Their reunion is so hard won, so visceral and so eagerly craved, that fans have to commemorate the fictional spot the best way they know how – even if that’s on a 50-50 poly-blend, ladies’ fit, v-neck. The Print Shop matters because readers yearn for it, Jamie dreamed of it, Claire fought for it, and no matter what happens after, the emotion of that moment can’t be topped.
So it comes as no surprise that when Starz announced it had renewed Outlander for a third season, fans immediately wanted them to “get the print shop right, dammit” as if it was almost the only that mattered. Producers, in turn, promised to do just that.
— Matthew B. Roberts (@TheMattBRoberts) June 25, 2017
It’s so highly anticipated that we are not allowed to tell you what episode it actually occurs in … or what changes (if any) were made to it from the scene in the novel. But Outlander fans are far from unsuited to sussing out details. Most have known since the first time they read Voyager how it would play out in 13 episodes on a premium television channel, and if they only had the power of the internet, they would definitely tell you. In other words, they pretty much have it figured out.
So to those fans: You may know when and what, but you don’t know how. Trust me on this, you will enjoy being thoroughly surprised and not at all surprised by the infamous Print Shop scene. But I’m writing this whole thing to say this: there’s SO much more to season 3 of Outlander than the one scene you are jonesing the hardest for.
Outlander Season 3 is Full of Awesome
In season 1, Jamie and Claire meet halfway through the first episode. They are rarely apart for long (except for The Search, which we do not talk about – ever) for the first two seasons. And even when they are apart and their stories diverge for an episode, we know that their reunion is imminent. It’s no secret that they are separated by two centuries and an ocean in season 3, and everyone is worried about the dynamic. But if you spend your time waiting for them to get back together you are going to miss out on some truly great television.
In the 50s and 60s in Boston, Claire is living out a record-book drama of modern feminism. From the very first episode when she is not allowed by the doctor to participate in her own baby’s delivery to being patted on the head by Harvard deans, to the medical classroom where she is summarily ignored, to suffering an increasingly selfish and insulting marriage in silence, Claire is distinctly removed from the supposedly less-progressive century she left, but where they at least deferred to her medical knowledge and bitchy attitude.
She’s a toothless lioness in her own time. Sure, Frank doesn’t stop her from going to medical school, but she’s neutered by polite American nuclear society, and we see the Claire that blossomed under Jamie’s love turn into a brittle glass bouquet that could shatter or maim, depending on the day.
The show feels like sometimes like two different shows altogether, flashing back and forth between Braveheart and Revolutionary Road. But it doesn’t lose the thread: no matter what dramas Jamie and Claire are living separately, they are together in their loneliness.
Because Jamie is definitely working out his own dramas back in the 18th century. In every episode, Jamie is burdened by being powerless. Whether spending the better part of a decade hiding in a cave, imprisoned as the only man in irons, wasting his time as a horse groom, Jamie – much like Claire in her loveless marriage – is neutered without the love of his life.
He isn’t LITERALLY neutered (thank God), which is something we get blessed evidence of in more than one episode. However, Jamie spends most of the first episode gasping for breath and thinking of Claire. It makes sense – he’s close to dead and he’s just left her at the stones. But he never really leaves that state before the print shop scene. Even when he’s fully capable, scheming or otherwise engaged in some JAMMF badassery, he’s gasping for breath, thinking of Claire. He’s stroking thistles as if they were her hair. He’s hearing her name on the wind when a dying man mentions the white witch.
So while their separation is the plot, and their longing for one another is the thread, the separate lives that Jamie and Claire live in the first part of Outlander season three aren’t lessened by each other’s absence. If anything, it heightens the tension, the romance and the stakes themselves. Don’t fret, the Print Shop is coming, but in the meantime, feast on the divide.
Outlander Season 3 premieres this Sunday night on Starz!
We will be at the New York City Premiere of Outlander Season 3 TONIGHT! Look for me and Amy on the red carpet in our sensible shoes. Give us your most pressing questions for cast and creators in the comments, and we might just ask them! Follow That’s Normal on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the premiere and the carpet!