EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!…Outlander’s Deleted Scenes

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“So, what do you think of the deleted scenes folks are posting? ” I asked my Twitter friend.

“I know! I really enjoyed the gag reel and the table read.” my friend shared.

“Haven’t seen those, but I can tell you if you needed a lesson on why a scene should be cut those were it! ”  I announced.

“You haven’t bought the DVD? ”

“Not yet…why? ” I questioned…hearing the odd tone in her voice that marked a possible boo boo on my part.

“Ron talks about why each scene was cut.” she said confirming my “I boo booed” feeling.

“Well, I guess that shoots a hole in the blog I JUST wrote about why each scene should have been cut!” I moaned. ” Maybe I ought to go buy it?… Well…crap….”

Okay…I haven’t bought it yet, but I watched.  You know what?  I still think my points and post have something valid to say.  So, bearing in mind I wrote this BEFORE hearing Ron…here’s the blog

Season 1 part deux has been released and so has a flurry of deleted scenes.  I’ve watched them all.  Afterall, the day is long and the night “withOutlander” is upon us. I’ll take what ever they want to give me.  In addition to watching the videos folks posted, I also read their reactions to the scenes.  Most of what I’ve read has run along the lines of the “what a great scene I wish they would have left it in it would have really added to the story” variety.  I have to say I disagree. If ever there was a way to silence my editing doubts this was it.

In every instance, except the Claire and Murtaugh scene, I could see why the scene was left out.  And quite frankly, I wish I could un-see them! Here’s why.

I’m starting to see the value in an edited scene. Diana has pages to explain.  She has time and space to write details and explain motivations. Without that luxury, editing becomes very important especially in a visual medium. More words, more images, can muddle the impact of a scene. A moment can be lost by trying to get in one more thing.  A character can be changed by one word or one action too many.  I’m starting to see that my wish that they had more time may not necessarily mean the story would be better told. Oh, there are a few scenes I’d still argue for, but, overall the ones they chose to tell are conveying the right emotion and motivation.

I’m starting to believe there really can be too much of a good thing. Even too much Outlander! ( I see you doing the devil thing with your fingers)  Sometimes less really is more. Leave me some mystery!  Some of these scenes just revealed too much! Diana doesn’t tell us everything and there is a reason for that. It keeps us wanting to turn the page and has kept us all making inferences and conjectures about her characters and story for years.  A TV series has similar goals. They want us to tune in next week and if people are buzzing about the characters and story and wondering what will happen next then great.

The deleted scenes I saw took the characters in directions I didn’t think fit.  Claire came off too aggressive/passive aggressive and just plain insensitive.  Jamie’s character really wasn’t helped with the Gellis scene  ( He was hiding? Our Jamie?).  That same scene would have ruined the moment at the witch trail when Gellis sacrifices herself for Claire.  Too much too soon.  Would Geliis really have threatened Jamie over Claire? And, I liked the idea that only Claire knew Murtaugh’s real reason for devoting himself to Jamie. Having Jamie know Murtaugh had the hots for his mother just didn’t seem right for their relationship.

Overall, I think these scenes just confirmed for me that the process of adaptation is WAY more difficult than just choosing scenes.  What works on the pages of a book does not necessarily work on a screen.  And evidently, sometimes what is in written in a script doesn’t necessarily work on the screen! One of my readers, someone in the business, wrote this in response to one of my articles about the success of the adaptation and I thought it spoke to this post too.

I know there are folks unhappy with the adaptation.  The biggest sticking point as far as I can tell is the perceived lack of development in Jamie’s character.  I’ve had my own issues with his development, but I really thought that “The Reckoning’s” switch in POV went a long way in remedying that situation.  We have heard Ron say “we had to cut that for time” and folks are quick to point out a scene they felt could of or should have been cut to make time for the scenes they felt were necessary to the story.  The reality is that “Book Fans” aren’t the only ones viewing the show and a broader “viewing” audience has to be satisfied. And…someone has to call the shots.  I’m coming to understand that “calling the shots” is more complex than we can possibly imagine.

There are so many factors, so many variables and it’s easy to armchair quarterback.

But, critique is good. Discussion is good.

We all have our opinions and I find mine has changed over time with the education and unprecedented access to the making of this TV series we’ve been afforded. It isn’t my book, but I once heard the Matt B Roberts, Outlander writer and executive producer, say (definite paraphrase here because I’d never find that tweet again), that the show is like a child.  You can see the parent in its countenance, but it isn’t the parent it is its own person.  I get it.  And, I would add, what a delightful and precocious child it is!  I’ll be back for season two!

