OUTLANDER SEASON 3 RETURNS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED BUT WILL A MUCH ANTICIPATED REUNION TURN TRAGEDY FOR FANS?

Written by: Holly Richter White


This article is so spoilery, it spoils the spoiler! You know the drill.

Seriously, though . . . major spoilers after the jump, so if you have not read ALL of Voyager, stop reading RIGHT NOW.


Still with me? Okay . . . let's hit the jump and get into this, shall we?

Ask an Outlander fan what they want most during Droughtlander and they’ll say, “for it to be OVER!” It’s excruciating, unbearable really, especially given the way it was left for us, the audience - upon learning a Fraser officer of Lovat survived Culloden, Claire exclaims into the brilliant rising sun upon the Craigh na dun hillside, “I have to go back.”

Jamie and Claire are separated for twenty years through time and space.

  • Will she ever get back to him, as the promise of the Season Two finale holds? 
  • Did Jamie really live through Culloden, and what came after, in Scotland? 
  • How does Claire cope with Brianna and Frank in Boston?
We just have to know. And now.



I conducted a little poll within the OutlanderCast Clan Gathering (an awesome Facebook page for fans) and discovered most fans think Jamie and Claire will be reunited no later than Episode 5, while slightly less fans are hopeful at Episode 3.

So, my intuition is up. My senses heightened. As a huge fan, I am paying attention to all of the clues- the tidbits shared by production staff- Anne, Matt, and Maril.

I am so ready for Droughtlander to be over. And soon. And I think they’ll give me what I want. What we all want.

And then they’ll taketh away.

But I digress. I wish I could be a popular blogger who tells fans only what they want to hear. Must I always be doom and gloom? No, but I am a realist. I’d rather know. And now. I’d rather not raise my Outlander expectations for anything other than delivered plot points, character arcs and emotional content. Unlike Jamie, I simply canna go as “hollow as a soap bubble, and burst with joy.”

Weighing all of the evidence before me (at this time), this is how I think events will transpire in 2017:

Season Three will be split into two separate portions for us to consume.

Episodes 1 through 6 will air early. Perhaps as early as SUNDAY April 23rd. (STARZ's Black Sails ends its run on April 1 and Easter falling on April 16th is a blocker, so you air all before, or all after) I suppose this means they could also start airing March 5th, but that is truly wishful thinking.

Fantastic, you say! That’s what I wanted anyway. With new Sunday airings, Outlander fans can have Monday-morning chats around the water cooler at work, or on Facebook, like Walking Dead and Game of Thrones fans have done for years. Yes, finally! But be careful what you wish for, because I also think…


The first portion will end as footsteps descend down a winding Edinburgh close….

GASP! I Know! Is this possible? Will we have to wait for their reunion in Episode 7?

There are at least two good reasons for this, but none with which a fan will ever want to agree:

First, the shooting schedule for this season is verra long. From August 2016 until May/June 2017. It’s physically impossible to deliver us the 13 episodes before the last Sunday of June (Emmy deadline).

So they must a) split it, or b) make you wait for all of it. The first option destroys existing fans, the second decimates existing fans. But the first option gets you possibly more NEW fans. All this because a cliff hanger exists WITHIN Season 3, just like Season 1 (and which they also split!) Bonus, yes, but for new fans only.

Second, think about the Emmy season and exactly what’s in contention. The 2017 Emmy’s (according to the rules) will consider Season Two Episodes 8-13 and Season Three Episodes 1-6. If they air the first six episodes of Season Three before end of May, it will begin and end with a return to Scotland - the lead up to and the twenty-year fallout from Culloden (yes, even though it’s from two different seasons).

From plot to character arcs, cinematically and thematically, it fits together far more beautifully and cohesively than the plots of Boston, Scotland, England, Jamaica, and America, (whew! the book Voyager), ever could.

From leader of men to a completely broken man, if Sam Heughan is EVER EVER going to get an Emmy nod, THIS IS IT.

Now, all this to say, I’ve been wrong before. I thought FOR SURE they would double down on the Season Two finale, and show Eps 12 &13 back-to back, just to make the Emmy deadline. But now I see why they didn’t try. Thematically, France and Scotland didn’t match. It was like watching two different TV shows. And so they pushed back the finale, thereby removing all eps aired after “Faith” from 2016 Emmy contention.

And so then, when exactly will we see the reunion?

REALLY, IT'S NOT MUCH. IT'S ONLY THE SCENE WE ALL AWAIT WITH BATED BREATH.
 


Well, that’s a huge guess too. It’s quite possible they’ll air the final seven episodes in August-September, just as they begin filming for Season 4. And also perhaps to absorb some adventure-loving Game of Thrones fans who’ll be missing their show after it airs a mere seven episodes in summer. As book fans know, everything after the reunion in Voyager is crazy swashbuckling action, intrigue and of course, more emotional stakes and romance.



