Things I’m “Out”lawing, Slow Mo and fade to black…My reflection on Outlander Episode 2.8

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meh.

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.

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136 thoughts on “Things I’m “Out”lawing, Slow Mo and fade to black…My reflection on Outlander Episode 2.8

  1. My heart dropped at the opening credits when I saw Nell Hudson’s name…Ohhh Nooo!!! Keep her away for as long as possible…(not the actress, the character of Laoughaire) I was also disappointed that, once again, the relationship of Jamie and Claire was short changed. I was hoping that one of my favorite love scenes from the book would make it on screen, especially since the episode was written by Anne Kenney. But alas, thwarted again. The scene I was hoping for was when Jaime and Claire reconnected and Jaime demanded over and over that Claire would never again have another man (referring to her liaison with Louis). This is tough, being a book lover and watching the adaptation. I hope Ron realizes he needs to keep the focus on the relationship more in season three or he will loose viewers. I vote for Voyager to be done overs two seasons. It was by far my favorite book.

    • Diana

      I spent a lot of time yesterday pondering my reaction to this episode after ready yours Beth and posting my own thoughts and reading everyone else’s. While working on the lawn, pulling weeds, doing laundry I let it tumble around in my head and I’ve come to a couple conclusions that I need to continue to adjust my book brain to enjoy the show more going forward.

      What we’ve seen as far as love scenes this season is what I believe we’re going to see going forward. A smattering of fade to black scenes and maybe 1 more fully blown love scene in a season, but probably nothing like we saw in season 1. I am working on re-calibrating my book brain to this. If there was not a need to show them reconnecting after the loss of their daughter, other than them meeting again in the print-shop in Voyager, I can’t think of a lot of other relationship re-calibration moments from the books that would require it based on the directive the production has established. I’m not even sure what we’ll see at their parting at the end of this season. Thinking about EP8, all though we the VIEWERS needed a re-connection moment after all that trauma-drama from 6 and 7, the CHARCTERS did not since 8 months had passed. The characters had plenty of time off screen for that in Paris and at Lallybroch. Even in EP4 when they re-connect it’s short and fade to black (or maybe blue). But it was at least enough to be satisfying and a relief that they’d come back together. That I believe is going to be our new normal. I’m working on re-calibrating my brain and more so my heart to this, but it’s going to be a tough one. I’ll have to go back to the books to get my fix of the missing love, after watching the episode.

      As the the “redemption” of Leery in this episode, I still don’t see how they are going to get Jamie to marry Leery at this point, but I do see that possibly the redemption was in Claire’s eyes. I can see how Claire had warmed to her ever slightly by the end of the EP, which I can see allows them to play Claire learning about Mrs Leery Fraser in a more calm and rational manner. It is one of the things I’ve like the best about the adaptation, getting rid of the suddenly hysterical book Claire. She so irritated me in the books when she would fly off the handle into hysterics because it was so unlike her and how she dealt with everything else. By the 3rd hissy fit in Voyager I had a hissy fit of my own and threw the book across the room and refused to read any further for several months. Nell stated in an interview that this was the only episode she filmed for season 2, so we’re done with any more pop-up Leery for now.

      Meril tweeted last night that Voyager will be 1 season which means condense, condense, condense. While they’re condensing, I would be SO happy to see the whole character and plot-line of Mr Willoughby disappear. I always felt slightly uncomfortably racist reading his sections. Nothing he does (including give Claire a cure for seasickness) can’t be done by someone else or eliminated.

      • Diana, if you are right and the missing love is the new normal, I am not sure that I will be able come to grips with ratcheting down of this story to just another period piece.
        I think that DG’s portrayal of a marriage spanning several decades is one of the greatest love stories ever written. Granted there is also time travel, history, betrayal, sex, violence etc. However Jamie and Claire are considered one of the great romantic fiction couples of all time. The intensity of their story and their bond kept readers like me transfixed (addicted) through eight large novels and counting (plus several related shorter novels). This fixation blinded me and maybe others to acceptance of some of the more far fetched story lines in the book series.
        Sam and Cait were mesmerizing as Jamie & Claire in season 1 in demonstrating the intensity and gloriousness of their full emotional and physical bond. As book readers and a tv fan I fell in love with their characters. I still love their characters. I think the absence of visuals of their emotional and physical magic in this second season and the heavy emphasis on continued Jamie/Claire conflict and sex rape visuals instead is starting to result in some tv fans pausing and considering the plausibility of the story lines and support characters with a more critical eye. For me, a bitter aftertaste is starting to seep in because the timeless love story is not being used to drive the plot forward in addition to the sex rapes.

