Okay, I’m tired of having to struggle to write about these episodes! Last week, I struggled because there was too much to write about, too much to think about, and a need to write with the gravitas the topic deserved. This week I struggled because I couldn’t find anything TO write about! After viewing the episode, my reaction to what I watched was… that was nice…nice? I’m not sure that was the reaction the writers were going for and it wasn’t the reaction my husband had when he watched Sunday night. He was FULL of questions. And, he wasn’t about to wait to get answers. He mutes the sound to ask his questions and then misses everything that is being said while I’m quickly trying to answer! It’s a vicious circle and I’m thankful for DVR. But, irritating as they are, sometimes his questions and observations lead me in the right direction. He said he was more intrigued by “the daughter’s story” than with Jamie and Claire and that got me to thinking and…to writing. (you can’t see me, but I’m sporting a really cheesy grin right now)
Why My Reaction Was…Nice
The Outlander fandom spends an exorbitant amount of time discussing the adaptation. The discussions range from fans lamenting the need for any changes from the source material because what Diana Gabaldon wrote was perfect, why change it, to true critique of what changes worked or didn’t work and why. This week’s episode was a good one for book fans. The writer’s managed to successfully condense time and still give us iconic moments from the book, the minister’s cat, the lark at the Scottish festival, Roger and Bree on the floor on verge of …well you know, the ghostly time-traveling indian, and Jamie and Claire finding the strawberries and Fraser’s Ridge. I expect that overall most book fans will be very happy. As a book fan, I guess I should have been more enthusiastic and I wondered why I wasn’t.
A while ago, I wrote about adaptations. To prepare, I did some “lite research”, which means I read everything I could find in two days on the particular topic. My “lite research” isn’t exhaustive or particularly scholarly, but I usually stumble upon some interesting stuff. The most interesting adaptation “stuff” I stumbled upon was an article written as a conversation between two TV/movie critics. Their focus was on the good and bad of being true to the source material. One of the points they make is that sometimes an adaptation can be so true to the source as to be…unnecessary. The viewer can be left feeling like ” they’ve seen the book almost exactly, as if they didn’t need to see it at all.” I think this is where I fell this week! It is ironic I know, I started the blog because they were adapting my favorite book series and I was excited to see Jamie and Claire’s story come to life! And, they made that happen and I thought it was…nice. The writer’s and producers really can’t win, if they stray from the source or stay too close someone is going to criticize. They really do need to stay true to their own vision because evidently, if I’m any indication, we fans can’t be satisfied, LOL!
Why This Episode Was Important
After answering my husband’s questions and upon reflection, I came to realize this was actually a very important episode. “Why do they keep flashing back to the future?” my pesky husband asks. “Because they are trying to tell Roger and Bree’s story!”, I respond. Huh…they are trying to tell Roger and Bree’s story. This show is no longer just Jamie and Claire’s story. This week’s episode was evidence that we will have more than one couple’s story to contend with and agonize over. This season, like the book it is based on, marks the official beginning of the multiple character and story arcs that will eventually result in Diana’s last book, Written in My Heart’s Own Blood, almost having an Octopus as its cover art. If you are tuning in for all Jamie and Claire all the time, sorry about your luck! Cue protest song…”The times and the story they are a changing! ” Jamie and Claire become the matriarch and patriarch of a large cast of characters.
Ian Is A Man Ye Ken
One of the arcs I am most looking forward to is Ian’s story. I think John Bell’s earnest and joyful Ian is perfect, especially for this part of the story. We will need to remember him this way because his change from eager puppy to lethal wolf will happen. He tells Jamie that the things he has experienced have changed the way he looks at life. He believes his survival qualifies him for manhood and as a result, he believes he has earned the right to choose where he will live and what path in life he will take. Jamie recognizes an inevitable truth when he hears and sees one. I like to think he always sees himself when he looks at Ian and empathises. Ian wastes no time in taking responsibility for his choices and duties and runs off to write a letter to his parents letting them know their son is now a man.
Bree and Roger “Do All Frasers Have Issues?”
I was so glad to see Rick Rankin and Sophie Skelton get more time on-screen. With the longer scenes, I was able to actually see Rick’s Roger and Sophie’s Bree. The chemistry was good. They are different from the book pair that resides in my head, but I could have said the same thing about Sam Heughan and Cait Balfe’s Jamie and Claire. It didn’t take long to accept their version of the characters they were playing and I’m sure the same will happen with screen Roger and Brianna. After watching the great scene in the “highlanders” cabin and the calling of the clans, my husband asked, “Do all Frasers have issues?” I chuckled and told him yes, but added don’t we all?
Getting these two characters right is a big deal! They are more than important to the rest of the books and hopefully, to the rest of the series.
I’ve talked to very few book fans who weren’t half in love with Roger. He’s very likable and an interesting mixture of strength and vulnerability. I think we started to see that in this episode, “I’ll love all of you or not at all”. Then there’s Brianna… she tends to inspire a variety of fan responses. Some fans love her and some hate her. I have to say my husband was a bit irritated by her in this episode, hence the Fraser “issues” comment. I’ve always felt that Claire and Jamie were pretty easy to figure out. It isn’t hard to understand what motivates them. Claire is a kind woman who cares about the people around her. Jamie does the best he can with his gifts and for the people he believes God has entrusted him. I’ve come to see their daughter as a bit harder to figure out. Sophie certainly has her work cut out for her in playing this complex character. After this episode, I’m looking forward to seeing where she takes Bree.
Jamie and Claire In A Place They Have Never Been
Watching the interactions this week between Jamie and Claire, I was struck by the thought that these characters are in a place they have never been. I’m not talking about North Carolina, although it certainly is rivaling Scotland for sheer beauty (I know it was filmed in Scotland, but you know what I’m saying). The place they find themselves in is one where they are together making plans for a future. I love that they are constantly touching each other’s faces as if to reassure themselves that it isn’t a dream. The gratitude they feel is almost palpable.
Falling in love is exhilarating but, as we all know, this feeling must mature and ripen if it is to last. Jamie and Claire falling in love was exhilarating, but the maturing of their love is intoxicating and inspiring. Their love and attraction for one another is passionate, committed and mutual. Jamie wants what will make Claire happy and fulfilled and Claire wants what will make Jamie happy and fullfilled. Their lives are never easy, but their love never fails. This mutual love is rare and few of us are ever lucky enough to find it and I’m proud to be a fan of a tv show that will present this kind mature love. It is a rarity to be sure.
There are definitely things I didn’t like about the episode, River Run comes to mind, but I guess I feel better about this episode being so much like the book (I’m currently giving my silly self a hard eye roll). So, in conclusion, I’d like to borrow Fiona’s husband’s toast. Here’s to all the honest men and bonnie lassies in Outlander. I’ll be watching all their stories.