Outlander on Starz took us on a voyage across the seas and into uncharted territory this week. The show has also provided my maiden voyage into fandom and it has been a trip filled with treasure troves of unique opportunities to learn about film-making. Terry Dresbach, the costume designer for the show, has been very accessible to fans who are genuinely interested in what she does and how she does it. She has been open to questions and very generous in sharing the thoughts and the work that goes into creating for the show. Because of Terry’s generosity, I’ve learned that costume designing is about supporting the story and helping to develop the characters. I’ve learned that costume designing isn’t about parading pretty clothes across the screen, unless that is what the story warrants. I have learned that costuming is storytelling. And, this week, Terry once again proved she is a great storyteller.
I’m constantly amazed at fans who aren’t willing to give the story time to develop or wait to see the costumes in context. Terry often takes a lot of flack for PR pictures or magazine photo shoots that show the characters in costumes ahead of airing or styled for the shoot. If you hung around social media this season, you couldn’t have helped but notice that there was a kerfuffle over Claire’s non-period blouse and a scandal over what shall forever be know in Outlander lore as “Beltgate”. The now infamous “Batsuit” has had its share of critics. Terry’s choice to have Claire make her own dress was a departure from the books and one given much consideration and deliberation. She thought about the story and Claire’s place in it. Terry asked herself what she would she do if she was traveling back in time for a second time. What would Claire do to prepare herself for circumstances, difficulties, and needs that she could anticipate having. The result of that thought process was a suit made of raincoats with secret pockets. The suit was a wonderful mixture of available modern materials made to look as period appropriate as Claire could manage. Her period inappropriate blouse was deliberate. It was a nod to the story and Claire’s character. She wore a blouse she borrowed from the daughter she was leaving behind. She was wearing a reminder of her daughter on her skin. I can imagine that for awhile the clothing even smelled like Brianna. I am called back to Jamie sniffing Claire’s arasaid at the stones in the Culloden flashback. Brilliant, but the thought that went into that garment doesn’t stop at utility and sentimentality, it becomes a metaphor for Claire’s personal journey.
Terry’s design told us Claire’s story layer by layer.
The Claire at the beginning of the season is a Claire who has repressed feelings and a Claire who has deliberately disconnected parts of herself, especially those parts that she closely associates with Jamie like her sexuality. She has wrapped herself in her work and her identity has been shaped by her identity as a healer. She has closed herself off to protect herself. The Claire we see travel back through the stones is buttoned up and covered in tailored layers and fitted stays. As the story progresses and we see Claire forced to come to terms with her reality, we see her lose her layers metaphorically and physically until finally, we see her completely herself unencumbered. We finally see Claire, her hair loose and dressed only in her shift, at ease with herself, confident and rejoicing in her sexuality with her Jamie. The suit has served her and the story well as we watched it become an integral part of Claire’s survival and her shedding of her layers. The choices Terry made in context of the story are pure genius. The thought that she put into that costume more than enhanced the story it was an essential part of helping us understand Claire and her journey back to her authentic self. As Claire sheds her layers of protection she reveals the strong unique and beautiful woman we hoped was still there underneath.
I would love to say that the rest of this episode was as wonderful as Terry’s costuming, but…I can’t.
Why did Claire jump off that ship…oh yeah…
I can see why Diana Gabaldon said Outlander episode 3.11 “Uncharted” was one of her favorites this season. It was full of scenes right from the book. It pains me to say this because I know how hard these folks work and how much love goes into this production, but I wasn’t quite as impressed. It wasn’t because there weren’t some delightful scenes because there were delightful scenes. It would be hard not to love Jamie giving Fergus his name, the wedding, a pot smoking priest, and turtle time. Hang on to your rafts made out of barrels, but I think they needed to throw away the book this week. I love this show, but this week, I loved it less. Having said that let me explain where I think things went wrong. They ran up against some uncharted territory. They tried to adapt Voyager. We all knew it was going to be hard and wondered how the hell they were they going to be able to do it. The answer is not easily. If you have to have your “Laurel and Hardy” comment on the ludicrousness of the improbability of your plot then…maybe you need a different plot! LOL! I know it is story about time travel and the whole thing is crazy, I know that they want to honor fan expectations and wishes, but I want them to tell the best story they can and I’m not sure the source material helped them do that this week. I think they struggled to wrestle this monster of a story arc into some kind of logical shape…sigh…they can’t win, LOL.