    • Diana

      I would LOVE to be proven wrong. But since the production directive is sex will only be used to move the story forward and it was not necessary to be used to re-connect them after the loss of their daughter and move them forward, I don’t see how much of what’s to come other than reuniting them in Voyager is significant enough to warrant a full blown love scene. PLEASE someone tell me I’m wrong. It will not be eliminated all together, but I think it will always be less than we book readers want it to be.

      TV being a visual medium requires action and conflict. In TV generally, and I think American culture specifically, we are demanding and being trained to crave the quick fix. We generally have a very short attention span. As book readers, especially these weighty tomes and this couples adventures, we enjoy the slow, lingering character moments and the long drawn out arcs. It is quite a difficult thing to ask Ron’s team to reconcile these two opposite things in an adaptation. But reconcile they must. I still agree with Beth that they have done a wonderful job in the adaptation and I have full faith that they will continue to do so barring the occasional awkward, and somewhat dull episodes like EP8. Everybody has their off days.

      What I’m working on re-calibrating to in watching the show is to smaller displays of connection, hugs and smooches, a forehead kiss here and there, and how touchy-feely they are. Sam and Cait do this very well and it comes across as true on the screen. In addition to shortened, fade to black love scenes. In someways those fit in with how Diana writes love scenes as she often suggests things but leaves most of it to your imagination. I feel I need to ratchet down my expectations or risk feeling let down. I certainly felt they were connected and affectionate in EP8, it’s just what got them there that us book lovers know and miss. Once again, I’m finding my knowledge of the books interfering with my ability to enjoy the show. I have not successfully separated the two yet.

      • You are right. Diana’s love scenes are all about the connection, the relationship, the foreplay. If you think about it she always gives teases, glimpses rather than a by play bodily fluid exchange.

  2. Cast my Vote in the “Meh” line please. This episode came across to me like one of those Investment Graphs….here is the amount you invested ( loving the the Books) the line comes in high then dips a bit , comes back up to a high, holds that for awhile (Wedding ..Wentworth) then drops erratically and flattens out ( S2/8). I’m used to some of the lesser Characters being “fleshed out more” as Ron says, but up until last night I was happy to learn more because it was still part of the Story Line. What a mistake making a big deal about a snotty 16 yr old ! Why not work on Fergus for Heaven sake ? I don’t think after a 5 minute conversation with “Motherly” Clair was all he needed to be a happy Kid riding an adorable Donkey, want to be involved with just everything again ! This whole thing felt very disjointed and 3/4 unnecessary.. It felt like a PTA Committee was trying to break into Broadway with their new Play. On a 1 to 10 scale this was a 3, and only because there were SOME tender moments. It was way too rushed. I can only hope that up is the only way to go from here.

  3. Beth – I love your posts. I always enjoy reading them and although I am not always in agreement, I really appreciate your perspective. I think your review of episode 8 is spot on.

    I feel my Outlander obsession is fading to black!

