Here’s the deal: my kids have been ricocheting off the walls like sugary pinballs for the past 48 hours, my right forearm might be permanently cramped from carving pumpkins, and we have two days until the Season 4 premiere. What I’m saying is, LET’S MAKE THIS SNAPPY.
Warning: possibly NSFW.
25. Laoghaire shoots Jamie (Episode 308: First Wife)
We’ll begin with a bang— see what I did there? Thank goodness Claire is there to deliver an impressive offensive tackle and administer twentieth century antibiotics. Not a whole lot to say about Laoghaire that I haven’t said before; misery loves company.
24. The many goodbyes of Episode 304 (Episode 304: Of Lost Things)
Just hand over all the acting awards to pretty much everyone in this episode. Sam Heughan and David Berry, especially, deliver some raw and highly emotional performances. I could watch the ending of this episode every day and never tire of it.
23. The evil of Wentworth Prison (Episode 116: To Ransom a Man’s Soul)
This episode, on the other hand, I’ve watched exactly once. Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies are true masters of their craft, but these prison scenes are just far too traumatizing. They are excellently acted and important to larger character arcs and I never want to see them again.
22. Abandawe (Episode 313: Eye of the Storm)
I mean, who among us has not found ourselves in a tropical cave with a homicidal, time-traveling Jacobite fanatic? Jamie and Claire cut this one rather close, but everything turns out all right in the end. Well, except for Geillis.
21. Goodnight, moon (Episode 309: The Doldrums)
Many things change over the course of two centuries, but the moon is a constant. This was a sweet scene and I think we can all be grateful that it was Goodnight, Moon and not Runaway Bunny that was Brianna’s favorite bedtime story (Seriously, that Runaway Bunny book is creepy. Am I alone in this?)
20. The hurricane rescue (Episode 313: Eye of the Storm)
Jamie dives in, cuts Claire free from the ropes, and metaphorically releases both of them from all that weighed this couple down in Season 3. We all knew Jamie had some amazing lung capacity (remember the time he fixed the water mill and saved everyone from lumpy bannocks?) but this was still very impressive and romantic.
19. Culloden (Episode 301: The Battle Joined)
I absolutely love how they showed these scenes: subjectively and intimately through Jamie’s POV flashbacks. Sam Heughan gives one of his best performances of the series to date.
18. “On your feet, soldier.” (Episode 111: The Devil’s Mark)
Claire chooses Jamie and everyone is happy because we know these two are soulmates and we can continue to see them have hot sex.
17. Jamie and Claire sign the Deed of Sasine (Episode 213: Dragonfly in Amber)
Signing the deed ensures Claire and Jamie’s place in documented history and the future of Lallybroch. It will also come in handy someday when Claire is trying to convince Brianna that she is not, in fact, clinically insane. Now make haste, wee Fergus, and deliver this very important document! Or, you know, walk away very slowly. Either way.
16. “Bolt the door.” (Episode 311: Uncharted)
Turtle soup for everyone! Drunk and playful, this scene was pretty great. Yi Tien Cho was smiling, I was smiling, and I’m pretty sure Jamie and Claire were smiling, too.
15. Claire and Geillis in the thieves’ hole (Episode 111: The Devil’s Mark)
If truth and honesty are the foundation of Claire and Jamie’s relationship, half-truths and secrets make up the bedrock of Claire and Geillis’s wary friendship. Geillis confesses to loving Dougal and an independent Scotland, Claire anachronistically quotes Nathan Hale, and we all wish that history was kinder to independent and smart women.
14. Claire tells Jamie (Episode 111: The Devil’s Mark)
I honestly didn’t realize this one episode popped up so much in the Top 25 when I was putting this list together. What can I say- it’s one of the best episodes of the series with a ton of plot and character development. The miracle here isn’t that Claire is a time traveler…it’s that she’s a time traveler and she has a good man who believes her.
13. Claire returns home (Episode 207: Faith)
More specifically, Claire returns home after losing Faith. This is arguably Caitriona Balfe’s best performance ever. In my very humble opinion, the haunting music, Claire’s palpable grief, and the collective mourning of the Parisian household make this scene one of the most moving in television history.
