Outlander Season 6 [8/10]

I came to the “Outlander” series circuitously. In the subgenre of historical time travel, the book series always struck me as too “historical,” whatever that means, and so when my wife became captivated by both the written and cinematic versions, I shied away, until, after two seasons, she persuaded grumpy me to commence with Season 1. I would say this: the TV series veers between jolting historical realism, powerfully portrayed, and soft-porn romanticism, so it took me two seasons to appreciate Diana Gabaldon’s authorial narrative skills while putting up with the fluff. Now, sinking into Season 6, I’m a veteran and a convert. The time-travel aspect is barely present in Season 6, which deals with the looming American Revolutionary War and its impacts on Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina, the fiefdom of Scottish hero Jamie Fraser and his time-traveling wife, Claire. After a fraught Season 5, this season relaxes somewhat until a harrowing climax, but there is plenty of narrative tinder to explode, from the arrival of a band of religious zealots, to the escalating conflicts with a local indigenous population, to the need to balance a desire to join the historically inevitable rebel movement against the pressures of British rule. Some extraneous sex aside, the characters proceed with dignity and fervour, and the acting is sterling throughout, anchored by the superb leads, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. Roll on, Season 7, I say through gritted teeth, knowing that we Australians will see it a year later than the rest of the world.

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