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And so another season finale is upon us. I must admit, I’m a little relieved because it’s been so much harder this season with the show dropping at midnight Saturday/Sunday instead of Friday/Saturday. I’m looking forward to sleeping again, haha. I also CANNOT wait to have a day when I can marathon through this incredible season all in one go (I think it’s a pretty solid rival for me in terms of Season 1 as a whole for favorite season; now if it was just up against 1A it would be a much tighter race).

I was a little nervous going into this finale because of the changes that have been made to various plot-lines through this half of the season as well as some of my least favorite scenes from the source material but overall I am THRILLED with how they adapted this episode and so many of the little touches it has.

His Excellency, Lord John Grey

This is probably my favorite scene in the whole damn episode. I certainly suspected that Lord John would save the day in terms of getting Jamie out of custody but the execution of this bit of plotting was beyond my wildest expectations. First, having Fergus and Marsali find Claire’s dress and note and having Marsali 1) call him Fergus Fraser and then 2) insist she’s not being left behind were adorable and kickass. Then having Fergus’ solution be to find and enlist Lord John’s help was subtle genius. Looks like Fergus was able to pay attention to a little more than just Marsali while they were at the Governor’s ball last episode—but then who could have missed the eyes Lord John was shooting Jamie’s way?

Watching Lord John pick Lieutenant Captain (as I will forever think of him from now on) apart was a complete delight. The sarcasm, the cat and mouse of it all, the sheer joy he got from getting to wield his power. It’s clear from last episode that Lord John was not looking forward to the posting so he’s certainly taking pleasure in it where and when he can. When Lieutenant Captain left I half expected Lord John to turn to Jamie and say, “Well, that was fun. Thank you.” I cannot wait for more of Lord John in Season 4, especially getting to see him visit the Ridge with Willie and then to see him interact with Brianna.

Yi Tien Cho and Margaret Campbell

The adaptation of Yi Tien Cho has probably been my favorite adaptive alteration of the entire season with the subtle changes to the Campbells’ storyline also ranking pretty high. Bringing them together the way they did in the last two episodes feels so much more satisfying than anything to do with these characters in the book. In the book, Yi Tien Cho struggles so much with his identity and the frustrations of how and why he left China, with the indignities of being an outsider. We’ve seen some elements of that in the show, most notably within his life story in 3×09 but also at the Governor’s ball and I’m sure there was some resentment at being kind of scapegoated over the Arabella situation (haha, that was totally unintentional!). It makes sense that with Margaret’s “gifts” that she of all people would see him properly and he, being from a different place as well, can see her beyond what her brother and society push her to be. The show still brought in some major plot elements related to these characters—like Yi Tien Cho killing Margaret’s brother—but by changing the motivation and circumstances they’ve added greater weight and reduced the strong underpinnings of coincidence that start to pile up at the end of the novel. (That said, I could have done with less of the chicken’s blood, crocodile, etc. going on in these scenes; I totally appreciate how much they dialed it down from the book but it still felt sensationalized and like it distracted from rather than added to the scene).

The scene with Brianna “talking” through Margaret is one I always have a tough time with in the book, though a lot of that is because of the more sensational trappings. As I mentioned before, it’s dialed down here in the show, which helps, but not as much as the joining together of the rabbit and the bird (though, the bird would have been a bit more powerful if there had been other allusions to it in 3×02 and 3×03 the way there were with rabbits).

Geillis, the Prophecy and Abandawe

The Fraser Prophecy in the books is a bit… complicated. It’s only vaguely touched upon in Voyager and it’s very unclear what Geillis would do if/when she got back to the 20th century and found Brianna—it’s certainly not implied that she would kill Brianna. So there really is little driving Claire and Jamie to stop Geillis from traveling back aside from the fact that she’s planning to kill Young Ian as a sacrifice to help her get where she wants to go. The way the show has handled Geillis’ storyline from Voyager is another wonderful bit of adaptation. It brings Geillis and the Campbells together in a much more cohesive way and the altered prophecy raises the stakes while simultaneously clarifying everything. I can’t get over just how much better the lines of conflict have been drawn for the show compared to the book; as much as I love the high seas shenanigans in the book, they are undeniably convoluted and confusing. I also loved the way that they were able to bring back Brianna’s encounter with Geillis from last season’s finale.

The odd yet compelling nature of Claire’s friendship with Geillis reaches its inevitable and devastating conclusion (I always find it incredibly fitting that Jamie is the one who killed Dougal and Claire is the one who kills Geillis; it speaks so much to what all involved are willing to die/kill for). This is the second time we’ve seen Claire kill since she returned to the 18th century and this time it was no accident. It was also no stranger and the shock she goes into is so palpable—though realizing she’d held Geillis’ skull in her hands 200 years in the future not knowing she was the one to deliver the fatal blow… if anyone ever needed a reason to go into shock, that’s certainly it.

Room Enough

This was a scene I had pretty much accepted we wouldn’t be getting because of where it falls in the book and where that fell in relation to turtle soup in the show. It seemed like we’d only be getting one of the two and of the two, I think turtle soup is a little more iconic. BUT moving it here worked PERFECTLY! In terms of the episode, this scene is the eye of the storm. Everything before it is action that ties up the loose plot ends for the season and everything that comes after it is intense action that eventually sets up for the show’s new setting. But in those captain’s quarters for that brief scene there is peace and playfulness. There are no looming threats and there’s no clock ticking in terms of they have to be somewhere or find someone before X can go wrong. I’m thrilled that there was room enough in the season and in the episode to include yet another iconic tryst with so much dialogue straight from the page.

Overboard

Could this whole sequence have been any more beautiful and poignant? It’s such a visual and emotional feast. I don’t know how I feel about them opening with it the way they did but the use of Faith’s theme only adds to the tear-jerking beauty. There are bits that are a little over the top—okay, so I’m pretty much just talking about the huge pull-back to see that they’re in the eye of the storm (one step too far for me personally)—but I’m both fully aware that they’re playing my emotions like those piano keys and I’m only too happy to let them. There are so many brief images, small moments that catch the eye in these sequences—the way he lets go of his dirk as soon as he’s cut through the ropes that have Claire and the way the dirk just flutters on its way to the sea floor; the way he puts Claire’s arm over the wreckage and then tilts her head so she’ll be able to breath…

There is one thing I’m wondering in the wake of this ending: have the photographs actually been lost? Jamie is wearing his coat before he goes in after Claire and then it’s gone when they’re under water… but would he have had the photos in his coat pocket when he knew he was going to be out on deck in the storm? Wouldn’t he have packed them safely away before heading out so they wouldn’t be damaged? And in the show, the ship isn’t completely lost. It runs aground. So presumably, many/most of their possessions that were on the ship when they went overboard would have survived… Okay, now I want a scene at the beginning of next season where they’re combing through the wrecked ship and Jamie and Claire find the photos in their plastic baggie floating in the water in one of the ship’s compartments, that they’re not just lost at sea but we get to see their reactions to the visibly ruined photos (I feel like them seeing Brianna’s face distorted and everything will add to their reactions when she shows up in person).

One of the reasons I love Voyager so much is the ending. After being forced to use an alias of one sort or another through most of the book, Jamie finally gets to introduce himself as Jamie Fraser with his wife Claire and no threat of arrest or other burden. It’s such a powerful moment, especially thematically. I can’t help but feel that a little of that impact was lost because of how the Jamie Fraser/Alexander Malcolm stuff in Edinburgh and aboard the various ships was handled but the performance the lines was still perfect.

Final Random and Not-So-Random Thoughts:

— For a moment there when the camera pulled back to show the beach, just before it started to zoom into the interior, I thought it might pull back and travel along the beach far enough for us to see the Artemis run aground with Fergus, Marsali, and young Ian milling about and helping salvage cargo or the injured crewmen.

— Thank heaven they didn’t do the “zombies”

— Young Ian may be traumatized beyond belief but he has his priorities straight. Just look at the deft way he grabs each and every one of those gems while Jamie is watching Claire and pulling her back from the passage.

— My need for Yi Tien Cho and Margaret to visit the Ridge in Season 4 is only getting bigger.

— I kind of wonder what it would have been like for Jamie, Claire, and company to actually sail all the way back to Scotland. What would Jenny and Ian have made of their adventure and return? What would Laoghaire do when she found out about Fergus and Marsali (and where would the two of them settle)?

— I love how the mast that fell was the one we saw them fixing in 3×11. It’s one of those continuity things that makes the whole season more cohesive.

_____________________________

Thanks to Lenny9987 for her review (https://lenny9987.tumblr.com/post/168427811299/outlander-3×13-eye-of-the-storm).

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Thanks, Lenny, for allowing us to post your review! (www.lenny9987.tumblr.com)

Outlander 309, “The Duldrums”

I’m a huge fan of shipnanigans in the books (and in general) so I’ve been really looking forward to this part of the season and this first episode aboard ship did NOT disappoint! Every element of the episode from the visuals to the music to the story and performances worked, individually and with each other. It’s another stellar example of the deft adaptation we’ve been seeing throughout this season. I only have a few main thematic threads I’m going to pick at this week and then a lot of little things that delighted me but first, my take on the new opening credit sequence which is easily the element of the episode I liked least (aside from seeing and hearing way more vomiting and retching than I ever needed to see on television, thank you very much).

New Opening Credits

knew that we’d wind up getting new credits this episode so I was prepared for them… mostly. I LOVED the new visuals for the credits—so lush and vibrant in every aspect, lovely parallels to previous bits of credit sequences the other times they’ve changed. But I don’t care for the instrumentation. I was confident the music would change because, as with their time in France, the change in setting makes the instrumentation feel dissonant. Being a HUGE fan of Black Sails and the work Bear McCreary did on that show’s score, I expected something more along those lines for this half of the season, so a lot of my disappointment stems from expectations that weren’t just not met, but were so laughably different from what the reality proved to be. I was expecting/hoping for some flutes, pipes, and fiddles like what we see in the impromptu singalong (right before Claire finds Jamie receiving his acupuncture treatment), maybe some spoons or other instruments one would find or make aboard ship (and all of that couldn’t have been further from what we actually got). But even without going into this with a certain level of expectation, I don’t think I would like this instrumentation. All it makes me think of is commercials for cruises to the Caribbean. I feel like the aim was to pay homage to the islands’ native and enslaved peoples—which is a goal I can respect, even though I disagree with such a choice if that’s what they were aiming for at all—but it came off (to me at least) as being a sanitized and touristy version. With so much of these episodes taking place at sea or among the western-held colonial ports, it only heightens the gimmicky taste it leaves in my mouth.

But really, that’s the only thing in the episode that bothered me.

I’m Not Superstitious, but I Am a Little Stitious: Feeling Control When Powerless

We’ve heard tell many times before about how superstitious the people of the 18th century—and especially those in the highlands—are. It was fascinating to see that taken to a whole other level as we meet the seasoned sailors of the Artemis’ crew. It was a time when that means of travel was prominent and still incredibly dangerous and unpredictable—as we get several glimpses of in the episode. I LOVED the way they used superstition as a way to emphasize the difference between fault and blame—both of which have been very present in the last few episodes as Jamie and Claire confront the pain of their separation and its sources (among other aspects where it creeps up). It also ties both to control and people’s need to feel like they have some say in what’s happening to them, whether it’s logical or not. Jamie and Claire are among the most skeptical of the crew’s superstitions throughout the episode, and annoyed by the captain’s willingness to let the crew have their way in what they see as unjust and ridiculous situations. But they also wield more power and control than many on the ship who have to follow orders and just hope for the best. Jamie is in a position of command over his small group of Ardsmuir men and over the fate of Fergus and Marsali. And he wields that power by withholding his blessing and keeping the would-be newlyweds apart for propriety’s sake early in the episode and then later by talking Hayes down from the mast. With Yi Tien Cho’s help (and a few well-placed needles), Jamie is able to control his seasickness. And when the opportunity for moments alone with Claire present themselves, they both take them and enjoy them. Claire and her ginger tea may not have been responsible for conquering Jamie’s seasickness, but she wields more control over the crew as the ship’s surgeon than most women would expect to have. She goes toe to toe with the captain on several occasions and is able to hold her own, yielding when she chooses and humoring him more than anything.

