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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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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)

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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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The long Droughtlander ended with a powerful beginning to the new season. Episode 301 did not disappoint.

Not a Docu-Drama

While most fans raved about the season premiere episode, some expressed mild dissatisfaction that more focus wasn’t given to the Battle of Culloden. While the point here is to address favorite scenes, the negative reaction was so surprising (to me, anyway) that it deserved a minor mention. Outlander is a sci-fi, fantasy, historical, or period romance, take your pic, but it is NOT a docu-drama on the Jacobite Rebellion and the Battle of Culloden.

Naturally, one of the favorite scenes was Jamie finally taking his revenge on Black Jack Randall. It was a long time coming, and being able to exact his revenge was probably the only thing Jamie lived for at this point, having just lost the love of his life and his unborn child. The final confrontation was given a surreal feeling with special coloring, which added to the dramatic effects. BJR finally succumbs to his wounds and the two embrace each other is what has been called (by Tobias Menzies) a “death dance.” Oddly, BJR ensures Jamie’s survival on the field my collapsing on top of him, allowing the weight of his body to apply sufficient pressure to the wound he inflicted on Jamie to actually save his life. Bye bye, Black Jack.

Though heartbreaking, other favorites scene occurred on the battlefield. When Jamie appeared near death and saw Claire walking towards him was a tearjerker. When she touches his face and asks me if he is alive, we see that it is Rupert. This was immediately preceded by the odd and untimely appearance of a hare on the field very near Jamie. Ron D. Moore claims the hare was added as a contrast to life in the middle of a scene of death. Some of us prefer to apply a more metaphysical meaning.

Gotham-Ruaidh offers an excellent explanation for the symbolism of the hare. “Lying on Culloden Moor, yearning to become one of the dead, Jamie sees a hare. ‘The Celts believed that the goddess Eostre’s favorite animal and attendant spirit was the hare. It represented love, fertility and growth, and was associated with the Moon, dawn and Easter, death, redemption and resurrection.” (Thanks to IrishAbroad.com.)’

“Easter Sunday was April 10, 1746, six days before Culloden. The hare is a symbol of the risen Christ and Jamie’s own impending resurrection from near-death. The hare is a symbol of the risen Christ – and Jamie’s own resurrection from near-death. It is only after seeing the hare – and then seeing Claire – that he returns to the land of the living. For Claire is his salvation from sin and death. She brings him back to life, even when he wishes to die, raises up his soul, and then his body. Resurrects him. Redeems him.”

Immediately after seeing the hare and vision of Claire, Rupert appears to rescue him from death on the muddy battlefield.   See why Gotham’s explanation is more intriguing?

In Episode 216 we saw Jamie returning Claire to the stones. Using flashbacks to that time after she literally disappeared in his arms was a nice touch. I always wondered how he reacted when she vanished into thin air.

Who can’t admire a defiant Claire? Claire is out of her element and seemed much more comfortable with her life back in the eighteenth century with Jamie, even without the modern conveniences the twentieth century offers. When she has trouble lighting the gas stove, we can almost see her think to herself, Fuck the 20th century! She solves her dilemma by making dinner in the fireplace. Of course, she’s probably recalling all the times she cooked outdoors with Jamie, and at the end of the scene she closes her eyes and thinks of Jamie. It was heartbreaking enough, but then it fades into Jamie awaiting execution after the Battle of Culloden.

There were so many sad moments in this episode, not the least of which was Rupert’s goodbye to Jamie.  It was good to see Rupert come to terms with Dougal’s murder at the hands of Jamie, even if he didn’t exactly forgive him.  Regardless, Rupert did save Jamie’s life.

At the end of the episode, we see the nurse asking Claire and Frank where Brianna got her red hair. This simple question interrupted their moment of new parent bliss and brought them back to reality. That’s right, Frank. Jamie will always be with Claire, and she will see him every time she looks at Bree. She may not speak his name, but he is always on her mind and in her heart. The blood vow with Jamie will last an eternity… for both of them.

“Ye are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone. I give you my body. that we tow might be one. I give you my spirit, ‘til our life shall be done. Ye are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone.”

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Episode 201 is the first episode of Season 2, and for non book-readers it was a WTH moment.  About the first 35 or 40 minutes are spent showing Claire’s not-so-happy reunion with Frank after she goes back through the stones.  The remainder of the episode up until the last half of the season finale is told in flashback.

“I made a promise, and I must keep it.”

The opening scene has Claire having just gone through the stones at Craig Na Dun.  She didn’t want to leave Jamie and return to her life with Frank, but she made Jamie a promise and was bound to keep it.  This isn’t a favorite scene, but it is a very important one, and gives us an idea of Claire’s emotional state and what we might expect from future scenes depicting the struggles in the Randall marriage.

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Again, this isn’t a favorite scene, but it does illustrate the differences between the attitudes of Jamie and Frank.  Initially Frank is upset to learn of Claire’s pregnancy, but since he is sterile he agrees to raise Jamie’s baby.  He does have conditions, though, and this is where we see the contrast between Jamie and Frank.  Frank as conditions attached to his reunion with Claire:  1) they will raise the child as their own, withholding the true paternity from the child; and 2) Claire must let Jamie go.

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Jamie never made that demand of Claire during their marriage.  He never told Claire she had to forget about Frank.  However, Claire agrees with Frank’s conditions.  She agrees to let Jamie go, not because Frank, in his selfishness demands it, but because she had promised Jamie she would.  She did it for Jamie, not Frank.

