Staying True to the Book or Not & THAT SCENE…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×08   78 comments

Beth-Topper

It truly took me about half way through the first season to start understanding, at least in some part, the adaptation process.  I started to be able to see how and why things really couldn’t be exactly like the book.  I started to get a grasp on how storytelling for a visual medium had to be different.  I started to understand that this was Diana’s story AND Ron’s story and it really couldn’t be any other way.  So, it makes sense to me that it has taken me until mid-season in this second go round to deepen my understanding. I saw seeds that were planted by the writers come to fruition in this episode 7. I saw the why of their choices in plot and characterization.  I saw the method in their madness, if you will.  There was a destination, a place they wanted to take us and they had to get us ready to go there.

Adaptation of a book the size and scope of Dragonfly in Amber is harder and more complex than any of us mere non-TV production mortals can imagine.  I’m convinced that there is absolutely no way to win if you are the folks making the choices.  You can’t win. No matter what you do you will never please everyone. I don’t know how they can stand the criticism. I especially don’t know how they stayed silent when they knew what was coming in this episode. When I think of how gracious they were in the face of complaints about shortened episodes, petty differences from the book, a heroine characterized as selfish, and a lack of sex, I’m in awe.  The book lovers wanted their personal version of what was important from the books, a “faithful” adaptation and now, …several main stream TV critics suggest the show really needs to move away from the books. Good grief.

Read more after the jump!

I repeat…they can’t win.

Except…that they did.  If the intention was to show us a truth about life, touch viewers hearts, and show us what it means to be human, then they did. I find it a curious phenomenon that critiquing TV shows is very much like the armchair quarterbacking seen in sports. On Sunday, most of what I heard and saw on social media was positive.  People were touched by what was presented to them and some profoundly moved. Monday not so much.

One of the great things about writing a blog is that after I put my thoughts to paper and gather the courage to press the publish button anyway, I get to hear from my readers. Because I am open to hearing what other people think, I always gain perspective and I’m very grateful for the respectful discourse on the blog. As a people, we come to what we read or watch with all of our experiences and beliefs.  I write about what touches me after watching Outlander and then I get to hear about what touched others.  This week I shared a little bit of my own experience with miscarriage in my reflection (https://bethwesson.com/2016/05/22/the-madonna-breaks-a-reflection-on-outlander-2-7/).  The resulting response was humbling. People told me their stories and shared how the show affected them.  Here are a few I’d like to share.

…Honestly, sometimes I feel silly saying that Outlander changed my life. Something physiologically changed in me after Outlander. Fictional characters, yes but so beautifully crafted and with such depth but life changing? I feel the same thing about E207, it changed me.

…I will be the first to put up my hand and say I was cranky about how somethings were done in S1…OK, that’s a lie. I will reluctantly put up my hand as I slink down in my chair in the back of the room so as not to be noticed and say I was a bit pissy about how some of S1 was done. Mostly it came down to I wanted book Jamie from day 1. But I now see how much more interesting a character he is to see him grow and become that man he will be.

So I have released any expectations about book accuracy and how things “should” be and just sit back and enjoy the feast I’m given. I will still quibble about sloppy story telling as we got in ep 6 with the hole between the fight and all’s well. I am even beginning to feel like knowing what’s coming is a detriment as I would like to be surprised. I encourage book readers to work on letting go or you will never be satisfied. The TV show will never play out exactly as the book did and 8-10 years (god willing!) is a long time to be dissatisfied.

…Your analysis along with last night’s episode deeply touched me. Both, evoked memories and emotions that I have chosen to place in the deepest recessed part of myself. When you say ” I was able to respond to the story they were telling with connections to my own life and experiences with grief” this statement hit home for me. I cannot effectively express how it makes me feel to see that someone cared; creator, writer, etc. and thought the molestation of Fergus was important to include in the episode.  As a victim, I was able to connect with Fergus. Despite the violation committed upon him he was able to show Claire love and compassion in just the stroking of her hair; that moment was beautiful to watch… When he said he was too ashamed to tell, and felt that he should have been quiet and not cried out… that scene for me was overwhelming, but necessary to show how the victim thinks and feels; even at such a young age. The grief I felt at losing my childhood innocence at age 9 at the hands of another was devastating. More devastating was the fact that my predator never paid a price for what he did to me, as well as my best friend, his own sister; this was due to our silence. This episode made me wish at the time I had a Jamie in my life to defend me and hold the perpetrator accountable… I wish I had a Claire in my life to help ease the pain and provide the compassion and understanding one requires when dealing with the trauma of rape, at any age. I wish I had told. For me, (after therapy, which I strongly encourage for all rape victims) discovering and reading DG’S books pushed me to feel again; by connecting with the characters she brought to life on the pages of her books, I was able to allow true emotions for others to surface and be expressed again. Your reviews are not only an analysis of these episodes but, they are thought provoking and provide deep insight to the many complexities of life. I can only hope that you are a writer by profession, you have so much to offer others…. Thank you for writing and expressing on paper what I believe most of us feel!…..Thank you DG for these wonderful books… and thank you Outlander the series for touching on difficult subjects with the utmost care and compassion and bringing these life altering events to light. The performances of Sam and Cait and all involved in episode 207 deserve a standing ovation.

…Thank you for sharing your story. There is so much noise around rape depictions on TV right now that it’s often hard for me, as someone who has not had to carry the weight of that experience, to sort through the noise to get to the actual impact. Those that say it’s triggering to the survivors and they shouldn’t be put through it again, and those that say it’s gratuitous and we don’t need to see it. People are different, survivors are all different and will have different reactions. More and more I put little stock in the voices that say “we don’t need to see that…it’s TOO much”, as it seems very much like another way to blame and marginalize victims to safeguard our own fragile emotions and sensibilities. A way to hide the darkness we humans do to each other.

