I have to admit, I found this choice stupefying. You have a season of 13 episodes. You’ve aired 7 of them up to the holiday season. TAKE A TWO WEEK BREAK from airing episodes. It has been common practice for network and premiere television to break for the major year-end holidays since television-time-immemorial. But nope, we are barreling through the most wonderful time of the year with two of the most intense (and triggering) episodes of the season. If I am to take any wisdom from Twitter, I would amend my perspective on this and come to the realization that Outlander fans really love this show enough to want it every week, no matter the circumstances, no matter the hectic nature of their real lives. And sure, some folks are sitting at home, less than a full week of things to do, off work, bored. I get it. Not everyone celebrates the holidays anyway. And they have no problem watching it. Good for them. I still think they should have taken a two-week break.
But, they didn’t. So here we are. You are stealing away from a family get together to play on your phone, and you’re taking a few minutes to read this Top Ten Moments. Thank you. I wrote it before the cookies burned.
Top Ten Moments from Outlander Episode 408
I liked that everyone was thinking ahead and getting Roger a hand-drawn picture of Brianna so that he could have something to flash around to folks in the 18th century without getting tried as a witch. Can you imagine what the first few moments of this episode would have been like if Roger was describing Brianna to everyone he came across? Oy. His meeting with Fergus was a great little addition. Also, this might have been Richard’s best scene so far; the pain and desolation on his face was marked and evident.
Fersali Five Eva
I can’t decide if I just stan for Lauren Lyle altogether, or if I really love Marsali and Fergus. Seeing a little slice of their life in Wilmington – including Fergus’ employment with the printer, which makes SUCH good sense – was a treat. All I want is for the Frasers et al to be happy and healthy and whole: tiny family moments holding a new bairn, making lunch and patting each other on the back. We were robbed of seeing Jamie holding his first grandchild though. ROBBED.
Claire’s Foreshadowing Speech
We are cursed in this show of having to watch Claire and Jamie work through complicated feelings, emotions and mental gymnastics by the looks on their faces. Claire isn’t going to confide in Marsali of all people that she misses her daughter and worries that she left her all alone, to face all the things a person faces without a parent. (STILL PRESSED about this choice TBH. STILL.) But in Caitriona Balfe’s face we see her discomfiture, her regret and her worry. And the speech itself is a warning to the viewer who may not know what is about to happen: Bree will need her mother, will need someone before the end of this day, and no one will be there for her. Claire can’t protect her.
Sometimes the show improves upon the books, and if you watched In the Waterweeds as we read Drums of Autumn, you will know that this scene – when Roger finds Bree – is one of the ones we were dying to see adapted into something less horrible. I think we referred to it as the “worst reunion of two people ever.” We talked about how it would be much better if Lizzie had simply misconstrued an amorous or happy reunion for a dangerous one. And thankfully, the writers agreed. There is no yanking Bree out of the tavern in a huff, there’s no angry whispering in her ear to tell the people of the tavern that he’s a good guy, just general happiness to see each other, confusion, and a need to talk privately. Plenty for Lizzie to misconstrue. But I have to wonder … who goes off to f**k right away?
Jamie Jumps In
Claire never ever provides the introductory information needed to keep people from thinking she is downright crazy and just wants to poke around at their soft parts. You would think that with years of training, an excellent bedside manner and the knowledge that she is a woman in a time where women are not considered physicians, that she would have worked out a brief speech for times like this. Something like, “I trained extensively with the finest surgeons in Europe during the war, and have operated on many soldiers in the field and in the hospital. I have seen something very like what you describe more than once, and I know how to relieve your pain.” etc etc. HOW HARD IS THAT? But no, every time, Jamie drops in a “Sorry, she’s crazy, but she’s also real good with the healing stuff.”
Sure, Jamie meets him much later in the books, but I like that he was in this episode. His introduction was smooth, and he looks great. And this season needs some forward movement into the next. We all know that we are dreading (a bit) The Fiery Cross – book 5 – on screen next season because sooooo much of it is the Gathering that never ends. Bringing the imminent danger of the American Revolution to the viewer now is great way to heighten the tension for what’s coming later. Add in Murtagh’s Regulators, and you have a fun, historical thread to follow into other seasons.
The Wedding Part Deux
Bree and Roger, despite rarely being on the same continent and barely being in a relationship at all ever, somehow decide that the perfect time to get married is right here in this barn, weeks away from their last bath. Their handfasting is meant to be a nice call back to the wedding of her parents, primitive and oh so very Scottish. Cute. I don’t get why Bree wants to get married right now, because she doesn’t seem overly relieved to have Roger there – more annoyed and passingly pleased to see him – but it was a sweet scene. The vows were cute, and both Richard and Sophie did a great job.
However. This much sex? Should have a purpose. This ^^^ could have been it right here: a heavy makeout, tearing off of clothes and then cut to afterglow. The sex should tell the story. Contrast this with The Wedding episode: Claire didn’t love Jamie and didn’t want to get married. She finds that her lust and respect for him were able to turn her heart towards him as well. Then the episode ends with the reminder that she began it unwilling and wanting to go home to her other husband. The sex and the intimacy in The Wedding was important to her character growth which IN ITSELF moves the story forward. When Claire decides to head back to the stones and Frank, she is conflicted because of the intimacy she shared and the connection that bloomed during The Wedding episode. The sex was needed.
The sex in this episode was not. I’m not saying Bree&Roger stans can’t love it. I’m not saying they had to be in love completely in order to make the sex believable. You can love Bree and Roger all you want. People can have sex without being in love and do all the time. I could even believe that either one of them is really hard up at this point, and kind of emotional and wants this badly. But the sex does not tell a story here. It does not move these characters to a new place, and it didn’t need to last for several scenes and several minutes. I’m not being a prude. I’m being practical. We need to know they have a good time and that it was Bree’s first time. The afterglow scene tells that story; the lengthy sex scene doesn’t.
One of the things I love about Jamie is his unwavering responsibility. He takes everything on his shoulders, and this is no different. There is no way he is making it to intermission without figuring out how to keep Murtagh from being arrested (and hung) for this robbery. In an episode where we didn’t get as much Jamie as we might like, I was incredibly happy to see the capable, thoughtful, problem-solving Jamie that I love most.
… is so NOT a Barb. She has no patience for bad drama, and I love her for it. I love how everyone is just chatting away during the show, and then loudly giving their opinion TO THE ACTORS as they perform. Reminds me of Twitter. I think Martha Washington would like Hangoutlander. I’m going to work “lugubrious performance” and a scoffing “artless verse” into my next recap for sure.
Another reunion that I’ve been waiting for. How long has it been in this timeline since Murtagh has seen Fergus? Since Culloden? Are we supposed to assume that somehow Jamie made sure the two of them saw one another on the Ridge? How did Murtagh recognize him? Is it ok that I don’t even care?
You might notice something missing from this Top Ten Moments, and I’ll be brief about it. You won’t ever see me write that a rape scene was “done well.”
There won’t be a Hangoutlander this week due to everyone’s busy holiday schedule. Enjoy the time with your friends and family! Be on the lookout next week because a few of us will be together and we MIGHT do a quick pop-up Hangoutlander. But if not, mark your calendars for an extra-long Hangoutlander on January 7th! See you then.