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Title:  Common Ground

Written by Joy Blake

Directed by Ben Bolt

The podcast for this episode was narrated by executive producers Maril Davis and Toni Graphia.

The title card for the episode was a Native Americans adding various ornaments and other elements to their dress.

These season 4 Recaps on Steroids incorporate an OLA writers’ opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television.

The episode begins with a scene in Wilmington that is not in the book.  Jamie is meeting with Governor Tryon to sign the deed for his 10,000 acres.  The deed has several red ribbons at the bottom and to me they signify there’s plenty of strings attached to this transaction.   The writers had an interesting take on this scene in that Jamie is getting revenge on the British for taking Scottish lands after Culloden.   They review the map of what will become Fraser’s Ridge and Tryon offers Claire a place in Wilmington until the house is built.  Jamie assures him that his healer wife has seen it all and he couldn’t do it without her.  I’m sure Tryon was more than surprised.

The discussion between Jamie and Tryon is a bit of cat and mouse.  Tryon is making his point clear that those red ribbons on the deed were a metaphor for the strings attached to such an offer.  He compares the Indians to the Highlanders and warns of the Regulators (later to become American revolutionaries).  Jamie takes it all in stride even though he himself is playing a game of duplicity.  He comments that “savagery exists in many forms”.  After all he’s seen it himself in the British-one in particular.

Toni Graphia commented that both know it’s a loaded deal and Maril Davis added that this sets up the rest of the season.   They discussed Jamie’s frame of  mind with Sam Heughan before filming.

Claire is at the Wilmington store picking up some supplies and we meet up with Marsali who is now five months pregnant.  (In the books, she remains in Jamaica to give birth.)  They have a lovely discussion with several undertones as Marsali confesses she misses her mother right now.  Claire is generous in her understanding despite her history with Laoghaire as she missed her own mother.  Marsali says that she wants Claire as a healer but “there is delivering a bairn and then there’s raising one”.  As the script notes, Marsali does not know that Claire has had a baby.  The two women bond over their own mother/daughter bonds in the past and future and also share a tender moment with each other.

Jamie, Ian and Fergus enter and Jamie is giving Fergus instructions about looking for Highlanders and men from Ardsmuir who were sent as indentured servants.  He checks, as any father would, that they have enough cash and they tell them they will have a place for them after the baby is born.  Claire looks pensive and Jamie, because he’s JAMMF, can tell she’s thinking about Brianna and how she will miss the births of any of her children.  He tells Claire how he coped with missing her and assures her “our daughter will do the same”.

The writers emphasized again that they want to insert a bit of Bree into each episode as it is obvious that Jamie would want to know as much about the daughter he’ll never see and it helps Claire to remember her and connect the two.   It was a lovely scene, my only fault with is that they keep saying Marsali is almost as old as Bree when they were about 3 years apart in the show and much more in the book.

The Fraser-Murrays head out.  The script notes there is a white piglet in the wagon (who becomes the infamous White Sow).  A line is edited out about Fergus worrying that they will have enough room for them and Jamie assures him there is always room for family.

Jamie stops the wagon at their spot.  Ian hangs back by the horses (whispering something about fear of heights) while Jamie and Claire stop to enjoy their awesome view.  The landscape scenes were actually shot in North Carolina and green-screened into the episode.

The time comes now to stake out ten thousand acres.  I hope Clarence had a lot to eat as he’s lugging around the stakes.  Claire maps it out as Jamie pounds them in.   Claire quotes the first few lines of My Country tis of Thee (OK who had to sing that in elementary school after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance?  Just me?)  Jamie is quite tickled to learn that the Americans stole the melody from King George and the British.  It’s also interesting here that Claire identifies herself as an American.   But none of that really matters as apparently Jamie gets quite turned on when his wife sings and he has her up against a tree to describe all the things he wants to do to her but…Ian interrupts as he has found the witness tree.  (These were often used to mark property edge.)  Jamie carves F.R with an arrow so people will know that’s where they are.

Rollo warns of something coming and Claire rightly senses they have visitors behind her.  Jamie tells her to hand him the big knife and then step away.  He walks out toward the Cherokee and makes a deliberate point of dropping his knife to show he will not be armed. (Interesting that the knife drop is not in the script.)  The Cherokee ride away but all know they will return.

We move back to the 1970’s in Oxford.  Roger is in his office looking sad and distracted and that does not go unnoticed by his office-mate, Peter.  (Peter is not in the book but the writers wanted someone to comment on Roger’s change behavior and mood.)

A quick but seamless back to the Ridge and the Frasers are working hard to clear their land.  Jamie cuts down a large tree (note Sam made the last couple of hacks on the set, although a professional did the first ones to make sure it fell the right way).

Roger starts to read the book Bree gave him and we see she also left the drawing of the two of them.  He notices a reference to a hillside now called Grandfather Mountain that was settled by Fraser’s Ridge.  He reads this as the scene returns to that very place and Bree’s family is building their cabin.  (Nice choice.)  Roger, being a researcher, checks out the author on the back of the book and an idea sparks in his mind.

On the ridge, Claire notices Jamie has staked out what looks like a cabin.  He gives her the nickel tour, describing the house, a meat shed (as opposed to the hanging sack of meat strung up by Ian) and  a surgery where she can work and even see patients once they recruit settlers.  She’s touched that he thought of that for her (because hey, he’s JAMMF-haven’t we established that already).   They talk about how John Quincy Myers (JQM) will teach them how to make beef jerky and I know I’m not the only one who likes how Jamie says that.  Claire responds that it is damned delicious.  The script only said delicious-does Caitriona Balfe really, really like beef jerky?

But the Cherokee return and they are not happy.  They yell at the Frasers and slam the boundary stakes down in front of them like spears.  They will not take lightly to their land being invaded.

In Oxford, Roger gets a package and is stunned to see old copies of the deed Jamie signed with Tryon and evidence that Claire was with him.  He decides to call Brianna, despite the fact that they have broken up.   Bree answers at her apartment in the most expensive part of Boston and her roommate Gayle (holding the Carrot, the french bulldog of Maril Davis) who knows all about Roger.  Bree and Roger make small talk and he tells her what he’s found.   For Bree, this is great news on several fronts.  She didn’t know if her mother had even made it through the stones.  She didn’t know if she had found Jamie and if they stayed together.  Now she knows they not only did but they were in the very same place where she and Roger were at the festival.  Roger gave her a priceless gift with this phone call that she gratefully acknowledges.  But the conversation grows awkward again because Roger is a dumb guy and doesn’t apologize for his behavior in North Carolina.

Maril noted that actors had telephone scenes as they are usually being filmed by themselves.  Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton filmed theirs at separate times but Richard was there on set for Sophie’s (filmed on the last day of filming S4) and he fed her Roger’s lines behind the camera.

It’s evening in the Ridge and Ian sleeps while Jamie and Claire discuss what to do about the Cherokee.  Claire suggests moving away from the border but Jamie talks about how the mountain spoke to him.  In the script Jamie suggests a gift of good will but Claire does the suggesting in the book.  This was another one of those great scenes where they discuss together and Jamie is always thinking.   Jamie says he will discuss with JQM in the morning.  Rollo is alerted to something outside and they leave the lean-to armed for another Cherokee encounter.  But this is just Findlay the white horse, injured and bleeding. Claire realizes it is a bear attack and another danger is added to the mix.

JQM is making beef jerky and offers most to Jamie to make up for the fact that the bear stole their meat.  He gives him advice about the Cherokee and tells him not to build the cabin until they resolve this issue.  He offers to bring some of Aunt Jocasta’s tobacco to them on Jamie’s behalf.  JQM teaches Jamie to say Siyo Ginali if he encounters the Cherokee to show that he basically comes in peace.  Jamie inquiries about a bear and JQM says the Cherokee references a Tskili Yona which means bear but something more than just a regular bear.

Ian and Claire have caught some trout and Claire is gutting it while Ian repairs the net.  (Caitriona had to gut a real fish and it was one of the coldest days of the year in Scotland.  She shared with Maril how cold her hands were by the end of it.  The cast is really resilient in that weather-true pros. )  Ian is surprised to learn that Claire can’t knit as all Scots learn when they are young, even Jamie.  This news delights Claire in a way when you find out your husband does something cute and you never knew.

Claire is practicing shooting and has a good aim but didn’t pack her gun good enough.  Jamie tries and is just as good of an aim but also destroys his target.  In a bit of foreshadowing, Claire comments how good soldiers can load their guns under pressure.   Nice touch by Sam Heughan here who remembers that Jamie can’t close one eye and kept both eyes open when he shoots.

That night they hear the bear roar but they are ready.   Rollo doesn’t find the bear, he finds a man who is JQM. He’s been mauled, badly.  They bring him into the lean-to and Claire and Surgical Assistant Ian tend to him while Jamie heads out with a torch and a gun.

At the same time, we see several Cherokee with torches headed to the place where Adawehi, the medicine woman, is doing a cleansing of the Tskili Yona.   Maril commented in the podcast that Jamie was trying to kill the bear in the physical way while the Cherokee were trying to kill it in a spiritual way.   The translation of the chant is in the script

Tskili Yona is our responsibility

We pray to be rid of Tskili Yona

We pray for Tskili Yona to leave us and never return

Let us make it so

Jamie sees and hears the bear.  (At this point, I’m getting the sense this is either a bad prop or something is up with the bear.)  We move back and forth between Jamie and Claire when Claire realizes that JQM has been bitten by a human.  Jamie misfires and starts to reload when the bear, who is not a bear but a very large man dressed in a bear skin, with sharp teeth hanging over his head and bear claws strapped to his arm.  Jamie is caught off guard mentally and physically and loses his gun.  The Tskili Yona claws at him and tries to bite him.  Jamie gets free and runs, grabbing one of the boundary stakes and stabbing the man to death.   Sam Heughan noted that it was about 19 degrees Fahrenheit when they filmed this!

