Making it through Outlander‘s Droughtlander was just the start. Our Outlander Fan Survival Guide can help you survive Season 3.
If the Outlander premiere episode, “The Battle Joined,” is any indication, Season 3 was well worth our wait. Here’s the problem. It was one thing to survive Droughtlander (please tell me that you took none of the advice from this post), but it’s going to be another thing altogether to survive this season. I expect television to transport me to different places and times; to make me laugh or cry, depending on my mood. I expect it, sometimes, to divert my attention from the terrible things that are going on in the world around me. I have never, however, expected or required that television take my breath away, but that’s exactly what happened when I watched the premiere episode of Outlander Season 3.
For the first 20 minutes, I clutched a tissue to catch the tears that would inevitably come, unable to do anything other than take the occasional gasping breath between scenes. To see glimpses of innocence, brotherly love and romantic love in the stunning devastation of a battlefield was brilliant and wrenching, and I could not look away for even a moment. To see Claire struggle to fit herself into a life that she has clearly outgrown and is, possibly, powerless to change reminded me of my own emotional imprisonment. Claire’s wistful look at the bird, Jamie’s hope to see Rupert and Angus together again, and Jamie’s pleas to be shot were all reminders that there are things worse than death and that sometimes death can be a welcomed end to suffering.
This is not why I typically watch television, but last Sunday night it was, and it’s the reason why I will return every Sunday night for the next 12 weeks.
I thought I was prepared last Sunday night, but I simply wasn’t. I knew what was going to happen on the battlefield, but I was not prepared for the emotion of seeing it played out in front of me. I knew that Claire and Frank’s relationship would look awkward, but I wasn’t prepared for how awkward it would make me feel as I watched them try to bail water from a sinking ship.
Given all that, I have decided that a plan is in order for the next episode and the ones that follow. It’s my Outlander Fan Survival Guide. Here are five tips that I’ll share with you for free, but only if you promise not to litigate if something goes terribly wrong.
Location, location, location
As with real estate, location is everything for the proper viewing of Outlander. I know some people like to watch with a group, but I think you’ve got it all wrong. You know you’re going to watch every episode more than once (10 times?) so be selfish and make the first viewing yours, yours, all yours. That’s right, be selfish about it. Inform the household that you are out of commission for one hour, find a quiet space, and then barricade yourself.
A bedroom with a locking door is an excellent first choice. In a pinch, you might also think about a linen closet, a walk-in closet, or the laundry room (you know nobody’s coming in there). If you have access to yellow caution tape, or maybe something with ATF or CSI printed on it, you could also tape this to the door of your viewing room. It’s one thing to tell your family that you need an hour to yourself, but showing them that you have tools used at crime scenes might show them exactly how much you mean it.
If someone tries to breech the barricade by knocking on the door or yelling “Mom, Mom, Mommm, Mommmmm,” I would suggest moaning “leave me be” in a pained and breathy voice. That should be enough to frighten away anyone not requiring stitches. On a related note, if someone does need stitches, you should hit the pause button and take care of that.
You won’t often hear people express regret over not having a drink, but here goes. I had an uncharacteristic moment of piety just before the premiere and decided that I would watch with a glass of room temperature water by my side. I cannot tell you how wrong that was.
Please, for the love of all things holy, pour yourself a drink. Had I written this post three weeks ago, I would have gone on about finding just the right Scottish whisky for the evening and, perhaps, recommended sharing a dram with your life partner right before you push him out of your viewing room and lock the door behind him. It’s not three weeks ago. It’s now, and this is serious.
It doesn’t matter what you drink (as long as it’s not room temperature water), just grab something, anything, that will dull the pain of the emotional knife blades that will repeatedly pierce your heart in the next twelve episodes. Whisky? Cool. Whiskey? Also cool. Blackberry Boone’s Farm? Bring it. Now, I understand that not everyone imbibes and for a variety of reasons. For you, I say seek out an Irn-Bru because there is apparently nothing more Scottish than drinking something that looks like the discharge from rusty pipes. As my great-grandmother used to say, “it’ll grow hair on yer chest.” And if you’re not going to consume alcohol, you’ll need that hair to keep you warm after all the goosebumps. Did someone say PRINT SHOP?