As you mentioned, it needs to be brought out into the light…with care. It has to be depicted with sensitivity and honesty, emotions and consequences. Most TV is not interested in doing that. The actual act of rape seems to be just the first pebble that starts a lifelong landslide. Most TV and movies casually drop the pebble and turn their backs on the devastation. Outlander allows you, maybe requires you, to dwell in the emotion and consequences of that pebble drop and it is never casual. As a viewer but not a survivor, I can only watch an honest, consequential depiction and try and process what that must feel like. I will never come close to getting it right. I was touched to read that you found compassion and understanding from Jamie, Claire and Fergus.

Wonderful, right? But, by Monday, suddenly, the focus all over social media was about looking at what was wrong and pulling it all apart.  Discussion is okay. Critique is good. However, I’m continually amazed by those who choose to focus on the trees rather than the forest.  While they are busy putting their noses up against bark and screaming at it to be different, they are missing real beauty. The focus on the beautiful portrayal of a woman’s grief was now being over shadowed by what should or should not have been done.

outlander-2x07-faith-775

As frustrated as I am with folks who have a vested interest in their own perpetual script about the show and the show-runners and seem determined to “hate watch”, there has also been some very important discussion of the series and its portrayal of rape. I read a lot of reviews and a lot of fan comments.  Personally, I felt the rape scene with Fergus wasn’t necessary. I didn’t need to see it to get it.  As, a thinking feeling human being, I understood the rage that would result from seeing a child being molested. However, as you can see from my readers’ comments not everyone felt like I did.  Surely, there is room for tolerance here. I would not have chosen to do what the writers and producers chose, but I resist the idea, that some fans have expressed, that this was done purely for entertainment.  You cannot make me believe that the same people who spent almost the entire episode showing us the depth of a women’s grief would then suddenly decide that they should do a gratuitous rape scene with a child.  I might not agree with their decision, but I refuse to believe the decision to include the scene was not carefully considered.

Rape, even in 2016 is poorly understood and often swept under the rug.  When the “there is too much rape in Outlander” discussion began to pick up steam, I asked a friend what she thought. We both agreed that when we read the books, we didn’t see them as “rapey” and we wondered why.  We decided there were two reasons. One, there are a lot of pages between these scenes. The show has condensed that time and we agreed that given the shorter time between these events, we could see why people asked if there was too much rape.  Two, we felt that each story of rape in the books was different.  Not so much in how the act was perpetrated, even though the author does explore that side of the issue, it was how differently it affected each character and how differently each coped that was meaningful to us as readers and people. No two characters dealt with it the same.  Just like in real life.  And, somehow we both felt that the book was trying to show us that we aren’t all the same and it’s okay to react differently than someone else.  We both felt these lessons could be transferred to other traumas people experience.  I cannot answer for Ms. Gabaldon and wouldn’t even try to explain why she chose to show rape as often as she did, but why can’t we read about it and talk about it?  It needs to be read about, talked about, and maybe even viewed on our TVs.

Once again, I am reminded of the power our “entertainment” has to shape our beliefs and the responsibility that comes with that power. Just because you can show something doesn’t mean you should and sometimes you make the choice to show the difficult because you can and you think it is the right thing to do.

A LOOK AHEAD

We are headed back to Lallybroch and Scotland.  Please God, let us see this couple have a little time to heal and be happy.  They deserve it! I can’t wait to see Jenny and Ian again and their reaction to wee Fergus.  Looking forward to meeting the old Fox and his interactions with Jamie and Claire’s healing fingers!  LOL! Some great possibilities for humor coming up and Lord knows they need it and so do we!

78 responses to “Staying True to the Book or Not & THAT SCENE…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×08

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  1. loved your analysis. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    Barbara Del Regino
  2. When you speak of the adaptation process, it boggles my mind how very, very brilliant Rod D Moore is, to have that vision of the show and direct everyone involved in the production towards that vision! Listening to his podcasts, all of the writers involved thank him profusely, and then he just redirects that thanks back to them. Wow, just wow!
    In the matter of the rape scenes, as a survivor, I too don’t find these scenes too rapey! I understand the story arc, and why it is in the production. I feel very uncomfortable, but it isn’t about me, it’s about the power predators have towards those who are “weaker”, and that helps me get through these scenes. Thanks Beth, for telling it like you see it. I was told the reason I am forever reading these books is that as a survivor, reading about The King of Men helps me realize there might just be people out there like Jamie and that gives me joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am touched by your comment and fully understand and agree with you. As a survivor, reading the books for me gave me hope and faith that people like Jamie and Claire exist in the world, who would protect and defend to the end……I pray that you have found solace in the pages of DG’s books, and the TV depiction of them, as I have.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for sharing your story and views!

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  4. MERAKI: “(v) to do something with soul, creativity, or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.” Beth, this one word TRULY DESCRIBES THE BEAUTY OF YOUR WRITING…..THANK YOU SO MUCH for continuing the conversation……outstanding!

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  5. “…I saw seeds that were planted by the writers come to fruition in this episode 7. I saw the why of their choices in plot and characterization. I saw the method in their madness, if you will. There was a destination, a place they wanted to take us and they had to get us ready to go there.” Exactly. Personally, I love that they had the space to do things this way. It has irked me no end to read “mainstream” critics and reviewers suggest that Outlander works best when the episodes are “stand alone”. I couldn’t disagree more. They are telling a story – a very long story – and while it might still be episodic television, each episode is a chapter in that story. That said, I get the adaptation process and continue to marvel at how much they actually manage to keep from the books. I’ve also learned to trust that if it’s important to fans, it’s important to RonCo and they will find a way to include the essence of that thing – somewhere, sometime. That said, I do understand that the show must be compelling for non-book readers, but I will never be on the same page with anyone who wants to water or “dumb” it down for those viewers. I am so grateful that Ron Moore and his writers expect and take for granted the intelligence of all of their viewers and their ability to “keep up”.
    Like you I am continually floored by what these show creators are asked to endure from the “fans”. IMHO it stems from the fact that from the beginning they’ve said they are making the show “for the fans”. A segment of this population seems to think that means they own it and are entitled to have their opinions heard and demands obeyed. I don’t need to go into detail about how toxic the zealotry can be, you’ve written about it, and very eloquently, already. It concerns me because it never lets up, no matter how many plead for civility (every vote I cast in every frivolous poll is to counteract a mean tweet, every positive comment somewhere kicks sand at a troll), and quite a few have no problem making things personal. I know there is no such thing as bad publicity and no matter what people are saying, the important thing is that they are talking about Outlander…a lot.
    I fear I’ve digressed to the point where even I have no idea what my point was (it never ceases to amaze me how energized – not to mention verbose – I become whenever the subject is at all Outlander-related). I’ll end this epistle by saying how happy I am that we’re going back to Scotland. Just a glimpse at the new stills warmed the cockles of my heart – for now. I live in the moment lol.