    I loved the television show throughout most of season 1. I thought that 1.15 and 1.16 were overboard on the visuals for the rape (although I thought it was extremely well acted). I think that a healing process of some sort should have taken place in Season 1 instead of dragging it out in season 2 and having continuous discord between Jamie and Claire. I really felt the need for closure. It’s all about choices and the choice seems to be to focus an inordinate amount of time in this series on the visuals for rape sex vs. strengthening the core couple’s relationship’s emotional and sexual intimacy. There is an imbalance. I don’t have an issue with the rape stories being included on the show– my issue is the imbalance and the lack of prioritization for the core love story. I find that the well acted collective emotional storylines to be draining and leaving a negative pall without closure. Since the choice was to intensely focus on conflict & drag the PSTD into season 2, include child rape visuals (unnecessary), endure the heartbreaking death of another child, episode 8 (at the latest) seemed to be the best place for fans and the characters to take a breath and see that healing and timeless love relationship (which is still in the newly wed phase) deepen.
    I think a conscious decision has been made to not propel the Jamie/Claire emotional and physical intimacy forward in the TV series for reasons unknown. The building of the Jamie/Claire core relationship doesn’t seem to be a priority. No one, including the actors, seem to be enthusiastic about building their characters’ relationship but are more focused on contentious scenes that they admittedly enjoy more. Having said this, I am finding it increasingly more difficult to believe that Jamie/Claire fractious love portrayed on the TV series could withstand a one week split let alone 20 years.
    I’ll still continue to watch the show but the joyful anticipation that I experienced before each episode in season 1 and at the start of season 2 is subsiding. There are lots of things I love in season 2 – costumes, sets, the new support actors, the old support actors, some excellent writing, great scenes from the leads. There are things I loved in every episode but episode 8 is really a “what the hell is happening” episode for me. I did love the 3 minutes of happiness at Lallybroch, the ease of communication and affection between Jamie and Claire, the tender Jamie/baby scene, the potato scene, Jamie/Colum scenes, the strengthening of Jamie’s leadership role. All good! And then there is the far fetched (for me)!
    -the whole Laoghaire– Claire redemption/anger response/collusion storyline,
    -the Laoghaire/Simon storyline,
    -Jamie contemplating giving up Lallybroch to his grandfather.
    -Jamie thanking Laoghaire seemed weird to me.
    -only 3 minutes of happiness at Lallybroch?
    -There was a nice nod to the wedding night but then the fade to black was laughable TV.

    I am really hoping for a season 3. I’ve seen a lot of very unhappy posts on several sites about the perceived deliberate lack of attention to the core emotional and physical intimacy of Jamie/Claire in season 2. I think this needs to be substantially strengthened for continued success in the seasons ahead.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent. I feel better.

    • Wendi

      Linda, you stole my brain! And Beth-ditto and more ditto! I thought I was being too harsh on S2 because I’ve read book 2 twice. It is my favorite book and I’ve read them all. I, too, fear if they don’t portray the timeless love story that keeps us reading tomes, there won’t be a S3. My husband won’t read the books but watches with me, loved S1 and he says “meh” to S2. He is bored and has threatened to throw in the towel …especially after about 5 unnecessary seconds in the child rape scene (we are all adults and have an imagination and intelligence, nobody wants to SEE that). S2 is void of the sweet nothings Jamie says to Claire and loves scenes that reflect the core of the story. Some of the best lines he ever says to Claire are MIA. You know, the things that make women around the globe wear t-shirts that say “I want to go through the stones and find Jamie Fraser!”

  4. Nancy

    One more comment from me. I just watched the episode through again. Despite just a couple of things, I actually believe that this was a well-crafted episode. And, most importantly, right before Jamie goes to sign the sasine, he glances back at Claire – as if to give her a signal. Yep, they had it planned. So with relief that this episode wasn’t a travesty to our beloved story and with trust that it will continue to be the best thing on TV, on to next week …

    • biljana

      Hi Nancy, they said in the podcast that Claire thought of doing the ‘vision’ thing in the last second so maybe the glance back to her was meant to be a little ambiguous? I’ll have to go back for another listen to be sure. Either way, the episode improves with more viewings and I’m looking forward to the next one 🙂

      • Nancy

        Just watched the episode again. Jamie basically tells Claire what to do – and she does it. And he does give her a glance back. I believe that her vision was a planned thing – no matter what the podcast said. IMO, of course. How happy are we that seasons 3 and 4 are really happening?

      • Biljana

        Yes, I can see how Jamie says to Claire that unless she admits that she’s from the future and knows the outcome, he doesn’t have a choice. To me it’s an off the cuff comment that she ran with and when she did it, I can see he just went with it. I hope there’s a directors cut of these episodes as I feel like Starz has compromised Season 2 by only allowing for 12 episodes while Season 1 had 16.

      • Biljana

        Sorry, I meant to say 13 episodes not 12 for season 2. After I’ve watched an episode (a few times) I listen to the podcast while watching the episode again but on mute. You get an insight into what they tried to do etc. It’s Ron in all of them with a writer or AD and sometimes his wife.

        I’m really happy that Season 3 and 4 have been greenlit. I knew they would but the wait was unbearable 🙂

  5. In the olden days of moviedom, Psycho came out and was considered a masterpiece of film. There were so many revolutionary techniques used that filmmakers studied Hitchcock’s work (and still do) in movie school for decades to come.