Yet for these two who have been so dismissive of the superstitions and the control they allow the powerless to feel, at the end of the episode they’re the ones who have completely lost control, as the Porpoise gets underway without returning Claire to the Artemis and Jamie must stand and watch her go. I’ll be interested to see if and how the issue of control and powerlessness is addressed next week.

Jamie and Claire: Finding Calm

As mentioned earlier, one of the places Jamie exerts his control is in the matter of Fergus and Marsali. When Jamie says that it was different for him and Claire because they were forced to marry, Fergus laughs and throws the romantic story he’s heard many times back in Jamie’s face, which is really the sweetest way he could have called Jamie a hypocrite. But I digress. What I love about this scene is how it shows the way that Fergus at least sees Jamie and Claire and their relationship as an example to be admired and followed. He aligns himself with Jamie repeatedly in the scene, most prominently when he says that the reason he hadn’t told Jamie was that he was a coward. When Fergus claims that there are no secrets between him and Marsali, Jamie presses him on whether he’d told Marsali everything. Fergus isn’t lying to Marsali by not telling her about other women he’d been with, but it isn’t full honesty either—something on which Jamie has had a very recent and emphatic refresher. As Claire has been able to move past the Laoghaire incident, Marsali stands by Fergus as well.

They’ve both learned a lot from that incident though they still express a few doubts and fears in its wake. When Claire opens the trunk to find that Jamie kept her clothes from France she is surprised by the sentimentality of the gesture (especially when selling such fine clothes would have put money in the Lallybroch coffers when it was desperately needed). It is a thorough contrast to Frank who packed Claire’s things away in a suitcase and left them on the bed at Reverend Wakefield’s while he went back to Oxford. While for Frank those clothes are perhaps tainted by the search for Claire and the insistence of many that she must have left him for another man, Jamie’s associations with Claire’s clothes from France are similarly full of memories of a difficult time in their marriage as they struggled to recover from his Wentworth ordeal and ultimately lost their first child. In both cases we’ll get to see Claire re-don those clothes but to very different effect. When she again wears the clothes that Reverend Wakefield and Mrs. Graham had saved for her after Frank left them behind, it is with resignation as she watches Frank burn the clothes she’d been wearing the last time she was with Jamie. I look forward to seeing her emotional reaction as she dresses in her old clothes from France for the first time in twenty years.

Jamie fears what Claire will do if she feels a lack of purpose so when her tea fails to cure his seasickness and Yi Tien Cho’s acupuncture succeeds, he hides it from her. Where last time Claire reacted with hurt and betrayal to Jamie’s deception, here she is thoroughly amused and is able to reassure him that it’s not her feelings about him that have thrown her for a loop in her return. Even as the ship is becalmed and everyone else’s emotions and tensions are running high, Jamie and Claire are relatively calm in their relationship (if a bit sexually deprived). When Claire feels homesick for Bree, Jamie is there holding her. When they’re at dinner and the captain brings up the issue of the crew calling for a Jonah, they’re on the same page in terms of protecting their people and standing up for reason over emotion where people’s lives are at stake. As Jamie ascends the rigging to urge Hayes back down to safety, Claire calls for reasonableness on the deck and tries to push the captain to act on what’s right and will protect a life rather than what will placate the crew. Their bumbling in the hallway as they finally find time to be alone and intimate together. There’s another bump when the acting captain of the Porpoise seeks medical advice and assistance and Claire proposes to go aboard ship to examine the ill men. Jamie bristles, not wanting to let Claire out of his sight (even after weeks/months). But when Claire lays out her reasons for going, Jamie listens and doesn’t dismiss her or diminish her feelings on the matter; he understands and finds a way to connect her situation to his own personal experience while still ensuring she is aware of his concerns and fears.

Having reached a point of calm and understanding in their relationship, it’s time for external factors to start assailing them. Seeing how the show tracks their relationship after they’re reunited following the incident with the Porpoise will be interesting given how Jamie’s biggest fears for her leaving the Artemis have been realized.

Yi Tien Cho: Becoming the Jonah

For me, the most emotional moment of the episode was Yi Tien Cho finally telling his story and then releasing the pages into the finally rising wind. It built so beautifully through the episode and tied up the Jonah thread so perfectly. Watching Yi Tien Cho writing poetry on the deck with water is such a compelling image to start with. The water quickly dries and the words of the poem are lost—words only he can read and appreciate. Claire asks him about what he’s writing and what it is written on the scroll he keeps with him.

YTC: I’ve been scribing the story of my life in China so that it will not be forgotten. A story told is a life lived.
C: Will you tell it to me?
YTC: Not yet. Once I tell it, I have to let it go.

That written account of his life is all that’s left of who he was in those years.

This scene is before the wind dies and they spend weeks stranded on a calm sea. As the crew look for someone to blame and something to do to restore the balance of luck they feel has been upset, the first they look towards are those who are Other with Yi Tien Cho high on the list as he pulls the acupuncture needles out of Jamie’s face, though they move on to other targets and home in on Hayes. As the tensions rise following Hayes near suicide on the mast, Yi Tien Cho spots a sea bird (was anyone else half-expecting it to be a pelican and does anyone recognize what bird it actually was?) and quickly realizes that the weather will soon break restoring wind and bringing fresh water. When he draws new characters on the deck, they do not dry showing that the air is heavy with coming moisture. But he also realizes the crew won’t wait unless someone makes them and so Yi Tien Cho makes himself the sacrificial Jonah cast into the sea by sharing his story at last. As he told Claire earlier, a story told is a life lived. He mesmerizes the crew long enough and deftly enough to defuse the situation thanks in no small part to the wind rising as he finishes and casts those pages with his life written upon them into the air and off to sea. A life lived and let go.

This single aspect of the story made the episode for me and I couldn’t help getting incredibly choked up over it all, something I was not expecting given how it’s all handled in the book. It reminds me a lot of the honeypot scene in Dragonfly in Amber and how the show, in adapting it, brought so much weight to something that was quite different tonally in the books. The way they’ve brought Yi Tien Cho to life and the performance of Gary Young elevated an episode that already thrilled me beyond measure. Definitely WAY up there for this season (which I am so happy and relieved has been solid, well-developed and executed and just plain consistent in a way that Season 2 wasn’t).

Other Thoughts:

— I will think of Marsali as “the baggage from Lallybroch” for a LONG time.

— I had a very different reaction to the Goodnight Moon section. I mean, it is incredibly moving but my immediate response was, “I didn’t realize Goodnight Moon was that old” (and yes, I googled it’s publication date because that really threw me for a minute) and it also gave me Written in the Stones feels because it was so close to a scene I’d written in that (God Bless the Moon).

— A little part of me wondered if Jamie and Claire finally banging was going to be what got the ship moving again (especially if Claire bared her breast during their sexytimes, haha)

— OMG Pound is such an adorable baby of a Royal Navy sailor! I’m already emotional over his looming death (unless they change it? *she pondered hopefully*)

— I can’t wait to see LJG next week and I’m desperate to see more of Claire and Marsali’s relationship evolution.

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Another review by Lenny.  Thanks, Lenny, for allowing us to post your review.  https://lenny9987.tumblr.com/post/167194262109/outlander-03×08-first-wife

Outlander 03×08 First Wife

I think I might have been looking forward to this episode almost as much as print shop. As much as I love the initial joy of Jamie and Claire’s reunion, it’s the emotional baggage they have to deal with that I love most about Voyager and the show has done an even better job of making me FEEL the changes of twenty years (where the book, being in Claire’s perspective, feels more like it’s telling me that those changes are there).

Now, because I was looking forward to this episode so much, I tried really hard not to build up my expectations of it too much. Well, I don’t know how much that actually factored into things but I LOVED this episode (as I do pretty much everything that takes place at Lallybroch). Everything flowed beautifully and it was such a character-driven episode (which are generally speaking, my favorites). In this case, so much of the episode was reliant upon one-on-one discussions and examining personal relationships broken by time and distance so that’s how I’m going to break down my analysis this week –– the relationships.

Jamie and Ian

Despite Jamie lying to Ian’s face about Young Ian in last week’s episode, these two old friends are quickly able to get past their differences, in large part because Ian is someone who’s quick to forgive. He lectures Jamie and Young Ian when they arrive and moves to punish both by having Jamie administer Young Ian’s thrashing. However, he is willing to not only listen to Jamie’s alternative punishment, but go along with it and then admit to Jamie that his punishment is probably the better of the two for the situation. Because of his gentle and level-headed approach to everything, his son has learned a lesson and Jamie is willing to admit he was wrong about lying to Ian concerning the lad and apologizes sincerely (HUGE for a Fraser, especially in this episode).

Claire and Young Ian

This is more of a developing relationship than one that needs repairing but it’s so adorable and sweet. Young Ian is thrilled with his new Auntie Claire. Seeing him boast and brag about Claire killing the man who attacked her and then standing at her side and helping as she removes the pellets from Jamie’s wound, it’s clear that he can see what it is between her and Jamie and that he supports it whole-heartedly. Given everything Claire goes through in the episode emotionally, she desperately needed the kind of support and encouragement Young Ian was giving her. Jenny, whom Claire has missed tremendously, doesn’t trust her anymore and makes her feel anything but welcome. Young Jamie doesn’t remember/recognize her (which I find a little hard to believe; he’d have been old enough to at least know about Auntie Claire, even if he doesn’t really remember her and what she looked like). Jenny and Ian’s other children don’t know her. And then there’s the Laoghaire of it all frustrating her relationship with Jamie. She knows what he says about wanting her to stay and how he’s missed her and loves her, but with her anger and hurt at his hands running high, Claire is feeling more the outsider than she did the first time she came to Lallybroch. It’s reassuring and comforting to have Young Ian so clearly happy to have her there.

Jenny and Ian

The relationship between Jenny and Ian is still one of my all time favorites in the series. They balance each other so well with Jenny lending some of her fire to Ian and Ian being the voice of reason that Jenny will listen to when she’s being stubborn and passive aggressive. They’re on the same page for so much of the episode, it’s just amazing to watch them. Whether it’s the two of them standing there as relieved and pissed parents, scolding Jamie and Claire right along with Young Ian, or in the flashbacks as they dance and share their glass, Jenny and Ian are in sync. Claire’s return has shifted things beneath their feet but for the most part they’ve grabbed onto each other and they haven’t fallen over. Jenny feels especially betrayed and confused by Claire’s sudden return and Ian lets her be until he sees Jenny overstepping. As is his way, he gently steps in and calls her out on her role in Laoghaire’s disruptive appearance and how it throws Jamie and Claire’s relationship into turmoil. “If there’s a pot of shite on to boil ye stir like it’s God’s work,” he tells her (easily my favorite line of the episode). He points out how badly she says she wants Jamie to be happy after everything he’s been through but that she’s not letting him have it. I love the way Ian approaches this with Jenny because while she falls back on Jamie being a disgrace by having two living wives, he isn’t really the one she’s aiming to punish with her actions; it’s Claire. Jenny gets the last word in, “Does this look like happiness?” and Ian leaves the room but it’s clear Ian’s words have left their mark and Jenny’s going to be thinking on what he said for a while. There’s such guilt on Jenny’s face when she learns it was Laoghaire who shot Jamie, that her interference exacerbated a situation that was already going to be awkward and difficult; it’s akin to Jenny’s sudden wave of guilt when she sees Jamie’s back at the mill in 1×12. Being talked to about things by Ian will get her a lot of the way there, but she also (occasionally) needs a more visceral kick. Ian doesn’t gloat or rub things in her face when he’s right and when she’s come around, she supports and reinforces him when he has his own doubts, like when it comes to Young Ian helping with the cache and accompanying Jamie and Claire to France.