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32 thoughts on “EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!…Outlander’s Deleted Scenes

  1. My comment is that I feel very ripped off that only the Blue Ray version has most of the extra goodies. So a devoted fan like myself, who doesn’t own/can’t afford to invest in a Blue Ray machine but still puts out good money for the DVD is pretty much left out of the “extras” party, except for what we can find on youtube. The inequity btwn the amount of material on the DVD vs. Blue Ray is really disgusting. I mean, does Diana include extra chapters in the more expensive hard cover first release versions of her books and then leave them out of the cheaper paperback versions that follow? Of course not!! So why does Starz treat non-blue ray fans like second class citizens (or should I say, outlanders) who don’t deserve the same goodies?

      • It’s Sony Pictures you need to speak to. They are the overall producers, but yeah, I don’t like having less special features. I think the only difference in DVD & BluRay should be the downloadable copy. (I think that is fair). Get ready though….this isn’t a Sony only thing. Most major studios are getting rid of DVD and are expecting people to buy the $45 bluray player and start switching over. It’s why there isn’t such a price disparity between the 2 different discs anymore. Just my thoughts…..

      • Connie

        Married to a techie guy, so I have this to offer:
        1. Blu-Ray disks hold MUCH more digital data than DVDs, so lots more content can be included. and
        2. I live on a fixed income and realize others have limited money, too, but it turns out that Blu-Ray players aren’t really expensive anymore (about $40 or so, but you can pay more). Technology prices drop after the technology has been out for a while, generally. Blu-Ray players also play DVDs in addition to Blu-Ray disks (but you can’t play Blu-Rays on DVD players).

    • The answer to the difference in content between DVD and BluRay is that the BluRay disks are capable of holding SO MUCH more! I’m not sure exactly how large each of the disks are (either format), but I do know that there would have to be several more disks in the DVD packages if they were to try to release all the extra stuff in that format. This is also why the DVD editions cost less than the BluRay. As for BluRay players, we are going to buy an inexpensive one…. $75.00 which is actually quite cheap…. for Canada…..

  2. Another amazing blog that touches upon my feelings EXACTLY! I can see why everything was left out and the larger picture being painted with the show. Not to be repetitive, but I feel like people harping on deleted scenes or portions of the book being ignored is like going to a LARGE (I’m talking wall size painting and looking only at a 4×4 square of that piece and discussing the painting as a whole based on that ONE section. (Not a perfect example, but you get my meaning) I agree w/Ron that the extension of Murtaugh & Claire was necessary & a mistake to have left out, but everything else is understandable. Not to get into it, but the extended episode of The Reckoning is SOOOOOOO different from the finished product! SO MUCH is changed by the extended/alternate scenes and takes. I’m very happy with what I see and I trust now more than ever that our producers (because it is ALL of them that make the choices, not just whipping boy Ron) are making the best choice for the finished product and the total story. I have also heard the complaints about Jamie’s character and here’s the thing….book Jamie is a different man. He gets away with behavior and choices that we won’t accept from the television character because we won’t see his motivations and processes like we do in the book. It isn’t possible and I don’t find him to be weak. I think that he strikes a beautiful balance and part of that is Sam’s performance and another part is our writers. The KNOW what we can accept and what isn’t palatable. MY GOD, people had kittens over the spanking and that was a VERY book Jamie driven/motivated scene. That is what a man of that time, temperament, and tradition would’ve done. I can’t imagine people being happy with a book-to-paper translation. We have an amazing 1st season released and the 2nd will be even better. I can’t wait for the emotional evisceration!

    • I’m glad you saw this was just about to let you know I quoted you…again! 😂🙌🏻 I’m sure I’ll get some flack, but… I haven’t watched the extended Reckoning. I don’t own a Blue-Ray, but it sounds like I won’t want to watch it after reading your response! Thanks for taking the time to give your views. I always enjoy and appreciate them!
      Working on any new shows?

      • Thank you for such lovely compliments! Yeah, I actually think you will not enjoy the extended Reckoning. The whole tone & motivations are SO different. I don’t know. You might one day watch it so you can be appreciative of what we have! LOL….I do share your view on these deleted scenes, so no worries! I am working a bit on “Better Call Saul” so lots of crazy things and fun times. It’s never boring!!! Love your voice in these blogs, keep it up!

