Aagghhh…What Will Happen Next?…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×03   27 comments


This past episode of Outlander 2.2 “Not in Scotland Anymore” received mixed reviews by fans and critics alike.  After I wrote my own reflection on the episode, I began reading what other folks thought.  Wow.  I’m still struck by the sheer amount of articles available to read!  There was a lot of repetition in the responses and that leads me to believe that their might be validity to both the negative and positive critiques.

Read the rest of the article after the jump!


The Negative

There wasn’t as much as I expected. Especially, when I took a look at what we readers know versus the viewer.  Several of the interviews I read commented on how quickly the Frasers seem to find their way into Parisian society and access to the court of Louis the XV.

“We said it in last week’s “Outlander Style” post, but it’s truer than ever after this episode: Claire and Jamie Fraser are, quite simply, rock stars.

How else to explain the outrageous turns of good fortune that regularly befall them upon their arrival in France? How else to explain how everyone from servants to shop-owners to Bonnie Prince Charlie to King Louis XV himself not only welcome the Frasers with open arms (and in a decidedly unFrench manner), but also all but pledge their everlasting fealty to them in one way or another?… ” Tom and Lorenzo http://tomandlorenzo.com/2016/04/outlander-not-scotland-anymore/

Their ability doesn’t seem so unusual to those who have read the books.  For instance, Master Raymond befriending Claire will not seem so strange when you know more about his back story.  There are also people who have proceeded the couples’ arrival and paved the way. The non-book reading viewer probably doesn’t understand that wine merchant Jared Fraser has cultivated relationships in this society for years.  I’m not sure if Jamie’s other uncle the Abbot, a staunch Jacobite, will play a role, but readers know he wields power and some influence with Prince Charles and his father.  Jamie’s grandfather, Simon the “old fox”, holds a place of power and influence, as well.  And, this isn’t Jamie’s first time in France or at court.  I’ll admit a few well-chosen words added here or there might have made all the difference in viewers’ understanding of the Frasers’ luck, but we have just been introduced to this story so, maybe there will still be time to correct these perceptions.

Several reviewers commented on the amount of time given to showing that France was very different from Scotland.  They felt it was laid on a bit thick. At least one reviewer saw this time as a desperate attempt to shore up a weak story-line.

“Worst of all, for all intents and purposes, “Outlander” is simply rebooting the plots of its first season in a new, exotic locale.”  Libby Hill, LA Times http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-outlander-recap-not-in-scotland-anymore-20160416-story.html

Overall, most of the negative critiques were fair and also took a look at what was done well in the show.  I found the LA TImes’ critic, Libby Hill, to be the only reviewer that I’m pretty sure will NEVER like the show.  I read her previous article and she seems to have her mind set on disliking the series.

The Positive

I was pleased to see that even though most reviewers praised the sets and costumes, they also concentrated on the characters and story.  A lot was made of Jamie’s PTSD and how it is affecting the story and our main characters’ marriage.  They are able to see that Jamie is a shadow of the man he was, they noted Claire’s efforts to help him and how her fear and worry was almost palpable. Many reviews commented on the shows’ unusual perspective on the role of male vulnerability.

“Sex in pop culture often lacks variety. Usually its only tenor is unadulterated lust and pleasure or on the opposite end of the spectrum, disappointment. But in real life, sex has incredible variety. It can start out tentative or coy then sway into outright passions. Lovers can pause for laughter or switch positions when something is uncomfortable. Nothing in life, especially sexual encounters, is one note. One of the greatest strengths of “Outlander” is its keen, honest understanding of sex between men and women filtered through the relationship of Claire and Jamie. Their sexual chemistry has proved to be a cornerstone of their relationship providing a window into their loyalty for one another. While last week’s episode curiously didn’t touch on Jamie’s abuse and how it currently shapes their relationship with much depth, it takes center stage in “Not in Scotland Anymore.”

“…Jamie’s struggle is just one of the many ways “Outlander” plays with both masculinity and duality. Yes, there is Jamie who on the surface is the picture of a dashing romantic hero but he has a kindness and a vulnerability that has only been magnified by his trauma.”

   New York Times                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/16/arts/television/outlander-season-2-episode-2-recap.html

When the show reveals that Black Jack Randall did indeed survive the kine stampede, our heroine faced a dilemma.  Does she tell her husband?

