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Farewell & Adieu to you, Scottish Laddie: OUTLANDER s2 e2-4, Review & Recap

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Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu, you Ladies of Spain

Traditional British Naval Song

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With the publication of the notorious Entertainment Weekly cover featuring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, who play Starz’s Outlander‘s time-travelling Claire and her Scots husband Jamie, I foolishly imagined that the second season was going to be an in-depth exploration of their loving and sexually ignited relationship. You know, the thing all the book readers claim is at the core of the books, though it’s mostly absent from the show (except for a few episodes, like the Wedding one) and absent from Book One in the series. Alas, season 2 has proven a disappointment in that regard, leaving me once again to wonder where the show is going, and how many of the Starz Outlander writers have actually read the best-selling books by Diana Gabaldon that the fans so vociferously love.

Spoilers,
Outlandish and Graphic

Episode 2

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In a brothel with whores and dildos, Jamie (Sam Heughan) meets a clownish Bonnie Prince Charlie, who doesn’t seem able to drink wine without spilling it, let alone lead a Scottish rebellion. But what do I know about Scottish history? Maybe Charlie isn’t the one who actually leads the rebellion: perhaps the French Jacobites do, in their desire to destroy the British Empire.

In any event, while Jamie is playing Bond, James Bond in the brothel, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is making friends with Louise, who has a caged pet monkey, and who reveals the latest de rigeur French “beauty treatment”: a Brazilian Honey-Pot.

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Louise also takes Jamie and Claire to Versailles, where Claire wears a dress of her own making, or at least of her own design. A dress that leaves little to the imagination. And one that stands out oddly at the French court, where everyone else is wearing florals and lace.

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There, Jamie gets to stand in the all-male audience that watches King Louis 15th attempt to defecate into a royal throne-chamber-pot, while giving advice to eat “porridge.” Very exciting stuff for our Scottish Lord Jamie.

Meanwhile, Claire runs into the dastardly Duke of Sandringham and meets his secretary, Alex Randall, younger brother of the villainous Black Jack (Tobias Menzies). The Duke’s secretary reveals that BJR is not dead, and then Claire worries — needlessly, as it will be revealed later — about Jamie’s discovering that his nemesis and rapist is still alive.

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The bulk of the episode centered around Jamie’s inability to perform sexually with his wife, due to flashbacks of his rape at the hands of BJR. Whenever Jamie attempted to be with Claire sexually, her face grotesquely morphed into that of his rapist. Whom Jamie then repeatedly “stabbed”.

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 Poor Jamie. Bad enough that he got repeatedly raped in Wentworth Prison, and then had his wife go all General Patton on him while attempting to “save his soul.” Now he has to re-live his experiences whenever he wants to make love to his wife.

Starz’s Outlander may be different from the book in that the Starz writers had more accurate information available to them, information about male sexual assault and the male body’s involulntary ejaculation to pressure on the prostate. Alas, Starz has once again failed male rape victims who might be viewers — and their female partners — by presenting the assault as “love-making”, even if Jamie is mistakenly viewing it that way.

Episode 3

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Though she and her husband Jamie are in Paris attempting to abort the Scottish rebellion at Culloden which will result in the destruction of the Highland Clan way of life, Claire doesn’t seem to have “any meaning” in her life. She feels bored and useless as Jamie runs from brothel to chess games to…

Does the man ever go to work at the job — in his cousin’s wine business — which supposedly supports this lavish lifestyle?

In any event, despite Jamie’s protests about Claire’s never being home when he needs her, she goes to work in a poor hospital, helping a nun with a dog do some really gag-me-with-a-spoon-gross-me-out stuff. Claire’s tasting the urine of a patient to determine whether he had sugar disease (diabetes) wasn’t the most repulsive scene of the episode, but it was close.

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Later, after some cutesey jokes about what a “minor composer” Johann Sebastien Bach was going to be, the Mother Superior plays a piece of music in a letter which Jamie’s pickpocket has lifted.

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Then Jamie and cousin Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) and Claire figure out that the “key is the key” to the code in the message. It was a silly scene, dragged out beyond belief, perhaps in an attempt to add humor, since virtually every time Claire said something, Murtagh didn’t understand her.

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The only problem with the music-decoding scene is that most viewers couldn’t figure out what the key was either. Only that it had to do with music. And that Jamie and Claire miraculously figure it out.

Beats me how they did it.

Episode 4

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Alas, episode 4 continues the Bond, James Bond escapades of the married pair. This time, they plan an elaborate dinner for the Duke of Sandringham, whom they believe is the author of the musically-coded note.

At least, I think they think he’s the author.

I got a bit confused.

In any event, Jamie and Claire plan to trap Sandringham by also inviting Bonnie Prince Charlie to the dinner. Then, for some reason, Claire decides, on the day of the elaborate banquet, that she has to go to the hospital. She claims that her servant won’t allow her in her own kitchen.

But if it’s Claire’s kitchen…

Never mind…

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Claire takes English Mary with her to the hospital, though for the life of me, I could not figure out why. I guess she thought English Mary — who is supposedly an ancestor of Frank’s and who is in love with Alex Randall, brother of Black Jack — was also bored or something.

On the way home from the hospital, the carriage breaks down, and in her hurry to get home in time for the banquet, Claire and Mary walk.

Whaaa????

Sure, they’re followed by Murtagh, but anyone could have figured out that it was a bad move.

And sure enough, it turns to tragedy when Claire and Mary are set upon by well-dressed “brigands,” who rape Mary in a graphic and violent scene.

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Does this mean that Mary, who eventually marries Alex Randall, as far as I can determine, will already be pregnant and thus will have a child that will only nominally be the ancestor of Frank Randall?

Not only do I not know, I simply do not care.

Outlander & Sexual Violence

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What is it with Diana Gabaldon and graphic rapes?

What is it with Herself and sexual violence?

In book one, which I read after I had seen all of season 1 of Starz Outlander, none of the sex scenes are even hinted at: all of them are left entirely to the readers’ imagination.

Except for the two rapes.

One is between Jamie and Claire, who continues to have intercourse with her despite her verbal objections, her physical resistance, and her fighting him, simply because she is his wife. (Chapter 23)

The other, far more violent and graphic, takes place between Jamie and Black Jack Randall in Wentworth Prison. It is related to Claire by Jamie after he is rescued.

Now, in season 2 episode 4 of the show Outlander, which may differ from the books, English Mary, who was a virgin, is graphically raped.

It was impossible for me to watch in its entirety, so I admit I missed the part of the episode where the “brigands” attempted to rape a very pregnant Claire, then stopped, apparently exclaiming that she was La Dame Blanche (according to other reviews of the show).

Afterward, however, I didn’t care about the dinner party, especially since poor Mary was lying, in shock and pain, upstairs in Claire and Jamie’s house, with Alex Randall attending her.  Confessing his love to the unconscious Mary.

Who cares if Charlie’s mistress Louise was pregnant with his child but had convinced her husband to accept it as his, claiming he’d been too drunk to recall intercourse with her?

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Who cares if Claire was wearing a duller than dull gown and a rock-necklace to her own banquet,

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to which Sandringham invited the villainous Le Comte de St. Germain?

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Who cares if Jamie and Claire continued their Bond, James Bond machinations by intentionally trying to upset Bonnie Prince Charles by revealing Louise’s pregnancy?

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I disliked the two protagonists so much by that time that I decided it was pointless to watch any more episodes of Starz’s Outlander.

I mean, if you don’t like the show’s two protagonists, and the third one is a despicable rapist, what’s the point of the show?

I don’t see anything like the image presented in the cover of the Entertainment Weekly (above, at start of post).

I don’t see much love and affection between Jamie and Claire. Instead, they’ve reverted, mostly, to the bickering that characterized their relationship in the second part of season one.

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It’s time for me to say Farewell, Scottish Laddie, and Farewell, English Claire.

There are too many other interesting shows for me to watch to wade through multiple episodes of Outlander, trying to follow the serpentine and mostly absent storyline, only to be presented with yet another graphic rape, and with protagonists who are becoming increasingly unsympathetic.

I’m sorry for Cait and Sam, who probably believed these were their break-out roles.

I’m sorry for the book fans who don’t think the Starz show lives up to their expectations.

But mostly, I’m sorry for any writers, book or show, who think that constantly presenting sexual violence and graphic rape scenes, involving both sexes, is good writing or good fiction.

I’m more sorry for those books’ readers, though.

Related Posts

Through a Glass Dark and Dull:
Outlander season 2 Premiere

Outlander, the Show:
My Blogs from Season One

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Filed under Actors, Authors, Books, Outlander, Rape, Recap, Review, Sexual Abuse, Violence

Through a Glass, Dark and Dull: OUTLANDER season 2 Premiere, Review & Recap

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Spoilers,
Dull & Drear

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Two years ago, when Starz aired its first episode of Outlander, based on the best-selling novels by Diana Gabaldon, which I had not read, I wrote a post saying that the network was taking a huge risk by creating a show whose intended audience seemed to be solely women. Not only is Outlander more romance than historical fiction, but the show’s writers further restricted its audience appeal by concentrating on the sexual relationship between the time-transported Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and her 1740s Scots husband Jamie (Sam Heughan).