Maril noted that in a very early draft of the script, JQM dies.  But they like the actor, Kyle Rees, and decided to let him live.  I wonder if this is for the season or for another episode or two.

Maril also addressed the several reasons why they did not use a real bear.  First, there are no black bears in Scotland so they would have had to fly in a trained bear.  Second, the most famous bear attack scene is Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.  That scene took several weeks to rehearse and film and also used very expensive CGI.  (Leo had to undergo four hours of prosthetics for his injuries every day by a team of four!)  That kind of time and expense is obviously not in the Outlander budget.  And finally, they did not want to do anything that might risk Sam’s safety.   Matt Roberts met with Cherokee leaders to discuss why a man might be banished from the tribe.   Maril felt that Sam excelled in this bear fight scene and it was very complicated to film.  Flint Eagle, the actor and stunt man who played Tskili Yona said he has done this type of work for 30 years and never fought with a man as fit as Sam.

Jamie drags the Tskili Yona to the Cherokee camp via a travois.  An English-speaking Cherokee asks him if he killed it.  (Maril noted that many Indians in pre-colonial North Carolina spoke English according to their research.)  Jamie hesitates (this could go either way for him) and said “I did”.  The Cherokee explain the man had raped his woman and so they had banished him.  They could not kill what was dead to them and the man lost his mind over it and terrorized the village.   Jamie asks if there will be peace for his family and that they have no intention of making trouble and as he often did in Scotland, he gave them his word.

Back at camp, JQM apparently has the healing powers of Wolverine because he’s already sitting up.  Jamie invites him to stay with them until he’s better and then the Cherokee return.   The chief (via translation) tells him they want no more blood to be spilled.  They give Jamie the name Bear Killer (and that just tickles one Ian Murray).  Jamie invites them to join their campfire.

Claire speaks with a young woman and her husband’s grandmother, the medicine woman.  She tells Claire that she has medicine now but she will have more when her hair is white.  She also tells her death is a gift from the gods and that it won’t be Claire’s fault. Naturally, Claire is a little confused and taken aback.  The White Raven prophesy will be interesting as it plays out.

At Wakefield house, Roger is taking the last of his boxes out while Fiona is hanging drapes.  Fiona reveals that she knows all about Jamie and Claire going back through the stones.  She shares a horrifying piece of information from a Wilmington newspaper in the 1770’s that Jamie and Claire died in a fire at their home.  Roger feels he cannot break Bree’s heart with this.    The book showed the date but the show smudged the date.  This was because the time between discovery and the fire was a very long time and they wanted to give a sense of urgency.

The cabin walls are slowly going up.  Jamie carries Claire over the threshold and takes her through the floor plan and says he’ll make sure their bed faces east to watch the sunrise.   In a creepy foreshadowing, the scene slowly changes back to Roger’s fireplace.  He decides to call her only to have Gayle tell him that Bree left two weeks ago for Scotland…to visit her mother.  Roger (and the audience) are quite alarmed.   In the book, Bree sent Roger her box of things but the writers wanted to show that they were truly broken up at this point.

All in all, this was a very good episode.  There was a lot of information, the story moved forward and there were lovely Jamie and Claire moments.  Next week, we may find out just what Bree is up to.


Many thanks to the following for images and gifs: farfaraway, laird broch-tuarach, whiskeynottea, Starz, ecampbellsoup, owlnguava

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Title:  The False Bride

Written by Jennifer Yale

Directed by Ben Holt

The podcast for this episode was narrated by executive producers Matt Roberts and Toni Graphia.

The title card for the episode was the wicker stag (also the symbol of Clan Fraser)

These season 4 Recaps on Steroids incorporate an OLA writers’ opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television.


The script and the show have two different openings.  In the script, we begin with River Run and it is the next morning after the horrific scene with the lynch mob and Rufus.  In the show, they started with Roger selling Wakefield house.  This recap will follow the script and for the beginning and then the two sources converge.

On the porch at River Run, Jamie and Claire discuss how they cannot stay any longer.  (This discussion was edited out, one of several unfortunate edits in what was a stellar script.)  In the show, all we see is Claire looking at the slaves on the plantation.  The writers struggled with what to say about the night before and chose to say nothing more than the decision that they must leave. (Matt thinks Claire may even have told him about Joe Abernathy and how much he had to overcome to be a doctor.)  In the book, they took 3-4 months to make this decision but the TV show must continue to move the story along as they only have 13 episodes for 1000 pages.

Jamie goes inside to tell Aunt Jocasta that they can no longer stay.   Matt Roberts notes that Jocasta is a product of her time, this is not excusing being a slave owner but it does help understand why she thinks the way she does.  (Some may argue after seeing how the British oppressed the Highlanders but I believe she left for the US long before that.)  Jamie hates to disappoint her but as he notes “I will only be master of my own soul”.  She convinces him to keep the money he was given and gifts him with his mother’s candlesticks.   The candlestick scene was added later as they became important in another episode.  The scene was beautifully played by Sam Heughan and Maria Doyle Kennedy (who was wonderful as Jocasta).  Jamie is grateful for another memory of his mother.  Matt notes that Sam played this wonderfully as he continued to make eye contact with his aunt, even though she is blind.

Jamie and Ian argue up the stairs about Ian returning to Scotland.  (The script actually calls for them to argue down the stairs so the director must have shot it both ways.)  Ian convinces Jamie that he’s experienced enough in these past few weeks to make his own decisions and Jamie agrees.  John Bell does a great job showing Ian growing up and taking charge of his own life.  In the book, his parents write him to stay in America (I believe he misses his ship) but the writers felt it was important for Ian to make this mature move in support of his future story arc.

Claire goes to say goodbye to Jocasta. Toni Graphia loved this scene.  Both women love Jamie even though they disagree about what is right for him.  Jocasta challenges Claire about whether Jamie can be fulfilled being a printer when he’s a born leader.  Claire reminds her she barely knows the man.  Matt Roberts said this is when both women are right and that those are great scenes to write and watch play out.

As they pack up the wagon, we meet Clarence the mule.  The writers said they decide at the start of the season which animals they will need and felt they must include Clarence as a fan favorite.  John Quincy Myers (JQM) rides up and offers to escort them to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Jocasta, in her way, was looking out for them by sending word to JQM that they were leaving.  Jamie tips his hat to the plantation.  The show edited out a voiceover by Claire that they were sad to leave as they really wanted to change things but the events of the previous night showed them that they really couldn’t stay.

The script then takes up to Inverness 1970 and Wakefield House.  The show begins here and then shifts to the River Run scenes just described.  Roger has sold his house to Fiona and her new husband, Ernie.  He is playing a guitar and tells them he’s been invited to a Scottish festival in the States.  They toast to their home and the show edited out Roger playing more while Fiona and Ernie dance a jig.  Fiona does some exposition here by saying Roger is courting Briana and Roger admits they only spent last summer in Oxford and Christmas in Boston again. (This mean Claire has been gone about 18 months.)  Since this is 1970 and they do not have the technology of today to communicate, they resorted to letters and expensive international calls. Not the best thing to move a relationship forward.

Sidenote:  I can see Bree getting into Harvard since her father taught there but it is hard to get into MIT, harder for women in the 1070’s and she likely had minimal courses in high school to fit Engineering.  I always thought it was a stretch for the books to just pop her into MIT as an engineering major.

We see Roger coming through the small concourse at Logan Airport in Boston where Bree greets him in a place that you can no longer do in today’s airports due to security.  Their greeting is one of happy to see you but not sure if we should kiss.  In the script, they kiss but in the show they do not.

In the book, the Scottish festival is in New England but they changed it to North Carolina so that Bree could walk the same paths as her parents-although she does not yet know in the story that they migrated there.  The writers also felt a multi-day drive would be good for them to get to know each other even better.  There was debate in the writer’s room whether to keep the Minister’s Cat scene, it seemed to be split. (I think it is too old fashioned, I remember seeing it in A Christmas Carol.)  The reason it was kept was that the writers knew that some tough talks were coming and they wanted a moment of levity.   Bree kisses Roger and he swerves off the road (that scene was done with a stunt driver).  Dairy Queen got some free product placement in that scene, albeit with old school cups.   The road they are driving by Grandfather Mountain morphs into an unpaved road by the same Mountain being traveled by her parents 200 years earlier.  (The best use of CGI in Season 4 so far.)

The Frasers, JQM and Ian are riding and talking.  Ian is fascinated with the Indians and the land.  JWM’s story telling reminded me of Rupert. It was important in this scene to show the beauty of the land so that Jamie could fall in love with it.  Many Scots settled here because it was far from the coast and reminded them of the Highlands.  In some ways, they could make their own rules.

They make camp where JQM tells them he will part with them to trade with the Cherokee.  The writers chose to change from Tuscarora to Cherokee as there was no information on the Tuscarora ways and Cherokee also settled in that area.  Ian wants to go and his aunt and uncle agree with some trepidation.  Jamie asks Claire where they should go and suggests perhaps Boston since she knows the area.  She wants to start somewhere new and reminds him that Boston is soon to be the epicenter of the American Revolution.

Jamie and Claire ride on the next day and chat about Bree and what her life is like in 1970.  The writers planned to have Jamie always ask about Bree so that he can continue to make a connection to her even though he will never see her.  Claire talks about how close Bree and Frank were and I watched Jamie’s face to see if this bothers him.  I personally thought Claire was too cavalier here, not caring that mentioning Frank raise his daughter may sting a bit for Jamie.   Matt Roberts comments that Sam and Caitriona do much of their own riding and are both accomplished at it.

