“I was a bit short of breadcrumbs”… a reflection on Outlander Episode 11

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This was one of those weekends when real life interfered with my Outlander life.  Stuff happens.  Puppies jump out of granddaughters arms,

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husbands go on vacation and want to spend time with you…

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granddaughters want to paint their bedroom suites and the same puppy who broke its leg eats paint…

I had a birthday trip to the zoo with all my grands…

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and my traditional cake made out of watermelon ( this year it had minions on it !)

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Things calmed down at about midnight last night and I was too tired to watch Outlander….shocking I know…but it happens. So, here I am Sunday morning watching and writing.

DIANA GABALDON SCRIPTWRITER

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Congrats to Diana!  It was great, but I didn’t expect her to do less!  I love that I am starting to “hear” the writers voice in these episodes.  Her episode was a great example of this.  It definitely blended with the other episodes, but like the others it also had the writers’ own special touch.  Diana’s sense of humor came out to play and her love of dialogue and her genuine affection for these characters was a joy to watch. I loved seeing how she picked up the adaptation ball and played.  The book plot was condensed and altered, but very plausible and cohesive.  Jamie’s prayer over a sleeping Claire was worth the whole episode. It was over all too soon.

BREAD CRUMBS

 

Last season, some where around mid point, I started to let go of my book expectations and enjoy the adaptation. I started to get it.  Matt Roberts helped me with that.  He explained that the adaptation was much like a child.  You can see the parent in its countenance, but even if the child is very much like the parent, it isn’t the parent it is its own “person”. So, I started to relax and enjoy the series for what it was.  I have found, however,that this season taught me more lessons on the nature of adaptions.  This season has taught me more about pacing and story arcs and character development.  I’ve learned that sometimes as fans, we have to wait and…trust.  There truly is a reason for the choices the writers make and they are lovingly trying to make the best show they can for book lovers and TV only audiences. They are all doing honor to Diana’s story and characters.

At times this season, my knowledge of the books continued to interfere with my enjoyment of the show and yet, at times it enhanced it.  I’m sort of ambivalent about the advantages or disadvantages. However, as time goes on, I am getting much better at separating the two and being okay if things are different.  I used to be able to speculate about what we were going to see in the next episodes.  Quite frankly, I really can’t anymore, especially not in these battles scenes.  Each week I excitedly wait to see what is going to happen to the highlanders. This is one of those times that the visual medium has definitely increased my enjoyment of the story. In fact, I’m delighted to find I’m enjoying not knowing what they are going to do.

One of my favorite lines in this episode was Claire saying she was a bit short on bread crumbs. She has given herself over to the British in a self-sacrificing gesture that cements her as a Scot and the lady of Broch Tuarach. I actually felt a lump in my throat when she asked if she was not the lady and responsible for the men as well. But, it was the bread crumbs line that has stuck with me because of what it represents for the way this story has been told and particularly in this episode. I would say, ” you might be a bit short of breadcrumbs Claire, but the series isn’t”.  They have been foreshadowing and getting us ready for the end since the beginning by leaving us a trail of breadcrumbs to follow. Early in the season, I wrote about what I saw as an emerging theme for this season.

In one of the trailer’s for the show, Jamie is heard saying “Promise me we will always find a way back to each other.”   https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=outlander+season+2+trailer&view=detail&mid=8A665D9CF8C926D232878A665D9CF8C926D23287&FORM=VIRE

I’m beginning to suspect that this is a metaphor for the whole season.  Isn’t it always about finding your way back to each other in a marriage?   It doesn’t have to be getting carried through the stones or PTSD; it can be something as mundane as a career or as challenging as raising children that causes a couple to lose touch with each other, grow distant, and lose intimacy.  Ask any married couple if they did not struggle to maintain their identity as a couple through different phases and events in life.  It pains us to see our ideal couple estranged.  We want to luxuriate in their obvious love for one another. However, I can’t help but believe that this more realistic portrayal of a relationship makes this MORE about what the books were about, not less.