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Even if Parts One and Two of Season One, which were divided by an entire year, had been brilliantly written and acted, I doubt the show could have maintained its viewing audience  between seasons, simply because it divided the book on which it was based in half, and because non-readers of the Outlander book series, like me, would have had absolutely no incentive to continue watching.

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As Outlander was neither brilliantly written nor acted, it was no surprise to see its ratings plummet between the finale of Part One and and the premiere of Part Two (from 1.4M to 1.2M, a 32% decline).

Given the graphically violent content of the final two episodes of Part Two, with its explicit torture and rape of the belovèd male protagonist, the ratings drop of those final episodes was to be expected (1.01M for episode 15, down another 7% from the Part Two premier; with only .98K for episode 16, down a further 3.25%). (All these figures, including the percentages, were taken from the Nielsen ratings to which the post is linked in the word “ratings.” If I made a mistake in writing any of them down, I will correct them.)

After all, it is one thing to read about your favorite hero telling his wife about what happened to him in prison. It is quite another to see it dramatized. And in such an explicitly horrifying and graphic way.

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Despite Outlander’s numerous book fans, therefore, the show itself averaged only about 1.04M viewers per episode.

Compare that to the highly successful Game of Thrones, which pulls in an average of 8.1M viewers per episode.

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Apparently, the writers of Game of Thrones know something that the writers of Starz’s Outlander do not.

How to adapt a best-selling book into a successful series.

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Despite the fact that Outlander the show was not necessarily a dramatic success, judging by its low ratings, I was hoping for an improvement for Outlander Season 2, only because it was claimed that author Diana Gabaldon would be more than a consultant. She was to be one of the writers.

I thought Gabaldon’s being among the writers would vastly improve the show, even though I thought it highly unlikely that Starz would get any viewers beyond the book fans based the the dramatic weaknesses of the first season of the show. I read Book 1 after watching all episodes of the show on which it was based, but have not read any additional books. I am blogging, once again, on the show Outlander as a stand-alone drama. Further, I am only watching it because book fans begged me to give my opinion on Outlander, the show.

Unfortunately, the poor writing and cringe-worthy acting of Season One was even more blatant in the premiere of Season Two.

That does not bode well for Outlander, the show.

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When we last saw Claire and Jamie, they were on a ship to France. He had just been rescued from Wentworth Prison, where he was tortured and raped by Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies). Claire had just informed Jamie that she was pregnant, despite her previously thinking she was sterile.

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I assumed that their going to France had something to do with the historical conflict between the Scots and the British, which would ultimately lead to their return to Scotland and to the Battle of Culloden, when the Jacobites, who were attempting to restore Bonnie Prince Charlie to the throne of Scotland, were not only defeated, but the Scottish clans were virtually wiped out by British reprisals against the rebellion.

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Imagine my shock and horror, therefore, when, instead of seeing Jamie and Claire either on the ship or landing in France, the Season 2 premiere opened with Claire, alone, back at Craigh na dun.

Alone.

In 1948.

Dang, was I disappointed.

Furthermore, I was jarred.

What happened to Jamie? What happened to France? What on earth was going on?

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Claire’s return to the stones and to 1948 was accompanied by the Voice-Over that was present in Season One. If Claire’s Voice wasn’t saying things that viewers could see her doing (“I went for a walk along the docks” as she was walking along the docks), then it was so vague it made no sense (“I touched the edges of oblivion” while lying in the grass in the midst of the stones). Voice-Overs are to provide ironic commentary on the characters’ actions, as in Madame Bovary (2000), or to provide viewers with insight into the narrator’s mind, insight which the other characters are not privy to, as in most recent version of The Great Gatsby. Once again, in Outlander, we get pointless Voice-Overs.

Instead of the Voice-Over giving us insight into Claire’s feeling or her character, it tells us what we can see her doing on the screen. I realize that the book readers are probably still accompanying the narrator Claire in all her private thoughts, but the show is not giving us much of that in the Voice-Over.

Claire’s unexpected return to the stones at Craigh na dun was followed her screaming, screaming, screaming as the camera pulled out. Then we were treated to a scenery-chewing-Cait screaming at some poor driver about what year it was and about who won the war. As you can imagine, he thought she was talking about the recently ended World War II. When she shrieked, “Who won the Battle of Culloden?” he must have thought she was bonkers, and not just because she was walking down the middle of an isolated Scottish road wearing a bad wig that didn’t match the front part of her hair and a dress that was clearly two centuries old.

“Who won the Battle of Culloden?” she screamed-shrieked.

“The British,” the startled man dutifully replied.

Cue some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen as Claire collapsed, screaming and sobbing most falsely, into the road.

Viewers started off Season Two with a shock: Cait’s acting had not improved; it had, in fact, deteriorated. And, worse, Claire was not with Jamie on the boat to France.

Instead, she was in the “present” — but two or three years later than when she was first transported through the stones to the past — and her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies, in a dual role) was back.

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Oy, vey, I can hear all the book fans who don’t like Frank screaming their annoyance and disappointment.

During season one, book fans already vociferously voiced their objections to Frank’s getting so much screen-time, telling me in the Comments to my posts that Frank was not in the book after the beginning and he should not have been in the show.

Honestly, I was in the viewing-minority since I liked Frank, and I wanted him to have more screen-time.

As Frank, of course, not as his evil ancestor Black Jack Randall.

Not only is Tobias Menzies the only principal in Outlander who can actually act, I thought the love-triangle set up a nice conflict with Frank’s searching for his missing wife, and Claire’s continually mentioning that she had to get back to the stones to get back to her husband Frank (though I did think her saying that she had to get back was “tacked on” by the show writers since the character didn’t behave as if she really wanted to get back) even while she was getting more involved with 1740s Jamie.

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Despite the show’s jarring return to 1948, I was willing to see the premiere of Season Two as a sort of artistic parallel to the premiere of  Season One Part One, where Claire and Frank were on their second honeymoon. Initially, in the Season Two premiere, Tobias did an admirable job as a grieving man reunited with his missing wife.

Cait just played a dazed and supremely insensitive, self-centered Claire. Not only did she not say anything — for over a week, at the very least — about where she had been, she was obsessively hunting through historical books for mention of the survivors of the Battle of Culloden. Viewers and the Reverend’s housekeeper, whom Claire had told about Jamie, knew she was looking for the name of her Scots husband.

Frank did not.

How cruel of Claire.

I felt sorry for Frank.

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Claire eventually told Frank about Jamie, in an extremely drawn-out scene, and a weeping Frank told his wife that he was just happy to have her back. But then the writers further extended the scene, dragging Claire’s story out so that it could include news of her pregnancy, with her callously emphasizing that the child was not Frank’s.

Over and over and over.

If I’d had any sympathy for Claire, it would have evaporated when she kept rubbing the fact that she was pregnant with another man’s child into the grieving Frank’s wounds.

Cue Tobias-as-Frank getting angry, making a fist, and lunging at the seated Cait-as-Claire.

Oh, no, they did not, I thought to myself, even as I realized that the show had just made Frank a violent idiot.

I don’t care if the show’s writers were trying to emphasize Frank’s relation to his ancestor Black Jack Randall with the fist-aimed-at-Claire scene. They’d already had Claire flinch when Frank attempted to kiss her in the hospital room, as an image of Black Jack Randall flashed before her eyes. One’s ancestors, no matter how remote or near, do not determine one’s character.

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When the writers, or Tobias himself in an improv moment, made Frank ready to punch his wife — his wife — after he weepingly claimed to love her and to completely accept everything that had happened to her and to just be happy to have her back, Frank’s character fell apart.

I disliked him intensely.

As I would dislike any man who threatened any kind of violence toward a woman, especially toward one who was his wife, especially toward one whom he claims to love so much that, despite her being missing for so many years, he still madly loves her and wants her back.

Bad move, Outlander writers or Tobias.

I just lost all empathy for Frank.

Forever.

Then, in an unbelievably slow move — making the Frank and Claire episode last 40 minutes out of the show’s hour premiere —  Frank told Claire he had been offered a job at Harvard, which he had been planning on turning down but now he was thinking of accepting. By accompanying him, Claire would never be able to return to the stones at Craigh na dun or to her Scots husband Jamie.

As viewers saw Claire and Frank on the plane to America, saw them disembark, saw Claire stare at some generic American skyline, I found myself wondering what in god’s name was going on with the story. Having not read the books, I didn’t have a clue about why Claire was ending up in America, but I did realize it would ruin her chances to return to Jamie.

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And as Frank held out his hand to Claire at the bottom of the plane’s stairs, as Claire reached out to place her hand in his, as the camera shifted its angle to show the two hands reaching toward each other from below…

Bang!

We were back in the past with Jamie helping Claire off the boat in France.

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I gotta tellya, it gave me a headache, trying to figure out not only what was going on, but also how the show’s writers could have taken a story with so much dramatic possibility and made is so drearily insipid.

That took some hard work, dedication, and imagination, turning the Jamie and Claire story into something so boring.

Too bad the writers didn’t use all that dedication and imagination writing a really compelling drama: the kind of drama that readers find in the original books.

