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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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Outlander 03×07 Crème de Menthe – by Lenny9987

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

Sir Percival and Jamie’s Smuggling Ring

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

Sacrifices

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

The Best Brother I Never Had: Fergus and Young Ian

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

Other Random Thoughts and Squees:

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

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

_____________________

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

     

 

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Title: Freedom and Whisky

Written by: Toni Graphia

Directed by: Brendan Maher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Title: All Debts Paid

Written by: Matthew B. Roberts

Directed by: Brendan Maher

This recap incorporates an OLA writer’s opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts  by the executive producers along with comments from the official episode script writer’s notes 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 title card for this episode is a black Newfoundland dog that is a bit of an Easter Egg for the Print Shop Episode.  It also has a birthday cake, to represent various age points in time for Brianna.   Matt noted that as executive producer, he has changed the original title for all but one of this season’s episodes.  Toni calls him the Title Whisperer.  This episode was originally called Ardsmuir.  This episode was filmed in the same block as episode 301.

The show opens with breakfast at the Randall’s in Boston.  Frank is cooking a “real English breakfast” for Brianna.  He shows his underlying disdain for all things American (like her love of Eggo waffles)  probably including Claire who years past has expressed an interest in citizenship.  MBR said they had to research what was available in that year and found that you could indeed “leggo my Eggo” in that year.

Things seem peaceful, normal in the house as Brianna shares a drawing with Claire and she chooses to use her free night off from Medical school to go to a movie with Frank.  Frank indicates that he’s already seen both of her choices and after several awkward pauses, and his reminding her that they agreed on separate lives, Claire realizes he’s taken another woman to the movies.  (Note: If Claire’s so busy in school and at the hospital and he’s offered to be Bree’s primary caregiver, where does he find time to get around town to more than one movie?)  Claire looks taken aback.  It’s like agreeing to something is one thing but having it tossed so casually in your face is quite another.  Except, hold on Claire.  It is going to be more than verbally tossed in your face.

Jumping back to Scotland in the 18th century and we walk into Ardsmuir Prison with the outgoing and incoming wardens.  MBR notes they discussed when to reveal who he was and when we would know if Jamie recognizes him for Lord John William Grey (LJG).  The warden points out that the men are pretty defeated in mind and body but that he should watch out for the leader, known as Red Jamie Fraser.  LJG immediately recognizes the name that has haunted him and acts like the petulant teenager he once was when Warden Quarry suggest he continue his routine of dinner with Red Jamie once a week.  Hats off to David Berry who did a great job playing LJG as an 18th century version of a Millennial.  You believed it most of the time.

While CraigMillar Castle in greater Edinburgh was used for the exteriors of Ardsmuir, Jon Gary Steele designed the interiors as sets.  Jamie walks into his cell shared with other Highlanders and you can immediately see the deference paid to Mac Dubh (son of the black one, or Black Brian Fraser).  He is laird once again but not of any lands worth owning.  We hear a familiar voice and it is an older, frailer Murtagh!!  MBR reveals that they had planned to #SaveMurtagh for a long time.   They wanted to not show him right away but first you hear him and then you see him.  (Thanks for trying to make it great, Matt but Ron Moore spoiled it a week before the episode.)

Murtagh inquires about the new warden while he hangs on to a scrap of tartan, the last remaining evidence of the clans after the Clearances where the British forbade weapons, tartans, kilts and bagpipes.  Murtagh is not sounding well and I get nervous that they have saved him from the book death at Culloden only to have him die with Jamie now.  Jamie gives him some medicine made from thistle and they speak of a “lass that knew a bit about healing.”  The sadness in Jamie’s eyes and his inability to speak her name after all these years is evident to us and to Murtagh, who still remembers her fondly.

MBR notes it was a challenge to pick what to show for Ardsmuir as Jamie was there for 3 years and much happened.  They want to keep Jamie and Claire connected in some way even though they are centuries apart. You can tell each time in their scenes that they are thinking of the other and that one is always present in some way.