Please understand this is just my own personal opinion, but I think in the pressure to fit it all in they lost what held it all together. They struggled to advance the relationship at the core of our story, Jamie and Claire. I get why Claire felt the need to get off that ship and the show did a better job of showing that her plan had a chance of success when we could actually see civilization on the shore. She lets the current take her to town, she is able to get on the next ship outta there and somehow intercepts Jamie before the Artemis gets him and then we have time for the Jamaica story line. But, instead of that we have Claire wandering an island. My husband, a non book reader, asked “How is she going to get to Jamie if it takes her days to wander this island?” Good question. By the time she makes it to the Father’s hacienda, she is in no shape to continue her journey. I think the time Claire spends struggling to get to Jamie was meant to show us her devotion and help her shed those final layers, and there were some moments between Claire and the father that remind us of Claire’s sacrifice with Brianna and the truth of her need of Jamie, but it still fell short of the epiphany I was hoping for. I’m still waiting for the “Jamie is the key” voice over!
After learning the father’s story, getting called a “hoor” one more time and talking to the coconut, Claire believes she is back in pursuit of her goal, to get to a ship and find Jamie, but instead she thinks Jamie may have been shipwrecked just down the hill… to the right, to the right! In the show’s defense, it didn’t seem so improbable when I was reading the story. The words “delightfully coincidental ” come to mind instead. I think it is the flow that feels off. It felt like the scenes book fans wanted to see were plugged in. Instead of a plot that advances the characters’ growth and the story’s goal we got a series of events all loosely held together by Claire’s desperate need to get to Jamie. It felt formulaic. Claire pockets a mirror because she is so vain? She has a premonition she might need a mirror? The scene of Jamie running off the boat and to Claire made me wince and laugh out loud. I’d have been waiting at the shore when the boat came in and probably sunk to my knees in relief. It felt horribly melodramatic and then…nothing. We don’t hear any of the convo that needed to happen between the two. “I still can’t believe you jumped off that ship” was delivered with such casualness that I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been accompanied by a knee slap. I thought a scene like the one by the river in “The Reckoning” was warranted. They needed a private moment. Everything is delivered like an exposition and very anticlimactic.
Why are they on that ship in the first place…oh yeah…
gotta get to Ian and all the stuff that happens in Jamaica …keep your hands and feet inside the ride and hold on to your remote this is gonna go all rollercoaster on us.
What has been left unresolved…oh yeah…
their relationship. Maybe I am completely wrong here, but when is the convo going to happen? When is Claire going to tell us or Jamie that she made the right choice? I know the writers have said that actions speak louder than words, and Claire is notoriously bad at expressing her feelings (which makes when she does that more powerful), and Claire’s efforts to save the man she loves are heroic. The tender snuggly moments at the wedding boded well and I loved the father’s blessing, but I think at some point Jamie and the viewers deserve to be reassured that she “just can’t live without you James Fraser”. And then again, maybe, I need to wait until they are done telling the story!
55 thoughts on “And, the layers come off… Outlander 3.11 “Uncharted””
I agree with your comments Beth,there was just something missing from this episode.Claire’s wandering around the island just took waaaaaay too long.My husband laughed at the bit with the snake.He said “ No way would the snake just slither on by…..it would have started squeezing a warm blooded meal 🤣.”
To pick apart a show on coincidences when the whole premise is the belief suspending travelling through stones is silly in my opinion. I just enjoy the ride and what a ride it is!
I was just about to comment with this exact thought. I normally agree with your take on things, Beth, but in this instance do not. How can you expect logic when there is nothing logical about this whole story? I love the books and I love the show. I don’t expect the two to be the same and I don’t expect logic. I think the entire acting/ production/writing team is heroic in their efforts to bring this story to our screens. Thanks for your perspective, but this week will just agree to disagree. Can’t believe there are only two episodes left in the season..
Yeah, I have to agree to disagree with you Beth, too. Your comments about the costume layers being stripped off, gradually revealing the Claire we know is inside her were so insightful, but the idea of throwing away the book totally? I didn’t get that at all. Claire was desperate enough to get to Jamie to warn him of his danger that she jumped off a ship–right from the book–didn’t that show she was willing to risk everything to be back with him again, even after the rocky initial start of her time back in the 18th century? Actions do speak louder than words, and she’s already said that her doubts never had anything to do with her love for Jamie–only if she’d made a mistake about being able to adjust to living in the past again after her life in the 20th century.
We also needed Jamie to bestow the gift of the name Fraser upon Fergus–something he has deserved for years–so he could marry his Marsali (and we needed the humor from Father Fogden during the wedding ceremony to balance out the horrors which will be coming up in the next couple of episodes). We needed turtle soup, for sure, and Yi Tien Cho’s knowing look when he heard them “appreciating” his culinary efforts in their own very unique Claire and Jamie way.
Everyone is bemoaning “only two more episodes.” I say that’s plenty of time to tell the rest of the story, simply because they’ve made edits along the way to cut away parts of the book that are fun to read but are not always essential to the flow of the story. I’m along for the ride with Susan and Nancy, too. If I have any major caveats, I’ll wait until after the last episode has aired. I think you need to see the whole season before making a final judgement about how successful it’s been, but I’m willing to bet it will be worth it by the end.