    One of those techniques is: what you can’t see is often more frightening, more romantic, more erotic, more touching and just more anything than if you show the whole scene. The point here is that the imagination of the viewer can be used to have more impact than showing the whole scene. This of course begs the question, that the “hot bath” scene at the end of Outlander could have been filmed without filming it. I know sounds magically irrational, but there it is.

    The classic example of this is the shower scene in Psycho – you never actually see Janet Leigh getting stabbed, in addition, if you haven’t been watching closely and just watch the shower scene only, you’re not really sure if it’s a monster, alien from another planet, Norman or just exactly who is doing the stabbing. What is shown is Janet Leigh screaming (she isn’t even shown naked in the shower), knife in shadow and blood draining down the bathtub.

    As a side note, Janet Leigh was quoted as saying that it was difficult for her ever since to take a shower, thinking that Norman or whomever might be behind the curtain ready to stab her. That’s how powerful the scene was.

    Yes, it’s heart-wrenching to watch the whole scenes filmed, but not only is it not necessary, sometimes it’s more dramatic not to. This goes with Ron’s idea that they aren’t doing this for gratuitous purposes, as is done on other series (not mentioning names but there’s a long series on HBO that is horrendously graphic often for no other purpose than to be graphic).

    I found the episode touching and in the book this is where Claire and Jamie got to enjoy some time to themselves. We relish that time in the book, but in truth this doesn’t really progress the story, and doing a lot on being at Lallybroch, would be very boring.

  6. Patty Park

    Yes, the episode was a huge disappointment. I tried to watch it again last night and turned it off 1/2 way through. I just didn’t care and that bothers me. This is my Outlander! So many of the episodes have been truly extraordinary, breaking new ground and creating something rare and memorable. So how did this disjointed, almost banal episode 8 happen? Aren’t the same writers, directors and producers overseeing this? Oh, of course, there were a few exceptional scenes but overall, E8 felt like a missed opportunity to me. Are the time constraints too much? A few small points–before the fade to black scene, Jamie’s back is reflected in the mirror. I saw no evidence of scars. Did I miss it? Or was it a sloppy shot? Also Claire is awakened and hears Jamie’s soft murmuring from behind a closed door. Then she and Jennie are on the balcony discussing what they see. If they can hear Jamie, can’t Jamie hear the two of them and wouldn’t he look up and acknowledge their presence with a smile or whatever? Lastly, I think Jamie’s increasing tendency to storm out of the room to end a scene is too stereotypical. I sound like a whiner and that is not my intent. I love Outlander; the show, books and the audiobooks are part of my life. I just feel this episode was below the usual standard of excellence. I hope it finds its way back.

    • Cathy

      207 was definitely a hard act to follow. I completely agree with you and the majority of how others feel about this episode.

      As a non-book fan, what draws me to the show is the Jamie/Claire storyline. I feel that the show is focusing on hitting as many points in the book as possible/checking things off but not letting the TV show unfold naturally and organically. Some scenes individually worked fine but as a whole, it didn’t flow…similar to 206.

      After an emotional roller coaster ride with 207, the fans needed a breather. The show needed to take a beat. Not rush into the war plot so quickly. Also, a chryon stating “8 months later” would have helped the audience get a sense how much time as passed. Did Jamie and Claire get to Lallybroch before/after the birth of Jenny’s 3rd child?

      Not only do fans love the J/C storyline, but also the relationships with Jenny, Ian, Murtagh and Fergus. Would have love to see more of them in Lallybroch (even though Ron and Anne said they had thought of a montage – yes, that would have been awesome!). Would have been great to swap the time devoted to Lord Lovat and Young Simon to Lallybroch.

      I found myself looking at my Facebook feed while they were talking about the war stuff. Really don’t care. We get it. The war is coming. It’s inevitable. “It’s the verdict of history”…so do we really need to spend that much time on it? I get that they also needed to get Laoghaire in the episode somehow…but again, didn’t care for Lord Lovat/Young Simon characters to connect Laoghaire to the episode and to season 3.