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So, now we’re back with Claire and  Jamie, in France, and he seems to be wearing a wig, too, since his hair is so much thicker, longer, curlier, redder, and closer to his forehead than it was in the previous seasons, and like Claire’s hair, his also has no discernible part: one of the telltale signs of a bad wig.

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What happened in France, you may ask?

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Jamie’s cousin Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is apparently there, despite the fact that I did not see him board the ship with the show’s two protagonists.

Jamie and Claire seem to have come into some serious money, despite their being exiles and Jamie’s being an escaped British prisoner, because their lodgings do not look like those of ostensible criminals on the lam.

And what are Jamie and Claire doing in France?

Trying to infiltrate the Jacobites who are hiding in France in order to prevent the Battle of Culloden from happening in the first place.

‘Cause, you know, Claire is so dense that she never paid attention to all the history lessons Frank was giving her while they were at the monument on Culloden Moor, and so Claire doesn’t know anything about the battle except that the Scots lost and the Brits decimated the Highland clans.

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And though Jamie says, in dismay, that it’s “not a very honorable path [Claire’s] laying out for” them, he is apparently going along with this plan because… because… even though he’s a warrior and he wants to fight and he believes that Claire’s knowledge of the Battle’s outcome can help him galvanize the clan members more successfully so that they win the Battle of Culloden, Claire is the boss in this relationship because she’s from the future and because she’s more sexually experienced than Jamie and Outlander the show specializes in making Jamie nothing more than a weight-machine body with a very pretty face.

I guess Claire didn’t remember that the French assisted the colonists and the Native Americans against the British in the French and Indian War (1754-1763, known, internationally, as the Seven Years’ War), or that the French helped the American colonists with their Revolution against the British, or that the French even had a Revolution themselves, so she didn’t think to ask the French for military or financial help in the Battle of Culloden.

No, silly wittle girl that she is, she wants to infiltrate the Jacobites in France in order to convince them not to try to restore Bonnie Prince Charlie to the Scottish throne.

Am I the only one that thinks this makes no sense whatsoever?

Am I the only one that recalls that, in the show, Claire is already in America with Frank and that she is just remembering all these events with Jamie?

Am I the only one thoroughly disappointed with the writing of the premiere of Season Two of Outlander?

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Instead of a story of Jamie and Claire in wedded bliss, expecting their first child, as the leaked photos would seem to indicate, Jamie and Claire are going to go Bond-James-Bond on us.

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Instead of returning to Jamie’s ancestral home in Scotland and living in fear of Black Jack Randall, which is a more reasonable conflict since, technically, Jamie is a fugitive from the British, the two of them are going to Versailles.

Okay, the Versailles part wasn’t actually in the premiere: it was in the previews for next week.

At Versailles, where the king and the royal court are living, where all the women are wearing dresses like this,

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like this,

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like this,

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and like this,

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Claire is going to be wearing dresses like this,

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like this,

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and like this.

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Then, when Jamie and Claire rub shoulders with all the royalty at Versailles, who will be dressed like this,

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and like this,

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the two of them will be dressed like this,

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and like this (at least Jamie has some ruffles in the photo below).

Oh, I got so bored during the premiere, and so confused by the flurry of Versailles-related events in the previews, that I didn’t even want to know anything more about the ostensibly great love between Jamie and Claire.

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I’m ready to hang it up on Outlander, and not because of the Exorcist-puke-yellow that someone will keep dressing Cait-as-Claire in this season,

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but because the story, which has so much dramatic potential, is simply duller than watching cement dry and become concrete.

I’m not attracted to the actors playing Jamie and Claire, if only because neither of them can act very well.

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I don’t care if it looks like Black Jack is going to either appear in France, or Jamie is going to return to Scotland, so they can have a duel.

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I don’t care about the faux conflict the show’s writers created by having Claire loudly announce that there was plague (smallpox) on a ship,

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earning the enmity of some French nobleman, Le Comte de St. Germain, who vowed revenge.

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I don’t even care about Jamie and Claire’s baby,

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their supposedly life-long, loving relationship,

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or even about the Battle of Culloden,

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since one of the very things that interested me in Outlander —  the show — was how a woman from the future, with knowledge of the historical outcome of the battle that caused the decimation of the Scottish Highland clans, was going to attempt to change that Battle’s outcome.

All I saw in Season One, Parts One and Two, of Outlander, the show, was bad writing, slow storytelling, mediocre to poor acting, and inconsistent characterization that confused and bewildered me.

Unfortunately, in many key aspects, such as in Jamie’s character, the show seems to be very unlike the book Outlander, and I found the show confusing in the extreme.

Looks like Season Two of Outlander, the show, is going to be more of the same as it was in Season 1.

With Versailles thrown in for the costume-designer’s fun.

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Related Posts

Outlander, the Show: My Blogs from Season One

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Filed under Actors, Authors, Books, Movies/Television, Outlander, Recap, Review

From SALVATION to HANNIBAL to OUTLANDER: One Man’s View of Men in Film & Television

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Warning: Conclusion May Contain Triggers
(Some Film Spoilers in Post)

UnknownLast week, my life-partner Tom and I watched Salvation, the Danish tribute to Sergio Leone’s classic spaghetti Westerns, with Mads Mikkelsen as the iconic “loner” whose wife is raped then killed, along with their young son, in the early scenes, and who then searches for vengeance.

images-4Salvation is also a tribute to the iconic Western “lone, good man,” defending the rest of the town, as in High Noon and Firecreek, although no one else in the place stands up with the “hero” to fight evil until the hero reluctantly fights back against the vicious gang himself.

images-2Salvation is a pretty interesting take on the iconic Western: Mads’ character is an immigrant rather than a stranger, and has already settled and prospered enough to bring his wife and son over. Salvation is also a fair tribute to the “Man with No Name” series as well as to the “good man as reluctant defender” Western icon.

Mads’ character does have a name — John — and is a more realistic shot than the character Clint Eastwood made famous in Leone’s films (i.e., it always takes John several shots to kill someone). John is first rescued from the gang by his brother, and then eventually joined by “The Princess” (Eva Green), who appears to have been the captive “wife” of one of the rapists/murderers and who had her tongue cut out by Indians when she was kidnapped as a young girl. The Princess comes to John’s aid in fighting the gang members after they kill John’s brother, and only one other town member lends his aid: a boy whose grandmother was killed by the gang. At first, John refuses the boy’s help, telling him, “You’re just a kid.” He replies, “I’m almost 16.” John then accepts his offer. The young boy dies helping John. At the end, the Princess leaves the town with John (from which I inferred that no one in the town had ever protected her from the gang members).

This post is not a review of Salvation. Instead, it is about a discussion that ensued after my partner Tom made a surprising comment about Mads’ looks in the film, which led me to an epiphany about how one man — my man — judges male actors’ looks in films and television.

Unknown“Mads is actually quite good-looking, isn’t he?” said Tom in the middle of an important scene.

I was shocked. I’d never heard him say something like that before. Not about a male actor’s looks. At first, I thought it was because we were watching a Western, one of Tom’s favorite genres. Then I thought it might be because John was already seeking “justice” by killing the bad guys. But Tom said it when Mads’ character John wasn’t actually looking his best (above). Not classically handsome or anything. So I wondered what had suddenly made Tom comment on a male actor’s looks: something he’s never done in our 22 years together, but which he constantly does about female actors if he finds them attractive. (I don’t know what female actors he finds unattractive because he doesn’t make comments like that.)

images-1“You just noticed that Mads is good-looking?” I said.

“I guess.”

“You didn’t think he was attractive in Hannibal?”images-21“He was a serial killer and a cannibal,” said Tom, as if he had watched more than the final season of Hannibal, which, by the way, he was really watching for Gillian Anderson, whom he continually called “stunning” and “gorgeous.”images-10“You never commented on Mads’ looks before.”

“I guess I never noticed.”

“You didn’t comment on him in King Arthur.”

“Mads was in King Arthur?” said Tom. “He wasn’t that pretty boy, was he?”

“What ‘pretty boy’?”

“The one with two swords.”

“That was Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) with the two swords. Mads played Tristan.”

images-14“Which one was Tristan?”

“The one with the hawk.”

Unknown-2“Oh, that was Mads? He was cool. He fought Stellan [Skarsgård, who played Saxon invader Cerdic] at the end.”

images-13“Tristan got killed.”

“Stellan looked over at Clive [Owen, who was King Arthur] to make sure he was watching before he killed Tristan.”

I was stunned that Tom remembered that detail, despite the number of times we’ve watched the film, which is one of our favorites.

“The actor who played Galahad in King Arthur was in Hannibal, too.”

“Which one was Galahad?”

“Hugh Dancy.”

images-7“Oh, that boy,” said Tom after I found a picture. “Who was he in Hannibal?”

“He played the special FBI agent, Will Graham,” I said, showing him another photo. “He was trying to help catch Hannibal.”

images copy 2“I remember that boy now,” said Tom. “They were trying to make it seem like he and Hannibal loved each other, but without their being homosexual.”

By that time, I noticed that Tom was consistently making a distinction between “men” and “boys,” though all the actors we were discussing are grown men. Even if they were playing warrior knights, such as Lancelot and Galahad in King Arthur, Tom was referring to some of them as “boys.” Before I had a chance to ask about this distinction, he made an even more startling comment.