I cried no tears during the premiere episode. This from a woman who cries at insurance commercials, episodes of Modern Family (every single time) and violin recitals. I couldn’t cry because I was so caught up in the intense drama and then there was the forgetting to breathe thing. The tears are coming and I’ve made it a point to be prepared when they do.
If you are on a budget, I recommend plain ol’ tissues. They’ll get the job done and you can just throw them away, like all those years with Frank. See what I did there? If you are on a budget but also mindful of the environment, you might want to consider purchasing a kitchen sponge. It can be wrung out when full and you can use the same one each week, provided you aren’t squeamish about bacteria. Tissues with lotion or aloe are the ultimate indulgence. They are neither cost-effective nor environmentally friendly, but they will come in handy if you need to go to work tomorrow and not look like a character from The Wolf of Wall Street. You might also consider a rain barrel to both catch your tears and water your plants—your begonias will thank you. Also, if you’d like to know how to keep mosquito larvae out of your barrel, my engineering-minded child can assist you with that.
I know a lot of people baked a lot of sausage rolls and scones last weekend and that’s cool. You were having a party and food was part of the celebration. The party’s over and it’s time to get serious. I’m not going to spoil anything here, but I believe that BJR and Jamie’s showdown at Culloden will not the be the last epic battle we witness this season. Do you really want to have a sausage roll in your pie hole the next time you see Leg Whore’s face on the screen? Exactly. Get rid of the snacks and just keep drinkin’ sister…just keep drinkin’.
You won’t be able to call in sick each Monday for the next 12 weeks, but you might want to pre-plan a couple of illnesses just to recover from the occasional episode. And, by recover, I mean watch it 12 more times while the kids are at school and the significant other is stuck in an eight-hour training session on how to use the new time clock. You could do the old *cough*cough* routine on the phone with your boss or you could just tell him that you need to be out of the office for two days to take care of a friend who has been battling an acute case of post-Culloden syndrome.
I’ll be watching each episode from the comfort of my bedroom with a glass of wine in hand. What about you? Do you have any viewing rituals? Are you doing anything different for Outlander Season 3?
My Outlander ritual: I always watch it the first time by myself alone in my Pilates studio. The door must be shut. I have no snacks because my favorite Speyside whisky is in my glass and the bottle is nearby. A lamp is on low in the corner. As the show starts, I enter Claire and Jamie’s world(s) and become totally immersed. Then I watch it again with my husband and am prepared to rein myself in when necessary. The 3rd time watched is just before the next episode.
Della, that’s a quiet a ritual and it has a zen-like feel. I love it!!
OMG – Nikki, you are hilarious! This post was a stitch and a half. I don’t know how many times I busted out laughing while reading it. Yes, watching Outlander is serious business. But I don’t have a ritual. After reading this, I just might start sipping Scotch to enhance the viewing effect!
Thank you Della. I’m glad you enjoyed it! My daughter was looking over my shoulder while I was reading your comment and she wanted me to let you know that not everyone thinks I’m funny.
What an exact (minus crime scene tape but great idea) and hilarious post you have written about everything I do while watching Outlander. Made me laugh and not feel like the crazy obsessed woman my family thinks I am.
I will neither confirm nor deny that there is crime scene tape in my house. Maybe the “momma eyes” are scarier than yellow tape anyway. 🙂
My husband and I actually enjoy the Outlander adventure and journeys together on TV. It’s the only thing, other than football, that we watch together &/or plan our evening around catching. Neither of us talk during the showing. I’ve read the books & am re-reading Voyager now, but he hasn’t read them. I would never spoil it for him, but I do share untold details from the books, ye ken, (such as the Gaelic words & phrases) and discuss whether he caught certain points, after each episode.
I love that your husband watches with you. Good for you Susan’s husband!
Laughing and crying all at once. So glad to know I am not the only person who has watched 301 more times than I can count!
You are not alone!!! Can’t wait for episode 2!
All is quiet here, having read “Voyager” and trying not to spoil it for Hubby. We usually watch the prior episode, then pouring wine in my “Jamie” glass, to steady the emotions to come.