Good insights on the costumes. The way I look at all of Outlander, books and show, is that we all entered into a willing suspension of disbelief a long time ago. Voyager is (imho) the most ‘outlandish’ of all of the series – pirates, caves, general nuttiness – but I still enjoy it, wackiness and all.
I hear you!
– I always thought this part of the book was a little interminable – Claire wandering the mangroves was long, so I wasn’t put off by her wandering the jingle in the show. I actually like those kinds of scenes to really focus in on the moment.
– This book, and all of them, are filled with many irrational coincidences and too many obstacles. I’m glad they took out the pirates. I always roll my eyes through all of this – not the least is how they assumed they knew where Ian was taken – across the world – and they find him.
– I don’t need to hear Claire declare her devotion, I feel like it’s there.
– Terri Dresbach IS a genius.
– I would have liked to see Father Fogden be even more crazy and doped up. He seemed a little too normal.
– The only part of the episode that really bugged me is that there was a big disconnect between how long it would have taken Claire to get to the beach after she hears that Arabella has been killed by a Chinaman. The action cut between scenes of Claire running and Jamie and Co at the beach repairing the mast, etc. By the time Claire gets to the beach, they’ve all gotten back onto the boat and are raising the sails. That would have taken at least a day, or more. So, was Claire running for a day or more? And if Father Ogden’s was so far from the beach, how did Arabella come to her tasty end via the Chinaman? That part bugged. I don’t mind the romantic cliche of them running across the beach as much as the time issue.
Linda, in the script that’s been posted, there were incidents with quicksand and a solitary pirate attacking Claire with a cutless (that’s why her arm wound was so straight) which they obviously cut because the episode was too long. That did mess up that last section’s flow, I agree).
I have to say that of all episodes you would be disappointed with, I’m surprised it was this one. A lot of what you said you had problems with here I’ve been feeling since the reunion, and I think a lot of it stems from the fact that they stretch some things out so much (jungle trek) or insert others (trepanation) often at the expense of the true story. I’ll reserve final judgment till the end of the last episode.
I still think it is great show! Just wasn’t as excited about this one!
Got it in one fell swoop Beth. My least favourite episode ever though of course I will rewatch.. (its bloomin hard watching first thing on a Monday morning which is when it’s on Amazon in the UK). I didn’t mind the left out characters or the little mini changes..goats for sheep etc. What I missed was cohesion. 3 days to prove the rule of 3 but she ran back to the beach in minutes/ hours.? I didn’t care for the writing this week at all…waaay too long on the jungle time and the end was rushed. I hear there was another story originally (podcast) and I’m sad to say that what they cobbled together this week just didn’t cut it for me. Disappointed.
Cobbled is a good word. I felt that!
I completely agree with both of you. I guess I am the one that others complain about wishing the episode was more like the book. I finished watching it thinking something was really missing!!! Watching the previews for next week looks like it may be more of the same unfortunately!!!
Sorry.. just need to add that I’m still a massive fan. But of all the episodes in all the stories…. Gah!!!!
I hear you! It hurt me to write this!
I’ve watched every episode in every season at least 15 times but this one I will never watch again! Everything was so far fetched! They dragged out parts we didn’t need and skipped/fast forwarded through what we needed more of . This is still my favorite show and I will watch it as long as it is on but I pray the future episodes will not be as corny as this one was!!!! This episode just didn’t flow right!
I loved the episode. I think Claire’s reaction to finding Jamie, embracing and kissing passionately on the beach said nearly all that was needed. She does get tipsy on the turtle soup and they do have some passionate sex and I liked that scene a LOT!! I, for one, am happy, so far, that Mr. Willouby is such a respectful character without a pelican hopefully. He’s a real person and not a weird Chinaman. Remember this was a new director for this episode and she had a bit of a different take on it. 😀
I understand the disconnect. I think that your comments were reflected in other reviews that I read for this episode. I also think that the writers have a particularly difficult job; both trying to engage the viewers who have not read the books,and the readers, who have high expectations for book fidelity. It’s an inherently no win situation.
I enjoyed the episode because it had a little bit of everything that I like in the books, especially Claire’s survival skills. Loved the creative use of the bat suit-Terry Dresbach rocks! And a shout out to make-up. Claire’s sun burn, bug bites, etc., looked so real!
It is a lovingly produced show
Terry is Wonder Woman, in my eyes. Her costumes make the show “real”. I’ve enjoyed watching the “bat suit” devolve as the plot moved forward.
I’ve got to say I totally agree with you about the reunion on the beach. I too, laughed when I felt I should have been weeping but instead all I could see was a badly filmed scene from a “B” movie (that I swear I’ve seen before), with the frames jumping back and forth as J&C approached each other. It took the joy right out of watching them reunite. I really hoped for more.
