“No but weak words”…Outlander Episode 16…To Ransom a Man’s Soul


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I am a woman in love with words.  I believe they have power. Well chosen words can bring you to tears of joy and sorrow. A turn of phrase can change a mind or kindle action. Words can bring solace and peace to wounded hearts and stir anger in others. So, it is ironic that in this episode, I was shown how powerful are words left unsaid.

As I predicted, viewers of Outlander on Starz learned that Claire was a woman worth caring about http://wp.me/p4mtBT-ah and Outlander has fulfilled its potential to be something different. It has told a story full characters who possess redeeming qualities who grapple with choices, moral and ethical dilemmas and often choose to put their own interests aside for the sake of another.  A rarity on TV for sure. These two final episodes meant something to viewers because of the time and care that was given to character and plot development. We care about what happens to these ” people”.

The acting was once again stellar. I’m happy to say that although Tobias’ portrayal of Black Jack was perfectly perverse the scenes were truly and rightfully about Jamie. Sam let us see Jamie thinking and feeling. His ability to emote continues to astound. I felt the tension in his body, the pain and the shame. Although there were wonderful lines spoken, they were “no but weak words” when compared to the story we SAW. There were images on my TV tonight that will not likely be forgotten. Jamie’s absent face as he lay on the pallet reminding BJR of his promise to kill him and his devastation following his orgasm at the hands of his rapist. The prison scenes truly exceeded my expectations and I cannot say enough about the dedication to their craft exhibited by everyone involved. Emmy worthy. Ground-breaking. It was a brutally honest portrayal of rape and its aftermath.

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For the most part, being a fan of the books has not seriously interfered with my enjoyment of the show. I have learned to relax and trust that Ron and crew were doing justice to my beloved source material and characters. However, despite Diana’s warning to “put the book down”, tonight I found there were scenes where I couldn’t. Tonight, I felt the adaptation missed the mark and a particular scene lost its magic and meaning. Diana is an amazing wordsmith. Her mystical version of what happened in that Abby, truly showed me that Claire was willing to go into hell to get Jamie back. She was willing to take the risk of dying at his hands because if she failed she would lose him and she couldn’t live without him. It was powerful.

I’ve read what critics and other’s who had seen the finale said about their reaction to this particular scene. They were sobbing with a gut wrenching connection to characters on a TV show, something they had never experienced before. I believe them. It was a beautifully filmed and acted episode. I probably would have felt the same, had I not read the books. I wanted that experience! I wanted to be so moved I couldn’t breathe!  It isn’t what I got and quite frankly, I’m jealous. Words in a book robbed me of having that meaningful experience with this scene. I’m afraid lavender oil and a couple of slaps on the face were not enough to bring Jamie back from the hell he inhabited in the books. I wanted to see them wrestle the demons and win. I wanted Jamie to build that lean-to for his soul to take shelter in. The show previews for the last episode showed Murtaugh asserting that SOMEONE needed to go into the darkness with Jamie and get him out. The Episode’s name To Ransom a Man’s Soul helped to fuel my belief that we would indeed see Claire go there. But, what I got instead were “no but weak words”. I wanted to scream that’s it? It was too easy.


To be fair, despite my disappointment over this scene, most scenes were wonderful and meaningful.  Like showing me exactly why living was the worst thing that could have happened to Jamie. Sam’s portrayal of a broken man was painful to watch and yet,…so moving I couldn’t look away.  Once again, words were not important. I didn’t need to understand Gaelic to understand what was happening between Murtaugh and Jamie.  I could read the fear for Jamie on Murtagh and Claire’s faces and felt their desperation to help him. What words are strong enough to convince a man longing for death to live? So much was communicated without using “no but weak words” .

Overall, It was a fitting ending to a well told story. Love of Claire was still the only thing powerful enough to move Jamie to make an unthinkable choice, to choose to live.

As Ron once said Outlander was, “a ripping good yarn”.

With my own weak words, I’d like to try to express how I feel as this season comes to a close. This has been a singular experience for me. My favorite book series was made into a TV series and I have gotten to be there from the beginning. From the beginning, we have had unprecedented access to the people creating our “dream come true” of seeing our favorite story and characters come to life. They interacted with us lowly fans.  I can’t help but feel that if we didn’t have this particular collection of people we wouldn’t have had the same experience. Because of this unprecedented interaction with the author, the folks creating the show and the fans, my life has been enriched.

I have made real-life friends with  fans I have met on Twitter!  I have engaged in wonderful discussions about the book and show that have challenged my thinking. Outlander fans are smart. If you want to get into a philosophical or intellectual discussion with them you better be prepared! I might not always agree with everyone, but I always walk away from these discussions with new perspective.

I have, thanks to the Outlander phenomenon, discovered I love to write. I’m a writer. Who knew? Certainly not me.  For that discovery, I will be eternally grateful.

Watching that ship sail away left me with the same feelings I had when I finished the book. I felt a lump in my throat and an ache in heart because my friends were going away and I will miss them. But, I know I will see them again and I smile when I realize the story of their lives together has only begun.

