Outlander 1×12 – Or the episode where we wonder why everyone has stopped speaking Gaelic!

This is also posted HERE.

Outlander 1x12 Jamie Claire Sonya Heaney

This seems to be the episode that made even diehard Outlander fans admit the show has lost sight of the book. The funny thing is that while I had a few issues, it didn’t offend me and I wasn’t as worked up about it as I was about some others.

One thing I wasn’t thrilled with was the penises. Sorry, but I’m serious. I get that Black Jack Randall is trying to rape Jamie’s sister, Jenny. What I don’t need to see is the actor whipping out his penis and rubbing it to try and… you know… in order to do the deed. Remember in the past when people equated actresses with prostitutes? Well, I think these days it’s fair to say actors have rather a lot in common with porn stars… I don’t think it makes me a prude to say I don’t want to watch actors actually masturbating on television.

Outlander 1x12 Jenny Black Jack Randall Sonya Heaney

Don’t worry, I spared you the penis shots…

And then we had naked Jamie in all his glory in the stream.

Yeah. I don’t need to see that.

As for the rest of the episode?

Outlander 1x12 Scottish Scenery Sonya Heaney

I thought they did a good job with the scenery in this one. I also liked that they didn’t portray the English as totally evil (rather, they were helping) in the one scene they appeared in.

Outlander 1x12 Claire Sonya Heaney

I was complaining that we never saw the discussions about Claire and Jamie’s ages, a discussion that should have been in the last episode. Now that they put it in, I wish they hadn’t. Neither actor looks young for their age (in fact, I’d say Balfe was older), and trying to claim they’re a decade younger… did not work.

I’ve seen it mentioned that the actress playing Jamie’s sister would have made a better Claire than Caitriona Balfe. I agree. Firstly, we have the size difference (which is a big thing in the books):

Outlander 1x12 Jenny Jamie Sonya Heaney

She is also a more passionate character – as Claire is in the books. And there’s no way in hell I believe these two are siblings. They don’t share a single physical characteristic!

Outlander 1x12 Jenny Sonya Heaney

However, both Jenny and Claire came off as nagging and a bit nasty in this episode. I’m not sure why this show is being lauded as a “Girl Power!!” show when they portray women so badly. There was no need for their first scene together to result in Claire being called a trollop!

And then we have one of my big issues: why is nobody speaking Gaelic??!! When this show started, there was a big deal made about Claire not understanding anyone. And the promotional videos featured the language expert teaching us phrases.

And they’ve dumped it! Everyone is not only (unrealistically) fluent in English, but they’re ONLY speaking English.

Outlander 1x12 British English Soldiers Redcoats Sonya Heaney

This is basically a filler episode. I can see why fans are complaining about it, because not much happens. HOWEVER, this is following the book, and this is a slow part of Outlander, so I’m not sure what viewers expected!

Finally, I was a little bit pissed off with the supposed joke about the food offered at the dinner table. Basically, it was something we eat in Ukrainian culture on a regular basis. And – seriously – Claire from 1940s England does NOT get to joke about anyone else’s food!

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Outlander 1×11 – or the episode where they conveniently had a witch trial years after Scotland stopped trying and burning witches.

Outlander 1x11 Claire and Jamie Sonya Heaney

This is also posted HERE.

This article suggests that many long-term Outlander fans are projecting their expectations onto their experiences watching the show, because the adaptation is failing on a few levels. People are seeing what they wish they were seeing, rather than what they’re actually seeing. I agree.

The reason I – and people who aren’t thrilled with every aspect of the adaptation – continue to watch Outlander is for the big moments. This episode had a couple of the biggies we wanted to see taken from the book and put onto the screen.

It’s the episode where Jamie finds out Claire is from the future. It is also the episode Claire decides to stay in the past with Jamie.

Outlander 1x11 Jamie Sonya Heaney

Did they get it right? Yes and no. Sam Heughan got Jamie just right – he was perfect. I loved his genuine regret for beating her. Better than the book, I think. However, they wasted so much time on the witch trial we missed some of the Big Moments from the Jamie and Claire story.

Outlander 1x11 Geillis Claire Trial Court Sonya Heaney

I do love how the television show tried to fix historical errors made by Diana Gabaldon (the so-called queen of historical accuracy!) in this episode. It was very clunky, but at least they acknowledged that trying people for witchcraft was indeed outlawed in Britain before 1743. It’s such a crucial part of the story, but also very much an anachronism.

Outlander 1x11 Crowd Sonya Heaney

The lack of head-coverings for the women is really starting to bug me!

