My first reaction after seeing episode 13 Dragonfly in Amber was to think of some of the book lovers’ reactions to the adaptation. I could literally hear the disappointment. Where was the scene where they cut their initials into each other’s flesh? Where was that final night together? But, then almost simultaneously, I thought, “but… it’s such a great story”. There is always an element of review in my reflections, but usually I find something in an episode that stood out or lingers in my mind and I reflect and expound. This week it was the idea of telling a good story and adaptation.
I had a Twitter friend recently send me a private message that disputed the term adaptation in regards to Outlander.
…Your piece this week makes me want to discuss something. The difference between an adaptation of a book and something based on a book and something inspired by a book. All points on a line. There is probably a legal distinction in the entertainment industry, but with regards to Outlander, at what point should they stop calling it an adaptation and start calling it based on. I read the description that Matt Roberts gave of an adaptation as a child and the book as the parent. I don’t know if that is a fair analogy. Wouldn’t that be more of a reimagining of a book rather than an adaptation? I would love to see you write a piece pondering this…
I guess this feels like the right time to ponder this topic and so, I started looking for answers. As an avid fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series, I have struggled with this whole adaptation thing. I will say over time my understanding and feelings toward the changes from book to screen have changed. I have become more accepting and find myself looking forward to seeing those changes. However, I am not without sympathy for those who still struggle and certainly believe as fans we have every right to discuss what we liked and didn’t like and what we thought worked and didn’t work. Critique is good. Discussion is good. After doing a bit of lite research and thinking about the past two seasons of Outlander, my answer to my Twitter friends question is…yes. Outlander is an adaptation and a good one.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
In my lite research, I read articles on writing scripts, story-telling, and adaptation of books to screen. The one thing they all seemed to have in common was the belief that nailing down what makes a story good is very difficult and even harder to put into concrete terms. Every author I read, who attempted to list steps or describe a formula for creating a good story, made sure to include a caveat that said following their formula certainly didn’t guarantee that your script would move from plot to great story. There is a certain intangibility that we all seem to recognize, but find hard to define.
One of those folks that tried to describe what makes a story good was Chuck Wendig, novelist, screenwriter, and game designer;
…A story is interesting. A story lets us see ourselves in it — and it is in that way both a unique snowflake and a universal precept. Or, more to the point, the story is the unique delivery system by which we get to talk about universal concepts and problems. We can talk about a THING WE ALL UNDERSTAND by framing it around a narrative unique to the author — every character and setting and conflict is a potential lens through which we can look upon this universal problem. Story takes this lens and it helps us to see old problems in new ways. Stories make us feel and think. Stories have power. Stories move us, shape us, and do the same to the world. It does this in the way that a song can do it. It has rhythm, like a song — slow to fast, up and down and then up again. Pause, leap, wait, then run. Stories are not a manicured garden. They’re an unruly forest –
A tangle of thorns in which we find ourselves happily ensnared.
… story is a hard thing to understand. Writers put words to paper, but storytellers take those words — or images, in the case of film and TV and comics — and spin that dross into candy floss. Writers make horses. Storytellers fucking make unicorns, man.
In my readings, I found a lot of academic articles for scriptwriters that further the idea that certain elements can be found in good story-telling, but by far the most interesting and applicable article I read was an AV Club article written as a conversation between two film critics. Tasha Robinson and Scott Tobias’ article What Makes a Good Film-to-Book Adaptation? is well worth the read for anyone still struggling to get a hold on the adaptation process and what makes for a good story for both book lovers and those who have never read the source material. They used their take on the movie The Hunger Games to discuss the issues with movies adapted from books. http://www.avclub.com/article/what-makes-a-good-book-to-film-adaptation-71545 They both reference each others’ reviews of the movie and one written by the NPR critic Linda Holmes. This article was so full of great points that I had a hard time picking out which ones to share! The main idea however is that adaptations have certain responsibilities to fans of the source material, but that following a book too closely has its own pitfalls.
Holmes: Odd to think that some fans — certainly not all or even most, but some — might, for all their constant desire to see a faithful adaptation, leave the film feeling like they’ve seen the book almost exactly, as if they didn’t need to see it at all. To be honest, this is the sense I had, as someone who really enjoyed the books. I felt like the film was very good, but not strictly necessary, precisely because it seemed to be made from a bit of a defensive stance, where the biggest worry was making sure fans didn’t get mad. Other than the appearance of the residents of the Capitol, it’s not particularly visually inventive, and while it’s comforting to see that an adaptation has respected the imagery of the book, in most cases, it’s faithful to the point of not adding anything you haven’t seen in your head when you read the book. The adaptation, in that sense, is skilled but not quite as special as it might have been. http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2012/03/22/149145605/what-fans-will-love-and-what-they-might-not-in-the-hunger-games
Robinson: …One of your main points in that review was that the film hewed too closely to the book. You called it “stenography in light,” and said when a book-to-film adaptation sets out to be faithful to the source material, “the best result is a skillful abridgment.” Most painfully to me, you said this: “A book is a book and a movie is a movie, and whenever the latter merely sets about illustrating the former, it’s a failure of adaptation, to say nothing of imagination.”
Few things get me as tetchy as a film adaptation of an excellent book that doesn’t trust the material, and alters it to be more conventional and banal (like the ending of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, for instance), or alternately, more lurid and prurient (like the violence in Watchmen). All too often, it seems like even the biggest bestsellers are deemed not commercial enough in content
Tobias: …if book-to-film adaptations can fail by being too faithful or by being not faithful enough, what’s left?…doing right by a great book and being faithful to it are, to my mind, two separate issues. Skillful as it is, The Hunger Games suffers from all the pitfalls of faithfulness that I noted in my review and Linda Holmes addressed above: It hits all the expected plot points from a novel that offers a straightforward cinematic blueprint, but it feels thinned-out as a result…What I want is not faithfulness, but an active engagement with the material, which doesn’t have to preclude faithfulness…The question filmmakers should ask is not, “How can I bring this story to the screen without losing anything?,” but “What in this book do I want to emphasize?” If you’re reading a book, I think it’s natural to home in on themes, characters, and scenes that are most meaningful to you, but a good adaptation has to make choices about what’s truly important. And it also has to exist independently from the novel…
Robinson: …Going from a derivative work to its source, people tend to expect fidelity less than when they start with the original, then move to the adaptation…When I read the book first, I go to the movie expecting to see a strict translation of what I saw onto the screen, even if that’s not truly what I want, or what best serves the story. Whereas when I see the movie first, I go to the book looking not for the same story, but for a greater insight into the characters…
…Both book and film should be addressed as independent entities. …This means not going into an adaptation with a mental checklist of things that must be in the movie to make it good, and evaluating a film based on what’s on the screen, not what got left off. In that sense, a “good adaptation” may have to involve a good-faith effort from the viewers, who participate in the process by giving that story a chance on its own terms… But it takes two to tango. If viewers have a responsibility not to see a book as an unalterable outline for the film, then filmmakers have a responsibility to respect the book, to acknowledge that there’s a reason they’re telling this story, rather than another story altogether… Filmmakers should ask “What in this book do I want to emphasize?” The key words are “in this book.” Meaning, part of a good adaptation is knowing what to cut or revise, even if it makes the fans cry, but part of it is maintaining a meaningful relationship to the source material.
As you can see this is a great conversation that examines this issue from several perspectives. I measured Outlander against the “standards” based on what I had learned about good adaptation.
WHY I THINK THIS WAS A GOOD ADAPTATION
- There is an overall theme not just a checklist of plot points from the books: a man and woman from vastly different backgrounds keeping their own integrity while caring about what is really important in life, providing for and protecting what is important; God, Family, Country and above all else love.
