Outlander: 10 Easily-Missed Plot Holes
We love Outlander, but sometimes it leaves us with too many questions! How could Claire forget Jamie’s name? Which character drops a major storyline? And who makes the biggest mistake even though we expect him to know better? The show is definitely thrilling, but some slip-ups are harder to overlook than others. Here are all the plot holes and mistakes we found in Outlander.
10. Claire Fraser’s inconsistent appearance
While we were being captivated by Claire’s first dramatic journey through the stones, many of us were blind to her wardrobe change. Remember that iconic scene where we see Claire sitting beside the stones in her modern white dress, complete with belt and pearl button?
Now pay attention to later scenes. First, where she’s running from the soldiers and, later, on a horse with Jamie. This is clearly a different dress! While we can totally understand how the belt, and even pearl, got lost, we can’t deny this dress has a looser fit, a different neckline: it’s just not the same one.
But wait, this isn’t Claire’s only costume mishap. Recall one of our earliest meetings with Claire, in the midst of World War II. She runs to help a severely injured soldier, and viewers watch as her face, even her shoes, get covered in blood from the man’s leg wound.
All good and well, but a few eagle-eyed fans were puzzled as to how, during all of this, it was possible that her apron remained sparkling clean! It was clearly a mistake... It’s only in a later scene, after the wounded young soldier has been sedated, that we see Claire standing outside, the previously spotless apron finally red with blood. Makes you wonder what else you missed?
9. The flame-haired young William Ransom
Did they have hair dye in 17th century Scotland? Well… it’s unlikely. When we first met Jamie and Lady Geneva’s son, William Ransom, his hair color was dark brown, bordering on black. But when he makes his appearance again in S5 (aged a few years), he’s noticeably red-headed - like his father.
Should we overlook this one as a normal part of growing up? Maybe young William spent a little too much time in the sun which accounts for the new, lighter hair colour*unconvinced. Either way, this specific casting choice doesn’t enforce continuity as well as it might’ve.
It would’ve been so much more believable if there were more consistency between the two versions of William. Do you think the extremely level-headed Claire, with her surgical precision, ever misses a detail? Let’s see!
8. A scatterbrained Claire
“I'll never forget when I came out of the church and saw you for the first time, it was as if I stepped outside on a cloudy day and suddenly the sun came out,” the actress revealed.
Let’s be honest, when the sunny day of Claire and Jamie’s rushed wedding arrived (as fans across the world hoped it would), we were all officially hooked* dreamy. While standing in front of the “counsel” there wasn’t a real counsel as we know it, a young Claire is worried because she “doesn’t even know Jamie’s real name”.
Yet in the previous episode, we saw her reading the marriage contract with her and Jamie’s full names in large print. Did she simply forget this important detail? It seems unlike Claire to miss something like this, even in stressful times. Still, who didn’t simply love Jamie’s answer to Claire?
We can understand why the producers wanted to add this scene. For continuity’s sake, though, maybe the marriage contract shot should have been removed instead?
7. More wedding objections: MacKenzie ceremony
While we’re talking weddings, let’s look at the day Roger and sweetheart Bree finally tied the knot. In spite of the impending conflict of the American Revolution, S5 kicked off with a lavish wedding between Roger MacKenzie, and Jamie and Claire’s daughter, Briana.
The soon-to-be-wed lovebirds enjoyed a traditional Scottish ceremony, and fans were treated to some of the most intricate set designs yet. The behind-the-scenes of this wedding was apparently one for the books humorous, as the actors were overcome by contagious bouts of giggles while having to bring the romantic parts to life.
The cast agreed that, of all scenes, this wedding “took forever” to film. Kudos to the editing team, however, as fans had no idea that the wedding scene was really a laughing matter. There is something else amiss here that can be noticed, though. Look closer, and you’ll see different children between shots. Actor Sam Heughan, who plays the King of Men, was the one to laughingly reveal this mistake.
Sam said: “One of the kids there really didn’t want to be there so we had to go back and try again with another child, and that child didn’t want to be there either.”
We as viewers probably tend to forget the hard work and day-to-day challenges that go into producing a TV series of this magnitude!
6. Briana’s enchanted cape
Before we reveal who made an unforgivable mistake, let’s look at Briana’s magical garments. It seems that Claire’s character isn’t the only one with wardrobe choices that defy the rules of logic. In S4 E12, we see the emotional bond between Briana and Lord John getting stronger by the day.
In the previous episode, the unlikely pair became engaged in order to save Bree from a ruined social reputation. Lord John and Bree are seen roaming Wilmington during Bree’s first return to the town after being raped and impregnated by the thief, and general bad guy, Stephen Bonnet. When Briana learns of Stephen Bonnet’s arrest, she demands to see the villain before his execution.