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Thank you all for reading my ramblings ….Beth


94 thoughts on ““No but weak words”…Outlander Episode 16…To Ransom a Man’s Soul

  1. GGW

    Thanks Beth! I’ve now had multiple views of 116 and though I did “put down the book” and enjoyed the show for what it is and was truly astounded at the caliber of acting, I too missed the depth of Claire’s descent to join Jamie and truly ransom his soul. I did tear up a time or two, but it was more to do with Jamie’s devastation than the perfect culmination to the story (might have also had something to do with sleep deprivation and hormones!). That portion in the book will always be more satisfying to me, but I don’t feel that is a true “knock” against the show because overall I thought it was brilliant. As we have now officially entered WithOutlander, I’ll be anticipating S2.. I’m sure I will again enjoy many of the changes that will occur and be less enamored of others. Either way, be assured, I’ll continue to enjoy the fact that you discovered your gift with words because of Outlander and that I get to be a party to many more lively discussions!

    • I hope that my respect for and enjoyment of the show came through. I felt not to say something about the ransom scene would have been wrong. But overall…wow…so good! and TY!

      • Beth and CGW, I agree with you both. I Love the show as a whole and enjoy it as different and sometimes more but this time was less. I think the missing element was that it wasn’t as wrenchingly cathartic as the book.
        Again Beth, thank you for your eloquent way with words, I love reading your blog.

  2. Maury L.

    Your ramblings are, as always, insightful and much enjoyed. I had exactly your reaction and also felt the sequencing was a bit choppy and rushed at the end. None the less, it was a tour de force in so many ways and magnificently done all in all, and they did manage to sneak in a few cherished phrases. I particularly liked the “Gaelic” scene between Murtaugh and Jamie.

    I am happy for you that your muse has awakened and that you find it so fulfilling. I am happy for me (and others) that you choose to share with us! Thank you.
    P.S. My personal nitpick: Anselm, but what the hey!

  3. Tepperson0101

    I thought I knew what happened in that cell from reading the book so many times. Sam showed me that my imagination was too feeble. I’m not at all sure I’m glad. That episode is a masterpiece. And if he doesn’t win awards galore, something is seriously wrong with the world. However, I’m with you on the ransom scene – while overall I’m overwhelmed with the quality of the whole series, that WAS too easy. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t sobbing the way others were, and that’s it! I kept waiting for more. I read Ron’s interview where he said that the Scene from the book was too surreal to translate well to screen. There’s truth to that. It took me multiple readings to figure out what the heck Claire did! But the “ransom” in the book happened because Jamie was able to fight Jack in an opium induced dream and do what he couldn’t in that cell. He reclaimed his manhood by reasserting his strength and refusing to surrender. That was his salvation and the gift Claire gave him, and it had nothing to do with his loving Claire. I would liked to have seen something truer to the spirit of the book here even if they had to change the manner of achieving it.

    • I can buy the scene was difficult to translate. I just didn’t have the reaction everyone else seemed to and I think that is why! Hate to be critical of anything because the show has been wonderful! Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • ellieshowers

        I agree with you, Beth. I felt like they tried to cram too much into just one hour. I think it should’ve been a two-hour finale to do justice to the story. I love the series & I’m thrilled that my favorite books are coming to life on the screen. Tha actors are brilliant & perfectly casted. Thanks for sharing your insight with us. I’m so happy that I found your blog!!
        E. Showers

  4. I’m so glad you like the episode! That has to be a great feeling.

    For me, I wasn’t just disappointed in that scene, I was devastated. She abused an abuse victim because of her own needs. He wasn’t healing fast enough so she forced herself on him. That wasn’t about him, it was about her. It was the equivalent of “Snap out of it” from Moonstruck. The threat to kill herself was emotional blackmail and that doesn’t heal anyone of anything.

    We needed to see her loving kindness and her ability to sit and listen and let him unburden himself. She shut him down at the beginning and then bitch-slapped him into a confession at the end.

    In the book, Claire loves him unconditionally without thinking of herself. It’s what makes her amazing and a hero. She embodied the definition of love in Corinthians. She didn’t demand that he heal on her timeline because she needed him to make sense of the world.

    It was epic fail for me, not a disappointment. It was the exact opposite of the book, not an adjustment or a tweak.

    I really wanted to like that scene and I respect that you do, but it was the worst part of the episode for me.

  5. Mika

    THANK YOU Beth!! I love reading your Outlander blog. You’re an Amazing writer. I so agree with you on how it was so easy for Claire to get Jamie back from the dark side. When comparing to the book it was a piece of cake, I suppose they can’t get every wonderful detail in the show, but it could’ve gone a bit further. 🙂

  6. Jules

    Please keep writing during the Droughtlander please!! 🙂 Love your posts! I understand completely what you are saying! We are lucky we have now two great sources of material. I would have like to see more of that “road to hell” too, but this episode was, imo, great!

    How can we bear wait so long?!

  7. susannequine

    There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this program. The actors are dazzling, guided by the gloriously gentle and genius hands of the writers, directors, and producers. The costumes are breathtaking, as are the scenery and sets. And of course the source material is incredible–a fantastic series of books; I can’t tell you how many copies of “Outlander” I’ve given away. Oh happy day, Saturday night TV is “must see” again!
    The author has admonished readers to “put the book down,” and enjoy the adaptation for what it is. But someone on one of the Outlander FB fan pages said that she wished they’d gone with a two-hour season finale show, and I couldn’t agree more; we needed to experience more of the psychic struggle Claire and Jamie went through.
    One doesn’t spend time in the Dark and come out unscathed. They call it PTSD now, and it takes a lot of time, work, and sometimes medication to even begin to get over it. In the books, it took an entire night, mind-altering drugs, physical sparring, and the dreaded lavender oil to penetrate Jamie’s fog of self-hate. Claire had no roadmap to help her bring Jamie back; all she had in her arsenal was her brash, consuming, possessive love for him. It was the only thing that could heal, and it made them each a part of the other forever. A love for the ages.
    Thank you to all involved.

