Sixteen episodes, sixteen recaps, sixteen live hangouts, like a dozen fan events and a million tweets that second hand embarrassed us. And Outlander season 1 has come to an end.
How ya feeling?
Despite the finale’s trauma … I found 10 things that I actually LOVED about it. And I have no more introductory words, so let’s just get to it.
My Top Ten Moments from Outlander ep 116: To Ransom a Man’s Soul
1. This Opening Visual
Let me just bask for minute in the perfection of this opening scene and all that it conveys in its simplicity. This camera move that slowly pans from Jamie’s completely broken blankness to an insouciant, satiated Jack is a perfect example of how this TV show kills you with subtle potency. We were left last week with the promise that Black Jack hadn’t “even begun” to torture Jamie, but we don’t begin there this week. Instead we’re ushered right to the end. It’s over. This is the result.
And we know immediately so many things about what took place in that dungeon. Jamie’s alive, so he acquiesced, but he’s shattered so there was no respite. And Jack? He’s satisfied, calm and to be obvious about it … totally unafraid to be just buck ass nekkid. He knows he’s won. It is finished*. We learn all that from one camera pan, and two fine actors’ faces. GAHTDAMB.
*see point #4 for more on that
2. Murtagh’s Face
If seeing Jamie’s surrogate father covering him and carrying him away to safety while staunchly holding back his emotions from seeing him so broken didn’t totally break you … where’s your heart, man?
3. Claire in Trews
If the text conversations we have amongst That’s Normal girls are any indication … there are a couple of things that perplexed viewers about this episode. One was when did Black Jack got a Keratin treatment, and the other was why was Claire wearing pants for half the episode. To the latter I say: if you can imagine her standing in that road, jumping in that wagon and tending Jamie’s wounds while in bum roll and corset, you are missing on material point: Claire is our hero.
It’s a classic role reversal played out for us with costume choices. He’s wrapped and his nakedness covered as he’s carried to safety, and Claire … even though relegated to a secondary role in the rescue … is still the strong, standing force, intent on keeping him safe and making him whole. Claire required that nothing impede her ability to rescue him, not even a skirt.
4. Cheese and Rice
Say it. Out loud.
With me? Ok.
In case you hadn’t noticed: the end of Outlander is chock full of Christ imagery. You don’t have to have a minor in New Testament Apologetics to be aware of that one. Even DianaG has admitted it’s heavy handed, and in her defense, it was her first novel.
The nail in the hand. The righteous sacrifice. The assault. Jamie’s flogging. I once read a theory (in an erotica novel, natch) that Christ’s crucifixion was also a sexual assault – the virgin being stripped in front of his mother, his female friends and his enemies. Even my 2nd point about the rescue by the Highlanders smacks of Jesus and Joseph of Arimethea. It’s all like …. super obvious.
Soooooo, I love the line, “… submit like Christ on the cross” and the imagery of Jack holding Jamie in this pose. It’s not accidental. Church iconography of the Pieta is ubiquitous, and here we have Black Jack playing the role usually reserved for Mary. (Oh and PS Black Jack’s parents’ names? Joseph and Mary … go forth and have fun figuring that one out).
But why do I love this moment? It lets us acknowledge the parallels and then … forget about them. It’s a giant “Yes, we know this is heavy on the Christ imagery … let’s just say HEY PASSION OF THE CHRIST and move the effff on.” Thank you, I will.
5. Capable Claire Performs a Miracle
Setting Jamie’s hand so he won’t forever be crippled IS pretty badass, Claire, but the miracle I’m referring to here is much bigger. MUCH MUCH BIGGER. And that miracle is … somehow not making me hate this voiceover.
For once, I found a montage and a voiceover useful and not jarring or out of place. I know, I’m as shocked as you are.
6. This Gibberish
…. totally worked for me. I’m not saying I want to go pitch a tent under the Three Sisters and #AskAdamah to like be my Outlander shaman, but I could deal with a short scene that I understood none percent of when it was packed with this much emotion. JAMIE’s LAST LINE? Killer.
7. Thank you, Ron Moore
Gonna go out on a limb here, and say something that many book fans aren’t saying (at least all you whiny ass whiners that get RTd into my feed): THIS SCENE WAS SPOT ON. Sure, it lacks a bit of the opium-laced punch that the book has … oh and there’s that missing bit that all you pervs are into. But I’m guessing that Ron thought the “channel Randall to have Jamie hate/shamef—k me back to mental health” wouldn’t quite translate to screen. He might have made the right call.
I mean, good gracious, how many people have read the books multiple times and still go … “I don’t have a funky ass clue what Claire was doing to Jamie in the Abbey”??? At least 68% of book readers leave that scene scratching their heads. Trying to parse out all the woo-woo to make sense on TV? No, how about they talk a bit and cry and then hug? YES. THANK YOU. I GET IT NOW.
8. The Grey Havens
Saying goodbye to Frodo never gets an easier for Merry and Pippin and Sam. If only in this version Merry didn’t feel the need to force unwanted sexual advances onto poor Frodo for laughs when the entire episode was one giant trigger warning. IDK. Just me. (Does no one in the production think about these things?)
Cool that Galadriel got Claire one of those fancy Elven capes though. They keep you super warm.
He’s a great character, isn’t he? Throughout the last few episodes he’s gotten a chance to prove what sort of mettle he has, but here he is … simply staring out at the water. In no rush to get back to Leoch. Someone get Willie his own hero’s journey, stat.
10. And finally, Jamie Gets the Last Word
And it’s “Sassenach.” Shut up, haters. That’s gold.
I would like to formally give an honorable mention Top Moment to Sam Heughan’s face and his acting chops. Samwise, you deserve every good thing that comes your way thanks to this performance. Seriously. You win.
Ok, guys … join us TONIGHT at 10pm EST for the FINAL HANGOUTLANDER of season one!
We have no plans to keep it to an hour, which means pre-show, post-show and very little filter. You don’t want to miss it! Tweet out the link … bit.ly/hangoutlander116 … today and you’ll be entered to win an Outlander SWAG pack from my personal stockpile. I just moved and I gotta get this goofy crap outta my new house. Seriously, you will get a LOT of stuff. The more you tweet, the more entries you get. Use the hashtag #Hangoutlander so we can see it.