Over and over again, we are reminded that this isn’t going to end well and that Jamie and Claire will be separated.  They have also taken great pains to remind us that they always find a way back to each other. Without that reminder, I’m not sure we would make it through another Droughtlander.  This is going to be much worse than Jamie hanging out on the window-ledge.  In this particular episode, Diana and Ron let us see Jamie preparing himself for the worst, having to send Claire back.  I think that is what the watching her sleep and praying over her was about and I couldn’t help, but make connections to real-life.  I thought of soldiers, divorcing parents, or the terminally ill who know their time is limited. I pictured them staring at a child while they sleep and speaking all of their love and dreams for them and memorizing their features and burning the images into their heart.  It is what you would do if you were afraid you would soon never see a love one again. Poor Jamie this isn’t the first time he has to face this , the stones after the witch trial, Wentworth, the Abbey.  A future with Claire ever seems to be tenuous thing.  They have fought so hard to come back to each other time and time again and yet, he must feel every moment with her might be his last.

Despite his preparing himself, the episode also gave us a few glimpses into how difficult it truly will be when the moment to say goodbye comes .  Jamie certainly isn’t ready to let her go.  I felt Sam’s portrayal of Jamie giving in to Claire’s plan to give herself over to the British was that reminder. Never, he’ll never give her up. His reluctance to give her over to Dougal’s arms, his grabbing her back for a second, his struggle not to show how worried he was, were very moving and foreshadowed how devastated he will be when he does let her go.  I loved how through out the episode they showed the couple constantly coming back together physically even when they have only been apart for a short while.  I think Diana once said ,”like two halves of a clam shell coming back together”. And, Murtaugh …asking if Jamie ever counted the cost of marrying Claire?  Despite all her love has cost, he would have it no other way. Breadcrumbs.

I know there has been some grumbling about the lack of sex in this season.  Some have even suggested that they EW cover was false advertising! It was definitely a striking image, but it certainly wasn’t the “Wild Sexy World” of Outlander they were advertising.  No, instead, they gave us thought-provoking and moving scenes of a couple’s struggles to hang on to their love through some of the many things that can befall a marriage. In my opinion, brave and meaningful TV with Emmy worthy performances.  Every time, I would start to worry that maybe the series had missed the mark or changed a character or story arch too much, they would prove me wrong.  The intimacy is there. This couple has earned their relationship.  This couple is bearing their losses together and the relationship is the stronger for it.  The intimacy that will make Claire’s screams of anguish at the stones real isn’t found only in their bed, but in her soul through all their shared moments both good and bad. We got a little taste of what it will be like when they are ripped from each others arms and I dread and yet look forward to seeing how they will portray it.  My suspicion is that we haven’t seen a lot of sex because they are creating space around Jamie and Claire’s final night together.  We haven’t been given a lot of sex between the couple because they want to make those moments more meaningful and that joining poignantly special.  A night in each other’s arms to last forever….

 

 

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57 thoughts on ““I was a bit short of breadcrumbs”… a reflection on Outlander Episode 11

  1. Judy11

    Beth this was so well written and so poignant – I am sitting here in tears with such a beautiful and insightful recapping of the essence of this season.

  2. Linda Bouley

    This is a lovely and very intelligent, Beth. It is comforting and yet carries a soul-deep knowledge that their relationship will take on yet another form…an always mourned separation. I think I gave in to the book/TV adaptation very early on…only tried to follow the book at the same time for EPs 101-104. Then, I relaxed into the fact that I had two amazing gifts…1) the books from Diana & 2) the TV Series from Diana, Ron, Sam, Cait, Terry, Bear, John Gary & all the other cast, writers, directors & crew….right down to the drivers. Viva la Outlander

  3. lmmerrill

    Are you going to re-name your puppy Blue Beard or Peg Leg? (sorry, couldn’t resist). One of the things I find most special about Diana’s books is how wide a net they cast in the fandom from lovers of romance to history, drama and action. In a way, it’s ironic that there are people who get all upset at the “bodice ripping” narrative and there are people who are missing the sex scenes in the television show. Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s the same people or different people? I agree, they have been laying a groundwork of slow and steady drumbeats (aka breadcrumbs) leading up to what we know will be a dramatic and heart wrenching conclusion to the season. The little looks, the silent prayers, the brief moments of intimacy always interrupted by the exigencies of the moment due to their status as leaders. For me, their romance, while wonderful and fun, isn’t what has made this couple a great literary success. It’s their shared sense of responsibility towards others to the potential detriment of themselves as individuals and as a couple. And this season has illustrated that masterfully.