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  6. Beth – I have a few more thoughts I’d like to share later, just not enough time right now.

    Could we all agree to remove the word “rapey” from our vocabulary? It is overused in reviews and trivializes a horrible act forced on one person by another. There was nice blog post on Hypeable this weekend about this very thing. She said we never call shows “murdery” or “voilencey”. Why would we choose to use a diminutive on rape?

    Beth, I know you used it as it’s been used by so many others, I’m not faulting you, just asking for a course correction. I know you believe that words matter. It would be nice to see this one find it’s end.

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    • ooppss…”violency”

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    • I hear you Diana that’s why I put it in quotes. I didn’t intend to trivialize just reflecting what is being said. I know it’s being thrown around .

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    • If we are going to object to the use or creation of words, we should do so knowledgeably and intentionally. “Rapey” is not a diminutive. It is an attempt to create an adjective, because surprise, suprise, we don’t have a word that means “characterized (or overly characterized) by the use of rape.” It is common English usage to create adjectives by adding a “y” to the end of a noun or a verb. Common examples: whiney, corny, shiny, old-timey, rainy, etc. That is why “rapey” is coming into usage. People are looking for an adjective that doesn’t exist yet and they are defaulting to the way English makes things into adjectives.

      We don’t have “violency,” not because we don’t object to too much violence, but because we already have the adjective for it: violent. There is probably no such word as “murdery” yet because we haven’t had a need for it yet; we are only just now getting to the place where we are concerned about the amount of rape in a work of art, perhaps killings will come later. I suspect the word chosen will be something more like “murder-filled,” however, as “murdery” sounds sort of silly. (“Murderous” is an existing adjective, but already has slightly different accepted meanings – a extreme level or type of something – murderous rage, or technically relating to an actual killing – murderous intent. Although there’s no reason we can’t expand the usage of murderous to include this idea also.

      Final thought – banning words, like banning books, is a recipe for disaster. Clarity, caution and compassion are all called for in the use of words, but prohibition is a slippery slope to many bad outcomes.

      Liked by 1 person

      JustAboutSeenItAll
      • All good points. Thanks for the grammar correction. I do agree that banning words is a slippery slope, my point is to use the appropriate word. I understand the grammatical structure, but I do not find rapey any less silly than murdery. Why is murder-filled appropriate but rape-filled is not? My point is that it is a very serious, weighty subject that is not served by the use of rapey. Let’s call it what it is, rape or rape-filled.

        I’m digressing a bit here, and this is not directed at you but in general, why isn’t murdery or murder-filled an issue in TV/Movies? There are far more murders than rapes depicted in movies and on TV but we never seem to get up in arms about that. It’s unfortunately so common place as to be expected or glanced over.

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        • Well, opinions could differ as to whether “rapey” sounds silly. But setting that aside, my point was that I don’t think people are using “rapey” to intentionally or even unconsciously diminish the issue; they are using it because we don’t have an established word for what they are trying to say, and they are defaulting to a common grammatical approach to create the newly needed word. Rape-filled would work, but it may not have quite a negative enough “feel” to it to truly express the meaning intended. It sounds more factual, rather than pejorative. I think “rapey” is working for people because it is similar to “creepy” actually. Also, as a society we are shortening our words and expressions, rather than creating new multi-word phrases – thank you internet (and I’m looking at you, Twitter.) So, “rapey” is probably here to stay. If it sounds too sing-songy (there’s another one) to you to be taken seriously, perhaps “rapesque” would work? Although I personally find that to have a more “diminutive” feel to it than “rapey,” even though it is just an adjective also (just a french or latinized version.) “Rape-heavy” might work, or “rape-laden,” but again we are tending to go for shorter rather than longer nowadays. Thus, “rapey” is likely to have staying power, and I don’t think we should reject it as diminishing the issue because it isn’t doing that. It is correctly identifying the issue: this work of fiction or piece of music relies on rape as a design element. The real question is: Are we OK with that in the context at hand and the use to which it is being put?

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          JustAboutSeenItAll
      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue!

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  7. Lovely post, Beth. It’s interesting how MUCH debate and Monday Morning Quarterbacking this show engenders. It demands that you to look at issues of love, loss and trauma, put yourselves in that position and decide where you fit in the spectrum of emotions and humanity; what you will embrace and what you will reject. Each of us will fall at a different place on that spectrum and that is how it should be. The only downside of such an analysis is the lack of civility with which some choose to “mark their place”. I was humbled by ep 207. It forced me to address some dark corners of my own experience that I’ve left unattended and it has stayed with me all week. 207 provoked thought, encouraged exposure and promised the possibility of healing. All of these things are worthy. The debate over the amount of sexual violence depicted in the show is also a worthy discussion but one that, as we’ve seen this week, can quickly turn acrimonious. I thought that the issue of Fergus’s attack by BJR was handled deftly; the camera did not linger, there was no nudity, it didn’t feel gratuitous to me. Could I have understood the depth of Jamie’s reaction with just a description by Fergus, probably, but I won’t know since that wasn’t what was presented. As I’ve considered the matter this week, it’s dawned on me just how many people I know (friends, family, colleagues) who have been affected by sexual violence. When I think of it consciously, it’s a bit staggering. In this modern era, it often feels like the risk of sexual violence is just as real as it was in the 18th century, when women and children were chattel. And, maybe in part for that reason, I have not been at odds with the sexual violence reflected in the show or the books. To quote my favorite re-capper, Connie Verzak “Outrage would only serve to distance myself from the honesty of the depiction and to perpetuate the idea of a false sanctuary”. Thanks again, Beth, for helping me sort out where I fall on the spectrum.