- They knew why they were adapting THIS story : Ron, Maril, Matt, and Starz all knew why they wanted to tell this story. They picked Outlander, they could have picked a show to produce with male-centric themes and familiar plots. Instead, they chose to tell a different kind of story. A story that was genre-bending and complex with a female protagonist.
“Diana has created an incredibly compelling heroine, thrust into a very complex world, not to mention, time. The books weave a fascinating tapestry of history, spirituality, love and honor, not to mention plenty of time travel, sex and warfare. With Diana’s stories guiding us and Ron’s mastery, we hope to bring Claire and Jamie to life for the millions of fans the world over.” Chris Albrecht, CEO Starz
- It was a great mix of nods to the book readers and yet it was novel enough to give us all surprises. In this episode particularly, I was struck with how like Diana’s books the season was; everything and everyone they wrote had a role to play and everything got connected. I loved the little bits of Jamie we saw in Brianna, “I don’t understand, but I believe you…Only the truth between us”, Gellis’ question “Why are you here?” and Roger’s “fucking barbecue”, and everything that happened when Claire visited Lallybroch including a lovely nod to the book lovers with the “thousand kisses’ poem, just to name a few.
- They told an honest story about life’s truths. My God, when I think about what they weren’t afraid to show us! I didn’t always agree (the rape of Fergus), but I will defend their choices because no one can make me believe that the same group of people who took their time showing the aftermath of Jamie’s trauma and Claire’s loss of her child did not think carefully about every part of this story and how to show it to us. We witnessed amazing award worthy performances and ground-breaking TV.
- The characters were interesting people who evolved. They took their time and let us watch these characters struggle and grow. The TV version of Jamie is more relatable, less funny IMHO, but less perfect. He was still being portrayed as a young man with “nice feelings” , emotional intelligence, a man who thinks on his feet. However, he was also allowed to fumble a bit (Lallybroch comes to mind) just like any young man in his situation would. He ISN’T perfect, but true to Jamie form he always gets it right in the end. He is a wonderful example of what it means to be a man and that includes owning up when you’ve made a mistake and not being afraid to try a new way of thinking. Those things I truly loved about book Jamie are still there, loyalty, integrity, bravery, sensitivity, vulnerability, and the ability to love unselfishly. How often have you seen a man portrayed like that on TV? And Claire? Has a woman portrayed on TV ever been allowed to be as one critic said “a true superhero” ? Claire has always made me proud to be a woman and TV Claire has just reinforced that I was right to feel this way. The show has managed to show the world that a woman can be all things; strong , smart, compassionate, sexually confident, gentle, loving, and fiercely protective of those she loves. “Remind me not to get on your bad side Sassenach”. She hasn’t been portrayed as perfect either. Tell the truth, how many of you wanted to reach through the screen and shake her for not keeping her mouth shut! They even let Black Jack seem human at times which challenged our thinking.
- It was a roller-coaster ride of conflicts and feelings. At times, I worried that there wasn’t enough time between the shit-storms this couple constantly faced. But, they kept us wondering how Jamie and Claire would find a way back to each other after all the myriad of crises and tragedies a marriage can face.
- They suspended our disbelief and helped us believe this world and this story were real despite its fantastical nature. This show was a wonder; a visual feast set to music, Paris and Scotland. The love, creativity, and talent that this show was created with continues to stagger.
IMHO they did the things good adaptations do. They kept it their own vision while honoring the source material for book lovers. They told a whole story not just the love story, but they did tell the love story too. As Chuck Wendig said, “Story is all the stuff. All the fibrous material and intangible air surrounding the fiddly bits. The story is the whole beast. It’s the whole animal. And you have to use the whole animal”. They showed us the whole human story contained in Outlander. They didn’t show us a horse, they showed us a “fucking unicorn”.
114 thoughts on “My answer to the Outlander adaptation question…Episode 2×13”
Excellent essay and analysis!
Excellent ! I agree totally. I feared the adaptation of OL. But I was so overwhelmed at the incredible writing that made the books bloom. I saw characters thinking and connecting. Beautiful color and scenery ,far beyond what I imaged. And yet,there it was OUTLANDER! Wonderful
Semantics and definitions aside, I have to say (and I say it here because no one else in my life really cares about my thoughts regarding Outlander) I really enjoyed the final episode of this second season. I am a huge book fan, and yes, there were parts I kinda wished had been there, but in order to do that, I think we’d have needed at the minimum a 2 hour finale. Better yet, another entire episode would have thrilled me! lol At first watching, the cutting back and forth between time periods was a bit concerting, but I adapted. I watched it again with my husband who has not read the books, and I loved the episode even more! And my husband’s reaction was, “How could anyone NOT like that episode. It was great.” My favorite non-book moments of the entire two seasons were the ones in this ep with Gillian/Geillis! Really enjoyed seeing her interact with Bree. Roger, I loved from the minute he appeared. Bree, I hope and believe will grow into the strong, imposing force we love from the books. She’ll need to in order to keep up with J & C! Ha! And now, another Droughtlander to endure. Blech! Guess I’ll go re-read (How many times will this make?) the ending of DIA since a lot of my favorite parts didn’t make the finale. And then I’ll begin (yet again and with just as much anticipation as the first time) to read Voyager, my favorite book of DG’s series so far. Thank you, Beth, for all your insights as always!!
Thank you Dawn for being a faithful reader!
Not “concerting”. I meant DISconcerting! LOL I swear the brain fills in things that you only see AFTER you click the button and it’s too late!
I’m not a critic and I’m not a scholar, but I have to say that I binge watched between the last two episodes, and I think it flowed well and made a lot of sense with the entirety of the season! I am well into book 3 and to be honest I’m having a hard time staying with it…sooo much material, the books are extremely long and drawn out, I kind of enjoy seeing the condensed version on screen! I will continue the series because it is truly an amazing story! I’ve even thought about starting at the beginning to get the flow of the story again!
Lots and lots of words. Stick with it! And believe me, after the second read, you’ll find the rhythm and flow. I think some books are just that way. I’m not saying that the first time through a long book is not great/good/thought-provoking and satisfying. Sometimes it does take at least two reads of a good book to appreciate and to get that wonderful satisfaction of reading something that has touched some part of your life. That’s why I love DG’s books. There is so much to cover – so much to learn. They are like history books with a whole lot of love. Geography books – I’ve spent ALOT of time on Google Earth – I may have memorized Scotland! (This being said, I do also love a quick and easy read (shout out, Dick Francis.)
My best friend and I are going to Scotland in September. Yes, Outlander motivated our decision to go there. But in researching, Scotland is so much more than Outlander. Outlander has opened our eyes to the beauty of the country. It will be a trip of a lifetime.
To all of the Draughtlander’s out there, I’m with you!
Beth, it’s been a roller coaster of a season and I think your Outlander Finale is as much of a “fucking unicorn” as the OL Adaptation! No mere horses here! I loved the finale, I love your analysis. Like Dawn, I have few in my immediate circle who share my Outlander Love and I always turn here first! I have so appreciated your reasoned analyses, even when I didn’t necessarily feel the same way about something. You always challenge yourself (and me!) by researching, rather than just throwing your emotional response into the fray. Thank you so much for being so real! I’ll look forward to your non-OL offerings during Droughtlander. Now, I think I might go have my own marathon and will enjoy all the lovely unicorns!
Thanks for your thoughtful insights as well as your scholarly dedication to digging into the minutia that makes the production work. You pull back the curtain for us to see how the magic works.