    • Grace

      Love what I’m reading here 🙂

      Deleted scenes are a double-edged sword that have taught me to trust the final project as the production team has chosen to present it to me. Ron and company have proven themselves to be brilliant, and I have complete faith in their work.

      I’m replying to Sassypants’ post because s/he specifies The Reckoning, my personal favourite episode so far, but also the episode that contains my most my UNfavourite scene, which I WISH would have been changed, if not deleted altogether. That would be after the spanking when Claire holds the knife to Jamie during their make-up sex. Jamie has *sworn fealty* to Claire out of remorse for having hurt Claire’s dignity and their relationship with what he believed was a necessary action. Not only that, Jamie opens up another bloom of his beautiful soul by describing how witnessing the change of heart that Colum, a chieftain – for whom the mere nuance of weakness cannot be tolerated – had toward something he disapproved of completely. An oath of fealty permits death to be the only consequence for being broken, and yet Claire gives it a cold shoulder AND THEN holds the knife to Jamie’s throat demanding the very thing that he just offered her freely of his own will (and with so much love and sweetness it makes me want to cry just thinking about it)… To me, totally unfamiliar with the Outlander story, it was discordant with the characters and the code of honour that Jamie lived by. If it was supposed to be an assertion of some kind of empowerment for Claire, it failed miserably. Well, for me it did 😥

      I posted about this in My Outlander Purgatory’s recap of S2-7 where they discuss a scene from the book after Jamie’s release from the Bastille. If I recall, it’s set in a rockery at Louise’s summer house? And Jamie makes a demand of Claire? I felt that I could forgive the sex-at-knifepoint in The Reckoning if that scene in Faith could’ve taken place somehow, but I’m left wanting in what I feel is otherwise a flawless episode.

  3. I absolutely love what you wrote, and agree completely. While I have been a fan of Diana’s books from almost the beginning, I am also completely addicted to the TV series. I definitely will not confess to how many times I have read the books (3rd time through since April alone, lol), nor will I admit to the number of times I’ve watched all 16 episodes.

    Adapting a book to visual form is supremely difficult; how on earth would one represent emotions in a visual medium? …..and yet….., Sam and Cait have done so…… Quite frankly, this is the first book to screen adaptation that I have not had hissy-fits over. Granted, there were things I would have liked to have seen, but when I watched with a dispassionate eye, I could understand why certain things were changed, added, or deleted.

    I have not yet received my Blu-Rays… yay for living in Canada, lol…. but I have been able to see a few of the deleted scenes as posted on YouTube. In each and every case but one, I thoroughly understood why it ended up on the cutting room floor. While I loved the scene that included Jamie preparing his kilt, I believe that including this scene in “The Search” would have been wrong. Yes, we would have loved to have seen him, but the way “The Search” was presented made us miss him almost as much as Claire did! I do agree that Murtagh’s promise to Claire would have been a beautiful inclusion however.

    Would I love to have had each of the 16 episodes as 2-hour mini-movies? Of course, but then again I am a self-diagnosed Outlanderholic. Would 16 2-hour mini-movies been wise? No, definitely not! I think Ron & company gave us exactly the right number of episodes and scenes.

    I am looking forward to Season 2, and hope that we have the opportunity to see all 8 (and hopefully 9) books translated to screen.

    Cheers!

    • Thanks for sharing your views! I really enjoy hearing what other folks think. Thanks for adding your ideas and experience to our mix! I think self diagnosis is okay in this instance 😉

  4. geejay

    I did watch the extended version of ‘The Reckoning’, and there was only one scene that I felt would have made a few situations more clear, but I still prefer the original version that was shown. I do agree after watching some of the extended scenes, they wouldn’t have added much to the story being told on screen, except for the scene between Claire and Murtaugh, it would have been nice to see that memory and a bit of Jaime in that episode. ~Just my 2¢~

  5. I agree for the most part. The deleted scenes made me grateful for what was filmed. I am one who thinks the characterization of all the main characters – but especially Jamie and Claire – went so far off the rails that I don’t recognize them anymore.

    Knowing how much worse it could have been makes me more grateful and yet concerned about S2. I am more concerned that these scenes were written and filmed. It tells me how far off the writers are when it comes to understanding the basic nature of the characters and the story they should be telling.

    The editing was actually a blessing in a lot of cases and I never thought I’d say that.