Jamie must repair the shoe on his horse and Claire decides to “test the waters’ about what Jocasta had said to her earlier.  The editors slashed a lot of dialogue in this scene and that was extremely unfortunate.  It was well-written and I have no doubt, well-acted.  In the edited out parts, Claire admits she is still shook over the attack on the river boat.  Jamie admits he’s a violent man and in some ways may be no better than Stephen Bonnet.  Claire disagrees vehemently.  He explains to her that it’s one thing to live as an outlaw and he’d be just fine with it if he was alone.  But he has to provide for his family and especially Claire, who he wants to give the world to if he could.  The scene was still good but it was really disappointing to read the edited parts, perhaps they will include the full scene on the DVD.

There is a crack of thunder and Clarence bolts.  (Real life Clarence is too nice and liked hanging around Sam so they had to coax him to run.)  Claire, being Claire, takes off after him before waiting for Jamie.  He yells after her but assumes she’ll be right back with the mule.  Instead, she gets lost as it gets dark and windy.

We return to the Scottish festival which was recreated by the set and costume team.  They also bought 30-40 American vintage cars.  Toni Graphia attended a few Scottish festivals after Season 1 and they looked a lot like this one, just updated for clothing.   They shot the inside and outside scenes at different times.

The Scottish festival begins to remind Bree of her mother and whether she made it back and found Jamie.  They enter a tent and are asked if they want to dance the ceilidh dance and we see them arm in arm in a circle. (I thought the slo-mo-added in post-production- was a little bit of a cliché.)  Next stop is an artist and Bree wants a picture drawn.  She indicates that her “boyfriend” is a  Mackenzie and Roger is both encouraged by the term boyfriend and that she asked for two Mackenzie tartans.  The other pictures on the wall are the crew.  They edited out a scene where Roger and Bree bang heads in the dance.

Back in the 18th century, Claire is still missing.  Clarence returns so Jamie gets on his horse to look for her.  Claire realizes she’s lost and then a bolt of lightning hits a tree, startling her horse and throwing her to the ground where she hits her head to the point of losing consciousness.

An abrupt edit here back to the festival where Roger is singing on a stage and Bree sees a new side of him.  He sings a ballad called the False Bride (hence the episode title).  The writers had toyed with the idea of an American folk song from the period but realized he himself was Scottish and it made more sense to do a Scottish ballad.  Richard Ranking rehearsed for days and recorded it in advance.  The show is a blend of him singing the song and lip-syncing to his own studio performance.

Bree gives Roger a book of Scottish settlers in colonial America (totally created by their art department) and a bottle of moonshine as this was a dry county in 1970.  They go into her cabin to drink it.  Roger is looking at a mounted deer head when Brianna takes off her shirt and tosses it on the deer.  They begin to kiss and end up on the floor when Roger stops and says he wants it to be perfect.  (As an aside, the script called for much more nudity and “hands on”)  He covers her with her shirt and gets a silver bracelet.  He tells her he wants her and then really gets carried away talking about marriage, kids, etc.  Bree’s head is spinning and she rightfully says it’s too fast and she’s not ready.  (Research shows that in the UK in that time period, a ring was not always used for a proposal.)

The writers explained that they tried to show a balance of the positions of both Roger and Bree so you don’t end up hating either one.  I don’t think they succeeded.   Roger showed a bit of double-standard here by not liking that she wanted to have sex when he himself has had sex.  He was rude and chauvinistic in the scene.  Matt pointed out that the era of American free-love hadn’t reached a minister’s son in the highlands of Scotland and he was still old-fashioned.   He felt this was another scene where they were both right.  Matt and I will have to agree to disagree on that one.   They also edited out a scene where he forcefully kissed her and she bit him.  That explained why his mouth was beating from what looked like a simple slap.  I didn’t understand that when I watched the episode.  That’s a miss by the editing, IMO.  One of many in this episode.

Back in the forest, Claire wakes up and it is now raining.  The writers joked that this was one of the few times in Scotland where they had to create rain.  It’s usually a rule of thumb in the writer’s room that you don’t write weather.

Claire finds a large uprooted tree for shelter.  In the book, it was a cave but there are few inhabitable caves in Scotland to shoot.  (Jamie’s had to be somewhat created for the first part of S3.)  She takes her boots off and finds a skull with a crack in the top and an opal stone.  They had to film the stone a few times to get it to show up.  Claire sees a torch in the distance and thinks it is Jamie but instead sees an Indian who we will later know as Otter Tooth.  The writers discussed how to make this look like a spirit.  Should he flicker, should you see through him?  Claire knows something is up, his torch isn’t going out in the rain and he comes and goes.  It was Matt’s idea to have him turn so she could see he was scalped like her newly found skull.  I thought this was one of the best scenes in the episode.

It is evening at the Festival and time for the calling of the clans.  This was filmed in an over-night shoot, likely around 3 AM.  Brianna tries to talk to Roger but he digs in and wants all or nothing.  The clan caller (UK producer David Brown) starts by calling the Gordons.  When MacKenzies are called, Roger gets up to announce the clan but Bree has gone.  They filmed her leaving but decided to have an empty seat had more impact.  The wicker stag falls away as Roger realizes a beautiful weekend was also burning down as well.  (Fun fact-Sam’s uncle, a renowned wicker artist, created the stag.)

Claire wakes up the next day and her boots are gone.  She sees mud tracks and decides to follow them.  They actually cast the foot prints in cement to make them come out right on film.  She follows them to a stream where Jamie (and her boots) are there.  She sees him with such relief and he runs to her.  They are confused because both don’t realize that the boots got there on their own or with a little  mystical help.  The writers had a hard time explaining to Jamie what Claire saw and what probably happened but in the end, Matt says you have to believe in magic.  She’s a time-traveler and he is a superstitious Highlander so it isn’t a stretch.  She also notices that the skull has silver fillings indicating that her late-night visitor was a time traveler too.  Maril Davis and Toni Graphia debated whether this should be in the trailer but decided the spoiler provided a bit of excitement.  Matt noted that they added more than one filling so that it showed up well on camera.

Claire finds strawberries on a cliff and Jamie tells her the story of the first Fraser, a Mr Freseliere.   There was a lot of discussion about the view by the writers.  They wanted to make it epic and majestic.  Matt knows that even though the theme of the season is “what is home”, he knows Jamie’s home is Claire.  Yet, Jamie wants to give her four walls of her own.    Jamie already can see his entire vision for what to do with the land and Claire knows that look.  He needs to know if she trusts him because if they stay, they must make a dangerous deal with governor Tryon.  I get the sense it becomes a cross that Boston Tea Party bridge when we come to it scenario.  The first law of thermodynamics scene was originally meant to be here but they ended up editing it out and refilming it in episode 401 at the very end of the filming season when it was warmer.  I think it was a good decision but more book dialogue for this scene would have been a nice replacement.


The scene ends with some beautiful music by Bear McCreary so that they realize it’s home and it will be called Fraser’s Ridge.  The laird is back.


Image Sources with thanks to:  laid-brochtuarach, ecampbellsoup, nighean-donn, Starz

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Title: America the Beautiful

        Written by Matthew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia

      Directed by Julian Holmes

The podcast for this episode was narrated by executive producers Matt Roberts and Maril Davis.

The title card for the episode was an American bald eagle catching a fish in a lake.

These season 4 Recaps on Steroids incorporate an OLA writers’ opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television.

When we last saw Jamie and Claire at the end of Season 3, they had washed ashore on the (not yet) United States in the colony of Georgia.  We also learned that the ship had run aground with survivors.  We learn in this episode that Young Ian, Fergus, Marsali, Lesley and Hayes all survived the shipwreck.

The episode starts in 2000 BC in North America.  No, Claire has not traveled in time that far back, although the creation of the stone circle in North America is a harbinger of things to come or as Matt noted “a payoff if you’re paying attention”.   This scene was planned well in advance of the season and was admittedly random and not connected to a specific episode.   The voice-over from Claire notes man’s fascination with circles of all kinds.  From this ancient stone circle, we shift to 18th century Georgia and a hangman’s noose.

Jamie is on a mission and pays off a guard to be able to see a friend who is scheduled to hang.  We see that it is Gavin Hayes who looks scared and sad and admits to sleeping with a married woman and then killing her husband in self-defense.  The writers wanted to make sure that the person to be hanged was someone we cared about.  In the book, the hanged Scot is charged with theft but show research showed that this was not a hanging offense during that time period so the writers changed it to something more serious.   Jamie has a plan to help Hayes escape but Hayes is reluctant to have Jamie risk his own safety and that of the others.  (They had to shoot this scene a few times due to the actor’s heavy brogue-the dailies showed that he was hard to understand.)  Hayes instead asks Jamie to grant him the final wish of seeing a smile from a friend.

Jamie has brought rum to help Hayes get drunk and maybe lesson the fear of his imminent death.  Another prisoner asks for the same and thus is the first encounter with the new antagonist for the Fraser family.   He is described in the script as one Stephen Bonnet, late 30’s handsome and Irish.    He is smooth in both charm and the way he moves his body, reminding one of Jack Sparrow or even a snake, but the producers say that was all the choice of new cast member, Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey).

The town of Wilmington was created by Jon Gary Steele and his set crew.  Everything in Scotland was old and stone while everything in the colonies was new and wood.  Much of the town is just a façade with interior scenes shot on set.  As most know by now, all of these scenes were actually shot in Scotland and they even brought in their own mud!

