Oh..no they didn’t!…A reflection on Outlander episode 4.7 Down the Rabbit Hole

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While watching this week’s episode of Outlander, Down the Rabbit Hole, it didn’t take me very long to start laughing out loud, OMGing, and shaking my head.  It wasn’t because the episode was particularly funny or that it was a bad episode, it wasn’t.  I AM still wondering how they are going to fit in all the multitude of plots points and action left in the story and STILL do a good job. But, no, I’m snorting with laughter because of all the shite I know is about to erupt in the fandom. Leghaire and Frank?  I’m laughing so hard right now I’m crying. It is almost as if the show’s creators said ” okay, now, let’s think about what would piss fans off and then…do THAT!”.  Good Lord, almost half an episode of Frank? Snort. Balriggan and Leery instead of Lallybroch and what ever Murrays were still available? Double snort. Fans are gonna fan… and critique…and grab pitchforks … and…oh crap its gonna be an interesting week.

I’m hoping I’m wrong…but I doubt it. I think there is going to be a lot of grumbling about this episode, but it shouldn’t be about whether they told a good story.  They told a good story.  It just wasn’t the one that fans were hoping for or expecting to see. No slamming of the pearls and calling out Loaghaire in front of everyone? Just, an “I believe you lass” let’s get you on a ship right now because Frank took up too much time drinking whiskey and eating scones?  Once again,… giggle snort.

Bree’s back story and why it matters

This was one of those episodes where creative license took precedence over fan expectations. They decided to go this way and I could see where they were headed, but  perhaps the main reason they told Bree’s back story can be summed up in two words…Tobias (I’m a fantastic freaking actor and I’m available) Menzies.  He is a great actor, but a lot of fans are done with knowing what Frank was thinking or feeling. In fact, I think there actually were some “the roads are icy” celebratory parties the night of Frank’s demise on the show.  There are lots of fans who were glad they were never going to see Frank again.  I’m giggling again which I suppose could actually get me into some trouble because I’m pretty sure there are lots of fans out there that don’t find this one bit amusing!  My PSA for the fandom is let it go, not a damn thing we can do to change it and in the grand scheme of life this is just an unfortunate Frank shaped blip.

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My only gripe with the episode’s Frank arc was that it was time-consuming and I’m not sure that it will pay-off in creating a more fully rounded picture of Bree.  I’m hopeful, but…it was a lot of screen time that left very little time for an only child to discover she was part of a family.  Bree’s back story with Frank was interesting, but in my humble opinion, her story would have been better-served by allowing Bree some time in her father’s childhood home with her new-found family. The information she received about her father at Balriggan needed to be off-set by time at Lallybroch. If she is going to feel conflicted let us have ALL the feelings.

I liked the letter from Rev. Wakefield being the catalyst for Frank’s leaving Claire and how Bree finds out about the fire, but Frank was back in this episode to help us understand more fully why Bree might have issues accepting Jamie as her father.  Frank was Brianna’s father much like Lord John is Willie’s. Bree is loyal to Frank and feels some guilt over his death.  They were close. Her feelings for Frank will not change just because she meets her “real” father.  And, if Jamie is jealous of Lord John raising Willie, it pales in comparison to the jealousy he feels about Frank sleeping with his wife and raising his wee bairn for twenty years. Bree comes to Jamie a product of her times and her upbringing by another man from another time. And, if the show has shown us anything it is that modern sensibilities can cause all kinds of problems when you go through the stones. I’m predicting everyone’s suppressed emotions won’t stay suppressed for long.

Well Hello

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I’ll admit that I felt sorry for Laoghaire. I found myself thinking “poor thing, she really did love him”.  She was delusional about Jamie’s feelings for her and Claire was a convenient scapegoat…the witch, but then,…from sweet single mom just trying to make her way in the world with a broken heart to full-blown hell has no fury like a cray cray woman scorned in .6 seconds.  There she is. To quote a friend, “No wonder Jamie left her”! (snort) I liked the change and think it added more to Bree’s conflicted feelings.  I also love that Nell Hudson knows how much fans love to hate this “bish”, LOL.  I felt this was her best performance.

The parallels drawn between Bree’s experience living with one parent who loved more than the other were clearly drawn. Having a little red-headed girl feeling abandoned didn’t hurt either. Bree couldn’t  help but think about her life and feel sorry for this family.  I couldn’t help but feel the rise in Bree’s anger at her mother’s inability to love Frank as she felt he deserved.  I had started to forget that these two at best had had a difficult relationship prior to Bree’s first trip to Craig Na Dun.  Then to find out it is your parents, your father who doesn’t send the money, and your mother who is the home-wrecking Hoor?  She has been told that Jamie left his family for Claire and Claire …left her… for this man who she is starting to think might not be the great guy her mother said he was. This girl is going to be carrying so much baggage by time she gets to Fraser’s Ridge she could take Clarence the mule’s place! Sophie Skelton is doing a great job of letting us see Bree’s head and heart. After she sees her father Frank’s haunt at the docks, she puts her chin up, smiles, and “soldiers on”, I saw both of her fathers and her mother in that performance.

I knew better, but I actually feared for Roger’s life

 

Let’s talk Roger!  I LOVED his interaction with Stephen Bonnet! If anyone still had doubts about the casting, Ed Speleers and Rik Rankin just put them to rest. Roger’s modern sensibilities and moral outrage put him in real danger here.  You cannot reason with a man who flips a coin because he had his own life or death determined by a cruel game of chance. Bonnet is damaged goods. Damaged goods with power.  And he’s not likely to have a doctor and couch waiting to help him deal with his feelings.  Nope, Stephen deals with his own trauma by subjecting others to the same.  He has no empathy.  Hence, why I was sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to snag Morag’s baby out of his hands. What is it about this show and great villains?

Roger’s single-minded determination to find Bree was glorious. He doesn’t really explain to the viewer why he went through the stones, but the answer to Bonnet’s question is obviously,… yes. Yes, Roger thinks Bree is worth it. It was fascinating to watch Roger navigate this strange new world.  Even with his knowledge of history, he was not prepared for the harshness and the realities with which he is living. I feared his moral outrage and Claire-like need to fight injustice was going to get him killed. Personally, I love watching everything about him adapt including his costume. By the end of the episode, he is looking less like a man out of time and more like a man of the time.

