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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: 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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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.

Please let us know if we inadvertently left off a credit.  You can reach us on any of our social media sites found on the right side of the website homepage.

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Ok everyone!  Who is ready to get elbow deep into Book 3 of the Outlander Series – Voyager by Diana Gabladon.  If you do not have a copy you  can get one here as a hardcopy, digital, or audiobook version.

I am testing out how I want to do this, so there may be a change in formatting here and there.  I will always try to put the synopsis and content discussion under a cut.  That should keep spoilers down to a minimum.

Today we will be talking about the Prologue and  Chapter 1

Warning…..there be spoilers ahead!

Continue reading Voyager Readalong Prologue – Chapter 1

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I was supposed to do this today.  But headaches happen.   So, it will be coming soon.  I encourage everyone to read along with us and please add comments at the bottom of the posts.  I will keep spoilers below a cut or hidden so those of you unfamiliar with the story won’t have it ruined for you.

We will be discussing the Prologue, Chapters 1 and 2 in the coming post if you want to prepare yourselves for it.

I can’t wait to enjoy this story again and get new insight from our readers.

 

See you soon!

 

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