Claire, Lesley, Fergus and Marsali are there to witness the hanging and support Hayes, despite Jamie suggesting that they not watch.  The drums beat out the march of the condemned men and this was deliberate start to associate the episode with Drums of Autumn.  Hayes is first and Jamie pushes his way to the front with a forced smile on his face as Hayes requested.  The floor gives way and Hayes is hanged. (My 7th grade English teacher once told me that pictures are hung, people are hanged.)  The smile leaves Jamie’s face and is replaced with one of sadness and regret that in this new land, he does not have the credibility or knowledge of the laws to help him in a way he might have in Scotland.  A brilliant job of physical acting by Sam Heughan here and Matt was very complimentary about him in the podcast.   Lesley is distraught over the death of his longtime friend and in his grief, he creates the distraction that Jamie had originally planned for Hayes.  The handsome Irishman escapes.   (Producers note-this scene had 150 extras.)

We cut to the Sky Boat song opening credits with this season’s version including a very American southern sound with banjos.  It’s always great to watch the first episode credits, not only for the new song version (although I miss the original) but also to see if you can make out book scenes in the quick glimpses shown.

A deleted scene was next where Jamie and Claire are walking to the tavern and discussing how they should sell the gemstones they salvaged from the wreckage.   This is a famous book scene where Jamie is storing them in his crotch and Claire notes wryly that he’s a walking inducements to Harlots.  I hope they include this in the DVD.

In the tavern, Fergus, Ian and Lesley enter and tell Jamie that the local priest will not bury Gavin in the cemetery since he was a murderer.   They decide they will go there at night to bury him.  Lesley’s grief is still palpable and he is adamant that Hayes will have a proper send-off.  He begins to sing in Gaelic this song of mourning and tribute.  The English translation is below.  Matt noted that Keith Fleming sang this in the table read and had everyone in tears.  She said if they had known he had such a beautiful voice, they would have written more songs into Season 3.

Och na och. We are full of despondency that you left us, Gavin.  

And we are aggrieved, Son of Seamus, Son of Louisa. 

You left the place where your youth was nurtured.

Hear him, hear him, you left us all with sadness, Gavin.

Hear him, hear him, It’s a pity that you are not so very young.

You were raised in Cihl-Mhartainn in the area of Dun Domhull.

You were born in the town of 1727.

Hear him, hear him, you left us all with sadness, Gavin.

Hear him, hear him, It’s a pity that you are not so very young.

Hear him, hear him, you left us all with sadness, Gavin.

Hear him, hear him, It’s a pity that you are not so very young.

 As Lesley sings, Jamie joins in with a low (slightly out of tune) voice and the rest of the family does as well.  Scots in the tavern hear a song of home and also join in.  Music has bound them together as a people, despite being so far from home with so much uncertainty ahead.  But family and culture survive no matter where you are.      Matt commented that Jamie is known to be tone-deaf in the books so there will be no solo for him (although rumor has it that Sam has a nice voice).

In the book, the singing actually drives the British soldiers away but that was cut for time.  As it turns out, there was debate of making this episode into two parts but it was rejected as not a good idea for an opening episode.   I’m very glad because that would have been a waste of an episode when there are only 13 to cover 1000 pages.   And I think it forced them to make the story tighter.

Nightfall and Jamie is driving the wagon and family into the cemetery to bury Hayes.  They discuss what to do with the gemstones while they are in town.  Ian and Jamie begin to dig and Ian has PTSD flashbacks to his time with Geillis, both in his sexual abuse and fear of being killed.  He tells Jamie how Geillis only wanted virgin boys and he was not a virgin (a surprise to Jamie).  Matt noted that this was not necessary plot wise but it was very necessary for character development.  Jamie tells Ian that he’s been in that same situation.    He eases Ian’s guilt by telling him that “your cock does not have a conscience but you do”.  Toni said they fought for that line and I’m glad they did.  It was something that Ian could understand.

Matt loves writing Jamie and Ian together.  Jamie sees himself in Ian-the one son who wanted to see the world.  With Ian in this scene, Jamie shows both his tender side and his warrior side.  And he sees how his memories of own sexual abuse, both violently in the hands of Black Jack and emotionally at the hands of Geneva can be overcome with time and talk.  Claire helped teach him that and he pays that gift forward with Ian.

They return to the wagon and everybody is spooked as the tarp begins to rise in human form.  But it’s that slippery Irishman again.  Jamie does not trust him yet but after hearing his story, he tells him to be on his way.  Bonnet has other plans though because he knows the redcoats will be looking for him.  And here we see why Bonnet is even more dangerous than BJR.  While BJR had power, you never questioned whether he was evil.   He was just layers of evil.  Bonnet is charming, can appear vulnerable and has a distinctive and uncanny ability to find your weakness and use it against you. In this case, he knows they are all grieving and pretends to be a friend of Hayes to stay with them and aid his escape.

Toni Graphia said they discussed his conscience to determine whether he was a psychopath or a sociopath.  I looked up the difference and it seems that while both have a poor inner voice to define the difference between right and wrong, but a psychopath has no conscience about it.   The producers always have a character discussion with a new actor and in this case, they said he should be charming but mimic your emotions and feed on your weakness.  Ed delivered these notes perfectly.

Jamie and Claire agree to drive the wagon forward while the others go back to town.  They are stopped by a group of redcoats looking for the escaped man.  Jamie thinks quickly and admits they have a body but claim it is Hayes.  The British leader still has one of his men stab the “body”.  In the book, Bonnet doesn’t flinch but the writers (and I) thought this was impractical so they added the leg of venison into the story.   Claire attends to Bonnet’s wound (Caitriona Balfe is so natural in these medical scenes) and he uses his ability to bond with his future victims with her.   So, he fools them both but the writers deliberately want to make Jamie and Claire not always right or not always the hero to make them more human.  Matt says Jamie is the hardest character to write, given his few flaws.

The Foreshadow knows:  Bonnet describes his fear of drowning and also comments on Claire’s two rings.

Jamie and Claire camp for the night and in an evening of a mutual sponge-bath, the stress of the day gets to them and they talk about how none of it compares to what they suffered in losing each other for 20 years.  And their love sustained, despite time and centuries apart.  This is the famous First Law of Thermodynamics scene brought forth from later in the book.  Their lovemaking is more urgent, bonding and one ultimately of gratefulness that they are back together.  (And this is the first time they had been alone together in a long time, although I would have wondered if anybody was in the woods.)  And Jamie teachers Claire some physics of his own.  Lovely portrayal by both the leads in this scene.

Matt called writing this the elephant in the room as most book-readers might expect the also famous sex on the river rock scene but it was far too cold in Scotland.  The scene that was actually shot was re-shot at the end of filming because it was so cold the first time that the actors needed to stay dressed and the studio feedback was not sexy enough.  They managed to make it both sexy and tender, despite the fact that I bet it was still not warm when they reshot it.   Matt commented on how their chemistry really made the scene so beautiful.  They did delete the first part of the scripted scene where he walks up to her.

The next morning, Claire is looking out over the mountainside and telling Jamie how all of this will eventually become the United States of America.  (Just loved how they inserted Jamie’s sense of humor into this scene as well.)   At the same time, Jamie learns that life will not be so idyllic for the Native Americans who will suffer some of the same indignities as the Highlanders.  The CGI in this scene was a bit troublesome as you could tell they were staring at a green screen and in one shot from behind, Claire is talking yet you cannot see Caitriona’s mouth moving.

They return to Wilmington and a deleted scene indicates that they were invited to a dinner at the Livingston household.   As they dress, Claire worries her old dress will be appropriate and Jamie assures her it will especially with a beautiful necklace that he had created out of their ruby.  He hopes that it will show off the stone for an attending wealthy Englishman who may buy it and help finance their voyage home to Scotland.   Jamie hugs her from behind as she looks at the ruby (Toni loves this shot) and Jamie bows to her to “invite” her to dinner. (Maril loved that part.)

Dinner party scenes are not my favorite.  In this case, as fellow British citizens, they fit in and yet they don’t fit in.  They don’t wear powdered wigs and they are not pretentious.   Claire manages to catch the eye of the wealthy gentleman who may buy her ruby while Jamie is brought into the library to talk to Governor Tryon.    Several fun facts to include with this scene.

  1. Governor Tryon was a real person and the real governor of North Carolina
  2. Actor Tim Downie (Tryon) used to act in a series of very funny commercials with Sam Heughan for Tennents Ale. You can find several on YouTube
  3. Sam indicated this room was haunted and our Outlander America twitter admin tweeted at Tim about it. Tim replied that every time Jamie said the word Jacobite in filming it, a book fell from the shelf.   I wonder if the poltergeist was a Jacobite or a redcoat!

Tryon mentions land grants that are available for immigrant Scots.  It is a tempting offer and he advises Jamie that even the technically a large sum of money is required but indicates a loophole there.  He asks Jamie to consider it.

Back in their rented room, Claire and Jamie discuss their next steps.  Claire has sold the ruby for 100 pounds.  But there is also Tryon’s offer.  Jamie is smart enough to know that Tryon will want his loyalty in return against the regulators (the early American patriots).  But Claire warns him that this time the British will lose the war when the American Revolution actually happens in about eight years’ time.  The biggest factor here is that Jamie knows this will one day be Brianna’s country and since it is impossible for him to be able to guide her as his father, this is the only way he could have a direct hand in making this a good land for her.   His eyes begin to water at the joy that idea brings to him.  He also sees this as a way to have a fresh start in a new place.   (Later in a scripted but cut scene, we learn that Clare had applied for US citizenship in the 1960’s.)

Jamie and Claire make a decision and head to the Tavern to catch up with the family.  They come upon young Ian who has a rather large furry friend.  He explains he won the dig “dicing” but after receiving a stern warning about continuing to gamble from his aunt and uncle, he turns over some coin as well.  Rollo becomes a new and important member of the family.