“That boy in Hannibal was about the same as that red-head boy.”

“What red-head boy?”

“That red-head husband in the past.”

By now, I was most sincerely confused, since we were watching Salvation and The Princess’ husband had been dark-haired, and he’d only been killed by Mads’ character a few days before.

“What red-head husband in the past?” I said.

“The red-head husband in the show with the woman who fell through the rocks.”

images-32“You mean Outlander?”

“If that’s the one where the woman has two husbands,” said Tom, “one in the past and one in the future.”

Did Tom really just make a comment about Outlander?

My Tom?

He’d only watched the show twice — the final two episodes — though he knew the premise, vaguely, and had caught a couple of glimpses of Caitriona Balfe (Claire) and Sam Heughan (Jamie) when they were nude (as he was passing through the room where I was watching Outlander, to return to the room where he was watching sports).

“You mean Jamie, the Scottish husband?”images-10“Is he the boy who got his hand nailed to the table by that ugly man in the prison?”

“He’s the man who got his hand spiked…”

“The boy who got raped by that ugly man.”

“His name’s Jamie,” I said. “And he’s the man who got raped by Black Jack Randall.”

“The ugly guy who threatened to rape the red-head boy’s wife?”

images-32“Black Jack Randall,” I said, certain now that we were, indeed, discussing Outlander.

“That’s the guy who raped the boy?” said Tom, persisting in using the word “boy” to describe Sam Heughan’s character.

“Black Jack Randall raped Jamie.”

“That ugly guy,” said Tom, “who raped that boy and then tried to make it look like some kind of love scene or something.”images-8“They were probably only doing what the writers and director told them to do. I think I read that they were trying to make one of the scenes between the two actors look like Michelangelo’s Pietà.

images“That statue of Jesus after they took him off the cross and his mother was holding him?”

“They might have been trying to make Jamie a symbolic Christ figure… I don’t know. It didn’t work for me.”

“None of it worked for me,” said Tom. “It was disgusting and horrible, what that vicious ugly man did to that poor boy.”

images-36He kept calling Tobias Menzies (Black Jack Randall) “ugly,” and he kept referring to Sam Heughan (Jamie) as a “boy.” I thought I was beginning to understand what Tom was unconsciously saying, but I wasn’t sure.

“You know that the actor who played Black Jack Randall also played Claire’s other husband, right?”

“What did he look like?” said Tom.

images-23“It was the same actor,” I said. “Only his name was Frank when he was her husband in 1945.”

“That’s not the same man,” said Tom after looking at the photo above.

“It’s the same actor,” I said, showing him another view. “Honest.”

images-29“That’s not the same guy.”

“It is the same guy.”

images-33“No, it’s not,” said Tom, looking at the picture (above) with Tobias and Cait. “That guy is not ugly.”

“Is he good-looking?” I said. “Like Mads?”

Tom stared at the photo of Cait and Tobias, as Claire and Frank on their second honeymoon in Scotland, before Claire was transported through the stones at Craigh na Dun to Scotland two hundred years in the past.

“No. He’s not good-looking. Just average. But he’s certainly not ugly like the guy who raped the boy.”

“I swear to you, it’s the same actor,” I said. “Tobias Menzies.”images-43After looking at the side-by-side photo (above) for a while, he said, “How’d they make him look so ugly then?”

“All they did, as far as I know, was put a wig or hair-extensions on him,” I said. “And he acted like he had a facial tick.”

“He is not a good-looking man,” said Tom, handing back the picture of Tobias. “He’s ugly. In fact, he’s extremely ugly.”

“Even as Frank? Her husband in the future.”

Unknown-13“Then he’s just average. Unremarkable.”

“Why not good-looking? When he’s Frank, I mean.”

“Because he didn’t save his wife when he heard her calling at the stones. He just cried like a baby.”

images-47Now I was really caught off-guard. When had Tom seen that? Before the final two episodes, which he watched to be morally supportive of me in case I got triggered since I’d heard there were torture and rape scenes in them, I wasn’t aware that Tom had seen anything substantial in Outlander. 

I knew he’d caught a glimpse of nude Sam in the water because Tom said, “You know men didn’t look like that back then, don’t you? Men don’t look like that now unless they work out at a gym all the time.”

images-36I knew he’d gotten a good long look at nude Cait in one of the sex-scenes with Sam because he was standing there staring until the scene ended, when he said, “Her breasts look better when she’s lying down” before walking away.

I guess he’d also seen Frank weeping at the rocks and heard Claire calling to him, though I’d never realized Tom knew what was going on in the show. I never discussed it with him because he doesn’t like fantasy and thought the premise was silly, and he rarely reads my blogs. (I don’t mind: he reads my books, which is a much bigger commitment, and he knows what I blog about.) I was still confused about Tom’s association between Will and Jamie, however.

“Why did you say that Will Graham in Hannibal was just like Jamie in Outlander?”

“Because one didn’t stop a serial killer and the other didn’t kill the ugly bastard that raped him.”

“You think Will should have killed Hannibal?”

“Of course, he should have.”

“He pushed Hannibal off a cliff,” I said.

“No, he hugged him off a cliff and they both fell together, like they were lovers about to have sex or something. And they probably survived for another season. So it was just stupid.”

I was starting to understand this film world-view. A male character’s being “stupid” can make the actor playing him a “boy.” A male character not killing another male character he knows to be a serial killer can make the former one a “boy.” A male character’s not killing his rapist can make him a “boy.” After all, the first time Tom ever remarked about Sam Heughan as Jamie, when he saw him nude in the water, he referred to him as a “man,” saying that “men” didn’t have bodies like that back then. After Jamie was raped by Black Jack Randall, he and the actor playing him became a “boy.”

I wondered what “boys” were —  attractive, unremarkable, or ugly — in the world according to Tom.

“Do you think Jamie’s good-looking?” I said.

“Which one’s Jamie?”

“The red-head husband in the past.”

“The one who gets tortured and raped.”

“Right.”

“He’s a boy.”

“But is he good-looking?”

“He’s a boy,” said Tom. “With a weight-machine body.”

“Is he ‘average,’ like her husband Frank. Or ‘ugly,’ like Black Jack Randall?”

“He’s just a kid,” said Tom.

So, no comments or judgment on a boy’s looks, even if the “boy” is an adult male actor.

“But you think Mads is attractive.”

“He’s a good-looking man,” said Tom.

“But you never thought he was good-looking in Hannibal,” I said. “I even asked you about it.”

“I said I didn’t notice.”

“What about Mads in this picture?” I said.

images-20“He looks good in glasses. He’s very manly.”

“It’s from The Hunt.”

“What’s that about?” said Tom.

“See the little girl? She’s one of his Kindergarten students who says that he molested and raped her. The whole town…”

“Is he guilty?”

“What?”

“Did he hurt the little girl?”

“No,” I said. “She doesn’t even realize what’s she’s saying about him.”

“How can she not realize that?”

I explained that her older brother and his friend had been watching porn on their tablets, and showed it to her in passing, as a joke, saying something like, “Look at that big ugly cock.” Later, the little girl, who was unconsciously jealous that she wasn’t getting enough of her belovèd teacher’s attention, told one of the administrators at the school that she didn’t want to see “Lucas’ (Mads) big ugly cock anymore.”

“So Mads didn’t ever do anything to the little girl?” said Tom.

“No. Never. But everyone assumed she was telling the truth because of what she said.”

“But he was really innocent.”

“Totally.”

“I’ll have to watch that some time,” said Tom. “And he does look very handsome in the glasses.”

Unknown-11

This is our 22nd year together; we love films and watch them all the time, yet I never realized that Tom judges a male actor’s looks by what his character does in a role. Tom’s only one man, so I’m not saying that he’s representative of all men, but he’s my man, and that makes this an important revelation to me. Whether Tom consciously realizes these distinctions he’s making about a male actor’s looks — and I’m guessing that he does not — this is what they seem to be.

If a male actor’s character sexually assaults or otherwise tortures or physically brutalizes children, women, or other men, he’s “ugly.” If the violence does not happen on-screen and the other parts of the story-line are compelling, then, at the very least, Tom doesn’t seem to notice any physical attractiveness or ugliness in the male actor, as with Mads in Hannibal. He played a serial killer but Tom rarely saw any on-screen violence because he only watched parts of the final season, i.e., the episodes containing Gillian Anderson.

If the male actors’ characters don’t save their women — even if it’s because they cannot go through the stones at Craigh na Dun themselves — they’re just average-looking, plain, or unremarkable.

But the most important — and saddest — part of the distinction Tom (unconsciously) seems to be making between male actors as “men” or “boys” is this: if the male actors’ characters are raped (as Tom was, repeatedly, when he was a six-year-old boy, by his father’s best friend), then the actors, no matter their age, are “boys.”

And boys need to be protected from “ugly men” (as my poor Tom was not protected by his own father, though Tom told him, and others, what was happening).

Women, too, need to be protected from “ugly men,” and the women don’t have to be “stunning” or “gorgeous” to need such protection.

They can be ordinary women like me.