12. Frank sees Jamie’s ghost (Episode 101: Sassenach)
Yes, it’s Jamie, and this has been confirmed by Diana Gabaldon several times. How Jamie’s ghost happens upon Claire in Inverness in the twentieth century is still a mystery, but we’ve been promised that all will be revealed in good time.
11. The printshop reunion kiss (Episode 306: A. Malcolm)
How actors manage to get those beautiful single tears to roll down their cheeks is a mystery but I am so glad they can do it. Twenty years of loneliness and grief and heartbreak mashing together with relief and anxiety and happiness puts this scene near the top of the list.
10. The big fight and the big forgive (Episode 109: The Reckoning)
Only two people who love each other deeply could fight so passionately. Ever hear the phrase “love means never having to say you’re sorry?” That’s bullshit. Love means saying you’re sorry and, in turn, granting forgiveness.
9. “Goodbye, Claire.” (Episode 213: Dragonfly in Amber)
Love also, very often, means putting another’s needs ahead of your own. Jamie has no choice but to send Claire (and their child) back to a safer time. Claire has no choice but to allow it. The slow dance back to the standing stone breaks my heart every time.
8. Jamie rescues himself (Episode 116: To Ransom A Man’s Soul)
Claire helps a lot in this scene, pulling Jamie back from the edge of darkness, but the real work comes down to Jamie deciding that his life is worth saving. Love wrestles with self-loathing, a theme I expect we will see repeated in Season 4.
7. Shipwrecked in a new world (Episode 313: Eye of the Storm)
What a perfect ending to Season 3…the storm has literally and figuratively washed away their troubled past as these two wind up on the shores of America. A new land with a new beginning awaits them.
6. Reunion sex (Episode 306: A. Malcolm)
Like the wedding night (see below), this build up was a deliciously slow burn— they made us wait a whole 45 minutes into this episode to give us the goods! But Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, did it ever deliver.
5. Makeup sex (Episode 109: The Reckoning)
Did I not warn you last week that there was a lot of business time on this list? Sex in Outlander comes in many different flavors, and this might be the least vanilla of them all. Knife? Check. Woman on top? Check. Multiple references to sadism? Check, check, and check.
4. The wedding ceremony…and night (Episode 107: The Wedding)
Have two people ever looked more beautiful? I love the gender role reversal of this episode— the bride with the cold feet and the groom planning a romantically detailed wedding.
And, yes, I am definitely cheating here because I’m also including the wedding night and marriage consummation. It was beautifully done and a sex scene shown through the female gaze sold me on this show forever.
3. The Cranesmuir rescue (Episode 111: The Devil’s Mark)
This is what we live for— our hero bursting in to the scene, just in time to save our beautiful leading lady. The first man forward will be the first man down…not surprisingly, no one took Jamie up on this offer.
2. The meet-cute
Jamie and Claire’s marriage can be summed up within the first few minutes they ever met: trust, competence, and equality.
1. “I’ll thank ye to take your hands off my wife” (Episode 108: Both Sides Now)
Here we are- our top Outlander moment. The bravery, the impeccable timing, the priceless look on Blackjack Randall’s face. Has anyone ever looked quite so handsome crouched in a window? We know this man will do anything for this woman and vice-versa. While this top moment might seem like it’s all about Jamie, to me it’s really all about Jamie and Claire’s commitment to each other. They’re willing to sacrifice life and limb for their relationship…witch trials, standing stones, fortresses, prison walls, time travel…nothing gets in the way of this love.
And that’s it! How’d I do?
Alright, my countdown timer is set! I promise I will try like crazy to have the recap for 401 posted by Monday. Enjoy the premiere and have a wonderful weekend.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Remember my dating bracket posts? Well, it ultimately came down to Jamie and Lord John in the top two spots…I can’t argue with that! I have been working on tying the final post of that series in with a thought piece about Lord John, but honestly it’s just not going to happen before this weekend. So, it will have to wait until later in the season (minor spoiler: I have a feeling LJG will pop up at some point in Season 4). But since ya’ll stuck with me through the end of this post, here’s your chance to vote.