    • Julia Kennedy

      I agree that the last episode needed to be longer, but Jamie has hardly recovered fully. He will be dealing with his unspeakably horrible experience for the rest of his life–nightmares particularly. But Claire’s support will keep him the good man and strong leader he needs to be throughout his life (and at least 8 more books).

  8. Stephanie

    Thanks For your insight and summary- you wrote exactly what I was thinking. I read the book over twenty years ago. In last nights episode, I felt the rape and torture scenes, for me, were done exactly right. But the abbey disappointed. I didn’t emotionally connect. I felt they wrapped it up too neat and quick and Claire’s struggle to bring Jamie back was too easy. I really wanted the Perpetual Adoration scene as well, Jamie’s lean-to, and thanking Claire for saving his hand. I know they can’t fit everything in, but for me,those were key scenes to link it all together.

  9. I haven’t seen this episode yet, so I will refrain from a comment on the content.
    However, I have read comments on various blogs and reviews and am mildly surprised by the diverse opinions. Favoured scenes or dialogue missing, this or that scene too graphic, too long or too short. Some critiques by reviewers gushing, one I read not so much. This finale to S1 seems to be generating a lot of discussion on the practical, such as the acting involved and philosophical, the nature of love and commitment. It’s very satisfying to read all the varied opinions. Gives me a lot to think about before I see the episode this evening.

  10. Mary G

    Thank you Beth for another insightful look into the episode. Like you, I felt the acting, especially by Sam Hueghan was amazing. But, like you, I felt the that part of the episode did not do enough to show what was necessary for Jamie’s recovery from something so humiliating and devasting. It seemed all too quick of a fix – too rushed-too easy. As one of your commenters mentioned, it was too selfish on Claire’s part – not the unselfish work of the book. I understand there are filming constraints but felt more time needed to be spent on Jamie’s recovery from that hell.
    Overall, I agree that everyone did a wonderful job adapting the book to the show and look forward to next season. I’m glad you found your “voice” and look forward to your insightful comments. Keep them coming – especially during the off season.

  11. A number of people are saying they are less satisfied with the brevity of the scene where Clair “enters the darkness” in order to save Jamie. Maybe a more in depth scene dealing with Jamie’s PTSD will be shown in the next season? Book readers know that the horror of his abuse and rape stays with Jamie for years to come. Perhaps the producers and writers are delaying that aspect for the non book readers? Just a thought.

  12. lwthunter

    Another thing I’d like to add – I thought Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh did an amazing job! I’m so glad they are developing his character more. His strength of character carrying Jamie out of the prison and his caring for Claire (and Jamie) as well was done so well. Brought tears to my eyes. And those eye brows – so expressive!


    Beth, I would just like to say I have enjoyed reading your Outlander Blogs. You are truly gifted in your writing, and I wish you the best in whatever endeavors you take with it. I too was disappointed with the “going into the dark” with Jamie scene. But I am also hoping that maybe a flashback to this will come into play. Jamie struggles with the memories for quite a while, and I am hoping that the depths that Claire went to save Jamie will be one of the memories that they will expand on.

  14. harriet zeff

    Beth, I agree with you one hundred percent! I did not start the books till the series started, but also had been looking for the “Ransom of his Soul” scenes and it didn’t quite make it. Felt similarly slighted with the “I’m from the future” and the decision at the stones scenes. But what is undeniable, is the craft and love contributed by the entire production and creative departments. Never have I seen such a quality production. The actors…enough cannot be said about them all, but particularly Sam. I’m so glad he had his athleticism, mountain climbing, etc…to get his head back straight. I also want to thank you for being a companion on this journey. You are a true talent and I believe Diana has even taken note. Looking forward to more BETHWESSON!

  15. Beth, beautiful words as ever and wonderfully honest, thank you! I am so glad to read that you and others felt as I did, now I don’t feel quite to guilty for expressing it – I know coward! I too loved the episode, if loved is the right word for something so monstrous in places . The performance from Sam Heughan was gut wrenchingly brilliant and so true to the books story to be incredibly difficult to watch.
    However, I agree it appeared too easy by far for Claire to drag him from that precipice he was balanced on on the Abbey, although Sams portrayal of a man in inner turmoil was truly stunning . I appreciate that it would have been difficult to televise the scenes Diana wrote between Claire and Jamie amidst an opium fog, particularly in a one hour ep, given everything else they had to get through but ……. it did miss the mark a little for me too, which I hate to say as I have been amazed and awed by everything else this adaptation has done throughout the entire series. I wonder if 2 hours would have been better to allow Jamie to build his lean to and for Claire to have fought as hard as she really did for him to come back? I knew they would never get everything into one hour, I was expecting things not to be there, but not that.
    I hope that this will be something that they return to in Season 2, as fellow fans have commented, the PTSD he suffers as a result haunts him and the lean to moment could be incorporated somewhere along the line, I hope so. In the interim, I am going to go back and watch again, as I thought I had put the book down, as Diana instructed, but actually with hindsight, although it was closed, I think I still had it in my hand! This affected my response to some wonderfully challenging and thought provoking television the likes of which I haven’t seen before, so here goes: “once more in the breach….. ” I believe I owe it to Outlander and Ron to open my mind and see the adaptation of this finale in its own right, amazing TV.

