Season One. Episode Seven.
That’s all you need to know about Outlander, the strangely addictive, almost-great TV show whose third season’s premiere dropped today.
Season One’s seventh episode is called The Wedding. And look, if you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up after a difficult day, it’s the go-to you’ll thank us for later.
The Wedding is the show where the previous six episodes of escalating sexual tension pay off.
For what seem like days, we’ve watched an extraordinarily beautiful woman, Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe) sponge down an extraordinarily beautiful man, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), in her role as nurse to his sword-prone Scottish highlander. But the line is never crossed. Claire’s married, after all, to a man who lives 200 years in the future. And Jamie, we learn, is a virgin.
Things are… complicated.
You see, Outlander is a show about time travel. And betrayal. And the horror of colonialism. And mortal danger. And really, really sexy sex scenes.
It’s typical of the show to flip the traditional romantic roles in its seminal episode. We are used to seeing an experienced, worldly man ‘educating’ a young, innocent woman. But that’s not for Outlander, whose introductory sex scene back in Episode One featured Claire receiving oral sex from her husband on a table in an old, falling down castle.
That was from her first (or second, whatever) husband, Frank.
What has made this show a feminist classic is the female gaze.
Listen to Claire Stephens, Brittany Stewart and Holly Wainwright discuss the wonders of Outlander on The Binge’s bonus episode:
On paper (literally, it’s an adaptation of the insanely popular novels by American author Diana Gabaldon) Outlander should be a cliche-ridden bodice-ripper. But in the hands of director Anna Foerster and writer Anne Kenney, episodes like The Wedding become almost revolutionary.
Seeing TV sex that’s written and filmed for women reminds you just how much of it isn’t. When women write erotica, it’s different. It’s beautiful, yes, but it’s about more than breasts (there are breasts, though, so don’t worry, people).