Jamie and Jenny

This is a far cry from where Jamie and Jenny were back in Season 1. Jenny is confused and angry but she isn’t lashing out at Jamie (except over his role in Young Ian’s malfeasance), she’s reaching out. She asks him why he couldn’t share his grief when he believed Claire was dead and when the explanation he gives isn’t satisfying, she tells him exactly where things fail to add up for her. From Jamie, as with Claire later, Jenny knows that he’s holding things back and is hurt by it. She understands more of why Jamie keeps things back, having witnessed first hand the devastation he felt in the wake of Claire’s loss, but it doesn’t mean she’s ready to let the matter drop. Sending Janet to tell Laoghaire is very much about Claire but it’s also a way for Jenny to push Jamie to do something. It’s as though on some level she thinks that once Claire knows, he’ll open up more to her too. It’s like she can see the row of dominoes and goes to push the first one over but when it falls it turns out it wasn’t close enough to hit the next one, so she goes ahead and pushes the next one until the chain reaction happens; she isn’t willing to wait for someone to finish setting the dominoes up so that the initial domino does it’s job when pushed over the first time. Jenny and Jamie don’t come to have a yelling match the way they have in the past. The closest is when Jenny throws water on Jamie and Claire and makes her snide comments about their behavior. For Jamie, dealing with Claire is more important so Jenny’s disapproval takes such a back seat, it’s in a different vehicle. Jenny comes around through other events (and Ian calling her out). While they don’t reconcile directly, Jamie knows that he and Jenny have reached a point of amends when she repeats the point he had made to her earlier about Young Ian.

On Jamie’s side, until the Laoghaire debacle takes over his attention completely, what he feels worst about is Young Ian’s having been endangered and his own undermining her and Ian’s wishes with regard to his nephew. He doesn’t like that he’s had to lie to Jenny about Claire and where she’s been but the pain of having lost Claire far outweighs any guilt. The shade she throws at him over his judgment from a parental angle is what hurts the most. He has lost all of his children (even Joanie and Marsali, to a large extent). We find out later just how much being a father means to him so to have that called into question and be ridiculed about by someone who has had far fewer issues in terms of just having children is like having salt rubbed into the wound. But he doesn’t snap at Jenny (because he knows he’s done wrong). He approaches her with a different perspective. Instead of coming at Young Ian’s punishment from a parental angle, he reminds her of his experience as a teenage boy and what would have been most mortifying to him then. His line to her about giving Young Ian a little freedom while he still thinks its hers to give seems to resonate with her in a way that makes me think it’s something they heard Brian say at some point. And when he makes his request to bring Young Ian to France with him and Claire, he does so respectfully and eloquently. He’s not going behind her back (anymore).

Jamie and Laoghaire Joanie

How they framed Jamie’s marrying Laoghaire is something I was… wary about after 2×08 but they set it up in pretty much the only way I could think of that made any sense –– by making it about Jamie and the girls. I never pictured Joanie to be so young when reading the books, but damn that little girl is adorable and I can TOTALLY buy Jamie falling for her like that at Hogmanay and putting up with marrying Laoghaire to have a chance to make that little girl happy. She’s appears to be very close in age to William and that Hogmanay would be only a few short months after Jamie had to leave his son behind at Helwater so his yearning for anyone to care for in that protective and guiding way would have been incredibly high. He’s off in that little corner at Hogmanay with everyone willing to leave him alone until Joanie comes barreling in looking to cheer him up, despite the fact she has no idea who he is; he’s just someone who’s alone and looks like he could use a fig. Marsali is very clearly there for her little sister, going along with what makes her happy. I also LOVE that we don’t see him dancing or whatever with Laoghaire, that she’s not the one who made him laugh again because one of my FAVORITE scenes from the series is BOOK SPOILERS from Echo when they’ve gone back to Scotland and he and Laoghaire have it out and Claire asks, “She never made you laugh, did she?” It makes SO much more sense that Jamie married her for the sake of the girls and that it falls apart because he and Laoghaire just don’t work, never have and never will.

When the shit hits the fan and everyone suddenly knows the whole truth, the first person Jamie goes to check on is Joanie. She’s the one who has the least chance of understanding what’s happening and perhaps the greatest chance of misunderstanding in such a way that she would wind up blaming herself. The level of affection, trust, and respect between Jamie and Joanie is heartbreaking. He’s so careful in how he talks about Laoghaire to her, knowing that her mother is all she’ll have left now that Claire’s back and understanding that Joanie would take the rejection of her mother as a rejection of her and her sister too. It’s such a contrast to how he talks about Laoghaire the rest of the time. Just as touching is listening to Jamie tell Joanie about Claire and what it is he feels for her. We’ve seen Jamie explain love to several characters so far this season, and he always falls back to his relationship with Claire when describing it, no matter how messy or painful it is. Whatever else is happening, Jamie is always sure of the love he feels for Claire and its permanence. This is one of those scenes where I can’t help but wish that Claire inadvertently saw like when she found and watched Jamie with Kitty back in 2×08; to have her overhear him talking about her when she’s not around, when he’s not trying to convince her of anything.

Jamie and Claire

It was a lovely touch to have Jamie talk about how they could build a little cottage for themselves on the western edge of the Lallybroch estate. It echoed Claire’s suggestions about how they could move out of the brothel and she could open her own little medical practice out of the print shop back in the last episode. They’re both trying to figure out what their new life together will look like, pulling in elements of what they had in the 20 years apart (Claire with her medical practice) or what they wanted all those years ago (Jamie with a life at Lallybroch). Yet even as they offer these suggestions, there’s a hesitation and push back from the other cause they’re still negotiating treacherous waters. They are slowly working through the pain and disappointment of that time apart, rebuilding their senses of each other through stories. Jamie shares the disappointment he felt when he discovered she wasn’t at the island and then Claire letting him know of one way she kept herself feeling connected to him. Just when he’s built himself up to tell her about Laoghaire, Joanie and Marsali burst in and everyone gets a shock, which of course makes everyone’s reactions worse than they otherwise might have been.

After Jamie has chased Laoghaire off and comforted Joanie, he returns and finds Claire packing her things. While the misunderstanding about Jamie’s relationship with Joanie and Marsali is quickly cleared up, the shock and fear have broken the emotional dam for both Jamie and Claire. Twenty years of pain, anger, frustration, and guilt flood both of them out as they struggle not to be swamped by their own emotions, let alone what the other person is feeling. Logic and reason have no place in that room at that moment. Jamie, as the nominally offending party, takes the lead in trying to justify himself only to be met with Claire’s rage that he’s overlooking the fact that she was in the exact same position having lost him. He wasn’t expecting to survive Culloden so he wasn’t expecting to have to live with the pain; the moment he told her to go and she relented and agreed, Claire knew she was going to have to live the rest of her life with the pain of Jamie’s loss but that doesn’t mean it was any easier for her. With how little Claire has talked about her marriage to Frank, it’s hardly surprising that Jamie has fears (and anger) about just how happy that marriage might have made Claire. Knowing that she might have that when he was dead is far more comforting than believing that’s what she has while he’s still alive and aching for her.

On Claire’s side, she likely doesn’t want to burden Jamie with just how miserable it was for her in her marriage to Frank. It was supposed to be a comfort to him and what was best for Brianna and she doesn’t want Jamie to feel guilty about pressuring her into a situation like that. Which is why when he accuses her of having left him in a way that sounds like he’s implying it was voluntary or even her idea, a switch is flipped and Claire stops being careful about choosing her words. They’ve both been so careful and aware of what the other might think or misconstrue that they’ve been giving incomplete (if not entirely dishonest) depictions of their current selves. Claire calls Jamie out on it (and deservedly so given the extent of his lies of omission) and harkens back to their vows of honesty after Cranesmuir. The links between honesty and trust run deep in their conversation (and the episode as a whole) and it’s only when they stop thinking too hard about what the other might think that they let themselves tell the whole truth and stake their own emotional ground. While they’re interrupted by Jenny and her bucket of water, they’re not done fighting.

I loved seeing Jamie fighting for Claire and their relationship as he stops her from slipping away in the morning. Jamie’s fought for so many things over the years but so few of them were solely for him and what would make him happy. Once again, Claire’s been the same for much of her life since losing Jamie. Both of them have had to settle for what would keep them going. Jamie’s always been sure of his feelings for Claire but Claire has had incredibly different experiences because of Frank. She thought she was sure about Frank when she married him and then everything changed when she met Jamie. She went back to Frank to find both of them too changed to be able to make that relationship work in a way that allowed either of them to be truly happy. Having taken a chance on Jamie, she’s seeing that once again, both of them are incredibly changed people. With how much she idealized Jamie in those twenty years, it’s natural for her to want to retreat and avoid the hurt and disappointment of a relationship too altered to work, again. But her feelings for Jamie are still so much stronger than anything she felt for Frank. The moment the gun goes off and it’s clear Jamie’s been hit, Claire acts on instinct and doesn’t just protect Jamie in a defensive manner, she goes on the offensive and attacks. The fear of losing Jamie to death –– having spent twenty years in that headspace –– is enough to push Claire to listen to what he has to say (even if she hasn’t stopped being angry). Even though Jamie has had a few people to open up to over the years, there hasn’t been anyone he was able to completely share his feelings with (even Murtagh at Ardmsuir; the pain and grief were too close to freely voice). Once again, we see Claire assuring him that she understands everything he was feeling having suffered from it too in his absence.

Despite both having aired so many grievances and voiced long suppressed emotions, there remains an uneasiness between Jamie and Claire as the episode draws to its conclusion. Jamie was the one who actively raised many of the emotional issues he’d been having while Claire was in the position of assuring him that she’d felt that way too. I think, because of this dynamic, Jamie feels more heard and understood than Claire does. Which is why I love the scene at the cliff and Claire’s continued hesitation. She FINALLY gets to be the one actively explaining herself while Jamie listens; her side of the conversation isn’t as reactionary as it has been so much of the time since she arrived in Edinburgh. Jamie’s been benefiting from home-field advantage almost. Jenny’s been distant with Claire for personal reasons but also because she sees Claire as someone who hurt her brother (intentionally or not doesn’t matter). Claire’s been in the dark about so much of what Jamie’s been up to and how everyone’s lives have changed in her absence that she’s constantly playing catch up. But on that cliffside she gets to remind and tell Jamie about all that she’s given up just to find him, let alone be with him. She voices her fears and disappointments. I specifically loved her line about how she never imagined it would be so hard, even knowing that he would have had a life without her. It’s something that I just don’t feel the same way in the books; Claire learning the truth and leaving in a huff only to start regretting and rethinking her decision on the road doesn’t carry quite the same weight that the television adaptation does.

Luckily, Jamie knows exactly what to say and how to say it. I do wish there was a little less ambiguity before Claire spots the ship that kidnaps Young Ian; just a little kiss or a hug or even a nod. But I think instead we’ll either revisit it one last time next episode with Jamie presenting her with the choice to come with him to find Ian or go back to the stones and Brianna, or it’ll be drawn out longer with Claire realizing she wants Jamie after her kidnapping at the hands of the British navy and then the final resolution being when she and Jamie find each other again. I mean, I can’t be too surprised because this is a drama after all.

Jenny and Claire

*I do still have plans to get a deep Claire/Jenny textual analysis written up one of these days. For now, this is a preview of sorts.

This relationship was the most painful to watch go through the wringer in this episode. The disbelief on Jenny’s face when Claire first arrives is incredible. She’s heard from Ian that Claire is alive but seeing her with her own eyes is a whole other thing. The relief and joy of learning a loved one is alive after all is quickly followed by the anger and betrayal of having been deceived, forgotten, or disregarded for all those years of absence. Whatever the reason for Claire’s silence, it feels to Jenny like the love of the relationship was unbalanced with Jenny feeling more than Claire did and it’s an imbalance that pushes Jenny to force a correction, to prevent herself from getting hurt again by refusing to let herself care that much a second time. As far as she’s concerned, Claire fooled her once but won’t fool her again. And what’s worse, Claire played Jamie for a fool too and if there’s one thing Jenny can’t abide it’s seeing those she loves hurt by the carelessness of others.

Claire understands Jenny’s disappointment and feels guilty about her role. If she had stayed away, Jenny and Ian would have continued under the belief that she was dead; it’s only in returning that Jenny’s love for Claire can turn to such disgust because it screws with Jenny’s understanding of Claire as a person. I LOVED the way Jenny pointed out to Jamie that the explanation they’re giving about what happened to Claire is inconsistent with Claire’s character as she experienced it. She knows that something isn’t right and she’s not going to stand for it. She feels she’s earned the right to the whole truth, whatever it may be, and is hurt all over again by the fact that they don’t seem to trust her with that truth. I think hearing that Claire killed a man underscores this question for Jenny. When she and Claire went out looking for Jamie, Jenny was bristling under what she felt was Claire judging her for things like torturing the Red Coat soldier they abducted. She had her doubts about what Claire would do when pressed and now Claire has either changed drastically and will kill without qualm or she’s every bit the fighter she was before and yet still didn’t bother to look for Jamie to be sure. While Murtagh was willing to bide his time and grumble back in Paris last season, Jenny is a bit more active in showing her displeasure.

