Saturday, October 28, 2017

As Outlander Turns

I feel a little guilty about the Mt. Everest of expectations to which we hold the Outlander/Tall Ship gurus responsible. It is no small feat considering the Outlander Book Fiends KNOW every word and expression Jamie Fraser has ever uttered or displayed. Yes, Jamie did cry! He fell A.P.A.R.T after he so sweetly and lovingly touched his daughter through those pictures. There. I said it.

But considering I am the O.F. of O.B.F.’s, I do want to acknowledge all the things that have been done right in Season Thee.

OH. SO. RIGHT. Here’s my contribution to the vast opinions on Outlander.

21. Claire’s grief. Not only is she pregnant, but she must also deal with a husband she no longer loves while dying inside from her profound grief and loneliness. I believe Catriona’s performances. I believe I am seeing a woman lost. I should note that I have been a believer since she and Jamie verbally flayed each other after her rescue in The Reckoning.

20. The Print Shop set. I want to live there. I’d line the shelves with leather-bound books and wake to the six o’clock chime in Edinburgh. Ink, leather, polished woods and some fresh hay (you know, to stuff in my mattress.)

19. Frank and Claire. Each of their bouts displayed the decay of lost love. I suppose a nurse could have raised a daughter alone in 1948, but I find it believable that she said yes to Frank. I really do want to hate Frank, but he has a sly wit and for the most part is kind to Claire and loves Bree. Really a beautiful display that, I suspect, reflects reality more than I care to acknowledge. Tobias does understand his characters.

18. The hair. Not just Jamie's DunBonnet hair, but Claire's during the 40's, 50's and 60's. Just fantastic. I could mention the customes, but I think there is no disagreement that they have been incredible since day one. Season 3 has really captured the ear with the hairstyles.

17. The PUDDLE transition. This is the third great transition in the whole series. The other two occurred in Season 2, Episode 1. The first when Frank is burning her “Highlander” clothes and the smoke is wafting upward. Claire is staring out the window and then the transition to the plane parked on the tarmac in Boston. The second transition occurs right after, as Claire walks down the stairs and Frank is reaching for her but then we see Jamie’s fingers as he guides her from the gangplank in Le Havre. But this one is so great because it gets her right where we want her to be. Near Carfax Close and Jamie.

16. All things Batman. The utility belt. The theme song. A great break from an otherwise serious episode. And I loved that Claire sewed her own outfit, but was anyone else surprised she could do this in one day? She wore the same clothes through the whole scene.

15. #IamMadameJeanne. Someone asked the other day on the Heughligans’ FB page, ‘what Outlander character are you?’. This one character is all of us – the fan base. Well, seeing Madame Jeanne’s longing as she looked at James Fraser and the burning jealousy in her gaze when Jamie brings Claire to the whore house – well, I sympathize. We all want him, and Madame Jeanne expresses the longing that all fans feel. Yes, we’ll risk the man you are, Jamie.

14. Rupert stole the show that is Episode 1. Loyal to the end, even though he didn’t need to be. In the books, Jamie didn’t remember so much about Culloden. I liked this whole addition to the story.

Copyright: Outlander Starz/Tall Ship
13. We all know Catriona Balfe is a beautiful woman but we’ve seen her looking pretty plain in previous seasons. The pinnacle Claire is Jamie’s vision of her as he walks into Lallybroch (carrying that hunk of soon-to-be fire-grilled venison) displays Claire at her best. She turns, just a hint of a smile upon her lips. The sun might be reflecting off her perfect skin on top of that. She really is a witch.

12. Walk Off The Earth. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall. Don’t ask me why this song works but it does. Bear McCreary, you evil composer wizard you. Don’t worry, I’ll buy the sound track.

11. Clark Butler. Jamie and Willie together. OMG. I’m actually imaging Clark being on the show to reprise his role as Willie when Lord John visits Fraser’s Ridge. Willie would be 12 then; Clark was 11 when he was cast as Willie. Make it so.

10. Matthew B Roberts. Is he single?

9. Don’t miss it. Jamie’s expression when Lady Dunsany offers to seek his parole so he can return to Scotland. Thank you, your Ladyship. Again, another brilliant bit from Sam. Jamie continually sacrifices his own happiness in the service to others and there is no higher service than to his son.

8. Buttons. I didn’t know they could be an aphrodisiac. I want to undo everyone one of them here.

Copyright: Outlander Starz/Tall Ship
7. Mary McNab. I don’t think any of us were looking forward to Jamie being with other women, but Mary’s kindness and her obvious need spilled over into her real desire to give comfort to Jamie. Like one time, in a dark, dank cave, they were soul mates. Oh, that single tear. Someone fetch me my tear catcher!

6. You filthy wee bitch. Some scenes are condensed into such small chunks but contain all the power of a full-length episode. I loved Jamie’s two outbursts here. “How dare you speak that way to me!”

5. “And you never touched me.” The best of Jamie’s eloquent and romantic soliloquies when he is reunited with Claire, ending with “There’s the two of us now.” No list that is worthy of being called a list would be complete without calling out Sam’s perfect performance here. The longing, the doubt, the shock – all of it on display with such overt yet controlled emotion.

4. Jamie riding away from Helwater. All the feels. All the awards.

3. That amount of time doesn’t exist. The most perfect, the most heartbreaking words in the Outlander universe.

2. Murtagh. This has been one of the biggest and best surprises of the entire Outlander series compared to the brilliant books. I never really noticed Murtagh in the books. Well, you can’t blame me. Uh, Jamie...  Yeah, he was Jamie’s godfather and all, but he didn’t jump off the page like he has on screen. Great casting is the culprit of this shameful and sinful deviation from canon. Duncan LaCroix made Murtagh a man for all seasons and a great romantic sideshow. A few of us, of a certain age, regrew ovaries at the sight of Murtagh and Suzette getting it on. Am I right? And there he is at Ardsmuir. How relieved and satisfying to know he lives. Note to writers: Don’t make the rookie mistake of hooking him up with Aunt Jocasta though. Ellen lives strong in this one.

1. Of Lost Things. Without a doubt, the best episode to date in the Outlander run. Of course, those who say it is The Wedding or A. Malcolm are wrong. Just when we think Jamie is at peace, and dare I say happy, he has yet another brutal heartache. I measure the true beauty of this episode by the amount of salty tears in my tear catcher (also known as a wine glass). Don’t judge me.

I do have one question for Diana, which I will ask her when I see her in June on the Avalon river cruise: Is there anything that you have seen in the Outlander tv series that you thought would have been a good addition to the books?

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