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  8. The rape can’t be avoided. It happens to millions of people every day, and I feel, as a rape victim myself that watching people heal, can help me heal too. And with Jamie’s rape, I realized that it happened very frequently to men in prisoner of war situations. I do wish that the show would slow down. These books are enormous. And while TV is a greedy medium, I thank my heavens that it wasn’t crammed into a movie. I keep telling myself, it could have been two hours instead of 12. Admittedly, I wish it was two seasons per book. But with people’s fickle love of things, that would have shortened the amount of books. 9 books, 9 seasons I keep wishing. I know that 18 seasons would have been too much to ask for.

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  9. It has never ceased to amaze me how many people take Outlander as though it were written by the 4 apostles who composed the Bible. Really? Any alteration from book to the TV depiction is sacred but some take overtly strong exception. I say ENJOY! We are sooo fortunate to have the books to read and wallow in with their choice of subject and detail as well as the visual mastery from the best in the business. How can one quibble with interpretation? Personal perspective, yes, but everyone brings to the table their own experiences. Where is the respect for incredible talent to tell these stories? I cannot get over how many critics battle Ron & company for what they have not yet seen on film. When I read or hear arguments about this or that, I’m convinced they have totally missed the message. This is a once in a lifetime for those of us who adore Diana’s books. To be able to read or re-read them, we are gifted with that experience and now to witness those beloved characters on screen is a double whammy of pleasure. As I delve into the making of the show, the countless hours Terry has has labored to produce those exquisite costumes, Ron’s fixation with quality from beginning to end, how on earth can anyone deny this is priceless theater on par with anything from Shakespeare. Every single detail and moment have put forth unbelievable realizations of a timeless tale each of us is addicted to. I can’t remember another series or group of books that has garnered such beautiful, major attention and been so successful in its expression either from the page or in the movies. How lucky are we to live at this time to soak in this genius.

    I once met Diana at a book signing. My few words with her included that she reminded me of a Mozart or a Beethoven because she wrote obviously so beautifully and her words were the launching of such a glorious film project. Like gorgeous music her words took flight into our hearts and now minds to encompass such beauty. In this day & age when film makers are so taken with special effects or shoot ’em up bang-bang this is like filet migon compared to spaghettios. Diana has written a story that spans the ages and will be one day as classic as any Charles Dickens. Ron’s telling of the same will be regarded as changing the times for depictions on film. His mastery of the story along with his vast pool of incredible writers, set designers, and costume experts all meld together to reveal an experience I, for one, will cherish for the rest of my life. How can one quibble with perfection even if it might not have been my way? In the hands & hearts of experts how could any of us have done better? I say cherish this inspiration and let go of the pettiness because you are killing the marvelous message of pure, God-given LOVE!

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    Chris Finklein
    • 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻❤️

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    • Chris:
      SO well put! I got myself so upset at one of the Hollywood reviewers and the many comments that were so critical. I love the very strong visual image you give with the filet mignon vs. spaghettios!! Reading your post just made me feel tremendously better!

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    • We have to remember to thank Starz as well as they have given Ron the reign to do the things he does. The reason we get so much crap from network and cable TV is the studios making the decision of what they want on their channel and in what form. From all the comments I have read from Ron, he has quite a good bit of leash to run with.

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    • You have so beautifully expressed my feelings exactly. What Ron and his team have done, (thanks to STARZ trusting them to do this right), is extraordinary and such a gift for those of us who can not stop reading and re-reading this epic story. One has to have a long attention span to truly appreciate the huge arc in this ongoing story about two people who’s love transcends time and space. To stay with these characters from their youth to old age and living through their pain, loss, recovery, joy and redemption is something that requires patience and a willingness to really explore the many layers of meaning that Diana includes in her books. The first read, you just want to know what happens next, but when you have read the books numerous times, you allow yourself the luxury of experiencing the beautiful writing, the threads that are weaved and connected from chapter to chapter and book to book, and you experience the honesty of all that life challenges us with and how love, loyalty, selflessness, compassion, and courage can aide us in facing those challenges thus growing stronger in ourselves and our relationships for having put forth the effort. So many people have expressed the impact these characters and their story have had on their ability to cope with and often heal from their own personal pain. Outlander is more than entertainment, it has the ability to make us think and discuss important issues openly and honestly. Ron and his team of dedicated writers, directors, actors, and creative staff are giving us something beautiful and thought provoking. I embrace and appreciate the adaptations they have made as long as they could have happened in Diana’s world. A literal depiction of the books would not be nearly as effective and, in many ways, the adaptations have improved on the books. Bravo to Ron and STARZ

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      • Thanks for enjoying my take. More than anything I feel words convey such emotion and have the power to seriously change my mood from downcast to exhilaration. One of my biggest disappointments is that I have no friends who are into Outlander like I am. It’s such a joy to discuss and open opinions or impressions- that is why I crave this blog and Beth’s writing so vehemently. Ever since I opened the initial pages of Diana’s first book I have been “in love” with this story. Perhaps it’s that we all want such a LOVE in our lives or that we secretly wish we could imbibe somehow in time travel. What I would give to turn back the clock. I agree wholeheartedly that Diana has provided a forum for pain care. Years ago my heart was broken with the sudden death of my beloved daughter from a pulmonary embolism. In the ensuing years I have hugged every piece of literature or counsel to comfort my shattered heart. As I watched “Faith” and have since re-watched it at least five additional times I see myself working thru the agony of losing a child. I never stop working. The scene where Claire holds her precious child and sings to her reminds me of my last moments in the hospital ER when I stroked the face of my own beautiful girl. Yes, I even sang to her because I knew this was the very last time I’d touch the centerpiece to my existence until we reunited the day I join her. Sometimes words can’t convey the depth but watching another deal with the bone crushing feelings of loss we heal just a little because we share & identify exactly. Perhaps those who have not suffered can step into our shoes to imagine what those of us who have lost endure forever. I call my life a “journey in sad shoes” because I can never take them off. No, I do not want you to have to wear them but watching Claire depict her egregious sense of sadness might offer a small clue to how deep feelings and separation reach.

