Dec 13 2014 1:00pm

Surviving DrOutlander: Bridging the Gap of 20 Years

The following post includes spoilers for the Outlander series. Like big, honking ones. No, seriously. Proceed at your own risk.

I’ll admit, I’m reaching deep to get through the long, dark days between the end of Outlander S1 part one this October and the debut of part two on STARZ network April 4, 2015. I came this close to adding Jamie’s eye-sexxing as my mobile wallpaper talisman to make it through. Here at Heroes and Heartbreakers, we’re pushing through this six-month Droughtlander on a steady diet of nekkid JAMMF GIFs and banked episodes on our DVRs.

Why—WHY—must they torture us so?!

Looking ahead, this may be a small drop in the Long Wait Pond. It’s already been announced that Outlander the television series plans to film one season for each book in the Outlander saga. This means season two will be based on Dragonfly in Amber (DIA) and season three on Voyager. Anyone who has read these two books knows that Jamie and Claire are separated at the end of DIA in a pretty freaking definitive way. They remain apart for the first third of Voyager as they (unknowingly) wait 20 years on either side of a 200-year divide to be reunited.

So the question has to be asked: how will Outlander the series handle their 20-year separation?

Part two of season one is going to deviate from the Claire POV that has been the audience’s gateway into the series. I’m a wee bit disappointed by this change because having a female protagonist be the sole perspective of such a show is nothing short of revolutionary in the television landscape. But as the breadth of the narrative expands, it’s foolish to think it can all be encompassed through one character’s POV. Certainly, the books gave way to multiple points of view, more with every installment. In Outlander the show, S1 part two will introduce some of Jamie’s direct perspective including his own voice-over narration. We know this from The Twitter which continues to shower us with bountiful gifts in the form of a social media-friendly cast and production team happy and eager to share what and when they can.

Jamie’s POV was first introduced in “The Wedding” episode, which deviated from the gateway of Claire’s experience that has solely driven the series up to that point. This was to show the audience how Jamie went about getting the wedding put together…or rather how Angus, Rupert, Ned, Murtagh, and Dougal went about it on Jamie’s behalf. The following episode—the last one before the drought—spent half it’s time with “meanwhile, back in 1945…” entirely told from Frank Randall’s POV. So the stage has already been set for further divergence from form going forward.

But twenty years? We’re having enough trouble dealing with a six-month girth and right after Jamie and Claire finally got married…and Got. It. On. How the hell are we supposed to make it through 20 years of the narrative with them apart?

I’m going to submit two options of how Outlander can address this time warp in the upcoming seasons.

Option one: shoot it the way it plays out in the novels. This would mean that season two would open with Claire in 1965 (or thereabouts) visiting Scotland with her grown daughter Brianna, for the first time since Claire left it twenty years earlier after her return from 1745 Scotland. When the book flashes back to how she got there from here, the show too would flash back to Claire and Jamie’s adventures in France that form the core plot of Dragonfly in Amber and then back to 196-whatever for Roger’s Big Discovery at the end of the season. Season three, aka Voyager, would also fold out as the book does with Jamie’s lost years being revealed while Claire’s searches for him in the past leading to that spectacular reunion moment, second only to The Wedding on the list of Things I Can’t Wait to See on My Screen.

Option two: film it chronologically. Hold off on the reveal that Claire returns to her own time until the end of season two. Leave the raw brutality of that moment for that 5% of the audience who maybe haven’t read the books yet. This is The Beheading of Ned Stark scene for Outlander, the moment when the uninformed will gasp WHAT DID THEY JUST DO? So begin season two right off with Claire and Jamie in France and play all that out chronologically finishing with Claire’s return to 1945 as the season two cliffhanger. Season three would begin by playing out Jamie and Claire’s separation 200 years apart side by side. Film is a different medium than a book and requires alternative means of communicating the same information to a mass audience. This scenario would allow the show to develop snippets of Claire’s life with Frank in America alongside the scenes of Jamie’s life in Scotland and England across those same twenty years. Like the slow build to The Wedding in season one, this would stack the deck for that priceless reunion moment between Jamie and Claire lurking in the wings while eliminating the need for flashback scenes to explain who did what and when while they were apart giving the audience knowledge the characters don’t yet have of one another. It’s an epic love story…and that means some epic separation angst for Jamie and Claire and…sadly…for us too.

