Debuting on April 9 on Starz, the second season of Outlander is an opulent, exciting and extremely complicated affair, literally and figuratively. With that, the 13-episode series, to paraphrase Caitriona Balfe’s Claire Randall, happens at its own dazzling pace. Already one of the most satisfying dramas on TV, Season 2 of the sensual time-travel series starring Balfe and Sam Heughan is, as I say in my video review above, a splendid feast.

deadline-review-badge-dominic-pattenThis season of the series executive produced by Ronald D. Moore is based on Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly In Amber, the second book in her bestselling Outlander novel series. Now, no spoilers, but the second season isn’t a direct adaptation of the 1992 book. However, as fans of Gabaldon’s work know, it does still see Balfe’s Claire and Heughan’s Highlander Jamie now in 18th century Paris trying to change history by preventing the Jacobite Rebellion and heal the scars in their marriage after the torturous events that ended the show’s Golden Globe-nominated Season 1.

dragonfly in amber cover outlanderAfter a rather thoughtful start that continues the maturity the show found in the second half of its first season, Season 2 starts almost right after where we last saw things on May 20 last year, with the duo headed to the continent and a world perhaps more dangerous than fighting the English on the island they share.

Outlander Season 2 is as full of royal courts and sexual and political intrigue as the first season was full of passion, with both Balfe and Heughan displaying greater depth and intricacy now that their characters have been fully established. With its leads blooming, and the audience and market expanding, the Starz series eclipses the fate of being merely about frilly shirts and curly locks to explore a genuine love story that only the most hardened of hearts could resist.

As good as Balfe (a Golden Globe nominee) and Heughan are, the real secret weapon of Outlander is again Tobias Menzies. Playing the dual roles of Claire’s 20th century husband Frank Randall and cruel 18th century ancestor Captain Black Jack, the Golden Globe-nominated actor hits a level of intensity and range that pivots the show into the pained and dark places of the soul.

Like others in this gleaming TV era including HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead, Starz’s Outlander serves up many different dishes. Sit down and take a bite of Season 2; it will leave a very nice taste in your mouth.

This review was originally posted on April 4.