…Claire tells Jamie the truth, it could be too much for him to bear, and his need for vengeance might supersede their goal of stopping the Jacobite uprising. But if she keeps the news about Randall from him, and then he finds out her secret, that kind of broken trust could be more detrimental to their relationship than anything that’s come before.”  http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2016/04/16/outlander-recap-season-2-episode-2-not-in-scotland-anymore/

They seem to understand that there is much more to this story than time travel and bodice-ripping and that makes me very happy


I would love to say that the fans were all in agreement…wait …what the hell am I talking about?! Of course, the fans disagree!  That’s what fans do!

The Negative

As far as I can tell, most of the negative commentary surrounds expectations of the book readers.  There is some discussion about how the showrunners decided to script “the honeypot” scene.  In the book, Jamie was truly shocked by Claire waxing off her body hair.  It made for a comical and endearing scene between the two that showcased Jamie’s acceptance of women as God intended them to be and that wasn’t as “bare as a wee lassie”.  He likes Claire’s hairiness, her round-ass and the times when she gets plump; her womanliness.  These fans see his being turned on by her baldness as a weakening of his character.   How the “red dress” was introduced has caused some discussion as well.  Fans assert that the episode lacks the needed explanation for why Claire would choose to wear such a risqué dress.  Once again, they see the changes as a weakening of both of the characters’ personalities.

Quite frankly, this seems like more of the same to me.  Fans of the book are longing to see certain scenes and hear certain dialogue and get disappointed when they don’t.  They quickly point out scenes and dialogue left in that could have been left out to make room for what they see as crucial to understanding the characters and story.  It happened last season and I’m SURE it will happen again this season.  I understand it, but the truth is  not every great scene is crucial when you are trying to adapt 40+ hours of dialogue and action into 13.  And, which fans get to decide which are most important?  I haven’t met an Outlander fan yet that can come to that kind of agreement.  In fact, I had a chance over NYC Tartan week to discuss favorite episodes with other bloggers and found none of us agreed with the other, which is to be expected. Readers come to the material from different places and times in life’s journey.  What means something to a 40 year-old married woman may not mean the same thing to a 20 something single woman and vice versa. The fans have not been given the job to decide which scenes make the cut and how the characters will be represented, like it or not, that job has been given to Ron D. Moore the experienced visual story teller.

Personally, I was able to see how the adaptation took a scene important to the book readers and tweaked it a bit to help further the story of Jamie’s trauma and the effect it has on his and Claire’s marriage. True to form for trauma survivors, book readers know that Jamie got worse before he got better in the Abby:

“…We notice that when Claire is treating him by the fire, although physically beaten up, Jamie doesn’t appear to be that different emotionally.  His personality including the ability to joke when things are serious seems to be intact.   After a traumatic event, the body and mind go into shock.  This is why we don’t really see a change in Jamie right away.  But, then comes the abbey and Jamie’s deterioration.  This is also typical behavior for PTSD suffers.  With time the shock fades.  He begins to process what has happened to him and day by day  Jamie gets worse not better.  Without help and understanding the prognosis for returning to “normal” and being able to function in a relationship with a spouse is practically nil. The fact that he was able to have a functioning  relationship with Claire?  A miracle.”

Beth Wesson, My Outlander Blog: http://wp.me/p4mtBT-5s

We didn’t get to see this version of the story in season 1.  In fact, many of us thought Claire’s ransoming Jamie’s soul was way too easy.  I suspect that the writers agree and have allowed Claire to get him on the boat to safety, but understood she had placed a bandaid on a very large wound.   I  think we will see Jamie get worse before he gets better.  They are letting him struggle with recovery and showing the viewer he is a changed man.

There are some fans who would argue that we have never seen the Jamie from the book and that TV Jamie has always been a shadow of the man they know.