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      • Thank You! This needs to be shared with Ron and crew!

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  10. Like you say I hope and pray there is some humor and healing in the next scenes! Still I love this adaption of the books. And it is an adaptation, but that’s okay.
    Linda

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  11. Great as usual Beth, thanks!

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  12. I could not agree more! Focus on the positives, don’t try to all be know it all’s and just let it breathe, like a good wine should. The visual adaptation alone deserves incredible respect and it is truly award winning (used far too often). Yes, there are some episodes we will all like more than others, just like the books. But I’ve discovered that given some time, when I go back and watch them all over again, I truly am amazed at how strong each episode really is. Some of the campy, little boy jokes, probably aren’t necessary for this audience, but as a whole, I could watch them over and over again and never, ever be bored and I hate repetitive things! lol There is nothing like it on TV. So instead of trying to poke holes in it, why not just go along for the ride and be THANKFUL for what you’ve just been given. Life enriching, new friends, both in and outside of Outlander and incredible acting, storytelling, costumes, sets, directions, quality film work, etc. etc. etc. I do get frustrated with Ron at times but I defect him much more than I criticize. It’s just not easy! Bravo and such a wonderfully insightful piece. Thank you so much for putting it to paper for us!

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  13. Thank you! I agree with most of what you have written about this episode. I wish all the negative reviewers would read it.

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  14. I think the scene with Fergus was well handled, as a previous writer said, there was nothing over-graphic, no nudity. I think that too many people like to bury their heads in the sand & pretend that these awful things don’t happen, but we all know that they do. Rape is an every day occurrence even in the 21st Century & what really annoys me is that it would be even more common & less noteworthy in the 18th Century but people just don’t bother to try to elevate their minds beyond the ‘Disneyfication’ of what is shown on TV. We all interpret what we read differently and I understand that some book readers feel that they own the story because they have been reading the beloved books for so many years, but Ron has said quite catagorically that he doesn’t believe that the sex scenes are portrayed as candles flickering & curtains swaying in the breeze, he tells the story as an adult human being, as DG wrote them, not as a pseudo fairy story. I think he & some of the others involved in the making of Outlander have been more than generous and open with us the fans about their processes, and although some fans may disagree with what they say or do, there is no need to be downright nasty & hateful. Why can people not try to see the programme through the eyes of another person which is what we are watching with each episode, and try to focus on why the story is being portrayed in the way it is? I give kudos to them all, writers, directors, costume, scenery & design, make-up, camera ops, lighting etc. and all the wonderful actors who have given me so many hours of watching pleasure, the trolls can go sit in their dark swamps and leave us to enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve read and reread these books many times over. Each time I pull something new and different out of them – or I should say I see things from new perspectives. I will understand a character in a little different light or a situation with another viewpoint. I may love something written the first time through and then completely change my position the next time. And I love that about reading!! That’s me! So I could never look at the tv version of Outlander and say, wow, they got that wrong or it should have been done differently. Not when my own impressions of the stories change and grow. Does that make sense? I am completely in awe of Outlander – tv version. They are capturing the very essence of the stories I have come to love. I am completely under RDM’s spell and all of the other talented people who make this story come alive on screen. The books, ah, the books are gifts to everyone who reads them and are so worth rereading many times because they offer that rare gift of giving over and over! Thank you, Diana, for this! And thanks again, Beth, for your lovely words.

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  16. Trust. Yes, in episode 7 we see the fruition of seeds that were planted in earlier episodes as well as favorite lines and scenes that were “left out”. This reminded me of the second time I read all of the books. On re reading them, I found bits that didn’t seem important on the first read, that were important. I just didn’t know it yet. It is really necessary to read those books more than once. I think the show will be similar. After we have seen season 2 in its entirety, and then go back to watch it all again from the beginning, there will be those seeds that we didn’t know we needed. Those “a ha” moments that we can only have after we see the end. We should trust the show producers and try to save our really negative criticism till the end of the season, or maybe even after we have re watched the whole season again, when we might understand better what we are criticizing. Of course we should discuss. I am talking about the -Really Negative-stuff, and the microscopic nit picking stuff I have read..I know that will never happen, but we could try to trust a little more. Thanks for you fair and objective views.

    Liked by 1 person

    Anne Hetherington
  17. Good analysis, Beth. Am enjoying the adaptation very much. Ron Moore and team are incredibly skillful. I’ve extrapolated from a lot of online commentary that perhaps some of the viewers aren’t aware of how incredibly prevalent child sexual abuse has been and still is, especially in Asia. Perhaps they should use their considerable energy more positively by getting involved in NGO efforts to help and support others.

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  18. I always enjoy reading your posts. It took me a while too, but I’m now really enjoying the adaptation and allowing it to stand on its own. 207 was remarkable and moving and so well done, I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us! Thanks for your thoughtful reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    sassenachdoctor
  19. I love your blog, your writing and the community that gathers around it. Last year I poked my nose into a few different sites. At the time I was in my howling “where’s MY Jamie?” rage and found a home for that. But I never liked it, I felt icky after posting my righteous rage a couple times, So I stopped. What I have found out there ranges from syrupy worship, to snarky snide-ville, to seething pits of anger. None of them appeal to me so I’ve stayed away. You and your readers are no less passionate about Outlander, both book and TV, but what I have seen so far is thoughtful. passionate, considered writing. I’ve found the style of the writer dictates the tone of the comments. The community you have built here makes people feel safe to share their most personal and painful stories. The opinions voiced are of the “I would have liked to see..” or “,,,I did not like how this was done” variety rather than wishing the writer, producer, actor or anyone else associated in the production a pre-booked spot in hell. From the few posts I have read, I have learned something from every one. If not from you, then from something someone shared. You come at things from really interesting, unexpected directions. So thank you…all of you.