Cue Droughtlander 2.0.

How would you do it? Tell us how you’d like to see Ron Moore et al bridge the 20-year gap in Outlander!

Kiersten Hallie Krum writes smart, sharp & sexy romantic suspense. Find her snarking her way across social media as @kierstenkrum and on her web site and blog at

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1. flitzer
I rather prefer the second version, because starting season 2 with the knowledge that J&C are going to be separated would cast too big a shadow on the whole story arc. I know I hated it with a passion when I read DiA. It is bad enough when it happens at the end, why anticipate it and let us read the whole book - or rather watch the whole season - with that gnawing knowledge?
Also, in the case (which we of course hope won't happen) that there should not be a season 3, the second option makes it easier to wrap the season up in a satisfactory way, closing all open threads.
2. ksb36
I have always told my husband (who is enjoying the show immensely) that Dragonfly in Amber is the Empire Strikes Back of Outlander. Darker, more hopeless, and our heroes fail. They FAIL in a big, horrible way. Time, history and simple fucking destiny all have their way with Our Heroes. Claire and Jamie are not separated for good, but they will be forever changed people when they meet again.

Let the series play it out just like in the books. The second season should end with non-book readers (like my hubby) going "WTF"?
3. Vickie Russell
I only read book one because I knew of the 20 year separation and didn't want to know further. I will watch the series though.

@ksb36, so much for all the sprouting about Outlander being a women's only series ... my husband loved it too.
4. Kahintenn
I've always thought that it's the twenty year jump in time that keeps the story fresh and lets it move on and continue to be interesting. Gabaldon managed to line up the Jacobite struggles of the '45 with the American Revolution, which is just brilliant. I was shocked but also delighted when the saga took that turn. I agree that the show should unfold the way the books do...that's the best way to tell the story.
5. Tina Peri
I like your option 2.
The beheading of Ned Stark scene for Outlander ha ha I love it but so true
6. Sdkptibor
Where has it been confirmed that filming beyond book 2 is confirmed? Also, there is an interview by Diana Galabdon where I believe that she has no concerned about these actors be able to portray Claire and Jamie in Voyager. They are already portraying characters younger than they are. They can most certainly portray characters older. They are actors. Why worry about something 1-2 years ahead. Enjoy what we have.
Kiersten Hallie Krum
7. Kiersten
Filming beyond book 2 is *not* confirmed, however it is planned and expected given the success so far. There is every reason to expect it will continue and the filmmakers have confirmed that as long as they do it, the plan is to do one book for every TV season. I never said anything about the actors not being able to portray Claire and Jamie 20 years older. I think Balfe and Heughan can do pretty much anything they set their minds to. I consider both to be perfectly cast as Claire and Jamie. This is a speculation post. It's fun to speculate and think about how it might be done when 'tis done. Apologies if anyone is not having fun.
8. RachelleKates
I know I'm sprouting blasphemy... But do you think they could/would change it from a 20 year gap, to a 10 year gap? I'm only concerned on the actors standpoint. I think they could age the actress playing Claire but they couldn't do a thing to Jamie. I know my heart would feel releif, I wonder why the author gave such a huge gap, I think 5, 10 or even 15 years would have been a long enough time to prove that distance makes the heart grow fonder.
9. Kathryn Schultz
Since nobody has answered Rachelle's question since January, I will say that Claire wouldn't have chosen to return through the stones to Jamie until Brianna was old enough to live on her own. She didn't even really try to find out what had happened to Jamie and his men until after Frank's death, when Brianna was already an adult.
10. Ari K
And if they shortened the time jump, the furture possible episodes would not line up with American History. The revolutionary war and other moments which are key in the book series.
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