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‘Outlander’ season 7 premiere review: Love at the edge of war

By June 18, 2023No Comments2 min read
A medium shot of Caitriona Balfe as Claire in Season 7 of Outlander. She's leaning against wooden pillars with her arms crossed.

After a year without time-travelers, kilts, and one Sassenach, Droughtlander is over! Outlander Season 7 is finally here.

Season 7 of the STARZ drama opens directly after Season 6. Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) has been wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of Malva Christie (Jessica Reynolds), with Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Young Ian (John Bell) working to free her. Roger (Richard Rankin) has left Fraser’s Ridge to become a minister, with Brianna (Sophie Skelton) in tow. And there’s still the Revolutionary War to come—all is not well in the American colonies.

Season 6 was significantly impacted by COVID-19, minimizing its final episode count to 8. (Season 7, Part 1 will air 8 episodes this year, and Part 2 will arrive in 2024.) As such, “A Life Well Lost” acts as a completion of Season 6, not the start of a new chapter. With the series combining elements from several of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels at once, the pacing leaves some storylines lagging. Roger and Brianna’s plot is an afterthought compared to Claire and Jamie’s screen time. The burgeoning war between England and the colonies has been teased since Season 4, leaving one to wonder how we’re still anticipating a war Claire knows is coming. (It’s been three seasons since she and Jamie met George Washington!)

Still, the show’s greatest strengths remains the chemistry between its leads. Seven seasons in, Balfe and Heughan make Jamie and Claire’s constant reunions endearing, not cloying. Longevity on television can often feel phoned-in, but Balfe and Heughan are as engaged as ever in the material. The supporting cast shines, too; Mark Lewis Jones is a standout as Allan Christie, a once-antagonistic figure from Jamie’s cast. The evolution of Allan’s relationship to Jamie, stretching back decades, is a beautiful testament to how people can change over time, even when time travel isn’t involved.

The title of “A Life Well Lost” becomes clear by the end of the episode, and its explanation is an illustration of what makes Outlander a standout among historical dramas. The show is one of conflict—future and past, science and fantasy, love and war. Even at its most fantastical or far-fetched, Outlander is, at heart, a show about people grappling with unusual circumstances and moving forward for love. There’s more than one kind of love at play here—familial, romantic, platonic, sacrificial. To borrow a phrase so old it could be Master Raymond (remember him from Season 2?), love conquers all. Whether or not that’s true, the Frasers will need it when the war arrives.

Outlander Season 7 airs Fridays on STARZ at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Feature image courtesy of STARZ

Claire Di Maio

Claire was once asked in elementary school why her go-to question was always, "Watch anything good lately?" It's still her go-to question, because she loves hearing what other people are passionate about. She often sacrifices sleep in the hopes that she will one day clear her to-watch and to-read lists (a futile effort so far).

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