      I didn’t mind Claire acting like a witch. I saw it as her helping Jamie. They’re a team. I love that Jamie played along (without prior knowledge). They know each other so well. Sigh 😉 At first I thought Cait was not doing a good job of Claire having the “vision” but realized Cait was acting out Claire acting it out. However, Claire was a better actress in the Star Chambers scene with King Louis, Master Raymond and the Comte.

      Sam said his scars were definitely on his back since he definitely sat in the makeup chair for them.

      Totally thought the same thing about Claire being woken by Jamie’s whispers to the baby and for Jamie not to hear Claire and Jenny talk, that seemed odd. At one point, Jamie looked up and I thought he heard them but then he continued to talking to the baby so it didn’t look like he heard them talking 😉

      Beth, you mentioned you KNOW they filmed more of the love scene before “fade to black”? How do you know for sure? I don’t think so since Claire was still in her corset, Jamie still had his boots on and she woke up clothed 🙂 If they did leave the love scene on the cutting room floor, I hope we get it on the DVD!

  7. Anne Hetherington

    Further reflection after my previous post. One of the things that this episode got right is the introduction of one of Jamies most central core values, His sense of duty to his family, home, country and those who depend on him. They showed his reluctance to fight, his anger at being forced to, and his acceptance that it is what he – must- do. We see this theme over and over again as his story goes foreword, and here they show him as the man he has become. A leader of men, duty bound to fight for what he knows is right.

  8. Why make your own job harder? Why change the personalities of beloved characters? Why focus on the wrong things? I’m sure they can fix this, I’m just not sure how.
    I understand that things have to be changed/condensed/etc, but I don’t understand making your job harder by changing the story. By trying to make Voyager possible, they made it harder for it to happen. They have a lot of fixing to do to make it plausible-it can’t happen now with what they’ve done and that frustrates me as well as making me sad.
    I feel like the “vision” looked cheesy on purpose; they wanted to put on a show for Lovat. (I will also continue to believe that J&C planned it together no matter what the writers/directors say!!)
    There was a lot in this episode ( and I understand why) but a lot of it felt half-done and not as good or powerful as it could’ve been.
    Long story short-it wasn’t a terrible episode, but some of the decisions made me scratch my head and kept me saying WHY?!?! on repeat lol.

  9. I viewed this as a transitional taking-care-of-business-so-we -can-move-on episode. I didn’t like it, I didn’t hate it. I also do not think the series is in jeopardy because of it as some reviews have stated or implied.

    What I didn’t understand was Claire’s reactions to and use of Laoghaire. It didn’t make sense given what I know of Claire’s character both in the book and series. The whole business of using Laoghire to entice Simon into growing a spine was ridiculous.

    Bottom line: This episode was a huge, slightly boring lull before the heartbreak of Culloden.

  10. After watching this episode I went back and read/listened to Dragonfly In Amber from Claire’s miscarriage to Jamie’s receiving the letter with his forged signature. It helped me remember that the books are filled with amazingly rich detail, especially in the conversations between Jamie and Claire (and Jamie and Ian in the section I read). I think that due to the vast details in the books, we all have favorite parts we hope to see on screen, but it would take an eternity to portray them all. I also think it must be immensely challenging to condense them into a visual medium that entertains, keeps viewers and advertisers interested, and honors the readers. That being said, thank you for your honest and thought provoking post! I’m glad you decided to write this week!!

  11. Barbara

    So it’s not just me who is finding this season lacking. I’ve read your blog for some time, Beth, and enjoy it, but this is the first time I’ve read the comments. I find myself in agreement with most of them. I loved the first season of Outlander and so looked forward to Season 2. It started off with a bang but has gone downhill ever since.

    For me, what I miss the most is the development and growth of the main characters and the cementing of their relationship. Season 1 took its time in showing us who Claire and Jamie were and the flowering of their unbreakable emotional tie and physical need for each other. Season 2 assumes we can now move past that part of the story and touch on the high points in the books. And DIA has lots of high points, so the episodes feel crammed with plots and twists that don’t move the story along. All in all, like many of your commenters, I am increasingly bored by the series. I could re-watch every episode of Season 1 (and have); I have no interest in re-watching any from Season 2 (except perhaps the first).

    Outlander is still a wonderful series with exceptional production values, acting, and writing. I believe the problem is that they are trying to neatly fit a book into a season of only 13 episodes. DIA should have been given 13 episodes for Paris alone and another 13 for the time in Scotland. That would have allowed the writers to craft the story more along the lines of the book without having to manipulate the characters into doing something totally weird (like Jamie considering signing away Lallybroch for a cause he didn’t believe in) to hurry the plot along.