Jamie is brought to LJG’s office by prisoner Mackay.  You can see here that he is their leader as Mackay looks to Jamie even when LJG gives him an order.  The line of “Lord knows what you did to be sent here” was originally said in the books by the outgoing warden but MBR felt it was more effective if Jamie said it.  Sam Heughan delivers these lines so effectively.  There is strength and weakness in his speech, he is Mac Dubh for his men but he is not JAMMF.   It is clear that his chains are not just around his ankles and wrists.

More time passes in Boston as it is the graduation from Harvard Medical for Claire and Joe Abernathy. They are having a reception  in the Randall home before a dinner celebration.  The writers show that no matter what was happening between the parents, Frank was a good father to Bree. source dragonfly sparkles  She seems to even prefer staying with him versus going out to dinner.  The doorbell rings and the level of discretion goes out the door in terms of Frank’s girl on the side at the door.  Candy…her I mean Sandy.

For me, this was a jerk move.  You can go out to dinner to celebrate Claire’s accomplishments on their own right without having date that comes to your door.  Part of me feels he wanted it to happen, he could have easily met her around the corner or taken a cab.  Claire maintains her poise and they leave for dinner early.  Dr. Joe knows exactly what’s going on.

Also, Claire was 18 or 19 when she married Frank who was already teaching.  Sandy was a graduate student.  There’s a name for guys like that.  It’s all about power.  When Claire returned from the 18th century, his power over her was lessened and kept together only by her need for Bree to grow up in a good home.  Jamie wanted her to go back to a man who loved her.  If only he knew…

A beautiful outdoor scene of a wagon carrying guards from Ardsmuir was filmed about 90  miles north of Glasgow.  An old man is walking along the road muttering something about gold.  They perk up as it is no secret that all of the British want to find the rumored French gold sent to Charles Stuart by his cousin, the King.  They bring back the old man who is not speaking English but some combination of English, French and Gaelic.

LJG brings Jamie to him as he’s learned this smart man speaks three languages.  (Sam Heughan never gets credit for acting in three languages.)  They negotiate-lose the chains.  Done.  The metal weight falls off leaving the friction scars of three years.  But Jamie is not done and negotiates blankets and medicine for his men.  When JGF legitimately cannot supply that, he makes a request to at least help Murtagh. LJG, continually surprised by Jamie, agrees.

Jamie begins to hear bits and pieces of the old man’s muttering and perks up when he talks about Ellen and the Silkie (another nickname for Brian Faser) and the white witch seeking a brave man.  He thinks Claire may be alive.  He tells Grey all that was said except the part about the white witch.

MBR said they had to film this scene 4 times due to all the languages.  Rules of sub-titles are that if Jamie or Claire understand, then subtitles are used.  If one of them does not, no sub-titles.

Jamie does share it with Murtagh and he brightens at the thought that maybe they can find out where Claire went and what happened to the baby.   Jamie tells him not to think about as it will cause him pain and misery (presumably thinking about his own burden) but agrees to let Murtagh pray for them.  MBR said there was so much to get through with the LJG story but they did not want to short change Murtagh scenes.

Jamie is dining again with LJG and negotiates some freedom in the moors for setting snares and gathering watercress.  He reveals again that he learned it from his wife, again not saying her name.  When he sits down for a meal of pheasant in a wine sauce, the grubby Highlander sets his napkin on his lap and recognizes the wine.  LGJ is once again intrigued.   Mac Dubh tells the story of the meal and instead of resentment, the men act like children hearing the story of Harry Potter and revel in each virtual morsel.

Dr. Claire is sitting fuming waiting for her less than discrete husband.  He comes in, slurring words a bit and MBR refers to the scene as almost a Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe play.  The writers discussed why they wouldn’t just get a divorce but it was not that easy in that time period, especially with a child.  Claire does offer a divorce but Frank, continuing to want his cake and eat it too, says he is afraid he’d never see Bree again despite her assurances.  He mocks her new accomplishment by emphasizing DOCTOR Randall in a snide tone ( I would have turned those tables and said Fraser, Dr. Fraser).  MBR points out that Frank doesn’t really know her now but maybe he never did.   He and Tobias Menzies talked about making sure Frank had a tone of resentment in some of his words.   Tobias was good in this scene and Caitriona Balfe was terrific showing a range of emotions in a very short period of time.