Down a Rabbit Hole Indeed

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Suffice it to say that the episode is aptly named. Bree and Roger might not to have accidentally fallen through the stones like Claire, but I would argue that they seem even less prepared for what they find than she was! I’m blaming those modern sensibilities again. How did Claire put it? It was like looking at Mars through a telescope. They have indeed landed on alien planet that looks something like their old world filled with people who seem like quaint versions of modern people. But, they really aren’t quaint and the rules are different and the reality is harder than they could ever have imagined.  They pushed a little girl out a window y’all. This is gonna be good!

Outlander and I are still going steady

The truth is despite my inappropriate amusement at the expense of fan disappointment, as I watched the latest episode, I was often smiling in delight.  I’m not ready to “break-up” with Outlander over their choice to let us see more Frank and Laoghaire.  They didn’t jump the shark here. It was their choice to depart from the book and let us see more of Frank and as book readers have suspected, he might have known more about the stones than we will ever know he knew. I’m not sure how I feel about him not sharing his knowledge, but it was a great addition to the story, as was the time at Laoghaire’s house. The scenario wasn’t far-fetched, it could have happened that way.  After all, Balriggan is just a few miles from Lallybroch, right @Conniebv? (sorry inside joke) As I wrote earlier this season, if you are tuned in for all Jamie and Claire all the time, sorry about your luck. This story IS about Jamie and Claire, but is also the story of their children. Our couple are becoming the matriarch and patriarch of this story.  They are at the center of an expanding cast of characters and story-lines.  The story of Jamie and Claire is a great tale of a couple who are passionately committed to each other whose love conquers all.  The same can be said of the story of Roger and Bree.  The dynamics are different and so are the personalities of the couples. But, to answer Loaghaire’s query, yes, good men and for that matter, good women can still be found and quite a few can be found in Outlander.

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119 thoughts on “Oh..no they didn’t!…A reflection on Outlander episode 4.7 Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. Jeri

    I realized watching this episode the second time, Frank had gotten drunk because he was mourning Claire dying in the notification of the article. He decides at this time to divorce Claire and have Brianna go away to ease her loss of her Mother. Of course he doesn’t know Claire goes back after his own death.
    Bri needs to learn to hold her cards close to her vest and not divulge information that could get her burned at the stake. She’s in a strange land!
    I was wondering why in previous episodes, why Roger was wearing such an ugly hat and coat for his time period, but it works much better in the 18th century. The pants though is another story???
    Ed Speelers makes a great Stephen Bonnet. Lizzie seems a lot taller than I imagines and Joseph…”make sure you say your prayers”. ❤️

  2. Amen! You were right about the fans, oh boy. I was part of the hot wire comments about Laoghaire and Frank. I shook my head when they kept showing him (as “they” say a fan favorite??). There were even moments of dead air…. really? No, we needed the visit to Lallyboch and Bree seeing some of her roots and relatives. We needed the confrontation with Laoghaire to really anger Bree and let her show that Fraser fire…. it wasn’t really there even though Ian said it was. Too much wasted time, I agree. But loved Roger! The changes there weren’t crucial and ED does a great “evil”. We got Morag and baby Jemmy, small pox and throwing the sick overboard and of course the sighting of the ring. Looking forward to more of Roger and Bonnet, but first more with Roger and Bree….( begging please, no more Frank). I’m betting you will have a more favorable blog next time. Thanks.

  3. awabbit

    Thank you, Beth! With ONE LOOK, ONE GESTURE, the actors can ( and do) convey pages and pages of story. I too, love the VERY creative direction the writers took.

  4. Susan Ongaro

    Oh thank goodness for your post! The friend I usually watch with couldn’t make it tonight and I was so grateful to have you to “talk it over with”. That’s how it always feels to read your posts, maybe in part because we so often share a perspective. I am in the ranks of those who would never have chosen to see Frank or Laoghaire again, but I can appreciate why they made the choice and what it accomplished. Terrifying vulnerability for all our characters tonight – whether to a locked door or a tossed coin!

  5. Lorraine Grzena

    I have found that I look forward to finding out your thoughts, almost as much as I look forward to watching the new episodes. This one was no exception.
    As you stated many of the fans don’t like Frank; you can count me among them. I could have gone through all the rest of the episodes of the rest of the books, not seeing whinny Laoghaire, and been very happy. By the time I finished reading all the books, I found I did not like “poor me”, pushy, self-centered, abrasive Bree. So imagine how much I did not like this episode. Plus the fact that there was not even a picture of Jamie and Claire.
    I really am not a complainer, and have enjoyed all the other episodes since season 1, but ….

  6. Kate Soehnlen

    It wasn’t my favorite episode but it wasn’t the worst, either.

    I’m done with Frank. Have been for years. Tobias is a stellar actor but enough is enough. There didn’t need to be so much time spent on Frank *again*, but that’s just my personal bias.

    I missed the pearls. I get that Laura Donnelly couldn’t be there due to another commitment but the interaction between Bree and Laoghaire could have still happened but with Ian refereeing instead. They so needed more time spent at Lallybroch with Ian telling Bree stories about the time he spent with Jamie, both growing up and as a soldier in France, to give her a better idea of who her father really was as a person.

    I have my concerns about Lizzy but am willing to wait and see how things play out.

    Ed Speleers did an outstanding job at being the Bad Guy. I gasped when he shoved that little girl out of the window. I understand the wildfire spreading of smallpox but wow, he felt no remorse, he had no soul. *shudder*

    Thank you, Beth! Good night.

    • Lucinda Wiebe

      Lizzy just was not at all as I pictured this character. I had her much younger in my mind and certainly not, as it seemed, TALLER than Brianna! This scene was far too truncated to make sense – why would Brianna cave in so quickly and take Lizzy on? Agree with all here – needed more at Lollybrook. I think we “get” that Bree is still grieving, has daddy and mommy issues, etc etc. The story needed to advance. I am usually not disappointed even with departures but I think they missed it on this one. I think the fan comments make that clear even as we (mostly) try to be civil.

