World Outlander Day and A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×09   23 comments

Beth-Topper

I love being able to write this follow-up and look ahead every week.  It gives me a chance after a few days reflection and reading other people’s takes on the last episode, to gain a bit of perspective and gives me a chance to examine my initial reaction.  I told several readers this week that by Wednesday I make some re-calibrations. As most of you know, this wasn’t my favorite episode (see here). My biggest issue was with changes to characters’ motivation and personality and the move in a different direction to the Leery story arc.

I heard from a lot of different folks on the blog, Bethwesson.com.  At least 100 of you left your views in the comment section and most were fairly lengthy observations and explanations.  Which I love by the way.  For the most part, it was very civil.  Some readers shared that they felt like I did.  They didn’t hate the episode, but it left them scratching their heads in puzzlement.  Others flat out hated it and felt this episode confirmed for them that the characters they hoped they were going to see just weren’t going to materialize.  Others told me that they loved it and why.  Many encouraged me to listen to Ron’s podcast and to read Diana’s and Ron’s comments about this episode.  I don’t do podcasts (they eat my internet minutes), but I do read.  So, I set about to find said comments.

Read the rest of the article after the jump!

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

Here is what I took away from those comments and articles. There were changes made in Season 1 that then required changes in Season 2.  Some of these changes Diana agreed with some not, but ultimately they were Ron’s choices to make. What I learned from them both was that sometimes creative choices are made to create a more dramatic story line for the visual medium. But, here is the problem with making changes in source material like Diana’s books, the story is a long one and she ALWAYS brings characters and situations back into play.  I likened the whole situation to the Butterfly Effect which is pretty ironic if you think about it.  A show about time travel and characters’ attempts to change the future has a problem with changing the future.

The biggest issue seems to be with the creative choice to make Leery a villain rather than just a jealous 16 year-old child. In the TV series she becomes the mastermind behind Claire’s almost being burned at the stake.  They also chose to let us see Jamie be tempted by Leery’s offer of her maidenhead and let him be aware of Leery’s actions against Claire.  Both were significant departures from the original story arc that leaves Jamie in the dark about anything that Leery did to Claire and not being tempted by Leery once he and Claire were together. Jamie’s steadfastness is one of the things I most admired about him. Once they started down that path, they needed to make other changes and just like the Butterfly Effect what might have at first seemed like a small change in season 1 will result in big changes for season 3 and those changes will require other changes.

THE REALITY OF MAKING FILM

Image result for behind the scenes Outlander

Diana had a great conversation on Compuserve about the realities of writing, directing, and producing a show like this.  To say that it is complicated would be an understatement. The following is an excerpt from that conversation.

…I mean, in this episode, you have three separate storylines that basically have nothing to do with each other–one of them a complete insertion that doesn’t exist at all in the source material, and another an adaptation of an extant event from a distant part of the story, but substantially revised and awkwardly juxtaposed. And the sole storyline that _is_ coherent and (more or less) well based on the source material is obliged to jump like a game of hopscotch over the other pieces.

And none of those storylines are Anne’s invention; they were just handed to her with a rough flow-chart of events that came out of the conversations and collaborations of the Writers Room. Add in the necessity for things that happen in this episode to tie into things that go on in later episodes (not telling you what those are) and you have a handful of spaghetti to work with. She did a really good job, all things considered.

And by “all things,” I don’t just mean handling disparate elements in limited time and engineering logical connections among them. I mean the sorts of things that happen when a film actually reaches production.

I won’t go into the whole thing, but in Anne’s original script, Laoghaire _and_ Mrs. Fitz came to look after Colum, and there were several small scenes (and one larger one) in which Mrs. Fitz emcees the meetings between Claire and Laoghaire (and, I think–don’t recall all the details–may be in on the plot to give Young Simon a temporary backbone). I didn’t like the inclusion of the Laoghaire plot at all (and told them so), but it worked much more smoothly and believably with Mrs. Fitz.