Bree turns 16 and you can still see that passive-aggressiveness reigns in that household. 

Back in Scotland, the men are checking their snares for game (another negotiated item) Jamie hides in the hills, presumably to go looking for Claire.  MBR said Jamie doesn’t care about the gold, he is desperate to find out information about Claire.  LGJ is pretty pissed at getting foiled.  The fact that all the men helped Jamie with his plan once again shows their respect for Mac Dubh.

The British figure out that Jamie may have tried to swim out to the castle on Silkie Island.  MBR notes the castle was CGI’d into the shot although the ruin itself does exist elsewhere called DeNure (south of Glasgow).

A great callback in reverse when Jamie sneaks up on LJG relieving himself and we see that he’s known who the warden is all along.  LJG confesses that the events of their very first meeting have caused him shame and embarrassment for years.  Jamie reminds LJG that he had promised to kill Red Jamie if they ever met again and in a beautifully acted scene by both men, kneels before him to die.  This is as much about giving up as it is about honor as we find out later that Jamie found nothing of Claire and realizes she’s ‘Truly gone”, gives up his last remaining hope.  The Grey family continues to do the right thing and he does not kill Jamie.

It’s high school graduation for Bree and both parents look on proudly but as MBR notes, at this time parents are usually hugging each other in the “we did it” kind of way and there is great distance between the Randalls.

In Ardsmuir LJG sends the doctor for Murtah as promised and a new friendship takes form between Mac Dubh and LJG.  Three months later, Murtagh is well and the guys are playing what appears to be a regular game of chess.  They talk and Jamie reveals for the first time, with a smile, that his wife’s name was Claire.  They both reveal a bit more with LJG’s story implying that his love was lost too but that his love was a man.   LJG touches Jamie’s hand in an empathetic gesture but then forgets where he is and strokes his hand.  The immediate shift from smile to killer eyes is a credit to Sam and he threatens to kill him if he does not remove his hand.  He feels betrayed and angry (and maybe a little PTSD) and storms out.   LJG’s tears are both of shame and sadness that he just messed up a good thing.

Back in Boston, Frank (who never seems to age) drops a bomb on Claire that he wants a divorce, is moving to England and taking Bree and soon to be Mrs. Frank Randall II with him.  (Sandy was a PhD student, I wonder if he mocked her title of Doctor.)  Claire of course won’t let him take Bree and he takes the worst shot you can take at a mother and tells her she wasn’t there for Bree anyway.

Toni Graphia loves Frank a little too much, in my opinion and it showed in her comments.  She felt badly for Frank. He still in the end wanted to see if Claire loved him but Claire, on a great line, answers Frank’s question of if she could have ever gotten over Jamie with time, tells Frank there isn’t that kind of time. 

He is defeated.  Sympathy for Frank?  Not me, you wanted it all and couldn’t have it.  And you wanted barely anything for her.    As MBR notes, the scene was in  synch with the title, Claire freed him at that point.  His debt was paid.

Chaos at the prison as the Highlanders are hauled out and carted away.  All except Jamie, who is grabbed, shackled and tied to a rope put behind a LJG’s horse.  He is walked away as he and Murtagh retain eye contact, not knowing anything except the Highlander are being sent to the colonies as indentured servants so the prison can be used for a dragoon regiment.

LJG won’t tell Jamie where they are going as they travel for 3 days.   He finally tells him that he could not send him to the colonies so he has found work for him at Helwater.  Jamie does not understand why but LJG says he has now freed himself from the debt owed to Jamie.

Claire is called back to the hospital and after surgery, sees Dr. Joe walking toward her with a face nobody wants to see.  MBR notes that doctors have to give bad news and another doctor would recognize that face.  He tells her Frank has been in a car accident.  (I believe Dr. Joe is a pathologist but they may not have established that yet.)

Claire runs to the morgue and Frank is there.  She tells him what he may have always wanted to hear that she did love him (implied: Once) and Cait breaks your heart as she reminds him he was her first love while tears run down her face.  She, like Jamie, takes a deep breath after that to figure out what this means for her life now. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the gif makers and screen cappers:  Sources for this blog are farfaraway site, neighan-donne, anoutlandishidea, italianoutlanders and Starz.  If we missed a credit, please message us on any OLA social media site.

