Are you watching Outlander? If not, we have to ask what you're doing with your life because it's one of the most intriguing, well-crafted dramas on television.
It's a time-travel romantic drama based on Diana Gabaldon's best selling novel series and bound to be your next obsession. It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire, the WWII nurse who accidentally travels back in time 200 years to the Scottish Jacobite rebellion. Tobias Menzies plays her 1945 husband Frank (as well as the 18th century villain Black Jack Randall); Sam Heughan plays Jamie Fraser, the Highlander she falls in love with as she attempts to make her way back to her own time. Outlander is full of juicy romanticism, lush scenery and intense action--making it easy to love.
That said, we know TV's landscape is crowded and you may be overwhelmed by your binge-watching to-do list. So to help you with a crash course in the show you really ought to be watching, we've compiled a list of the essential episodes.
All episodes of Outlander are available via Starz Play for Starz subscribers, the Starz standalone app, Amazon Prime and iTunes so you have a variety of options to be able to catch up.
1. Season 1, episode 1 — "Sassenach": The pilot not only sets up how Claire winds up in 18th century Scotland, but also establishes the dynamic between her and Frank, a relationship that becomes a much more essential anchor for her character in the show than it is in the book series.
2. Season 1, episode 6 — "The Garrison Commander": You'll get your first taste of Black Jack Randall in the pilot, but "The Garrison Commander" gives you the first in-depth look at the depraved soul of the show's most terrifying villain. He's not misunderstood --this man is evil and his second meeting with Clair, when she attempts to get back to her original time period, is all you need to prove that.
3. Season 1, episode 7 — "The Wedding": Jamie and Claire initially get married to save her from being interrogated by British officers (ahem, Randall), but "The Wedding" ends up being a full-course lesson on why the two are actually soulmates. It is the most romantic hour of the entire series and the foundation of their entire relationship.
4. Season 1, episode 9 — "The Reckoning": Just because Jamie and Claire are meant to be together doesn't mean they don't have issues to work out. "The Reckoning" teaches Jamie that 18th century ways are not going to lead to a happy marriage with his 20th century wife (even if he doesn't know she's from the future). They learn to compromise — and then have the steamiest sex scene on the series.
5. Season 1, episode 11 — "The Devil's Mark": Claire is in grave danger when she and the town healer Geilis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek) are accused of being witches. The witch trial leads Claire to the realization that she's not the only person who has traveled through the ages. It's a turning point in the series because it forces her to finally be completely honest with Jamie about who she is.
6. Season 1, episode 15 — "Wentworth Prison": The first season's finale is a two-part harrowing tale. Black Jack Randall finally gets his hands on Jamie and the audience watch in horror as the captain has his way with our hero.
7. Season 1, episode 16 — "To Random a Man's Soul": Black Jack reveals his true intentions for Jamie and it's even worse than you could have imagined. Claire and the rest of Jamie's clan must go through great lengths to try and save him, but it's apparent that Jamie will never be the same again.
8. Season 2, episode 1 — "Through a Glass Darkly": The only way to cleanse the Frasers' minds of Black Jack Randall's horrors is to change their setting entirely. They move to Paris to escape and cook up a plan to stop the Jacobite rebellion, which Claire knows ends in a bloody mess on Culloden Moore. The Season 2 premiere introduces you to the key players and new foes — including Le Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber) — the Frasers must engage with to complete the dangerous mission.
9. Season 2, episode 4 — "La Dame Blanche": It turns out to be a very small world when Claire realizes that she's sharing court with Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) — Frank's maternal ancestor. However, Mary pays the ultimate price for Claire's penchant for making enemies when they are attacked on their way to a dinner party at the Frasers and young Mary is raped. The attack will come to haunt Claire throughout the season.
10. Season 2, episode 5 — "Untimely Resurrection": The Frasers come face to face with their worst nightmare in one of the most tense moments you will ever witness on television. The fallout of the reunion will push Jamie and Claire further apart than they have ever been and Claire will need to re-evaluate exactly who she's trying to save here — Jamie and Scotland or Frank in the future.
11. Season 2, episode 7 — "Faith": Karma comes for the Frasers in one of the most devastating hours of the show. They lose everything important to them and must find some way over the quagmire of grief back to each other.
12. Season 2, episode 11 — "Vengeance is Mine": Having accepted that they aren't able to change the past, Claire and Jamie are raising the Jacobite army for Bonnie Prince Charlie's (Andrew Glower) rebellion. However, they're still haunted by demons from Paris, and one of them meets a deserved end in "Vengeance is Mine." After that, Claire and Jamie are allowed to move on and try survive the impending doom.
Outlander continues Saturdays at 9/8c on Starz.