That’s why Tom watched the final two episodes of Outlander with me: because when I was a child, I was repeatedly tortured, molested, and raped (by my father, step-father, and mother, the last of whom raped me with implements when I was 11, causing so much internal damage that I could never have children). Tom feared that the scenes of torture and rape in Outlander, though they were happening to a man, would “trigger” me. Just as the horrific rape scenes in Casualties of War or The Accused “trigger” me. (In fact, I’ve never actually seen more than a few seconds of either of the rape scenes in either film: I can’t even listen to them.)

Tom was there to protect me, even if it was from a film or a television show.

He protects me now, in any way he can, because no one protected me when I was younger.

Just as no one protected him when he was a boy.

When I finally realized what Tom was saying during our talk after his comment about Mads’ being “actually quite good-looking” in Salvation, I went into the other room and wept with grief.

For both of us.

Unknown-10Epilogue

As I mentioned in the original post of this topic (above), Tom has long since stopped reading my blogs, though he always asks what I’m writing on. Always. For every single post. When I showed him some of the remarks and responses I was getting to this original post, and told him that it had gotten over 60K unique reads in less than 24 hours, he seemed confused.

“Why does everyone in your Facebook Outlander groups and on Twitter keep saying I’m sweet?” said Tom. “Why do they say the blog is ‘heartbreaking’? I thought you said it was on my view of men in some films and a couple television shows.”

“It is, based on the fact that you commented, for the first time ever, on a male actor’s being ‘actually being quite attractive’. Mads. In Salvation.”

“Mads is good-looking,” said Tom.

You never said Mads was attractive when he was in Hannibal. I mentioned that in the blog. Then I put in the things you said about Jamie… the red-head husband in Outlander… about his being a boy.”

“He is a boy,” said Tom. “He couldn’t protect or defend himself from being raped, just like I couldn’t defend myself when I was raped as a little boy. And no one helped the red-head husband. Like nobody helped me. So he is a boy.”

“Some of the very thoughtful readers who responded wanted you to know that the character, Jamie, heals and becomes more of a man in the later Outlander books,” I said. “They don’t know what will happen in the show, of course…”

“He’s a man already. Or he was before the rape,” said Tom. “Now he’s a boy. And no matter how much healing he does, or how much of a man he becomes, that wounded, damaged little boy will always be inside him.”

“So you intentionally called him a ‘boy’?”

“Did I call him a ‘boy’?” said Tom.

“You did. Consistently. I thought you might be doing it unconsciously.”

“I guess I was, since I don’t remember it. But he is a boy if he gets his hand nailed to a table and gets raped over and over by another man,” said Tom. “He can’t protect himself. He can’t fight.”

“Then you really didn’t expect Jamie to just jump up afterward and kill Black Jack Randall?”

“He was in a prison. In the dungeon. How was he going to get out? He couldn’t have killed that guy,” said Tom.

“Why’d you say that he should have killed the rapist then?”

Tom was silent for a while.

“I guess I said that because I wanted to kill my dad’s friend every single day of my life,” said Tom. “Right up until the day he died. And you know how I feel about my dad never protecting me. Same as you feel about all the people you told, the ones who never saved or protected you.”

Because he’d mentioned me, but I’d never heard him call any female actors “girls,” I asked about Claire’s character in Outlander.

“What about Claire… the red-head’s wife… what if Black Jack Randall had raped her?”

“Look,” said Tom, “there would have been nothing she could have done about it. If she didn’t manage to run away before he caught her, then she couldn’t have stopped it. Rapists are despicable. You can’t fight them. You don’t know if they’re just vicious, disgusting people, or if they’re pedophiles, or if they’re serial rapists, or if they’re serial rapists about to flip over into serial killers. If you fight too hard, you might die.”

“What I wanted to know is this: would she have become a ‘girl’ if she’d been raped, instead of a woman?”

“She’d be a woman, just like you,” said Tom, “with that permanently damaged little girl inside her. That wounded little girl will always be in you, no matter how fierce or independent or sweet or loving or protective you are. That raped little boy will always be in her red-head husband. Same as he’s in me. Even if nobody else knows about it. You can’t go back and make it never happen.”

“So, you were unconsciously calling the red-head husband a ‘boy’. Just like you called the Special FBI Agent in Hannibal a boy, and he didn’t get raped.”images-15“He couldn’t kill Hannibal, even though Hannibal was obsessed with him,” said Tom. “Maybe if he’d snuck up behind him as soon as he’d figured out Hannibal was a serial killer and cold-cocked him, he might have had a chance to cut his throat before Hannibal gutted him like a fish. But you don’t have any chance with serial killers. Hannibal would have killed and eaten that boy eventually.”

“I guess the part that annoyed you, then, was how the shows tried to make the rapes like love scenes, or a serial killer relationship like a love story.”

images-16“Hannibal might have wanted something from that boy, but he didn’t love him,” said Tom. “He had sex with Gillian. But he didn’t love her. Even she said she knew he’d end up killing and eating her. You can’t change serial killers. You can’t change serial rapists or pedophiles. The only thing they love is themselves and hurting other people. You know that. Your own mother was one.”

I sat for a moment, thinking about everything he’d said, and how he’d called the victims “boys” unconsciously, because, in the 22 years we’ve been together, Tom has never come right out and admitted that his father’s friend repeatedly raped him when he was a little boy. He always said he was “only molested” and “performed fellatio” — forced fellatio — on his rapist.

images-31“By the way, be sure to tell them I’m sorry,” said Tom. “The people in those Outlander groups.”

“About what?”

“I know they really like that red-head husband. I’m sorry if they got upset because I said he was a ‘boy’. The actor’s a guy. Even if he kinda looks like a kid.”

“Someone wrote in comments that she thought they might have purposely cast that actor because of his boyish looks.”

“Then they knew he was going to become a boy, too. Because of the torture and rape.”

“Maybe,” I said. “They might have just thought he was pretty.”

“Pretty doesn’t make you a ‘boy’.”

“The actor who played the Special Agent in Hannibal is boy-ish.”

“When a serial killer’s got you in his sights,” said Tom, “or the writers of Hannibal make him act like he loves you, you’re a boy because he’s gonna get you eventually. There’s nothing you can do except run away as fast as you can. If you can’t do that… well, you know… It’s the same as when you were a kid. If nobody listens to you, and no one protects you, you’re gonna get hurt. Bad. And that kind of damage never goes away. Not completely.”

I kissed him on the cheek.

“The person who said you were ‘a good, good man’ meant that you were sweet for watching Outlander’s last two episodes with me, knowing they contained rape and torture, in case they triggered me.”

maxresdefault“You’d do the same for me,” he said, putting his arm around my shoulders. “You’re my Eva and my Claire.”

Unknown

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Filed under Actors, Hannibal, Memoir, Movies/Films, Movies/Television, Outlander, Rape, Violence

The OUTLANDER Smackdown: Book vs Show, Part Two

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Warning:
Disappointment Galore

UnknownIn Part One of the Outlander Smackdown: Book vs Show, I went very meticulously through the first few episodes of the Starz’s show, based on the bestselling books by Diana Gabaldon, comparing episodes and chapters, scenes from the show and dialogue from the book, looking for the good and the weaker in both versions of Outlander.

I have just spent the last two days doing the same thing for the remaining episodes of Season 1 Part 1, and I was intending to analyze each episode in the same way.

But something happened.

Something in me cracked.

I saw more hours stretching ahead of me writing a blog comparing the show adaptation to the book than I’d spent watching the show’s 16 episodes and than I’d spent reading the first book in the series.

I felt weighed down, depressed, and unhappy.

After all, there is only so much you can say about a show that gets further and further away from the book as each episode progresses.

There is only so much you can say about a book that has so much reader love which is, unfortunately, not being translated into love of the show.

So, that’s what I decided to talk about instead.

What is it that’s in the book Outlander that the readers love so much that has not been translated into the show?

What is it in the show that has turned away even non-readers of the book, i.e., what has failed in the Starz adaptation of Outlander as a stand-alone drama?

Jamie & Claire

imagesIt’s clear that the major attraction for readers of the book is the relationship between the time-transported Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and her Scots husband Jamie (Sam Heughan). The wedding episode probably had more viewers than any other. It certainly got more pre-air-time publicity, press, and viewer memes.

The number of photos on the internet of women imitating that wedding  — from having their gowns designed like Claire’s (above, top), to having their grooms wear kilts, to having their poor grooms grow their hair long so they’ll look more like Jamie — is staggering. (I don’t imagine that it’s the grooms who are saying, “Hey, Honey, how about if I grow my hear real long and shaggy and wear a kilt to our wedding, and you can dress yourself up to look like Claire?”)

images-36Readers are clearly transported by and deeply emotionally invested in the relationship they see between Jamie and Claire, which readers of the book interpret as love.

On forums and Outlander pages, they complain that the love between Claire and Jamie in the book is not shown in the adaptation.

I guess I didn’t see any great love between them, in either the book or the show.

I saw physical attraction, on both sides, but I didn’t see love.

The Wedding Ring

images-14The wedding ring, which is a symbol of the love that readers see between Claire and Jamie, is nothing more than a key in the show: a poor substitute for the beautifully described ring of the book.

The ring, that bothered me.