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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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Title: The Battle Joined

Written by: Ronald D. Moore

Directed by: Brendan Maher

OLA will be publishing an episode-based Recap on Steroids (ROS) during Season 3.  These ROS will incorporate an OLA writer’s opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts hosted by Showrunner Ronald D. Moore along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television. OLA editorial comments in the ROS recognize and respect the experience of those associated with the show even though we may disagree at times with their process or assumptions.  We hope you enjoy these special recaps!

The podcast was hosted by Ronald D. Moore (RDM) with executive producers Toni Graphia (TG) and Matthew B. Roberts (MBR).

The title card for this episode is a torn Scottish flag to represent the defeat of the Scots.

The new opening sequence with the Skye Boat song but are bagpipes replaced by strings to reflect the fact that bagpipes are one of the many Highlander traditions forbidden after Culloden.  In the previously on Outlander segment which shows scenes from 213, it occurs to me that Claire says to Frank “I accept your conditions”.  That’s what you say in a hostage negotiation.

We know that this episode would cover the long-discussed battle of Culloden.  I was curious if they would try an epic Game of Thrones style battle (which is usually 20 minutes of wincing for me) or something new.

RDM discussed how he had written the entire battle scene but when they timed the episode, it would have been both too long and too expensive.  He considered it anyway knowing he would have to short change somewhere else in the season.  I’m grateful he did not because that’s not why people watch the show.

The scene opens at the end of the battle with piles of dead men (mostly Jacobites) lying in the field as the British search for weapons, wounded Redcoats and most importantly, living Scots who are then murdered without remorse.    RDM notes that this area is smaller than it looks (see picture) but they know how to film in small spaces and make them look big.   I would agree with this after Outlander America admins went to Scotland last month and visited the site for Lallybroch.  That courtyard area is not that big and yet it always looks larger on the show.

The camera pans over to the still body of Jamie Fraser with a redcoat lying on top of him.  In the script, they specifically mention that this is Black Jack Randall (BJR) and he is dead but the viewer is left to wonder for a bit.  Jamie regains consciousness and with it come blurred memories of the battle he just fought, both in his sacrifice to convince Claire to return to the stones to save their child and the one on the field where he went to die after she reluctantly agreed.  He takes one less intake of her essence from the plaid she left behind and returns to the generals discussing war strategy.  At this point, he wants nothing more than to get the inevitable over with and convinces the now shocked Bonnie Prince Charlie that they should charge.

One thing I thought was interesting in the charging scenes is how fast the men were running.  I wonder if they sped up the film just a bit or if that was real. I can’t imagine how tiring that filming sequence was nevermind the actual charge in 1746.   The battle is intense as most hand-to-hand combat is especially as the British gunned down the first line of charging Jacobites.  Jamie fights all who come close by at one point nearly attacking Murtagh.  They share a moment of witty banter (while Sensei Murtagh stabs a guy who dares interrupt) and Murtagh assures him the men from Lallybroch made it out safely.  This is good news to the (former) Laird.  He did his final duty to them despite the risk to his own life.

Jamie is still slipping in and out of consciousness and remembers a pivotal moment.  Across the field, he notices a redcoat knocked off a horse and realizes it is BJR.  They see each other at the same time, with BJR smirking and Jamie flaring his nostrils.  RDM noted that they got lucky as there was a strange pink hue to the sky that afternoon and made for an almost surreal filming light. They charge at each other and leap with swords flying.   I though this was a very cool scene and nicely done by both men.  They fight with each taking advantage.  (I found this to be a bit hard to believe.  BJR is probably a great traditional sword fighter but Jamie has to be much stronger. But he’s probably not eaten or slept enough leading up to this.)

At one point it appears that they are the only two people fighting on the battlefield but in reality it was probably that surreal thing where time seems to stand still.  RDM called it two men-out of time and place.

Knocked to the ground, BJR slashes Jamie’s left thigh with a deep wound and an injured Jamie is still strong enough to block a knife swing with his left hand while delivering a fatal stab to the stomach.  BJR collapses against the shoulder of a badly bleeding Jamie and they fall to the ground together in an embrace of death. 