I look forward to your reflections for season 3. I’m disconnecting from all things Outlander during the drought to hopefully come at season 3 with fresh eyes.
You always make me think about what we see on screen more deeply Beth. I watched the finale and came away a little unsure, mostly because of the chopping back and forth from 1745 to 1968, but loving the overall story told with it’s surprises. I’m a long time book fan but haven’t had the issues many readers seem to have had about the adaptation to screen. It’s enriched the story on so many levels, but especially visually. I think in very visual terms so when I read my imagination fleshes out the words in full colour. Terry’s costumes and Gary Jon Steele’s sets have been a continuous delight. The wonderful actors have brought a veracity to their parts which has been lovely to watch and hear.
The range of emotions they elicit in every episode makes me feel like I’ve lived it with them. The deaths of Angus, Colum and finally Dougal last night, felt like the loss of dear friends. I gasped and shuddered with Graham, Sam and Cait as the dirk was shoved in. Rupert’s horrified disillusion was so well played.
But over it all and through the season what has touched me most has been the tenderness of the love between Jamie and Claire – Sam and Cait have made us all believe in them and their relationship. They have captured the intimacy that develops between two people who deeply love each other and is shown in small touches and the meeting of eyes in the midst of a crowd.
The other bouquet I must give is to Tobias. Episode 1 had me in tears as Frank’s love and devastation was shown so nakedly. Then as Jack dealing with the death of Alex, the only person in the world who loved him and I think kept the dark from completely swamping him. The emotional devastation could only be shown through Black Jack’s default – violence. The brilliance of being able to play both roles to such perfection is notable even in a cast as gifted as this.
The success of the show is the result of a huge team effort where every single person brought their best, whether it was the set dressers, the cooks, the camera operators, the lighting and sound specialists all contributed. The writers room must have been a master class in the process of adapting a huge, complex book to screen. The scripts have been wonderful, providing the underlying structure and engine for the enterprise.
Finally, we have Maril and Ron and Diana – I’m in awe of all three. Listening to them expound on various aspects of the books and the process in different interviews and panels has given me a real appreciation for them each as individuals. They bring not only intelligence but wisdom and heart – it shines out of them. And they do it with such humour and wit.
So yes, it’s been a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious journey that I will happily replay for years. Thanks for the insights and ideas you have provided over the weeks too. Jayne
Thank you! Loved this comment!
I LOVE THIS: “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious journey” !!!!
Jayne, just reread your comment. So true – so meaningful! Thanks.
As usual, I loved this post. The eloquence, energy and patience with which you continually try to enlighten those still struggling with the adaptation process amazes me.
This, in particular struck me: “I felt like the film was very good, but not strictly necessary, precisely because it seemed to be made from a bit of a defensive stance, where the biggest worry was making sure fans didn’t get mad.” Given the wailing and keening and rending of cloth that goes on whenever there are changes made to the holy text that don’t sit well with some fans, can you imagine what kind of a show we’d have if RonCo paid attention to mob demands? Probably not something I’d be interested in watching.
I loved the episode and was thrilled with how brilliantly all of the threads were woven together and how truly heartbreaking the farewell at the stones was. I found myself so grateful for the things that were included, like “Da Mi Basia Mille” and “Lord ye gave me a rare woman…”. Would I have liked to have seen the extended physical farewell of the book, sure, but for admittedly purient reasons. We all know they love each other and how much. They don’t have to prove it to us. Would I have liked to see the carving of the J & C? Sure, but the term “mark me” now has negative connotations.
I loved the introduction of Roger and Brianna – Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton immediately made me forget the physical differences from their book descriptions. Once again, the Outlander producers proved themselves Master Alchemists when it comes to pairing actors with their roles.
Time for another dram and a rewatch!
my apologies for the spelling error. That’s really going to bother me forever. lol
Thanks so much for reading and your comments this season!
Thanks Beth for sharing your amazing thoughts! Always learn something new each time I read your reviews 🙂
However, as a non-book reader, I felt this episode felt flat and a bit disjointed (similar to 208).
But, the individual scenes (Claire by Culloden grave, Claire and Brianna’s fight about her real father, Jamie telling Claire he knows she’s pregnant and Jamie & Claire’s goodbye scene) were heartbreaking and powerful. I find myself watching them over and over and over again. At least 5 times now 😉
The editing/storytelling fell short as a whole in this episode. It felt there were too many things jammed in this episode and didn’t allow for certain scenes to breathe. Cutting from 1746 to 1948 was too jarring. It didn’t allow the viewer to process/digest what just happened. Perhaps they could have had 1746 scenes edited together and then cut to 1968 in a chunk together. Or have 1968 scenes bookend the episode.
I understand we needed to introduce Brianna and Roger but they took up so much screen time which took away from Jamie and Claire. Did we need to see Brianna and Roger having a picnic?
The “goodbye scene” was moving but that “quickie love scene” wasn’t necessary if they weren’t going to do it justice. My friend told me that they had a more proper goodbye in the book the night before. But since this is television, I understand there are many scenes to include in the limited time given. I would rather not see them make love in the cold open area and have it be over in 30 seconds. It made that time together less significant.
We get that Brianna is Jamie’s daughter (from Claire watching Brianna sleep, Claire telling Brianna about her father in the bedroom, Claire at Culloden grave). It wasn’t necessary for Brianna to say “I believe you. I don’t understand it but…I believe you. No more lies. From now on, I only want the truth between you and me”. I get it was a nod from episode 111, but it cheapens the audience’s intellect. We are DIEHARD fans (I bet any Outlander fan – non-book and book readers – knows every powerful line said between Claire and Jamie). We don’t have to be told literally that Brianna is Jamie’s daughter. Subtlety is more powerful.
I felt the ending of Claire looking at the end was so cheesy. I’m not a sci-fi/fantasy fan and one of the great things about Outlander is that the show is able to suspend my disbelief and make me go with it because the characters/story are so compelling. But for Claire looking into the light from the stones, I felt the sci-fi element kicked in and pulled me out of the suspension.
I thought season 1 finale was amazing. 9-9.5 out of 10. Perhaps I binged on it in April and didn’t have any expectations, didn’t read anything about the show or it just focused on Jamie’s rape (one topic).
As I caught up with season 2, read up on some non-spoiler interviews/spoke to some friends who read the books (without major spoilers) and hyping myself up (thinking they must have to make love (an epic one?) before going back to the stones because she’s pregnant with Brianna), I was disappointed with the finale. I’d give season 2 finale 7 out of 10.
The show is best when they focus on one area/topic (201, 202, 204, 207, 209, 210, 211), not cramming too many things in one episode. Again, I get it. There’s a lot of material in the book but as a non-book reader, we wouldn’t know the difference as long as the essence was there.
Now, I am NOT looking forward to #Droughtlander 😦
Thanks for adding your thoughts !
I’m with Cathy L. Not buying it, no matter what color you paint it. It is still a case of the Emperor’s new clothes. As long as the subjects keep telling the naked Emperor that his clothes are beautiful, he never comes to the realization that he is naked, until one person, the child, calls it like he sees it, and then all of those who were afraid to say what they really felt, because there is safety in numbers, tell the truth. For this show I have seen a shift in the Overton Window. Elements of anything that you can think of, societal norms, even how one feels about an “adaptation”, which would never have be acceptable, and would have been decried by all, slowly over time, replace the old standard, and the new standard is the norm. The people are brainwashed, we are fed quotes, interviews by show runners, actors, designers, etc., over and over again justifying why this is good, this is right, this is acceptable, this is wonderful until finally they say, I guess this wasn’t so bad after all. I guess everyone else is right, why didn’t I see this before, and now we just follow along, excepting the new standard, no matter how bad it might be.
