Outlander has wrapped up Season 2 in a highly emotional episode. “Dragonfly in Amber” switched between 1746 and 1968, something difficult to pull off without confusing the viewer, but they did it beautifully. So much happened in the Outlander season finale that there’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in.
Those who have read the Outlander book series know that Season 2 of the Starz TV show began differently than the second book in the series. The season finale opens with the funeral of Reverend Wakefield brings us to 1968. The young boy we saw in early episodes of Outlander is Roger Wakefield. He lives in the reverend’s home and is hosting his funeral reception as the show opens. This is a departure from the book.
In the Outlander book series, the second book opens with the funeral of Reverend Wakefield, but executive producer Ronald Moore decided not to take that approach to Season 2 of the Outlander Starz series. Vanity Fair spoke to Moore about this decision.
“I thought that that was too big of a leap for the audience to take, to go from Claire and Jamie sailing away on a ship at the end of Season 1 to that knock at the door. I thought, let’s start Season 2 a little bit more chronologically, but show Claire alive in the 40s… Then let’s hold all the 1960s stuff until the end. In the episode ‘Faith,’ in 207, there’s a brief moment where you see Claire and a young Brianna in Boston in the 60s, just to remind the audience of that story line, and have one more little taste of Brianna before you do the finale.”
Central to this Outlander episode is Claire’s daughter, Brianna, coming to terms with the fact that she is Jamie’s daughter. She has lived 20 years believing that the now-deceased Frank is her father. After a little investigating by her and Roger, she confronts her mother about the identity of her real father, also a departure from the Outlander book. And a challenge for Ronald Moore as it meant he also had to bridge the gap from the Battle of Culloden to the revelation that Claire was pregnant with Brianna, who was named after Jamie’s father Brian. Moore talked to Vanity Fair about how they dealt with Brianna’s storyline and bridging the gap between the two time periods in the Outlander season finale.
“It was a lot of ground to cover. Probably the biggest change we made from the book for her character is giving her an agenda in Scotland. We thought she should have something she wants to find out so that can give her an active role in the events that took place. In the book, she’s a little bit more passive… We thought you could get to know Brianna a little bit more and start to like her more as a character if she was on a bit of a journey of her own, where she was driven to find out secrets from the past.”
The finale of Outlander Season 2 also included the death of a major character. Jamie and Dougal fight when Dougal overhears him and Claire plotting to kill Charles in order to avoid the Battle of Culloden. This episode of Outlander was full of surprises and scenes that gave us mixed feelings, and as we watched Jamie struggle to get the knife into Dougal’s chest as he lay pinned to the floor, we cheered and cried as Claire puts her hands on his and together they plunge it into Dougal’s body.
Now to address what Outlander fans really want to know: What happened to Claire and Jamie? In the 1700s, Jamie convinces Claire to go back to the future in order to protect their child. They both fully expect that Jamie will die in the Battle of Culloden.
In the final scene of the Outlander episode, Claire, Brianna, and Roger learn that Geillis (a political activist known as Gillian in 1968) is about to go back to the 1700s. If they stop her, Roger may never be born (he’s a descendant of Dougal and Geillis), but they rush to Craig Na Dun to tell her to lay low in order to avoid being burned to death. They’re too late. But in a final Outlander twist, Claire learns that Roger and Brianna found records that indicate that Jamie survived the Battle of Culloden. The final episode of Outlander Season 2 ends with a tearful Claire saying that she must go back to be with him.
Check out Variety’s interview with Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, as he talks about the Outlander Season 2 finale.
[Image via Starz TV]