    I absolutely LOVE this line: “While they are busy putting their noses up against bark and screaming at it to be different, they are missing real beauty” From someone who still has a wee bit of last-year’s bark between my teeth..that was delicious!

    A comment I saw somewhere in the past few days was that we need to remember that we have had YEARS and multiple readings to adapt, adjust to and consider the choices characters make and the violence done to them. First time TV viewers are getting smacked in the face with this for the first time. Do you remember the first time you read through Jamie’s rape? I was horrified and it was so, SO much more painful to watch. Anytime I have gone back to read Outlander I use magical thinking that Wentworth is in the next book. Then I get into the chapters after Lallybroch and start remembering the direction we’re heading and get queasy about reading that again….but I do.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I would like to add a few more layers to the rape of Fergus by BJR. The small glimpse we were given was enough to shock us with the brutal reality of the action, much more than any description alone would have. We are reminded once again of BJR’s sadism and twisted use of power over others. This, I believe, sets us up for future episodes involving BJR, Jamie, Claire, Alex, and Mary. The internal, emotional growth that Jamie and Claire experience through these encounters will undoubtedly be in sharp contract to the evil brother we have all come to know. In the Faith episode, it was Fergus’s need as a child that Claire responded to, giving her more than “her sins” to live for. Without Fergus to respond to (to Mother), it might have taken Claire much, much longer to reconcile with Jamie. As for Fergus, he will carry his emotional scars for a very long while, bonding him even more to Jamie who shares similar memories. But he will also be given the chance to heal and grow as a boy in a loving home with lots of other children around. Bring on Scotland!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Susan Fuselier
  21. I did not read the books until I saw the first season of Outlander. Both of these works of art have had great influence upon me for the better. I am better at loving, living and knitting! So far this season has been incredible in telling the story of Jamie and Claire even given the differences. The only way to have told this tale in it’s completness would have been two separate seasons one about life in France and another about the Jacobite Rebellion. I love the television adaptions. Needless to say I also never grow tired of binging and rereading! Maybe there is a subliminal message out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    Wendy Musgrave
  22. With respect to the scene with Fergus and BJR, there are really 4 issues:

    1. Is rape overused or inappropriately used as plot device in the story (DG’s book plot), as an absolute matter (i.e., it does not matter whether that happened in 1991 or 2016).
    2. Even if the use of rape as a plot device was (more) acceptable in the 1990s, is it problematic now for a TV audience in 2016 because of the evolved appreciation of feminist thinking that is calling the use of rape in entertainment into question (for example, in Game of Thrones).
    3. If Starz is going to include this scene in the TV episode, is it nevertheless gratuitous to “show” it rather than have it happen off camera and only be talked about on screen.
    4. If Starz is going to show the scene, at what point does the actual visual depiction become gratuitous (i.e., how much is too much?)

    Most of the discussion of this scene on the internet is confused and conflicting because people are talking past one another – they are not talking about the same issue from these four possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    JustAboutSeenItAll
  23. If you listen to the podcast for Faith it explains a lot. Originally it was a 90 minute show and Starz was going to let them air it like that, that rocks! And then they realized it was more impactful when they cut some scenes down.
    Toni explains that the Fergus scene and Claire holding the baby needed to be seen to really understand why Jamie went back on his promise and why Claire passionately hated Jamie. And I LOVE how they did flashbacks so that it made it emotionally tolerable. If it would have been a play by play and not broken up, can you imagine how devastating? Thank goodness for King Louie and his extravagances-Claire grabbing the orange was awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. BTW-Beth has the podcast on her site-thank you lady!

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  25. Thank you for a beautiful piece. I love the books but I absolutely love the series and I absolutely love the care that the writers and Ron take in telling the story. I see the books and the tv adaptation as two wonder stories and look forward the watch the series every week and several times that week. I can only say I am obsessed by both. I am so sorry for the suffering you have had to endure but you are so strong for sharing. “Faith” will be one of my favourite episodes because it touches your soul. Loss, regret and forgiveness, the fabric of our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    Kathy Bouwmeester
  26. Beth, i loved Murtagh’s line to Claire about the burden of the knowledge she carries. As book lovers, we have caught the glimpse of the future, the joy and pain, that these characters will live. We can’t “unknow” what we have already read. Watching now, we see what we loved and experience again what brought us pain each time we’ve ventured back to the story. As i watch with my hubby each week, i bite my tongue and try not to say what i know because he is my guage for what the “show only” fans know. He loves the show, but is smack in the middle of the Outlander phase I like to refer to as ” stuck in Paris”. He reminds me of the friends i have introduced the books to over the years…He loved Outlander and couldn’t wait to start Dragonfly. He’s been caught up in it, but has reached the point where he is worn by the events that have plagued Jamie and Claire. The beauty is that he’s only watched the show and he’s in the same place I’ve seen many readers in over the years. To me, that means every person involved in the show is doing rxactly what they should be. When a reader friend gets “stuck in Paris” I have always said, “Keep going. You just have to. I promise you will understand and it will get better for them.” What book readers know is that the balm for the pain of Paris is only found in a printshop in Edinburgh. Thats why i never gift DIA without Voyager. I loved how you described the fans as losing the forest for the trees. When we focus so closely on the details, we lose faith in the team that has carried us this far. I think the worry over season 3 is a symptom of the same thing…a panic over starz leaving all of us without the cure we all need. The problem is, none of us have any control over what will happen next. All we can do is sit back, relax, enjoy the feast we are served each week. If all else fails, the books will always be there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kelly, such a great comment. I had such a hard time with Dragonfly (the book). I had to push myself through it because I knew there must be a reason – some payback – something more!!! And, of course, there was. I shouldn’t have doubted it or DG’s vision. To go from that hearty and rough landscape of Scotland to France was, at first, such a stretch. To put Jamie in fancy clothing was unbelievable – and thrusting Claire into French society of that time was even more unfathimable. As much trouble as I had with the book (but truly, I did eventually get on board), the tv series was able to coalise all my questions and issues. I’ve read Dragonfly four times, and I think it may be my favorite. That being said, all of the books are incredible – and need to be read! (Voyager? Oh my gosh, don’t even think to not read it!) If not, people are missing one of the greatest stories ever written. That this story is told with volumes of books is so satisfying. And what other writers can boast to creating a world that goes on for so many years and has created such a legion of fans??? I’ve read thousands of books – maybe more. DG’s Outlander books rate #1. #2 is The Shellseekers by Rosamond Pilcher. Everyone, read that. It is a beautiful story with beautiful characters. Back to Outlander, thank you, Beth, for your thoughtful commentary. It is a highlight to my sometimes boring life!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • What a beautiful response do you mind if I share?