  16. Janice

    I agree that Jamie’s recovery and decision to live were rushed, but not having read these scenes yet, I thought that Jamie’s recognition that Claire would die with him was by itself a powerful and believable incentive to live. Once again, his love for her proves more important than anything else. And it took very few words to convey that. As always, Beth, your words are just beautiful, and I’m so very sorry that the adaptation disappointed you. I completely understand your impression that it was too easy. Thanks for giving us so much to think about during this season, and I look forward to your views on Season 2.

  17. Thank you for your wonderful words once again. I’m sitting here agreeing with everything you said. It has been a dream come true. Especially the last scene on the Christobel that will stay with me ,please God, until the beginning of the next series. I find myself crying at the simple beauty of Diana’s words and you express what I want to say and somehow can’t quite manage it.

  18. I’m kind of relieved that you didn’t think the ransom part lived up to the books. I couldn’t agree more and I”m glad I’m not alone! It didn’t come close to making me cry. I envy those who felt that strong emotion in viewing it–but for me it just did not touch the books. She pulled him back the brink of death and it was far more of an ordeal and near thing than we saw on TV.

    I did enjoy the revised ending with them sailing off to France…it was a nice way to end things. And I thought the scenes at Wentworth definitely fit the book’s scenes…I rather feel they belonged in the previous week’s episode instead. I’m not sure why we even bothered with MacRannoch save for Ellen’s pearls.

    • I’m starting to see a lot of us felt the same way. In fact, some of the reviews I’ve read are so similar it’s as if we all talked to each other before hand. I didn’t and I’m pretty sure others didn’t so, what that tells me is there is validity to our observances. If someone tells you you’re a bunny enough times you better look and see if you have a fluffy tail and long ears! Heard Ron had a live tweet session and fans expresses concerns. Headed over to read soon.

  19. Kelly

    I so agree with you. I had such mixed emotions when it ended. I was left feeling like the battle to bring Jamie back from the edge was to quick, to pat. I too wanted to see that struggle and sacrifice in order to save his soul. That being said, I do believe the rest of the story hit the mark. All of the actors stretched themselves beyond reason and gave themselves over to the story. I can console myself with reading the last couple of chapters again (several times:-) to appreciate the lengths Claire was willing to go to in order to save Jamie. Thank you for writing such insightful commentary. It is encouraging to learn I’m not alone.

  20. All my words would be “weak words” because I have no adequate words to convey what this adaptation has meant to me. Everything and everyone connected with the series has been spectacular and the acting by Tobias and Sam leaves me speechless. Your brilliant analyses have been a true bonus treat. Thank you.

    Now the long wait begins for season two.

  21. Patricia

    Dear Beth and fellow “outlanders,”which we all are as we get to observe from the Outside this amazing story. As always, the acting was beyond compare. Thanks to all the actors for being willing to expose themselves emotionally to such depths that we actually feel the agony, pain, sorrow and helplessness of the characters. I am amazed.
    That being said, the book does give us more than just the words because we each get to invest ourselves and our imaginations which are always stronger than the visual. We can create in our minds scenes and circumstances that go beyond the episode we saw because we are a part of the story. The cast and crew have done a marvelous job of trying to capture that same thing. Be patient, I think that Jamie’s recovery, will be longer and flashbacks for both he and Claire will show that as they journey through the marriage and their world. At least, I hope so.
    Two last thoughts: 1. Murtagh, is one great guardian angel. Wish we all had a Murtagh to keep us on the right path. 2. For those who find the show too graphic. Just read history, watch the world news and study human psychology. Life is and has been often too graphic.
    (We Americans live a very sheltered life in 2015 compared.)

    Beth and friends, keep writing, I love to read all of your posts!

  22. Katrina

    I get what you are saying. That scene needed more time. He needed to fight back more as that is what brings him limping back. I did love Claires declaration of dying with him. I don’t think it was blackmail but more a sense of there was nothing left and nothing made sense for her without him.

    I do think they did the best though with time constraints. Their time in the Abbey was much longer as a book allows. A book can ramble and allow a scene to go for pages. A TV show needs it done in 60 seconds.

    I find TV Claire ( Catriona) brings a real warmth to an otherwise practical Claire. Even more than book Claire.

    I hope people don’t think Jamie is healed he isn’t you can see it still in his eyes and of course it affects him forevermore.

    The books break your heart so many times but always show the hope in the darkness.

  23. Having finally seen the episode, I think I’m in the minority when I say I think it was brilliant. Even with the opinions that some have expressed about not enough time given to Jamie’s recovery, I don’t see how the writers and producers could have done more unless, as mentioned, a 2 hour finale.
    If I am to accept the concept of time travel through monolithic stones then for me I accept the method of treatment and foreshortened time taken for Jamie’s partial recovery. As I mentioned before, I think more of the repercussions of his PTSD will be shown in the following seasons/s.

  24. Lilly White

    I have been reading your thoughts, and a lot of others, all season long, and I usually do not say much, because I know there will always be someone somewhere that doesn’t like something, so what is the use? But in your discussion this time of wishing the “road to hell”, as one commenter called it, was more involved, I suppose I can understand the other side of the discussion as to should they go further, or should they keep it as short as they did. Why did they not do the hot springs scene is a familiar criticism out there today. And my one response to that is, in the book, they were in France while Jaime was healing. In the tv show, the abbey was in Scotland (as I have read, it was done that way for logistical purposes, which I am perfectly ok with). If you are to keep true to the tv story, if they are still in Scotland, the characters are not afforded the luxury of time for Jaime to heal on his own, they need him to be well enough mentally to get the hell out of Scotland. In the book, Diana had the time to use, they didn’t have outside forces breathing down their necks wanting to string them up. In the tv episode, Claire needed Jaime to want to live NOW….so they could get outta Dodge, so to speak….