  4. Thank you, Beth, for reminding everybody that while a child is the product of the parents, it is an adaptation and not the parents themselves. Matt is brilliant in so many ways! True confession – last night’s episode is the first one that I have gotten to watch, although I have been devouring the trailers, behind-the-scenes details, the making of the episodes, and the various postmortems. I so appreciate your thoughtful recaps – Thank You.
    And — Happy Birthday!

  5. I loved this episode because we could so completely hear Diana’s voice. The humor, the way she brings Jaime and Claire together (without a sex scene, by the way) and the overall pace of the episode was so very entertaining. I hope she writes more episodes.

  6. Stephanie DeMarco

    Beth I read all your posts and then post them in my outlander groups but never have really commented here..So sorry..Your posts inspire me and direct me into being a better person and thus being a better Outlander fan. Love the insight you have displayed.. And never stop blogging.. It would certainly be a travesty..The birthday cake looks like a classic .Thank you..Stephanie

  7. Happy Belated Birthday Beth! And thank you again for your well thought out commentary. It’s been a bit crazy in the OL the past couple of weeks and so appreciate your calming voice. The breadcrumbs visual was great. The thought of these two being separated for so long – well am just looking forward to the print shop scene if I might jump way ahead!

  8. Patricia Hare

    Beth, you got the whole marriage thing right. After 43 years I can look back to see the times my husband and I have worked our way back to each other as life sometimes gets in the way. Right now I am in Scotland seeing those parts and the nature of the Scotish people that help to complete for me at least, more of the picture painted so well by Diana and Ron. Off to Inverness tomorrow and I know I will be thinking Outlander. Sort of following breadcrumbs left by the story you might say.
    Pat

  9. Jody Smith

    Just because we don’t see them having sex, doesn’t mean they are not having it. Their intimacy is theirs, not ours. Love that they are showing them trying to make their marriage work. Like Jamie said, he almost lost it. They love each other and have proven that.

  10. Jacquelyn Kerner

    As usual, I love your reflections! I particularly liked your connections to real life, which is something I do frequently when reading Diana’s books and watching the show. At the moment, I’m re-reading Voyager and just got to the part of the fight between Claire and Frank before Frank is killed in the auto accident. I started to cry because she captured so well, as you mention, what happens to people, a marriage, sometimes–you start with love, the best intentions, etc., and maybe you grow together in the same direction and maybe you don’t. Maybe you overcome the inevitable hurdles, and maybe you don’t. I could see Claire and Frank trying so hard with their good intentions and the agony of realizing it never really or really could work, and yet had they not, had Jamie, Claire, and even Frank not loved and tried as they did, how different would Brianna’s life have been; would she have had one at all? I saw flashes of my parents’ marriage, and thought of the upcoming marriage of a niece (whose parents should never have married but had they not, we wouldn’t have her). It’s no good to warn, you can’t tell them anything, because their experience, their marriage, will be their own journey. Se la vie and thank the good Lord for wonderful writers like Diana, and like you. Happy Birthday.

  11. Beth you have managed yet again to put the words I can’t on paper, so to speak. Our love of Outlander is because of the complete love of Jamie and Claire, and even when their stubbornness or their big mouths speak wrongly, they find a way back to each other. This episode showed it all. And i for one am not looking forward to how the next couple are going to make me feel.. but bring it on.

  12. Mc

    I agree with all written. This is my go to as well. I also enjoy The Scot and the Sassenach podcasts. This season has felt like a great adventure that is coming to an end. I like your reference to breadcrumbs Beth and I have felt every one. I am aware of the many ways the “end” has been for shadowed. You can almost feel the tempo of the story becoming quite desperate. I am only able to continue to watch because of next season. The acting is so good it feels real and effects me in a real way. Best show ever.