But. As we (the crew chiefs, the director, the AD, the liaison person (who talks to the National Trust and the proprietors of locations), the writers and the head of UK production) were on a bus for three days, visiting locations and running through all the scenes that happened in each one…Anne and I were sitting in front of the producer, who was (always is) on the phone continuously, arranging things. And for two days, he’d been trying to arrange for the various part-time actors to show up as needed on the schedule.

And…we had Dean Castle (aka Beaufort Castle) for four days—couldn’t move those four days, couldn’t add any more days. And (as the producer told us that night), Mrs. Fitz was available on one of those days, and Laoghaire was available on two of those days–but they weren’t the _same_ days. Both actresses were working other jobs, and neither could change. There was just no possible way of getting them together–and they had (I think) five scenes together in Ep. 8.

At this point, I could sense Anne turning white (though she’s been in the business for twenty years, and has had this sort of thing happen before, I’m sure it’s never pleasant)–she was going to have to completely rewrite and/or junk those scenes to work with Laoghaire alone–and do it that night…

There was more and it’s definitely worth the read.  I know that I had a better appreciation and felt better about the decision-making after reading both Ron and Diana’s comments. Basically, some things can be controlled and somethings can’t, somethings must change, and sometimes you have to make decisions that make you turn white.

Despite my quibbles with this or that, it is a wonderful production, a monumental undertaking done with care and love.  I was reminded that today is #WorldOutlanderDay and folks are being encouraged to write about why they love Outlander.  So, I took a stroll through my previous posts and found a little one I wrote right before the show premiered that reminded me of how lucky we are and how proud I am of everyone involved.

Pre-wedding…I mean viewing…jitters…Outlander on Starz!

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Scrolling through my Twitter feed today, I noticed a lot of similar sentiment being expressed. Outlanders are feeling anxious, jittery, antsy, distracted.  These feelings seem to be centered around the rapidly approaching premier of Outlander.  I took a look at myself and realized I was feeling a lot of the same things.  And, I realized I have felt this combination emotions before…..where….when? OMG!  I felt this way before I got married!  LOL! What does that mean?!

I turned to the dictionary.

Anxious: full of mental distress or uneasiness due to fear; greatly worried.

That makes sense for an approaching wedding! You are uneasy thinking about your future. Is he the right one? Did I make the right choice? Will everything be okay? Yeah, people feel anxious before they’re married.  But, the Outlander premier? Why do I feel anxious about that?  Ron Moore.  Was he the right one? Did he make the right choices? Will everything be okay?  Sam and Cait. They are so sweet and nice. Will everyone think their performances are good. Will the critics like them? I’m anxious about the success of the series about people…characters…I love. There. I said it.

Jittery: having a feeling of nervous unease.

I can remember having a jittery feeling before my wedding.  Were the flowers okay? The dresses and tuxes? Will people show up? Is the time alright? Will they like the way we wrote our vows?  Wow. I realized I’m worried about whether people will “show up” to watch Outlander and whether they’ll like what they see. I NEED them too! I have time (and some money) invested in this! I want people to say, ” Did you watch Outlander? Wasn’t it beautiful? The scenery. The costumes. The dialog. Perfect!”  I’ve been talking about this to everyone! My literary reputation for good taste is at stake!

Antsy: restless, fidgety, impatient, eager.

I couldn’t hardly wait for my wedding day! And the closer it got the antsier I got.  I wanted it to happen now!  Plans were done and invitations were out.  Time seemed to crawl and didn’t know what do with myself.  Sigh. Feeling the same way now. I don’t know what to do with myself. The the pre-planning is done. The film is in the can. The day and time are set. There is nothing I can do but wait and time is c…r…a…w…l…i…n…g! I check my Twitter and talk to my peers. All we do is share our anxiety and fear, as someone told me today, that we might explode from excitement! Come on August 9th!

Distracted: having attention diverted.  Be a soon-to-be married bride and try to think of anything but your wedding day.  You have no focus. Everything reminds you of your wedding. I wondered how I was able to keep my job the weeks before my wedding because I sure don’t remember what I did while at work.  Be a soon-to-be rewarded Outlander fan and try to think of anything but the premier day. You have no focus. Everything reminds you of the day you’ll get to see your characters and story come to life. And…I know some folks who might be in danger of losing their jobs, or families, or spouses over their Outlander distraction. Someone told me today they were watching the new Time Warner Youtube videos in the bathroom at work. I’ve heard some children have had to learn to speak “Outlanderese” to get their mother’s attention and I personally know MY husband’s patience is wearing thin. I’m getting the eye-roll when the words Sam, Cait, Jamie, Claire or Diana says come out of my mouth. I’ve been given the “all things in moderation” speech.