    Maybe the next season will put in some of the healing time that was missed. But if not, I don’t have any issue with how they had Claire accomplish healing Jaime…at least enough to the point where he was able to get on the boat and at least look towards the future with Claire.

    I had a few tears when she said, “I will die here with you.” and he managed to give in and hug her back. For me, the tears were running down my face when she asked if he was happy about her being pregnant, and he broke into a smile and said, “I am..verra happy.”

    I love reading your thoughts Beth. Your writing is absolutely wonderful.

    • Thank you. I hope I expressed that what they did worked. Yes, she stopped the downward spiral long enough to get him on the boat. It was just one of those times I really struggled to disengage from the book and my own expectations. It was a fit ending to the story they were telling. Thank you for reading and for the lovely compliment.

  25. Lovely show

    I’d like to say that I loved the way they did the scene with Jamie and Claire in the show. The acting moved me very much and I was glad that the writers found another way for Jamie to come back to life. The reenacting of the trauma in the book, giving Jamie the chance to fight back, is a powerful, very well written scene, but I could not suspend my disbelief, that it would work so well. I don’t know much about this type of therapy, but I’ve read that therapy is a long process, involving a lot of emotional pain and insight. Besides, the most probable outcome of this scene would be that Jamie would have killed Claire in his delirious state. That’s why the scene in the book felt for me like a rushed, unrealistic way out of a grave situation. Maybe the long-term fans of the books have another understanding, but this is how it felt for me. In the show Jamie made a conscious choice to save himself, because he saw what he would do to Claire if he chose to self-destruct. He took responsibility for his actions and put her first. His selflessness saved him. I saw this as a powerful message of selfless love.

    • I THINK we agree. What Claire did instinctively in the book was a version of aversion therapy which is used in cases of PTSD. That Diana wrote that scene over 20 yrs ago…? Amazing. I felt and hope I expressed that the ending was good. It was just harder for me to let go of that book version this time. It was so powerful. Given the time restraints…it was a fitting ending to the TV version. Only Their love could save the day.

    • Kelly

      Thank you for putting it in that light. You are right, Jamie DID make the choice when forced to see what his actions would do to Claire. True, selfless love conquers all. While the healing isn’t complete, it is a conscious step toward the light and toward the woman he loves. Also by making that choice he conquers BJR. I wasn’t able to see that until you stated it so perfectly. There was another episode that troubled me as well (Loghaire and Jamie by the river) but with that episode I could go back and watch it a couple times and I began to see that it was realistic and didn’t betray the character of Jamie in the book) But…I can’t bring myself to watch this episode again. Yes, it was powerful, moving and hopeful; but it was also painful, haunting and visceral. My utmost respect and admiration to Sam, Tobias and Caitriona for such gut-wrenching, honest and ground-breaking performances; and to the rest of the cast…outstanding!

      • Lovely show

        Thank you for the kind response! Every reaction is valid, and it’s very interesting to read how different people feel and what they find important. About Laoghaire and Jamie, I thought Jamie didn’t cut her outright, when they first met, out of sympathy and some guilt, though in this way he gave her false hope. He wanted to be delicate and considerate, they had been somewhat intimate before, so I also thought he didn’t act out of character by the river.
        Looking forward to Season 2 and to more of the thoughtful reviews by Beth Wesson!

  26. lorischmitt

    Finally someone else understands. I kept reading the Outlander Facebook comments, and people were sobbing. I wasn’t. I think that the flashbacks to the rape were incredible. I think that they totally related to me what I had read in the book. I think that the acting was magnificent, and should be recognized.

    However, I was devastated that the “I built a lean to” was not acknowledged. This was so, so integral to the rest of their story. I felt that there was not enough time devoted to the story of Claire trying to save him. I literally said out loud at the scene were she is trying to make him save himself, “WTF? are you kidding me?” My husband who was watching with me is like “what is wrong with you?” What was wrong was that they took such an important part of Jamie and Claire’s story and made it trivial. I was dumbfounded.

    Oh and as they sailing away? Was I the only person who was waiting for Jamie to turn green and vomit over the side? Again, I read the books. Several times. And I understand time constraints, but seriously?

    I love the series and I love how they have found actors to bring this story incredibly to life. But I feel that maybe these writers need to read the books again.

  27. Debi

    I, too, had such a mixture of thoughts and feelings to work through after the final episode. I felt cheated but also deeply touched at other parts–and then felt so guilty for not being able to give a completely agreeable or totally complimentary affirmation of the TV version of the books. It was just way too rushed to be able to really resolve what Jamie had gone through. It seemed to all resolve too abruptly to be credible. When I was anticipating “The Search” episode, I was already thinking that they would have to edit way back the whole search and make a name for themselves, etc., so that there would be enough time in the few remaining episodes to be able to have all the REALLY important events at Wentworth, the rescue, and, I agree with you!!, the way Claire went to war with the brokenness of her beloved Jamie!!! The love of Jamie and Claire in the books and also the TV adaptation is what moves people to become such fiercely loyal fans.

    I have been so enamored and amazed with the brilliance of the TV adaptation in every way!! I love it! And I do still like the ending in so many ways, but I can’t say I was completely satisfied. I REALLY wanted to be, but I wasn’t.