I’m loving that the hubbies are getting in on the Outlander action. Well played husbands of Outlander-obsessed wives…well played…
I feel as though you were watching me through my window in describing “how to be alone when watching Outlander”…..it was me (minus the CSI yellow tape). And I actually laughed when reading “no one goes into the laundry room” and “nothing more Scottish than drinking something that looks like discharge from rusty pipes” (that was when I realized you’re a Peeping Tom – seeing my drink). But the most grand statement this whole article was that Season 3, Episode 1 took your breath away. Your opening statement took this article to another whole level to almost greatness. I don’t know if my breath can be taken…but I certainly found out how to make it a prisoner….locked inside my lungs. I simply held my breath many times during the broadcast…unconscious of my behavior. Needless to say, the “discharge from rusty pipes” I was drinking helped in breaking the trance I was experiencing. Sam’s performance, without speaking, delivered the story through one’s eyes directly to the heart. Your style of writing is great. Love your humor….job well done. Regards, C. Clark
I’ve been asked by several different neighbors to stop watching them through the window so I can assure you that I wasn’t spying on you! 🙂 You drink Irn Bru? Please tell me what it tastes like.
Thanks for your kind words. It was a really fun post to write and I’m happy to see that people enjoyed reading it as well.
Absolutely brilliant! just love it and agree with all the advice. Especially locking myself into a room to watch it for the first time. Personally, I found the first episode so moving last week that it somehow stayed with me all week, making me feel like I was in there and involved, like some level of de ja vu. Coming from and living in Scotland, Culloden has always been there in the psyche and history. I remember as a child the first time my parents took us to visit Culloden and told me the story of what happened there. It has stayed with me for years. Then to know of the aftermath and the subsequent poverty and clearances. To know that my family and ancestors were part of that, killed on the moor and impacted in Scotland, 300 years since and beyond these shores. The episode was haunting and brilliant. I loved it and cannot wait until the next one, sitting barricaded in a room with a strong drink! Enjoy Outlander fans all over the globe!
I have watched this one over and over again. This was worth waiting for Sam played it beautifully. And all the rest of the cast and writers did a wonderful job.I was born in Scotland arrived in America with my husband a Murray his family is from the Morayshire area when I was 21 years old. It was reading and watching Outlander that has got me through when he passed away,we had 50 years together. Thank you all.
I sit with a dram of Glenmorgangie and watch it my husband would have loved this show.
Mary, what a beautiful thing…50 years!!! I’m so glad that you’ve found comfort in the pages of Outlander and I hope that you find more on the screen this season. When I watch the third episode this Sunday, I’ll toast you and Mr. Murray. 🙂
How beautiful, Mary. It was discovering Outlander on Starz and then reading all the books that has gotten me through since my husband passed away last July after 46 years together. I still watch Seasons 1 and 2 over and over to get me through the night sometimes. I’m not a Scotch drinker, but I often wish I were … it might have made Droughtlander easier to take! And thank you, Nikki, for your fun survival guide. I laughed a lot as I read it. Can’t wait for tonight’s episode!!
I am so sorry, Katherine (and Mary), and I deeply understand. I lost my mom in April and have been listening to the Outlander audiobooks as therapy/distraction. I wish I could let Diana and Davina know how much they’ve helped with the grief, clearing out my mom’s house, and having to work a FT job through it all. We all need comfort and peace in this world, and Outlander’s got to be healthier than a steady diet of single malt!
What were you thinking! Trying to get through the premiere on water! You need to save the water for aftercare to combat the dehydration that occurs from crying for hours on end. My ritual begins this year with a good single malt scotch and a box of tissues beside me. I sit down at the kitchen table at midnight with my fully charged trusty Ipad and watch on the Starz app. At minimum, so far this year, I must view at least 3 times before I can go to bed. Then I will watch again on the big screen on Sunday night. Always with the single malt at hand and the box of tissues. So far I have watched 301 only 6 times, the 7th will most likely be tonight prior to watching 302 fot continuity. Yes, I cried during 301. I had tears streaming down my face before I even realized I was crying. I was just that caught up in what I was watching. And I cryed on the 6th viewing as well, just at different scenes. Claire reminded me of a wild animal trapped in a cage during 301. Jamie, he just broke my heart. And Rupert, oh I will miss that character. As always, love your column. Look forward to hearing your opinion on 302. Must go replenish my scotch. Think I’ll have to start rationing myself.