STARZ and Sony control all of this. They’re the “bigger picture thinkers”, who think months and years ahead after examining trends and indicators, including fan bases and awards they hold and those they covet. Certainly they care about hard-core fans, as licensing is their biggest money maker, (did you buy the Outlander wine or Claire’s riding coat or the DVD yet?) but they also want to add to their fan-base. It may not have been possible years ago, but binge-watching and free previews makes all of that quite probable now.
Am I going to say a little prayer to the Outlander gods before I publish this?

Absolutely.

It’ll go something like this: “Please, please Ron and co., tell me I’m wrong.”

What do you think, dear readers?  Will the season be split and just how much alcohol will you consume upon hearing the news?

23 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Interesting though... what evidence exists to make these speculations?

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  3. Psst - the term is "bated" breath (to anticipate) not "baited." Easy way to remember? "The cat ate some cheese and waited by the mouse hole with baited breath." ;-)

    As far as Voyager being split, since I was actually hoping they'd split it over two full seasons, I won't complain. Whatevs. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Charlotte. It's been fixed. My eyes were rather tired at 2am. I can always count on you to point out anything I've missed ;P

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  4. With bated breath: Breathing that is subdued because of some emotion or difficulty.

    "Bated" is the shortened form of "abated". Makes sense.

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    1. I'm aware of the term as well as the root. It's been fixed. Thank you for the correction.

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  5. I have to say I really doubt it will go this way.. not going to stress about it until we know something concrete. I don't they would do that to fans at this point.. not before the reunion anyway. I also can't see them splitting a 13 ep season. That was a big reason for the switch from 16-13.. so it wouldn't be split. We will mostly likely get some word from them by Christmas

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  6. Och, lass, you're no wrong at all.

    But, you chickened out before predicting how many star crossed episodes Jamie and Claire (+we) will have to endure, AFTER their episode 7 reunion, before the course is true love runs. You must put a little more effort in to win the doom and gloom title!

    As to Sam's Emmy nod, even in the King of Men half, Tobias' BJR had some extremely tasty, emotionally charged dialogue. Maybe not compared to Sam's finale, but...we have been told and retold how much the first half of season 3 will examine the complexities of Claire and Frank's marriage and the complexity that is Frank. Shows promote their most eligible for nomination, which takes most visible into account, and Tobias is in around a dozen (more or less) shows at the moment. I'm not saying one of our guys is more deserving than the other, I'm just talking about who the network might spend $ on.

    PS one poll response did entertain the possibility of ep 7 ;-)

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  7. Och, lass, you're no wrong at all.

    But, you chickened out before predicting how many star crossed episodes Jamie and Claire (+we) will have to endure, AFTER their episode 7 reunion, before the course is true love runs. You must put a little more effort in to win the doom and gloom title!

    As to Sam's Emmy nod, even in the King of Men half, Tobias' BJR had some extremely tasty, emotionally charged dialogue. Maybe not compared to Sam's finale, but...we have been told and retold how much the first half of season 3 will examine the complexities of Claire and Frank's marriage and the complexity that is Frank. Shows promote their most eligible for nomination, which takes most visible into account, and Tobias is in around a dozen (more or less) shows at the moment. I'm not saying one of our guys is more deserving than the other, I'm just talking about who the network might spend $ on.

    PS one poll response did entertain the possibility of ep 7 ;-)

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  8. I wouldn't have a guess either way. But if your theory is right that means a whole lot of S3 will be Frank & Claire. Gah!

    I know Jamie has a lot of story to tell as well. Much more than Claire really. However the history of S2 and RDM who has openly shared his opinion that the focus should be Claire and that he wants to make Jamie less of a hero, doesn't bode well for seeing much of Jamie's part of the story. Of course you then have the influence of RDM's love of all things Tobias as well.

    Maybe the show will get back on track with the books under new management. Maybe Jamie will actually get to say his own lines instead of having them said by Claire. Maybe iconic scenes will be included in the show. Maybe we'll get to see Jamie in the actual TV show instead of as leftovers from the cutting room floor. But as long as RDM is at the helm of this story I fear Jamie will still be relegated to a secondary character with no good idea of his own. And no matter how pretty the costumes, how awesome the sets, how witty the dialogue or how breathtaking the cinematography is... if that is the case it will not be the story that Diana wrote, at least not to me.

    All this is to say, I don't care if it's a split season. It doesn't matter if it airs in April or July or next Christmas to me. I'll wait.... I won't like it, but I'll wait as long as it's the story from the book and not some reimagined tale of people I no longer recognize.