  13. I could care less about the sex, because I know Jamie and Claire are having lots of sexy time off camera. For all those complainers, the producers are probably waiting to cackle, “You want sex? Here’s the gut-wrenching ugly-scream-cry sex, last-time-for-twenty-years-sex. Enjoy!”

  14. P Mac

    I really enjoyed this review, it’s well written and thought provoking. I don’t think that because I’ve read the books it has actually gotten in the way of my enjoyment of the TV series. Last season I didn’t really give the changes a great deal of thought. The series was so stunning and it was fabulous to have these characters that I fell in love with in the books come alive on screen. The casting of these parts is flawless. This season the character change that did really bother me was Laoghaire, but then I’m certainly not alone in that. What I have been bothered by are comments made by those that have never read the books and have only watched the TV series. They seem intent on constantly demeaning the comments of book readers. I’ve noticed comments directly to Diana about the book readers “bitching” and asking her how she puts up with the “picky” book readers or purists. Seriously it’s like they have the need to suck up to a teacher or something. If not for these book “purists” this TV series would never have happened, it starts with people being willing to invest their time in reading the books. If you’ve read the books you probably want to discuss changes, it actually is part of the enjoyment of watching the TV series. It’s sort of like your college lit class where you dissect and discuss a book, it’s interesting. As for sex and bodice ripping. I liked the bodice ripping scene in the book but it may have been a bit too much for a TV audience. I agree with you completely that they have cut back the sex scenes in preparation for the farewell sex scenes.

  15. S. A. Young

    “This couple has earned their relationship.  This couple is bearing their losses together and the relationship is the stronger for it.  The intimacy that will make Claire’s screams of anguish at the stones real isn’t found in a bed, but in her soul through all their shared moments both good and bad.” Very well said, and in my humble opinion, the heart of the books as well as the series.

  16. I often wonder how the non-book readers respond to this visual. I know we who have pored over, re-read this wonderful story wish for all those favorite bits, and lines to show up because each one of them has meaning for us, and makes the story that much richer. As I have been promoting Outlander as my favorite for the past 25 years (believe me–folks got pretty tired of me waxing poetic about it)- I decided to stick to the basics. This is a story of an extraordinary love, that survives a lot. The characters are so well drawn you would give anything if they were real. And with that said–I wish they had kept the original, thistle styled, engraved silver ring, and not that key nonsense. (Ok, done.)

  17. Diana

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us during your very eventful week. Hope you had a lovely birthday filled with family, friends and love.

  18. Cary

    Hello Beth (and happy birthday!) I haven’t commented in quite a while but this post was so good, I had to 😉 I liked this episode from the first viewing of it (well MOST of it, haha) . Sam and Caitriona continue to bring it all to the screen for us to see, and Graham and Duncan shine in this episode as well.

    Thank you for your posts! Are we ready for what’s yet to come???

  19. margie9546

    Happy Birthday and thanks for your thoughtful reflections, Beth. I just wanted to add something to your comment on the part in the episode where Murtagh asks Jamie if he ever thought that marrying Claire had not been the smartest thing he ever did. All Jamie replies is “No,” but Sam’s acting is so great that he manages to pack that one syllable with so many different levels of meaning. The acting in this series is amazing.

  20. Jeanne Ney

    Thank you so much, Beth. I, too, recognized Diana in this episode. I chuckled several times … at “breadcrumbs,” certainly; also at “customarily I receive a tip” … “I’ll give her lessons later” said by Jamie … but I laughed out loud at my best guy, Murtaugh … “She even misspelled Help.”

    I hope you are taking copious notes for the book you will write when it is all over as chronicler of all things Outlander for the rest of us. You are so appreciated, Beth.