I liked the rest, a lot, the first time through but the 2nd time I realized how disjointed it was and remember thinking that the black screen breaks were too long and left me expecting commercials, not a continuation of the story. I guess the production left me sad. Hope next week is not broken into as many bits and pieces.
thanks for your comments Judy!
Your description of the “dressing” of Claire has been a great eye opener for me. . .and I do agree that Terry Dresbach is a genius; but, one eeney-teeney thing keeps bugging me about Claire’s clothing. It’s always so clean (especially after the island trek). There is no way that even the interminable Mamacita could have gotten Claire’s clothing so clean without Oxyclean and gallons of Tide.
As for the rest of the episode, it wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t great either. My non-book reader DH had a few chuckles, but had a moment of suspended belief during the reunion scene. It felt rather rushed and very flat. Much like the writing for this whole season. What can we expect when the writers are new and ever changing. There is no continuity and as someone else said up here on the comments, seemed rather cobbled. ‘Tis my guess that these writers nor the directors have vested the time and energy to knowing the story from the books inside out as the writers had in S1 and S2. One such thing totally irked me as a Catholic. The priest offering a final blessing at the wedding in the 18th Century would have said, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” instead of the Holy Spirit as Father Fogdon did. That was a mistake of time and place.
I have a sinking feeling (no pun intended) that the farther they get from the source material, and make things up to suit time and place (again, no pun intended, but it sure does work here), that things will rapidly go down in the coming Season 4. We have been warned that this is how things are in Ronald D Moore land of adaptations, and it seems to be coming true. With only two episodes left in this season, and sooooo much to tell, we’ll see how things fare after next week to see how close they can get to telling a good story, or not.
We fans have a choice here; to either stay in for the long haul to see the story for its own sake as told by these folks, or to abandon ship if it really goes so far astray as to not recognize the story as Outlander anymore. IMHO, of course.
I think they will have to move away from the source a bit more and felt it would have been better had they i this episode
I understand what you’re saying as you wrote about it your blog. Hence the feel of this episode becoming a stretch as written with trying to keep the dialogue as Diana wrote it. The two things are moving farther apart and leaves us disjointed and the story “cobbled together.” I mean it in my comments in a huge, overarching sense that when it happens on the larger scale will we recognize this story as Outlander anymore?
Yes! It would have been Holy GHOST!
Reblogged this on pjpes.
I always find your reflections on the episodes to be thoughtful, and many times they point to things I really hadn’t considered, and overall I enjoy reading your insights. I really loved the first part of this about the layers coming off, and the analogies on Claire’s costume, simply brillliant! I enjoyed this episode, especially the last 15 minutes, which I admit I have rewound “several” times. Loved seeing drunk Claire, Cait did a bang up job on that, and the king of men was to die for……. I could watch Sam stare at the camera, or anything else he cares to do, and his playfulness and flirting was so fun to watch. I bet they had a blast shooting that scene! I won’t be rewinding the jungle scene, and although I thought is was very well done, I wish the time could have been spent better, on more of the story. Where is Stern? Guess they didn’t write him into the story. Overall, I thought it was a good episode, not my favorite, but good. I think actions do speak, and Claire literally jumping off the deep end to try to warn Jamie speaks volumes. I also think getting kidnapped by the Brits and being separated from Jamie has given Claire her “just can’t live without you James Fraser” moment, several times over and in spades. I don’t need that voice over, but as you have said several times in your blogs, we all put our personal perspectives and desires into this story. I continue to be amazed by all things Outlander!
Full disclosure… I hated the second half of Voyager. Hated. It. In fact on the only re-read, I stopped reading and moved on to Drums of Autumn as soon as Jamie and Claire boarded the Artemis. For me, Voyager became a rollicking adventure story when what I really wanted was a continuation of the closeness and the resolution following Jamie and Claire’s reunion. I wanted them to stay and fight their battles in Scotland! I always thought Voyager should really be two books (or one, with a ruthless editor!!). I got over it though and when I re-read Voyager after Outlander premiered (first time I’ve read it all the way through since publication!) I read it cover to cover! All that to say, it doesn’t surprise me that some are left a little adrift (see what I did there?). I find myself in the surprising spot of not being in accord with you and actually enjoying the broadcast far more than I did this section of the book! I thought that Claire’s actions of going overboard were completely in keeping with her “I’ll make it work in the face of incredible odds” personality. Yes, I’d prefer a 16 episode season instead of 13 so that they didn’t have to compress everything so much. Yes, I’d prefer a more complete resolution of the conversation started on the beach before Ian was kidnapped. BUT, I thought the arc and spirit of the story was (and has been throughout the season) captured nicely in this episode. I didn’t find the reunion on the beach cheesy and I thought all the gentle touches Jamie gave Claire during the wedding were tender and sweet. I loved Fergus’s “I love you, wife.” I found myself smiling throughout the entirety of the episode and when there has been little to smile about, lately, I was glad of it. As to Terry’s costume design being the perfect complement to serve the story this season, of that there is no doubt!!