“And finally, on to my big issue with this episode, one which I truly hope gets resolved. But as this is the same issue I had last season, I’m not overly hopeful. Why do we love Jamie? Why is he our book boyfriend, our fantasy lover, the reason for our obsession? It’s not just because he’s so gorgeous – which Sam Heughan is, of course, physically reflecting my book Jamie really well. It’s because he’s brave, bold, capable, romantic, and able to have and express soul-deep love. And I don’t believe that Ron Moore gets that. And because he doesn’t understand the essence of Jamie, and how that translates into the soul-deep relationship he has with Claire, that doesn’t filter down to the writers of each episode…”

“I don’t expect Jamie to be completely over Black Jack by this point – and he never will be completely over it – but I haven’t seen the bold, brilliant, decisive Jamie that I fell in love with. That Jamie deserves and can handle the headstrong, equally brilliant Claire. But this Jamie isn’t there yet, and since this show isn’t about Jamie’s personal growth into the man he should be, I worry that he’ll never get there, or won’t get there soon enough to have the show hold my interest over seasons to come.”

Erin Conrad: http://www.threeifbyspace.net/2016/04/outlander-review-ep-202-wouldnt-scotland/#.VxUmj4-cFMs

I’ve had my own issues with Jamie’s development, but Episode 9 “The Reckoning” went a long way in remedying that for me with its switch in point of view.  And, I really can see where they are going with his PTSD.  My hope is that we will see Jamie’s warrior spirit get a chance to fight its way back to being the King of Men we book readers know he becomes.

The Positive

There were a lot of fans who felt very positive about this episode. They delighted in the visual decadence and the introduction of new characters.  They seem to understand that this is an adaptation and that it isn’t their beloved books and are able to put aside the book and enjoy the show for what it is.  I’ll admit that it isn’t that easy for me and I recently expressed the fact that it takes me at least three viewings before I can truly let go and enjoy the show as its own entity.

A lot of fans say that instead of lamenting the changes the show makes to the books they enjoy them and look forward to seeing how things are changed.  They are able to say yeah I like that change or I didn’t and still enjoy the show.

“SOME part of my brain acknowledged the claims this was a new Outlander , but this week’s episode really brought that home with its focus on appearances, identity and the aspects of ourselves we choose to show and hide.”

Connie Verzak, Scotland Now:  http://www.scotlandnow.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/outlander-recap-season-2-episode-7773499



I usually can take a guess at what we are about to see and experience in the next episode.  After last weeks’ episode, I can say with certainty that I have no flipping idea what we are going to see!  I’m sure we’ll see more of the French court and Jamie and Claire’s attempts to change history, but how that will play out in the adaptation is anyone’s guess!  I’ll admit to being terribly fascinated by how they will tell the rest of this tale.  I’m sure we will get some stuff verbatim from the book, (there truly is some great dialogue) , but seeing how they compressed, combined and linked characters and story lines in the last episode has left me on unfamiliar ground. I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT!  And, maybe that’s a good thing, maybe I’ll be able to take off my book goggles sooner rather than later.

Posted April 20, 2016 by bethwesson in Outlandish Anticipation

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27 responses to “Aagghhh…What Will Happen Next?…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×03

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  1. Reblogged this on My Outlander Blog! and commented:

    The new Outlandish Anticipation post is up on Outlander Online! This week I take a look at what the critics and fans had to say about Episode 2.2 and look ahead to 2.3!

  2. I do agree with a lot of this. I am just trying to enjoy and see where it’s going. LOVE the books and am looking for the changes. I love the beautiful costumes and scenery. Just trying to Outlander on !

  3. I find my poor memory for book details helps me to enjoy the Starz series more. I do obviously notice some things that I fell could have been done better on the show – but I’m just a reader – not a tv producer, director etc. I am able to overlook a lot of things that are not played out in the show and just sit back and enjoy it!

  4. As a book lover on my 4th read of the series I think Ron Moore and his team have done a remarkable job adapting these huge books into 13-16 episodes of TV with each episode having to have its arc which fits into the overall arc of the story. I enjoy the additions and changes because they give me something to wonder about and anticipate. I love that Ron has flushed out Frank’s character to truly make this a love triangle that spans space and time. Both Jamie and Frank were worthy of Claire’s love and loyalty, but in the end, Jamie was her true soul-mate and nothing Frank could do when she returned could ever make him #1 in her heart. Tragic. Starting Season 2 with 1945 instead of 1968 was brilliant and I think every minute of the time they spent there was necessary and beautifully written and played. Tobias Menzies is awe inspiring in his portrayals of both Frank and BJR and I look forward to his return in Episode 5. Episode 2 introduced many new characters, but if we are going to get on with the many different threads of intrigue to come, we have to get the chess pieces on the board as quickly as possible and can’t really get the “organic” way in which these relationships were formed in the book. Diana had all the time in the world and Ira Behr had 55 minutes. What he accomplished was remarkable, although I do agree that they could have cut some of the King Louis potty scene and the catty aristocrat ladies inquiring about penis names in favor of not cutting some of the lines they omitted in the final cut with Master Raymond and also between Claire and Jamie. (Love the STARZ “Inside Outlander” features that include the final annotated scripts).