  21. This was a beautiful post, Beth! I really enjoy your perspective. I thought Diana did a great job on this episode, and I love that she infused humor, which has been sorely lacking. I’m one of the ones who has been very disappointed this season, but I absolutely respect every opinion! I really think there were so many episodes of disconnect between Jamie and Claire that I got bored with it. But like all of the book readers, I love the story so much and have been desperate to see it on screen, so I’m continuing on. I did not like the direction they went in taking about eight episodes to make Jamie into a man. In my opinion, he was a warrior from day one. As for the lack of sex, I know there’s a lot of discussion and it seems like some people like to shame others for wanting more visual connection of Jamie and Claire. To me, the books would not be as powerful without the love scenes. In Fact, I can’t even imagine the books without those scenes! They make Jamie and Claire who they are. In that same vein, to me, the show needs that as well. There’s a reason Diana puts those scenes in the book. They do move the story forward and make the couple closer. As for the entertainment weekly cover, it seems like again marketing is quick to use sex to sell anything, but It did not represent this season well, since in comparison to last season, there’s hardly any sex at all. They set the bar and expectation with last season, so to me that advertising was false. That’s just my opinion. Yes, we can use our imaginations of course, but I don’t pay for starz just to use my imagination! LOL! I actually don’t mind changes from the books so much (unless they are ridiculous changes). Some changes are good. As long as the relationship between Jamie and Claire is the priority, it’s outlander to me. But in my opinion, this season has not been a good representation of the love story between Jamie and Claire, and I really missed that. I am holding out hope for voyager next season, because that is my favorite book. Maybe since they took the long way to get Jamie and Claire back together, next season will better capture the love between them. The show got so much praise and attention for how it treated sex in season one, maybe they’ll return to that in season three because because I do think it adds so much to the show. Just my thoughts!

    • Cathy

      Beth and Brandy,
      Great review Beth! I agree with everything you said. As for the EW cover, I took it as a reminder of the wonderful 1st season and a forshadowing of a closeness in the 2nd season. I too love he intimate scenes in the book and the show but, for me at least, a steamy sex scene really didn’t fit with most is where they are/were this season. For example, in an encampment crowded with all their men, after working really late at night on strategies, the mood for all that passion wasn’t there. What was there, and it was shown on screen in their words and gestures,is the deep caring and love they have for each other as well as everyone else and their mission. I absolutely Loved the bedroom scene in this episode. Jamie said it all in just a few words. I agree that there may be enough passionate encounter at the end to make up for it missing this season. I cannot wait, but don’t want it to happen. 😩😂

    • Raquel Paladino

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly the sex scenes are important to truly capture the deep love/marraige of Jamie and Claire. And like you I don’t pay a visual medium (Starz) to use my imagination! 😉

  22. GGW

    Belated happy birthday, Beth! Looks like you were well celebrated! Hope Georgie’s leg is doing better! I loved this post and was also enamored of the breadcrumbs analogy! I also loved LMMERRILL’s analogy to “drumbeats”. As the number of remaining episodes has dwindled, I’ve keenly felt the foreshadowing and the approach to what we know is coming. The drumbeats are getting louder. Or maybe those are my heartbeats! Anticipated heartbreak is the worst!! I’ve said all along that Jamie and Claire’s passion has been completely visible throughout S2 and the lack of love scenes hasn’t puzzled me, though the fandom’s reaction to it has! The initial outrage of the show being labeled a “bodice ripper” followed by the subsequent outrage of “we want more sex”! You could get whiplash from that turnabout!! Anyway, I’ve always felt that passion is expressed in so many ways in addition to sexually that this season’s representation has been completely on track! I’m dreading the end of this season in a way that I didn’t dread the end of S1, even knowing what Jamie was about to endure at Black Jack’s hands! The endurance required for the end of this season will be on another level. I’m not sure I’m ready.

  23. Mc

    Me too. I am currently up to FC and not yet into it. Too much Bree/Roger for me. Breezed through 1-4 though and anticipate completing FC. I want to be all caught up when the last book comes out. I hope DG will finish the series. Waiting on the ghost. Reminding myself of Voyager gets me through this season. Does anyone else feel this has touched them in such a real way? I don’t mean to sound too corny but i have to make a conscience effort to pace myself with all of this. It’s so emotional. Must be the acting, writing, and the ghostly effect of the whole thing. Similar to Shindlers List, or maybe The Titanic.