Thanks (always) for your very kind words. I’m a bit jealous that you’ve gotten to view the episodes more than once. I’m feeling lucky right now to fit in my Sunday at 8:00 p.m. viewing. I guess that just gives me more reason to watch during the next Droughtlander?!
Since my boyfriend and I have been watching Outlander, we have a sense of beauty between us. We see how all people can find love in the strangest places. How love can never part even with they are centuries away. These books and series has changed our love making considerably and helped us grow into passionate people. The love that Jamie and Claire share on this series is such a deep ocean never tearing apart, and the many storms that pass in their way, their love will over come anything. Thank you so much to the writers and this great show Outlander.
That’s great that you guys watch together! My guy doesn’t watch with me but he’s benefited from my watching it in so many ways. 😉
Nikki, I enjoyed this so much – and bow in acknowledgement of your wisdom. I had only just come to the conclusion that new episodes of Outlander must be viewed for the first time alone, and thank goodness! From the first scene – with the Scottish flag, all ragged and dirty, cast so casually into that wagon – to the last of Frank and Claire, snapped back from their already desperate attempt to make a new beginning by a casual question from a stranger, tears flowed wi’out mercy. If I may say so, I know that the reunion of our Jamie and Claire will be worth all the heartache and that it will be all the sweeter for their separation – but just now, it is a bitter, jagged little pill. A little humor (and a little wine) helps wash it down, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Thank you for the smiles!
Thank you so much Bonita! There was part of me that didn’t even want to watch the first part of the season because I didn’t want to see Jamie and Claire apart and miserable. Like you, I know that all this misery is going to make the reunion fantabulous. I might need an extra glass (bottle) of wine for the Print Shop!
You are a brilliant writer!! I laughed out loud bc you were describing…ME!
Thanks for the laughter and insight.
Looking forward to your review of future episodes.
Many thanks from a kindred spirit 🙂
Thank you Tish!! I think so many of us have the same feelings and am so happy to have places like this to share them.
My ritual is wait till it’s dark. It’s fall so dark in Seattle is by 6:30. Dinner, I always have a wonderful dinner ready by 6. Some nights I have a bit of Highland Scotch in my handcut Waterford highball Glass. I always have good tea, in English China, with cream. Most nights I will have my homemade clotted cream sometimes with local fresh strawberries and sometimes I make scones. I am braless, in my pjs and have my amazing faux fur blanket. My family knows by the lights down and the sound bar up it is time to leave me be. Sometimes my husband joins me. He watched season 1 and 2 with me. I may invite him tonight being episode 5. What could he lose? Wink wink. That’s how I do it.
We got the Starz app and even before our Premiere party, we couldn’t stop ourselves from watching at midnight. (This is my roommate and me. She’s the one that got me started on Outlander.)
I work Saturday night until 9PM. I drive the half hour home and then have 2 and a half hours to kill. Sometimes our neighbor comes over to watch. This time is usually filled up with wine ? and general conversation. Thus we are fairly stewed by midnight. We watch, then they retire and I have to watch again. Making Sunday a wash. If the neighbor didn’t come over Saturday night, he comes over Sunday evening, wash, rinse repeat.
(Lately, we’ve been adding a wee dram after all the wine and that’s becoming a real problem. Leave all the lights on all night, or even fall asleep in front of the TV and don’t wake up until 6 or so with Roku’s main screen on. This must stop).
Monday morning, roomie goes to work so I watch again! (Depending on how much alcohol was consumed, this may actually be a new show for me as I sit and say, “I don’t remember that!)
Then I will find time in the morning all week to watch again and again. I’ll have it memorized by the following Saturday when we begin again.
So it’s turned into a week long celebration. I am obsessed and loving it. But I will not have any wine in the house this week. ?