As Jamie remembers this, the dead Redcoat rolls off of him and it is BJR.  I am not even sure if that registered.   The man who tried to kill him one last time may have saved him by applying pressure to the wound with his body.  Jamie is clutching the dragonfly in amber given to him by Claire at their parting.  RDM stated that he didn’t mean to make it look like a magical stone but they had to punch up the color in post-production to make sure people saw it.  They had to place it in the battlefield since Claire finds it in the Culloden museum in episode 213.

Jamie turns his head upon hearing a noise and sees a bunny rabbit in the field, written to be a human moment among the dead.  However, in a recent Twitter Q&A, the writers said we may see that bunny again.   Jamie looks up to see an ethereal Claire walking across the battlefield toward him.  He thinks she reaches down to touch him and ask him “are you dead?” but in reality it is Rupert. (It is emphasized by the writers several times that Jamie and Claire will never be in the same frame together until the reunion episode. )

Telling him he’ll not let him die in the mud despite Jamie saying leave me be, Rupert picks him up.  The amber stone falls to the ground.  RDM said he thought that was a bit clunky which I found surprising since it was clearly a metaphor to hanging on to the memory of Claire as he thought he was dying.

The camera holds steady on the dragonfly in Amber as it transitions into Claire’s face.  She is another, trapped in time.

It’s Boston in the 1940’s as Frank shows Claire their new home.  Some of the  Frank and Claire scenes were added later since the first read-through of the episode showed they were going to be very short.   The Boston set was a redress of the apartment in Paris.

Claire is having trouble lighting her stove and in frustration, enters the living room.  Looking at the fireplace gives her an idea and she goes out to get firewood.  (This was slightly unbelievable too.)  When she returns, she is met by her new neighbor Millie who helps her with the firewood.  Millie (and her husband, Jerry) were named for the two next door neighbors in the Dick Van Dyke Show.   Claire cooks up a great meal in 18th century style which impresses the nasally voiced Millie who must have relocated from Jersey.

Back at Culloden, several wounded Scots are hiding in a farmhouse.  Jamie is lying there with the pallor of someone who has had extensive blood loss.   Rupert and the other Scots assess their situation. Rupert and Gordon try to figure out if they should escape but too many are wounded.

A quick switch back to Claire at her bedroom mirror as Frank tells her they need to leave for dinner with his Dean. (Note: This was supposed to be the first Boston scene but the others were added after they discovered the short episode length in the table read.)

It’s Harvard (actually Glasgow U) and the Dean is a pompous windbag who loves imposing his views on the quiet professors who are too afraid to contradict.  A foreshadow of things to come as Claire mentions women getting into Harvard Medical.  Claire tries to interject into the conversation and is met with misogynistic comments from the Dean.   Claire Fraser would have retorted back.  Claire Randall just returns a frozen smile.

In the first script version, Frank was less on her side but after discussing with Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe, RDM re-wrote it to be more neutral to “root for them as a couple”.  No, Ron.  You’re the only one who continuously roots for them as a couple.

Jamie is still bleeding in the farmhouse and lies their weak and resigned.  He asks about Murtagh’s fate but nobody knows.  He and Rupert make amends as the British in the form of one Lord Melton enter to look for traitors. Rupert takes Jamie’s traditional position as leader and answers on behalf of the group that they are “traitors all”.  Melton informs them that they will not be hanged, but shot like soldiers.   The acting by all the players in this scene as the Scots are brought out one by one to die plays out in the background.

Claire is making breakfast and sees a bird outside of her window. The bird echos the bunny’s movements at Culloden and also represents Claire’s yearning to fly free.

The bird flies away, something perhaps Claire wishes she could do.  Frank enters the kitchen and Claire discusses her love of their new country so much so that she wants to become a citizen.  Frank is appalled and recites all that is good about England in a speech straight from the musical 1776 (apparently a favorite of RDM).  They argue about the distance between them and how Claire is still missing her past.  The words get personal and ugly and he leaves in anger after ducking an ashtray (a scene which apparently injured Tobias Menzies).  A distraught Claire, grieving over Jamie and feeling lost as to how to adapt to this new life, is left in tears.