It’s Claire’s turn to feel betrayed when she learns that it was Jenny who was pulling the strings that led to Laoghaire bursting in. The way they’ve reframed Jamie’s marriage to Laoghaire takes the burden of arranging the match off of Jenny though it’s clear she still supported it wholeheartedly. As Claire does her best to call out Jenny for going overboard in punishing her for the twenty years with no word thing, she is once again pushing for someone to see things from her perspective and give her the benefit of the doubt. And some of what she says gets through to Jenny. There’s still enough understanding between them for Jenny to feel the sincerity and truth of Claire’s feeling even if Jenny quickly shuts down again and lets her head and logic override her heart on the subject. From that point on though, Jenny’s shell begins to crack toward Claire and the truth of her hurt seeps out. She stops hiding behind Jamie as an excuse for her own pain and the passive aggressive retaliation begins to fade (more after Ian steps in and calls her on it). Seeing Claire taking care of Jamie following the shooting and seeing that familiar care and drive helps reassure Jenny that Claire wasn’t deceiving them all before but that only leaves Jenny more confused in terms of what to make of Claire’s absence and what it might be she’s keeping secret now.

Ultimately, Jenny and Claire’s relationship ends still strained but with an olive branch extended. Claire apologizes sincerely again and this time Jenny at least listens and acknowledges it. She is also more honest about her feelings and the betrayal she feels, no longer hiding behind snark, sarcasm, and passive aggression to communicate. I really wish that Claire had given in and told Jenny the whole truth right then and there on the steps of Lallybroch. That lost opportunity is probably my only real disappointment with the episode. At the same time, I can completely understand why they kept it in line with the book and it fits the episode thematically too. Jenny has trusted Claire before and she must trust her again regardless of whether she has the whole story. That’s what trust is; it’s not a lack of honesty at that point because she and Claire are both acknowledging that there is something Claire isn’t telling Jenny. But that doesn’t mean that Claire has to tell Jenny or that Jenny is entitled to the truth; it’s Claire’s choice and Jenny has to either trust her and respect it or truly put the horse down. Supporting Jamie’s wish to take Young Ian with them to France –– to me –– feels as much like it’s about her and Claire as it is about her and Jamie (especially given the way Young Ian already so clearly adores and admires Claire; it’s reminiscent of Ian’s comment early on about how his son follows Jamie’s lead like a puppy). She is giving Claire an opportunity to prove herself trustworthy again.

Ned and Bachelorhood

I did a literal fist pump when I saw Bill Patterson’s name in the opening credit sequence for this episode. NED GOWAN!!! His reunion with Claire was a thing of beauty. The way he teared up upon seeing her after so long was soooo moving. All I could think of was how many people Ned lost in the Rising. Colum died. Dougal died. Angus and Rupert died. And he thought Claire had died too. Not only that, but she’d been right about it all from the start. I wonder how often when thinking about her and the other Highlanders Ned recalled her warnings and his own reply of “history be damned.” To see her alive and well after believing her long lost must have been SUCH a relief.

And of course, given all the unrest in various relationships throughout the episode, I LOVED his line about how his secret to aging so well was that he had never married (my second favorite line of the episode, I think)

Other Thoughts and Musings:

– Seriously, what’s their deal with not having kid actors in 2×08 and then 3×02 to play Jenny and Ian’s children when in this episode WE SEE AT LEAST FIVE WEE BAIRNS RUNNING AROUND AS THEIR GRANDCHILDREN! And again, we only see Wee Jamie all grown, Young Ian cause he’s a prominent character, and then ONE of Jenny and Ian’s other children (Janet). We get a mention of Maggie and WE STILL HAVEN’T SEEN HER SINCE SHE WAS A NEWBORN BAIRN IN 1×14. This whole thing will never not bug me on some level, haha

– I would have loved if we got a little glimpse of Marsali and Fergus noticing each other at Hogmanay

– I desperately want Marsali to take Joanie with her when she and Fergus elope

– I think that part of why Ned seems delighted by the idea of turning Laoghaire over to the British for shooting Jamie is because of the role she played in Claire’s trial at Cranesmuir. More than just her being a horrible person for what she did, I think he took it as a personal affront that she was going out of her way to make his job harder

– In addition to Claire very carefully NOT telling Jenny about Brianna (which I can only think is because Jenny would never let Claire hear the end of it; she’s already mad Claire didn’t even so much as bother to write but to keep her from her only niece…), I’m wondering if there’s a reason we haven’t seen Jamie openly tell Claire that Murtagh’s alive. It seemed like he would have mentioned it when telling her about why he went back to Ardsmuir when he found the cache but not her. “The men needed me. I was their leader,” but no “well, Murtagh was sick and I couldn’t very well just abandon him.” Interesting…

– So many more but this is already way longer than I meant it to be.

 

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By Sydney Bucksbaum, October 29, 2017, The Hollywood Reporter

Why ‘Outlander’ Made That Huge Departure From the Books

Executive producer Matthew B. Roberts tells THR why that change was made and breaks down
"one of our biggest undertakings as a show" from Sunday's episode.
Courtesy of Starz Entertainment, LLC
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday’s Outlander, “Creme De Menthe.”]

Outlander‘s Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) aren’t living happily ever after.

Now that the star-crossed loves have reunited after 20 years of separation, they have to reconcile the fantasy of the person they’ve been missing for two decades with the older, changed person standing in front of each of them. After the romantic and idyllic print shop episode, real-life came crashing back down on the couple with “Creme De Menthe,” and amidst the action of Claire defending and killing her mysterious attacker and Jamie’s illegal smuggling business being brought to light, another secret was revealed that will shake their relationship to its core.

'Outlander'

Both Ian (Steven Cree) and Fergus (Cesar Domboy) whispered to Jamie throughout the episode asking how he’ll handle Claire’s surprise return with his “other wife,” alerting the audience before Claire that Jamie has been hiding this secret marriage from his first wife. In Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager novel, Claire finds out much later, so it’s more of a betrayal for readers as well as the protagonist. In this massive departure from the source material, the Starz series has planted seeds of Jamie trying to figure out a way to break the news to Claire at the right time as well as having Fergus contact old lawyer friend Ned Gowan (Bill Paterson) at once, presumably to figure out a way to end his second marriage now that Claire is back.

Executive producer Matthew B. Roberts revealed that the change was born out of many debates in the Outlander writers room about how they could best “protect Jamie’s character.”

“Because we’re watching it in a different medium, when you read about it Claire is taking you through it, it’s easy to not delve into Jamie’s inner thoughts,” Roberts tells THR. “But when you visibly see Jamie on the screen, you have to play that something is bothering him, something he’s holding in. When you do that enough, you have to give the audience a little bread crumb to know what this is.”

Those breadcrumbs include the moment in “A. Malcolm” “when Fergus pulls Jamie aside and he immediately sends him to contact Ned Gowan which is another switch from the book,” according to Roberts.

“That’s us saying in a visual way that Jamie knows that he’s holding something but before he tells Claire about it, he wants to get all the information so he can unload with all the information and legal ramifications of the secret,” he continues. “Jamie wants to tell her but he holds back. It is only 24 hours [in the print shop] so we felt very comfortable with when you find someone again after 20 years, all your prayers have been answered, the first thing you’re not going to tell this massive secret that might send that person right out the door again and back to the stones. We felt it necessary to protect the character that way, and show that he knows and he’s trying to do something about it.”

Instead of having viewers find out when Jamie’s second wife shows up out of the blue to confront Claire, the team wanted to let everyone in on the secret as soon as possible so it’s not as much of a shock. In fact, the writers even considered having Jamie confess to Claire in the print shop episode but ultimately decided against it since it would have been too much of a change.

“That’s exactly what we debated round and round about why wouldn’t he tell her, why would he hold it back, so we gave visual cues of his worry about it and looking guilty,” Roberts says. “We did talk about revealing that right off the bat but the trickle down of doing that would have caused havoc with the storyline so we decided to not do that.”

Now that Outlander is finally on the other side of the big print shop reunion, the story starts to really pick up and give a new kind of momentum for the season.

'Outlander'

“The structure of it actually becomes an epic; the pace picks up quite a bit,” Roberts says. “They are going on an epic adventure and over the next couple of episodes they find their footing being back together. Because the print shop really only focused on 24 hours and real-life hadn’t really settled in yet for them, the ramifications of that intruder hit in this episode and going forward, it’s really welcome to the 1700’s again for Claire and very quickly trying to find her footing. It almost immediately competes with her modern-day sensibilities.”

The ended with a massive set piece, as an intruder trying to bust Jamie for his illegal alcohol smuggling ended up setting fire to the print shop when Young Ian (John Bell) tried to stop him. Jamie rescued his nephew from the fire but was forced to watch along with Claire as his beloved shop burn to the ground.

“The print shop fire was one of our biggest undertakings as a show,” Roberts reveals. “The battles have become second nature to us in a way but this big fire [was the most challenging]. We built the print shop on the stage, then we went to Ediburgh and we found a building we could use and then we replicated that building exactly at our studio outside on the back lot. Over the course of two nights we progressively burned it and then we went inside to the interior set and we burned that.”

Roberts laughs as he recalls how the production named the different locations as “the main unit and what we were calling the burn unit.”

'Outlander'

“We burned it all because we couldn’t do any burning at the real location,” he says. “It took about seven days to do the whole thing and since this is what the episode is about, we felt like we had to give it enough time to do it right.”

Another change in the story came during that fire scene after Jamie saved Young Ian, since in the book he ends up going back inside to save his printing press and any supplies he could get to before the building collapsed. In the episode, once he and Young Ian were safely outside, he never attempted to run back into the burning building. That subtle difference came about simply because of practicality.

“It was actually the presses themselves that changed that,” Roberts explains. “We had two practical presses built and they are pretty massive. They would have been, from our research, bolted to the ground or ceiling. Jamie, as strong and as superman like that he is, he couldn’t carry it out on his own.”

Roberts acknowledges that in the book, bystanders helped Jamie save his press, but he says the writers ruled out that idea.

“It wouldn’t even fit through the door,” he says. “Our print shop was on the second floor and the presses were on the bottom floor so he would have had to carry it up and then down stairs so practically it just would never have worked. So instead, the spirit of that is still there – when he is saving Young Ian, he pushes that press against the window and uses it as his way of escape.”

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

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/outlander-creme-de-menthe-matthew-b-roberts-interview-1052529

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Outlander 03×07 Crème de Menthe – by Lenny9987

My immediate reaction to Crème de Menthe upon finishing it was that it was a solid, functional episode. Having rewatched it, it’s come to encapsulate everything I love and hate about watching this show having read the books first. I spend so much of my first watches waiting and anticipating certain moves from the books that it can keep me from really appreciating some of the changes that the show has and is making as it adapts the material. The changes I want to see are obvious and appreciated right away, but others take that second viewing to remind myself that while something might be different from the book, it is consistent with how the show has handled something (or someone) or to grasp the full extent of how something altered plays out; when it’s a change, I might be able to guess at how it will unfold but I don’t know the way I do with the books at this point so there’s still chances to surprise me. Upon rewatching, there’s so much more that I liked and appreciated than just the fact they got rid of plots I find tedious and ridiculous or reworked problematic depictions of characters so they make me cringe less.
Crème de Menthe does a phenomenal job of streamlining the plots from a section of the book where they get thrown at the reader thick and fast. It takes most of the rest of the book to truly untangle them and understand the varying levels of deception and red herrings. I genuinely appreciated the way that the show cut out some of the unnecessary drama and confusion to make elements clearer and less cluttered. Shuffling elements a bit like the fire at the print shop and changing the death of the excise man help give some of these events greater weight and less the feeling of being distractions meant to emphasize the chaos of Claire’s journey back. While I love Voyager and Jamie and Claire’s reunion, most of my interest in it as a reader tends to fall a bit later after the explosive events at Lallybroch because that’s where and when they actually deal with the emotional baggage they each carry. It’s only in my latest reread and in watching the show’s adaptation that I realize just how much the novel relies on Claire telling the reader that she and Jamie had been changed by their 20 years apart rather than actually showing it (until that explosive fight at Lallybroch, anyway). Reading through the Edinburgh chapters, there’s so much else going on, it’s hard to feel that either of them have truly changed that much. Some of that is probably because readers are stuck in Claire’s perspective but I love the way that the show is giving a broader view of the cracks 20 years apart have made in their relationship. Their doubts and fears are much closer to the surface for us to see, in part because the plot distractions have been cleared away and/or bent to serve that tension.