    And where is the sex this season? Those who have read the books know that Jamie and Claire have a deep physical need for each other, one that doesn’t lessen throughout the books. I imagine the writers believe further sex scenes are gratuitous and unnecessary in showing the relationship developing, but I would disagree. Just as we, the viewers, have to see the emotional resolutions to their traumas, we need to be reminded that the physical side of their relationship is still solid.

    I hope there are enough episodes left this season for a decent telling of Culloden and what led up to it. And I hope Ron is considering splitting Voyager into 2 seasons. Why rush through the books? I don’t object to streamlining the books to make them more adaptable to TV, but I hope the writers would be true to the characters.

  12. Cathy L

    Beth, I couldn’t agree more with you and the majority is saying.

    As a non-book/TV-only fan, the main reason I watch is the Jamie/Claire relationship. The war stuff is not my cup of tea and find myself checking out my FB feed during the “politics/war” scenes.

    Did we have to devote all that time to Lord Lovat? I understand all the politics involved to get the men/Jacobite rebellion, yadda yadda.

    Why did we have to rush into getting ready for the war? I think after an emotional roller coaster with 207, the fans deserved a beat. A breather. It would also have been helpful if 208 had a chyron stated “8 months later” to give some sense of how much time passed (did Jenny give birth before J&C arrived or did she give birth they came back?).

    Also, it would have been great to see at least 30 minutes of Claire, Jamie, Jenny, Ian, Fergus, Murtagh at Lallybroch instead (even though Ron and Anne talked about having a possible montage in the podcast). As a non-book/avid TV fan, the interactions among Lallybroch residents would have been more interesting to see than diving into Lord Lovat and Young Simon storyline. The time we had in Lallybroch could have been swapped with all the time devoted to the war talk. Who really cares about the war since we all know how it ends, right? As Claire said, “It’s verdict of history”…

    Exactly what Patty Park stated on how Claire was woken up by Jamie’s whispers but when Jenny and Claire are talking on the balcony, Jamie doesn’t hear them? At one point, Jamie looked up and I thought he heard them but then he went back to talking to the baby…so I guess he didn’t hear them?

    Beth, you said you knew they filmed more of the love scene? How do you know for sure? 😉 I don’t think they did. Claire was still in her corset. Jamie had boots on. When Claire wakes up from Jamie’s whispers, she’s dressed. If they did film it, hope it’ll be in the deleted scenes on the DVD 🙂

    At first, I thought Cait was not acting too well in the “vision” scene. But watching it for the 2nd time, I think that was the point. Claire is “acting” like she sees something. Cait is acting that Claire is acting..but Claire was a slightly better actress in the Star Chamber scene with the King Louis, Master Raymond and the Comte.

  13. Cheryl

    well I dont know what the rest of you were looking at but that bedroom scene will hold me over till the next episode. I dont need to see the act of sex between two people…I found that scene to be H O T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you need more go rent porn.
    I will complain..and loudly about Leghair…wtf??? and the second time claire pretends to be LeDamn witch.. better to have Jamie fight and win family respect than that scene…
    as far as all else…….as ususal the episode ended too soon…and yes..Lallybroch was rushed.

    • Cheryl, I would love it if you would continue to participate, but to suggest people go rent porn is at the least rude. You didn’t want more. Great, but please don’t insult those who did by suggesting that more would make us purveyors of porn.

  14. Vicki

    The problem I’m having with this episode not so much Leghair but the way Jamie’s character has been altered so much. Where is the strong, loyal, funny, smart, heroic confident,man we fell in love with. The most unbelieve able part of this story is having him make a deal to sign Lallybroch over to The Old Fox!!! No way!!! How could he ever look Jenny in the eye again?? His family, tenants, history all handed over for a fight he really wants nothing of.
    They have undermined his character to the point that this is not the same character.
    Claire is the plotter & schemer & manages to save the day,. Had they written this ‘stunt’ of hers, as Jamie’s idea to scare the old man, I might have bought it, but the fact that the writers said ‘oh that was all Claire’s plan, he had idea she was going to do it’.
    At this rate I don’t see him as being King of men, leading an army with men who would do anything for him.
    At the moment, Claire is way too dominant a character, with Jamie there simply as her sidekick. Book C&J were equals in a strong, passionate, marriage. This one is dominate Claire leading a very weak Jamie.
    Hope it gets back on track soon as there are only 5 episodes to redeem itself