I think your Twitter friend has it right. This is not an adaptation. This is a reimagining, a based upon, inspired by, flight of fancy in the writer’s mind, but they really need to quit calling it an adaptation.
I like one of your other responders, am absolutely removing myself from Outlander related anything. Have already dropped Starz after seeing the finale. It was OK, a disappointment for sure, certainly not even close to the hype, you’ve already read all the fallout about Sophie’s bad acting, being short, and NOTHING like the book Bree, the really campy GWTW, Scarlett O’Hara “Tomorrow is another day” ending, and the complete and total lack of anything except a quick 30 seconds of thrusts of the ground, which really, given that they missed all the other intimate opportunities of this episode, why throw that in? I need a break. So do a lot of others. Read Diana’s take on the amber. That was great and spoke volumes. Was really glad to hear that there will be new writers. Not going to renew Starz until at least the first few episodes come out and I see the reviews. With Ron saying that there are going to be even MORE deviations from the book with Voyager, how stupid to tell the hand that feeds you this, I am not hopeful, and neither are a lot of others. So sad, this show had such potential.
Candace once again I’m sorry this show has not measured up for you. But, I hope you will allow that some of us are capable of thinking and deciding for ourselves if we like the show just like you. I haven’t read all the complaints about the acting etc. but I not surprised. I certainly don’t agree with everything and Diana’s post was a great example of the author not agreeing. However, vilifying the writers and producers doesn’t seem justified ( and there are some truly angry people out there saying truly personal and awful things) Personally, it isn’t exactly how I imagined, but is the best TV I’ve watched in a very long time. Best wishes to you!
I agree with the disjointedness of this episode. I am hoping that some obsessed fan with editing skills will put all the Culloden pieces together, and then all the 1968 pieces together. That would allow me to wallow in all the emotions of whichever time I wanted to be in. 🙂
But I like to think of the jarring jumps in time to be similar to what Claire experienced. We got a quick recap of that experience in “Previously on ‘Outlander'”, but no “flashbacks” to that disorientation and time shock she experienced. Instead, WE got the disorientation of two separate times, rather like Claire might have experienced it. So when I feel like “Wait, that was really emotionally important! Let’s go back!”, I pretend that I’m Claire, wanting to stay in the past, but forced to deal with the current time.
I really liked the flashbacks! 😂😘
Cathy L, we are kindred spirits! I read the first 3 books after seeing Season 1-Part 1/the first 8 episodes of the show on DVD in March of this year and deem myself a “show fan”. With regards to this finale, specifically, and the whole season, generally, I agree with you about the last quickie (just leave it out at this point), the sunrise on Claire’s face at the end, and what the writers sometimes left us to figure out v. what they felt the need to explain when it’s clearly visible.
I fully acknowledge and appreciate that DIA was a difficult book/plot to adapt to TV in one season/13 episodes… And that I’m more subjective about it than objective right now.
Overall, I love this show and all that goes in to making it happen. My gripes are minor in the grand scheme of things. I’ll keep watching future seasons.
Beth W, thanks for your big picture analysis! I can’t wait to go back and read your other thoughts on the series. Episode recaps are as fun for me as watching the eps themselves.
CANDACE, don’t get me wrong. I still like the show a lot. Bordeline-obsessed, actually. I watch certain episodes a night before going to sleep (ever since I found the show in mid-April). I LOVED season 1 and 90% of season 2. I was able to get 15 ladies (all non-book readers) from New York City, Italy and Romania binge on both seasons in 1.5 weeks – causing sleep deprivation around the world 🙂
I wasn’t being critical of what was not shown or changed from the book (as I haven’t read the books…yet).
I really admire that Ron, Maril, and the rest of production are able to tackle such a challenging piece of source material (DIA vs Outlander). My friend and I are in the television industry and my friend LOVES the books. She thinks the show is WAY better than the books in certain aspects and is overall pleased with what Ron and company have done. We both understand the obstacles production must face and solve to give us such magnificent pieces of art/entertainment.
Ron, Maril and cast all love the show and they are doing their best to produce a show for not only the book lovers but also non-book readers like myself. They’re doing a phenomenal job!!
We just both had issues with the flow of the finale (and 208), not the content/individual scenes themselves.
For example, I thought Claire giving Jamie the DIA stone was a nice gesture. The overall scene was touching and heartbreaking. Reading that the book had them both carving each other’s initials would have MAYBE been more powerful but the logistics of it made it time prohibitive. I would have probably flinched if they really did that but I don’t think it would have added that much to the already tender scene. I just didn’t think the love scene was needed if “time was of the essence”. Felt like they had a list to check things off. Did that “quickie love scene” need to be there? Not really since we know the extreme bond J&C has. Not having a love scene wouldn’t have diminished the love they have for each other. I’m always pro “less is more”.
As we knew this episode would be a “forever” goodbye for J&C, it would have been nice to see more J&C moments and less Brianna and Roger. Of course, seeing the final product, everybody has 20/20 hindsight.
REBECCA, so with you! Yay, kindred spirits! I’m more subjective than objective too! I’m enjoying the show for what it is (that’s why I’ll probably read Outlander and DIA during Droughtlander – won’t be reading Voyager until after season 3 is done as I don’t want to be disappointed although I have quickly read about the print shop scene :P).
I’ll definitely be watching future seasons too! My friends think I’m being paid by STARZ to promote the show 😉
BETH, I concur that this show is probably one of the best out there! Downton Abbey and Outlander are on top of my all-time favorite list 🙂
Very good analysis and salute to the showrunners. I hope by season 3, we’re done with all the book vs show discussions. I thought the acting was very uneven. Roger character believable…Bree, not so much. Came across as bitchy, vs high-spirited. Not convincing at all. Gellis gave me goosebumps.
Thanks for being a brave soul and pointing out the acting issues. While I fell in love with Roger, Rankin is a gifted actor, Bree to me felt not as believable. The actress seemed to be forcing her lines. Perhaps she got the part based mostly on her uncanny resemblance to Jamie.
When I first read about Bree (in the books), I always thought she was kind of bitchy instead of high-spirited. She definitely has attitude. It may take a bit for Bree to settle in – not at all like Claire or Jamie or Frank. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt. Geillus was terrific!
Book Bree had a rough start with most readers too. So in that she is spot on. Remember book Bree is only 20 years old and was very much a Daddy’s girl. Her mother, as she herself has said, was always distant, living in another world. (Jamie’s world)
Also remember that Sophie was cast very late in the production and wasn’t given the same amount of time to adapt to her character. She wasn’t familiar with the books or the show when she auditioned. Cut her some slack. She had a major presence in her first episode and pulled it off. I’m sure we’ll see her grow and blossom in Season 3 when she’s able to read the books and talk more with the other actors, the staff and Diana.
Yup! And not only was Claire living in Jamie’s world, she was also living in a surgeon’s world. I loved Gillian’s response in the pub to Bree’s statement that her mother was insane. lol I don’t think the powers that be made a casting mistake with Sofie. I agree with you, Sheila. I’m thinking she’s going to bloom, and I can’t wait to watch it happen!
I didn’t mean to diss Sophie/Bree. I think she pulled off her character – quite well, actually. Just like Book Bree, she comes off a little rough. I believe that as we get to know her and who she is, Brianna will come to life (as she did in the book). Cait and Sam and Tobias made is look so easy – they just WERE their characters from the very start. Yes, when Sophie has the opportunity to learn who Bree is, she’ll do just fine.
