Trying something new with an actual picture in a post! Image is courtesy of Starz, of course. Look at this fancy blogging!
Alright, so we once again have our lifeblood flowing for the next eight weeks. We made it through Droughtlander! After this we’ll have to be strong because I think season 2 doesn’t arrive until 2016. They do have to, like, make it first.
I learned tonight that the viewership for this episode was 70% higher than the viewership of the first episode. That’s pretty impressive! I am so psyched that the show has caught on and even brought in lots of new fans who haven’t read the books first. Those of us who hoped and wished for a show for years and years could not have wished for a more perfect rendering of the book onto the screen. I want to give the casting director a medal for just everyone on this show. The acting in this episode was so strong. I am also just so impressed with the fine show running from Ron Moore. The dude knows how to make good tv. I also listened to the podcast Ron did for this episode, and I’ll drop some knowledge gems from that in my review.
Let’s get down to business!
The episode opened with a Jamie voiceover. I was completely spoiled for that by the million clips and previews Starz put out over the past couple of months. I kind of wish I hadn’t been spoiled and could have been taken by surprise by it, because as a book reader, there is very little that happens on this show that I don’t know is coming. But since my Facebook feed is mostly Outlander news at this point, I know I won’t avoid spoilers like that in the future. I loved the voiceover and point of view switch for this episode. I think it’s the only way they could really pull off all of the material they needed to get through in this episode.
Loved seeing the dudes breaking into Fort William. That was so tense! It really helped me grasp better the danger Claire put them in. I think because they do get her out of the situation so deftly, it was easy for me while reading to gloss over the danger and difficulty, much like I think Claire did, and think that a thank you and a promise to never do it again is all that’s needed to move on. Not that I’m saying a belting across the backside is actually needed to move on. Murtagh’s little “thank you” after knocking out the guard- so great! The life that the side characters have in this show is so delightful.
I may have squee’ed a bit at the tiny line “a couple hours’ ride from The Drover” because I think they were possibly talking about The Drovers Inn, a totally haunted old inn on the road from Fort William. It was established in 1705, and its location is just right for it to be the inn they would have stayed at. In planning our upcoming Scotland trip I really wanted to make our itinerary work so that we could spend a night at that inn, but we’re going to have to push on further down the loch when we drive through the Glencoe area. Still, I may have to insist on a stop there for refreshment. So I can pretend to be a fictional time traveler. You know, as you do.
Sam and Cait pulled off the fight in the glade so well. Lines that could have easily overwhelmed lesser actors felt so natural and emotional. I did miss just a little bit Jamie’s book line about dignity being all he had left while he was breaking down. I’m going to be really curious to see deleted scenes from this episode, because it felt like they may have had more in that scene that they ended up editing out. In his podcast Ron Moore did say they had to cut about 10 minutes from the episode just to get the time down. I wish they had cut the Laoghaire scenes and given us more Claire and Jamie, but more on that momentarily.
The Colum MacKenzie scenes were great. I loved him calling the guys weasals. We could only have seen this whole conversation if we were following Jamie’s POV, so glad they made that call. In the book Claire briefly overhears an argument between Colum and Dougal about the Jacobite fundraising, but this was a way more powerful way for that situation to play out. I am a little confused by Colum being obviously disappointed that Jamie can’t ever be his successor now. Is that unaware of how precarious Jamie’s position in the clan is? It seems like a no-brainer that Dougal would be stabbingly displeased if Jamie tried to take over after Colum.
Murtagh and Jamie’s conversation was a nice touch. According to the podcast there was an entire other scene between these two that had to be cut. No! I want more sensitive dude talk! I’ve got no time for Laoghaire and her sad little girl problems! Which brings me to… Laoghaire and her sad little girl problems. Ugh. The one thing I really had a problem with in this episode was Laoghaire & Jamie. In the book it is clear that Jamie spared no thought for Laoghaire. He wasn’t aware of her pining away for him, he didn’t think about her, she was barely a blip on his radar. I didn’t like him hemming and hawing about Claire to her, and I really didn’t like the river scene. The podcast sheds a lot of light on this scene, and Ron talks about the arguments they had about it in production meetings. His reasoning for the scene was wanting to push Jamie into being tempted by Laoghaire but then making an active choice to choose Claire. I don’t think that is really true to his character, and I don’t think we needed to see that choice, because we already know he is all-in with Claire. But it could have been worse, Ron wanted Jamie and Laoghaire to actually kiss, but Maril Davis fought that. I love that this much thought and care goes into making this show! Interestingly, all this Jamie and Laoghaire stuff changed the focus for the big make up love scene that closes out the show. In the book, they get to Leoch and Jamie runs off to claim his marriage money from Colum and traipse around the castle while Claire stews and paces around a room in the castle getting more and more crazed with jealous rage. Claire imagines that Jamie disappeared to go see Laoghaire, and it drives Claire nuts, so when Jamie comes back to their room she loses it. It actually isn’t super in character for Claire to have gotten so wrapped in jealous rage like that, so I really liked that change.
Whew. There was so much going on in this episode. Good job, show, A+ gold star!