If you’re even a nominal Outlander fan, you’ve probably watched the Outlander Season 3 trailer released today by STARZ at least a dozen times. And you’ve maybe even hit pause a couple of times to savor a particular image or two. That just might have happened.
But now that the thrill is slightly abated, it’s time to think about what it all means. What does the Season 3 trailer tell us about what we can expect starting—dear god where is time travel when you really need it?—on September 10th in the States? We’ve got some thoughts to share. Read on to see if you agree or to share your thoughts of what’s coming. TV-only viewers, click at your peril. Some Outlander book information will be part of this little post. #SorryNotSorry.
We know you’ve seen it, but just for good measure…
First (and not much of a surprise given Ron D. Moore‘s admitted fascination with All Things Tobias Menzies/Frank) the trailer suggests that we are going to see sympathetic Frank as the show takes us through the story of Claire and Frank during the 20 years she and Jamie are separated. Moore thinks it’s important for us to understand Frank in order to understand Claire and Jamie’s love. He’s probably—annoyingly—right….but STILL….GET US TO THE PRINT SHOP!!!
I think to understand Claire you have to understand Frank
Anyway, the trailer opens with Frank bringing Bree to Claire shortly after she’s born and then telling Claire, “Everything will be all right. I promise.” Then we flash forward to a shot of a shirtless Frank holding the baby—”come to Daddy”—followed not long after his complaining to Claire that the “arrangement” was that they would raise this child together, with a strong hint that Claire isn’t doing her part of the deal. We see Frank lying alone in his bed, mournfully looking at the clock, which reads 3 a.m.
In other words, the suggestion is that Claire is not being nice. (Warning: we’re headed into spoiler territory) Book Frank is less sympathetic. In fact, Book Frank is pretty clearly a philanderer. Claire notes this many times and in their final battle, after Frank announces he’s moving to England for his sabbatical with Bree and sans Claire, she jumps right into it, asking him if he’s taking his latest mistress. In that argument, she lists the many times he’s had other women, including women who apparently asked her to leave him. They fight and Frank storms off, never to return. The point is that while he certainly has moments of compassion and love—he helps Claire go to medical school by offering to take care of Bree after school—the riffs in their relationship are clearly not one-sided. The trailer feels a little different. It’s only two minutes, so of course, I could be wrong. But the vibe was definitely more Team Frank than Team Claire.
The rift between Claire and Frank is also illustrated by what could be their last argument. “What is it you want from me?” Claire beseeches. To which Frank responds, “I want to know when you’re going to come back from the past!” Flashed across the screen as they argue is a Scottish herald on the wall: Nemo me impune lacessit—no one attacks me with impunity.
The motto of Scotland and adopted by the Order of the Thistle, this saying is from the reign of King James VI. More than a simple historic visual suggestion that Claire, indeed, might still be “stuck” in the past, the expression seems ominous in a way, a suggestion that Frank is about to attack back perhaps? That he’s reached the end of his rope about being left out? (The scene before this shows Brianna at graduation with Frank’s voice saying, “You could never look at her without seeing him.”)
The trailer jumps to a shot of Lallybroch, followed by Jamie proclaiming, “I’ve come home,” only to be grabbed by the Redcoats and put in chains—an act that is simply a real-life moment for the chains he and Claire and, yes, Frank, have lived in for two decades.
Finally, this moment that really says it all IMHO.
If you ever had any doubts that Claire was doing anything but sleepwalking through her existence—yes, that’s what it truly was—you only have to look at Claire’s face (hereafter known as Resting Apathetic Face) in absolutely any shot (except the first one when she’s holding Bree and let’s be real completely thinking of Jamie and that Bree is a piece of him) and the moment before she walks into that PRINT SHOP. (I officially think PRINT SHOP should always be capitalized.) Dear god, what a difference!
This trailer (and the short sub-trailers also floating around) are notably all focused on the first third of Voyager, the time that everyone that matters is separated. (#SorryNotSorry Frank) And as book readers know, there is a whole lot of action still to come.
Caitriona Balfe hinted that this was just the first trailer.