Jamie tells the group that they have sold the ruby but have decided to try and make a life in the colonies.  They are not yet sure where they will settle but will decide after visiting Aunt Jocasta in River Run.  Ian is excited about this idea but Uncle Jamie squashes is dreams by telling him that he must return him to Scotland so he can be the man his mother wants him to be.  Fergus and Lesley are given a part of the ruby profits but Lesley asks if he can stay with them for a while.  Fergus and Marsali reveal that they too will stay as Marsali is pregnant.   (This is a change from the books as she finds out she is pregnant in Jamaica and stays there until after giving birth. I’m glad they made this change.)  Jamie is delighted and Claire is tentatively so given her previous talk with Marsali about not wanting a child right away.  Marsali assures her that she is happy and Claire gives her adopted son a hug.  Jamie also stands and hugs him.  I wonder if it occurred to both at that moment that they will soon be grandparents.   

They commission a river boat to take them to Jocasta’s plantation with promise of helping the work (thanks to young Ian and Lesley’s backs).  The boat scenes were filmed separately and unfortunately you can tell because the CGI in the boat scenes are not great.  In some scenes, Jamie’s head seems almost 3D and the CGI is too obvious.   Jamie tells Claire the story of Jocasta Cameron Cameron Cameron-drawing it out like the Scottish storyteller he is.

Claire expresses her concern over the assumed slave steering the boat but she learns that the man was freed after saving his owner’s life.  This will not be the first time I agree with Claire’s position but wishes she acted with a little more finesse.  The man has a beautiful baritone voice and I wonder what he would sound like singing with Lesley.

The next morning Jamie gives Claire a gift for their 24th anniversary. It is a beautiful medical box complete with medicine, tools and a microscope.  This was a lovely scene in the book and brought to life beautifully by Sam and Caitriona (and the antique shop commissioned to make the box).   Matt indicated that they had to make a few versions as the main one was too heavy for Caitriona to carry around.   They edited out the part where she finds the physician’s notes of Dr. Daniel Rawling.  Jamie seems happy that she loves it as he feels somewhat guilty for not being able to give her much.  She assures him that all she needs is the ring he gave her as she passed down his mother’s pearls to their daughter.

That night as they slept, the boat was boarded by Bonnet and his band of thieves.  They hold the crewman at gunpoint on shore and Bonnet entices Jamie to attack him where Jamie is then grabbed by several men who steal the gems.  Bonnet gives them instructions (per the script) not to kill Jamie

Ian is shoved to the ground as is Lesley.  One thief tries to get Claire’s rings but Lesley prevents him.  Bonnet comes into the boat cabin and with complete indifference slits Lesley’s throat.  He then forces Claire to give up both her rings and on instinct she tries to swallow them.   He forces one out and leaves.  As Claire gags and brings up one ring, she is distraught to find that it is Frank’s ring and that she has lost Jamie’s.  The one thing she said was all she needed.  Jamie staggers in to find the horrific scene.  I agree with the producers’ decision to deviate from the book and have her lose Jamie’s ring as it is the more recognizable of the two.   (Book readers will know why this is important.)

As those who have seen the episode know, this last scene was without dialogue (even though there is dialogue in the script) and we hear Ray Charles’ version of America the Beautiful.  Interesting here is that Bear McCreary had written an extremely beautiful version of the same song (per Toni) but they chose to go with the other version.  I understand what they were going for with the choice but I personally did not like it for several reasons.  I didn’t like the choice of the song and especially with the words, it took me out of the scene.  I didn’t like the symbolism.  And Caitriona noted during a promotional panel that she didn’t realize that they were going to do that.   Sometimes I think the writers and/or producers fall in love with one of their own ideas that they stick with it, even knowing that a decent portion of the fans won’t like it.  (You can’t please everybody but when you can safely predict that maybe 40-50% won’t like it, then it seems kind of selfish to hang on to your pet idea.)

The episode was a very good start to the new season and an effective pivot from both Scotland and the Caribbean.  The last scene, music notwithstanding, had me captivated.   The cast did an outstanding job and all the players have gelled nicely.  Welcome to America.


Official images from Starz.  Gifs made by OLA.


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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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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. 


  • 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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Recap on Steroids Episode 206 Best Laid Schemes

Written by Matthew B. Roberts

Directed by Metin Huseyin

The podcast for this episode was narrated by showrunner Ronald D. Moore (RDM) and executive producer/episode writer Matt Roberts.

The title card for the episode was a series of torches which would not be familiar to people until seeing where they fit in the episode.

The deleted scenes from this episode are great. You can find them on the DVD and BluRay which can be purchased at our Shop Outlander Amazon shop.   You can also see them on the Outlander America YouTube Channel here.


As we noted in our recap for episode 205, originally episodes 205 and 206 were supposed to be together at some point but it became clear that it was too much for one hour.  Matt Roberts notes that their stories play longer than other television shows that he and RDM have worked on together.

The original script called for a dream sequence that turns into a nightmare for Jamie.  In it, Claire chooses Frank over Jamie but the face of Black Jack (similar to Frank’s, of course) haunts him.  When the camera in the actual episode catches up to him, he is still a bit shaken by that dream.  The dream sequence was actually never filmed, even though Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies were actually looking forward to filming it.  Matt said it also served as a way for Jamie to make peace with his promise to Claire to wait a year.

Murtagh walks in to tell Jamie that the duel with BJR will take place in two days but Jamie, strumming his fingers on the desk in his usual way, must tell Murtagh that the duel is off.  Murtagh leaves in disgust.

Claire is at the hospital assisting Monsieur Forez with cleaning a deceased patient.  Forez tells her he has been called to perform his “day job” as the Royal Executioner.  The King is not pleased with practice of the Dark Arts and so this prisoner will not just be hanged, he will be drawn and quartered while still alive.   He hints that this is what happens to both those involved in dark magic but also to traitors.  RDM commented that the scene creeps him out and he always wanted to cut it.  The scene was actually much longer in the original version.  I personally think it goes on too long even with the editing.  Forez hints to Claire that her friend Master Raymond is in danger.

Claire excuses herself and hurries off to Master Raymond’s to warn him.  There were two versions of this script; one had it already trashed by the King’s men and the other, as filmed, with the men not yet arriving.  Matt noted that it would have been crazy for Jon Gary Steele’s set design team to trash it and then have to put it together again.  There are so many small details in that shop.

Later that evening, Claire is being a good husband rubbing his pregnant wife’s feet.  RDM and  Matt note that this is something every husband should learn.  Jamie brings up the fact that he did not agree to wait a year to kill BJR because she had saved Jamie’s life twice.  He reminds her, quite correctly, that he’s saved her life just as much.  He also reminds her that he owes Frank nothing as Claire had a choice and she chose Jamie.  He told her that he delayed to keep Frank alive because of Charles Edward Stuart.

Claire is confused but Jamie explains that even though Charles is a bit crazy and not very bright, there is something about his passion that will make men follow him-even to their death at Culloden.   Jamie, with great sadness in his eyes, asks Claire to promise him that if they get to that point that she will go back through the stones to Frank so that their child will be safe.  Matt Roberts said that he personally would find that something difficult to ask and accept.  So would Frank, Matt.  So would Frank.

Matt felt the promise scene is one of the most important scenes of the season.

Matt and RDM got into a discussion about the fact that both Frank and Jamie are valid partners for Claire.   If Claire had never met Jamie, she would have been fine with Frank.  I disagree.  She was never her whole self with Frank.  I think this may be something that can only be understood by a woman.   Matt did comment that Claire and Jamie are soulmates and you can’t unring the Jamie bell.  (Not to be confused with violinist Jamie Bell.)  Yes, and Frank could never be her soulmate.

The next scene in the book was where Jamie accompanies Murtagh to Portugal to buy the wine before Comte could raise money for the prince.  Murtagh was supposed to fake smallpox but with Jamie’s chronic seasickness, he ends up looking like he has it.  RDM said it would have been a fun scene to shoot but sea battles are difficult to set up and film and it wasn’t worth it for one scene.  As we know, they will be relocating the set to South Africa to film the last third of Voyager on ships.

Instead, they wrote in the scene where Claire uses a mixture to fake smallpox on a reluctant Jamie.  Fergus is adorable in this scene as he is totally not paying attention to “mom” and she knows it.  Murtagh thinks it is charades and games and does not get why these continue to play them.   Fergus and Murtagh leave while Jamie wishes Claire had some Pepto from the 20th century.  They both realize that it is time to tell Murtagh the whole truth about Claire and what she knows about the devastation that awaits the Scots.

Out in the courtyard, a pissed off Murtagh is pacing and a still queasy Jamie begins to tell him the truth in Gaelic in case they are overheard.  The editing here is smart and does not recount things the audience already knows.  I always found it strange that after Jamie tells him the story in Gaelic for privacy, Murtagh responds about Claire being a witch in English.  But in true Murtagh form, he immediately believes Jamie but punishes him for his lack of trust with a good hook to the jaw.  (Or, as Matt says “ a Murtagh reaction”.) All is well with the two of them as Claire watches through the upstairs window.

RDM commented that Jamie and Claire are the ultimate power couple and when they team up, their strengths complement each other.

Claire sends Fergus and Jamie on their way to spike the wine with her fake smallpox concoction with another cute exchange with Fergus.  I really like how they made their relationship closer, quicker in this season.

Claire returns to the living room where Murtagh is still absorbing the news about Claire being from the future.  RDM suggested this scene and at first, Matt struggled with writing it.  He felt by having Murtagh write down all the years of Claire’s 20th century life, it would be real to him.  Murtagh asks Claire if she knows what will happen to them individually and she does not.  Murtagh correctly recognizes this knowledge as a burden for Claire.

We are treated with a nice montage of Jamie and Fergus riding to Le Havre.  These were all filmed as second unit footage, directed by Matt.  They arrive at the distillery in Le Havre which is actually a real distillery in Scotland known as Deanston Distillery.   Fergus spikes the wine and paints the mashed nettles inside their clothing.  A longer, deleted scene shows Fergus was nearly caught.