  7. Maire Rooney

    About the costumes – was it just me or did the dress Brianna wore when she traveled through the stones seem odd- both for the time period and the season? She watched her mother’s logical choices when preparing for her return and Brianna herself had 2 weeks. Yet her dress looked like a lightweight cotton and barely covered her knees. And that silly little woven bag that she carried – with one PBJ! She has been portrayed as a problem solver (she did remember to take her matches) and she had a map of the terrain that she needed to traverse – yet she has one small bag and looks unprepared for the trip.

      • Kathryn

        And I would add that her mother was a physician, so surely Bree knew how to wrap up a sprain much less rig a stout branch for support.

      • Carrie

        Yes, somethings missed the mark. Poor choice of costumes in parts, but I did have to laugh out loud at Wonder Bread in Scotland! Sooooooo not accurate!LOL! But I agree, too much time given to Frank and the Highland wandering flashed back to Claire in the jungle! Great recap Beth, made me chuckle!

      • JANET A EWASKIEWICZ

        Bree already had that dress. She wore it at the burning of the stag in the previous episode. It was very fashionable in 1971 (I had a version of it myself around that time!) and if she was in a hurry to warn her mother and Jamie about the fire, I’m sure she would have thought it would do. In fact, in the books, that’s the dress Claire wore when she went back to Jamie! I saw it as a nod to the books, myself.

        I’m sorry Laura Donnelly wasn’t available for this episode. I’m sure it would have looked very different if she had been. I thought it was interesting to see the “good side” of both Laoghaire and Frank, and then see the self-centered sides, too, in both of those stories. And, while I would have liked to see more of Uncle Ian, I so loved seeing Layla Burns portrayal of Joanie again. I thought it was nice for Bree to meet the “other” stepsister, since I’m sure she’ll be meeting Marsali soon enough. In the books, we did see glimpses of Frank from time to time in flashback, or through letters. I was fine seeing him here and giving some depth to Bree’s character.

        I LOVED the beginning of your review! I’d read many comments beforehand and I knew you were spot on with the reactions of many fans. Diana told us: It’s not the book. It’s BASED upon the books. They created a substitute story that was fine with me under the circumstances. (With a critical actress not available to portray Aunt Jenny, would people accept a recasting? I think not.)

        And you’re right. The scenes on the Gloriana were frightening, even though I knew that was one change the show runners wouldn’t dare make! Thanks for your review, Beth. Always enlightening.

    • Annie

      Why didnt she walk the five miles from the stones to Inverness and get a ride to the port from there? Why is it that after she fell she found a road to walk on, not trasiping over moors and mountains? Why didnt she get a branch to use as a walking stick to lean on with her hurt ankle? The writers are insulting our intelligence. It gets ridiculous at times!

      • Shopping Jam

        The dress was clearly intended to be a Jessica McClintock style that one could buy off the rack in the 70’s . If Bree had no sewing skills she would need to use whatever she had or could find in that style. I understand the choice of clothes. Other parts of this episode left me scratching my head. More time with Ian at Lallybroch could have done wonders and still hit all the storyline points they wanted.

    • Laurel Howard

      I didn’t mind the dress she wore thru. I was in my late teens in the 70’s, and the more hippy dippy of us wore similar styles. Some longer too. If she didn’t research she probably thought it would work. I was a bit disappointed in some parts , but I’ve watched it at least four times since Sunday so not too much. But no more Frank, please.

  8. Jude

    I’ve just watched this morning. Some things I liked, some, not so much! Still gasping at Brianna’s lack of clothing and this was the same writer who had Claire wandering through the “jungle” for 3days… I’m starting to feel a little patronised by some of the writing! On the plus side I enjoyed the Frank scenes… using Leoghaire was a clever stroke (Nell is a fine actress!) Little Joanie also! Wanted more excitement from Bree about meeting Ian…what? No goodbye hug? Holding off on Lizzie…. she doesn’t look right ….but she does make me think of Malva……Roger and Bonnet were fabulous…
    I think opportunities were lost in this ep… but…. I’m still watching!

  9. Donna Scruggs

    I found it odd that Ian took Bree to the docks and just her dropped her off to find the man to gain passage not knowing if it she going to be able get on the ship.

    • Jeanie

      Historically Ian as the man would have bought passage and physically seen her into the ship. That’s why they used to call ‘all ashore who’s going ashore’. And I missed time at Lallybroch, family & stories. Some stuff could have been trimmed for sure. Roger & Bonnet however were terrifyingly perfect.

  10. Kathryn

    What didn’t make sense to me was the writers failure to have Leoghaire question Bree’s parentage sooner. Surely they know the first thing a Scot does in making a new acquaintance, is to determine kinships, relationships and place of origin. Also their failure to play up Bree’s size, accent and resemblance to her striking father. Ian’s one liner wasn’t enough.

  11. Nancy Powell

    Thanks Beth. I have decided to stop reading any comments but yours because all the negativity just takes away from my enjoyment of the show. Your thoughts are always spot on with my reactions.

      • Nancy Powell

        I usually look at the FB posting Diana puts out there for comments right after the show is available for app watchers. After reading just a few comments (and clearly by people who didn’t bother to figure out that Laura Donnelly wasn’t available this season) I backed out of the post. I honestly don’t know why the haters bother watching, unless they just “enjoy” dissing the show every week. Almost like they think their complaining will endear them to Diana? No more for me. I will just keep watching and loving this adaptation ( love the books, but they are completely separate for me). Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful discussion of each episode.

    • I agree completely with you Nancy! I understand that book lovers have held the story and characters close to their hearts for decades but THIS IS TV. I am only half way through Book 1 and am finding both book-Claire and book-Jamie much less “real” to me. That’s likely because I already have the actors in my head and never had a chance to formulate my own people as these characters. But, never mind. I’m also avoiding the Outlander pages for the same reason; I am loving the tv adaptation and especially loving the few very thoughtful and thought-provoking blogs such as yours Beth! Thank you for taking the time to write them. You must know that your analysis and POV is much appreciated!

      • JoAnn

        Spot on Nancy! I can’t imagine continuing to watch if it irritated me so much. I do wonder what that’s about. I think it’s a real testament to the acting of both Nell and Tobias that they make you feel empathy for them even when I don’t like the characters! And Ed Speleers is delicious as Bonnet, an absolutely genius casting choice. His scenes with Rik Rankin created real tension. I liked this episode a lot more than i thought I would even with the change is some favorite book moments necessitated by the unavailability of Laura Donnelly.