The ending reminded me of “Gone With the Wind.” The sunset vs the glow of lights on the stones. The same resolve to find and get back with your loved one. Very redolent. I was like, where have I seen this before?
However, the “quickie” at the stones stunned me, at first, but later, made total sense. Desperation. One more time. Guns in the distance. They aren’t going to make slow, langorous love. It’s I need you, I want you, I’ll miss you, but there’s no time. A farewell f. Raw, ravishing, consuming. I get it. Off to battle.
Completely agree with the moment of desperation. Made perfect sense to me.
I actually had insomnia last night so went back and watched a few episodes. One of them was the wedding. I realized during my re-watch that the sunlight moment at the end was a throwback to this episode. When Jamie said that seeing her was like the sun breaking through on a cloudy day – the sunlight ‘came out’ the same way they did over the stones. It’s also fabulous (IMO) because Claire didn’t remember or have that ‘sunlight’ moment. She barely remembered the vows at all. So when the sun comes over the stones and she realizes Jamie is alive, THAT is her sunlight moment. 🙂
When I grow up I would like to write the way you do! Oh – I’m 68! Thanks for hitting the nail smack dab on the head. Great essay!
Thank you! Once again you have written an eloquent and thoughtful commentary. Like several of those commenting here, no one in my immediate circle shares my obsession with either the books or the television series: talking to myself does not qualify as conversation. But, I do find myself enthusiastically answering ‘yes’ to your insights (in my head, of course), happy to have my thoughts and feelings so perfectly expressed by you. As a book lover, I too was surprised the writers omitted from the finale the scene where J and C were carved to mark each as belonging to the other. And then my disappointment was forgotten when Jamie led Claire in a slow backwards dance to the stone, and we followed two hands in their last moments, his guiding hers to the future. A pretty good fracking unicorn.
Laurel, that slow walk backwards to the stone might be my favorite scene from this episode. I tear up just thinking about it!
I too loved their “dance” to the cleft stone! I had to watch the episode on my computer as I am helping my daughter with my newborn granddaughter. I can’t wait to watch it again on a decent sized screen!!
Yes, Beth! I have also found my protective feelings about the book softening a bit as the show has gone on. I am no scriptwriter, or producer, or showrunner, so I recognize that I have absolutely NO idea what it takes to adapt such long, emotional, and jam-packed-with-essential-stuff books but in the end I believe they have done a very very good job. No, everything I was hoping to see was not in there. But the heart of the story (and indeed the parallels between the generations) were.
But I must say, the Lallybroch scene is what reduced me to an absolute puddle of tears.
Thanks for a thoughtful review, “a fucking unicorn”, I love that…
My criticism is the ending, the back to the stones moment, too rushed… The Rev. wake got more screen time!
The other think that has really ticked me off is the emasculation of Jamie, things in the book that HE did or said not Claire. I love Claire and like you she makes me proud to be a woman, we know she is strong, a 20th century woman living in the 18th but why make Jamie less? No point in my opinion.
As others have stated the ending ending was just too cheesy, I actually LOL.
Oh well, I mostly lived it and will certainly keep watching.
Oh my gosh, Beth! Out of the ball park again. LIke you, I’m a long time book fan, but have loved seeing our beloved characters brought to life each week. With few exceptions, I’ve appreciated the changes that have added a little mystery in each episode. This is one reason I’ve tried to steer clear of reviews and recaps that seem to nit pick and tear the show apart. You are a breath of fresh air.
As an avid book reader of all things, I loved DG’s entire series. So complex and so many stories within the story. That said you really need to separate yourself from the book to the adaptation. The iconic items are in the show. The changes need to made to get time, storylines done. Written and visual mediums are so different. I wish the fans of the books could really understand that. I love Claire and Jamie, but this is not only a love story (please people, don’t ask about why there isn’t another sex scene!), it’s a story about love, relationships, family. C and J’s love is in everything they do. You see it in a look, a touch, how they relate, how they work together. I love a great love scene, but let’s not get bogged down about what they did in the book. It needs to work within the story and on the screen. I loved the finale. It finalized things and it made me happy that we will have two more seasons.
“Stories make us feel and think. Stories have power. Stories move us, shape us, and do the same to the world.” What a powerful statement….and for me so true!!! This has been an extremely emotional morning for me, after watching the finale early Saturday morning alone, I came to the realization just how important DG’s books and finding this show has been for me. When I discovered the Outlander series I was in a very difficult place emotionally. I first heard about Outlander through a Starz commercial prior to the first season and had every intention of watching. But, as the saying goes, make plans and God laughs….In 2014 my husband was diagnosed with kidney failure, which launched a year long search for a kidney donor and his name being placed on a donor list. After a year, my son, who is not my husbands biological son, made a decision without discussion, to donate his kidney to my husband. He saved my husband’s life. It was a courageous and unselfish thing to do, and for me overwhelming, since both of my men would be on the operating table together, and would suffer the same risks. While this was a very successful transplant, it was nonetheless extremely traumatic for me. In order to be a care-giver and advocate, initially to both and eventually to only my husband, meant that my life had to be placed on hold. I built a wall that protected me emotionally… that wall went up….and never came down…. until…. I read Outlander & watched the show. I wonder if Diana Gabaldon knew when she wrote the Outlander series that she would have the power to change a persons life…but her story had power, and the actors who portrayed those characters and the writers who gave them a voice only enhanced that power. I found her spiritual references, poems, and the love she created between her characters absolutely moving, life-changing and refreshing. Which is why some of us wanted so badly for the adaptation to follow the books, absolutely. But, because RonDMoore had the courage and power to adapt for TV many scenes from the book, one in particular for me, the violation of Fergus, I was forever changed. He gave me power and courage to write on this blog, my experience as a victim. Thank you Beth for providing the safe place to have these discussions! And lets not forget DG’s historical references, which also lead me to trace two of my family lines..Cameron and Fraser….right to Scotland on the battlefields…incredible! I know there are many people who have had their life enhanced or changed by reading the books and viewing the show; just read all the various tweets & this blog. People sometimes laugh at us when we talk Outlander and about the greatness of this show; my husband is one of them, but he doesn’t realize that it saved me emotionally, brought me back to him, and really left an impression on my life. I hope the actors, Diana, Ron, Terry, and all the writers realize how many people have been touched by their creativity….it is absolutely incredible how a series of fictional books and a television show could have that much power, for so many people! It is also a reminder that true love conquers all things, and that love & communication are so important in a relationship. Thank you to all the Outlander cast & crew and especially to DG for writing such wonderful books that have touched me in so many ways. Finally, thank you Beth for utilizing your God given talent to touch us with your insight. You are the best at being able to put into words that prompt us to think and respond……. I am forever grateful……
I am moved by your story. My husband’s brother is on a kidney donation list – waiting and praying. We thought one of his step-daughters would be able donate a kidney but testing showed she couldn’t. Devastating. My son-in-law, Noah, is fighting for his life. Leukemia. Heartbreaking. He is young and darling and my beautiful daughter, Dana, is devoted and so much in love. Life is so unfair at times. Sometimes I feel crushed with despair because there isn’t anything I can do. But wait and pray. Noah is doing a trial treatment in Boston which takes them away from us here in Minneapolis. The distance feels a lot further than just miles.
I understand your affinity with Outlander – the books, certainly. Page after page, book after book, we were transported. The TV show gave us the visual – and it was so beautifully done. Both seasons were captivating. We all had differing opinions about some episodes, but in the end, I believe, it all came together. And then it came apart, so to speak.
The power of the books and the series has been transforming to me as well, Tes. I, too, took away love, emotion, faith, anger and devotion – every week I was able to pull something out that fit into my life. A word, a touch, a look, even the anger … I hope that makes some kind of sense.