I’m not a huge Frank fan (no offense, Tobias), but I must give him his due.  He is at least willing to raise Jamie’s child as his own, and from all accounts in the book (Voyager, primarily), he was a good father, if not a stellar husband.

Back in time

To escape the rumors, gossip, and criticisms of of their situation, Frank and Claire move to Boston where he has accepted a professorship at Harvard.  The transition back in time to Jamie two hundred years earlier in France occurs when Claire steps off the plane in Boston.

It was very hard for Claire and us to watch Frank burn her clothes.  They were a symbol of his life with Jamie, and Frank would not have allowed her to keep them.

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Secrets, Lies, and Deceptions

For the remainder of the season until the finale, Jamie and Claire embark on a mission of secrets, lies, and deceptions in an effort to thwart the Jacobite rising and avoid the tragedy of Culloden.

Unfortunately, and much to Murtagh’s chagrin, Jamie and Claire must keep their secret from him as well.  That must have been especially hard for them because of their close relationship with him.  It must also have been difficult when it was necessary to deceive Jared, Jamie’s wine merchant cousin. However, the deception was necessary for the requisite introductions to the Jacobite leaders in France.

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“I’m sorry I doubted ye, brother.”

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“I wouldn’t change you to save the world.”

This is absolutely a favorite scene.  It doesn’t take Claire long to get them into trouble when they arrive at Le Havre, France.  Because she diagnosed smallpox on Comte St. Germain’s ship, the ship and its cargo are burned.  He is furious and vows revenge.

Instead of being angry with Claire, Jamie simply comments that life with her is never dull, but that he wouldn’t change her to save the world.

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Perhaps Jamie wouldn’t change a thing about Claire, but they have made a dangerous enemy, and surely there is plenty about Claire that the Comte will want to change.

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These last two episodes of Season 1 are difficult to watch.  It does not seem fitting to call all of them “favorite,” so some scenes, particularly those that highlight Sam Heughan’s incredible acting talents,” will be considered “memorable.”

“You owe me a debt.”

This is one of those “memorable” scenes.  Assuming his impending death and loss of Claire, Jamie begs BJR to fulfill his part of their bargain.  Jamie had agreed to give himself to BJR in exchange for Claire’s safety and he would receive a death by his method of choice.  Jamie has nothing left to live for, and when Black Jack is distracted by the invasion of highland coos, he begs him to fulfill their agreement.  Again, another example of Sam Heughan’s superb acting skills.

A “Highland Coos” Drive-By

This is truly a favorite scene, at least in the sense that we are glad BJR is incapacitated for a while and won’t pose a threat to Jamie in the immediate future.  We could not help cheering when Black Jack Randall was run over by a stampede of highland coos.

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Thanks to Murtagh’s brilliant idea of using wayward cattle in the rescue mission, he, Rupert and Angus were able to not only rescue Jamie, but put BJR out of commission for a while as well without having to risk their lives in battle with him and/or other British soldiers.  As we know, they incorrectly assume Black Jack is dead.  If only they had taken an extra few seconds to ensure it.

“You are a magnificent creature.”

This is a memorable scene because it is the one thing on which we can agree with Black Jack.  Jamie is indeed a magnificent creature.  Even Jack’s sadistic nature and the darkness in which he lives cannot blind him to this fact.  Perhaps that is what draws him to Jamie… a need to destroy that which is good and beautiful.

“No more Claire.”

Part of what makes this plot line so tragic is that Jamie believes he will never see his beloved Claire again.  She is lost to him, and Jack uses her and Jamie’s love of her against him.  Jamie hallucinates Claire’s face on Jack, and when her faces disappears he realizes she is gone.  We cry with Jamie, and it is a tribute, again, to the talent of Sam Heughan.

Out of the darkness and into the light

Many of the scenes in this episode are shown in flashback after Jamie is rescued and taken to the abbey.  He recounts some of his experiences to Claire, who is desperate to heal him in body, mind, and spirit.  Jamie is equally desperate to resist her healing.  Murtagh again shares his wisdom with the suggestion that in order for Jamie to be healed, someone will be required to enter into the darkness in which he exists right now and force him back into the light.

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That is exactly what Claire does.  After a a visit with Fr. Anselm and a little roughhousing to get his attention, she finally tells him that if he insists on dying, she will die with him, right there, right then.  Again, Claire is shown to be Jamie’s Achilles Heel.  This time Claire turns that weakness into a strength because he will not let her die with him.

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“Whatever your sins might be, have faith that they will be forgiven.”

Fr. Anselm find Claire alone in the sanctuary and offers to hear her confession.  Claire hasn’t shown a great appreciation for organized religion and its dogma, but she accepts the Father’s invitation to confession.  And, man, does she confess.

He is the only person outside of her immediate family with whom she has shared her amazing story.  She tells Fr. Anselm that the situation is her fault, and her confession empowers her with the spiritual strength she needs to bring Jamie out of his darkness and back into the light.  In a sense, she ransoms her own soul as well as Jamie’s.

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Claire is shocked to see that Fr. Anselm doesn’t judge her.  He declares her story as marvelous, extraordinary, and perhaps even a miracle.  He believes her and assures her that whatever her sins might be, she will be given.  Claire must recognize that the Father is a good, holy man, the antithesis to Fr. Bain.

“I was wrong.”

Jamie’s road to recovery will be a long one, but at least it has begun, and they set sail to France.  The good news is that Claire has a wonderful surprise for Jamie.  Their lives have been forever changed, and under the circumstances it it hard for Jamie to believe he could ever be himself again or feel happiness, aside for having Claire with him.

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Neither thought it could ever happen.  Jamie thought he would never feel happiness again.  Never say never.

 

 

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