  12. Steph

    Right on the money, for me. I also started thinking about the fandom! I also wish they had cut some of it, just to spend a bit more time at Lallybroch–even without Jenny. There were enough Murrys there to give a sense of Jamie and Bree’s family.

  13. This is the very first time in all 3 episodes that I was actually disappointed with the feel of the episode. We were definitely short changed with Bree not getting any quality time with the Murrays & I felt she should have shown more emotion at seeing Lallybroch. Claire must have told her how much the place meant to her & especially Jamie. I do feel the length of time spent with Frank was over done & unwarranted. My feeling is as you stated the production team’s love of Tobias governed this more than any story arc demands.
    We know why Jenny was left out as Laura was engaged elsewhere back then but I actually thought the Laoghaire scenes worked well & Nell was brilliant with that quick character shift when she realised who Bree really was.
    It was supposed to be frowned upon for a woman to travel alone, yet they had Ian drop Bree at the port without staying to make sure she was safely aboard. What happened with the Lizzie bonding. Bree hardly gave her a second look. So much felt off balance for me. One very excellent performance I want to highlight was Ed Speelers. He had only a few short moments this episode but he really made every second count. I was seeing such a complicated & disturbing person beneath all that swagger. I actually feel that last week’s episode was so good both with the acting & script that perhaps I’d set my hopes too high for this week.
    Not a terrible episode but not one that I feel happy about either.

  14. Mary L

    I don’t necessarily mind seeing Laoghaire and Frank again, but I felt like it was at the expense of Bree getting to know Jamie’s family (and her wonder in later years that she actually has an extended family), and hence Jamie, through their eyes and love for him. Instead, she heard what a snake he was from Laoghaire, and a one sentence “you’re like him” from Ian, who abandoned her at the docks to make her own way on a ship.

  15. DianeRedfearn

    I had the same thought – “oh boy, this is going to be an intetesting week in fandom!”
    I really enjoyed the story departures. I think they gave us book readers something “more to the story” and we ended up where we needed to be.
    I agree that the timing/editing was a bit lopsided, but like you said – it’s done, let it go….
    I also was suprised by Lizzy, but my hope is casting made a good decision- based on their track record!
    Next week will be very interesting….
    Thanks Beth!! Always enjoy your perspective!

  16. Anne

    I really enjoy reading your blog! When I saw what they were doing with
    the Frank arc, I just rolled my eyes and thought ” seriously? ” Then Bree ended up with L? ” really??? ” BUT Nell did a great job going from nice to crazed. AND I know lots of folks like Frank and Tobias and wanted to see more of him. I am not one of those people!

    My favorite scenes were Joanie and Bree together.

    The effect that all the Frank and L bits had on me is that I did let it go, but in doing so, I sort of ” let go ” of the entire episode. My attention wandered,and I started to think about other things. I didn’t think about what I was seeing on the screen or the significance to the story. I did read some very positive reactions from ” Frankophiles” and thought, well good, I am glad they liked it.

    So after reading your thoughts, I realize that I probably missed a lot because I wasn’t paying attention. I will try to rewatch and pay attention.

    Thank you!

  17. Teresa

    Thank, God, Beth, for your reasoned response to last night’s show. While you were laughing I was swearing. I agree with so much that has been said above. I was far more bothered by time given to L at the expense of time at Lallybroch than I was with the time given to Frank. I actually liked the Frank story here. But, the writers love these dualities: Jamie/Frank and Clare/L, which I get, but the emphasis on that structure is truly not necessary by this time in the story. I was really looking forward to a rip-roaring confrontation between L, Brianna and Jenny. As someone said above, it could have happened with Ian as the referee. Sam said during one of the press events prior to the beginning of the season that the end of Season Four will be quite the stunner. Oh, boy. Happy Holidays all. It’s just a story.

  18. Pam Briglio

    I like watching it on the Starz app first because after the show we get a little insight from the writers, which helps explain the whys. I’m reading Book Seven now. I can’t wait to see how they squeeze all the storylines into condensed hours. Love your blogs, they also help with prospective. People need to let things go. We all know there is no way a show could ever be as good or accurate to a book (our imagination and details work more with a book), but “Outlander” and the writers of this great show certainly come close.

  19. Sue Kennedy

    So… I’m weird.

    I absolutely LOVED this episode.

    I am not at all Team Frank and am beyond tired of seeing them waste their time on Leoghaire. But Tobias Menzies steals the show every time he’s on, and, well, Joanie. We can’t see Joanie and understand her and Marsali’s relationships with Jamie nearly as well without this interlude.

    What they did do was set up conflict between Bree and Jamie that wasn’t there in the books, and I think that was a huge mistake. Bree needed that time at Lallybroch surrounded by family, she needed to meet them, feel that love and respect, see Jamie through their eyes and not just Claire’s. Now the only real viewpoints she has are her mother’s, who she doesn’t particularly trust in this regard, and Leoghaire’s, who she shouldn’t trust. I hope that the love Joanie clearly feels can balance some of that, along with the five minutes she spent with Ian.

    If wishes were horses… do the story justice, make this episode a half hour longer, and spend whatever it took to get Laura Donnelly there for two days of shooting.

    I’d never considered that Frank could have been mourning Claire’s death in that obit, along with her obvious betrayal. How many knives can fit in one man’s heart? My tears this episode were for Frank, and the love he clearly had for the daughter of the man who destroyed his chance at happiness.