Sir Percival and Jamie’s Smuggling Ring

This is probably the plot from Edinburgh that has been streamlined the best from the book so far. In the book, Sir Percival is much more like the Duke of Sandringham playing games with Jamie and getting other people to do his dirty work. It makes understanding even the basic nature of Jamie’s enterprise difficult until much later. It’s sort of presented as a mystery that’s unfolding but having it played straight for the show (where there isn’t the time to get into so many twists and turns) works infinitely better for me. The threat is more immediate to everything and every one because the connections between events is more direct. The altered death of the excise man and Claire’s attempts to save him also bend that plot towards serving the story of Jamie and Claire’s relationship. They’ve disagreed before on many occasions but this is the first real test since Claire’s return and it shows them both how much harder the reality of being together again while holding on to the selves they’ve become in each other’s absence is going to be. Claire was always a healer but now she has her oath as a doctor weighing on her conscience and driving her actions. She also has a much greater depth of knowledge and experience in terms of how to carry out her healing. She doesn’t hesitate or question herself, she acts on instinct and muscle memory. It’s a level of confidence Jamie hasn’t seen in her to this extent before and there’s a greater weight to it as well. She doesn’t just want to help someone who’s injured because she can or wants to, she is compelled to help them because she feels a responsibility to do so. It’s a change in Claire that throws Jamie at first but he does a relatively good job of adjusting to and when the man dies despite her efforts, he tries to comfort her even though he can’t completely empathize with what she’s feeling in that moment.
On Claire’s side, the failure to save the man carries with it the true limitations she has in the 18th century, not just because of her sex but because of what she has at hand. She’s overcome so much sexism to gain that medical education and earn her place in the operating room and here, even when she doesn’t face as much opposition in terms of being allowed to practice on a patient, she is limited severely by the materials at hand. As she tells Jamie, for fourteen years she’s dedicated her life to medicine and healing; it’s been the dominant part of her sense of self and where she’s drawn most of her strength. But here she is having finally found Jamie and she’s lost the first “patient” she’s tried to treat and she knows it’s not because of a lack of skill or knowledge. Through her visit and assessment of Margaret Campbell and then her suggestion to Jamie that she could open her own establishment or treat patients out of the print shop, it becomes clear that Claire is struggling to reconcile the way her coming back through the stones is impacting that part of herself that has become so important in the 20 years of separation. She doesn’t want to sacrifice an ounce of that capability into which she’s invested so much of her time and energy.

Sacrifices

In last week’s episode and this week’s, both Jamie and Claire have talked about how much they are willing to risk, have risked, or are willing to sacrifice in order to be together. Claire’s brush with the reality that some of her effectiveness as a doctor will have to be sacrificed if she’s to stay in the 18th century is one of several tests to those declarations both have made.
We only got brief glimpses of Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh during last week’s episode –– Madam Jeanne, Jamie paying off Sir Percival, his conversation with Fergus, the appearance of Young Ian –– but in this week’s episode we see just how tenuous that enterprise actually is, how close it all is to crumbling… and then we watch it slowly crumble as Jamie tries desperately to hold it all together. While Claire let’s her opinion on them continuing to live in a brothel (even if it would save them money on rent) be known, she doesn’t express too much surprise or dismay over the rest of Jamie’s illicit activities… until he lies to Ian about having seen Young Ian. Similarly, the allusions to Jamie’s other wife are heavily present in this episode and his conversation with Ian following his brother-in-law’s disbelief over Claire’s return show how far Jamie’s willing to go to try and hold things together. Lying to corrupt agents of the crown is one thing but lying to the people who mean the most to him is another. Of course with Sir Percival’s suspicions and pressure, Jamie’s smuggling is becoming more dangerous and then with the fire destroying the print shop, Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh are pretty thoroughly demolished by the end of the episode. But it doesn’t feel like the willing sacrifice he told Claire he would make to be with her; it feels like bitter disappointment and failure.
The sacrifice Jamie made in sending Claire through the stones –– the opportunity to help raise their child –– is another one that comes up during the fight that begins (but is interrupted) in this episode. That was another sacrifice that was both willing and unwilling. He would lay down his life to protect Claire and their child and that’s the sacrifice he thought he was making when he sent her through the stones. But what he instead sacrificed was the chance to know and raise his child. Claire’s scolding over lying to Ian and her bringing up his practical inexperience as a parent poke at a wound that will never heal. Though Jamie says he’d sacrifice everything to be with Claire again, he’s made sacrifices before that twisted into something he wasn’t prepared for.
They are both struggling to reconcile their expectations with reality. They’ve found ways to suppress the pain they felt during those 20 years and seem to hope that simply being together again will make it go away, but all it’s doing is releasing the hold they have on that pain and letting it reach the surface. It’s something they both long to lay at someone else’s feet and the only person who they can do that with is the other while at the same time, the last person they want to blame is the other, especially when they’ve spent so long clinging to the love they shared and building up their memories of each other. The tension between dismissing the pain of the past 20 years and remaining the people they are because of it is making them both act defensively when what they need is to work together to air and acknowledge their pain so they can move past it (and here’s hoping a healthy chunk of that gets properly dealt with next week and that the show doesn’t decide to really drag this out).

The Best Brother I Never Had: Fergus and Young Ian

While I enjoy the angst of Jamie and Claire being forced to face and navigate their new reality, what I enjoyed most in the episode on the lighter side of things was the relationship between Fergus and Young Ian. I was again completely bowled over by Domboy’s portrayal of adult Fergus and the way he and Young Ian interact with each other that put a dopey grin on my face. I’m not entirely sure what the show is going to do about Young Jamie and Michael Murray, but in book canon, both are a bit more straight-laced and proper while Young Ian is the troublesome Murray lad, always getting into trouble. In the show I get the feeling that Young Ian looked up to Fergus and related to him more than he did his older brothers. Fergus doesn’t have the same background or stake in doing things according to the letter and/or spirit of the law. And of course Fergus learned some of what he knows from Jamie. They’re simultaneously the Three Musketeers and the Three Stooges. I loved Young Ian turning to Fergus for an assessment of Auntie Claire –– and then refusing to believe the rumors Fergus tells him insisting (after only barely having met her) that Auntie Claire wouldn’t kill a man without good reason. It’s like Fergus is giving Young Ian lessons in how to ship Jamie and Claire. Fergus’ advice to Young Ian concerning lasses –– and Young Ian’s earnest and blunt execution of that advice –– was hilarious and soooo sweet. I want to see so much more of this relationship, especially how Fergus reacts to Ian being kidnapped (and then later, how Ian reacts to Fergus’ marriage).

Other Random Thoughts and Squees:

–– I love how they’re adapting Mr. Willoughby for the show. The level of respect between him and Claire already is downright heartwarming. He may not understand all of what she does as a healer or why, but he does understand the how and why of her personal investment in her patients, whomever they may be.
–– Ian meeting Claire again and talking about how he and Jenny grieved for her was the most moving scene in the episode. The disbelief on his face and Jamie’s nod to assure him it is real, then the way he closes his eyes and hugs her back. That single fucking tear! It brought me all the way back to Lallybroch and the way he and Claire commiserated over having to deal with the Fraser stubbornness. I want so much more of this relationship!
–– Seriously, Young Ian’s “tell me what you like/want and I’ll do it” attitude was just the sweetest and cutest thing ever. I also adored his attempts to stomp the fire out before realizing, oh shit this is way out of hand.
–– While I greatly appreciate that they got rid of the serial killer aspect of the Campbell storyline, I still think too much time has been spent on it for whatever the new payoff ends up being down the line. Does nothing for me in the book and was bored through those scenes in this episode.
Speculation/Wishlist:

–– I definitely want Claire to tell Jenny the whole truth in next week’s episode. There have been enough changes from the book so far that I’m not as convinced it won’t happen as I might have been before. I want both Jenny and Ian to know the truth about the stones and Claire (and probably Bree too).
–– Also you can’t name-drop Ned Gowan twice in two episodes if you don’t have Bill Patterson in 3×08. That would just be cruel.
–– I can see us maybe getting a parallel to Claire’s speech in 1×16 but from Jamie sometime soon. If/when Claire expresses doubt, Jamie coming out with something similar to “I’ll have you any way I can, always” or “it’s the only way I can explain how this is possible, why you’re here.” It’ll depend on how they handle the revelation, fight, and reconciliation.

_____________________

Thanks to Lenny for allowing us to post her wonderful review.

https://lenny9987.tumblr.com/post/166944220621/outlander-03×07-cr%C3%A8me-de-menthe

 

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Episode 302, “Surrender,” shows us where Jamie and Claire are about six years after the Battle of Culloden (show time line). It is a heart-wrenching episode, so it is difficult to select “favorite” scenes.  Most scenes will be sad until we reach Jamie and Claire’s reunion, so let’s look at some of the most heart-wrenching scenes.

There are several changes from the book version, but they seem to work well.

Claire has given birth to Brianna and is trying to reconnect with Frank, but to no avail. In Episode 301, Frank complains that Claire uses her pregnancy to keep Frank physically distant. However, even after Brianna is born they continue to be estranged. Claire fantasizes about Jamie, and since Claire has, in the past, embraced her sexuality, she misses that part of herself. Frank becomes aware they she closes her eyes during sex and fantasizes sex with Jamie. By the end of the episode, Claire and Frank’s sexual relationship, as well as their marriage, is for all intents and purposes done. Our last shot of them is in twin beds. They agree to remain together and lead separate lives. In translation, Frank is given permission to have extramarital affairs as long as he maintains discretion.

 

 

 

 

Book readers were nervous about how the writers might handle Mary McNab, but I think it was presented very well. Jamie is a shell of the person he used to be, and after Fergus loses his hand at the hands of Corp. MacGregor, Jamie decides to turn himself in so he family can collect the reward and escape the harassment they have long endured. When Mary comes to the cave to visit him on the last night, she offers herself to him. Reluctantly, he eventually agrees. However, the scene is very sad rather than sexy. I felt sorry for Mary and Jamie. Jamie actually cried and kept his eyes closed (as does Claire with Frank). Mary tells him he can look at her. To avoid hurting Mary’s feelings, he assures her she is a bonnie lass, but closing his eyes is something he always does. We know that isn’t true. Closing his eyes allows him to fantasize about Claire.

 

 

 

The title is a good description for the episode. Both Jamie and Claire surrender to their circumstances. Claire finally accepts that her life and marriage to Frank will never be as fulfilling as her life with Jamie. She surrender’s herself to the idea that he is gone forever and that she must make the most she can out of her life in Boston. Finally she enrolls in medical school, where we finally get to meet Dr. Joe Abernathy, who becomes Claire’s closest friend and confidant.

Jamie surrenders himself to the same realization that Claire is gone and that he must find a way to live. Deciding that protecting his family gives him purpose and at least a reason to live, he surrenders himself to the British soldiers.  Jamie always puts others before himself.  Anther reason he is King of Men.

     

 

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Title: Freedom and Whisky

Written by: Toni Graphia

Directed by: Brendan Maher

 This recap includes information from both the official script and  Starz podcasts  by the executive producers and will include things changed or edited for television.

The podcast was hosted by Executive producers Toni Graphia (TG) and Maril Davis (MD).  The title card was 0f Claire painting a Christmas ornament for Brianna’s first Christmas.  This shows that the very busy medical student and then surgeon still had time for a mom’s personal touches.

