Outlander – #1.16, Let’s discuss!

It’s been over ten days now since this episode was broadcast and I’m still processing its content.

As a huge fan of the source material, I knew exactly what was coming and I was sure that it would be presented to us in “close to the book” as possible. I was right.

I also knew that if they did this the right way, showing one man’s depravity and another’s suffering, and also giving the attention to the consequences and the healing, they would have done the source material and the fandom proud.

Knowing all this, I thought I was prepared for the episode … I was wrong. Seriously, no matter how many times I’ve read the passage in which Jamie tells Claire exactly what was done to him and his reaction at the hands of Black Jack, my imagination never came even close to the visual!

Since you all have probably seen this episode at least once, I’ll spare you the details and I’ll just give you my thoughts on the episode.

While Ron Moore gave ‘Garrison Commander’ to Tobias Menzies to shine, he without a doubt gifted ‘To Ransom a Man’s Soul’ to Sam Heughan. Both of these men are gifted actors and both have done their best to make their characters three-dimensional and not some superficial cartoon cutouts. Trust me, in hands of a lesser committed actors or for that matter show runner, this could have easily happened.

In this episode these three characters, Claire, Jamie and Black Jack, went through a vast range of emotions and the actors and the scenes they were in had to be raw and unforgettable. And even though this showcased all three actors, Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies, I think this particular episode rested on Sam Heughan’s broad shoulders and he pulled it off magnificently.

Watching every excruciating moment of Jamie’s torture had to be not just hard to watch, but it had to touch us on so many levels. I shook from anger, swore a mean streak from devastation I felt at not being able to do anything. If I as a viewer felt that, what do you suppose Jamie felt as he was going through this ordeal?

Jamie’s rescue and the subsequent healing was just as compelling to watch as his torture, and that’s why everyone is praising the way this episode was done.

Many feel that the show went too far in showing exactly what Black Jack did to Jamie and while I might have liked the torture to be shown in two scenes and not three [four with the opening scene in the dungeon], I wonder if I would have had such a visceral reaction to it? I’ll never know because it never played that way.

The scenes in the monastery were just as heart wrenching and heartbreaking to watch as the ones of torture.

Sam Heughan plunged Jamie in the deepest place of despair and Caitriona Balfe’s Claire wasn’t about to give up on him. She made me believe that she would sell her soul to the Devil himself just to save the man she loves.

Both actors were magnificent as they showed the strength and tenderness for each other as Jamie realized that this woman loved him not only with her heart but with her life. Claire saw no point in living without him, and if he was willing to die, then she would willingly join him.

To see them sail away to their next adventure was bittersweet, if only because we can tell that Jamie has only begun to heal, and Claire is a bit weary in telling him that they’ll be parents soon. With Jamie’s answer to her question if he’s happy about it, their embrace and a kiss is welcome to us all.

They leave us filled with hope that Jamie will eventually heal as he embraces the future with his Claire and their wee one to come. France awaits with uncertainty but our duo has decided to face it head on and try with all their might to change the future by stopping the uprising and the battle of Culloden.

This episode, as many before it, had so many great scenes but my favorite two are:

The scene in which Claire tries to give him something to want to live for. Caitriona Balfe just knocks this scene out of the ballpark! I was right there with her, doing my version of “ugly crying”.

The scene in which Murtagh is trying to talk some sense to Jamie, and I didn’t understand a word they said, yet I cried like a baby.

Pure genius to have the whole scene in Gaelic without any need to be translated as Duncan and Sam’s performance was enough to effectively express to us the meaning of the conversation.

Thanks to Mandy Tidwell we now know what was said.

Jamie – How ​can I be left to ​this pain?

Murtagh – We shall do our utmost to heal you.

Jamie – Some things can’t be healed.  As is my desire, put an end to this now.

Murtagh – I’ll suffer no more of this.

Jamie – I won’t get over ​this. Will you force me to beg?​

Murtagh – I gave a promise to your mother, peace on her soul, that no harm would come to you.​

Jamie – Late is the hour, oh Godfather​.

Murtagh – And Claire? Would she just be a widow, forsaken? Your head’s in the porridge (you’re not thinking straight). You haven’t a single thought for her.

Jamie – I have​n’t a single​ thought ​of anything but her.

For me, the first season of Outlander was the best TV I’ve seen in a long, long time. As it premiered, I felt butterflies of excitement, and then every episode that followed I was riveted and emotionally invested with not just Jamie and Claire, but Frank and Rupert and Angus and Mrs. Fitz and Geillis and Dougal and …just about everyone in it!

sam cait source nikascottdottumblrdotcom

sam cait source nikascottdottumblrdotcom

The show developed so many wonderful characters that they all became my family. By the last episode, I was devastated for our hero and heroine, but also filled with hope for their future.

I also realized that my book Jamie isn’t the same as the shows Jamie. Sam Heughan may have put a perfect face to my book Jamie, but there are things that the book Jamie would have never even thought of doing or saying some things that the show’s Jamie did. And that’s perfectly fine with me. The creative road that Ron Moore chose for his show’s Jamie isn’t bad or wrong. It is however different and I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and trust that somewhere along the way, in not so distant future, my book Jamie will converge with the show’s Jamie and then I’ll have the complete picture.

What Outlander did in its first season was powerful, brave and gripping! The writing, acting, directing and every behind the scene department involved from set decorating, costuming and make-up, all were superb. I greatly enjoyed every episode this season and can’t wait to see what they’ll do with Season 2.

That said, there have been things that should/could have been done different, and still maintained its originality and integrity.

Don’t misunderstand, I love the show. I love the books even more. I can tell the difference and I appreciate them when they’re called for because they enrich and surprise. However, it’s a fact that even RDM admitted in his podcasts. This is his first time adapting a series from a book, and it’s a learning curve for him. I know that he’s a genius at what he does and that he is doing the best he “sees” this project and his vision and mine aren’t the same. In the end, that really doesn’t even compute. I am no writer or a show runner. LOL! I am a fan. Period. Thank God I’m not obsessed to a point that the things that I wasn’t happy with would bother me much. At this point in the game, I’ll take the adaptation and Jamie any way they offer it to me, warts and all 🙂

That’s called an unconditional love of a TV show that is better than any I’ve seen in ages 😉

Now it’s your turn to tell me how do you feel about this episode and about the series.

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One thought on “Outlander – #1.16, Let’s discuss!

  1. I just read your analysis and thought it was very insightful and well-written. One thing I would say in response is that while I certainly agree that RDM gave “The Garrison Commander” to Tobias Menzies as his episode to shine in; RDM never gave Sam Heughan ANYTHING in the first season. He and his writers minimized the character of Jamie Fraser throughout the first season, in favor of completely fabricated passages and even entire episodes. RDM’s mantra throughout was “More Frank.” They had to include the substance from the book in Eps. 15 and 16: they couldn’t gloss over THOSE events. Without including them, the story would not be “Outlander” at all. In so doing, they could not avoid giving Sam Heughan a chance to shine – of which he took full advantage. He did more with a single tear in one scene than Menzies did with all his faux-perversity and scenery-chewing. Nevertheless, RDM has never acknowledged the contribution made by this actor in any way while at the same time going into spasms of praise once over the way Menzies walked across a room! I am mystified about why this happened and why RDM has the animus he has against Sam Heughan, since everyone else, including his fellow actors, show staff, and journalists, praise him as a thoroughly good guy. I write it off to the Petty Jealousy of the Short Man. RDM has promised Even More (extra-book) Frank in Season 2. This thoroughly disgusts me. We can only hope that the increasing praise from critics and fans will compel these writers to do more to give the character and the actor their rightful place in this series.

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