Well that happened a lot sooner than I had expected. Right at the very beginning of the Outlander Season 2 premiere, viewers saw Claire return back to her original timeline in the 1940s and collapse in a heap of devastation, knowing that Jamie is now long gone from this world. (If that isn't a sad thought to contemplate, then I don't know what is.) However, this also meant that Claire was reunited with her husband Frank, which proved to be understandably awkward, considering that a.) he looks shockingly like Black Jack Randall, and b.) from his perspective, she had abandoned him and just ran away. But how long was Claire actually gone from the time she first touched the stones on the hill of Craigh na Dun to the moment she returned? A general estimation puts her departure around the two-year mark.
If you recall, Season 1 originally took place in 1946, when Frank and Claire decided to go to the Scottish Highlands for a second honeymoon. It was then that she was transported back through time to the year 1743. And since we now know that her return date was in 1948 (thanks to Claire's little emotional breakdown with a stranger at the start of the episode), that means she's been gone — from Frank's timeline, anyway — for roughly two whole years. However, from Claire's perspective, it's been a bit longer than that. (Minor book spoilers ahead!)
According to this very helpful Outlander timeline chart from the books, Claire remained in the eighteenth century all the way up until 1746 before heading back through the stones, which means she spent a total of three years away from Frank. And as their little reunion proved, it's going to take both sides some time to adjust to everything that's happened.
"[They're] trying to deal with the fallout of what's happened to her and its complications that she arrives back with," Tobias Menzies, who plays Frank/Black Jack Randall, recently shared with Bustle at the Outlander Season 2 red carpet premiere. "Hopefully it feels real."
But just because Frank appears to accept Claire's account of everything that's happened to her, doesn't necessarily mean that he fully believes what she's saying.
"I don't know whether Frank completely buys the story," Menzies confides. "I wonder whether he thinks it's some form of magical thinking or some sort of delusional state. I mean, what would you think if someone said that to you?"
And he has a fair point. Would anyone believe such an unbelievable tale? Sure, Frank believes that Claire believes in everything that she's saying, but apart from that it's difficult to say what he's really thinking. All he cares about is having Claire back in his life, though something tells me that returning to the way things once were between them won't be as easy as he thinks.
Images: Starz (2); Giphy