Episode 304 was a Jamie-focused episode with arguably one of the most important times in his 20-year gap from Claire.  This episode serves the same purpose for Claire.  They had discussed making 304 and 305 one episode but it was far too long.

TG noted that she and Maril discussed this episode at length with a focus on the mother/daughter relationship.  They debated questions about what it would take for a mother to leave a daughter she loves and at what point in a child’s life does the mother have a right to her own life.  Is it selfish or do you have the right to pursue your own happiness?  All good questions that they explore in this episode.

We open with doctors performing surgery and when the lead surgeon speaks, it is clearly Claire’s voice.  The script notes say they originally wanted to make the patient be the Harry mentioned by Joe Abernathy when he called Claire in Scotland.  There was even a backstory created for him but this was dropped in favor of an unknown patient once the story timeline was shifted to late December.  This was already done when they were prepping sets and TG had to call fellow executive producer Matt Roberts to request (beg) them to shift the sets.  This added three days to the prep schedule.

Claire shows her usual combination of courage and recklessness in keeping the patient under sedation with a dropping blood pressure in order to make sure she completes the necrosis removal.  The show used their medical consultant (also named Claire!) to help with the authentic look of the surgery.  TG notes that Cait had to practice a lot but picked up the surgical technique very quickly.

The scene shifts to a Harvard history class where Professor David Brown is lecturing on Paul Revere.  TG commented that all the historical facts on the white board were researched by their assistant (a PhD candidate in history). The professor was named for a show producer!  TG’s inspiration was a story told to her by Matt Roberts about the truth behind Paul Revere’s ride.  It’s also a bit of foreshadowing in future books.

The professor has a private chat with Brianna about her failing grades in all her classes after a strong previous semester.  Bree is struggling with all that she has learned in the past two years between losing the man who raised her and finding out that not only is her real father another man but that time travel actually exists.  She was focused on the hunt for Jamie in Scotland but now, the enormity of this hits her and she is not into school at the moment.  Sketches of the University cloisters also hint at an interest in subject matters other than history.  She shrugs it off since she cannot tell the professor what is really bothering her.

Back at the hospital, we see that Joe and Claire share an office and are trusted friends.  Maril commented that the network was interested in whether there would be any indication of a romantic involvement between Joe and Claire but she pushed back. (Not only is this not in the book, I am glad Maril stood her ground since the Joe/Claire dynamic is excellent as it is.) This scene is one of three important scenes between Joe and Claire as she slowly reveals her love of another man.  In the book this is one big scene but Maril felt it was better to show this in line with Claire’s mental progression  and decision making process about whether she should go back through the stones.

A taxi pulls up outside the Boston apartment and it is Roger Wakefield wondering if he’s lost his mind.  In the book, Claire and Bree go back to Scotland but they decided not to do that for production reasons (including they lost their location in Scotland and then moved to South Africa).  This way, Roger gets to experience his first American Christmas and it is explained both by his discovery and the fact that he did not want to have this first Christmas without the Reverend all alone.

Roger is excited but realizes his timing is not good as he hears Claire and Bree shouting in the house.  While they are both happy to see him, it is clear they are fighting over her decision to both drop out and move out.  She leaves with a box (why not a suitcase?) and Claire invites him to stay.  Maril loves the Claire and Roger relationship and I wonder if seeing how good Roger is with Bree helped Claire to ultimately make her decision.

Fun Fact #1:  O Come All ye Faithful is rumored to be a coded Jacobite song for Bonnie Prince Charlie.  Mark Me, I’ll never listen to that the same way again.

The books mention Claire telling Jamie about reading A Christmas Carol so they decided to introduce that here.  I really didn’t get the implication that an American Christmas is lobster rolls and Boston Cream Pie until TG said that was her family Christmas.  Sorry, Toni.  I don’t know anybody who had that, it is usually turkey or ham and Apple pie.

TG also joked that if you notice a lot of whisky in this episode, it was deliberate.

Roger is excited to tell Claire that he thinks he found Jamie.  He shows her a printed piece from the 18th century quoting the Robert Burns poem they heard in the Scotland pub.  Claire had told Jamie that line of Freedom and whisky go together and since Burns was only six years old then, it had to be known by someone with knowledge of the future.  He points out that the piece was written and printed by an Alexander Malcolm.  He assumes this is Jamie and is very proud of his find.

Claire’s reaction stuns him.  She is not happy at all and fears that she had finally accepted Jamie was dead and does not want to risk her heartache again.  In the book she never gave up hope but the show writer’s wanted to make it more of an agonizing decision. She now feels she must close the door on that part of her life and protect Bree, who is obviously having a hard time.

She invites Roger to stay and later ponders what all of this means and if she really wants to even think about it any more.

The next day Claire and Joe are reviewing a set of bones sent by a friend looking for cause of death.  Claire holds the skull and immediately feels sadness.  She guesses right that this woman was from more than 100 years ago and that she was murdered.  Another Easter Egg for book readers.

Claire discusses her dilemma with Joe again and she confesses that her man from Scotland is Bree’s real father and Bree is struggling.  There was a longer conversation in the script about how Joe’s son Lenny changed his name and was also being difficult.  This was important for a later scene in Voyager so I wonder if they will leave that out as well. Joe tells Claire that everyone knew she and Frank had problems and that Bree will come around.  I love how Joe is always putting Claire first.

Bree returns to the house and finds Roger engrossed in an episode of Dark Shadows.  (My mother used to love this show.)  Fun Fact #2:  A very cool coincidence is that this episode of Dark Shadows actually aired on the exact date that it was supposed to be in the show (It’s Season 11, episode 651 if you’re interested) AND the plot is about a woman who goes back in time to the 18th century.   Bree invites Roger to a reception at Harvard in honor of Frank Randall.

Bree and Roger walk into Harvard under the famous cloisters (which don’t exist but the ones at University of Glasgow do).   They observe the structures differently, Roger from a historian’s perspective and Bree from an engineer’s perspective despite her history major and grooming up with a history professor.  This is another foreshadow of how Bree finds her true calling and not one she chose to please Frank.  They talk about being the daughter of a historian or a highlander.  Roger tells her a story about his own father which was actually pulled forward from Book 4.

The reception celebrates a fellowship in honor of Professor Randall.  In awkward moment 101, the Dean introduces Claire to Sandy.  Frank’s Sandy/Candy.  Sandy confronts Claire about how she loved him and Claire was selfish and wanted it all but threw away 20 years.  Roger and Bree are watching in the background, seeing that something isn’t quite right.

I had so many problems with this scene.  First, the Dean had to suspect that something was going on between Frank and Sandy for 20 years!  Second, TG thought it was interesting to show what it cost Frank to stay.  So, in the book Frank has many mistresses but somehow it is supposed to make it all better that he only cheated with one?  TG felt Frank was a hero for staying and raising Bree and that it was important to “call Claire on her shit”.  That sentence makes me very angry.  I’ll bet if Frank could have children, he would have been gone in a heartbeat.  And they left out racist Frank too.  Or the fact that Frank tended to date his students (Claire, Sandy and who knows how many more.  It’s all about power.)  TG and Ron D. Moore have slowly tried to change the Frank character to be a sympathetic one and not only am I not buying it, I’m kind of offended by it.  I got the sense that Maril wasn’t buying it either although she said that this scene actually showed a stronger Jamie and Claire bond.  Sorry, the more you have to explain it, the less water it holds for me.

A script aside is that Sandy’s real name was going to be Mandy but they had to change that for future book reasons.  TG does not read ahead in the books.

Claire and Bree walk through the fake Harvard cloisters (where did Roger go?).  Bree is dressed like the daughter of a Highlander (perhaps unconsciously).  Bree recognized Sandy and in keeping their promise of no more lies, Claire tells her exactly who Sandy was.  Bree feels divorced child guilt and wonders if one or both of her parents hated her because she looks like Jamie.  In the book, Claire tells her she hated her a bit until she held her but they softened that in the script.

Bree tells Claire she can go back but Claire resists.  Bree tells her she loves her but she doesn’t need her, even though she’s struggling right now.  She wants her to go back.

At the hospital, Claire, Joe and their colleagues are watching Astronaut Jim Lovell and Apollo 8 orbiting the moon.  (Fun fact #3, this is the same Jim Lovell who was portrayed in the Apollo 13 movie by Tom Hanks.)  Joe comments that it must be hard to make a trip like that and come back the same. He unknowingly gives Claire a parallel food for thought and she thinks about what she must do.

Later that evening she and Bree discuss the possibility of her going back to Jamie and never being able to see each other again.  Bree wants her to tell Jamie all about her, that he deserves to know.  Claire confesses her insecurities that Jamie will have forgotten her or fallen out of love with her but Bree reassures her.  Bree tells her that Claire gave up Jamie for Bree and now Bree is giving up Claire to give Jamie back to her.  (I kind of like the book version better where she says Jamie gave up Claire for Bree.)

Claire is now seriously considering returning but her insecurities (an unusual trait for Claire) are still there.  She confronts Joe and asks if she is sexually attractive.  He recognizes where this is coming from and ensures her that her man will be in heaven when he sees her.  That gives Claire the final boost she needs.  We all need a friend like Joe.

It’s Christmas morning in the Boston house.  It’s clear Claire has shared that she’s leaving for the stones as they have purchased 18th century UK money for her.  (This was more believable in the book when they actually were in the UK.)   Roger gives her a history of Scotland so she can anticipate any other challenges.  Bree notes that she wanted to give her a flashlight but was afraid of another witch trial.  (Her knowledge of this witch trial will be important in S4.)  In one final gesture, Bree gives her a necklace with a Topaz so that she can have the required gemstone to get through the stones.  (TG joked that the UK pronunciation of Topaz is actually ToPAZ which makes me think that’s how Cait pronounced it at first.)

Claire confides that he’s bringing some “borrowed” antibiotics and other surgical supplies with her.  The three discuss how she can do this and Claire notes that she has to make it with pockets.  Roger jokes it is like Batman’s utility belt.

The montage to follow shows Claire sewing her outfit.   I thought at first that the continued Batman reference was a tip to Sam Heughan who played Batman in a touring stage production but in the post-show interview, Ron Moore gave credit to his wife and costume designer Terry and said they took to calling it the bat suit because of the multi-purpose of the outfit.  I think they overdid the bat suit running joke in the show itself, especially the music.  It was funny when I heard the music start but to play it through the whole sewing montage was beneath the gravitas of the show, for me.

After super-seamstress Claire finishes, she takes stock of herself for wrinkles and more gray hair.  The next day Roger and Bree notice she dyed her hair overnight and Claire comments that it was thanks to Miss Clairol.

(Fun fact #4: Caitriona Balfe did an ad for Miss Clairol in her modeling years.)

 

 

 

Claire was clever with the use of raincoat material given the Scottish weather and she tucks the penicillin vials into one of the pockets. Roger steps out to get more whisky and Claire gives Bree a note for Joe Abernathy and the deed to the house.  She gives her the Scottish pearls that were her grandmother Ellen’s.  It seems to be the first time that Bree hears that was her grandmother’s name which seems odd but maybe that’s just the way Sophie Skelton played it.  Mother and daughter hug now since Claire does not want them to accompany her to the stones.  I loved how she explained the first time she was scared, the second time, heartbroken and that this time she wanted it to be peaceful.

That night, a taxi comes to take Claire on a risky journey back in time.  Bree and Roger wave at the window, with Bree wearing the pearls.  Bree nods in encouragement and then turns in tears as soon as Claire pulls away.  I don’t find Sophie’s acting skills to be on par with the rest of the cast when she’s delivering lines but she did a good job with the facial expressions and body language.  I believed her emotions.

Bree goes into the kitchen in tears and then steadies herself in a way that would make her parents proud.  She puts on a Santa hat and brings in a tray of lobster roll and Boston cream pie that had been on the counter.  She gives Roger his first American Christmas and probably ptomaine poisoning.  They kiss and while I’m not convinced that she feels yet the depth of puppy dog love he feels for her, it is a new leg of their personal journey together.  She tucks in with him on the couch and begins to read Dickens.