    • Yes, I really wanted to be too! I love the show too and it pains me to find fault, but it would pain me not to be honest too. The ending wasn’t bad just not what I was hoping for.

  28. Theresa

    Thank you for this post.

    My feelings about the season finale were very different from the multiple over-the-top praises I have been reading on line. I almost thought that I was the only person who was underwhelmed.

    I thought the acting was superb.

    Sam’s eyes alone have the ability to say everything. And he demonstrated that he was a changed character after the events of Wentworth.

    Tobias is phenomenal.

    I was very impressed/satisfied with the scenes in Wentworth Prison (I am afraid that stating this says something weird/abnormal about me). It was the scenes outside of the prison that left me underwhelmed.

    In my opinion, outside of the prison, the scenes seemed rushed, lack lustre, and not in depth enough. Some of the dialogue seemed a bit hokey to me – almost as if they would qualify for dialouge in a Romance Novel.

    *Having said all this, I loved the scene of Murtagh picking Jamie up and carrying him out of Wentworth as if he weighed nothing.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire series. The show has exceeded my expectations. This is the only episode in which I have felt a bit let down. I have never held the book in my hand as I was watching the series. I know that it is an adaptation of the book. I was not expecting verbatim dialogue from the book to show up in the show (although was thorough pleased when I recognized many of Diana’s words in the show). I guess the randsoming of Jamie’s soul appeared to be too much of a quick fix to me.

    Maybe I need to do a rewatch of the last episode…

    Anyway, thanks for your posts. I have enjoyed reading them after watching each episode.


  29. Viviana

    Once again you’re putting my random thoughts into a brilliant post Beth! Thank you so much.
    For me the most heartbreaking scene of this episode was Jamie’s desperation when he asked BJR to fulfill his promise to kill him and got that disdainful look. At that moment I felt he realized BJR’s word was nothing and that he might have failed in getting Claire safely out of W. As you said, no words could hit me more than that.
    But then Claire’s ransom of his soul wasn’t as powerful… Which doesn’t diminish my absolute admiration for all involved in this fantastic episode!
    I’ve read all the interviews I could and realize it was very tough for them all to make these two episodes…. So perhaps it was too much to ask of them all, to have Claire fight for Jamie in the darkness of his soul.
    They spent two whole weeks immersed in these terrible chapters, and who knows how long to get back to normal. Maybe it was a sane reaction to stop where they did and don’t keep digging in that darkness… So I’m just awed at what they did and thankful for their creative genius and dedication!

  30. I am so happy to see a rational well reasoned critique of this episode. It drives me crazy that in so many places on the internet it is black and white – it’s seems like many sites are either “100% love and don’t dare criticize any part of it” or “hate it 100% and whine and moan about it”.

    In my experience nothing is perfect. There is much I love about this show – the actors, the sets, the costumes, the cinematography and OMG the music. I could go on and on about how the music has been such an integral part of the show. But, there have been things I have felt missed the mark during the season and could have been done better. There have been other things that have exceeded my expectations as well, so it balances out on the whole.

    The acting in this episode (by Sam especially) was amazing. I too thought the rape scenes were done masterfully and they really got to the heart of BJR’s complete deconstruction of Jamie. They got the emotions of the interactions between Jamie and BJR dead on. It didn’t matter if the details weren’t exactly as described in the book – the emotional essence was there.

    But…I too felt let down by the intervention scene. I felt it was too easy and Jamie’s recovery of his will to live wasn’t really earned. In the book Claire allows Jamie to fight back against BJR (something he voluntarily gave up for his love of her) and thus he regains some of the sense of self worth that BJR stripped from him, and is able to move on with his recovery. In the show she uses his love for her (again – see the problem here?) to make him want to live. It came across as too pat and as something we’ve seen a thousand times before on other shows and movies. Even if I had’t read the book, I would have had the same reaction.

    The problem as I see it, is that there just wasn’t enough time left in the episode after the Wentworth scenes to do justice to the saving of Jamie’s soul in a way that would make sense. I wasn’t actually surprised – I kind of saw it coming when they added the entire episode about the Watch and then spent another hour on the Search. IMO both of those storylines could have been trimmed down to allow more time for Wentworth and it’s aftermath.

    I was still hopeful going into 115, but when they ended that episode without rescuing Jamie I had a feeling that the Claire/Jamie scene in 116 was going to be cut short. Maybe it was actually done on purpose because they just couldn’t figure out how to show the psychological aspects of what Claire did (although given the acting Sam showed us in 115 and 116 I have to believe he could have done it). I know they said that the opium scene was something that would be difficult to film, but given the talent of this cast and writers I hoped they would come up with another way to have Claire let Jamie fight for his soul as she supported him.

    I really hope that they address this further in S2. It seems that it could easily be played as Claire having effected enough of a cure to be able get Jamie safely away from Scotland. That would allow for Jamie to break down again once they are safe in France, and Claire could then help him confront and deal with his demons. My guess though is that they will just move right on into the French political scene and forget about Jamie’s trauma and recovery. If the show has a consistent weak spot it seems to be in dealing with the highly emotionally charged scenes. The emotional resolution of the strapping, Claire’s decision at the stones, and now the soul saving scene after Wentworth. Each time I was hopeful that they would expand and address what they missed in the scene emotionally and each time I was disappointed. I don’t think I am alone in this feeling.

