Outlander 1×08 Both Sides Now

Outlander 1x08 Claire and Frank

Well, I loved it on first viewing, and then all the absurdities started stacking themselves up in my mind. I am tired of the “Claire is a Dougal and rape magnet” theme. And, oh the cheesefest that was the simultaneous running and screaming at stones from two different centuries. Outlander is already full to the brim with ridiculous coincidences; the screenwriters didn’t need to add a few more!

On the plus side, finally things are happening, and the action, adventure and – yes – romance – are finally starting to take hold.

Outlander 1x08 Jamie and Claire Honeymoon Sonya Heaney

However, considering all the changes they have already made, if you’re going to film in Scotland in winter, perhaps don’t have your main couple picnicking in the sleet. I couldn’t focus on anything other than the snow in the background and the increasingly frozen, soggy actors!

Speaking of coincidences, there’s one particularly awful episode of The Love Boat (yes, really) that begins with the main cast getting a lesson in what to do if someone on your cruise has a heart attack.

Guess what happens a few minutes afterwards…

I got that same, “well, duh!” feeling in this episode. Scriptwriters: don’t teach your heroine how to stab an attacker in one scene, and then have her stab an attacker in the next!

 Outlander 1x08 Claire and Jamie after the attack Sonya Heaney

However, I DID like the reaction to the attack, and it had some of the strongest Jamie and Claire moments so far. About. Time.

The condensed timeframe of the show is placing too many dramas in a single day. As it is, the book version is already over the top with the violence and drama. In the show, in one day, Claire is almost raped TWICE, is forced to kill one of her attackers, is roughly abducted by British soldiers, and interrogated by a madman who comes close to cutting her up with a knife.

Outlander 1x08 Black Jack and Claire Sonya Heaney

And when she’s rescued by Jamie, what’s he going to do (in the next episode) but take her aside, stick a knee in the small of her back, and beat her with a leather strap as punishment for nearly getting raped and killed!

They haven’t even given us a chance to get to know show Jamie yet – how are we supposed to forgive him? This is a bodice ripper on steroids!!

It also makes little sense, because the show’s version of Jamie behaves differently to the Jamie in the books. I don’t believe for a second that the concerned husband can turn into a wife-beater in the space of a few hours. By this stage of the book, book Jamie had already threatened to tie Claire up and beat her. Show Jamie has done nothing of the sort – and yet we’ve been told they’re including the beating scene.

Unfortunately, the show’s producer is bizarrely in love with Tobias Menzies, who should not be a major player in the show at the moment. It’s like he wants us to hate Jamie, even though he is supposed to be the hero of the show! I feel like I’m watching Romeo and Juliet, but rewritten with Paris as the star!

 Outlander 1x08 Claire sees the stones Sonya Heaney

The running to the stones was supposed to be emotional, I get it. But… seriously? The stones were RIGHT THERE in front of her at the world’s most convenient moment? And then FRANK was right there in front of her at the most convenient moment? These massive coincidences are not in the book, and a good thing too, because they were utterly ridiculous. Cheese where there should have been tears.

 Outlander 1x08 Scotsmen Sonya Heaney

I know this all sounds like a rant, but I really did like some parts of the episode. It’s just that I know where the story has to go from here, with only eight episodes left to do it in. And I don’t see how they can do it and make the viewers care.

On this day: St Katharine Docks opened in London in 1828

St Katharine Docks opened in London in 1828


In the 1820s, some 11300 low class Londoners lost their homes as they were cleared out to make way for the development of St Katharine Docks. The docks opened on the 25th of October, 1828.

Plan drawn up for the St. Katharine Dock Company showing the street and buildings which would need to be demolished to make way for the new dock. circa 1825

Circa 1825 plan showing what needed to be demolished to make way for the docks.

Badly damaged by German bombing in World War Two, the area is now home to offices and private residences.

Outlander: 1×07 The Wedding

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie and Claire Church Sonya Heaney

This is the one most people have been waiting for, and for book fans who have been obsessing over Jamie and Claire for years, I think they’ll be (mostly) satisfied.

I wonder what newbies to the storyline think of Claire’s infidelity – and enjoyment of it, choice or no choice. I wonder if the fact so far show Jamie has hardly been developed as a character helps or hinders the situation.

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie and Claire Kiss Sonya Heaney

For me, I thought it was another solid episode, but I don’t actually enjoy watching actors doing the sex thing on the screen, so I did a teensy bit of fast forwarding and looking away! Many articles have been written heralding the sexy times in The Wedding as revolutionary for women (and I absolutely see their point; no rape or incest to be seen!), but I was more concerned about how long I was going to have to stare at Claire’s breasts!

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie Bow

I’ve read some articles about how this was a difficult episode to write, as they couldn’t just have an hour of Jamie and Claire in the bedroom at the inn (though I’m sure plenty of fans would have been fine with that).

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Hands Sonya Heaney

However, I do think some of the moments people were most looking forward to were eliminated, and it’s a pity. My favourite part of the wedding day – and one of my favourite parts of the whole book – is when a stressed, hung-over, starved Claire faints soon after the wedding, leading Jamie to believe she can’t stand to be married to him. I would much rather have seen that scene than quite so much sex or all those silly scenes with the other Scotsmen!

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Jamie and Claire Toast Sonya Heaney

I do like Sam Heughan’s interpretation of Jamie, even if he’s a bit less playful than the Jamie in the book. I felt so sorry for him in the show, because the book scenes where Claire is drinking and panicking were mostly cut out, which meant she did her drinking and panicking in front of him. Here he was, happy to be getting married, and his new wife was acting like she was headed for the gallows.

I’m sure it wasn’t helped by the fact Caitriona Balfe has few facial expression, and wore her “worried face” from start to finish. A pity, because I thought she did a great job in the previous episode.

Outlander 1x07 The Wedding Claire and Jamie Morning After Sonya Heaney

I don’t know how much I liked this episode. I am disappointed that certain major book scenes were omitted so secondary characters could get some screen time. I do understand how these things work, but it was unfortunate…

One last thing: I would like to know how they managed to provide a perfect wedding dress that miraculously fitted without having the hems taken down!

On this day: Swedish Royal Wedding in 1932

On the 19th of October, 1932, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten married his second cousin Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in a civil ceremony. The church wedding took place on the 20th.

The couple would have five children. The prince would die in a plane crash in 1947 – he was second in line to the throne at the time.

Wedding of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten to Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. 19th October, 1932.


Slavery in Africa

This picture’s caption says it is of an Egyptian slavemaster and a female Waswahili (Swahili) slave in Cairo c.1864

Slavery was so widespread throughout history. When I found this picture I’d sat down to read a “brief summary”, which was just silly. We tend to be taught a very limited version of the history of slavery in school (if we’re taught it at all – Australia does an abysmal job of teaching anything other than Anzac Day – and our current government wants to put more emphasis on that moment and little else!).

Egyptian_Slavemaster_and_SlaveEgyptian slavemaster and Waswahili (Swahili) slave.