  20. I was LOL at YOUR first paragraph, Beth! We need that sort of levity, I think, at moments during our beloved Outlander television show. It wasn’t the best episode. It wasn’t the worst. I’ve watched it twice and will most likely watch it again. I really hated all the time spent with both Frank and that um…woman, BUT I loved HOW the time was spent. The acting was superb by all, imo, and I do love how we get glimpses into the bits and pieces the books don’t show us. I found the stuff with Frank actually quite fascinating. It made me feel for him again, for the loss of his wife, his love, his “plan” with her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Claire is with Jamie, but still…

    My biggest issue with this one is with Bree’s character in the tv show. She is NOT the book Bree, and I’ve got that. BUT, they want us to believe that she’s intelligent, was taught how to shoot and chop wood, etc., that she’s an engineering student who can tinker with and fix cars, etc., and then they give her to us in a flimsy dress, heeled boots, and a thin, open in the front cloak with a hood that the woman never wears even though the wind is blowing and it’s snowing?! Dipping her foot/ankle into a freezing highland stream was probably smart to reduce the swelling, but wouldn’t she have torn strips off her dress to bind the ankle if she was going to keep walking on it? Yeah, yeah…picking nits. But, really…I have not ever questioned costuming before because it has been unbelievably fabulous, but in this one instance, I felt it was just “off”. Bree didn’t decide to go through the stones one second and do it the next. She had time to prepare. And this was the best she could do? And all that aside, she couldn’t find a moment to pick up a branch to use as a support? Now “I” am chuckling and shaking my own head. Anyway…none of it was a deal breaker. I still love this show, these characters, the stories (even when they don’t match up with the books), but I do feel we should be given an extra episode to make up for this one and the time spent giving us background fodder. Can everyone come back to shoot another episode please?! After all, “fair is fair”. LOL – Dawn

  21. Joan Tinnin

    Thank you for your insight. Now for mine. I am sorry that the show, which I do love, feels the book’s characters weren’t well enough written and must change awful motives and selfishness of NOT loved characters into loved characters. If one has read and loved the books. How. How can this work for them/me? Frank was in a difficult situation. He knew that going in. Made the worst of it. Utterly selfish. Laoghaire? Just nasty. Crazy. We, the fans who have read the books, understand Bree’s difficulties. Laoghaire’s crazed shite she spewed made things worse for Bree and her beleaguered blood father. It’s almost like they knew what this all would stir and went for it. I actually felt it was thoughtless and cruel. One fan commented that she had to watch the scene in season 2 with Jamie resting his trembling hand on Claire’s belly with his child therein. Before sending them off for their safety. To ease that fan’s soul. So now we have Saint Frank and poor, deserted, put upon Laoghaire. How. How did the show people think fans were going to react?!? Perhaps we should reintroduce poor put upon Black Jack Randall.

      • Joan Tinnin

        Yes, Beth, he is tragic. The whole situation is remarkable and would be hard to handle. I do feel he added to the tragedy by contributing to Claire’s suffering. His hiding the fact that Jamie survived Culloden was the ultimate act of selfishness. And the gravesites. Not to mention his affairs. And racism. I wanted to express why the book folk are upset at this rendering. It’s hard to put aside how one feels about a character and do a complete reversal. I am not without sympathy for Frank. I feet what I read. know you realize that, being the wise woman that you are♥️

  22. while I DO think the direction the show went is a good story, and I DID miss the connections with Bree’s blood family (in favor of developing some Bree-rage), my only thought at the end of the episode was how the hell are they going to finish this in five more? I’m nervous, and a little scared but I’m excited…. exactly what I felt the first time reading DOA.

  23. Canuckj

    I enjoyed the scenes, with both Frank and Laoghaire (let’s face it, the actors are really astounding. I never liked Frank until Tobias got ahold of him. 😉 Apologies to Nell Hudson (or maybe accolades?) But I still hate Laoghaire. 😜)

    My disappointment, as you mentioned, is the lack of development of Bree at her family home. This is an important piece of Bree’s story, and it was just kind of dumped on the table and left.

    I love the quality of the show, but sometimes they miss the heart of it all.

  24. Atlanta Gal

    Thank you as always for your perspective, Beth. I’m not an outraged book fan. But I am questioning the overall judgment and time management approach of Ron’s team in squandering an entire hour on what was essentially fifteen minutes of forward story progression and character development. I was ready to have Brianna devoured by a wolf than watch one more interminable second stumbling through the woods. And the Laoghaire subplot was a waste of good videotape. This episode was redeemed only by Stephen Bonnet’s complete amorality which was perfectly done.

  25. Debra Ann Petraska

    Love your insights to the episode. I thought I had wavered as a fan the last season, but I am loving this new season and have reconciled with the changes. I may not always agree or like them, but it is what it is? My husband is a recent OL convert and I really enjoy watching the show with him. As a non-book reader fan, he watches the show through a different lens than I do and I find the changes don’t really bother me as much. He said it best, “The show/movie is never the same as the book.” I know he is loving the show and it hooked, when at the end he said, “Thats it?” Thanks again for your always insightful reviews!

    • You are welcome and my husband watches with me too. This week he was all confused and full of questions, he couldn’t remember how the stones worked, why Bree just didn’t grab a stick to walk with and what in the hell was she wearing?! LOL

  26. mahailia

    HI Beth! Loved your take on the episode, the writers really did go down the rabbit hole with this one. I don’t check any of the other fan sites, but can imagine the general outrage with this installment. My question is : what was wrong with Diana’s story? I don’t understand why they changed it so much, and thought the whole appearance of Laeoghaire , her caring for Bree, was way off. Where was Bree in her riding pants on a horse? I found it unbelievable that she was not more prepared for the trip, and why in the world didn’t she pick up a walking stick? Agree with those who see Bree as much more capable than she was portrayed. I also felt that she should have spent her time at Lallybroch, and seeing the portrait of her grandmother, and the pearls. I thought the parts with Frank were interesting, but I didn’t think he was grieving Claire, if he was, then he would have realized she did go back through the stones to Jamie.
    The whole thing with Laeoghaire was way out in left field, IMO. Again, what was wrong with Diana’s story and why did they choose not to tell it? Creative license fell really short of the mark on this one!

  27. Betty

    Hey Beth – always looking for you post. I am a “gotta have Jamie and Claire” person. But I know there is more to the story then them. And it shapes the story. I didn’t mind so much seeing Frank and Laoghaire – but the time it took up – way too much time. And it needed to be balanced with Lallybroch. And I worry how are they going to fit everything in. Roger’s screen time was good – it told what needed to be told and didn’t waste time. I am glad they didn’t have him wondering through the woods trying to find a town. Come to think of it – they only have the women (Claire and Brianna) wondering through woods and jungle. Injured Jamie didn’t take too long finding the Indians dragging the guy-bear.

  28. Pamela G Cofer

    I so agree. The writer for this episode needs to be gone! I had so looked forward to her meeting with the Murrays. Please do not try to outwrite a genius like Ms Gabaldon. And let Frank rest in peace.