Why a dull key? Was it supposed to be a symbol? Was it supposed to be the key to Jamie’s heart or something?

images-7It wasn’t anything like the gorgeous ring described in the book, even if Claire didn’t get the book-ring during the ceremony: Jamie used his father’s wedding ring instead, a lovely ring with a ruby, which she gave back to him on their wedding night.

The key-ring of the show was pathetic and insulting.

The Pearls

images-15In the show, Jamie gives Claire his mother’s pearls on their wedding night, when they’re alone. In the book, he gives them to her before they marry. That part of the story works either way for me. She got the pearls on the same day, so it didn’t really matter to me exactly when she got them.

The pearls were lovely.

His wanting her to have his mother’s pearls was even lovelier, book or show.

Frank & Claire

images-12I didn’t mind the show’s changing the fact that Frank (Tobias Menzies) and Claire had originally been married in the same chapel where she and Jamie were eventually married. It was dramatically successful to show that Frank’s “impulsive” civil marriage — before introducing Claire to his parents for the first time — could be regarded as “romantic.”

Besides, it worked better with the contrast of the two marriages to have Frank & Claire marry on the spur of the moment in a courthouse civil ceremony, and to have Claire agonize over marrying Jamie “for convenience” in a religious church ceremony after she’s transported to the past.

Unknown-2A religious ceremony that Jamie takes so seriously he comes late: he’s had to clean up, get his own clan plaids, and look good for his intended bride.

Even if the Frank and Claire marriage wasn’t in the book as an impulsive civil ceremony, that part worked fine for me in the show.

The Great Love

images-21To be completely honest, I didn’t see any great love between Claire and Jamie in the book itself. What I read repeatedly in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander was Claire’s comparing her feelings for Jamie to the “temporary” and “physical attraction” that many “doctors, nurses, and patients” had experienced during the War (chapter 16).

Claire even admitted to having felt such attractions herself during her time as a combat nurse, though she had always refrained from acting on them, thus not ever being unfaithful to her husband Frank (also, chapter 16).

images-1She also admitted that she had long been aware, in her time-transported life, of Jamie’s attraction to her, though she also compared that to the attractions wounded soldiers had for their nurses in the War.

I saw physical attraction in the book.

Not love.

I saw physical attraction in the show, on Claire’s part, that might have grown into love — I couldn’t tell based on some of her atrocious behaviour to Jamie.

images-9I also saw guilt, on her part, for being attracted to Jamie because she was already married to Frank and also because she’d never acted on those feelings for anyone else, during the War.

images-2What I never saw in the show was her admission that she had ever had those feelings of attraction for anyone during the War, that she had noticed the physical attraction between other people during the War (leading to their having affairs), or that those physical feelings were any different from her attraction to her own husband Frank.

That means the viewers were left to interpret the fact that Claire felt more physical attraction for Jamie than for Frank, which is definitely open for argument in the book, and to interpret that as meaning that she had never felt it for anyone else except Jamie, which is most clearly not what Claire says in the book.

Unknown-1In the show, however, Jamie clearly seemed more than physically attracted to Claire early on: he seemed to have feelings for her from the beginning. Certainly he had them by the time they married, or he wouldn’t have gone through all that trouble to make it a beautiful wedding. In the book, Jamie also eventually tells Claire that he had strong feelings for her — not just sexual ones, though those, too, were present — from their first meeting.

images-8In the book, Jamie told her his “conditions” for the wedding: that it be in a church with a priest, that she have a gown, and that she have a ring. But he didn’t tell her those things on their wedding night. He told her much later. And it was only then that readers might have gotten the idea that Jamie had more love for Claire than she yet had for him.

In the show, he told her those “conditions” on their wedding night, before their first sexual encounter. Since I hadn’t read the book at the time I saw the show, I didn’t know how to interpret Jamie’s “conditions.” I know that I didn’t interpret them as “love,” however; I thought that he simply viewed marriage as a life-long commitment, as his parents’ had been, and so he wanted a nice ceremony.

Claire’s Narration

images-3I admit that it is difficult — but certainly not impossible — to have all the elements of a book written in First Person Point of View, with a narrator’s intimate thoughts and feelings revealed to the reader, put into a dramatic adaptation as a Voice-Over. Screen adaptations are visual, and sometimes that’s better than what you can get in a book: viewers get more historical information about clothing, hairstyles, etc in a dramatic adaptation much more quickly than they do in a book (and, in any event, Gabaldon leaves out most of the historical description in Outlander, so in that arena, the show is an improvement).

But nothing can replace the intimacy of being inside one character’s head for a prolonged period of time. And there have been successful Voice-Overs in dramatic adaptations. The Oscar-winning Isabelle Huppert version of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary is a case in point: it manages to be so faithful to the book that even the ironic Voice of the Author is presented as the Voice-Over commentary on the characters and their behaviour as the viewers see the action on-screen.

I’m not saying that everything Claire thinks in Outlander is profound, earth-shattering, or will change your interpretation of her behaviour. However, having watched the show before reading the book, I can assure you that leaving out virtually all of Claire’s thoughts does, indeed, significantly change not only her own personality, but her relationships as well.

Claire & Jamie,
the Adaptation

images-18Her relationship with and physical attraction to Jamie is one of the most important things that gets changed from book to show. In the book, Claire clearly and repeatedly compares what she feels for Jamie to the brief  “physical” entanglements that happened between strangers thrown together in intense moments during the War. Physical attractions that she also felt, though she does not specify whether she felt them for doctors or for wounded soldiers who were her patients, but attractions that she felt strongly enough to resist so as not to be unfaithful to her husband Frank.

Many Outlander readers apparently interpret those intense sexual feelings that Claire discusses as love. Especially when she compares Jamie’s feelings for her to those she witnessed and felt in the War, and when she compares her own attraction to Jamie to those War-emotions.

That is all lost in the show.

Because it’s lost, because even the mention of the capability of physical attraction to other men by Claire is lost, then viewers who have not read the book don’t understand the relationship between Jamie and Claire. It seems like a sexual fling.

One that will burn out quickly.

One that, unfortunately, is not even convincing in the first place.

At least the book’s narration provided some awareness on Claire’s part that she did have sexual feelings for men other than her husband Frank, and that she was able to recognize when men — soldiers, patients, Jamie — had them for her.

Also, the book’s narration made it blatantly clear that, as a married woman, Claire chose when to act on those sexual feelings, and that she had only acted on them with Jamie.

Claire & Frank,
the Adaptation

Unknown-1One of the strengths of the show is dramatically portraying the relationship between Frank and Claire. Readers don’t seem to like it, however, as they continually insist that they thought “Claire married Frank for safety,” that Claire and Frank had a “Teacher-Student type of relationship,” or that “Frank and Claire never had oral sex.” Those are all interpretations of the book because the book is very vague on the relationship between Frank and Claire, whether it be their sexual connection, their friendship, their love, their marriage, or their long separation during the War.

In fact, except for the physical attraction between Jamie and Claire, the book is just as vague about virtually everything sexual. Only two sexual encounters (detailed below) are graphic. The others are all alluded to.

images-37Concerning Frank and Claire’s relationship between book and show, however, Claire does mention, in chapter 24, for one paragraph, that Frank must be worried sick about her having disappeared, that he must be looking everywhere for her, and that he must have gone several times to Scotland Yard for news of her.

When I praised episode 108 in a blog post last year, where Frank was brought back into the storyline, I got “corrected” in comments.

I was informed that Frank never appeared in the book again, so the show was just “wrong.”

images-4While it’s true that Frank doesn’t appear in the book after early chapters, Claire often mentions him. In that paragraph in chapter 24, she worries about what Frank is going through, mentioning everything he must be doing to find her. The “Everything” Frank’s doing is what the show chose to dramatize. It was perfectly acceptable for the adaptation to show Frank doing those things since they didn’t have Claire’s narration as a Voice-Over very often.

It worked.

But readers apparently forgot some of those things between Frank and Claire in the book.

So they complained that the show had made them up.

No, the show expanded or dramatized some, like the paragraph that I just indicated, and it interpreted others that author Gabaldon left vague.

Frank & Claire
& the Joy of Sex

images-33Readers are delighted to admit that Claire and Jamie have a great, intense, virtually continuous sexual relationship, which the readers seem to interpret as love. And this is despite the fact that Claire complains about Jamie sexually, saying that he was “too hungry and too clumsy for tenderness” and that “his concern” for her “safety” was “at once endearing and irritating” (chapter 15).

That ain’t in the show.

Readers seem to forget that it’s in the book.

They also seem to forget that Claire and Frank do have sex. It’s always alluded to, but never written about in any great detail. So we don’t know if Claire liked, loved, or just endured sex with Frank.

But the aspect about Claire and Frank’s sex life that really riles readers/viewers is whether the two of them ever had oral sex, if Frank just wasn’t as interested in performing oral sex on Claire, or if he wasn’t as energetic in that particular area of their sexual relations, if Jamie was the first to perform oral sex on her…

Oy, vey, the annoyed reader/viewer discussions on that particular topic, which is left vague and open to huge interpretation in the book, though Claire is shown enthusiastically enjoying oral sex with Frank on the show.

The sexual relations between Frank and Claire are just never described as vividly or in as much detail as the one detailed sex scene that’s described between Claire and Jamie.

