Readers, I am getting antsy! Just a little over one month until Season 4 and I. Can. Hardly. Take. It.
So how about a countdown to bide the time? I present to you the Top 100 Outlander Moments thus far.
Now, I know these sorts of things are wildly subjective and I expect some disagreement with my choices. That’s okay! My criteria for a picking a scene are as follows: its memorability, how much it advances story or character development, and if it is important or noteworthy for the genre of television in general.
Honestly, a list of 100 moments seems like a daunting task, but I found myself with way too many scenes in the end. So know that if one of your favorites didn’t make it, it was probably one of my favorites, too.
And with that, let’s begin.
100. Jamie fixes the water mill (Episode 112: Lallybroch)
I felt we should start this list off right. I think the reason so many people love this scene is fairly obvious, but if you bother paying attention to all the actors here everyone is knocking it out of the park. Claire’s fear and tension, Jenny’s guilt, Jamie’s indignation and…other stuff. It doesn’t advance the plot a whole heck of lot, but it lands on this list for being memorable.
99. Claire introduces germ theory to the eighteenth century (Episode 310: Heaven and Earth)
And manages to save a ship from typhoid fever in the process. Too late, though, for poor Elias Pound, whose character (complete with lucky rabbit’s foot) was a symbolic emotional stand-in for Brianna.
98. Ian burns down the printshop (Episode 107: Creme de Menthe)
Oh, Ian. Fare thee well, printshop. We loved your beautiful set design for one(ish) pivotal episode. But its destruction ignites (quite literally) the rest of Season 3. After the fire everyone returns to Lallybroch, where we discover Laoghaire, whereby we need alimony, and thus we need the gems, and henceforth Ian gets kidnapped…you get the picture.
97. The Parisian dinner party (Episode 204: La Dame Blanche)
Far be it from me to think of a better idea, but I somehow never fully believed that this dinner party was going to significantly derail the Jacobite revolution. While we have poor Mary Hawkins working through some serious PTSD in one room, we have a jealous prince, a plotting Comte, and a manipulative Duke of Sandringham in the other. But it did end with Murtagh and Jamie getting to throw some therapeutic punches, and maybe that makes it all worthwhile.
96. We meet Coco…and Father Fogden (Episode 311: Uncharted)
Crazy is as crazy does. This episode was arguably the funniest of the series to date. In a world of kidnapping, torture, war, illness, and death, the comedic relief here was welcome. I will also never look at coconuts the same way.
95. The red dress (Episode 202: Not in Scotland Anymore)
This makes the list for simply being a breathtaking, memorable moment. My jaw dropped just as much as Jamie and Murtagh’s when Claire descended that staircase. If a more beautiful costume in television exists I’d love to see it.
94. Mother Hildegard tries her hand at code breaking (Episode 203: Useful Occupations and Deceptions)
I think we can all agree that Mother Hildegard is pretty awesome: she’s friends with Bach, she runs a hospital with authority and compassion, she has a cool dog…the list goes on. Had they invited Mother Hildegard to that dinner party things might have gone differently. Just saying.
93. Roger sings a rat satire (Episode 213: Dragonfly in Amber)
Admit it- you fell a little bit more in love with Roger here. I think Brianna did, too. Find yourself a partner in this life with whom you can sing unselfconsciously…that’s all any of us can ever ask for.
92. Jenny manually expresses her breasts on television (Episode 114: The Search)
Let’s hear it for an accurate representation of the post-partum experience! I’m not sure I can ever recall seeing anything similar on television before…or since.
91. Claire waulks wool (Episode 105: Rent)
Speaking of girl power…I love everything about this scene. I love the women, I love the singing, I love the female bonding. I’m not sure I would be quite so gung-ho about warm urine, but that’s just my twenty-first century germaphobia coming through.
90. Claire and Joe begin medical school (Episode 302: Surrender)
I have no doubt that Claire channeled all of her grief for Jamie into studying and succeeding; medicine became a sort of replacement love for her. Women and minorities in medical school in the United States in 1950s were rare achievements, and I am here for pioneering people everywhere. Plus: hooray for the introduction of Joe Abernathy— a good man and a good friend.
Just for fun: have you ever noticed what Claire learns about on her first day? Zoom in on that chalkboard…they’re learning about skulls. Pretty apropos for events later in Seasons 3 (and 4) is it not?
89. Fergus loses a hand (Episode 302: Surrender)
It’s probably not a coincidence that while Claire is beginning her career as a surgeon in one century, Fergus needs life-saving medical attention in another. As brutal as it was, his dismemberment is the catalyst for Jamie moving forward, coming out of hiding, and facing the future (just like Claire).
