Jen- Episode Review, Episode 16, To Ransom a Man’s Soul, and Season 1 wrap-up

I don’t have a ton to say about the episode. Sam and Tobias’ acting game was top-notch.

I do think that Ron Moore’s take on the series just isn’t the same as mine when it comes to pivotal moments and the real heart of the show. He doesn’t seem to really get that Jamie and Claire’s relationship is the driving force of the show, and the plots and action and adventure are there to move the characters into position for relationship challenges and growth. The fact that he says in the podcast that the ending was abrupt because once Jamie was healed, that was the end of the story… that’s not really how I see it. He almost cut out the confession scene with Claire and Brother Anselm, even though that’s a big character moment for Claire in the books…. I just think we are experiencing different things when we read the books.

This episode’s ending did feel really rushed and tacked on, I maintain my wish that the second half of the season had been broken differently for the episodes. I think this episode could have really shone if more of it had focused on Claire and Jamie actively working toward healing and Jamie finding peace. It should have been more of a struggle. I’m not even complaining about the lack of the hot springs, because I can totally get why that couldn’t be shot, and I don’t think the hot springs scene was as necessary to their relationship as, oh, Claire’s decision at the stones and her actually telling Jamie she could have gone back but she chose him. Ugh, show, that one scene really needed more fleshing out (and from what I gathered listening to the podcast, more of that scene was written and shot, it just ended up being edited out by Ron). I think in this episode they really should have kept the book lines where Jamie tells Claire to leave him and go back to the stones. The audience needs to be reminded that hey, Claire really can walk away and go back to her old life, but she is committed and she’s not going to give up on him.

Still, with all my quibbles, this show is amazing. It is so thoughtfully created and it’s very clear how much work goes into making it. The acting, the costumes, the sets, the gorgeous scenery, it’s all amazing. And whoever does the casting wins all the awards forever, because the casting news we’ve been getting for Season 2 this week has been fantastic (young Fergus! Mary Hawkins! Master Raymond! Bonnie Prince Charlie! They all look perfect!). I vastly prefer Season 1A over Season 1B, but The Devil’s Mark is my one of my favorite episodes of the entire season. After that, I think The Way Out is my second favorite.

Stay tuned periodically for random updates and Scottish music!