  24. Jodi

    It was a great episode. As for marital sex, while there’s wide variance, the average American couple “does it” once a week. Probably Saturdays, after watching “Outlander.” So if the show isn’t doing it for you, maybe it’s time to go find your real life partner…

  25. Beth, the lead into your Blog today (HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY !! )was a peek behind the “scenes” of your life, but in this episode “We”, your Readers represent, the Breadcrumbs. With all that going on, you came back to us….and oh how you came back ! Spot on ! I cried again at your insightful words as much as I cried at Jamies Prayer scene, Clair’s personal sacrifice and Hugh’s death. That was an “on Noooo” moment for me, not so much with the Duke’s demise. I gave up long ago, s1 somewhere, that the TV Version would not go note on note with the Books. Going with the flow of things , I think the entire show is a brilliant tribute to DG. Her episode was as artful an adaptation as any “Professional Script Writer”has produced thus far. Each episode this Season has gone by far too fast, like SNAP fast ! I guess because so much has been packed into just an Hour long show. As we anticipate the last 2 shows, I am preparing a tray with Kleenex, a wine glass, and a bottle Wine….I don’t think I will gracefully survive without them. ( I don’t do Whiskey)

  26. Your comments were absolutely beautiful and spoke truly to my heart. I am a book lover and show lover, and I consider myself blessed that I have two different forums through which to become immersed in this amazing story. I must say that I am dreading this “Droughtlander” on the show so much more because I will have to wait months to see Cait and Sam’s Claire and Jamie be reunited, while I have their reunion in Voyager bookmarked and underlined so I can read it anytime I feel the yearning (Once a day? More?). Thank you for your wonderful insights!

  27. Yvonne Pirch

    Dear Beth,

    I want you to say that I love your Outlander reflections. They are all very sensible, meanful and profound, but these one was very special. Your last paragraph has touched me very much and I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes.
    You always nail my own thoughts so well.
    I started writing my own recaps (in my native language German) with beginning of season 2.
    After my review is ready and online I read some reviews written by others, so I can compare their interpretation with mine.
    In your blog I can always find many of my own thoughts and
    reflections, as example your interpretation of Jamie’s prayer as his first step of saying goodbye to Claire. I saw it as the same.
    Please, never give up of writing your reflections, because they are so wonderful.

    Yvonne

  28. Sandi

    This was great Beth, thank you and I hope you’re right about the night together in each others arms; I really have missed their intimacy in the show, but I love the show and am so glad we get to see the books come to life with all the wonderful actors. I’ll be glad if they have a little bit more sex in season 3, but still enjoy the show, no matter what they’re doing. Thanks for your great blog, it’s nice to read other people’s perspectives.

  29. Grace

    Oh Beth, you have made me weep all over again. Thank you for your beautiful words. i’ve allowed myself to get lost this week in the complaints about how Jamie & Claire’s physical and soul intimacy has been handled (the downside of such a popular franchise is that there is no end, seriously no end, to the commentary and i read too damn much of it!). i so _very_very_much_ appreciate you throwing out this life preserver of sorts in this roiling sea of opinion…

    i still believe that the cast & crew are pouring themselves into a true work of love, and i’m looking forward to being able to do a marathon watch of S2 – that always allows for a more cohesive experience.

    P.S., such a sweet life you have in your corner – puppies and children and much much love! 🙂

  30. Thank you for your appreciation of the whole series arc. Yes, the Outlander series team has given us fabulous productions. Yes, I trust Ron D. Moore to steer this series as well as anything on this medium but there is the whiff of “be grateful and settle.” in many of the comments. All of this turmoil! Marriages are like this. They settle down. Sex, okay, it is there but the important thing is love, spiritual connection. Jamie himself says this repeatedly, basically, I will love you for all eternity. Diana Gabaldon has written a brilliant series, not just because it is a terrific adventure, lively history, and spiritual love and connection. Jamie and Claire have bodies, passionate bodies that repeatedly seek connection and completion. Has anyone complained about her mix of their sex lives and everything else? She gets it right and Season 2 did not for a great many viewers, including me. Because it’s a different medium, they can’t do it? Obviously, they can and it is what made everybody sit up and take notice. All the rationalizing, explaining, justifying, scolding (just go watch Fifty Shades) doesn’t explain the fact that a whole lot of dedicated fans felt something very essential was missing, something that was special and hadn’t been done quite like this before.

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