Outlander needs to give Claire a female friend


For such a modern woman, there’s a real lack of female camaraderie in Claire’s life — and Outlander is all the worse for it.

In the most recent episode of Outlander, “Heaven And Earth,” Claire meets Annekje Johansen aboard the Porpoise. Annekje and her husband tend to goats on the ship, and therefore provide milk and cheese to the crew members. After Claire treats Annekje’s husband for alcohol poisoning, the women share a brief but significant moment of connection. “Thank you for all the work you’re doing with the goat’s milk,” Claire tells Annekje. “It’s keeping the men alive.” And Claire would know: she’s the ship’s resident doctor.

Despite their quick and easy bond, it doesn’t appear that Claire and Annekje will be lifelong friends. By the end of “Heaven And Earth” Claire has jumped overboard to go and find Jamie again (don’t ask me how, the details are murky). And that’s a shame because Outlander is often most interesting when Claire has a female pal in her life.

For instance, remember Geillis and Louise? They were Claire’s besties in seasons 1 and 2 of Outlander, respectively. The mystical and clever Geillis was the first person in 18th century Scotland to realize that Claire isn’t just “a rare woman,” but is literally ahead of her time. (Geillis herself went through the stones in the late 1960s, so she knew a 20th century gal when she saw one.) Geillis and Claire also shared an interest in concocting medical remedies from herbs and bedding MacKenzie men.

Claire’s friendship with the Parisian Louise was a mostly shallow one. The pair lounged around and enjoyed pre-French Revolution luxuries such as day drinking, bikini waxes, monkeys as pets, and monochromatic dresses. Until Claire’s miscarriage in “Faith,” that is. Louise, who was expecting herself, was the one person who managed to snap Claire out of her grief-induced hysteria. Claire was devastated and needed someone who understood her loss, and that was Louise.

And of course there’s Jenny, the only person in Outlander‘s universe who is able to love Claire without thinking she’s the second coming. Their friendship is probably the most fascinating to watch because Jenny is just as smart as Claire, but twice as prickly. Too bad the series only lets the women hang out in sporadic, one-episode bursts.

What’s missing from Outlander‘s uneven third season, and the series in general, is a steadfast female friend for Claire. Jamie had Murtagh (or has — I’m still not convinced we’ve seen the last of him) and now has Fergus. Claire has a Great and Epic Love with Jamie but doesn’t really have a friend she can talk to openly. That’s something everyone needs, especially women, even if they are as independent as Claire.

I mean, what if Claire wants to complain about her husband’s weird comfort with living in a brothel? What if she wants to brag about her Great and Epic Love? What if she just wants to take her corset off, pour some whiskey, and shoot the breeze with someone she’s not married to?

Claire knows her own mind and has never been one to bite back her opinions (or a curse word), but the fact is she’s not truly herself with anyone besides Jamie. Outlander is a romance — and a very good one at that — but Claire’s identity goes beyond Jamie’s Wife. She’s a doctor, an amateur historian, a soldier, an herbal expert, a mother, a mentor, and a role model. She could also be part of a Great and Epic Friendship if the series would let her.

So do us and Claire a favor, Outlander, and give your heroine a gal pal.

Next: Outlander S3E10 recap and review: Heaven And Earth

Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.