A tired Jamie returns as Claire awakens to ask him how it went.  Matt commented that he loves that the writers are given the freedom to write in humor as that is just as integral to who Jamie and Claire are as their intimacy.  Jamie jokes about their skills in creating havoc.  He collapses into bed while completing a few barrel roll kisses with Claire.

Back at the brothel, an angry Comte is discussing what to do next with the Bonnie Prince and he’s pissed at Jamie for being late.  (Hey le Dude-he was up all night creating pestilence on your ship.)  Charles decides to have Jamie drive another shipment himself but the Comte doesn’t trust Jamie and says he will join him.  This of course, throws yet another monkey wrench in to Jamie’s plans.

So, plan B (or is that C) is hatched with a fake heist to be initiated by a “French” Murtagh.  Jamie and Claire (who suddenly looks like she’s having triplets) watch as Suzette dresses him in hose and satin finery.  Claire is concerned that this plan is dangerous to which Jamie replies “Tis”.

Claire, hearkening back to the wedding pledge about secrets but no lies, tells him that it is OK to lie to her every once in awhile.  Matt liked this because he felt this was their married couple private joke.  Murtagh is not pleased and asks them not to let him hang in this outfit, which Suzette helpfully offers to get him out of.  IYKWIMAITYD

Once again hats off to Duncan Lacroix who was the perfect supporting actor in Season 3 but for some reason can’t even get Starz support for awards because his name doesn’t end with Menzies.

Later that evening, the ovary popping scene, I mean a lovely scene with Jamie and Claire in bed and bonding over their unborn baby.  Jamie feels his child kick for the first time and speaks to him/her about how he canna wait to meet them.  Sweetness turns to passion and an unsure new father-to-be worries that he might poke the kid in the head but Claire assures him this is not the case.  They begin to make love as we fade to black (the scorn of Season 2 sex…)

This incredibly lovely and hot at the same time scene was added late. Matt felt it was important as it is the first time they are a family.  RDM was opposed to it but now realizes it was important but not for the reason you might think.  He realized that they must reconnect after last week’s fight before breaking them up again coming up.  Yes, technically you are right Ron but once again you are thinking about plot rather than character.  Please try to think about it the other way around.

The men leave for their little fake heist while Claire visits Louise.  She can’t get into the conversation of simple and vain aristocratic women while she is so preoccupied but then chooses to try to plant the seed of sympathy for the poor into their minds.  After all, as RDM reminds us, these rich French women are doomed.  They, of course, don’t get it and she leaves to get away from their foolishness.

In the woods, the wagons led by Jamie and Comte drive straight into Le Murtagh the French highwayman.  (Note back to title card here as they have torches in the wagons.)   Murtagh points his gun at Le Comte who is all, I’m not backing down and so Jamie pretends to save him by jumping onto Le Murtagh.  Jamie gives Murtagh the subtle hint to play it up by knocking him out.

Claire left Louise’s for the hospital where she attends to patients while Fergus plays with Bouton, the amazing diagnosis dog.  She is obviously feeling tired and Mother Hildegarde tells her to lie down.  They both notice the blood on her leg and Mother H. lies to her and tells her it is normal.  Matt Roberts used to be an EMT and has delivered babies before so he knows that Claire, as a combat nurse, may not have recognized any symptoms of problems since soldiers don’t have babies.  Mother Hildegarde convinces Claire to stay the night and Fergus returns home to let Jamie know.

Le Comte and Jamie return to the brothel to break the bad news to the prince.  Comte does not trust Jamie over this but the smart plan to have Le Murtagh gun butt Jamie convinces Charles that he is just unlucky.  The Prince is upset and worries that he will have to return to his mother’s native Poland in disgrace.

Jamie returns home to grab some dinner from the buffet just as Fergus returns from the hospital to tell him that Milady will be staying the night.  They begin to share a meal and here you can see, as Matt tells us, that Fergus has a bad case of hero worship.   Suzette interrupts to tell them that the Prince is drunk and causing trouble at the brothel so Jamie must go to calm things down.  Fergus accompanies him to “guard his right” which are shades of Jamie’s soldiering time fighting with Ian.  Matt admits he likes to throw in nuggets like that.

At the brothel, Fergus wonders around and sees some perfume in a room that he plans to steal for Claire.  But, creepy central because you can see the redcoat hanging on a hook in the room.  (They originally had it on the bed but it looked like a blanket so they re-shot the scene.)  Fergus looks afraid as a shadow looms.  (Oh RDM, if only you had left it there…)

Claire returns in the morning to find Jamie gone but his brace remains.  (In the book, of course, he cuts his hair to keep it out of his eyes but TV Jamie has hair that is not quite as long as book Jamie.)  She is finally able to scare it out of Suzette that he has gone to duel with the Englishman.  Claire is beginning to experience a lot of discomfort but she tells Magnus to get her the carriage.  He insists that she cannot go alone and accompanies her.

The carriage storms out of the courtyard (and if you watch it, the back wheel actually fishtails in a rather dangerous way with Cait in it!)  Claire is upset and worried.  She touches her gold wedding ring wondering if Frank will die if Jamie kills BJR.   She goes back and forth with worry, anger and labor pains.

The duel was filmed in Glasgow’s version of NY’s Central Park and they had trouble keeping cameras away but they really didn’t want to have too much come out early as spoilers.  You can hear the clash of swords before you see them. Claire makes her way to the clearing, in obvious pain. She knows she can’t scream out to distract either man.

Sam and Tobias rehearsed for a few days and performed the duel scene a few times.  Matt commented that they really got a workout!    Claire watches in horror before a very big pain comes and blood drains from her body.  She begins to collapse just as Jamie stabs BJR in the groin and falls backwards.  The filming here is top notch as the French police ride in on horseback and chaos ensues.  Claire screams for Jamie and he forgets all else except the fact that she is lying there in her own blood.

Magnus helps her up to begin to take her home but she has presence of mind enough to tell him to take her to Mother Hildegarde or she knows she will die.  (Cut dialogue here is bystanders commenting that she’s going to die.)

The camera takes us from Claire, to a passed out (dead?) BJR to Jamie’s anguish at not being able to go to her as he is swarmed by guards.  Matt said they talked about who to end on and they end on Claire passing out in Magnus’ arms.

All is not good for the Fraser’s at this point.


Picture Sources: Starz, ScreenersTV and Heroes & Heartbreakers

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Title: Untimely Resurrection

Written by: Richard Kahan

Directed by: Douglas Mackinnon

It’s  Episode 205 of  OLA’s  continuing series of Recaps on Steroids (ROS) for Season 2.  These ROS will incorporate an OLA writers’ 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 respectfully disagree at times with their thought process or assumptions.  We hope you enjoy these recaps!


The podcast for this episode was narrated by showrunner Ronald D. Moore (RDM) and costume designer Terry Dresbach.

The title card for the episode was inside the King’s stables with the white horses being brushed and a blanket with the King’s emblem laid over their backs.  This was Richard Kahan’s first script and he did a great job.  You can tell he is a fan of the books as he writes Jamie and Claire very well.

One thing that came into my mind while researching the episode, podcast and script for this episode is that it would be really cool to have one of the actors do the podcast with RDM.    This episode was definitely one of those that would have benefited from that.  I would imagine the logistics of this would be difficult.

The episode begins after the dinner party and the post-dinner fight with some having been hauled away to the Bastille.  RDM mentioned that this show actually ran shorter, but they made cuts as feedback from the studio and network was that it was running long.  (Editorial comment: This is why a bunch of middle-aged white guys should not make decisions about what women want out of a character-driven story of a strong, married couple!)

The previous episode was going to end with a scene with King James as he was going to be invited to the dinner party in an early version of the script.  So much changed for the end of 204 and the start of 205.

The camera pans from the clearing of the dinner table to the chaos of broken items and overturned furniture to a worried Claire.  A deleted scene had Claire stressing by the fire with Fergus joining her to brush her hair.  He explains the story of LaDame Blanche, and through Claire’s questioning, we also learn the story of Fergus.  I thought this was a lovely scene, and one where it showed Claire really coming to care for Fergus as her adopted son and not just Jamie’s.  This was one of three deleted scenes in this episode that I felt added both depth and insights into the characters.

Jamie returns to find Claire still up and Fergus fast asleep.  He picks up their sleeping son and meets Claire in their bedroom.  (Side note:  I like that the script had Jamie kiss Claire on the forehead but in the episode Jamie kisses her hand.  It was sweeter.)

Jamie tells Claire that Duverney vouched for them, but that the Duke of Sandringham fired Alex Randall, since he was still in prison.  They discuss how Claire got away from the attackers (hard to believe that half of 204 and the start of 205 is all the same day!) and she mentioned they called her LaDame Blanche.   Jamie confesses to having called her that at Maison Elise to be able turn away prostitutes without looking unmanly.  At first Claire is incredulous that he could risk her being seen as a witch again, but then realizes that this probably means the attackers frequent the brothel-and that narrows down the suspects.  Jamie makes a mental note to assign Murtagh to watch the Comte, just in case St. Germain still has revenge on his mind.

Jamie sits down, exhausted, on the bedroom couch next to Claire in the script, but I like the choice (by Sam? the director?) of him standing and snuggling Claire from behind while he seems to inhale her.  It reminded me of the snuggle from behind scene in Lallybroch from Season 1, where they express their love to each other for the first time.