Love hearing from you and respect your opinion. I’ve been know to change to be wrong from time to time. It was nice to see some happiness
I too thought the second half of Vogaer was just plain silly, so I think the writers have an uphill battle to make a sensible plot from the book. Even Diana commented somewhere that the plot was Baroque. I have read and re read all of the books many times but it is the later books set on Frasers ridge and filled with rich domestic details and focussed on the J and C committed marriage that are the most satisfying.
I also agree that Clare’s wanderings in the jungle in 311 were interminable, and with Beths summation of events being slotted in. Thankfully we were spared pirates and quicksand, but then the dialogue in the penicillan scene was shortened as was the scene where her arm was stitched. Incidentally her arm was not a problem when she helped Marsalidress or during the wedding, yet she could not use it to hold and fill the injection…
Wonderful analysis of the costumes, Beth.
Thanks again Beth. You were spot on in regards to Terry’s design genius. This episode, in my opinion, left out Jamie as leader of men and protector of all that he loves. I’m looking forward to the next 2 episodes in this season and next season when I feel that we will see more of the character of the Jamie and Claire that we know and love. Still, I believe Outlander to be the best production on tv.
There are so many things about Outlander to be impressed about. How this costume helps tell the story is certainly one of them. In this episode I was over the top impressed by Cait! Scar and ants,yikes! What a job she did! I thought they did just fine with advancing the story, as long as the advancement continues next week. I certainly enjoyed the last 1/3 of this episode and my heart sang at the end. Ummm, waiting till they finish telling the story is a great idea! 🙂
Agree about the costuming and what a great job and how one would have few choices in 1700s.
Seems not same writing and they are targeting a whole different audience. ????
Id watch SH if worse show ever made, of all time, to end of earth. !
Loved the info on the costumes! These, the music and the sets are so often taken for granted but a show can fall apart without these important elements. I did love this episode though one can always find fault. The books are so full of detail that it is really hard to choose what to put in or leave out due to time constraints. However, the story line is moving along nicely and the characters are given a chance to develop, especially Marsali – from a bitch like her mother to a friend and confidant of Claire’s. Those who thought the jungle scene was too long maybe forget the need to show how determined, how competent and how desperate Claire is to save Jamie and thus herself. She couldn’t just collapse at Father Fogdon’s after a short walk on the beach.
Thank you for your comments Beth: as always I enjoy reading them because I feel it enhances my appreciation of both the show and the books. I knew the story line in this episode had been abbreviated and for the first time this season was surprised when it ended, I think because I was enjoying it so much. We all seem to get a little carried away when discussing the tv series (and the books) when we constantly criticise (comment on) details but fail to remember that it is a story based on time travel! We need to suspend our reality and just enjoy it! The books will always have something that the show cannot give us but conversely the show gives us glimpses of what we imagine when reading the books. I have episodes which I think are better and some that I wasn’t so keen on but I still like them for what they give us. I think looks and actions can convey what we expect to hear as words in the books and, although it is great to hear those famous iconic lines I don’t feel it is necessary every single time. I just enjoy the whole Outlander universe and am so glad I discovered it!
Hi Beth. I had trouble with the black outs. Did you? The rest- well you were on point, as always!
Once again loved your commentary. Things I loved about Uncharted: 1. Jamie giving Fergus his name and with it his family and protection as he told Claire on their wedding night. 2. The humor with the comment of Claire showing up unexpectedly, talking to the coconut, wedding dialog and final lovemaking scene. 3. Running into each others arms on the beach – cheesy, yes but so emotional and perfect. 4. Claire roaming lost in the beginning reminiscent of white dress in 1st episode. 5. Turtle soup delivered.
Things I missed: 1. Verbal acknowledgment that Claire is fully committed to Jamie even though actions suggest this. 2. Jamie’s point of view. What was happening to him while Claire was wondering. I agree the explanation was lacking and confusing for tv only fans. 3. The casual way her news about the warrant was treated. She went through so much and it was brushed over. 4. Wanted wedding on the beach with a colorful sunset. 5. Dialogue when Claire asks Jamie what he wants to do after they find Ian and he says he has never been asked that before. Maybe it will show up later. 6. Dialogue when Jamie tells Claire how he imagined making love to her on the beach – step by step! Maybe they will work that in sometime.
On of the delights of the TV series for me is they are giving us more from Jamie’s point of view even though this episode didn’t.
Can’t wait for final episodes!
Beth gives us some very provoking points to consider, thank you!