More tears back in the farmhouse as two young boys are executed.  Gordon inquiries about Claire.  Jamie tells him she is gone and does not wish to discuss it further.  Melton begins to look for volunteers to be shot and Gordon agrees to go next.  Rupert and Jamie share a laugh over Angus before Rupert volunteers to be next and head held high with traditional Rupert irreverent humor, then Rupert Thomas Alexander MacKenzie marches out to his death.  RDM wanted to give Rupert a strong scene in tribute to his contributions over the first two seasons and knew he was going to save Rupert back in Season 2 for this reason.  It also gave them a chance to give Grant O’Rourke a nice exit. Grant did a really great job in this episode and I wish him well in his next endeavors.

Sam Heughan’s face of a thousand expressions reflects Jamie’s sadness and grief over the loss of his friend (and distant cousin) and he whispers Farewell Rupert in Gaelic.  RDM noted that Sam researched the correct phrasing to add it to this part of the script.  RDM commented that Sam did a great job in this episode as asking an actor to just lay there and act with essentially just his face is very difficult to do.   He was especially impressed with his eyes.  Me too, Ron, me too.

Frank is trying to sleep on the couch but the noises of modern life keep him awake.  He gets up and begins to draft a letter to Reverend Wakefield to search for information about one James Fraser.  (A callback to the letters Roger found in 213.)  But Claire enters the living room to tell him her water has broken.   This birth of Jamie’s child is in juxtaposition with Jamie’s turn to die.

Jamie informs Melton that he wishes to be next and as he is giving his full JAMMF name to the clerk, Melton stops in his tracks.  He recognizes this name and bends down to ask Jamie if he is Red Jamie.  Melton presses him on his memory of a 16 year-old boy named John William Grey.  Jamie remembers breaking the boys arm but it is Melton who remembers that Jamie spared the boy’s life and his family owes him a debt of honor.  Jamie just wants this to be over with (retaining his sense of humor in his darkest moment) but Melton takes this honor thing very seriously and finds himself in a pickle. I’m pretty sure his utterance of “God’s blood” is 18th century for #FML.

He decides to have Jamie put in a wagon after dark and leave his name off of the register.  (Callback to 213 where Roger Wakefield tells Claire and Bree that five Fraser officers were in the field that day but only four were killed.)  RDM noted that there actually was a Fraser that was hiding in a farmhouse after Culloden and that wasn’t listed on the dead roll.  Diana Gabaldon apparently found this in her research.

RDM considered a flashback to the scene with young Grey but decided that would pull the viewer out of the mood.

A wagon is seen driving through the Scottish countryside and ends up with Jamie at Lallybroch.  Jenny and Ian are happy to see him as he is ready to pass out.  The script calls for him to pass out as he says “love you, mo neaghan donn” but they cut that.  Grrrrrr.

RDM had also considered having it rain with Jamie holding out his hand to spilt the rain into two streams to represent the parting of Jamie and Claire but decided against it as the shot was too hard to get.

Back at the hospital, Claire is experiencing the archaic way of giving birth where the wife was just a vessel and the husbands all paced in the waiting room.   She is appalled that they will be putting her to sleep during delivery.  RDM considered having her go in and out of consciousness and thinking about key scenes in her life but decided against it.  Claire wakes up and immediately panics that her second child may also have died in a similar fashion to her first.  Frank walks in with the baby girl and the joy (and hormones) of giving birth cause them to consider this a new beginning of trying to work things out.  But that is short lived as the nurse compliments the baby and delivers the verbal wet blanket by pointing out her red hair.

    Lord, that she may be safe. 

STUFF

  • RDM noted they brightened the baby’s hair in post to make it look more red.
  • Props to Terry Dresbach for her period costumes.
  • Leaving Murtagh’s fate ambiguous was deliberate.
  • Dear Ron, It’s Fraser like razor not Frasier like the TV show.

Credits:  Pictures are from Starz.  Gifs sourced at jamieclaire, themusicsweetly,sam-heughan-daily, sassenach4life, jemscorner.  Thank you for your talents.

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