    • Linda Smith

      Pamela, your remarks are concise and well said. I’m very disappointed with the writers’ decisions to bring back Frank who hems and haws around for 15 minutes of valuable show time. I did enjoy the remarkable performance of Nell Hudson,and also Ed Speelers’ characterization of crazy Bonnet. But the story strayed and I’m now wondering what this will do to the meeting we’re all waiting for: when Bree meets her birth father Jamie. Feeling a little depressed!

  29. Barbara Spellman

    Beth, I have to say I couldn’t wait to read your response to this episode. Yours is the only only one I will read because I know the anger in the fans from an entire episode dragging on with details that could have been done in a much shorter time will be great. Once again, I agree with your witty intelligent critique. Thank you for changing my total disappointment to a more lighthearted, they missed the mark a little, but I still love Outlander attitude. I will rewatch the absolute excellent episode before this one. So many wonderful discussions and revealings took place that it is easy to do and I notice something new each time. I look forward to the next episode and your response to it.

  30. Beth,

    Too funny as when I saw the clip that showed Bree with L…..I knew right away some fans were going to flip out. Told another friend – who has quietly quit watching the show (though she still supports it on SM) as it is just too different for her to enjoy – to get out the popcorn. I also had to laugh at how appropriate the timing was on a meme I sent out on TW just a few days ago was.

    I am one of those odd ducks that is really enjoying the changes from the book. To get the story out of my own head. Granted, there have been some major deviations that don’t follow what DG has written, but I never went into this expecting them to follow the books exactly. The show is based on the books….not a faithful recreation.

    A couple of things –
    I agree more time at Lallybroch would have been nice.
    Terry spent a couple of days talking about Bree’s outfit-I understand the choice
    Early on there were no sticks…but once she hit the tree line, yeah, plenty of material there
    Lizzy is a small, thin, SICKLY girl in the books (constant bouts of malaria) not sure where they are going with that character.
    Cheers – Beth Wolfe

  31. Holly

    Thank you for your review. I always look forward to reading your perspective. The addition of the conversation between Frank and Bree regarding his divorce from Claire does not fit with the conversations Bree and Claire had in Scotland during season 2. Wouldn’t it have come up during their arguments about Frank, the Highlander, etc? While I do enjoy some changes from the books, building a script from season to season and making changes has consequences. At the end Matthew/Toni said it was a nugget (or something similar) to add this additional piece to the night Frank died. I disagree. Now, if/when I go back and watch, I will, most likely, see inconsistencies in the dialogue and story.

  32. I liked this episode. We know that Bree and Frank were close and this episode shows that very clearly where we didn’t have that visual in the prior seasons when he was still a live character. I think it was a beautiful “hand off” between Frank and Jamie. Bree will always love Frank as her dad but she will soon meet another dad that will become equally important to her. We also see Bree jump to the defense of her mom and have some realization of what she didn’t understand as a child hearing Frank and Claire fight all the time. It was a closure so a new beginning can emerge. I think it built a solid picture of Bree as the character we will see apply the smarts she gets from Frank and Jamie.

  33. SI Sharon

    Hi Beth, You really know the fandom and the fandemonium. I guess I’m an outlier. I was glad to see the Frank/Leery characters again and more Bree/Roger stories. The show has been mixing up the story timeline for several seasons. So, I am hoping that at some time we’ll see Jenny, the pearls and other book fan favorites in different contexts. So many fans don’t seem to understand the mechanics/logistics of putting a show like this together. The one thing I know is that the showrunners have tried to give us book fans so many of our favorite feels. I am so happy that you put all of this into great perspective. Huge thanks!77

  34. Lizzie Bee Gee

    O Beth I feel less guilty having laughed inappropriately when Roger stepped out of the car & when that poor girl got tossed off of the ship LOLOL & folks I am not a hater but a fan. I want to see the show succeed. But I find myself questioning the choices the writers made. Why do you think they want to satisfy the Frank freaks as much as they’ve done??? Frank had Bree for at least 20 yrs for God’s sake!
    Ok Beth my Q which has been bugging me: If Bree knows her mom dies in the past like that why did she not say anything before she let Claire leave?

    • I got the feeling she didn’t go looking for info until after Roger told her her mother had found Jamie. My assumption is that she “remembered” that paper. What does beg a question for me is how does she feel about Frank not telling her?

      • Lizzie Bee Gee

        Frank did tell her to look .. so he didnt exactly hide what the Rev, I assume, had sent. Guess he didnt have the capacity to begin sharing Claire’s history w Bree bc their lives already didnt fit into the happy fam mode. Thx that helped X

      • Lizzie Bee Gee

        Wonder how she came across that copy again. Obvi Claire didnt clean up his office after his death. TY I can never join traditional bk clubs so this forum helps X

    • Donna Joy

      She didn’t know; it’s pretty clear that the night she confronted her father, she didn’t even know what she was looking at.. Most likely, after hearing from Roger that Claire found Jamie, she went through Frank’s effects to look for information about her mother, and found the letter and clipping.

  35. Rita Templeton-Goldman

    Beth,

    I have all of the books but have only been reading them as each season airs. So glad I finished Drums of Autumn before this episode aired. I was disappointed with the deviation but I knew about Jenny beforehand so that helped.

    I do agree with everyone’s comments both pro and con. I have read the comments to this blog thus far and do not have much else to add, just one. I was pleased to see Ian give Claire’s clothing to Bree. I was especially pleased to see her wearing the hooded white fur trim coat that Claire wore in Season 1 Episode 10. But that 1970’s woven hippie bag as an accessory to this attire looked ridiculous.

    I know this is a stray from all of the other elements of the episode but I just couldn’t help myself, I try to notice all of the little visual details and this one just hurt my eyes.

    I have bookmarked your blog and read it every week. I enjoy your insights and look forward to next week’s episode and your comments.

    Rita in Philly

      • Jeanie

        I had a bag almost identical to that in 1971. Loved it @ bet I replaced the handles a half dozen times. It went everywhere with me because it held everything. I get the bag! It’s her last attachment to the future past. I even get the dress (similar to Claire’s book dress) but she did seem tremendously unprepared & she’s supposed to be smart.

