How much more heartbreak can Claire and Jamie take
No, instead of the grey and muddy Highlands we adored in the first season, we find ourselves in the opulent townhouses of Paris, where the Frasers are attempting to infiltrate high society as part of their plan to stop the Jacobite rising that Claire knows will end in disaster.
For fans of Diana Gabaldon's books, this episode contains one of the most memorable moments from the second novel, Dragonfly In Amber – Claire wearing a daring and very low-cut red gown for her and Jamie's first visit to the Court of Versailles.
But while in the novel her striking appearance - and Caitriona Balfe does look absolutely stunning - was part of an intentional effort to get more attention at court, here it's also used to underline just how far apart our hero and heroine have grown following Jamie's harrowing assault and rape at the hands of Jack Randall.
Before the attack, Claire wearing a dress like that might have preceded one of the series' infamous sex scenes. Now, Jamie is plagued by nightmares - including one very graphic one in which he imagines stabbing Randall to a bloody pulp - and barely able to be in the same room as his beloved.
Even Claire's attempt to embrace the latest 18th-century French fashion – a complete bikini wax suggested by her new friend Louise De Rohan (Claire Sermonne) – doesn't have the desired effect on her husband, though it does provide a little light relief ("Your honeypot! It's bare!").
This sad estrangement between Claire and Jamie is a departure from the books – at the end of the first Outlander novel, Jamie makes a miraculous psychological recovery following a tryst with Claire in a monastery hot spring - a sequence left out of the TV adaptation.
But this more bleak take is for the better, underlining just how horrendous the attack by Randall was, and how deeply it will have scarred Jamie both physically and mentally. It also shows how both Balfe and Sam Heughan have grown as actors since the early episodes, heartbreakingly depicting a couple who are together but also very much apart at this point.
By the end of the episode, a revelation indicates there's even more misery for our unhappy couple to come. Can they take it? Can we?
Many fans will certainly be hoping that Jamie and Claire can get back to their happy place - both figuratively and literally, with a return to Scotland- as soon as possible.
Because this Parisian jaunt - while both gripping and beautiful to look at - is shaping up to be a rather depressing excursion for our beloved Frasers.
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