The next morning, a kilted Jamie is in his office at the winery talking with Murtagh.  (RDM provided an interesting tidbit that the office was a redress of the set that was the Inn from Episode 201.)  Murtagh confesses that he feels guilty that he failed Jamie by allowing his wife to be attacked.  Jamie reassures him that he was outnumbered, but nonetheless Murtagh vows to lay vengeance at his feet.  Jamie charges him with this vow as he knows a proud Highlander would want it.

Richard Kahan noted something interesting in the script notes.  He said Sam added a subtle subtext to this scene by showing that Jamie, for a split second, also wonders if Murtagh could have done more.  Kahan noted that “Sam brought an awesome subtle flavor” to the scene.

Meanwhile, Claire sneaks in a visit to Mary to see how she is doing.  (Mary’s room is another redress of a set-Louise’s apartment.)  I liked Claire’s purple suit here, it felt very 18th century yet very modern, too.  Mary is writing a note explaining the details of the attack in order to free Alex.  She then confesses to Claire that she and Alex intend to be married.  Claire hides the fact that this terrifies her as it may prevent Frank’s ancestor (the offspring of Mary and Jack Randall) to be born.  She considers not delivering the letter to leave Alex in the Bastille but decides against it.  Richard Kahan was very complimentary of Caitriona Balfe in the notes, saying she is a writer’s dream.  I have read that sentiment from other writer’s as well.

Terry Dresbach explained that Mary was wearing a cute cap here but they get pressure not to put caps on leads.  This might explain why Jamie rarely wears the Highlander cap but Murtagh and Dougal often are seen with one.

Back at the winery, Murtagh has left on his quest and Bonnie Prince Charlie shows up.  He tells Jamie he is rid of the female haze and can focus on their quest. (It got me thinking that if he had been more focused on Louise and their baby, would he have given up or delayed the plan? )  He explains that there is a shipment of wine that is coming in, and he needs Jamie to help the Comte St. Germain to procure it so they can make some money for the cause.  Jamie is naturally not keen on this idea, but has to agree.  The look on his face is one step forward, two steps back in their plan to prevent Culloden.

Alex Randall is released from the Bastille and takes a walk with Claire.  Claire notices he is ill (who couldn’t, the constant coughing is like an anvil saying ALEX RANDALL IS SICK).  She makes a decision to talk Alex out of marrying Mary, given his lack of position and ill health.  Was I the only one thinking that if a man is coughing and obviously has something potentially contagious that the pregnant nurse walking with him should protect herself better?

Jamie meets up with Le Comte at the brothel.  jamie-and-comteIn a great writing/acting decision, the pride of both men intervene as Jamie will only speak English and Comte will only speak French. Jamie gets his point across that he will kill the man responsible for attacking Claire.   The mutual disdain at the table is palpable.

Jamie returns home to tell Claire about the Prince’s plan, and they realize that they must try to stop him.  Claire gets an idea about simulating smallpox, but tucks it in the back of her mind for later.  Jamie presents her with a wooden case containing 12 Apostle spoons that are a family heirloom.  He had Jenny send them so he could present them to Claire as a christening gift for their baby.  Producer Toni Graphia came up with this idea after research.

Claire opens up to Jamie about her fears of being a good mother.  Not only is this a natural way to feel, but Claire lost her own mother when she was five and so has no real maternal role model other than Jenny.  Jamie reassures her that they will learn together.  jamie-reassuring-claire-about-baby A longer version of this scene is part of the DVD deleted scenes.  It’s too bad it wasn’t kept in, especially if the show was running short as RDM noted.

Richard Kahan said that this part of the script went through many revisions.  There was even an intense sex scene at the end of one of them.  But as a new father himself, he felt the more emotional connection was the better way to go.  There must have been some editing on set, as the scene ending with Claire saying “I do love you” and Jamie’s reply of “I love you too, mo nighaen donn” were not in the published script.

Jamie and Claire meet the Duke of Sandringham at Versailles to assist him at a horse sale.  This was originally scripted as  dressage, but the production people thought it would take days to film correctly.  Jamie looks at horses with the Duke while poor Claire must take a ladies’ walk with Jamie’s former girlfriend, Annalise.  Claire’s dress here was an unusual print which I claire-analisedidn’t like when I first saw pictures, but it actually matches very well with the garden surroundings.  Terry commented that there was a lot of criticism when pictures were released during the “Droughtlander,” but that the dress was seen out of context.  I would agree.  She also commented that many said the long yellow gloves looked like dish washing gloves, and to my surprise, RDM said “that’s because people are idiots.”  No, Ron.  I am no idiot, and that was my first thought, too. I love yellow, but that was too much yellow, and since yellow dish washing gloves are kind of an iconic symbol of women 40 years ago, it’s not a stretch.

Annalise comments to Claire that she knew him as a boy, but Claire has made him into a man.  She then notices a man staring at Claire, and to Claire’s horror, it is Black Jack Randall standing in full uniform.  Annalise runs off to find Jamie before Claire can stop her.

RDM said that he and Tobias Menzies talked about how Jack should behave in this sequence.  RDM said that Jack had taken all he wanted from Jamie at Wentworth and so his demeanor should be a bit lighter.  Richard Kahan noted it made him even creepier.  Jack is  thrilled to see Claire and even more so with the fact that Jamie was there.  Claire, whose heart is probably pounding out of her chest at this point, cannot control her contempt; but the King is on a stroll with his entourage and protocol beckons.

Jamie arrives but cannot draw his sword in the presence of the King.  Louis picks up on the fact that black-jack-bowsClaire and Jamie don’t seem to like BJR and he mocks and humiliates him.  Jamie enjoys this very much. Jack notes that he is there to try to help his brother Alex get his position back.  We know that Jack and the Duke have had dealings together in the past.  Two peas in a rotten pod.

Claire pretends to be unwell to be excused by the King.  Once Jamie confirms that she’s OK, he turns back to speak to Jack.  RDM wanted the scene to be from Claire’s POV as she watches in horror wondering what they are saying.  I thought that was an effective choice on the part of RDM.  Jamie returns to her side with a look of utter joy on his face as BJR agrees to a duel, and Jamie can taste his blood at that moment.  On the carriage ride home, Jamie looks like a kid headed to Disney World while Claire’s mind races as to how she can stop this.  Jamie jumps out of the carriage at home to start planning the duel with Murtagh while Claire takes the carriage to the Bastille.

Murtagh and Jamie are discussing duel logistics when Claire walks in looking upset.  She tells them that she signed a petition saying BJR was part of the attack.  She knows he will have an alibi, but it buys a few days for her to talk Jamie out of it.  She even asks Murtagh to leave.

What follows is some of the best acting seen on television, in this or any other 2016 program.

As RDM notes, when Sam and Cait have to fight as Jamie and Claire, they dig deep.  He said that “these two actors can take you places.”  And “Jamie and Claire are the show, and these two characters are brought to life by these two actors.”  (I am biting my tongue about how this doesn’t reconcile well with all the Jamie and Claire cut scenes on the DVD…)

jamie-claire-dirk-205Claire begs Jamie to wait a year because if he kills BJR; otherwise Mary will not conceive the child that will become Frank’s ancestor.  As the script notes, Jamie looks at Claire as if she is insane.  He cannot believe she is asking this of him after knowing all he went through physically and emotionally and how it impacted the most intimate parts of their relationship.  He asks her to kill him instead.  She throws the dirk away and seconds later she pours salt in an open wound by saying “you owe me a life.”

Jamie is a man of honor and agrees to one year.  He kisses his sword in “goodbye for now” (great move by Sam Heughan here as this was not in the script).  She goes to hug him, but he says quietly and coldly…Dinna.TOUCH.me

The scene ends with them being far apart in the room and even farther apart emotionally.

Richard Kahan noted that in one of the versions of the script, Jamie walks from room to room  yelling with Claire running after him yelling back.  (Hey Richard, how did he know that is what goes on in my house during an argument!)  Kahan also said he loved writing the scene and that Sam and Caitriona “elevated it beyond measure.”

The deleted scenes from this episode are great. You can find them on the DVD and BluRay, which can be purchased at our Shop Outlander Amazon shop.   You can also see them on the Outlander America YouTube Channel.


All pictures sourced from Starz/Sony, OutlanderAmerica Pinterest.  Last gif sourced from varietyofwords via Tumblr

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Title: LaDame Blanche

Written by: Toni Graphia

Directed by: Douglas Mackinnon

It’s  Episode 204 of  OLA’s  continuing series of Recaps on Steroids (ROS) for Season 2.  These ROS will incorporate an OLA writers’ 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 respectfully disagree at times with their thought process or assumptions.  We hope you enjoy these recaps!



If you want to see some very funny deleted scenes from this episode and others, then pre-order the Season 2 DVD or Blu Ray from our Shop Outlander Amazon page here.  It is targeted to be in-homes on November 1st.

The podcast for this episode was narrated by showrunner Ronald D. Moore (RDM) and executive producer Toni Graphia who also write the script.

The title card for the episode was a broken wagon wheel and the episode was referred to in the writer’s room as the dinner party episode.

The opening credits include shots of Versailles.  RDM noted that this was mostly done with visual effects that incorporated actual historical shots of Versailles.

The opening scene is of Jamie playing chess with Duvernay but this time, Claire is there.  She is distracting Jamie with baby names, causing him to lose a game.  Initially, the baby naming discussion took place in a more intimate setting but the writers wanted to underscore how little they have spoken about the baby given the logistical challenge of their quest and the emotional wall created by Jamie dealing with the Wentworth aftermath.

The Comte interrupts them and spoils the game.


Claire leaves the table to get a drink.  A sequence cut from this scene includes her overhearing many French women talking about how bored they are and then a few say

I shouldn’t mind making that tall red-headed Scot growl and show his teeth. 

Yes, he can castle my queenside any time.

How do you say I know the feeling in French?