  36. GGWann

    I think I must be getting contrary in my advancing years because as soon as I saw Nell Hudson’s name in the credits, I clapped my hands and gleefully thought “Hee, hee! Here comes trouble!” Loved your assessment! Again, being the contrarian I am, I quite enjoyed the Frank and Laoghaire departures. Looking at them apart from their interactions with Bree, the view of the collateral damage they became through no fault of their own other than not being “the right person” for Claire and Jamie respectively and how each dealt with it was interesting to me. I could have done with less of Bree wandering the moors to make more room for Lallybroch and found her time jumps to be uncharacteristically choppy and somewhat distracting. Loved everything about Roger and Stephen Bonnett and am reserving judgement on Lizzie. Can’t believe there are only 5 eps left this season, but am looking forward to them! Thanks again, Beth for the great read!

  37. Nancy C.

    Every single comment I was going to make has been said over and over. (Fans are definitely not being kind after this episode. Stopped reading the FB stuff) But I have to say, I really liked this episode. Somehow the Frank parts made sense to me. I actually teared up when Bree saw his “ghost” at the dock. I understand about Bree not getting to spend more time with her newly-acquired family. I always liked young Ian’s sister, Maggie. But I did like Bree getting to know Leery. Omg. I hope Bree can understand what she said about Jamie was coming from a disturbed place. I loved wee Joanie. Wish she could get on the boat with Bree. I’ve mucked around with a cane off and on for a few years, so I’m baffled why this intelligent girl wouldn’t pick up a stick to help her walk. Where are her gloves? And a scarf? And seriously, that dress? Scandously short with a Sound of Music vibe. And come on, a map with a crude red line leading her to Lallybroch over the ice and snow-covered mountains? That’s when I laughed out loud! For all that, I’m still happily onboard. Thanks Beth for another great read! I surely do appreciate all you put into your thoughts and comments.

  38. Debbie

    I hear what you are saying, and as a book reader, I wasn’t thrilled with their rewriting a beautiful story. I feel like they watered down so much of what has been a great foundation in order to bring us Frank and Bree. It just simply wasn’t needed. Then we spend so much of the first part watching an intelligent woman too stupid to bring gloves, a scarf, a bigger lunch but manages matches, in order to traverse the Scottish highlands in the dead of winter. She looked as if she was overcome with a bout of dysentery instead of a bruised ankle.
    I can meld two different storylines…book and show…and have done it with other books and shows, but this isn’t even a good story any more. Friends who have never read the book have begun to complain about how much it jumps and how unbelievable so much of it is now.

  39. Donna B

    Beth, as always, you hit the nail on the head! And many others have commented, I did miss the scene where Bree and Laighere (sorry about the spelling…can’t ever remember how to spell her name) right over the pearls she tried to snatch from Bree….and for Bree to see the portrait of her grandmother who she looks like….although Laura Donnelly couldn’t be there as Jenny, Ian could have filled in that part….Bree needed more time at Lallybook with her Fraser family….let’s see what they do in the next episode. I just hope they don’t deviate too much more going forward. Thank GOODNESS I’ve read the books so I know where to fill in the missing pieces!

  40. Hi Beth, Well that was indeed different (think I said the same thing last week). Have to agree with you about the book fan’s maybe losing the plot over episode 7. I can’t say I hated it but I truly think they could have done it better. I had to ask myself why would they spend 5 precious screen time minutes having Bree plod her way through the Highlands in her ridiculously inappropriate outfit, Reminded me of Claire’s trek through the jungle in S3 – waste of time. I’m not a Frank fan so the amount of time spent showing Bree & Frank’s backstory was lost on me but it probably helped non bookies understand how much Bree loved Frank. Still, it was precious screen time that could have been put to better use – like telling the story!!

    It’s JMHO but the entire episode was thrown off because Laura Donelly (Jenny) was unavailable. Using Laoghaire as a fill in wasn’t the way to go. The entire sweetness and light Laoghaire turning into bitter angry Laoghaire was not realistic – to me anyway. Ian ( along with Young Jamie and the rest of the children) could have filled in for Jenny at Lallybroch. We needed to see Bree spend more time at Lallybroch with her family not with Laoghaire at Balriggen. Ian could have given Bree Jamie’s letters to read. Having Laoghaire pitch up at Lallybroch demanding to see Jamie could still have happened as could the fight over the pearls. As it was it looked like Ian couldn’t get rid of Bree fast enough. Hell he didn’t even hang about on the dock to see she got safely on the boat. As for Lizzie – good Lord. The actress chosen was completely un-Lizzie like. I laughed because she looked bigger and stronger than Bree!!! What the hell were they thinking.

    The episode was the episode. I thought Sophie did well and Rik and Ed Speleers were wonderful. Lordy, I think I dislike Bonnet more than I did BJR. Rik and Sophie’s costumes were awful. Rik would have been better in knee britches not weird looking flappy draws. Terry has really let things slip. I did see the Frank/Laoghaire comparison being married to partners who didn’t love them back. Easy for bookies to see this but I forget the TV series is really geared to no bookies Oh dear, All I can hope is next week I have less to complain about and I’m not even wearing my book hat I swear 😀

    • Joan Tinnin

      I really enjoyed your comments. Your own recap page, perhaps? Beth I love you dearly. Can’t have enough recaps IMHO. i must say, though that Terry has stated a number of times that she didn’t costume Rik. Shows, doesn’t it?

  41. chris drake

    I am disappointed about the time wasted on Frank…I don’t care for him ever, and do not care for Tobias Menzies one little bit in anything.

    What an unfortunate event to avoid Lallybroch and put up with Leghair again… let’s just stick with the source material. I ask also why to bring Murtagh back?? He is not the Murtagh we loved.

    All in all a good episode but it could have been better. Lizzie Weymss seem like the wrong actress for that part. I am a repeat book reader and wish they stuck to it more.

    Some things seemed very contrived: another trunk of clothes from Claire?? Marsali got the first trunk so not sure there should be another one. Leghair just happening along to rescue Bree who never had an injury and she would have made herself a splint. Someone like Leghair would not have intimidated Bree.

    I know how much the writers and producers care for and love Outlander but inserting characters I don’t like. I also miss the time with young Ian that we had in the book. OH well, I am failing to state all that was good and plenty of it was… Love Roger. I haven’t had any issues with the costumes. or the wigs really. Jamie could have longer redder hair but I think he is more handsome in that period by having the bangs.

    thank you to the creators I am grateful for the show( but a book reader can’t adapt to the non-book readers who require what we do not??? It is another version and we know the truth of it all.