Only one sex scene between Claire and Jamie is given in graphic detail, and that  one is so much like a rape that Claire begs Jamie repeatedly to stop, telling him he’s hurting her, but he doesn’t, so she hurts him back, with vicious scratches and bites (chapter 23).

Both are bruised, battered, and sore the next day.

Ouch.

Black Jack Randall & Jaime
and Rape

images-36Is it mere coincidence that the only other graphic sex scene(s) in the book are the rapes that Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies, in a dual role) commits on Jamie in Wentworth Prison, related to Claire by Jamie, after she goes all “General Patton” on him — book and show —  in “To Ransom a Man’s Soul” (season 1 finale, episode 116)?

It was hard enough to read, they were so graphic.

Watching those rape scenes was horrific.

For the writers and producers of the show to have shown Jamie’s shame at his involuntary orgasm without having Claire explain why his body had ejaculated due solely to the continued pressure of BJR’s member on Jamie’s prostate gland was absolutely shameful.

And I don’t care if that bit of information would have been anachronistic or not.

She was a nurse. She’d seen battlefield atrocities. She would have known what Shell-Shock was (now called War-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder): General Patton was disciplined for slapping two boys suffering from it, so the condition was well-known during World War II.

Whether Claire would have known about rape-PTSD or not, the show did every boy and man a huge disservice by not explaining why Jamie’s body ejaculated involuntarily, shaming him because he thought it was pleasure. Some reviewers even mistakenly assumed that Jamie actually experienced pleasure.

I know that many premium cable channels — and Starz may be one of them — give their producers and writers complete creative freedom. In this instance, by allowing this kind of misinformation about male rape to be shown, Starz failed its viewers. Male bodies may react because of the type of physical stimulation, but it is not pleasure: it is still rape.

Not permitting Claire to “correct” Jamie’s misinterpretation of his body’s involuntary ejaculation during the rape was shameful, even if it might have been anachronistic (and I admit that I do not know if it would have been anachronistic, but I don’t care. That information should have been given to viewers by Claire’s giving it to her husband Jamie).

In any event, Starz, Outlander producers and writers, the actors themselves, and everyone else connected with the show had a moral obligation to all male rape victims to make it clear that Jamie’s body’s involuntary ejaculation did not mean he was experiencing pleasure: he was still being raped.

Just changing the words from “buggering” to “making love,” like Gabaldon did in the book, did not make the source of Jamie’s shame clear, as the continual flow of comments to me from my post on that issue indicate. Yes, that was how Jamie described it in the book. No, Claire did not correct him in the book. She didn’t even comfort him. She was too busy going General Patton on him.

That doesn’t mean the show shouldn’t have made it clear to all their viewers that Jamie’s body’s ejaculation was involuntary, that it was not caused by pleasure. There are viewers who insist that episode was particularly graphic only in an attempt to win Emmy nominations for Tobias Menzies, but Jamie’s rape was graphic in the book as well.

The difference is that reading about Jamie telling Claire about the rape put more emotional distance between the violent act and the book’s readers.

The adaptation showed it, slamming the viewers in the gut with it.

If the book and show were going to slam the readers and viewers with male rape and a victim’s involuntary ejacualtion, then everyone, from Diana Gabaldon to Ron D. Moore to Starz to the actors, had a moral obligation to all male rape victims — as well as to the women in their lives — to explain why Jamie misinterpreted his body’s involuntary response and why he subsequently felt so much shame that he wanted to commit suicide (by refusing to eat or drink).

In the book, Jamie wants to die because he thinks he’s going to lose his severely damaged hand, while, in the show, he wants to die because Black Jack Randall “broke him,” body and soul, by “making love” to him.

Shame on you, DG, RDM, Starz, et al.

Book vs. Show

images-1How do I think the show was, overall? Fair to middling, I guess. It was much  more interesting in Season 1 Part 1, despite its slow parts. But as a stand-alone drama, it deteriorated dreadfully in Season 1, Part 2.

How do I think the show compared to the book?

Not too well, I’m afraid.

We got some interesting things in the show that were not in the book — the addition of Father Bain and the exorcism fit well with the witch-trial, for example, and Claire’s helping deliver Jenny’s breech-baby was much more in line with her having been a nurse than her helping deliver a breech-foal by shoving her hand and arm up into a horse’s uterus.

Also, sometimes Claire’s Voice was inappropriately acerbic in the book: her openly yawning and complaining about the “boring” length of Ned’s defense of her during the witch-trial was incredible. How could a woman from 1945, who would know that women were regularly burned as witches even for inconsequential things like looking different, or saying things that others didn’t understand (e.g., “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ”) but whose words were taken as “casting curses,” how could a woman like that yawn openly during a trial in which her own life was at stake? (no pun intended)

Sometimes, the show did improve on things in the book.

But many of the things in the show that were not in the book did not improve the adaptation at all. In fact, some of the changes damaged the story and its characters. Jamie’s constant change of character, from episode to episode, left me confused as a viewer, and annoyed after I read the book since Jamie is quite consistent in the book.  Discovering that book-Jamie knew Latin, Greek, and was more fluent in French than Claire stunned me. All that tripe with the Duke of Sandringham was dull-ness in the extreme. Claire’s constantly stating that she had to get back to Craigh na dun and to Frank always seemed tacked on by the writers of the show: the character didn’t seem to feel it.

Maybe those additions or changes didn’t work because they weren’t in the book.

Then again, maybe they didn’t work because the adaptation wasn’t as good as it could have been.

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Related Posts

The Outlander Smackdown: Book vs. Show, Part 1

Outlander: Season 1 Part 2

CowLander: The Outlander Finale

Give me again all that was there:
Starz’s Outlander “The Devil’s Mark”

Claire & Jamie & The Joy of Sex

Sing me a Song of Lass that is Gone:
Episode 14 of Starz’s Outlander

Outlander: Season 1 Part 1

By yon bonnie banks, and by yon bonnie braes:
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The broken heart it kens, nae second spring again:
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Both Sides Now: Review of the Mid-Season Finale
of Starz’s Outlander, and Season 1, Part 2

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Filed under Actors, Authors, Books, Movies/Television, Outlander, Rape, Violence

CowLander: The OUTLANDER Finale

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Warning: Spoilers
& Graphic Images

images-9I must say that with all the hub-bub surrounding the “Wentworth Prison” episode — which turned into two episodes, the second of which was mostly flashbacks and the Finale — from Starz’s Outlander, based on the bestselling novels by Diana Gabaldon, I was expecting more from both the “Wentworth Prison” episode and from the Finale. A whole lot more. I have to say, I was incredibly disappointed. With all of it.

The Starz Warning

images-11For the first time since the series began, Starz put a Warning before the show began, stating that it contained scenes of “graphic violence, prolonged torture, rape” etc. I was shocked. Just last week, BJR broke Jamie’s hand with an iron mallet, hitting it repeatedly, and there was no such warning. Then he nailed Jamie’s hand to the table: no warning.

images-14Last season, there was an extended flogging episode where Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) was literally slipping in Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) blood, and there was no “graphic violence” or “extended torture” warning.

images-3Claire was raped by a deserting Redcoat, whom she killed mid-coitus, and there was no “rape” warning. From the comments made repeatedly by writers, actors, and executive producer of the show, Ron Moore — that they were going into some really dark places — I thought the “Wentworth Prison” and “To Ransom A Man’s Soul” episodes were going to be horrific, especially since they were on cable, which has more freedom than network television and even movies (who often take out violence to get an R rather than an X rating).

The episodes weren’t horrific.

And I’m not even sure what the “prolonged torture” warning was about.

Claire’s Obtuseness

images-15In last week’s episode, “Wentworth Prison,” BJR grabbed Jamie’s wife Claire (Caitriona Balfe) with the clear intention of raping her, right in front of her husband. Jamie then valiantly offered up himself, which is what BJR has wanted all along, in place of her freedom. Despite its being patently obvious that BJR was going to release Claire unharmed (unbelievable in itself) in return for “buggering” Jamie — which Claire had to have known since Jamie told her earlier this season that BJR had given Jamie a choice between being buggered and being flogged — Claire constantly asked, in last night’s episode, after they’d rescued Jamie, “What did he do to you, Jamie?”

images-1She asked it so many times that I began to wonder if she’d been knocked on the head by one of the stampeding cattle and forgotten everything Jamie had ever told her as well as what had happened among the three of them when they had all been together in the cell.

“What did he do to you, Jamie? What did he do?”

You mean, besides breaking his hand and fingers with an iron mallet?

You mean, besides nailing his hand to a table in an equally gruesome scene, at which Claire was present?

imagesOh, you mean, besides releasing you, Claire, unharmed, in return for Jamie’s complete “surrender, body and soul” when he’s already been wanting to bugger Jamie since he met him?

Gee, Claire, what do you think he did to Jamie?images-1I don’t know if that kind of obtuseness is in the books or not, but it was dreadfully poor storytelling in the show.

All the men who helped Claire rescue her husband seemed to know exactly what had happened to Jamie without his telling them. All the viewers knew simply from the opening scene of Jamie’s flashback with him in the cell, on the cot, naked, with BJR lying naked beside him. The expression on Jamie’s face told us he’d been raped, most viciously, probably repeatedly.

images-4 But we had also already known it was going to happen even if we’d never read the books, if only because of the repulsive flogging-scars tongue-kissing scene from last week’s “Wentworth Prison.”

images-8Claire seemed to be the only one still in the dark.