I know I’ve said it before, The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher, is the only other book that has been transforming to me after reading it. Love, family, heartbreak but mostly love. But that was one book. We are gifted by DG with many. The cast and crew – RM – have opened up the world of Outlander so magnificently. I am grateful.
Good wishes and prayers to you and your family, Tes!
Thank you so much for sharing this!
Tes ❤ I l know those walls – didn't realize what was happening to me until I read your story. Thank you for sharing and God bless. ❤
BATULIP….I am so glad that what I wrote has helped someone….walls are so powerful..and its important to acknowledge them and break them down…we miss so much of life when we don’t…will keep you in my prayers…along with Nancy and her son-in-law….TES
TES do you mind if I share this in my next blog post?
Beth, please feel free to share…….
Beth, sorry, bc I think I responded to you and it auto entered my husband’s name..oops I hate auto enter…happened after I selected my email address…I guess that’s what happens when I decide to go to my office..once in a while!!! 🙂 BUT feel free to share what I wrote!
I cannot add anything to all these thoughtful and wonderful replies. But, I do love unicorns!
Beth, most everything I want to say has been said by the comments above. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication this season. Reading what you have to say has been wonderful – and educational! Thanks!
Simply put, the finale was everything I needed it to be. When Jamie backs Claire up to the stone and together they touch it, that was heartbreaking.
The look on Jamie’s face when Dougal is killed is so incredibly sad. I believe Sam may have felt this emotion in reality.
Kudos to Chuck Wendel for his words on storytelling. Thank you for sharing them. Reading books – watching a good movie – we are all transported to somewhere else. Our experiences are individual. Our devotion is personal. And unicorns are real! My son-in-law, who is battling leukemia, received a card saying “You are a goddam magical unicorn”. My daughter shared that with me this morning. Referencing unicorns twice today is comforting to me in an odd way. Thanks for that as well.
Have a great summer, Beth. Will you be sharing anything now that we are officially in Droughtlander? Thanks again for your gift each week. I will miss you.
Prayers for your son-in-law….
Thank you for reading and sharing!
Argh!! Chuck Wendig!! Damn autocorrect or whatever!
Beth, I enjoyed reading the fruit of your research and your thoughts on this season’s adaptation. Thanks for being so introspective. That quality always makes your posts a good read.
I enjoyed Season 2. I loved the settings and costumes. The new cast members were terrific. The expansion of Rupert, Angus and Murtagh added so much to the show. Episodes 1, 7 and 13 were near perfection for me due to the Cait, Tobias and Sam’s acting.
Perhaps part of the reason why some, and that some includes me, find themselves less than satisfied with the adaptation is Diana’s fault. She has created a world so deep, so exciting, so real that in truth there are very few that could ever surpass her storytelling skills. Diana is not simply a writer, she is a storyteller at the finest. With that being said, I believe that no other group than the one we have in the Outlander cast, crew and show runner could do a better job than what has been done in Season 1 and Season 2. My thanks to everyone involved. I’m looking forward to next year and to Diana’s next book too.
I agree! We are lucky fans on both counts!
As always, Beth, I wait for your blog because it is so insightful and so beautifully said. I do agree with you that we have been so blessed to have Ron Moore and all of the people involved produce this show. Their dedication and professionalism has made the show a wonderful thing enhancing our lives. In this episode, though, I really felt let down by so much Claire, Brianna, and Roger and so little Jamie and Claire. Each episode after Faith when Jamie and Claire were healed I was waiting for a growing affection between the two, not sex, but touching, hugging, kissing. Basically, besides the prayer in Diana’s episode, we got pecks on the forehead. So I thought for sure in this lengthy episode we would see Jamie and Claire, lots of Jamie and Claire, bonding more and more and a very emotional good bye. Jamie was barely in the episode. I was shocked by the slam bam thank you ma’am, couple of words from Jamie from the book and quick to the stones. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. In the books, although they are from Claire’s point of view, Jamie is the soul. All the observations about life, humanistic, philosophical, religious, are from Jamie. For some reason as the series continues, the writers seem to be ignoring this very important part of the books and taking a completely Claire based story with Jamie as a side. It’s their prerogative, but I miss Jamie.
Beth your comments are always right on and I enjoy following you each week. The books and the show are both great. They don’t have to be exactly the same and I appreciate the research you did to help others understand that. The writers and actors/actresses do a great job of bringing the characters to life. I look forward to seeing the next seasons and your very meaningful comments!
Beth–you alluded to your scholarly research about adaptation, but the excerpt you gave us came from popular sources (AV Club and NPR). Could you provide a list of the scholarly works on adaptation that you read? There is a field called adaptation studies, and I would like to know more about the books and articles from it that you consulted.
I made sure I noted that it was what I like to call “lite” research! LOL! I certainly did not do an exhaustive or particularly scholarly research. Basically, I read what I could find over the course of a day, I read several articles by professors and trade type magazines, but I only linked what I used in the article. It sounds like you have familiarity with adaptation studies? I’d love to hear your take. Have you done research?
What can I add that hasn’t already be said. 😉 Thank you for your honesty and taking the time to do the research into book to screen adaptation. I never had the difficulties I see others having – whether it’s with the show or the actors or the scene (missing or wrong) – but then I’m not a usual kind of person 😛 What you wrote explains a lot of how I look at an adaptation – to me the “changes” are like extra book information that I might not have ever gotten – it enriches the experience, like the decedent filling in a cream puff 😉 #BringOnTheUnicorns (I’ve always loved unicorns) 😀
Changes because of adaptations are understandable but why change iconic moments? Such as why they would change the story from Jamie telling Claire to name the baby Brian after his father to Claire saying that to Jamie. This was pretty much Jamie asking for his last wish, a dying wish instead it was Claire who said it. Things like this are hard to forgive.
sorry, I really don’t know the answer to that.
I thought the change better demonstrated the intuitive bond b/w Claire and Jamie- that should understood him, she really knows him. And it shows the beginning of her acceptance of what needs to happen. This portion of the scene accomplished more than the books.
Agreed. It’s not the “adaptation vs. based-on” debate, it’s that there are certain iconic moments and iconic lines that readers have spent years investing themselves in that are ignored or given to the wrong characters, and we’re supposed to be grateful when it happens.
Too many iconic moments were “adapted” into oblivion or – an even worse sin – they were kept, but handed over to other characters. Hearing Claire deliver some of the lines that I have waited years to hear from Jamie’s lips was worse than omission-through-adaptation. At times, it felt like a betrayal of the book fandom, as though the book fandom got it all wrong and RDM was going to show us what we *should* have wanted instead (like shoving Frank down our throats when we’ve been waiting 20 years to see Jamie, and so on, and so on). The Harry Potter films were proper adaptations; if RDM and co. had “adapted” those series, he would have given Harry’s lines away to Snape and Ron, and Hermione would have defeated Voldemort herself, because letting Harry be Harry would have been ‘too predictable’ for book fans and women must be ‘liberated’…
I’m tired of feeling like a “Disgruntled” (as my once-favorite author labeled me on her very own Twitter feed… ) How silly of me to love something for over 10 years and be disappointed when it isn’t delivered, eh? I have been told so many times this season to love it or leave it that I have made the decision to leave it – all of it. It was fun while it lasted, but I give up, I’m shelving the books and leaving Outlander groups and blogs because I’m tired of being vilified for wanting more of what the books were actually about (hint: they are not about Frank; Jamie and Claire are partners and equals and Jamie doesn’t have to be emasculated for his wife to be strong; the love story is a character unto itself, not a side-plot to the Jacobite cause). I’m tired of walking around in an awful mood because of silly TV show and because internet strangers have made me feel bad about feeling bad.
