The first episode of “Outlander” has premiered on Starz, and Claire Randall (Catriona Balfe) is officially a “Sassenach” after being sent back in time away from her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) and into the arms of 18th century Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). But just because Frank is still in 1945 doesn’t mean that he’ll be absent from the show.
Through the use of flashback scenes, Menzies’ kinder character will continue to be a presence in “Outlander” both for exposition purposes and also to clarify Frank’s relationship with Claire before World War II. These are scenes that aren’t pulled straight from Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” books, but instead are a play on the memories of Frank that often pop into Claire’s mind while she’s in the past.
Showrunner Ron Moore explains the decision to use flashbacks during a group interview at San Diego Comic-Con, explaining to Zap2it, “So much of the show is her drive to get back to that life and to get back to Frank and I didn’t want to lose touch with that. I thought it was important that the audience keep understanding why she keeps trying to get back to those stones. What’s waiting for her? What’s that life she led? Otherwise, why wouldn’t she just hang around here?
“You have to understand her relationship with Frank and understand that for her, that’s home,” he continues. “You have to remind the audience each week and show them more because they’re going to get really invested in the show in the 18th century but she’s trying to go to this other place. It’s important to keep touching it every once and a while to remind everyone.”
The key art for “Outlander” makes it clear that Claire is being pulled away from her home in the future and into a new romance with Jamie in the past. These Frank flashbacks should be a great way to bring audiences with Claire on her journey from her old love to her new one, and not make the transition jarring when she ends up *spoiler alert!* falling in love with Jamie.
“Outlander” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz. What do you think of the use of Frank flashbacks?
Reporting by Sydney Bucksbaum