I hope this analogy helps explain what I’m feeling.  Mostly, what I’m feeling feels…well…pretty amazingly wonderfully great, except for that fear I might explode from excitement.

Just the reminder I needed as we get closer to Culloden Moor and the end of season 2. Outlander on Starz is so much more than I could ever have imagined and I’m grateful to them and Diana.  Because she wrote a book my life has been enriched.

23 responses to “World Outlander Day and A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×09

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  1. “Outlander on Starz is so much more than I could ever have imagined and I’m grateful to them and Diana. Because she wrote a book my life has been enriched.” This is everything – and I wholeheartedly agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Once again Beth, I love how your mind works and how you tie in relate-able events and feelings to ground your (our) love of Outlander. Nicely done! Absolutely love this bit from you: “A show about time travel and characters’ attempts to change the future has a problem with changing the future ; )

    Before I got this blog post, I also came across an article that was an extract of Diana’s post you write about. The outcome of this series of unfortunate events in the actual production of the EP makes total sense now in how it felt awkward and pieced together. After reading the script on Monday, there were quite a few instances of dialog that I thought I must have missed while watching, that would have helped me pull things together. So I went back and listened to the EP while I was doing something else on my computer and just about all of those helpful bits of dialog were missing from the final edit. After reading Diana’s account of challenges with timing, actors availability and mother nature I felt sorry for Anne and the whole production team. In light of that, I think they pulled together the best EP they could. I think the big drawback is that they may have boxed themselves in with the addition of Leery here and not being about to pull that off as wanted. I’m not sure they achieved the “redemption” they needed for Season 3. To me, it felt like they added another thin layer of villain to Leery. I look forward to seeing how they pull off that magic.

    We are now in full on war march. I am starting to feel anxious, jittery, antsy and distracted. There a lot of sad stuff to come. But I’m also excited to see how they tie in flashes to the future and set up season 3.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love, love, love! Thanks Beth! Am I reading Facebook correctly, are Seasons Three and Four really happening?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh those sly foxes at STARZ made us suffer all this time so they could make their announcement on World Outlander Day on the 25th anniversary of Outlander with a bonus of 2 new seasons. We forgive you STARZ for the anxiety you put us through and thank you for this gift.