The beginning of the episode is all about the trial. It’s different from the book, playing up Laoghaire’s villainy, which is a little disappointing. This so-called feminist show is doing a wonderful job demonising the pretty teenage girl. It’s bad enough the book’s fans (who are old enough to know better) already childishly call her “Leg Hair”. We don’t need to encourage more of that nonsense.

Outlander 1x11 Geillis Duncan Trial Court Sonya Heaney

Lotte Verbeek is perfect as Geillis in this episode. I did wonder why she wasn’t even mentioned when both she and Claire were standing there on trial together (all the evidence was against Claire) but she made the most of the scenes.

However, they left out crucial things – where did Jamie suddenly come from when he was supposed to be days away?!

And then they added others – Ned with a flipping gun?!

Outlander 1x11 Claire and Jamie 2 Sonya Heaney

But what we were all waiting for was the big revelation: Claire is from the future.

Was it done right? Well… no, it wasn’t.

I doubt many people who have read the book expected Claire’s big revelations about her time-travelling to be as it was done in the show. What I always remember from that scene in the book is Claire’s hysterical laughter, and Jamie’s goosebumps, and much more drama.

Claire’s quiet, emotionless revelations didn’t have much of an impact for what is supposed to be one of the BIGGEST moments of the entire show.

Jamie’s reactions were brilliant, but there was just so much missing from the whole thing. For example, show Claire might have shown the same courtesy as book Claire and warned Jamie about Culloden!

More importantly, we never got to see Claire start to disappear through the stones. This is how Jamie is convinced Claire is from a different time. In the show Jamie never gets any proof.

Less trial and more emotional time-travelling scenes were definitely needed!

Hmm. It seems Ron Moore really has no idea what is important to the story. I get that he wants to give his secondary actors something to do, but it should never be at the expense of the good stuff.

Outlander 1×10

This has also been posted HERE.

 Jamie Claire Outlander 1x10 Sonya Heaney.

My first thought about this episode was: where’d the book go??

There’s adaptation, and then there’s throwing the book out the window and just making stuff up. I specialised in scriptwriting and book adaptation at university, and so I understand better than almost anyone the importance of not simply putting a book onto the screen. That’s not how it works. But I also know it could have been done better.

Oddly, characters from many episodes were suddenly brought back for big storylines, without any build-up.

Outlander 1x10 Claire Jamie Murtagh Sonya Heaney

The opening scene was… weird. Surely it wasn’t necessary for Murtagh to barge in on Jamie and Claire – naked – in their bedroom! It was really, really odd how nobody seemed to have a problem with it. Jamie and Claire aren’t peasants; they’d have expected a little more respect than that!

Geillis Duncan Dance Outlander 1x10 Sonya Heaney

My biggest disappointment was what they’ve done with Geillis, because the big reveals about her character were either given away here, too early in the story, or were ruined by a bizarre naked (always with the naked women in this show!) dance in the forest. Surely I wasn’t the only one worried she was going to set all that floaty fabric – or her hair! – on fire during that scene.

I’m going to spoil you here if you haven’t read the book.

So. Don’t read unless you want to know:

Geillis Duncan is from the future, just as Claire is. In fact, she’s from further ahead in time than Claire, and this is revealed in a shocking scene where Claire sees her immunisation scarring just before Geillis is taken away, condemned to death.

This – one of the best moments of the whole book – was ruined by this episode. How can they ever do that scene now Claire has already seen Geillis frolicking around with no clothes on? And her pregnancy has also been revealed too early. All the cool stuff from the book – gone!

Outlander 1x10 Sonya Heaney Simon Callow Duke

On a better note, Simon Callow is a great addition to the cast. I also like the glimpse we were given at the life of a Georgian era aristocrat. Up until now, the lives of the Outlander characters have almost looked mediaeval. In fact, I’ve read some magazine articles that accidentally attribute that time period to the show.

Outlander 1x10 Duke Simon Callow Sonya Heaney.

Well, the lives have looked bleak apart from the fact the costume designer continues to dress Claire in a wardrobe fit for royalty (mixed with some very modern knitwear). Where the holy hell are all those clothes coming from? Who is paying for them, who is making them, and don’t try and tell me they’re hand-me-downs when Claire is twice as tall as every other woman in the show!

Outlander 1x10 Claire and Geillis Sonya Heaney

Geillis’ costumes and hairstyling are so incorrect for the time period it makes Reign look historically accurate! This wouldn’t be an issue if both author Diana Gabaldon and the people working on the show didn’t keep bragging about how historically accurate they are!