  15. Meh–my sentiment exactly as expressed to a friend. Bored, yes! While I admit I was camping and watching on my cell phone so the connection was slow and the picture dark (welcome back to Scotland!), by the time I was a half way through I was bored and yawning and okay to pick things back up in the morning. This never happens with Outlander. But the few tender scenes were nicely done if cut short. I think they could have left the whole Old Fox story line out. Neither him nor the young fox are going to figure prominently again. And agree with you that what happens with Leery in S3 didn’t need any of this set up.

  16. Panda

    Thanks Beth for once again stating so eloquently the way I felt about episode 8. I wanted to see more of Jamie and Claire living happily at Lallybroch because i think it really connects them . Especially for the future that is coming. I did not like Jamie considering giving up his claim to Lallybroch and I didn’t see him leave it to little Jamie to protect it falling to anyone outside of the family. Going forward , I did not think adding Leery helped anything, I didn’t buy Claire using her for manipulation with Simon either. The only thing Leery did for me was after the show when Anne said they were getting things ready for the future … Finally season 3 announcement ? Really have to agree with Diana about Mr. Willoughby too. I love the Claire and Jamie from the books and their relationship that spans decades, time and time travel. I will continue to watch and hope for the best . I am so grateful that it has been close to the books. I still read them and re read. Thanks again for writing this blog.

  17. Kelly O

    Beth, the hosts of the storywonk podcast had really great conversations about the timeline and the use of ‘magic’ in this past episode. I know that I was very confused at the beginning of this episode, and really struggle to understand just how long they had been allowed Broc I know that I was very confused at the beginning of this episode, and really struggle to understand just how long they had been at Lallybroch. The first VO alluded to the idea that they have been there for months, but then it also said that Jenny had the baby while they were in Paris… Which I believe was maybe another editing mistake. The potatoes were harvested in October, but if it’s 8 months later, like Maril said, then it’s August 1745 (?!?)

    How do you feel about the “timeline”? know Diana Gabaldon isn’t always a stickler for timelines either, but the upcoming battles are actual historical fights with historical dates, so I’ve been trying, in vain, to figure when they heck this episode took place 😊

    As for the magic, so, the hosts of the story wonk blog made what I thought were some great points – that Claire has had several conversations where she has talked about the trauma of the witch trial, and yet decides to play witch in a room full of Scots who do not know her well and likely know she’s been tried. I know she did it to save lolly Brooke, and that is admirable, but it seems incredibly risky!!! Ron and Ann said that Jamie was going to give away his estate, and Claire jumps in to stop him and he just goes with it on he fly – I wish they had figured out a way for Jamie to use his intellect to outsmart Lovat. Now knowing he wasn’t in on the plan, how do you feel about that scene?!

    Thanks!

  18. Evie

    I love reading your posts and thank you for your perspective. It’s most interesting reading everyone’s responses and opinions even when we don’t always agree on it. It makes it all the more interesting. 😀

    I also felt Lallybroch was rushed but the potato scene was fun to watch. Wish they expanded to the night where they ate with their tenants and sat by the fire enjoying the presence of family and good times before the inevitable came to pass.

    I know so many of us wanted to see more Jamie and Claire connecting. I’m actually happy they didn’t go into too much explicit detail with their intimacy. Sometimes implied and fade to black is more erotic…mind is more powerful tool.

    That whole Laoghaire and Colum appearing at Beauly was a surprise (understatement). I want expecting that but I get why they kinda did that to prepare for what will happen with Jamie and Laoghaire. It’s hard to imagine how it will come to pass when Jamie won’t even give her the time of day. But after watching it the 3rd time, I started thinking it’s because of Claire that he’s able to reconcile with his actions to marry Laoghaire. He acknowledges that Claire is much more forgiving than he is even though she doesn’t outright and completely reconcile with Laoghaire. Jamie is always doing the honorable thing…protecting his family/Claire, fighting for his family and Scotland, dueling Randall at a moment’s notice because of Fergus. So why not marry Laoghaire when the next time she will appear is after she’s widowed with 2 young daughters. I keep thinking the words he says to himself are, “what would Claire have me do?” And “if Claire can (start to) forgive her, then I can do it too” to honor her memory. Just my 2 cents on that…it’s a stretch but that’s the only way I can accept it right now.