    On the upside, there was one great scene removed from episode 14 of Claire watching Jamie putting on his kilt. It’s beautiful. I don’t know why it was removed. I think you’d love it … if you can find it.

  6. Glory Wipfli

    Hey Beth,
    I love your blog always. So much insight you have to share. Yours is my absolute favorite blog. On this subject I completely (and respectfully) disagree with you. I LOVED seeing the deleted scenes. I thought they added a lot and made some things make more sense to me. I especially liked seeing the extended version of Episode 109. Some parts seemed kind of broken or choppy a bit to me in the original. The extended version made a lot made more sense to me. It didn’t feel so cut off. I also really loved seeing Ron’s commentary about why they do what they do. It was kind of amazing to me to see how much they change the color in the editing from what is shot to what is the final episode. I know they cut things to fit into their time frame. I, for one, was so happy to see what they cut.
    Keep “em coming dear Beth.
    Love and Blessings to you.
    Glory

  7. Candace Wishon

    Spot on. The deleted scenes in many instances, showed sides of our characters that we wouldn’t want to see, didn’t need to see, and in many cases, we’re completely out of character for them. Left us scratching our heads. Having read the book, we know that Diana wasn’t heading in that direction either. If we found out something shocking or disappointing about a character, it came at a later time, and in the literary context that it was to be revealed, giving us that ah ha moment when it all made sense. And truly, there are some scenes that i wish that i hadnt seen, i didnt like the feeling that it left me with when I watched the real episode. Scenes are cut for a reason; I for one, will refrain from being an armchair editor, and just enjoy the finished product the way it was presented.

  8. I read the books when they first came out and now I’m a fan of the TV series. TV has to appeal not only to all us Outlander obsessed fans if the show is to continue gathering a fan base. I love watching the deleted episodes, but understand why they were taken out. Except for the last 2 disturbing episodes, I watch Starz on Demand over and over. I love Ron’s commentary after each episode. He admits that there were scenes he would have liked to include, but had time limits. Keep posting, lass.

  9. Beth, I am completely with you. The extra scenes added nothing extra to what we saw on the TV version. It didn’t speak to character or plot. I sent Ron a tweet telling him exactly the same thing. ( not sure how many he reads!) . I think the Jamie voice over was a better way to tell the story. i loved the books and understand that the two mediums cannot be the same. I listen to the podcasts and understand why Ron does what he does. I trust his vision and expertise.

    • It does make you wonder though, why they chose to even shoot some of the stuff they cut, that was so off-base from the book. Just goes to show what a very near thing it is, that things could quickly go all agley when you have writers that are not necessarily book fans trying to adapt a story for TV/Film. W/o Ron’s vision to guide things and keep them on track, you might very easily end up with something that would again make Diana’s (and our) head(s) explode.

  10. Karen

    As always, Beth, I love your writing and you always have a kind way of expressing your opinion. I understand scenes must be cut during the editing process, and sinc I loved the show, they obviously made the right decisions. My only point of disagreement was in the extended version of The Reckoning. It seemed to me that a couple of the scenes there really helped reinforce that, although a young man, Jamie had great natural leadership abilities. Appreciate your point of view, and agree with you on the other scenes!

  11. Thanks for this commentary. I have watched the outtakes, but haven’t felt that they were in any way fit to replace the work that did make it into the show. I feel that they staff working on the show wouldn’t have left us in doubt about what the characters feel and do – I have at this point read all of the books, but only started last year, way before I had heard about the series. (I only learned about it after the first half was complete) There is so much detail and so many events in only the next 2 books (DIA, Voyager) that I can’t even imagine fitting them into a year’s worth of shows each. So unless there is a plan to make this a 10 year series, there will have to be parts omitted and timelines adjusted. I know that the book purists will be upset, but as someone who straddles the fence, I am enjoying both, even without the deleted scenes!

  12. You’ve done it again Beth – presented such a well balanced, sensitive yet incisive viewpoint. Your ‘wholeness’ of perspective is amazing to read. Thank you. I’ve read so much anger expressed by s_o_ m_ e fans towards Ron D Moore’s edits that it’s made me shudder: The screaming of “I want and you need to give me” but written in such vulgar language!!! For me, he’s doing an incredibly fantastic job bringing Diana’s tomes to the screen and as Diana is delighted with his adaptation and you continue to give sane food for thought, there is some contentment within the realm. Look forward to your next gem.

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