The taxi driver stops as voiceover Claire tells the story of how as a child she thought puddles were actually deep holes that could suck you in.  She looks down at a puddle as steps out of the taxi and the next thing we see are her boots in an 18th century puddle.  While this reminded me a bit of copying the episode 201 cross-century shift, it worked.  The writers decided that the stones scenes would be a “been there/done that” scene and also the location they use for Caigh Na Dun is difficult to get to.

I liked that Claire’s outfit was a bit more colorful than the rest of 18th century Edinburgh as she is still a woman out of time.  She stops and asks a young boy where she can find Mr. Malcom’s print shop  and he directs her to Carfax Close.  She walks with anticipation and uncertainty and comes upon the sign for the print shop.  Claire’s face here is everything-pure joy.  Ascending the stairs slowly, she stops at the top to check her reflection and with a big sigh, the infamous Cling of the bell is heard.

I’ll admit, I thought they would stop there or with the well known first line and was pleasantry surprised when they kept going. She notices a hat and lit candle at the desk indicating somebody is there.  Then, we hear the brogue calling out ” is that you, Geordie” and we realize it isn’t just somebody.  Cait did a great job with her heavy breathing as she recognizes the voice.  You can feel her heart beating out of her chest.

I was surprised that the Print Shop set was two levels but it really worked.  The voice keeps talking to Geordie as Claire walks over to the open balcony overlooking the press.  It’s Jamie and if it is possible to just act with your spine, Sam does it here.  When Claire says “It’s not Geordie”, he stiffens.  He knows that voice even after 20 years.  She continues “it’s me, Claire” With the eagerness of a hopeful child. He turns, almost afraid that it’s another hallucination that he hasn’t had in a while.  He looks up (which is why the two levels works so well) and the candles light up her face.  His body gives way before his mind does and he “falls gracefully to the floor for such a large man.”  She gives an oh crap look and we cut to credits.

It was a perfect way to end the two week build up to the Print Shop episode.  There were times I felt the episode was a bit jumpy but I’ve always felt Toni writes great scenes in isolation that sometimes suffer from a lack of seamless flow from one to another.  But kudos to the writers, Cait, Sam and set designer Jon Gary Steele for the last five minutes.  They were even better than I imagined them.

Congrats!  We’ve already made it halfway through the two week break before Print Shop (aka episode 306 A. Malcolm) airs on October 22nd.

Thanks to the time and talent of the following for the images and gifs. bookboyfriendharem, lulutan-79, anoutlandishidea, balfoddlyeager, jamieclaire, the nerd daily, Terry Dresbach and Starz.  If we’ve forgotten anyone, please contact us at any of our social media sites

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Sam Heughan Talks Us Through the Five Stages of Jamie’s Sadness

Season three of Outlander has been devastating so far.

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser in Outlander

STARZ

Who is Jamie Fraser now? The man we knew from seasons one and two of Outlander has gone through a monumental shift after losing the love of his life, and in every episode of this season so far, he’s almost been a different character, with a new name and a new life. “I really feel like every episode has been a mini-movie,” actor Sam Heughan told ELLE.com, “and episode four is like Downton Abbey.” When we caught up with the actor in his trailer on the Outlander set in Cape Town, South Africa, he took us through his process of portraying Jamie Fraser as the Dun Bonnet (the rebel outlaw), Mac Dubh (the leader of men in Ardsmuir Prison), and Alex MacKenzie (the groom at Helwater). Yet while he may take on different guises, he’s always a wanted man—in more ways than one.

Here, find out how Heughan took on the challenge of an ever-changing Jamie.

Nice costume! Are those satin boots?

Yes! It’s nice to be wearing something more genteel than a kilt. [Laughs]

For someone who is supposed to be 20 years older, you’ve aged well.

I disagree with you, actually! On screen, obviously, Jamie does age very well, but I could show you a list of everything we’ve done to him, everything the make-up artists have done. A little gray hair, prosthetics on my forehead, a little eyework. But it’s more his journey, what’s happened to him, about what he’s gone through. It’s really hard to lose someone and find a way to go on.

Jamie Fraser Outlander Sam Heughan

Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) at the Battle of Culloden

STARZ

From what I understand, you modeled Jamie’s journey on the stages of grief?

Yes! It’s a whole journey in the first few episodes, where he comes to terms with the fact that Claire’s really gone, and finds a will and a way to live. He actually doesn’t want to be Jamie Fraser anymore, and so he creates all these different personas for himself, in each town, in each episode. It’s actually been fantastic. It’s been a real gift, this season. I wrote it down with the directors, all the stages of grief, and we tried to figure out where they all factored in.

So the Battle of Culloden was the anger stage?

Yes. It’s a great start to the season. He loses Claire, and he goes into battle, and I wanted to show him being cut a lot, and not caring. It’s almost like he’s committing suicide. He’s being very rough. There’s one scene, where he slashes a guy’s throat, and we were going to have it like he was smashing this guy’s head in with a rock or something, because he’s using the battle to take out his anger of losing her.

And then we go through his disbelief. That whole sequence after the battle where he’s hallucinating? He’s getting closer and closer to death, he’s bleeding out, and he sees Claire while he’s in this dreamlike state. Rupert saves him, and the pain brings him around, but I thought, he’s such in a bad way physically, and with his grief, that he doesn’t want to live. But he’s so deteriorated that it hasn’t fully hit him. He’s just lost. The first time you really see him conscious, and wrestling with it, is when he’s hiding out as the Dun Bonnet. For me, that’s when he’s in the worst place.

Sam Heughan as Jamie in Outlander

Jamie Fraser in hideout mode

STARZ

He barely even speaks.

They had it in the script that he spoke a little more, but I thought he shouldn’t. I felt like he should be very quiet. He feels like his actions have hurt everyone around him, and he doesn’t really want to be at Lallybroch. He had built a life there with Claire. He sees her everywhere. There’s one section when we see her appear in front of him, but I think that’s happening a lot. Everything reminds him of her. He’s in so much pain, he’s lost any form of communication. It’s a bit of self-punishment as well.

But when this thing happens to Fergus, he realizes that he’s got this family, and some sort of responsibility to them. Actually, there was a sequence, a fairly large sequence that got cut, where this Scottish Redcoat followed Fergus and found Jamie’s cave, and there was a fight. Jamie ends up drowning him in the river. And I kind of liked that, because we saw this other side of Jamie: this ruthless, feral side. He’s so used to living off the land, eating wild animals, and there’s now something savage about him.

“HE ACTUALLY DOESN’T WANT TO BE JAMIE FRASER ANYMORE”

He manages to connect with Mary McNab, though.

He just needs some sort of human interaction that isn’t a reminder of Claire. And the way we shot it, he just can’t…He just closes his eyes, because he wants to shut it out. The best place for him, really, is prison. Which is why he’s more than willing to give himself up, to help these other people. He feels his life is worthless, so why not? But the whole time at Ardsmuir Prison is really hard for him, because he wants to just die in the corner, and yet he gains this status with the men, unwillingly. He doesn’t want to be a leader of men. He doesn’t want to have attention. But the men have this respect for him, and he does want to look after Murtagh. I feel like at this point, he sees what these men want, and he knows he needs to keep them going. So he’s found a bit of purpose.

When he’s asked to translate what the wandering man is saying, his words give Jamie hope that Claire might have come back.

He knows it’s madness, but he can’t help himself. He wants to hold on to her. He’s been talking to her, dreaming about her, thinking about her, and so he goes on this sort of fool’s errand, to escape to this island. But there is nothing there that he is looking for, although something else is there. And that’s when he’s like, “Oh, God. She actually is gone. She is not coming back.” That’s when he finds acceptance, ultimately. Which is great, because it means he can move on. And that’s really hard for someone to come to terms with.

Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and his son, William Ransom​ (Clark Butler)

Jamie Fraser and his son, William Ransom (Clark Butler)

STARZ

So by the time we get to his adventures at Helwater, he’s moved through all the stages?

Exactly. I wanted to play it like—before, he wasn’t sure what John Grey was going to do to him, because he still has a bit of Black Jack[–inspired] distrust, but then he sees what he’s been given. And he’s able to find some peace there. He’s back with horses, which he enjoys. After being all over the world, and being involved with history, politics, revolution, now he’s got a quiet life. He’s happy to be in the shadows serving someone else.

Although serving someone else brings him into yet another woman’s bed!

[Laughs] It’s a little complex! He’s not trying to replace Claire. It’s either done in finding solace, some sort of companionship, or, in Geneva’s case, because of blackmail. And then it means he has a child he can care for, even if he has to do it from afar. For him, having Willie is very rewarding. He’s always wanted children, always wanted to care for them, so it’s heartbreaking when he has to leave Willie behind. And in such a short amount of time to deal with it all! We literally only got one scene there. But he carries Willie wherever he goes now. At least there’s someone else there to live for now.

Sam Heughan Talks Us Through the Five Stages of Jamie’s Sadness

Outlander’s third season has been an epic voyage, especially for its hero Jamie Fraser. Sam Heughan, who plays the fighting Scot, fills us in on the many guises Jamie has assumed so far-and on how Claire’s loss has affected him.

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Title: Of Lost Things

Written by: Toni Graphia

Directed by: Brendan Maher

This recap includes information from both the official script and  Starz podcasts  by the executive producers and will include things changed or edited for television.

The podcast was hosted by executive producers Toni Graphia (TG) and Matthew B. Roberts (MBR).  The original title was going to be Helwater but Matt felt that this title applies to so many people and things in this episode that it fit.

This episode was highly anticipated (or dreaded depending on which scenes we are talking about).  I thought there were excellent changes including one important one, a few plot holes and once again, outstanding performances.  There should be a special award for Bear McCreary’s score, David Berry’s eyebrows should win best supporting actor and if Sam Heughan doesn’t get nominated for a major award this year, there will be some serious crockery throwing in this house.

The title card is of a man’s hands carving something out of a piece of wood.  We see it is a snake that resembles Sawny, a sentimental gift to a young Jamie from his brother Willie.

We begin in 1968 right after episode 213 ended.  Claire, Bree and Roger have a war room set up to try to find out what happened to Jamie after he survived Culloden.  Claire locates him on a prison roll from Ardsmuir and they find that he was still alive for three years until the prison closed.  (I was thinking she might have found Murtagh’s name too but perhaps they were just focused on Jamie and didn’t bother scanning for more familiar names.)    TG notes that Roger names all real prisons in Scotland at that time and they tossed in Blackness as an Easter Egg for the fans since that is where they filmed for Fort William.  Bree and Roger go find whisky to celebrate while Claire wonders what Jamie did next.

The answer awaits us in the next scene.  We are at Helwater, home of Lord and Lady Dunsany and their daughters as they return from Italy,  in a scene with the servants lined up in such a way that TG calls Downton Abbey.  The script says that Lord Dunsany is in his 50’s and his wife in her late 40’s which I find hard to believe but they must have aged faster in those days.  (Think about how beautiful Claire looks at 50.)  Geneva and Isobel are 21 and 20, respectively.  I hate that the smart daughter is always the plain one with cheaper gowns.  TG said she was going for the Lady Mary/Lady Edith vibe from Downton.  Dear Toni, Not even close to the same show.  Unless you care to resurrect Matthew through the stones.

Dunsany speaks to Jamie (using an alias of Alexander MacKenzie) and advises him that while Dunsany is aware of his Jacobite past, his wife is not.  She is grieving the loss of their son, who died at PrestonPans and may not be so forgiving.  Dunsany respects his commitment to his cause, and so will keep  his secret but not let him free.  Jamie notes that many lost children on both sides and then breaks my heart for the first of many times this episode with this line.

It’s 1968 and we’re back to Roger and Bree in his broken down car.  She teases him about Fiona’s interest in him and he acts like he’s 15 instead of 30 by getting all embarrassed.   The EP’s in the podcast keep talking about how cute they are.  Is there a reason they are pushing this couple?  Book readers know what happens and non-book readers should be able to watch it happen.  They flirt a little and Bree shows off her mechanical skills in what is foreshadowing of things to come.   There is another bit of dialogue in the script that I am so very happy did not make it for a variety of reasons. 