    I’m certainly not blasting the show – that would be silly and counterproductive. The show runners and writers clearly don’t see the same emotional points as critical ones that I do and that is their vision. On the whole they have given us a well done production that is much better than I expected. it is another version of the Outlander story told from another perspective and it is enjoyable for what it is. It doesn’t have the full emotional depth of the books but not many tv shows or movies do have that kind of emotional depth. (And not every viewer wants that kind of emotional depth.) They are trying to appeal to a very broad spectrum of viewers which includes those who have read the books, those who are now reading the books, and those who will never read the books. That is not an easy thing to do and they will never satisfy anyone 100%. They can’t without reducing their viewing audience to one specific group or another.

    Anyway, thanks for a place to express an honest opinion without being vilified by one side or the other. No matter what, I am looking forward to what they do with Paris and Culloden and seeing what the cast does with it.

  31. viewfromthefeeder

    I’m a great fan of the books – I’ve spent many sleepless nights (and many dream/nightmare-filled nights) with these characters. I had no problem with giving up the lake scene – by that time I had seen enough nudity that I didn’t need any more, loving or no and I know that there needed to be script accommodations made. Overall I was very happy with the treatment Ron Moore and the script writers gave the book – he basically did right by it.

    That being said, however, I am so glad to find more and more people are being genuinely critical of the finale rather than being on the rah-rah-it-was-great bandwagon. It wasn’t great. It was acceptable but missed out on so many little details that could have been included without making the episode go over an hour but still kept the tension ramped up and not oversimplified the story as they did.

    • Janice

      OK, Beth, I’ve just finished reading Outlander for the first time and find I prefer the series version of the ransoming to the book’s. Claire finally gets Jamie’s attention, and his love and fear for her lead him to be willing to try to act as if. Not a cure, just the first faltering step in a long recovery. This led me to wonder if many of us will just always be partial to our first exposure to this wonderful story, whether by book or series. The interesting thing here is that we can never ever know what it’s like to experience the story in a different order, so we must be kind to one another and understanding of our different points of view. Some big advantages of watching first are the element of surprise without the burden of comparison and the ability to visualize the characters.

      • “Some big advantages of watching first are the element of surprise without the burden of comparison and the ability to visualize the characters.”

        Just jumping in here to say how much I agree with your take on book first or visuals first. I have read the Outlander series several times, but now I can think ONLY of Sam and Cait as Jamie and Claire. Both book and TV series work for me.

        On the other hand, the LOTR movies are among my favorite movies of all time. I didn’t read the LOTR (or The Hobbit, or anything else by Tolkein) until after seeing the films. They provided me with mental images far lovelier than any I could have conjured. I found the books a bit boring, but I have friends who adore them and reread them regularly.

        As a rule, I tend to prefer reading the book first because there is so much more detail, but once I see a film adaptation, the actors become who I see in my mind’s eye from then on. Likewise, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson ARE my Christian and Anastasia.

  32. chazak

    I too, am a woman who loves words, that is probably why I imagined so many things from the books differently than the way they were represented on screen. Diana’s words are rich, detailed and support every sense of the body. That’s why I treasure those books.
    Ron and crew are entirely gifted in so many facets of the screen production that I truly feel this show is unequaled in its quality.
    So many beautiful performances in both cast and crew…astonishing! You can see this is a labor of love.
    I do understand Diana’s need to encourage her readers to “put the book down.” It was a hard thing to do, as book and show are like children. ..incomparable without favorites.
    I admit, I had different hopes for the Abbey (perpetual adoration! 😦 ), wanted desperately to see the grotto scenes, as that was where the seeds of healing took place, in my humble opinion. Was explaining to my better half about the seasickness (He is actually as hooked as I on this story, though I’m a reader and he is not)… and I was underwhelmed by the brevity of Jamie’s post trauma. Not that I’m sadistic. …he suffered too much, but the revolving door to “I’m verra happy” had me thinking I had taken a kitchen break when I knew that I didn’t!
    But, could you love Murtagh any more? He’s a beautiful diamond in this show. And I did so appreciate the humor provided by Angus and Rupert, Lord love those two! As for our principal actors, there are hardly enough words of praise. I’m astonished. I’ve never seen anything like that from anyone. Jamie’s voice just screamed “broken,” his eyes/expressions were truly harrowing and hollow. His movements made my body tense and ache. BJR was beyond skin-crawlingly creepy and disturbing on a level that I have never been able to watch before, yet I couldn’t turn away! And Claire was so hurt at Jamie’s withdrawal from the strong warrior he formerly was, at the thought that he could no longer be her husband, that I felt like crying with her. I could see her as weak for once, when usually we see a bulwark. He is what makes her fight to stay with him and love….She is what makes him willing to live and love. It is really all there, just in another’s imagination. Both Diana and Ron’s team outdid themselves. Can’t wait for more.
    And thank you, Beth, for giving us such thoughtful words each post that allow us to see and experience more in between each viewing. I have come to look forward to your beautifully expressed thoughts and value your way with words that clearly come from the heart!

  33. Josie

    I have enjoyed Outlander more than I had imagined and had no complaints until the final two episodes (rape/torture should have mostly concluded in episode 15 to make room for important parts of redemption in 16). The acting was top notch in both, but the loss of key story line left me feeling bereft at the end. I think Sam, Cait, Tobias and crew are incredible though and really embodied their characters. For that reason I am sure I will be anxiously awaiting Season 2 next year. Now that the most important part off the entire book series (in my opinion) has been bungled, I feel like I really can’t be disappointed the same way again. I hope this is not too harsh because up until now, I couldn’t say enough about how great the rest of the adaptation was.