Claire normally would be used to other women admiring Jamie but this time it cuts to the quick as  they have not been intimate in months.  She takes a drink and realizes something isn’t right.  Jamie notices that she is in distress and runs to her side.   They choreographed this scene to make you suspect the Comte St. Germaine but we don’t know for sure if he was the mastermind at this point. The sequence where the royal physician wants to bleed her is cut for time.

Jamie and Claire return to the house.  The interesting this is this scene was shot before the Prague chess room scenes.  Toni commented that they often shot out of sequence in Season 2, even months apart and she noted how the crew and especially the actors, were brilliant in keeping the continuity of the scene and especially the emotion.  RDM said shooting that way is called cross-boarding.

Claire is forced to tell Jamie that Black Jack is alive.  There were many discussions in the writers’ room about how and when she should tell him.  The reveal comes to a head when Jamie wants to throw a dinner party to show Sandringham how weak Charles is so that he will see him as a bad investment.  With Sandringham will come Alex Randall and Claire knows she has no choice to tell Jamie.  They also played around with Jamie’s reaction and decided he would be overjoyed.  Sam Heughan  played this well as the script simply says “this is wonderful news” but he read it as “this is…wonderful news” with a dramatic pause and a look to the heavens as if saying Thank GOD.

Side note:  RDM noted they were well into story boarding for Season 3 at the point of this episode airing.  The episode aired on April 30th in the US so that must mean they had known about Season 3 as early as March, if not before.

Murtagh observes that Jamie seems in a good mood and Claire admits that she was forced to tell Jamie that BJR is alive.  She takes a playful poke by saying “I don’t know what you were so worried about.”  RDM said he fought to keep this scene in.   Unfortunately, it required that the next sequence had to be cut where Claire comes upo Jamie and Fergus discussing which of the women at the brothel likes to talk.  Jamie wanted to know which one he could talk with but not have to partake.  I think it was a mistake to cut this because it would have put an important upcoming scene with Jamie and Claire in better context.  Many non-book readers were disappointed in Jamie for the later scene but if they had seen this exchange, they would have realized his motivation.

I think this is another editing decision that was chosen because of favorite scenes by a writer or producer without thought as to how the audience would interpret or prefer.  While I admire how they tackled a long, complicated book in only 13 episodes, the editing decisions were often head scratchers.  This will become extremely apparent  in episode 207 but you’ll have to wait a bit for that recap!

Claire returns to Master Raymond’s shop.  Both RDM and Toni noted this is their favorite set with so many details that the viewer barely has time to notice.  Toni pointed out something that I hadn’t noticed in the episode.  When Claire is holding up a prehistoric skull, Raymond tells her he is fascinated by things not of this time.  And he is looking at Claire, not the skull.  He knows or at least suspects.  They really wanted to create a sense of mystery about Raymond.

Claire is worried about Frank.  She loved him once and given that she now has met Mary Hawkins, she wants to understand what that means for Frank.  RDM had the idea of throwing the bones on an animal hide, something Claire would remember given her travels with her archeologist uncle.   When Raymond says “you will see him again”, Claire is perplexed but the audience knows this to be true from episode 201.  She receives her magic stone necklace.  This piece is important to later episodes and so they let Terry Dresbach select the stone.

Claire then visits Louise who shows off her new cuckoo clock.  The original script had Louise sitting for a portrait with her monkey and the monkey would escape.  But the production manager said “The monkey stays in the cage!” so the changed the script.  Louise confides in Claire that she is pregnant by her lover.  In a large piece of foreshadowing, Claire tells her that it is possible to raise a child with love even if her husband is not the father.  One version of the script had Louise reveal that Charles is her lover but they decided to have Jamie and Claire figure that out later.

Jamie returns home that evening very much in the mood.  He straddles Claire on the bed and as he lifts his shirt (even Toni gave an impressed woo! during the podcast at Sam’s, um,  assets), Claire notices bite marks on his thighs. Toni wanted to make sure that the audience knows that Jamie would never be untrue to Claire but this was more complicated than that.    The script note says it all “in the long, clueless tradition of husbands throughout time”,  Jamie begins to explain to Claire that nothing happened but he was trying to reconnect with himself so that he could reconnect with her.  Using a whore from the brothel who liked to talk a lot (see cut scene with Fergus), meant he could test that while being true to her.   This leads to a very vulnerable discussion on both their parts; Claire about how she’s tried so hard but this should be a happy time for them and Jamie finally revealing just how deeply Wentworth has impacted his psyche.  This included the infamous blade of grass speech originally from Book 1 that Maril Davis had remembered (thank you, Maril!)  RDM praised Diana Gabaldon’s writing of the speech and as Toni pointed out, words are only as good as the actors who deliver them.

Jamie leaves to sleep by himself in the daybed.  They always wanted to use this for a sex scene and it ended up being right that it be the first time for Jamie and Claire since arriving in Paris.  The blue lighting emphasized that it was just Jamie and Claire finding each other again in the darkness.  RDM ‘s line of Come find me fit perfectly.   Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe both commented in a number of interviews that they fought for a pregnant sex scene and they did it beautifully.  There is a brief moment of shock in Jamie’s eyes where BJR  may have started to creep his way back in but Claire grabs his face and secures her to him.  They are as one in every sense of the word once again.

Jamie tells Claire later that she has helped him start the healing process back to himself.  She has built him a roof with a lean to.    The sounds of banging on the roof brings him face to face with Charles in the window.  Andrew Gower did all his own stunts here from letting them pour water on him to show it had been raining, to jumping through the window and letting Sam tackle him.  An interesting point is that in the book, this is actually the first time the reader meets Prince Charles.  The book is told from Claire’s point of view so it was always her hearing Jamie describe his meetings with Charles.

Charles is injured and through conversation, Jamie and Claire put 2 and 2 together to realize that he is Louise’s lover and the father of her child.  They later plan how they will use this information at dinner.  A pang of conscience over hurting Louise for the greater good is part of it but they close the plan with a kiss as the scene fades to the setting of an elaborate dinner table.  The Jamie and Claire theme plays in the background as we are left to presume that the blade of grass is about to be a 3 room cottage.

Toni and RDM noted how very complicated this dinner party scene was for the director.  They had 16 seats but because the women’s clothing is so wide, they had to limit females.  They have to get Claire out of the house by sending her to Le H’opital to assist Mother Hildegarde.  Toni noted that this scene was almost cut a number of times but she really wanted to work with Frances De LaTour.  (Another time when a writer’s favorite scene takes up time that might have been better served elsewhere?)  A cut scene from here is when Mother Hildegarde tells Claire that she should be a doctor and that she could arrange for her to do an apprenticeship.  Production note: this scene was filmed on day 1.

A fun knife throwing scene takes place outside between Murtagh and Fergus where it seems brothel born and raised Fergus knows more about women than Murtagh.  I always love these two as it reminds me of gruff old uncle scenes.  fergus-and-murtaghToni noted that this scene didn’t move the plot forward as it was pure character and those scenes often suffered in the cutting room during season 2 but she was glad it made it.  (Note, this was the most common criticism of season 2 but part of that is due to the structure of book 2, in my opinion.)

Claire, Murtagh, Mary and Fergus leave to head back home when Murtagh discovers the carriage wheel is broken.  They decide to walk back with Fergus being instructed to go ahead to tell Jamie that they will be delayed.  RDM noted this was complicated with regards to timing of how long they were there, how long would it take to sabotage the carriage, how long of a walk is it, when is dinner served, etc.

Back at the ranch, Jamie beings to greet guests with the first to arrive being the Duke of Sleezingham and his secretary, Alex Randall.  Jamie is aware they were coming but still, as Toni notes, a great shiver runs through him when he sees the resemblance.   The actor who played Alex showed up to the first table read wearing the same glasses as Tobias Menzies.  Too bad they couldn’t have taken a picture of that.

Louise arrives with her husband and comes face to face with Charles who wears his heart on his sleeve.  Awkward!  Murtagh, Mary and Claire walk through the alley when Murtagh is knocked unconscious and a group of thugs attack and rape Mary.  This scene was shot many times and Toni noted it is difficult for the crew to watch.  (Note: If it is difficult to watch film, perhaps extrapolate that might be just as hard or harder for your audience?)  All of the attackers were stuntmen and not actors so they dubbed their lines.  Claire is recognized as LaDame Blanche (the title of the episode that is never explained until 205) and they run off.

When they return home, Mary is taken upstairs and Jamie wants to cancel the dinner party but Claire notes the show must go on, there is too much at stake.  She sedates Mary and leaves Alex to watch her, warning him that she may wake up disoriented.  Uh oh, you know that ain’t gonna be good.

The seating arrangements are strategic.  dinner-partyCharles must sit across from Louise, Duke sits across from Charles and the Comte next to Claire who suspects he is behind the attacks.  We do too as he seems surprised to see her there.

Jamie and Claire’s plan takes shape exactly as they had hoped in that Charles is upset with Jamie’s “accidental” announcement that Louise and her husband are expecting child.  Sandringham takes shots at the pope and Comte makes it quite clear he knows what kind of necklace Claire is wearing. (This is actually extremely important in another few episodes.)

Unfortunately, Mary wakes up and mistakes Alex for another attacker and runs into the parlor.  He tries to tackle her to quiet her and the men from the dinner party mistake it for an attempted rape.  A brawl ensues.  RDM noted that they wanted to make it a lighthearted brawl because a serious one would be over in seconds with Murtagh and Jamie killing everyone.  So, they tried to make it like the 3 Musketeers.  I felt it went on for too long and seemed out of character for them.  The humor is saved when the camera pans over to Fergus in the now empty dining room, enjoying the “spoils of war”.

Don’t forget!  Pre-order the Season 2 DVD or Blu Ray from our Shop Outlander Amazon page here.


All pictures sourced from Starz





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