As i mentioned last week, the story of Voyager is so immense, it has to be a huge challenge to decide what to keep and what to omit. I think everyone will have their own opinion of what is essential, however when the story on screen seems to be careening wildly, I would imagine it is hard for people watching who have not read the books to have any sense of context.
Your thoughts and information on the costumes were so interesting and a wonderful parable.
That being said, what was missing for me in the scenes that should have been emotionally rich and conveying layers, seemed forced, and something lacking in intent and power. The moment of her and Jaime reunited on the beach felt shallow, missing the impact of what they have both been through. The caring, introspection, and tenderness.
The subtlies in interaction that showed us the inner workings are still there but, it is taking time for them to show themselves externally were not communcated by the writers.
I need to remind myself it takes time in the books for Claire to finally free herself to speak and acknowlege to Jaime her love.
I did feel too much time was spent with Claire wandering when she arrived on the island. I could buy her “quick ” trip back to the beach, because as she wandered she spent time roaming with no idea where she was, dehydrated, and confused, which could have taken much, much longer for her arrival at Father Fogden’s . That being said, she clearly did not run into that fairly decent trail when she was leaving the beach!.
I sense we are perhaps feeling Jaime and Claire still have not connected, and that piece is from Claire, who still has not reckoned with her statement about not maybe belonging together anymore, yet chooses actions that says she is devoted. It is a bit crazy making, no?
I think the writers may have put themselves out on a bit of a limb with her making that statement and have not yet figured out how they are going to reconcile that. (or maybe they have!)
Sorry for being so long here!!
Beth, I’m a follower of yours, but don’t usually comment (although I read all of the other comments) – it’s just a wonderful, respectful thread of the Outlander series we all love. Thank you for addressing Terry Dresbach’s contribution to this series. This season, I kept waiting for the multiple dress changes that we see Claire wearing in Seasons 1 and 2, but you helped me realize – and celebrate – how Terry’s costumes have helped tell Claire’s moving forward from the stones. Brilliant, indeed!
I watched Sunday evening with my husband and our neighbors – all three non-book readers. They loved this episode, to the point that my husband wants to view it again! However, I had several reservations: 1. I have an extreme phobia of snakes, so I stayed away from the TV until my husband and friends called to me that it was “safe” to come back; 2. I agree with most of the comments here, that the first 15? minutes of Claire wandering through the island could have been shortened. I also thought we didn’t need to see so much of Father Fogden and his mother-in-law, even though he was a hoot; 3. So once again, the episode focuses on Claire and minimizes the man she is supposed to love that she has ventured 200 years back in time, followed him on an ocean voyage, and nearly drowns. But there is something cold about her, and I’m wondering if writers and directors are playing to a younger audience, writing Jamie as mainly a “hunk” with a great backside, while Claire is now a 21st century woman, whose medical and survival skills are singularly advanced and who only needs Jamie for the great sex.
I read somewhere that Diana wrote these books from Jamie’s POV, while describing the strong commitment between Jamie and Claire who celebrate their individual strengths as well as their long-lasting bond of love. As a reader of the Outlander books, I see Jamie’s character coming to the forefront as the leader of men as well as the leader of the new settlement in the Colonies. And we already are seeing that Jamie has the opportunity to be a father to Marsali, to Fergus. . . and well, you know! This is what I hope to see in upcoming seasons, of which I hope there are many.
I have to say I never thought about all that goes into Costumes design for a production. Appreciated Terry’s insight.
Agree on all your points about episode. I can see it is well received though at least on twitter. I think back to season 1 (any episode) and compare to this episode … it does not reach the same bar in my opinion.
Hi Beth. I have to agree with everyone who said Claire’s trek through the jungle was just too long. Would loved to have seen Lawrence Stern taking Claire to Father Fogden’s it would have helped to make it less of a trek.
I hadn’t considered Claire’s clothing as a way of shedding all of her outer layers on her path back to Jaime – good eye, I agree Terry is a genius.
I really wanted to see a crazier Father Fogden – except for the conversations with the coconut he was almost normal.
Some parts of Voyager have always been a bit “out there” for me. I’m glad they left out Jamie’s Captain Alassandro – that part of the book always makes me shake my head.
Claire’s run to the beach was crazy. Her clothes were in pristine condition as she headed out for the marathon run to the beach. By the time she got there she looked like she had been dragged through the hedge backwards. Mamacita must be in good shape to have made the same run back with Arabella’s head and look unscathed by the run.
I loved the wedding. Father Fogden said all the right words and the look on Fergus’s face when he said “Fergus Claudel Fraser” was priceless. It was good to see a little of the iciness between Marsali & Claire begin to melt.
Father Fogden having a small mirror really!!!. Claire stealing it and actually using it to attract Jamie’s attention!!!!! not at all believable. The embrace on the beach had me laughing too, at one point I thought Jamie was going to fall flat on his face.