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  27. With all the talk about the scene of little Fergus being raped by Black Jack, I feel that I have to add my opinion. It is, of course, horrible – in any century, any time. But this part of the story is so important to viewers and to readers. Anything less would have diminished the reason why Jamie could not hold his promise to Claire not to duel with BJ and to kill him for revenge. I believe we needed to see the horror that Jamie witnessed. When he came into the room and saw what was happening, he was duty-bound (by his own honor) to avenge this crime. I’m sure that vision brought his own rape at Wentworth blazing into his head. But seeing his little ward being hurt by his enemy must have been even more enraging. It then becomes totally understandable why he met BJ in the forest and ultimately seriously wounding BJ – but did not kill. Part of him needed to hurt BJ and part needed to keep his promise to Claire. Poor little Fergus – but what was shown was not as bad as it could have been. And please understand that I am not trying to whitewash rape. What was shown was enough – not gratuitous. It is an important part of this story. Some of you may disagree with me. That’s ok. Fergus goes on to be a well-loved character, and this crime against him will eventually become something that he can personally live with – can accept – and not define him as a person or as a man.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. The IMO honest depiction of the sometimes tricky/sensitive issues is also the reason why this show is a cable show and not on regular networks (which would have dumbed it down / “Disneyed” it. I very much got the feeling that some of the very negative TV critics (and then many commenters – of which … by the way … several of them HAD NOT EVEN WATCHED THE SHOW yet) used their network yardstick to measure Outlander to. It felt as if they were discussing a regular family show on pbs or the regular networks. As someone said above, Ron D Moore has stated several times he wanted to adapt the story as honestly as possible. That was one of the reasons for teaming up with Starz. Maybe some (non) viewers expressing comments this week are more familiar with this more “sheltered” kind of programming. For myself I felt very sad that the Emmy worthy performance of Catriona Balfe seemed to be totally swallowed up by the lavine of comments about a very short scene which contributed to clarify Jamies oathbreaking and which showed no nudity and served a clear purpose, not to characterize BJR but rather Jamie. We watch multiple murders on TV EVERY day as entertainment and news and no one seems to raise an eyebrow about that. So when I read these negative comments about the Fergus rape, I really wondered how many of these shocked ladies would vote for stricter gun laws in the US ? Not the same thing ? Hmmmm. Three cheers for Ron & gang and keep going, I say.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Thank you Beth once again for your insights and perspective. I am on my 4th read of the Outlander series and still mining new insights and the richness of the many layers and meanings hidden like Easter eggs in Diana’s writing. Hidden in a way that they can be ultimately found and enjoyed. These books just keep on giving us gifts and now we have this incredible TV adaptation that is a feast for the eyes and brings these characters and their journey to life in a visual form. I applaud Ron and his team for forcing us to truly FEEL what our characters feel by making us SEE what they are experiencing. To have these events delivered by exposition might allow us to KNOW what motivates a character would not allow us to FEEL with our characters. Just as the pain of Claire and Jamie’s loss of Faith was so beautifully depicted so that we collectively wept for them and in many cases for our own personal losses in life, so also must we endure the pain that assault has on our characters to have a deeper experience. In the cases of both Mary and Fergus’ rapes, the focus was not on the act itself but on the helplessness, terror and guilt that Mary and Fergus experienced. The participants were fully clothed, the camera focused on their faces and the impact of these violent acts and then time was taken to share the aftermath from the victim’s point of view with Claire in both cases emphasizing that they should feel no shame because what happened was not their fault. In both cases, Jamie puts himself at risk to protect and avenge these victims. Poor Fergus, having been born and raised at Maison Elise, never expected that anyone would care enough about him to fight a duel or to embrace and comfort him after a nightmare. He who never had a real family, other than “the ladies”, has found a mother and father who will love and protect him as any child deserves. I am all teary-eyed just writing this. I love Fergus, and I am so glad he will be with us for many seasons to come. Can’t wait to have him meet Jenny and Ian at Lallybroch and to find a new friend in Rabby McNab