All this time, Bree is without a cape, but shortly after, as she approaches the prison, a black-and-blue cape magically appears around her shoulders. She wasn’t shown entering Lord John’s carriage at any time to fetch the cape. In fact, we saw the carriage departing before, making the mistake even more obvious. A small continuity error that could have been avoided during editing?
5. Standing stones that move location
Few of us thought twice about the logistics and location of the standing stones. But look a little closer, and you’ll see these stones seem to have a life of their own, conveniently moving to suit the storyline. In S2, Craig Na Dun’s stones were portrayed to be only a gallop away from Culloden, as the sound of gunfire was clearly audible on the other side (past versus present).
Also remember how, on Claire’s second honeymoon and arrival in the past, she was surprised to see a dark Inverness from her vantage point at the stones - the opposite of the future view she had become used to when the town lights could be seen flickering in the dark.
Later, however, when Briana passes through these same stones and sprains her ankle, we see Laoghaire rescuing her nearby Balbriggan, at least two mountain ranges away! This, in a time with no vehicles. Something doesn’t add up here… Which character returns from the dead? Stay tuned! But first...
4. The Fraser couple’s unexplained riches
We know Jamie has a good standing and reputation in Scotland, and that he was taught French as a young boy. Still, in earlier episodes, viewers never got the impression that the Frasers were that well off. In fact, Jamie had to use his hard-come-by life savings just to give Claire a beautiful wedding ring, and later buy her a medicine box.
So we find it odd that, during Claire and Jamie’s travels, money is suddenly no problem, and Jamie seems to have connections in high places wherever they go. For example, during their stay in France, they are seen in the lavish court of Versailles.
The pair attends many extravagant balls, where Claire is dressed in only the finest of gowns, and Jamie does not disappoint either. Later, in Jamaica, they attend the governor’s lavish party, and it’s not long before viewers come to know of Aunt Jocasta's larger-than-life existence at River Run Estate, with servant-slaves to match.
We appreciate the stunning sets, but don’t understand how these opportunities fell into Jamie’s lap so easily. Did Jamie inherit from Aunt Jocasta? While we’re sure there is a logical explanation to Jamie and Claire’s rise from rags to riches, we think the series fails to clarify this point. Which character drops a storyline and surprises us all?
3. Geillis returns from the dead
Geillis is no stranger to time travel. We saw her making more than her fair share of time jumps between the 1700s and 1970s. Fans have noticed what seems to be a major timeline error, though. It defeats logic that Geillis is also seen in the future, talking to Bree, after her bones had already been discovered long ago.
We’re not sure if we should just oversee this error as part of the complicated nature of time travel. As one fan suggests: “It's a paradox of time travel and is possible because Geillis' movement through time is linear despite our perception of the circular timeline.”
Apart from this timeline uncertainty, a dropped storyline has also been noticed relating to Geillis! Many viewers are curious to know when we’ll Geillis’s love child with Dougal MacKenzie again. It seems this plotline died a sudden death, along with Dougal.
While we know the baby was adopted, many fans think the child should have played a more prominent role. It will be interesting to see where life’s paths have taken the young lad or lass. Maybe something for Season 6?
2. Claire’s dropped storyline
Claire’s character is a complex one in so many ways that it’s understandable the show cannot cover every single detail. Still, we’ve noticed one major dropped storyline. Recall Claire’s first arrival at River Run, where Aunt Jocasta owns 152 slaves. As an enlightened woman, Claire vehemently protests against slavery.
Jamie finds himself between a rock and a hard place, as his Aunt wants him to inherit her riches, which includes the slaves. His compromise is that, when he inherits the estate, all the slaves will be freed. Sadly, he learns that it’s nearly impossible to free slaves within the North Carolina law of the day.
It’s not long before viewers see Claire rescuing a slave who was hanged by a hook for opposing his ‘owner’. The emotions that ensue are gut-wrenching, as Claire is powerless and has to make a tough decision as a furious white crowd stands to beat down their door to kill the slave in the most unimaginable way.
For some reason, this powerful and chilling storyline was oddly neglected during S4 – and has not been addressed since. Even though a TV series is limited to what it can include, Outlander fans feel that this causes a gap in continuity.
1. The King of Men is also just human
No, you didn't, Jamie! It’s understandable that crowd favorite Jamie also makes mistakes. He is flesh and blood, after all. But of all his more believable mistakes that were within character, there is one that seems unforgivable – and just plain wrong.
When Claire reunites with Jamie in the print shop, she shows him pictures of their flame-haired daughter, Brianna. Jamie is seen as having an intense emotional reaction to the color photos. How is it possible, then, that Jamie doesn’t recognize his red-haired daughter upon their first meeting in S4?
While these Outlandish slip-ups are hard to overlook, we don’t think it takes away from Jamie and Claire’s epic love story, the richness of the characters, or the daunting landscapes and adventures.