    One last comment..., Yes, I totally understand adaptation and the need to condense to fit the medium. Speaking only for myself, what I saw in S2 was not just an adaptation. To me it was a complete changing of characters persinalities to fit a purposeful agenda.

    My thoughts what they are worth.

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  9. Just visiting, in a less humorous tone than I replied to Holly, I have to agree with everything you said, especially about the character of Jamie. For better or worse, your last line is within the bounds of adaptation. But, even if I had not read the books I would have had the same response as you to the change from season 1 to season 2. I almost gave the show up in Paris but did somewhat better in Scotland. I hope we rediscover Jamie and Claire and Jamie in season 3. I'm not sure we will but I hate to give up these wonderful actors. I guess we'll see.

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    1. Thank you Diane.

      I agree, I almost gave it up as well. And yes, Scotland was better, but that's not saying much!

      I feel asleep during a couple of live episodes of S2 and have had no desire to rewatch any of them. I will not waste my money on the DVDs.

      I am hoping for a better S3, but from everything I am hearing it doesn't sound very promising.

      If it does turn around and the story does get back on track, whenever it airs, I will be happy to sing its praises on every SM platform I can find! However if it continues as it was in S2, I'm outta here.

      As they always tell us.... I'll still have the books.

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  10. I just wondered why we have to wait so late for season 3 to begin? Why can't they just start say October and then come back for the second half in feb or march. I don't mind splitting the season in two parts, but we literally have to wait a whole year. Bummer!

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  11. Lots of good points made, both in the article and the comments. I'm a bit distressed by the negative tone of some comments. I think if they do split the season as you suggest Holly, they may split it at the point when Fergus and Marsali make it on board ship. This would make a clean split between the Scotland, Helwater and Boston chapters/episodes and the rest of Voyager which is packed with incident. I hope that they do Jamie's story properly. If they listen to the fans at all they (Starz & Sony) and RDM must realise the core fan base is women who all love Jamie (and Sam) as well as Claire (Caitriona).

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  12. Interesting perspective. So much posturing and behind-the-scenes maneuvering for business purposes instead of telling a wonderful story. And Sam always seems to come out on the losing end. He's a gifted actor, but we seem to see his best work when it's pulled from the cutting room floor.

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  13. Lovely, intelligent post!
    I'm on board with a split season, yes even airing the second half early autumn, if it is beneficial for Outlander's Emmy chances or getting new viewers.
    Old fans will be disappointed and whine, but let's be clear on one thing; we will continue to watch either way😁 (at least most of us).
    I'm also hopeful about Jamies story. I'm sure that Ron sees the potential in Ardsmuir, Helwater, Lord John. I really don't think we will get more Frank than Jamie!

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  14. I'm late to comment. Was on vacation. So much bhts with STARZ n lions gate that we as fans get little insight. What is true in almost every business, let's face it, this is a business first to them, is FOLLOW THE MONEY, as long as they see what and how they see what will make more for Starz LG or SONY(forgot them). That's what they're going to do. When Toni Graffia talked how in Ep 213 they wanted Claire to be the one to kill Dougal, she said the Networks had a say in how it should be presented. That says a lot.

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  15. I have given a lot of thought to your scenario, and have to admit it has its basis in possibility. Starz does drive the when and how of what we see. So, I hadn't heard about GoT having a seven episode season. That's disturbing. So it does add to the potentiality of Starz throwing us a bone, while holding the jewel of the season back for a Season 3, part 2 reunion. To me that's upsetting. GoT closed last season with fresh revalations and we deserve more! I guess we'll have to wait and see what the suits decide, and be grateful that we have the best lead actors on the planet who care about us and have our backs. I do agree that something is going on with the way Caitriona giggles when asked questions about the Season. Sam, too is not good at keeping some secrets.

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  16. I've been thinking about this a lot recently and my theory is essentially the same as what you post here! I'm a new Outlander fan (of only late last year), and so I didn't realize season 2 wasn't split up as season 1 was (until I looked at exact air dates and such). If they do end up splitting the season I hope it's not as big of a gap as I see season 1A & 1B were because hasn't everyone waited long enough?! I'm also just getting started on Dragonfly in Amber, but I have read all about the goings on in Voyager (not too far past the J/C reunion). It makes complete sense for them to split up season 3 because the Jamie/Claire reunion is what they're building up towards and what everyone's anticipating - and so they're gonna milk the hell out of that anticipation and really make it as worth it as possible. It also makes sense with the shooting schedule. I'm thinking right now it's probably going to premiere perhaps in June because if they're gonna finish shooting in May it gives everyone a smidge of down time before going out and doing press. But gah I wish they would just drop a teaser and a premiere MONTH or something already! I'm extremely impatient and I've barely been waiting 2 months LOL.

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