Beth Wesson, your research is thorough and your blog well-written, and I am sad to disagree with such great efforts and writing. Good luck with S3, I’m sad I won’t be with you.
I’m really sad that you feel this way, but I support your need for self care. If you find your self walking around upset and vilified it truly isn’t worth it. Thank you for reading.
Would you mind if I shared your post in my next blog piece? I would like to write about the different reactions to the season and I think your response speaks for those folks who found themselves disappointed.
As always, your analysis and reflections either mirror my own or give me insights to ponder. For the most part, I have been fine with the changes and understand their necessity. These books are huge and complex. We are so very fortunate to have Ron and co. I shudder to think how the story could have been ruined in less talented and loving hands. That said, I have missed book Jamie’s humor, spirituality and lovely tender moments. I don’t accept “time constraints” as an excuse. A decision must have been made to focus on Claire to the detriment of Jamie. IMHO. Even so, I love Outlander, books and show. Still the best show on TV and worthy of any and all awards. Looking forward to Seasons 3, 4 and beyond! Thank you Starz. Thank you cast, crew writers and producers. And a special thanks to you, Beth, for always being the one I turn to for thoughtful, well written insights.
I agree on all points! So glad we have the books, the series, and fellow Outlander lovers with whom we can safely share our thoughts. 🙂
thanks for being a faithful reader!
I am an avid Outlander fan. Been reading the books since they were each released. I remember being at the library for each subsequent release and waiting anxiously for them to catalog it so I could be the first to take it home. (LOL – it got to the point that they’d call me the second it came in – small town libraries are wonderful!) That said, I am now a screenwriter. It has been my job to adapt books and stories for the screen.
There’s a lot that goes into storytelling on the screen that is totally different from what’s on the page. The reason that the books are always better is that an author has no limitation whatsoever in what they imagine. It can all come to pass. But for the screen, a variety of things need to be considered. Budget. Pacing. How does the action happen from point A to point B” Would the carving of their initials slow down the overall pace or cause it to stutter. Would it add to the storyline in the future? Is it something easily done by the props department or could that one scene add a hefty amount to the budget? On that one specifically, it would add a bit of a headache for the makeup department – ANYTIME their hands would be shown in the future, the initials would need to be exact. precise, and there. It adds a bit of a headache for continuity purposes. Cause I promise the second they would be seen without it, there would be an uproar! Heck, fans are angry now because it isn’t the proper hand on Jamie that was injured by BJR. I have seen entire blog posts on it -and that’s a simple one to explain!
When adapting to for film, you need to take the book (whatever length it is – 300? 500?) and put it into about 90-120 pages. MAYBE 150 if you have a good budget and are able to put a longer version into theaters. For television, it’s usually 42 pages per episode. That isn’t a lot of space to get in all the good stuff. And sometimes you just need to switch things up a bit to make the story flow better.
This is, by far, the best adaptation I have seen from page to screen. They have been beautifully faithful to the books. Often, when buying or optioning the rights to books, the filmmakers love the story, but they want to tell it their own way. They see it more as an inspiration. I have been brought in often by authors because they know how much I love the source material and that I will usually remain faithful to it rather than try to change it to make it my own. I have had a couple of authors who have given me leave to run with their characters and build what I want from their universe (Jodi Thomas was beautiful about that – just want to give a shout out there!) but more often than not, it’s the other way around. And authors just aren’t as understanding of how storytelling goes on the screen because it’s so different.
I deeply admire the creative team and showrunners on Outlander. I watch each episode and come away utterly delighted from the fan perspective and blown away as a writer. I know the razor’s edge they walk in order to keep fans of the books happy AND reach out to new viewers who have never read the books. It’s a horrible balancing act and it’s rarely done as well as it has been here.
🙂 Thank you for highlighting some of the differences and showing perspective on this! 🙂 Love your wraps/insight!
Wow! Thank you! What a great voice to hear from! Do you mind if I share?
I left to work for the day and came back to your wonderful comments. Please do feel free to share wherever. I love Outlander deeply – at this juncture in my life, Jamie and Claire are more like dear friends than fictional characters! I think having that insight into the production side helps me have a little more grace when I do see the changes. 🙂 And for the most part, what they have done has made sense. There are a few things I think they’ve tried and it hasn’t gone well, but on the whole, SO GOOD!
Thank you for your wonderful insights into the adaptation process. Wow. So nice to hear it from someone “in the know”. 🙂
Wasn’t it ?!
Oh thank you for the wonderful compliment. It’s nice to ‘meet’ you and Beth – and be able to talk Outlander with other fans!
So nice to meet you too! 🙂
This is really the best blog – best place to be after an episode. I think Beth could write a version of a phone book and I would be entrances. That is how good she is!!
Thanks Beth ! Really enjoyed the last episode and did miss a few things from the books. Hoping they can flashback them in ??? Not sure . They do seem to add parts to bring the story together in a way that I was waiting and looking for. Then I say oh wow thats how they did that. I was really glad they added the Lallybroch scene. I have to say the costumes, sets and music added so much to this episode as well as All the others. Such a great team ! I have come to just sit back and trust them with our favorite books. I do re read them too. I will continue to love the books and anxiously wait for the next ones to be written and published. I really appreciate your dedication to the blog and sorting things out. Please enjoy the break and Outlander on !
Beth I love your posts. You bring everything into focus. I agree with you we saw the “whole fucking unicorn” and I loved it.
I am a huge book fan and love the show too. My sister, who’s a show fan only, said, “Jamie seems a little dumb”. The comment infuriated me but it goes to show you how much they missed the mark in portraying Jamie. I think Sam Heughan does a fantastic job. It was the writers who changed his character. His intelligence, wit and sense of humor are not nearly as strong as in the book. I especially dislike the “Lallybroch” episode because of how foolish they make him seem. More of the book Jamie emerged in the second half of season 2, especially when Matt was the writer. I am still so grateful they made this series and will continue to be a fan of both. And thank you, Beth, for the best Outlander blog out there!
Beth, you are amazing as always. This was another EPIC finale! I really appreciate your taking the time to research and EDUCATE. It’s always a pleasure reading your blog. As a long-time bookreader, somehow this whole adaptation has never been a problem for me – I’ve always understood we are dealing with two different mediums – and from the casting, costuming, set decoration, direction, acting – ALL OF IT – the choices to me have always been meaningful and fair. I love being surprised at the directions they take when they go “off book” – they’re wonderful. I particularly enjoy everyone’s willingness to share with all of us. We really ARE a community!!! Thanks again for all your hard work, Beth – and big accolades to the Starz Outlander team and Tall Ship Productions.
Showrunners don’t really buy the rights of a “story”, they buy “the characters and an approach”.
I learned this in film courses, and I think it’s a also a concept from the brilliant showrunner of Justified, so I am quite at ease with the RDM approach to the novels.
Beth, your insight is excellent, as always. You write the way I wish I could. I’m a research fan, but I appreciate yours so very much. I’m going to forget what others have said about acting and other inconsequential things and I’m going to turn my television on and enjoy the finale for the third time. Then, perhaps I’ll begin the journey again, from the beginning.
