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Recap on Steroids Episode 304

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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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2 Comments, RSS

  1. Joan Blaik October 4, 2017 @ 2:18 pm

    Your (or their) Easter Egg was wrong. Blackness Castle stood in for Fort William.

  2. Ellen October 8, 2017 @ 2:26 am

    Jamie’s snake from his brother Willie had the name Sawny on it to indicate it was his (Sawny being an abbreviation of Alexander); ownership, not the snake’s name.
    Ditto carving Willie on the second snake, it signed ownership too.
    Bob Dylan song is Hard Rain, not blue-eyed boy.
    Interesting to have the producer comments interspersed with your recount.
    Agree about the odd absence of Jamie’s prayer for the safety of Claire and the child. And the actor playing Willie did a great job, ditto Sam and David and …pretty much everyone.

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