  34. Maybe I’m foolishly optimistic, but I think some of the concerns and disappointments may be addressed in s2, albeit in a slightly different manner. The example I’m thinking of is the “room for secrets but not lies”. That discussion took place under different circumstances than in the book but it still took place.

      • I’m sorry I continue to sound like a Pollyanna, but I also think that as long as DG is satisfied overall with the adaption, I’m not going to quibble.

  35. Lisa McClain

    As always, Diana’s words make me think – and Beth’s blog add some clarity and perspective. This time, this blog, this episode, and a re-read of the portions of the book covered in Ep116 led me to a personal epiphany that I wanted to share with you, Beth.

    “No but weak words”

    I am a woman who loves words as well. I’ve had so many examples in my life of the power of words – a mother who can use words to inspire both awe and shame in me depending on what I’ve done; a grandfather of few words who used actions to say, “I love you”; an emotionally and psychologically abusive ex-husband who used words as weapons as fierce as those wielded on a battlefield to wound me and my son; a son who would rather do anything but talk, which is difficult for a mom who processes everything through conversation; and maybe most important for this moment, a dad who seemed never to know the words I needed.

    My dad passed away December 14, 2013. I am blessed to have had him in my life for almost 49 years, and I miss him every day. But I didn’t always feel that way. When I was two, my dad left, and my parents divorced. My dad remarried and he and his new wife had a son. I felt replaced, discarded, unimportant. I spent years trying to prove I was good enough, special enough, just simply enough. I never felt that he “got me” as I was growing into adulthood. I struggled to figure out how to be the daughter he wanted while still being the me I was. This conflict continued through my teen years, college years, when I got married, and when I had my son. And then things began to change.

    My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in about 2003. Complications from the chemo led to weakened bones and a misstep led to collapsed vertebrae and paralysis. He fought back from that and regained some use of his legs, but he remained dependent on my step-mom and a wheelchair for the remainder of his days. There were hospitalizations, there were surgeries, there were infections – and through the next 10 years, it can be argued that the quality of life he enjoyed – well “enjoyed” should have been the wrong word. With all that he went through, he should have given up; sat in his La-Z-Boy and watched the world go by. But he didn’t. He took the whole family on several cruises so we would all – especially his grandson – have memories of family vacations. He went to PNC Park to see his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates play. He got together with friends. He went out to dinner. He attended live concerts of Big Band music that inspired his soul. He spent every moment he could with my step-mom, who was the Claire to his Jamie, his soul mate. And he learned the words.

    “I’m so proud of you.” “You are the strongest woman I know.” “I love you!” He would brag about me to anyone who stood still long enough to listen. And most importantly – he would tell me these things; not just assume I knew. I am so thankful that our relationship had the chance to not just resolve, but to become one of the most valued things in my life.
    And I bet you’re wondering how this ties to Outlander (but doesn’t everything relate back to Outlander? LOL)

    I was back visiting in Pittsburgh this past weekend, and I watched the Outlander Season 1 finale for the first time on my phone in my hotel room. I spent part of the weekend with my step-mom and brother, and was feeling my dad’s absence very acutely. So when I began re-reading Outlander to celebrate the end of the season (or to mourn the end of Season 1 might be more appropriate), my dad was on my mind and in my heart. I always thought that my dad was the one who “didn’t get it”; who was so selfish that he approached the world with a “This is who I am so take it or leave it” attitude; who didn’t value the difference between us. And then I got to Chapter 38 “The Abbey.” And read again Diana’s words. One of my favorite scenes has always been when Claire went with Father Anselm to the Chapel to spend an hour during the middle of the night. At first I focused on the question Anselm asked of Claire, “But what of you, ma chere? Were you alone?” and Claire’s realization that, no, she had not been alone. This has been a source of strength to me in some difficult times.

    This time was different. My heart lead me to another message from that same chapter, “For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary. It is all. It is undying. And it is enough.” And I think that was what my dad was, maybe without meaning to, trying to teach me. I learned late that his love was all. I’m so glad I got to hear the words before my dad passed away, but I’m also so glad that I’ve learned that sometimes they are “no but weak words”. And sometimes speaking is unnecessary. And it is enough.

    • Thank you for sharing this was a beautiful tribute to your father and speaks to the complicated feelings we all experience when it comes to loving and being loved. I feel their are real truths about life spoken in the pages of Diana’s books and yes, at least for me, a lot of things can be related to an example found in Outlander!

  36. Martha

    Thank you for your fine words. I feel just like you, the acting was astounding,but the story came short when showing the healing process.I don’t beleive a rape victim will mend with a few slaps and harsh words.But as I’ve said in other discussions,it’s the producer’s choice,and I will enjoy whatever they show as long as it continues to be as good as it has been so far.
    We have the books to go back to any time we want, this is an adaptation,and a good one (at least compared to shows like Game of Thrones,where you can’t even call it an adaptation anymore).Happy droughtlander,it will be a long one.

  37. Aleida

    I love reading your blog. I feel that the way you write your thoughts is awesome and I agree on how you felt about this finale. Thanks for writing. Take care

  38. Rebecca Dougherty

    Thank you for your thoughtful representation of this amazing show!… you write wonderfully. I too felt the Abby scene could have been a bit longer to get the struggle of Jamies torture, come to an end with Claire’s loving healing ways. I look forward to picking up your blog when the new season begins. Have a wonderful summer.

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