Outlander Recap: “The Battle Joined”

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Outlander fans have been waiting a very long time for the season 3 premiere episode of the much beloved series that has worked its way into the hearts of so many people all over the world to finally air. And last night’s episode did not disappoint!

Two Sides of the Coin

The episode started with the devastating results of the Battle of Culloden – an inevitable battle that our hero Jamie and heroine Claire so desperately attempted to stop over the course of the second season.

Viewers got to see what part Jamie played in that horrible battle while Claire dealt with having to take on the role of a domesticated housewife, albeit unwillingly, in 1940’s Boston.

The big payoff for viewers was seeing Jamie finally face down his nemesis – Black Jack Randall – on that bloody moor. While that whole scene was not featured in the book on which the third season of the show is based, it was an important scene that the powers that be behind the show felt HAD to be featured. And, it didn’t hurt that Claire’s “prediction” of Black Jack’s death on April 16, 1746 came true at the hands of her beloved Jamie – even if that meant Jamie was severely wounded by that sadist: Black Jack did get what he so richly deserved.

Aftermath of War

What was probably even harder to watch than the extreme violence between the Highlanders and the British Army during the Battle of Culloden, was watching the aftermath of war; namely, the Highlanders who weren’t outright killed during the battle being bayoneted by British soldiers and then later the few survivors who took refuge in that abandoned house being led to their deaths, one-by-one, and watching Jamie’s reaction as each booming gunshot rang out.

Domestication Isn’t Bliss

While Claire may have agreed to stay with Frank, moving to Boston to start over their marriage, it is clear that domestication is NOT going to be bliss for her. Claire wants nothing more than to be of value. She wanted to become a U.S. citizen, but Frank does not seem too happy with that idea. She is also basically belittled by Frank’s condescending Harvard employer [wait until he finds out that Claire will be enrolling at Harvard’s Medical School] and spoken down to by that patronizing doctor during the birth of her baby.

Baby Makes Three

The birth of baby Brianna was heartwarming – albeit for that momentary callback to Claire losing Faith in season two – finding Claire and Frank sharing words of hope for their future until those fateful words were spoken by the nurse: “where’d she get the red hair?” Way to put the kibosh on a happy moment between two souls who once were very much in love then were separated by three years (or two centuries depending on how you want to look at it) and then unexpectedly reunited and struggling to find a “new normal.”

Side Notes

Seeing Jamie holding onto the dragonfly in amber while slipping in and out of consciousness only to drop the wedding gift entrusted to him by his beloved Claire affected me more than I expected. What about you? At least we know the circumstances behind the dragonfly in amber being found on Culloden Moor and how it ended up in that museum that Claire visited in 1968.

Not knowing what happened to Murtagh was hard to get over. To be honest I don’t recall how his story played out in book three [it’s been awhile since I read “Voyager”]; and I have to wonder if we will actually see him again or not.

The exchange between Rupert and Jamie before the former briskly marched off to his execution was also another moving moment; as well as Jamie quietly stating “she’s gone” to Gordon’s inquiry about where was Claire.

Hearing Claire’s classic line – “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” – being muttered as she struggled lighting the gas stove in their Boston home; and then later watching her cook over the fireplace in their home was a nice touch to an episode that was very heavily-laden with lots of violence and anger. And, it was a nice nod to how she was taught by her uncle and how she lived for three years with Jamie.

What are your thoughts on the third season premiere of Outlander? Please share your thoughts in our comments section below.

Make sure to watch the next, new episode of Outlander on Starz next Sunday, September 17 at 8/7c.

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Blindspot, The Blacklist, Killjoys, The Brave, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Fosters. Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at


  1. Jackie Kerner

    September 11, 2017 at 11:19 am

    I loved it; well done and kudos to cast, crew, writers, and all involved! It was very moving–I had a hard time not losing it w/the Culloden scenes. Wonderful job by Sam in particular in this episode, but this group always nails it.

  2. J Anderson

    September 24, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Wonderful. This team always give of their best and the direction is superb. Sam played Jamie’s death throes/life throes with such unbelievable intensity that the viewer was completely engaged. It hits home the horror of the battle and the brutality of the Duke of Cumberland. The scene in the ruined croft where the sergeant appealed for the life of the two boys – children really – was deeply moving.