I was very underwhelmed. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I would write about this week’s episode because I didn’t want to join the complainers club. But, then I was reminded of something I read. Okay, it was actually something I wrote. One of the disadvantages of writing your thoughts down is that they can have a tendency to come back and bite you in the ass or serve as a public record of your conscience!
It would be irrational to think that her big books could be adapted word for word and scene for scene. “But”, I can hear the Ron haters shouting, “he is taking away from what is really important in the story! Who gives a flying fig about Frank! I hate Leg Haire! More Jamie and Claire!”
Here is the thing, Diana understands what I think a lot of fans don’t, the books and their story will always be there. This TV series isn’t her story to tell…it’s Ron’s. She has told us over and over again that they do NOT have to consult her, but that they are nice enough to do so. “But,” the concerned shout,”he promised to make a series that stuck close to the book and made the fans happy!” Let me ask again…which fans? So, what’s a writer/producer to do?
Any damn thing he wants.
It’s called creative license and it is the hard earned privilege of show runners. In truth, it is why they are sought out. Ron Moore fought for and sold his vision for Outlander to Starz and has earned his right to make creative choices.
I was actually glad I’d written this piece because I needed that reminder this week.
But, critique is good! Discussion is good! It is what fans do! So, I decided to challenge my self to practice what I preach. I am going to attempt to write about what I didn’t like about this episode without demeaning, ridiculing, or wishing anyone to hell. You know, use some civility. Let me make this clear these are my opinions not fact and I’m sure as the sky is blue this morning, someone will disagree with my opinion and that’s okay! And as long as you are civil, I’ll give you a forum to discuss your differing views in the comment section!
What I personally didn’t like in this week’s episode
Lallybroch: I was so excited our characters were returning to Scotland. After last week’s extremely emotional episode I was ready to see Jamie and Claire get a chance to heal and be happy. Nope. I looked. We got two minutes and twenty seconds of happiness that included a voice over before the next shite storm hit . I understand the value of using voice overs in an adaptation like this. You truly can’t fit it all in (still blaming the number 13) and they serve a very valuable purpose in moving the story forward. But, sometimes you need to slow the story down. Sometimes, the story is best served by staying put for awhile like for instance, in a place like… Lallybroch. This is the second time I have been disappointed by a transition this season. There needs to be some closure to these big emotional scenes. Big fights don’t end as if they never happened with a foot rub and sometimes we need to SEE what happens not hear about it in a voice over.
Fade to Black:
Really? Once again I’m scrambling on the cutting room floor looking for a missing scene that I KNOW they filmed. I wanted to see that physical communication between these two that lets me know they are alright and that things are well between them. It’s been too long. And, so you know, just like I outlawed slo-mo because it never bodes well for our couple, I’m now declaring all further sex scenes between these two are prohibited from fading to black…just sayin.
She whose name shall not be spoken:
Why? I don’t see it. There wasn’t another way to compress and move the story forward without ruining one of the best story arcs in the book series? Believe me, I watched with an open mind and heart. I wanted to see where they were going with this drastic change and why. I didn’t. Leg Haire’s comeuppance was weak at best and the use of her to manipulate Jamie’s cousin smacked of Paris and we all know how that went. I wanted to see Jamie and Claire get back to being the caring couple who are altered from all they experienced, but remain at the core honest people with integrity. I didn’t recognize this Claire. She would have forgiven Leery and in fact, in the book even excused her behavior by contributing it Leery’s youth, but I don’t remember ever thinking Claire was manipulative or dishonest. So, gonna quote myself again;
Personally, I think the Leery story arc in the books is exciting, the betrayal we all felt as readers, the shock and disbelief. I’m still mad at Jenny! If Ron has chosen to go a different way, I would be disappointed and want to know why. Maybe, he brought her back into the story to somehow intensify or set up the future? The truth is I’m just as baffled on this one as everyone else and hope he really is taking a long hard look at that story arc. But, to be fair, Leery isn’t one of Diana’s more fully developed characters, but then again, she isn’t done writing yet! Is he trying to make her more likeable? More complex? Give us a more interesting excuse for Jamie’s decision?
I still don’t know. I truly didn’t see how this was worth sacrificing what is to come.
A White Lady:
I really didn’t like Claire feigning visions. And here’s why, in the books I always felt that Claire might actually BE a white lady. With out spoiling things for those who haven’t read, suffice it to say that there are many examples of Claire having that extra mystical something the rest of us just don’t have. I can see how this played on the Old Foxes fears and got Claire involved in the story by having her save the day once again, but it cheapened the wonder of who Claire is for me.
I Got Bored: That has never happened before. Like or dislike what was happening on the screen, I was never bored.
To Be Fair:
To be fair, there was some great stuff too. The potato scene was charming, short, but charming. There were opportunities to see Claire and Jamie working as a team and dealing with the future. I saw some great glimpses of the man Jamie becomes in tonight’s episode and although the scenes with the Old Fox lost some of their humor in the adaptation, they were in some ways better than I imagined. And, …Jamie with the baby…heartbreaking and wonderful.
The Future: I purposely try to stay off social media as much as I can before I write, but I’m sure there are some upset fans out there today. I’m betting we will see a resurgence in the the “I’m done watching” talk. Quoting myself again;
I find I get a bit incredulous when fans say they aren’t going to watch anymore…as they discuss the show…daily…post GIFS…vote…re-re-watch season one…again…really? We feel deeply about Outlander and it seems personal to us and so, sometimes we get a little worried…I certainly did my fair share of worrying and wrote it for all the world to see. It took awhile, but I finally let go of the book long enough to enjoy the show for what it is…a TV show based on my favorite books.
It is a quality TV series lovingly based on my favorite books and I’m rooting for it to succeed. I’ll be watching again next week and praying that they manage to capture that soul deep bond that will make the moment before Claire goes through the stones an episode of TV we will be talking about for years or God willing, at least until Season 3.