    • Haven’t seen those! Thanks for sharing! I think we are of a like mind 😊

    • My prediction on what we are going to see in Episode 3 is the introduction of Fergus the pickpocket to steal letters to and from Prince Charles and return them so that Jamie can gather more intelligence. Claire, needing to be useful and have purpose with start working at L’Hospital with Mother Hildegard, but they are going to quickly get to the encoding for the message in the musical composition to move the story forward at a more rapid pace than in the book. From the preview looks like they are also moving quickly to the partnership between Le Comte and Prince Charles in purchasing a shipment of exclusive wines to raise funds for the rebellion given that most of the bankers are not willing to take the gamble. The previews also elude to a confrontation between Jamie and Claire. She wants him to explain something to her so that she can understand. That may be related to the fact that he is never home anymore and when he is he is ill tempered and seems further distant from her. Things are going to get worse not better for Jamie and Claire in Episode 3. Those who are longing for the sweet and passionate love scenes between Claire and Jamie have a wait ahead, but in the end they will come back together, but in a different way.

    • Holy Cow – thanks Kathy on the Outlander scripts – what a find – had no idea. I agree with you – Ron, et.al. have 55 minutes where as DG had infinite number of pages. Also I think that Ron and gang are trying to build to a split between Claire & Jamie, which is where I think they are headed with Jamie’s PTSD and the fine line they are walking of lying & deceiving trying to change history. This isn’t exactly the path DG took, but it does get us to about the same place after Claire’s miscarriage, in which they have to come to terms with a lot of s*it – some of their own doing and some not. I think this path travels down the same plot line point as DG, but in shorter time.

      I really have to hand it to these guys – from the costumes to the set decorations to the scripts, this is really a top-notch production. How lucky for we fans to have such a great adaptation when it could have been easily cheap and cheesy.

  5. Personally, I enjoy each and every episode more each time I watch them (I think I’m up to 7 for ep 2) and I’m firmly in the “book and show are two entirely different mediums” camp. Maybe it’s because I didn’t wait 25 years to see my favorite books on a screen, (I’m a relative late-comer), I love what I’m seeing. We’re never going to get everything that’s in the books. One of the reasons we love them is because they are so dense and rich and full of beautiful language, which all makes for a wonderful read (and re-read), it’s not possible to film. I also disagree that the writers haven’t captured the essence of Jamie Fraser. I believe they have and they will. Show watchers don’t have the same depth of knowledge of his back story. If he emerged out of the box as the “King of Men”, a lot wouldn’t buy it. It’s my belief that show-Jamie is being allowed to evolve. I also believe that even the writers and producers of the show are viewing it as a marathon and not a sprint. Each piece builds on the last.

  6. I started season 1 following in the book where each episode was. I quickly came to the realization that if I wanted to keep watching and enjoy the show I had to put the book away. Do I always agree with how they adapted things? No, some I like and some not so much. Take last weeks episode, I was a little disappointed in the waxing scene but somehow I managed to get past the differences and enjoy the ride. I fully expect more of that to happen throughout the rest of the season. I just remind myself that the show is not the book(s). If I want the book I will read it. I plan on enjoying the show for what it is.

  7. Their=there

  8. Actually, I was relieved to see that you addressed that there are many of us who are long time book readers struggling with this. Unfortunately, it’s really not for the reason everyone thinks! I think the dialogue in episode 2 was weak. The interaction between Jamie and Claire seemed forced and stilted, as if they were struggling with playing these scenes. And the fundamental changes in the essence of the characters, their personalities, their responses to things. We get upset about the honeypot scene, because we KNOW Jamie. And we KNOW Claire. And they would never of done/reacted in the manner that they did. Jamie’s response to the red dress was lackluster, and I think that was such a downer for many, after having waited for this for so long. We struggle with the fact that there is so much rich material to draw from, but we spent an inordinate amount of time watching the king pooping. These are the problematic things. Even the fact that in the first episode, when “LeHavre” comes on the screen, it says 1745, when it is clearly 1744, and Maril has to tell people that it was an oversight and has been corrected. how many people looked at that opening seen, and never caught something as important as that? I do love the fact that we are dealing with Jamie’s PTSD. I am assuming that this will get better, and that we will see book Jamie come to life and get back to having a relationship with Claire. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

  9. Spoiler: Master Raymond is an ancestor of Claire. I read the books. Also Mrs. Gabaldon has already mentioned this years ago.