88. Claire “earns” Jamie’s release from the Bastille (Episode 207: Faith)
Caitriona Balfe played this so believably- a woman with nothing left to lose, losing just a little bit more. But her actions freed Jamie and began them on their path toward healing and forgiveness.
87. The first Geillis re-reveal (Episode 213: Dragonfly in Amber)
The second Geillis re-reveal (from Season 3) shows up later on this list, but they are remarkably similar. We hear her voice (actually, every time we’ve met Geillis we hear her voice first), then we see red legs, and finally we see her…popping up in this story when we least expect her. Without giving too much away for non-book readers, I have a feeling we may see Geillis again (no spoilers, please).
Bonus points to this scene for the rousing display of Scottish pride:
86. Blackjack Randall marries Mary Hawkins (Episode 212: The Hail Mary)— there are a lot of “marys“ in that sentence, no? I’m just now realizing the double meaning of that title…
Anyway, at the end of Season 2 we see history come together as it has always been written…and how Claire has always known it. BJR marrying Mary completes Frank’s family tree, giving a sense that Season 2 is rushing toward an inevetiable (and unchangeable) conclusion.
85. Frank loses it in the alley (Episode 108: Both Sides Now)
Speaking of Frank, this scene where he nearly kills a man trying to rob him of the reward money tells us there is probably a whole other story waiting to be told. Did Frank ever get out of Intelligence? Was starting an affair with a historical linguistics professor (who likely speaks Gaelic) an amazing coincidence? Was his death (the night he decides to return to England with Brianna) an accident? Like any good spy story, conspiracy theories and mysteries surround this man.
Note: shout out to Ginger at The Outlander Podcast who suggested to me the mysterious nature of Frank’s death.
84. Angus dies (Episode 210: Prestonpans)
We (and Rupert) assumed Angus had survived Prestonpans, only to die a few hours later of internal hemorrhaging. It’s fair to say this character was a fan favorite, partly for the ways he grew and changed after knowing Claire. “Is that Spanish” remains one of my favorite lines of the series.
83. Roger surprises Brianna (Episode 305: Freedom & Whisky)
He’s a romantic, this one. A cute guy bearing thoughtful gifts and possible knowledge of your eighteenth century father’s whereabouts…what more could you want for Christmas?
82. Yi Tien Cho tells his story (Episode 309: The Doldrums)
A little bit of science, a little bit of good timing, and a little bit of magic made this scene a beautiful moment in Outlander history. His story told to the wind and the world, Yi Tien Cho frees the ship from the doldrums and quite literally puts the wind back in everyone’s sails.
81. Jamie and Claire escape to France (Episode 116: To Ransom a Man’s Soul)
This was a great ending to a great season, wasn’t it? Our heroes, battered but not broken, sailing ever onward to a new land and a new beginning with a new life. It’s similar to where we find ourselves now at the beginning of Season 4.
80. Cunnilingus on television (Episode 101: Sassenach)
It’s not a huge revelation that women enjoy oral sex, too, but it is perhaps fairly revolutionary to see it on television. Claire is a woman who knows her own agency and isn’t afraid to ask for her own pleasure.
79. Claire tells Blackjack Randall the date of his death (Episode 115: Wentworth Prison)
Claire’s knowledge of the future is both a blessing and a curse, and here it definitely becomes a curse for BJR. This was a totally bad-ass move. Blackjack Randall didn’t die at Wentworth, but the remainder of his life held the shadow of his expiration date.
78. Claire tries to save the exciseman (Episode 307: Creme de Menthe)
I know this particular story line is disliked by many, but I’m including it here because it advanced the story for Season 3. And, as I’ve argued before, I think the relevance of this scene is that it reminds Claire (and the audience) what a totally different world the eighteenth century is for a woman. Plus, now we all look at Creme de Menthe a bit differently.
77. Claire slaps Laoghaire (Episode 110: By the Pricking Of My Thumbs)
This felt good, didn’t it? I don’t condone woman-on-woman violence, but when someone is actively trying to curse you and steal your husband it might be deserved. Plus we all know the ramifications of that slap…Hell hath no fury like an emotionally immature and heartbroken teenager.
76. A catchphrase is born (Episode 203: Useful Occupations and Deceptions)
”Mark me,” Andrew Gower brought so much to this character. It’s argaubly not the most historically accurate representation of Bonnie Prince Charlie, but it’s definitely the most fun. Since “mark me” became a love-to-hate, drinking game-inspiring mantra for Season 2, I had to include it on this list. Somehow it encapsulates everything about this character: his urgent need to feel relevant, his delusions of grandeur, and his absolute certainty that things will work out with enough optimism. If only.
That’s it for now! Part 2 coming in a few days…stay tuned.