Even though this episode was very disjointed it got from A to B for those who only watch the TV series. For us bookie it was not so much.
Thank you, Beth, for speaking your truth. “It hurt me to write this”. That is why I follow you and love your observations. You write from your knowledge of the books and your own experience. You write so lovingly and clearly on so many aspects of the books and the series. I always learn something and come away with a thought to ponder.
I agree–the whole slogging around on the island sequence lasted WAY too long; then it was just minutes running back to the beach when she thinks Jamie might be there. I had hoped they’d work in a bit of that conversation between Claire & Jamie from the book, when they discuss spending 1 more night on the island before setting sail–the one where they comment on what noises she does or doesn’t make 🙂 Love your discussion on the costuming–Terry has been absolutely brilliant on this. I think I would have done exactly what Claire did if I was planning a return to the past, knowing what she would be facing.
I have felt that this season there has been something a bit “off” in some of the episodes. I’m wondering if some of the writers are not as familiar with the story as others. There seems to be a lack of understanding in the books. I know that the series has to make changes to accommodate time and cost constraints, but it almost seems acarelessness with some of these changes. I must say I liked the first 4 episodes. They were well done and the cast was wonderful. Sam came into his own. I have no complaints there. I think it is when the writers make up whole new story lines that I start to get twitchy. Re the episode in Boston. I have always felt with that one that it was too much. We are not stupid, we know she had a life with Frank and Bree. As for Sandy, that was totally unnecessary.What was happening to Jamie was by far the more interesting story. The Print Shop was okay, not perfect. I thought Diana’s writing of that scene was perfect. I thought Claire drilling into the mans head was a bit of overkill.[sorry] I loved the new cast members. Now to this episode. Far too long in the jungle. I start3ed to time that but got a bit distracted. I think it was more than 10mins. If I had been Claire I would have run to meet the boat as it came ashore. The sewing up of her arm on the beach and not on the boat was silly. It was only a scratch really. Probably 3 stitches. Claire got quite ill in the book and that lead to Turtle Soup. That whole episode seemed to me to be about seeing Jamies bum more than anything else. I liked The Wedding. I love the chemistry between Fergus and Marsali. I think if I had not read the books I might have wondered about a few things, No continuity or explanation, and that’s the writing. The whole end seemed rushed. Voyager is a very long and at times complex book. I think some of the writing is doing it a disservice. Maybe it should have been given 2 more episodes. Think what still has to come. It won’t all fit in , so there will be more changes. I will not mention any of it for the sake of non book readers. You probably think I don’t like the TV version much, but on the whole I have been able to separate the 2. Oh yes, I really miss Jamies humour, and missed the scene where he tells Claire what he is going to do to her when he gets her alone!! Sorry this has been much longer than I intended.
Thank you, Beth! What I learn from you every time reading your posts is to be very polite and very strong about own personal opinion. I adore the way you present your thoughts and getting into details living them through and feelling them so delicately.
The story of the costume supports the very idea of layers coming off one by one and it was great to pretend Terry is commenting upon some facts herself )))
As for the episode it left me no complete impression of it. My feelings are fragmentary and the wholeness of the magic atmosphere of Outlander is shaken for me. Unfortunately. It’s a pity for me, though I am still looking forward to watching next two episodes. I just miss quite a lot in the presentation of certain parts of the episode. 15 minutes out of 50 for wandering the island? On the second day of Claire’s journey there was a song from the children movie in my head “If it takes you long, long, long to walk, and wander, and run….” Of course there were moments that I love: the understanding between Father Fogden and Claire talking about love and its depth, the words “Fergus Clodel Fraser” and four pairs of eyes crossing and telling so much without another single word, a playful Claire and caring Jamie with the penicillin ))) However, half of the episode was for wandering and waiting and then they accelerate the second half and it felt for me like a machine-gun burst: rat-tat-tat! So many scenes plugged in there in the second half… I have no chance to feel them completely. Mending and reparing-running through the tropical forest-seconds of the reunion on the shore-stitching her arm-replace for Arabella-wedding-peniccilin-soup-sex. And acting felt a bit subdued if I may say so (sorry, English is not my native language), but you see the emotion blooming on the actors’ faces and suddenly instead of “Fire!” they hear “Reload!” I really miss touching: when Claire’s arm was being stitched I waited for Jamie to touch her somehow just to feel she is back there with him; at the end of the wedding I longed for some physical contact – hugs? – of Jamie, Claire, Fergus and Marsali. My mind refuses to understand the time flow while Claire was running to the shore and the crew took that huge heavy construction to the ship and lifted it up somehow that seemed so unbelievably easy and quick.