    We book readers know that with 13 episodes Voyager, which is longer and even more complex, is going to have to be condensed quite a bit and still hit a lot of high points in the storyline with each episode standing on its own and ultimately getting us to the end in a way that makes sense. I sometimes think we book lovers are at a disadvantage because we come into this with preconceived ideas and great exceptions then find ourselves unable to appreciate all that is good about the TV show because we dwell on our disappointments. So I intend to adjust my expectations and take whatever RDM is able to deliver with limited screen time and accept it with grace and thanks. We know the will production quality will be first rate, but we also know from this season, that there will be some issues with continuity, mistakes will be made and disagreements on the adaptation decisions. What I hope is that fans will be civil in their comments and not resort to personal attacks on RDM, his team or the actors (or on other fans who disagree with them). RDM and his team love these characters and these books and are knocking themselves out to do them justice while still dealing with the realities of binding constraints and production difficulties over which they have no control. That does not mean that we can’t critique, analyze and express strong opinions on each episode on its own merits, but we must respect those with differing points of view. I find this particular community to be mature, intelligent, articulate and civil which is why this is my first “go to” fan site. Thank you Karen for setting the tone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I so agree with you Kathy about this site and Beth’s blog in specific. I was further impressed about the discussion on EP8 that after mostly very passionate “mehs” (odd that…passionate mehs, but they were!) that quite a few people still felt safe to speak their mind and say “…but I loved it!” and did not get screamed off the page as they would on other sites. THAT says a ton about the community you have created here. Hats off to you. That is an amazing thing in this age of commentary on the internet and this passionate, vocal fandom!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I appreciate the post very much. I am really struggling with the book departures. I loved in book 7 or 8 when Jamie tells Claire that he never would have agreed to married “Leery” if he had known what she had done – how will they reconcile this now? Diana G’s story is so great, dramatic or not, I do not feel like the departures are worth the effort. Perhaps I am just a purist at heart. The series is beautiful and wonderful, but so were the books. .Nancy I totally agree – I did not read the books before I saw season 1 and thought it was spectacular. Then I read everything before season 2 – and I notice the changes rather than enjoy the episodes.I hope that they will be able to “recover” and make us believe that there is a good reason why Jamie actually marries “Leery” in later seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, Beth, God bless you and your commitment to research! I soooo appreciate you including the compuserve bits. We are all so spoiled by this production and the team that brings it to us. Is it any wonder that the general reaction to 208 was a “passionate meh” when 207 was so incredibly powerful? Now, hearing even that much of the backstory for 208 makes everything more clear. I am choosing to stop worrying, wondering, and fixating. From here on, i will be the queen of “dinna fash”. As of today, we know we’ll get the printshop and the ridge. We’ll meet young ian and lord john. We’ll also meet bonnet and the mohawk and keep leghair. Although it might fill the time, we won’t be served by picking apart or knocking down. The best fans, those that understand the story of a lifetime together, will know that waiting expectantly for the gifts of Voyager and Drums also brings a little pain. That’s what diana has been writing about for 25 years! The “worst” day watching outlander is STILL the BEST day (s) of my week.

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

    This week I take look back at how I felt before season 1!

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  8. I am so glad to read your new approach, Beth, because I reached that same conclusion after watching episode 208 three times. The first time, my reaction was colored by the scenes I missed seeing: the potato harvest and Ian and Jamie traveling to Broch Mordha come to mind. Second time, I was blown away by the wonderful acting by Sam, Gary, and Clive. Those scenes crackled! Third time, I noticed the surroundings…the magnificent exterior locations and interior sets! The mud and rain and storms and cold! These people went so far above and beyond to create this visual feast, and we should never take that for granted. Labor of love indeed. And now that we know so much of the backstory regarding this particular episode, from Diana and Ron, I have nothing but admiration for all the producers and writers and cast and crew do to craft each episode. I also think watching all 13 episodes back to back, after the season ends, will be intensely satisfying.

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  9. Thanks for this reflection, Beth, and for including some of Diana’s post. I, for one, don’t get the hate for Laoghaire. Just from the show we know that she was taken in front of a group of adults in Hall, publicly accused by loose behaviour, and threatened with a beating. Obviously this girl has problems at home. She’s been smitten with Jamie for 8 years. She mistakes a few passionate kisses for ‘love’ and misreads Jamie’s willingness to take her punishment instead. She throws herself at a married man and plots to kill his wife. This is not a person who is any real threat to Jamie or Claire. Why all the hate? She is one of the trees for whom I will not lose sight of the forest. I know what happens in later books and she’s a thorn in their side, but really…some tweets have been downright scary in regards to Laoghaire.
    I’ll echo the above comments about trusting RDM and Maril to guide and develop the story as is best as they see it for TV. They aren’t amateurs and know the ropes. They have hired team members who are capable and love what they do. I have faith all will be well. If their vision is different from mine, I’ll go along for the ride and see what comes next.
    Please keep posting and encouraging discussion. I wait for your posts every week.

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  10. Pingback: World Outlander Day and A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×09 | andreastam

  11. Helpful info. I don’t constantly compare books to show. WOFT. But yah, sometimes just watchibg the show leaves your head scratching. But whether what’s being said is positive or negative, the show’s being talked about, and that’s a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Meant to add I did watch it a second time and liked it better, round two. It’s a slower pace…in spite of jumping, condensing, skipping, cimbining, whatever. But appreciated it more second go round.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I appreciate the post, but it still doesn’t change the fact that Ron has now completely rewritten THAT story, and NO adaptation after this will EVER be able to tell THAT story correctly again, and for NO GOOD REASON. It’s like someone who tells a lie, then has to tell another lie to cover for that lie, and pretty soon….they can’t keep it all straight, and the lies get more incredulous as it goes on. Again, finishing this season because I want to see the Battle, and how it all ends, but this is it for me. Not going to watch him destroy another story. If you think that he will be able to do ANY justice to Voyager, as many threads and complications and plot and story arcs there are in that book in one season? People thought that when they announced two seasons, they thought finally? We’ve been heard? We’ll get a great adaptation, because there will be time! Two seasons! NOT A CHANCE. I cannot watch them do this again.