A HUGE Thank You, Beth, for pulling together some of the feelings I had all during this Season in general, and last episode,in particular. You have been a godsend to my appreciation of the Show. you shone a light on both meaningful and small touches Ron and Co. added to the Story. I would think something was missing, or I didn’t catch, and there it would be in your Blog. Yes, it was difficult with the time depiction changing back and forth last episode, but as one of your other followers mentioned, it was as if we were in Claire’s mind trying to make sense of all that happened in that last24 hour day. I will grieve for the Show until next Season, and I will not drop Starz. I applaud the entire Ensemble of Actors, Producers, Writers, Camera Folk,and Terry’s meticulous Costuming Work Group. The praise doesn’t end there, as we have become aware, there were 100s of people it took, and time/ money, to get this Story to the little Screen, they ALL brought their A Game for us !
Wonderful analysis! I also believe that going back and forth through time perfectly reflected everyone’s discomfort: Clair’s, Jamie’s, Bree’s, Roger’s, Rupert’s, & even Dougal’s. I think it was meant to make you feel unsettled too. Plus, DIA is a bear of a book and they had no choice but to condense it before beginning Voyager. I also think that we will see what happened at Culloden at the beginning of Voyager to tie it all together.
Just finished watching the finale for the third time. And this was the first time that I cried. For oh so many reasons, I was disappointed and actually angry after first viewing Friday night. I waited two days and watched again. I had calmed enough to enjoy some parts. Today I was finally able to look past my objections and experience the emotions. Out of 29 episodes, this is only one that I had to work hard to find enjoyment. Guess that is pretty good odds and hope it bodes well for future seasons.
Laruebeth, I completely agree. After much anticipation and watching the finale at 1230a on Friday night (the STARZ server had issues which they need to fix since Cait and Sam were having issues on Saturday night), I was disappointed.
But after reading some of the cast, writers and Ron interviews, I was able to enjoy and savor certain scenes a lot more.
I’ll definitely be watching Claire’s Lallybroch scene, her Culloden grave scene, Jamie telling Claire he knows she pregnant and J&C goodbye scene over and over and over and over again.
I enjoy your writing so much Beth, it always makes me think! I love the show, and really appreciate the thought that goes into the changes from the books. I also think there is no way that anyone making a visual medium of any kind from a book is going to please everyone, people are always going to have different things that are important to them, or that they have imagined in a particular way. The important thing is that the essence remains, and for me it does. I’m glad they didn’t do the initial carving actually, it makes sense to me. There has been all that bloodshed around them, and so much hurt, and at this point, with so little time left, the idea of them inflicting any more pain, albeit brief, on each other, seems awful. Anyway, thank you again for such great analysis each week, it’s much looked forward to!
After following and truly appreciating your remarks all these months, I find myself enjoying reader’s comments with the same fervor. Yikes, what insights and life stories. I agree (cheers here-such perception) and disagree (no, not so) with all of them. Mostly, I feel a tad sorry for those so passionate about OL that it invades their peace and civility when the Starz version doesn’t measure up to their expectations.
Don’t people get the joy of it? We can and do have it all! We will always have the books, past and future as long as Herself carries on. (The audiobooks are my constant companion and I recommend them highly – a must for multi-tasking.) Starz is available On Demand to marvel at favorite episodes and then there are DVD’s. It’s all there and I for one treasure it.
Anything, book or TV series, that invokes such passion (of all kinds) is truly something special.
Candace- I too have been reminded of “the empowers new clothes”. Love the reference. I have felt some of the posts this season have been damage control. Lack of relationship even without the physical for J/C. The way he treated her in Paris completely out of character. I liked the finale except for the stones. As if he was crossing off one more thing from his things to do list. Omit the quickie sex without the night before. He even smirked at her at one point. It’s the writers and directors Fault not S/C. How can these experienced people not see what we all saW?
I think DG likes us to see her story from different angles. She likes us to see different points of view. She likes enlarging the overall “STORY”! I am thrilled that we have seen Outlander through others eyes…..very talented others. I have been enhanced and entranced by it all. Outlander will live on as the beautiful ‘fucking’ unicorn it has always been…..simply magical!
To Candace and Luvelna — I’m sorry that you both felt that the portrayal of our beloved characters fell short – that their story was diminished – that you have decided to end your association with TV Outlander – that you’ve both given up. I guess you will have to clutch your books near and dear to your hearts and not let yourselves be taken to the world of Outlander TV version. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – I did it with The Shell Seekers – couldn’t imagine Angela Lansbury as Penelope. The book – the movie – completely different and I hated that. HOWEVER, Outlander got it right. They were able to capture the essence of the story in every way. I followed, I read and compared, I actually accepted the changes. In the end, it all made sense and coalesced.. For those who hated the sunrise on Claire’s face at the end – that was a beautiful moment for me — in the very first episode when the sun came up when she was with Frank and without knowing what was ahead – the sunrise happened. This particular moment was a lovely. Not cheesy – not ridiculous. It connected time and love and the possibility of reuniting with Jamie. Can you even imagine? Oh yes, it’s just a story – but this story has the ability to take us to places and situations that are lovely, loving, exciting, overwhelming, etc., and did I say loving?
So sorry you won’t be in on the ride. Best wishes to both of you.
Thank you for your research…and thank you for being one person who skillfully and thoroughly addresses the question of what makes something powerful in the written word v. what makes something powerful on the tv screen. To me, the key point in your quotations is this: “doing right by a great book and being faithful to it are, to my mind, two separate issues”. I think there have been way too many tv viewers who wanted the complete fidelity to the books, while the show’s creators, thankfully, have chosen to do right by them. I hope many of the “fidelity” contingent read your insightful blog!
I have just discovered your blog and what a joy it is! Thank you for your thoughtful writing and thank you also to your many insightful readers. I am another book reader who is just delighted to see this incredible story put on screen so beautifully. And because of this so many more people are falling in love with these characters and their story!
I am a non-reader of the books and I am still struggling with the concept of Gellis returning in 1968 when she was killed 20 years earlier. After watching the last episode last night I have run this over and over in my mind. I am new to this blog but have so enjoyed the sensitive insights from everyone. It has expanded my view of the series and made me love it more. Thanks.
Welcome and patience 😉
I’m going to have to conjure up a lot of patience. When the last episode finished I cried out to my husband “I can’t cope with Claire and Jamie not in my life for another year!!!”
heeheeeeeeeee I’m a Star Trek fan too, so I get how the time/space continuum thing/dilemma/paradox can mess with linear thinking. It gives me a headache, so I have learned to stop trying to make sense of it and just live in the chaos. Ha! But, as Beth says…patience. In this particular instance, it’s required. And hey…Geillis/Gillian can be in 1968 cuz she hasn’t even gone back to the past until she vanishes before Claire’s eyes. But, if Claire knows her, then they met in the past, but if they met in the past, then how can she be in the future due to what happened in the past, and, and, and… 😀
This sort of thing always amuses me. It’s a series of books and a TV show not the Holy Grail/true meaning of life stuff so I find it odd why people are getting so fanatical about what is or is not in a TV show. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and people are obsessing about something that in the grand scheme of things really isn’t that important The books are OK but not great literature by any means and they started to bore me half way through Voyager because it was the same loop of action over and over and over with no real progression in terms of story or character development. The TV show on the other hand is definitely better than the source material in terms of telling a compelling story but then I’d expect nothing less with the quality of the producing, production and writing staff they have on board. A hundred years down the line no one is going to be the least bit interested in all this petty wrangling and certainly our descendants are very unlikely to be obsessing about any of this.
Personally, I find both compelling and interesting. But, I agree lots more important stuff to be worried about.
Yes the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Humans have done a great job at destroying all that is good and fair in the world. But humans we are. We hate, we kill, we are racists, we judge others. But humans also create, educate, act with kindness, nurture and love. So let us humans enjoy just being human for all that is good and bad to be on. Let us read, watch, obsess without being judged for just being human.