    I know this is looking to the future but why is Dougal there in the next episode of clan Mackenzie is remaining neutral or is Colum doing exactly what Simon Fraser is doing…playing both sides? who is going to kill Dougal? Is it Murtagh since he was the one who initially suggested to slit Prince Charles’ throat? So many questions swimming in my mind…

  19. So Beth, I seem to still be reeling about this episode and have tried several times to qatch it again only to find myself having the channel to some mystery program or other. THIS has never happened before. I usually binge watch the week episode as many times as possible and relish it until the next. I have NEVER not wanted to stop watching an episode. Anne Kenney and Ron Moore keep assuring us that this will all link up without destroying the intention or threads of the book. But the direction just disturbed me. I just had to tell someone who could maybe find a way to tell me in intelligence what just happened. And you are the best with precise analysis and understanding. I am not there yet.

  20. Candace Wishon

    What do we do, Beth? Initially, people were afraid to say anything, but as you can see, here, and on an just about every page and blog out there, including Diana’s page, people are not only underwhelmed, but angry, disillusioned, disappointed, and truly brokenhearted, and they are speaking up. This show started out with such promise, and then it stopped being Diana’s story, and has now become whatever rewritten story that Ron and company have decided to write. Talk about “changing the future”! The plausibility of the future story lines in Voyager have been torn to pieces, and we don’t even recognize Jamie and Claire as individuals anymore, let alone their love story and the strength in it that carries them through everything. I am rereading TFC right now, and am in the section where Jamie has been snake bitten and he asked to be moved upstairs to the bedroom, to have Claire beside him, because unbeknownst to Claire, he thinks that he is going to die. Over and over, the tenderness of their dialogue, Claire’s single-minded focus in saving him, many. many scenes from all the books echo to us that this is our Jamie and Claire, and it is a love story for the ages. We don’t see them, or that, anymore.
    I have to laugh at all the magazines that called this show “a bodice ripper” and “steamy sex”. I would settle for some kissing and tenderness once in a while! LOL. People are certainly wondering, I thought these two were crazy about each other? We’ve already hashed over and over that the handling of the end of season 1 didn’t close the circle, and destroyed the opportunity for intimacy in season 2. Seven episodes of angry, fighting, etc., is just too much.
    I am riding out this season, only because I really want to see the battle, and see how they handle the stones, and if we get to see/hear Roger and Bree. Will we see Claire 20 years later, in Scotland? Will Roger tell her that Jamie lived? Will we see the marriage stone at St. Kilda’s.
    I like many, don’t think that I can take another season of disappointment. I would rather see this show just fade off into the sunset and end this season, than have to suffer through episode after episode of WHAT? WHY? Are you kidding me? You get the picture. Again we all understand that this is supposed to be an adaptation; but this has ceased to be a true adaptation, and is now at the mercy of whatever the rewritten fan fiction flavor of the day that Ron and friends decide to come up with. God help us.

  21. GGW

    Ok. I’m WAY late to this party, but I was unable to either watch Outlander or be on-line until last night. Last week, I had already witnessed enough hand wringing to choke a goat. I know many viewers who were despondent over 208. Two things come to mind for me. It’s REALLY hard to follow up an ep as strong as 207. If it was even a “really good” episode, it would pale by comparison. 208 was not a “really good” episode, but I thought it was a solid episode. For me, it was nowhere NEAR as frustrating as The Search in S1. There were some charming bits and I was never bored. I squirmed a little (Young Simon creeps me out!!) here and there, but I thought that the changes weren’t impossible to fit into my version of the story. 208 propelled the story. Maybe I’ve been beaten down by SO MUCH negativity in the Fandom and the wild swings of emotion. That’s not the kind of person I am and I’m not well served by hand wringing. So, I’ll still check in with the fandom (now that S3 & 4 have been announced it will be interesting to see which swing of emotions we’ll see in the coming days) but I choose not to have my experience altered by it. For my part, I’m going to really enjoy the few remaining episodes we have left. Droughtlander draws nigh!!

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