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Beth, i thank and applaud you for the rational thought process each time I read a Blog you have posted ! It sure generates plenty of discussion ! I read nearly every comment and sit her nodding my head in agreement. I am another Fan who has no one to discuss our weekly “fix” on GD’s wonderful Books, and Ron and Company’s thrilling adaptation. I have tried to get my 2 daughter’s involved in reading the Books and watching along with me on Saturday Evening, and I’ve gotten 1/2 way there. So each and every Blog, each and every comment have great worth to me. then I go over to Starz/Outlander and listen to Ron’s Podcasts…lo and behold, his and the Writer/Director or Guest , fill in some of the answers to any questions I have left. I used to immediately go to Face Book pages I subscribe to, but there is nothing there to discuss. Folks just want read a couple random thoughts, hit an Imoji and move on. I don’t want a tiny French Appetizer, I want the Highlander Buffet !! Thank you so much Dear Lady, you speak to all our Outlander Souls !
    As a last thought, have we yet to address Jamie’s “responsible Hate” toward BJR ? On two occasions he has confronted him, and spared his life. First at Fort William when he helped Claire escape BJR’s brutality, he could have easily killed him there. Then jumped into the Loch with Clair, and went into hiding in the Highlands. Sure there would have been consequences if he was caught…maybe. The second time was the Duel. Jamie could have run the Sword in the front and out the back of BJR ( and the world would have been a better place IMHO) but he must have recalled his words to Claire re “going back through the Stones” if something should ever happen to Jamie. So he wounded the Scoundrel in the very organ of Doom BJR flaunted.. How right and just can you get ? How may times in a recounting of a rape episode have we said or thought,”they should just castrate people who rape so they can never do it again” ? Well Jamie said it…. Did it ! TYVM !

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I am grateful for the care and dedication to the books that Ron and company have done. Also to Starz for selecting Outlander to be made for television. I am also amazed at the way they have allowed us, the fans , into their realm of behind the scenes. I don’t feel I need to tell them negative things about the way they are handling the show. 1. Because they consult with Diana Gabaldon and she is the expert on Her books. 2. I know nothing about producing a show. 3. They have done a great job thus far. I will appreciate the talents , enjoy the show and always love the books. Thanks , Beth for this wonderful blog.

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  32. Outlander was life changing for me. I started watching the show during a very dark period of my life. Every show, movie, book reminded me of my situation, and Outlander allowed me to not think about it for one hour a week. What blessed relief! During hiatus, I began to read the books, a true escape. When I arrived at the events depicted in last week’s episode in my reading last year, I recognized Claire’s black, enveloping cloud as my own. Someone (DG) recognized and put into words for me what I was feeling. I slowly let go of the cloud, even though I felt safer there, and pulled back from the breakdown I was headed for. Some days are better than others, but I have a place of refuge that reminds me that healing is possible sooner or later, even if it is fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Janet, so lovely, so sad, so moving is your experience. I read the comments on this particular blog (Beth Wesson) and am completely blown away by the honesty and the truth that is written. We all have our own life experiences, that is true. Some are more tragic and heartbreaking – but all seem to touch a part of us in a way that cannot be found in any other blog or site than Beth Wesson’s. She has truly found a niche – a beautiful following of fans that are both in her “camp” or our beloved Outlander’s world. I am grateful for both.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ((Hugs))

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  33. Reblogged this on Rebadams7's Blog and commented:
    This posting captured it so well. The essence of Diana Gabaldon’s work glows warmy in Adaptation

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  34. TY Beth, always accurate! I started studying Outlander’s fans (books & TVseries) phenomenon. It intrigues me. I’m also thinking Outlander – in particular the books, because they did go out first – is not sci-fi, is sociology; is not fiction, is antropology; is not magic, is deep human instinct, also survival, deepest human emotions & interaction; is not “romance”, is an incessant evolutive seeking; is the impact of the events & the history on mankind. All the characters are so close to be “archetypes”. And, for me, Outlander is a series of REVOLUTIONARY ACTS. I did a list of them & of the episodes in which thery appear….. At soon, my dear, waiting to read you again

    Liked by 1 person

  35. So true!!

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  36. Maybe a little premature to comment on tonight’s episode — but I loved it! While I was expecting a more tender love scene/scenes between Claire and Jamie, I appreciated that this episode was about the politics and mind games of how the rebellion was moving forward. But truly, how lovely was it that Jamie was cooing to Jenny’s baby? I loved that part in the book and it was done very sweetly in this episode. I felt Claire’s pain looking down at Jamie holding the wee infant. And I also felt that Jamie was identifying himself as a father. Without a doubt, Claire and Jamie are a strong, loving couple, working together for a common cause. Adding “Leerie” to this episode was brilliant – her being so apologetic seems so questionable – everything about her screams “fraud”!! I don’t like her – never have. But I am trusting in RDM that putting her in at this point will make sense. I’ll certainly comment on our dear Beth’s take on tonight’s episode. Love!! ❤️

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  37. Sometimes communicating in this way feels like it under water. I look forward to your new post regarding our loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I had thought to do a blog myself specifically about the rape of Fergus by BJR – but don’t really want to stir that hornets nest at this time. It’s a hard subject for me having been the victim of both child sexual abuse by a family member AND rape in college – but it is also something I feel very strongly about and don’t want sugar coated. It happens – making it more palatable isn’t the answer. Getting people to discuss it, making sure it’s pounded out that it is NOT the victims fault….using a well orchestrated scene like this one was to get those discussions going…perhaps get a victim to come forward to seek help because they can talk about this ‘fictional’ rape more safely than their own.

    The ‘rape’….the entire scene from when Claire asked Fergus what was wrong till it finished was a bit under 3 minutes. Total screen time for Fergus BEING raped was about 45 seconds. Yet it seemed like an eternity. It took me right around 7 minutes to read the same passage – and I am a fast reader. Less than 3 minutes spent on it vs 7 -8 minutes to talk it out in a 55 minute show.

    Also….this is a VISUAL medium. Many hate the scenes from Wentworth and now this one of Fergus. Yet…most of Wentworth and ALL of Fergus was IMPLIED by what was on the screen. People’s own minds fill in the details. Those images are now there for the rest of the story so when those issues come up later, people will ‘see’ them instantly and all the rage, sorrow and vehemence toward BJR is brought right back. In future episodes in future seasons (we all hope) those images will come back instantly when referred to (because they were so powerful) giving the scene/episode that much more depth.

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  39. Reblogged this on andreastam.

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