Outlander 1x10 Geillis and Claire Sonya Heaney

This is a choppy episode. That’s what tends to happen when you start adding in stuff that isn’t part of the original story. There’s good and bad and there’s some pretty stuff to look at, but too much of it was made up for no reason I can understand.

Some of the best scenes from the book have been omitted from the show, apparently so the producers can bore us with the nuances of Scottish politics and the main female characters’ breasts. So much for the much-lauded “female gaze” the show is supposed to have!

Argh! It’s so annoying. I want to love this show and I really want to see the book coming to life on the screen. But more often than not these days, Ron Moore has totally missed the mark.

Outlander 1×09 – the infamous wife-beating episode

This has also been posted HERE.

 Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Claire and Jamie Domestic Abuse Wife Beating 2 Sonya Heaney

This is THE episode. The one book readers have known would be difficult to do. It’s the one I decided would help me determine if I wanted to continue with the show or not, because – to be honest – I thought up to here Outlander was getting consistently less-good, rather than better.

 Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Jamie Sonya Heaney

To begin with a negative: the voiceover. It needs to go. It’s no different to a bad author who tells everything instead of showing it, and it’s especially bad in a situation where you’re already seeing the story play out in front of you.

Handing voiceover duties to Jamie instead of Claire is a huge departure from the first book, and while Sam Heughan is ten times the actor Caitriona Balfe is, his voiceovers add nothing at all to the show. Why would they when they’re totally unnecessary?

However, I did like to see a bit more Jamie, because he’s practically been a background character for much of the show so far. Talent wasted until now.

 Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Start Scottish Scenery Sonya Heaney

My next thought about this episode was that they finally made the most of the Scottish countryside. Everyone has been praising Outlander for this from the beginning, but until this episode I didn’t think they had done Scotland justice. 1×09 fixed that. It was gorgeous.

 Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Scottish Scenery Sonya Heaney

I thought they did a good job with the whole fort rescue thing, but Ron Moore is so obsessed with having Balfe’s breasts on display (or another woman’s if Claire’s not in the scene!) that it’s starting to really annoy me.

However, the whole scene looked as expensive and exciting as you’d expect from a movie.

 Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Rescue Redcoats Sonya Heaney

After this, we hit the part of the book where author Diana Gabaldon had a field day with her misogynistic beliefs (her comments about feminists and women under forty make my blood boil!) and her pseudo-historical accuracy arguments. I found this comment on The New York Times review of the episode to explain my thoughts better than I could articulate them:

 Outlander 1x09 Historical Accuracy Diana Gabaldon Wife Beating Rape Domestic Abuse

However, the vast majority of people also lived fairly limited lives. They stayed in one place. They were born, they lived, they died, and they did it within small, local communities. Women were at risk from the men in their own family, not from every stray male in Scotland and half the British army. They did not go traipsing all over Europe encountering sexual peril from strange men at every turn. I enjoy Outlander, for the most part, but let’s be honest about the role of history here. Galbadon preserves those aspects of the 18th century that facilitate violence and disregards the rest (ie, all the bits where Claire wouldn’t have ever been in any of these situations to start with, because she would have been at home, by the fire). History isn’t a shield against criticism when it’s selective history… 

The point is, Outlander is semi-historical fantasy and the author made choices – most of which maximize the potential for violence, particularly sexual violence. It wasn’t a necessity dictated by historical correctness, and it’s completely fair to question and critique those choices as a reader/viewer.

The show really changed the book’s scenes around a lot, which I’m sort of disappointed about. Because the whole Outlander franchise is continually lauded as a feminist’s dream, I’d have liked for more people to see this part of the story as Gabaldon insisted on telling it. There’s a lot about the story that has nothing feminist about it.

 Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Claire and Jamie Sonya Heaney

For example, the show’s producers removed the part where Jamie shook Claire so hard she had bruises all over her arms. In the show, they have Claire slapping Jamie instead. I was horrified to see a lot of men commenting on this episode, saying what a ‘stupid bitch’ Claire was. The show is making Claire out to be annoying rather than an abuse victim.

In the book, there are some sex scenes with very dubious consent – which many say constitutes the rape of Claire. In the show, that’s all gone. Show Claire is practically a dominatrix!

What viewers should stop and remember is that the show badly screwed up the timeline so it is very condensed. In the space of twenty-four hours, Claire has been sexually assaulted by two different men, had to kill someone in self-defence, been abducted by Black Jack, physically assaulted, generally traumatised. And then her husband – and the other men – thinks she deserves to be physically punished for nearly getting raped twice.

 Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Claire and Jamie Domestic Abuse 1 Sonya Heaney

All on the same freaking day!

Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Claire and Jamie Domestic Abuse Wife Beating 2 Sonya Heaney - Copy

However, even with attempting to add a feminist bend to a misogynistic theme, they DID keep the wife-beating in. And it pissed me off that it was presented as the episode’s comedic relief, complete with clichéd Scottish music blasting through the entire scene. Even with them leaving in Jamie’s line about enjoying beating her with a leather sword belt, it was clearly supposed to be funny.

This is the best reaction to this sexist scene I have read:

The theater went fucking wild when they realized what this scene was—apparently it’s a fan favorite from the books. I of course had no idea what was coming. I listened to the disturbingly upbeat musical score underlying the scene and assumed Jamie was intentionally riling up Claire to protest loudly, so as to make the men downstairs think he had beaten her when he actually hadn’t.

Jamie eventually corners his new bride, rails on her ass with his leather belt, and grins his head off as she screams and writhes in pain. “I said I was going to punish you, I didn’t say I wasn’t going to enjoy it,” he says.

…It was a fascinating moment of cognitive dissonance: we both knew the show had crossed a line, but no one else seemed to. Violence against women in the media is disappointing but never surprising. A theater full of women delighted by violence against women is the height of disturbing.

The way this was dealt with in the show, it made the beating seem even less necessary than it did in the book.

Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Snow Sonya Heaney

Following this they really departed from the book and things got turned around. The episode segues into a lot of scenes involving Scottish politics, which I’m just not in it for. I know some people are happy for a break from the Claire and Jamie soap opera, but I’m seriously not at all interested in the secondary characters!

Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Laoghaire and Jamie 1 Sonya Heaney

They’ve (probably wisely, because this is a bit of a loose end in the book) done a bit more with the Jamie/Laoghaire relationship, but I’m not sure I like what it does to his connection with his wife!

Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Laoghaire and Jamie 2 Sonya Heaney

Now, we have a mega sex scene at the end. Done well, but I NEVER need to see the lead actor sucking on the breasts of the lead actress. This is not porn!! Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Claire and Jamie Sex Sonya Heaney

The tamest screenshot you’ll find!

Will I keep watching? I’ll finish the season. Some things were better than I expected, but I just don’t know if I plan to invest in this any further. It’s a gorgeous-looking show, but I never much cared for the books beyond the first one, either. The level of sexual sadism Gabaldon revels in is unnecessary and upsets me.

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.

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!

Outlander: 1×06 The Garrison Commander

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Lunch Dougal Claire Redcoats Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

You’ll need a strong stomach for the scenes with Jamie, but this is easily the best episode so far. I had my doubts when reviewers repeatedly told viewers, “Don’t worry if you’re disappointed so far because it gets great in the sixth episode!”

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Claire Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

But they were right, you see. This felt like an entirely different show. I even thought Caitriona Balfe did a credible job as Claire, right when I was totally losing faith in her acting abilities. But good God is Claire a stupid woman sometimes. A lot of the conflict in the show is coming from that character’s stupidity. The things she says and the danger she puts people in…

Outlander is characterised by long, long scenes and a slow burn immediately before we’re slapped in the face with a cliffhanger. However, the long scene in this one worked wonderfully, involved some pretty gruesome flashbacks of Jamie’s torture at the hands of Black Jack Randall, and was by far the most emotionally engaging moment of the series so far.

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander BJR Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

One thing: I get that Randall is a sadist, but Gabaldon (and the show’s producers) do themselves no favours portraying the only homosexual (or is that bisexual?) character as the epitome of evil, and throwing kinky sexual tendencies into the mix just adds another layer of what many could easily perceive as bigotry. They made Randall even more evil in the episode than in the book!

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander The Whipping Jamie BJR Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

But that aside, the thing I know had some viewers changing the channel was exactly how gruesome the whipping of Jamie’s back was. Think Passion of the Christ gruesome (which I saw once, back when it came out, and don’t plan to see again). Holy moly, that was more than I needed to see, but it was a tear-jerker of a scene.

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Claire and Jamie Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

The ending was good, and some much needed relief from the intensity of the earlier scenes.

Outlander 1x06 The Garrison Commander Claire Ending Sonya Heaney Sceenshot

With this sixth episode, Outlander seems to have found its way. I suppose it could be argued the book didn’t find its way until this point, either, so the show’s producers aren’t entirely to blame. This is the interesting stuff, not Claire’s bizarre obsession with botany!!