Outlander: Back to the Beginning

I thought it would be fun to go back to Season One, Episode One (“Sassenach”) of Outlander and look at the foreshadowing/interesting bits that would show up in later episodes/seasons. The first time I watched it, I had no way of knowing what details would be a clue or a strategically placed bit with a recurring role/part to play in future episodes.

The episode starts with the words, “People disappear all the time.” It’s Claire’s voice, but she has no idea that she will join the ranks of those who disappear. And probably not through a standing stone (not most of them, anyway). We learn later on that she is not the only traveler.

The music that I came to associate with Claire is the haunting melody that changes and evolves with the series. According to the soundtrack, we get a hint of it in the first track, “People Disappear All The Time.” It changes and evolves through the season, but it’s something my mind calls, “Claire’s Theme.”

On their way to visit Castle Leoch, Frank points out a unique rock formation to Claire – Cocknammon Rock. He gives her the background, and we the viewers continue on the journey with them without giving it a second thought. Who knew that Cocknammon Rock would appear again when Claire has traveled back in time? This time, she remembers what Frank told her and warns her Highlander companions of the potential danger (which turns out to be true).

When Claire and Frank travel to Craigh Na Dun to watch the “witches,” Claire looks over the landscape and asks, “Is that Inverness?” Who knew it would be a significant question? But it is. She asks nearly the same question of Jamie. “Where is it? Where is the city?” When he tells her, “Inverness? Yer lookin’ at it,” Claire realizes that she is no longer in the twentieth century.

Claire leaves her shawl behind when she travels through the stone. Perhaps it fell off and is merely a result of the force connected with her time-traveling. But we learn later that it’s been left there for Frank to discover in “Both Sides Now” when he returns to Craigh Na Dun after Mrs. Graham tells him about people who have the ability to “travel through stone.”

Mrs. Graham reads Claire’s tea leaves and her palm when she and Frank visit the Reverend. Claire asks Mrs. Graham (in jest), “Am I going to meet a tall, dark stranger and take a trip across the sea?” When I watched this scene, it felt like Claire is humoring Mrs. Graham, but as the reading continues, she becomes more uncomfortable as unsettling details are revealed (two marriages, her unusual pattern, etc.). We learn as the episode continues that she does meet that tall, dark stranger. And as the seasons progress, she does take that that trip across the sea.

That nod between Claire and Jamie. The first time we see it, Claire has just come face-to-face with Jamie for the first time and is going to put his dislocated shoulder back in place. It may have started out as an understanding and acceptance of her treating him, but as the episodes and seasons progress, that nod becomes so much more. Watch, and see if you don’t agree.

Forget-me-nots. They’re a beautiful flower with a romantic story. Their name makes me wonder if they were growing there (wild) on their own, or if someone planted them on purpose to send a message. Claire noticed them the first day she and Frank went to Craig Na Dun to watch “the witches” but had to leave before she could pick one. She returned to collect a sample and ended up traveling back in time. They appear on the opening screen of “Sassenach” so I hope they have more of a story to tell. Do you think their secret will be revealed before the series ends?

Image credit:  STARZ



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