Beth, I can’t say I am waiting for word-expression of Claire’s love for Jamie. I am all right with her non-word expression by actions and glances. But I can definitely repeat your words that I love Outlander (I am enchanted by it), but I love this very episode less )))
I fotgot one more thing that I wanted to start my initial reply with!!! Beth, you are a great stylist and writer! Even by the structure of your review one can say about your impressions of the episode ))) A bit less than a half is devoted to the costume supporting the story just the same as a bit less than a half of the episode is devoted to Claire’s wandering the island and her recovering. And then in the second part of the review you hop from one of your impressions to another of many scenes that are there hopping from one to another in the second part of the episode itself – and it feels rushed somehow.
Or is it just my philological mind seeing like that? )))
Beth, Your insights regarding the significance of Claire’s costume opened my eyes in a new way. Of course, I have always thought Terry Dresbach is a genius. Her description of her process in creating Claire’s wedding dress and Jamie’s wedding clothes proved how incredibly talented and creative she is. She deserves much more credit than she gets, I think.
Its funny, but having just re-read Voyager, this weeks episode gave me some of the same feelings I had in reading this section. Strange coincidences and unexplained events like how did the Artemis come to be stuck on that beach, how did Jamie get into a militia and what was the purpose of having that whole scenario in the book with the soldiers and the sailors overtaking and locking them up. Father Fogdon was a bit crazy and the whole foggy story of his dead wife and her mother I always found it a bit peculiar. I can see why writing an adaptation of this section would be a monumental task. I also found the long blackout sections kind of weird, as though they were constructing for a commercial break. Loved the wedding and Jamie giving Fergus his name. I felt my heartstrings being tugged. Is Turtle soup really that good? Maybe if made by Mr. Willoughby. Very much enjoyed Jamie and Claire teasing, flirting and being funny with each other.
The one small thing I have noticed these new writers doing that is beginning annoy me, however, is sticking in the little bits of things right out of the writer’s room or from a media report— “If you were to say that to me in the 20th century you would be the king of all men” or the “batsuit ” as described by Roger . Its kind of a wink, wink, nod, nod to the ego of someone who is not one of the characters and for me that just does not work.
No matter, if there is not a Season 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and should I live long enough 10, I am cancelling my Starz subscription.
Ditto – no Outlander, no Starz subscription!
Well, it’s taken me a bit to respond. To take in all the comments and your usual accurate portrayal of an episode. I truly love your analogy of Claire’s costume. Beautiful.
I adored the time spent on Claire’s wash-up to shore. Her pouting lip at the look ahead. That journey through the jungle was a brilliant play on the tortuous and boring traveling through the mangroves in the book. Sorry Diana. I felt thirsty, felt those ant bites with horror, and actually gasped at the snake. I didn’t feel that part of the story was long at all – maybe because I kind of enjoyed Claire being semi-tortured (after all, haven’t we witnessed Jamie being tortured enough to last?).
To those who are complaining about how long it took Claire to find Father Fogden (and I adore his name – Fogden) – three days – to the time she ran out to the beach to find Jamie. Come on now. Maybe Claire came in the long way from another side of the island. Mamascita made it pretty clear which way to run. Not back the way Claire came in but the opposite way – to the beach with the boat.
The little mirror? Why not pocket the thing? Claire just came from a place where she looked in a mirror and decided to dye her hair. So yes, she would like to have a little mirror. And then to have the sense to use it as a signal? Worked for me.
Let me say that seeing Claire wearing Brianna’s shirt on her head was such a beautiful, brilliant part of those talented folks running the show. That woman can rock just about anything in her head.
Back to the jungle, Claire’s perseverance and strength and fear made this perfect for me. Maybe because I would like to think that I could do that (I couldn’t).
Funny, I didn’t miss Lawrence Stern. We get an hour so eliminating some people just has to happen. I believe they captured the essence of the story is. And where it is going.
Dearest Beth, favorite wordsmith, lovely woman and everything that is right and good in our Outlander world, I have to disagree with your thoughts on this episode. With the exception of Jamie’s odd comment about why Claire jumped ship. They could have spent more time with loving sentiments. I think maybe the facial expressions worked for me. I know that reading the books, I always questioned Claire’s not expressing her love verbally odd – from the beginning, she has held back on that. So it didn’t seem so strange to me here.
Oh yes, do I want more than a quick 2 minute “turtle soup” lovemaking romp as Mr. Willoughby interrupts our enjoyment? Well, yes, I do.
I thought this episode was simply perfect. I will always respect your point of view and will read it over and over. But I will, too, be watching this episode over and over with joy.
Thanks, darling Beth, for making us open our eyes. I, as always, adore you.
Backing up just a wee bit. Claire’s wearing Brianna’s shirt on her head meant a lot more to me than just a fashion statement. That shirt represented life to Claire. I loved that.