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    • As much as I liked and appreciated Diana and Beth’s explanation of the difficulties involved in bringing this complex series of books to the screen, I feel they in no way excuse the mess made of this episode. Ron and rest of the producers always knew what they were undertaking and are all very experienced in handling the logistics of big productions so I’m simply not buying the stated difficulties. I do understand the need for some deviations from the book to the screen but that isn’t what happened to episode 208. Not did what happened support Ron’s oft stated position of being true to the story. Instead the writers and producers rewrote Diana’s story. They brought Leery back to apologize to Claire which allowed Jamie to learn of Leery’s involvement in the witch trial. In the book, Jamie did not know of Leery’s duplicity. In Voyager when Claire discovers Jamie married Leery she asked him how could he marry the girl who sent the fake note that had her arrested with Gillis. Jamie responded had he known he would not have married her. So tell me writers and producers, going forward, how the heck are you going to justify Jamie’s marriage Leery without making him an idiot. In the book Jamie married Leery out of loneliness and a desire to be needed. This understandable. The rewrite is not.
      As for the ludicrous scene where Claire asks Leery to help build up Simon’s son in return for her putting in a good word to Jamie on her behalf, so not believable. And then Simon’s son spontaneously spouting off poetry after 10 seconds of Leery’s half hearted attempt to show interest, pure crap and a complete waste of episode time.And let’s just say the part where Claire swoons into Jamie’s arms claiming a vision was beneath Claire’s character and Cait’s acting. To me Episode 208 was an embarrassment to all of the excellent directing and writing in previous episodes.
      In Ron’s last podcast he said it was important that the non book readers understand the why and how a character returns. Why? Why should we the readers of the books see the story rewritten so the non readers can be spoon fed the nuances. I understand the need to appeal to a broad band of viewers but if Ron and the rest of producers and writers think Episode 208 would draw any new viewers into the story, they failed. In fact, if I wasn’t a 20+ year reader of the books and this episode my first introduction to Outlander, it would be my first and last. It was so poorly written, directed and boring to boot, I’d never bother to watch again.

      I also take umbrage with the concept that Jamie would sign Lallybroch over to his grandfather in exchange for fighting men jso Prince Charles would think him a leader of men. Knowing the outcome of the rising, Jamie’s main focus was on saving Lallybroch and his tenants and family. Giving Lallybroch to Lord Lovat was never in the book and certainly never in Jamie’s mind. Again, an unnecessary addition and waste of time. Stick to Diana’s story and you can’t go wrong. Honor the author and fans by staying true to the story. Scramble the times as needed to make it flow but please don’t rewrite or add nonsensical fluff.

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      • Sue – I agree it is becoming a bit like lying to cover a lie.I have no idea what they did in Season 1 to make it necessary to change the story line in Season 2. I think what is disheartening is how it undermines Jamie’s character as written in the books – which is beautiful. Instead of “Leery” being a love sick teenager, she seems to be an obsessive stalker. It will make Jamie seem like a coward or a fool if he marries “Leery” now. Perhaps that will not happen in Season 3 – maybe that is the re-write – he will be single when Claire comes back.

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  14. Beth, could you post the link to Compuserve where Diana talked about Leery and Mrs Fitz etc.? I looked and couldn’t find it.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I agree we must be civil. Yes as readers of the book’s it’s hard to see departures from the book. But when given 13 episodes that are 58 minutes, it’s hard not to. I believe the writer’s are doing well with what they have. As are the producer’s and RDM. I just grateful to see the characters come to life. The actors and crew are superb.

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