This, even though she looks as if she'd spent most of her life in the 20th century in anticipation of dressing as though she were in [Dangerous Liaisons.] If anything, poor Claire probably wishes she could take a high, even swing and knock the periwig off the head of any nobleman foolish enough to crowd her space. Because at this moment Claire really needs her space.
This isn't a spoiler. Claire is simply confronting the kind of mind-warping, migraine-inducing conundrums that kept Marty McFly hopping with anxiety in Back to the Future movies. When you monkey around with the past – not just the past, but your own – you're apt suddenly to hear the future howling and pounding its gorilla chest. If you ever get to time travel, you’ll probably screw things up, too.
What makes the moment so keenly felt on Outlander is Claire's stature as romantic heroine, a woman who gets to suffer exciting new pangs of love in different centuries and different coutures. (And then there's her nurses' training, which gives her a one-up on just about anyone in any age.) She has much less in common with Marty McFly than with someone from the deeply felt, deeply feminine, deeply psychological realm of Daphne du Maurier.
In fact, one suspects the couple have overestimated their own wits and wiles among such worldly, cynical people: They seem to think this is all some marvelous game of skill, that playing at history is like placing bets at a casino table in Barry Lyndon. They may soon learn their mistake.
Outlander season 2 premieres at Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.