  42. Bev in Boulder

    I had an epiphany after episode 4 and decided I was going to let changes from the books go from now on since we have a series in the 4th season that can still be recognized as the same story as our beloved books. But this was too much. If I never see Frank or Leghair* again it will be too soon. Frankly (pun intended) the fact that the series has pushed so much more Frank at us has made me dislike the character even more than before. The fact that, in the behind the scenes feature, Tony, Matt and Maril were laughing at the fact that they knew this was going to piss fans off – but did it anyway, was really annoying.

    The biggest problems are that 1) the “creative license” story wasn’t very good imo. The comparison of the two couples was a stretch. Claire and Frank navigated their uncomfortable relationship for 20 years. Jamie and Leghair’s lasted, what, 6 months at most? and 2) they’re going to use “lack of time” as their excuse when beloved scenes are left out down the road.

    I thought the Roger segment was excellent, so I will be doing a lot of fast forwarding to those bits of the story when I do re-watches. Also thought that the PB&J sandwich was a nod to readers since they didn’t have Claire bring them with her (as she did in the book) last season, similar to the snake in the out house last episode since they weren’t using that scene in the show. Ditto the original ring last episode.

    This is my first post here. Hope I haven’t been too long winded or violated any rules.

    *an old nick name for her from the early 90s when we had no idea how the name was pronounced and because we didn’t like her much.

  43. Diane

    Beth you once again nailed it! Your writing style is already great but I see you growing every year.
    Anyway about the show. I was disappointed about the missing time at Lallybroch especially the scene I was waiting for with her grandmothers pearls and slapping Leghaire! But I understand the actress was unavailable and the script was revised. It just seems like a lot was lost for book readers. I’ve never been a Frank fan but Tobias is fantastic so I can see why they would bring him back. Lizzie was a lot more grown than I expected but I’ll trust casting since it’s not let me down yet. Speaking of casting my first glance at Bonnet was oh he’s too pretty to be that bad but has that opinion changed! He just casually tossed a child off the ship and the tension between him and Roger was palpable. Those scenes were so good.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how this will all play out even if it does stray from the books. I still enjoy the show as well. But as predicted many people are losing their minds!

  44. Liz H.

    Thanks for your honesty in your blog. I love the books and have now (almost) separated my expectations for this series from them. But sometimes the episodes seems as if they have been written by a committee, that doesn’t really understand the characters or the times, or even the essence of the multiple story lines. Sure the books are complex but a there’s a difference to leaving things out and just plain changing things so they are unrecognisable with the original story. And some situations are so shortchanged they are unbelievable, for example the short time given to Ian and Bree’s meeting, and Brianna’s presence at Lallybroch. The pearls were essential to that scene as proof that Brianna is who she claims to be. The worst thing for me is that the TV series is starting to taint my love of the books. How do I reconcile the TV Lizzy with the initially vulnerable and tragic, book Lizzy? But I keep watching, or actually recording it, but now I watch with a little trepidation to see where the storyline goes.

  45. Bettie

    Thank you Beth for such a calm and fair appraisal. I’m a relative newcomer to all this, having stumbled on the TV show early this year and only then discovered the books. Needless to say I’m hooked, have blitzed my way through both, and am more than halfway through my second reading of the books. One of the joys I’ve found is that certain passages in the books only take on significance with hindsight, and so I’ve often found myself having to revisit them. I also dip in and out of the show, which I think works really when it tells the story in flashbacks or shifts between the past and the not quite so long ago. On the other hand, there are parts of the show that drag, or jar, or don’t make sense…just like there are in the books. And hey, they are not necessarily the same parts. So I didn’t love all of episode 407, but I did love some of it.

    For a start, the desolate landscape Bree found herself in was as it should have been. This was Scotland after it had been ravaged by war. The harsh economic conditions were driving people away from the highlands to settle in the newly industrialising towns, or to emigrate to the colonies, not least North Carolina. I was a couple of years younger than Bree would have been in 1971, but I dressed the same as her and even owned that bag. I was just as clueless as she was and very nearly got into a bad situation when hitchhiking round Scotland, so it was easy to feel sympathy for her. There were precious few cars on the roads in 1971, let alone wagons on the moors in 1768!

    I thought Laoghaire’s house was wrong as that style wasn’t typical of the period. Jamie must have been sending her way too much money if she could afford to live there. The description from Echo in the Bone makes Balriggan seem much more of a working smallholding (the word shabby is used). However, based on that same passage in Echo, I was able to swallow the idea that Laoghaire might have had a softer side and a different POV on her relationship with Jamie. But I still don’t like her and would much rather Bree had spent less time with her and more at Lallybroch.

    I thought the scenes on the ship with Roger and Bonnet were good, but I think I’ve gone on long enough for now. Thanks for the opportunity to have a say and please keep up the good work.

      • I am a little late replying as I am reminded of your blog by email – think I shall have to change my preferences to at once, rather than once a week! I do like to read your balanced view.

        I was disappointed with the episode, not so much because it was more Roger and Brianna rather than Jamie and Claire, but because of the unrealistic storyline. Someone mentioned the map with a red line drawn from Craig-na-Dune to Ayr. Why did they choose Ayr? Unless they googled ports emigrants left from and A for Ayr came up first. It’s miles from the Highlands and the red line was over very difficult territory, no way would she have survived, particularly dressed as she was. Although the landscape was ravaged by war, as Bettie describes above, there had been a concerted effort after Culloden to build barracks and military roads linking them so the obvious choice would have been to have her walk along a road. Inverness, however, was an important port and so much nearer. I too was sorry for not more Lallybroch, even without Jennie, Ian and his children, grand-children could have covered it.

        I suppose Ayr struck me because I live in Scotland and it just seemed such a strange choice. Do you know if the writers write in the States or do they come across to Scotland to write?

        Roger’s outfit just didn’t particularly suit him, although they were authentic clothes seamen of the time would have worn. However, as someone suggested, breeks would have been better. I probably won’t get to watch the next ep until after Christmas. I cannot watch until Monday and that’s Christmas Eve. Will be much too busy. I did mean to say though that I thought the actors did a splendid job in interpreting what they were given. I hope everyone has a very happy festive season.

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