tobias Menzies) to raise Brianna away from the scene of Claire’s disappearance and apparent adultery. Despite Claire believing Jamie had died in battle, her heart was irrevocably his, which poisoned her marriage with Frank. It didn’t stop her from becoming a surgeon, though!
When Frank died unexpectedly, it came to light that he’d found evidence that Jamie survived Culloden, leading Claire, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) on a search for clues as to what happened to him. While in 1968 Scotland, some first sparks flew between Brianna and Roger, Brianna learned the truth about her parentage and they all ran into Geillis Duncan, a.k.a. Gillian Edgars, a.k.a.Mrs. Abernathy (Lotte Verbeek).
Claire and Brianna had some major family drama while Brianna processed her mother’s story. On the one hand, it explained everything about the tension between the Randalls and why Claire’s heart had always seemed shut down. On the other hand, it sounded insane. Enter Gillian Edgars, whom Brianna met at a rally at Roger’s university.
The Gillian of 1968 was passionate about the Jacobites of the past, and below the surface of that passion was an obsession with traveling through time to help put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne. Gillian had collected information about people who’d reportedly traveled through the stones, including Claire, and was convinced that human sacrifice was required. When Claire recognized that Gillian was Geillis, she dragged a skeptical Brianna along on trying to reach her before she could do anything drastic. They were too late to save Gillian’s husband, whom she murdered and burned at the stones, but they did see her walking through them and into Claire’s past.
This evidence of travel through the stones won Brianna over, and she and Roger supported Claire in traveling back to Jamie, whom they’d identified as a printer named A. Malcolm in Edinburgh.
Jamie, meanwhile, spent the years apart from Claire in and out of prison and indentured servitude and living on the lam. By the time he became A. Malcolm, he was living a superficially respectable life– superficial in that he was both printing treasonous pamphlets and facilitating some smuggling on the side.
When Claire walked into his print shop after 20 years, he fainted. He thought he was seeing a ghost!
When he woke up, she showed him color photographs of his daughter and then they made looooove.
After their reunion, Jamie’s nephew, Young Ian (John Bell), whom he was harboring without telling the boy’s parents, got into a scuffle with a lackey looking to prove that Jamie was up to no good. This scuffle in the print shop both interrupted Young Ian losing his virginity to a comely barmaid and burned the print shop down.
In the aftermath of this, Jamie, Claire and Young Ian headed to Lallybroch with adult Fergus (César Domboy), whom Jamie raised after Claire left. The next leg of their adventure revealed a few things:
- Jamie knew where a treasure was hidden on an island
- Under pressure from Jenny (Laura Donnelly), Jamie had married a widowed Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) to help her support her two daughters
- Everybody thought Claire should have been in touch sooner if she was alive.
Laoghaire was every bit as awful as remembered, but Fergus fell hard for her daughter, Marsali (Lauren Lyle).
Jamie arranged to retrieve the treasure from the island, and Young Ian was the only one willing and able to swim the distance to get it. When he arrived there, he found the box of gems and then was grabbed by pirates!
Jamie didn’t want to let his sister down, so he and Claire traced Young Ian to Jamaica and followed him there to retrieve him. Fergus and Marsali went, too, determined to get married. It took a while for Marsali to warm up to Claire, seeing her as the interloper in her mother and step-father’s marriage, but she did eventually thaw. Fergus and Jamie’s love for her helped.
The voyage to Jamaica was fraught with danger, culminating in Claire being taken forcibly aboard a bigger ship to treat a bunch of sailors who were dying of typhoid. Her 20th century vaccination protected her from it, and she nursed the men as well as she could until she was able to escape.
She and Jamie had to go through a lot more nonsense before reuniting in Jamaica, where the eager captain of the ship that kidnapped Claire took Jamie into custody under the warrant for Red Jamie and delivered him to Jamaica’s Governor. Lucky for the Frasers, the Governor was Lord John Grey (David Berry), who was Jamie’s jailer and friend in Scotland. Jamie was given a full pardon and set free.
In Jamaica, Claire was surprised to discover Geillis living as the wealthy widow, Mrs. Abernathy, bathing in the blood of virgin boys and holding Young Ian for that purpose. When she learned that Young Ian wasn’t technically a virgin, he still proved useful with his link to the Frasers. Claire figured out that Geillis’ warped idea of time travel and putting a Scot back on England’s throne had led to her wanting to lure Brianna to the past so she could sacrifice her.
Claire stopped Geillis from doing some dark magic in a cave that had powers like the Scottish stones just in time, killing her all the way dead.
When Claire and Jamie were reunited with Young Ian, they got on a ship to head home to Scotland. They had enough peace to have some shipboard sexy times, and then were hit by a hurricane before the afterglow had worn off. The ship was sunk, but everyone important survived… in the pre-Revolutionary American South. And that’s where we’ll be picking up with them this week!
If you haven’t already peeked at the trailer for Season 4, and if you haven’t read the books the show is based on, you might be wondering if we’ll see more of Brianna and Roger this season. Let’s just say there’s a very strong possibility!
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