Apparently this was Ronald D. Moore’s idea but then an assistant told TG that JAMMF was kind of a fan thing.   Thank goodness for that assistant.  First, because that’s a great line by Roger that was originally said when he found Claire asleep with a book in her hand still searching for Jamie.  And he speaks that line to (virtual) Jamie.  It was more poignant in the book version.  Second, Bree’s lines are just so stupid and corny that it would make people dislike her character even more and it breaks the fourth wall in a bad way. That Easter Egg would be rotten.  Somebody give that assistant a raise.

Back in Helwater, “Jimbo” is comfortable with his life around horses.  The grooms draw straws to see who gets stuck taking  the entitled, rude Geneva on her ride.   Jamie draws the long straw  and makes a comment about what that spoiled girl really needs.  Her sister Isobel overhears but doesn’t disagree.  They discuss the beautiful horses and stables but she notes that a cage is still a cage and one can’t help but think that it applies to Jamie as well.  A friendly bond begins to form here.

We bounce to 1968 and Roger takes a  phone call from the hospital in Boston for Claire.  It’s Dr. Joe who is really calling to see when she’s coming home.  TG noted they wanted to put the squeeze on Claire in terms of both of her obligations needing her.  Always glad to see Dr. Joe but this scene seemed unnecessary especially when an important scene is cut for time later.

In Helwater, we meet the Earl of Ellsmere, an older, pompous man who has been promised to Geneva, because that’s what happens when you give women  no rights or opportunity to earn a living.  She’s disgusted at the idea and glancing at the new handsome groom, a plot forms in her mind.  The next time they draw straws, she orders Jamie to take her instead.  She teases him, takes off without him and pretends to be thrown from her horse.  He finds her, tries to help her and when she laughs at him, he drops her in the mud.  ‘I laughed out loud.

MBR and TG argued about whether she should be pissed as in the books or a good spirit about it.  TG won out, but I think Matt was right.   They had to make several of the gorgeous riding dresses to do these takes which I guess took up all the costume budget as poor Isobel is stuck in the same dress throughout the episode.

MBR noted that the book called for her to fall off in the river but the water was cold and doing multiple takes makes it hard and is unhealthy for the actors.  So, I guess it was OK to put poor Sam Heughan in the ice cold stream by the mill pond in Season 1, eh?   Remember his comment when he slid into the water?  Cack!

Lord John is visiting!  His family are friendly with the Dunsanys.  He and Jamie play chess and you see Jamie relax for the first time in awhile.  They are met in the field by Lord Melton (LJG’s brother Hal from Culloden) and the sisters.  Melton is shocked to see his brother playing chess with the very much alive Red Jamie but holds his composure.  LJG can tell Hal is displeased..again.  Geneva, ever the conniving one, smells there is a greater truth somewhere and decides she is going to find out.

Geneva finds Jamie near the stables “shoveling shit”.  In the book, he’s in the field with his shirt off but not only was that difficult to film, MBR liked the idea that others were around them and they had to whisper.  She tells him a drunk Lord Melton told his story and she knows he is Red Jamie.  She tells him he must come to her bed before her wedding in three days or she will tell her mother about him which will see him back to prison.  She does not want her first time to be with the old dude.  And she reveals her knowledge of Lallybroch and the obvious threats to his family if he is found near there.  He’s pretty mad but reluctantly he agrees to avoid risk to his own life and those of his family.  TG notes she is basically a female villain.  MBR said she is diabolical but underneath, it’s all an act.

The sex scene with Jamie and Geneva was hard to film.  MBR said it is always hard to show Jamie or Claire with somebody else because in the book, you can imagine it the way you want but in the show, it is right in front of you.

Jamie enters the room and does not look happy.  TG said it is clear he is angry and feels manipulated.  But she felt in some ways, Geneva deserved a break. She does not know Claire existed.  It was a challenge to show her as a girl, who for once, is not in control.   Even though Jamie is angry at the situation, it is his humanity that lets him see her vulnerability.

MBR said for Jamie, it is not personal and it is not intimate.  It is a physical act that he has to get through.  There will be a primal instinct for a bit as he’s a man who has had a woman only once in almost a decade.   MBR indicated that they even spoke with the director and specifically said it should not be romantic.  They even adjusted the lighting and the music so that it was not romantic.  The music had a rather ominous tone and in a great blog I read recently (apologies I cannot find it to credit properly),  the blogger notes it is actually very similar to a theme played when Black Jack was describing his flogging of Jamie.  Verra interesting choice, Bear.

The act goes on for too long, though.  Not only do I not want to see Jamie having sex with someone else for five minutes (especially after they went completely the other way in Season 2) but if the man has not had sex in years, he isn’t going to last that long even if he is JAMMF. But he doesn’t touch her much and  just finishes and rolls off her with a stern look on his face.  (It’s important to remember that he was twice her age here.)  In the end, the inexperienced Geneva thinks she is in love but Jamie pours cold water on that thought and explains to her that it was not special.  Then Claire returns to the room (in his mind) and he tells her what special really his.  MBR said it was a great example of one handed clapping.  Geneva is clapping, Jamie is not and there’s no sound.

I also want to give a two handed clap (I hope that’s not a euphemism) to TG for re-writing the squirrely consent/lack of consent in the book to make it quite clear that there was definitely consent and in fact, there was the offer to back out.  That was one of the worst choices Diana Gabaldon ever made in these books, no matter how man times she tries to double-down that it wasn’t rape.  We teach young men and women that No means No.

Thankfully, we leave Geneva’s bedroom back to 1968.   Fiona is giving Ellen Fraser’s pearls to Claire even though Claire had given them to Mrs. Graham (her grandmother) when she first came back through the stones.  I found this an odd choice to include when in the book Claire had just kept them to give to Bree.  She kept Brian Fraser’s ring, she could have easily hidden them from Frank.  We never saw Frank destroy them so nobody would question where they were.  It just seemed like an added plot that was not needed.   Either way, it is foreshadowing of at least two scenes to come.

The three historical detectives keep looking and coming up with dead ends and Claire is getting discouraged.  Bree confesses that she is torn between seeing her mother happy by finding her father and knowing that will mean she could lose her forever.  Roger is torn for similar reasons as he knows  they will leave for Boston if they come up short and he could lose Bree.  She kisses him on impulse.  TG said they wanted Bree to take the lead since we already know how Roger feels about her but it was unclear how she feels in return.  Once again, Roger looks 15.  I’m not finding it so cute any more.

Geneva is married but on one of her returns to Helwater, she gets out of the carriage to show Jamie a little surprise.  She’s pregnant and it ain’t an Ellsmere.  The wheels turn in Jamie’s head and he’s pretty sure his super-sperm have given him yet another child with unfortunate timing.  A couple of  months later, a frantic Isobel comes to the stables to find him as Geneva is giving birth and it isn’t going well.  The researchers had to correct the script here as she tells him to hurry! but in those times, they didn’t hurry, they made haste.

They make such haste to Ellsmere’s estate to find that a boy is born (see light-bulb of happiness over Jamie’s head for a minute) but there is a problem.  She’s in trouble and the Earl is quite pissed since he has never slept with his wife and this isn’t no miracle baby.  (Why didn’t Geneva just sleep with him once to cover her bases?)  Isobel is in tears as Geneva has died and Jamie’s brain is full of emotions including guilt.  Isobel reveals she knew about their one night stand and blames him with a stinging slap.  (MBR said she really slapped him.)  A maid comes to retrieve them as the Earl is threatening to kill the boy.  Jamie takes Lord Dunsany’s gun and fires it, killing the Earl. He rescues the child who winks on cue (sign this kid up for S4, he hits his marks) and the look of brief happiness that flits across Jamie’s face must be quickly concealed.

Later, Jamie is riding in the woods when Isobel comes up to him with the baby in a carriage.  Carriages were not period appropriate but that’s what TG wanted to do.  She tells him the baby is William after her father, which pleases Jamie because William was also his brother.  She leaves him for a moment as her mother approaches from the distance.  This gives Jamie a chance to look at his son and assure him that he shouldn’t worry, his father was here.  But Lady Dunsany reveals she is aware of his past and can arrange a pardon in exchange for saving her grandson.  Jamie makes up a story that he needs to keep sending money home and he will stay for awhile.  (PS.  Stop looking at the baby when you say that, you’ll blow your cover-and  his.)

Five years later, we see Jamie helping a young boy who looks of Mediterranean descent (Um, I mean Willie) on a horse.  This kid looks nothing like Sam Heughan and resemblance is a key part of the plot here.  I guess I can overlook it as he really did a great job.  It’s hard to believe he’s 11 in real life.   Think about it, that’s how old Fergus was supposed to be at PrestonPans.  Lady Dunsany comments on this resemblance in a joking way but Jamie hears her.  Later, he’s cleaning a carriage with Willie and notices the resemblance in the reflection.  He knows he has no choice but to leave.

But first we’re back in 1968 with Claire, Bree and Roger in a bar listening to a recitation of Robert Burns’ poem with the line of Freedom and Whisky go together.    Claire comments she used to say that to Jamie.  Don’t step on that Foreshadow, Roger.

Willie learns “Mac”is leaving and is  not happy.  He acts up in anger and when Jamie calls him a little bastard, he hates that line.  One wonders if he’s heard whispers.  Jamie is stung, realizing the double meaning and apologies.  We know this is important to him because he was a bit ashamed that his own father was a bastard.

Willie spontaneously gives him a hug and the this cuts right to Jamie’s heart (and mine) as he knows he has the love of this child that he can never claim.

 

 

LJG is visiting Helwater again.  He has heard Jamie is leaving which makes him sad as well but he knows that it is for the best as he too has guessed about Willie’s parentage.  They walk and Jamie asks him if he will look after Willie and offers his own body in return.  This shows how serious his request is and LJG doesn’t even know what he’s been through (unless you’ve read the novella).  David Berry gives a great performance of disbelief, joy and gallantry.  He refuses him and tells Jamie he is to be married to Isobel and that together they will raise Willie.   This scene was so great on many levels.  The bromance chemistry is very real and it makes me happy for Jamie to have such a friend.  As MBR said, if you think about their evolution, this man was once his prison warden and now he is asking him to raise his son.  

They shake and Jamie  puts his left hand over their clasped hands, which has great significance to LJG after their awkward moment in Ardsmuir.  Matt said handshakes weren’t period correct either but it seemed too little to just bow as a thank you. 

Jamie returns to his room with candles lit and prepares to take out his hidden statue of Saint Anthony, the patron saint Of Lost Things.  (Saint Anthony works overtime for me but always comes through!)  Willie enters and inquires about the candles and Jamie tells him that he prays for his family and his wife, whom he thinks about, always.  In the script, Jamie is praying before Willie enters including the famous line which mysteriously has been left out all season about praying that Claire is safe, she and the child.  There was a scene of Claire praying for him too that was going to be a nice pairing and for some reason, they were both edited out.  That makes me shake my head in so many ways.  Leave that in and take out the useless phone call from Joe or cut the Geneva loses her virginity scene down by 25 seconds.   Will somebody please give the editors a copy of this book?  Although RDM has read it.  “nuff said.

Willie wants to be a “stinking Papist’ like Jamie and he is baptized by his father.  Jamie gives him a carving of Sawny with his own name carved in the back.  I loved this change from the rosary, as the writers correctly point out that there is no way a British prison would let a Jacobite keep anything of value, especially a symbol of Catholicism.

It’s time to go home. Claire and Bree back to Boston and Jamie back to Lallybroch.  Claire looks as sad a she did hopeful at the end of 213.  Back at the Wakefield residence, Roger tears up over what might have been with Bree.  Bob Dylan’s song My Blue Eyed Son plays in the background (a rare choice of contemporary music and TG’s choice ever since she read the book).  Jamie says goodbye to Isobel, who whispers they will take care of his son and LJG has tears in his eyes for his friend and for him.  Jamie gets on his horse but Willie yells for him not to leave and takes off toward the horse.  (Hats off to David Berry who had to really run fast to catch this kid.)  Jamie doesn’t look around and for the first time, looks every bit of his 40ish years.  He rides with a straight back, but the lump in his throat (and mine) is large and he has to catch his breath as he rides away from another child. He’s lost three children now.  And Sam Heughan breaks my heart again.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the following for their time and talent for the screencaps and gifs: emmakillian, jamieclaire, outlander-scenery, caitbalfes, Starz.   If we missed a credit, please notify us on any of our social media sites.

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