  10. I am loving it changes and all. Those changes mostly reflect what is happening with the characters. Sam has stated he is playing Jamie aloof and different almost distant from the Jamie we love. It is deliberate on his part that you feel that disconnect. The writers had written in more intimate scenes early on but once again Cait and Sam both felt it was not the right time so took that to the writers and managed to get it changed.

    There are of course things that I think, what were they thinking. I didn’t agree that Claire would even attempt to take off that ring ever. Not ever ever. She never removes Franks and frets for it when it is. So it seemed odd that she would go to remove it. But I think they were tying it in to her promise to Jamie to move on and forget him. So the reasoning for that will come in when we see those heartbreaking scenes. I am probably in the minority in that I loved the honey pot scene. It was a fun scene in the book. It isn’t a vital scene though. It is just people got stuck on Jamie/Sam saying the word and decided they needed to hear him say it. I loved that they used it to show Claire trying to bring intimacy back and Jamie wanting to be sexual but ultimately his demons emerge again. I am not sure the original scene would have fit the mood and theme of what they are doing. They have to deal with Jamies PTSD in this season as opposed to the months at the Abbey where he got to feel and deal with all these conflicting emotions. Thus in the book by the time they were in France, he was still haunted but was able to be intimate again bringing about a lot of beautiful moments. Those have to be on hold to show the truth of what he is dealing with. But I think the pay off will be worth it. This is groundbreaking television showing the ongoing trauma of your male romantic lead dealing with sexual abuse.

    I am also one of those rare sort who can read the books and watch simultaneously and still not have any issues. I started them many many years ago but this show has bought me back to them and actually enhanced the whole book/show experience. There is no way they are or were going to please all fans. There is just too many different opinions. What one person thinks is essential is another persons meh they could have cut it. So someone has to make the tough decisions. I just choose to enjoy it all.

  11. Reblogged this on andreastam.

  12. I think what they did with the honeypot scene was a brilliant way of demonstrating PTSD! Jamie was still portrayed as being initially shocked and disappointed a her being rid of her beautiful forest. It makes sense for Claire to try a novel approach to arouse him and it did at first. I also loved his response to the red dress. They nailed that scene! I do hope they include the sausage/ brothel scene next week, but if not, C’est la Vie!

  13. My only criticism of the show, which began last season with the Lallybroch episode, is a niggling feeling that Jamie is the third person in a three way relationship.

    For me, Diana’s husband’s take on the show explains it all. He says (speaking about those of us who find something not quite right in the show portrayal of the story), “they don’t realize the show thinks it is telling Claire’s story, and Jamie is an important part of it. What you are doing is telling Jamie’s story all the time through Claire.”

    This is the essence of the problem. Diana set out to write about a highlander named Jamie. Shortly thereafter a woman showed up. Her sensibilities and voice were modern… Claire was born. Claire tells her own story, but she also tells his story, which eventually becomes the story of their combined life journey. This is why Jamie seems lessened in the show. Only through Claire’s eyes can we really understand Jamie’s true character and the depth of their love for one another.

    I believe I can go forward now and enjoy the show for what it wants me to see…the story of a woman out of time. I will always love the books for what they are…the story of two equal people and the marriage they make.

  14. I’m sure we will see “our” Jamie soon. If Ron steers too far away from the story, maybe his wife will set him straight. He said he didn’t want to ruin her favorite book. I think he’s doing a marvelous job to show the story on TV that will interest non book readers as well as book readers. Remember, they are two different entities. Enjoy them both!!!

  15. I’veread allthe comments with interest and overall have some level of agreement with what has been said by others. I devoured the books and am enjoying the show. Would love to see the return of the “old Jamie”, but know that will take time.

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