It didn’t work dramatically.

It simply made her seem like an idjit.

Claire’s “Confession”

images-4For some inexplicably bizarre reason, Claire spent an inordinate amount in the Finale “confessing” to a monk (can they even hear confession?) about her coming through the stones, leaving Frank behind, being tried as a witch, blah blah blah.

Really?

Seriously?

What on earth was the dramatic purpose of that?

The viewers knew all that already, and the monk — as far as I know — will never be in the story again. Unlike her husband Jamie, who needed to know that information.

Unknown-1Beyond the fact that this scene simply wasted time and took up space, what on earth was it that she had to confess?

She’d just rescued her husband from BJR and Wentworth prison. She set his hand so he wouldn’t be crippled for life. She was trying to help him heal: emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

The Finale was called “To Ransom a Man’s Soul,” not “To Cleanse a Woman’s Soul.” She hadn’t done anything to confess, and her “confession” neither ransomed nor saved Jamie’s soul.

It was a total waste of show time.

Even if it was one of the scenes in the book, it should have been cut from the show.

The Gaelicimages-5

Yeah, I know this show is happening in 1740’s Scotland. I know the clan members speak Scots Gaelic. (And I know the photo above is not when they were speaking Gaelic in the Finale, but some photos are just not available.) But what was with all the untranslated and un-subtitled Gaelic between Jamie and his godfather Murtagh? I had no idea what was going on, though both men seemed upset.

Which of the two writers of the Finale thought that scene was going to work?

It didn’t.

General Claire Patton

Outlander 2014Now, picture this: Claire, some of Jamie’s clan members, and a whole herd of stampeding cattle have just rescued Jamie from the horrors of Wentworth Prison and BJR, and because he doesn’t want to eat and expresses a wish to die, Claire goes all General Patton on him.

Slapping, screaming, kicking, hitting Jamie.

That’s about the time I wanted to put Claire in Wentworth Prison.

What happened to the nurse who’d been in war herself? Where was the competent, caring nurse who helped boys dying from wounds as bad as or far worse than anything Jamie had suffered at the hands of BJR — wounds that caused amputation, blindness, and death from the more advanced weapons of WWII?

Where was that woman?

She had turned into General George Patton.

And I don’t mean the guy who beat the Nazis in some significant battles and helped the Allies win the War.

I mean the self-absorbed, immature, egotistical man who cruelly slapped, humiliated, and viciously berated soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — then called Shell-Shock — because they didn’t “look injured” but were still in the hospital tent instead of back on the battlefield.

That General Patton.

Yes, that’s what Claire did to Jamie in the Finale after she rescued him because he wouldn’t tell her, in minute detail, what BJR had done to him.

I wanted to knock her upside the head.

If there was any “prolonged torture” in the Finale, it was Claire’s insensitive treatment of Jamie.

The Farewell

images-7Many of the clansmen, especially those who went with Claire to help rescue Jamie from BJR, have grown to respect Claire as a healer, and some may have even grown fond of her personally. Their good-byes on the beach, before Jamie and Claire set sail for France, perhaps never to meet them again, should have been touching and poignant. Instead, somebody threw in a scene where Angus (Stephen Walters), whom Claire had given permission to kiss her farewell, grabbed her breasts with both hands.

If the actor playing Angus did it improv, then what a disappointment that the director didn’t berate him for its inappropriate nature in the Finale, and a further disappointment that the scene wasn’t deleted in the editing room.

And if it wasn’t improv on the actor’s part, then it was yet another instance of the show’s writers needing to learn when humor is effective and when it is most definitely not.

The Boat Scene

OUT_116-20140827-ND_0372.jpgAfter all the horrible things that have happened to Jamie, after the brutality he’s suffered at the hands of BJR and the insensitive cruelty of his wife afterward, the two flee to France at the end of the Finale. Incredibly, Jamie seems all healed, especially emotionally and psychologically.

Claire reveals that she’s pregnant, though she’d told him in a previous episode that she thought she couldn’t ever have children, and asks him if he’s happy. He is. The wind is blowing their long tresses, they’re holding each other, and they look just like the cover of some cheap, mass-market paperback romance.

images-5Dreadfully disappointing.

Completely unrealistic.

Out of tone with the entire series, but especially with the last two episodes.

Jamie’s Shame

imagesHere’s what the writers of the Finale got absolutely right: Jamie’s shame after the rape, and Black Jack Randall’s complete and utter obsession with Jamie.

BJR is and always has been obsessed with Jamie, and not just because he’s a Scottish rebel, or because he’s wanted for murder. BJR is obsessed with Jamie sexually, emotionally, and psychologically. BJR wants to possess Jamie physically, and he wants Jamie’s love.

Unfortunately, BJR knows he’ll never get what he wants, so he tortured, raped, humiliated, and shamed Jamie instead.

Despite author Gabaldon’s repeated insistence about the heterosexual orientation of BJR, despite her contacting reviewers telling them they’d misinterpreted BJR and that their statements about his being a homosexual were incorrect, and perhaps suggesting that said reviewers re-write their reviews of episode 12, which at least one of them actually did, stating therein that Gabaldon had contacted him to “correct” his review; and despite Gabaldon’s rather dismissive responses to readers’ questions and statements on her Facebook Profile when they say that they had always thought BJR did, indeed, love Jamie and wanted him physically as a lover from the moment they read the books, Black Jack Randall seems to know an inordinate amount about homosexual intimacies and male-on-male sexual behavior.

He wants Jamie to tell him he loves him. He attempts to French-kiss Jamie. He tries to perform fellatio on Jamie. He uses his hands in an effort to excite Jamie. Black Jack even unties his long, curly hair and lets it drape across Jamie’s body, just like a woman might do, attempting to arouse him. When all that fails, he brutally rapes him, ordering Jamie, over and over, to “scream.”

But the scene where BJR “breaks” Jamie — according to Jamie — is when BJR “makes love” to him. Instructing an already tortured, broken, raped, and disoriented Jamie to think of his wife Claire, whom he loves, BJR touches him sexually on the nipples and genitals. Black Jack then undresses, gets behind Jamie, and rapes him again, though not as brutally this time, while still stroking Jamie’s genitals.

Jamie has an involuntary orgasm.

That makes him think that BJR has broken him, body and soul.

That is what completely and utterly shames Jamie.

Of course, Jamie could have had no knowledge of the prostate gland, nor could he have known that stroking it — with fingers, inserted objects, or male genitalia — sometimes causes involuntary ejaculation.

Ejaculation.

Not pleasure. Not climax. Not love.

But Jamie doesn’t know any of that.

BJR does, which demonstrates that he has plenty of experience in homosexual encounters with other males, be they voluntary or forced on the other man’s part. In any event, BJR knows exactly what to do to other men’s bodies to cause sexual arousal and ejaculation.

And let’s please be clear that I am not in any way associating sexual orientation with sadism. Black Jack is a vicious sadist. He’s also a rapist. And, no matter what author Diana Gabaldon claims she intended him to be, Black Jack Randall is a homosexual. It’s not the rape of Jamie that verifies that BJR is a homosexual: it’s BJR’s kissing of Jamie’s wounds, BJR’s wanting to be told that Jamie loves him, it’s BJR’s wanting to perform fellatio on Jamie (if BJR had forced Jamie to perform fellatio on BJR, that would not necessarily be homosexuality, but it would be humiliation), it’s BJR’s sleeping naked with Jamie afterward — as if they were consensual lovers. All those things indicate that BJR is, indeed, a homosexual. One that also happens to be a sadist.

Black Jack might have pretensions or aspirations toward bi-sexuality, but we were never shown his actually raping a woman: Claire got rescued every time she was in his clutches, and Jamie’s sister Jenny claimed that BJR couldn’t attain an erection even with his own manual stimulation when he wanted to rape her.

In short, Black Jack Randall is a homosexual who also happens to be a vicious sadist. Black Jack is also obsessed with Jamie, if not actually in love with him, and Jamie’s continual “rejection” of BJR results in his desire to punish and humiliate Jamie through sadistic acts.

It’s the physical act of ejaculation during one of the subsequent rapes that causes Jamie’s shame. That’s why he wants to die. He thinks that because his body ejaculated due to the pressure of BJR’s member against Jamie’s prostate, it meant he enjoyed being with BJR. Jamie might have thought it meant he didn’t hate Black Jack. He might have even thought the ejaculation meant he loved BJR, which would have horrified Jamie.

Of course, the involuntary ejaculation didn’t mean those things at all. Jamie was still being raped. It was still non-consensual. But it made Jamie feel broken, it shamed him, it made him want to die.

I guess poor Jamie didn’t realize that being hanged also causes the body to involuntarily ejaculate — which is one of the reasons hangings were so popular, and why it’s considered more “shameful” for military prisoners to be hanged than to be executed by a firing squad, for example. If Jamie had known that hanged men’s bodies also involuntarily ejaculate, he might have realized that it wasn’t pleasure he was feeling when it happened to him as Black Jack was raping him.

But poor Jamie didn’t know that.

In fact, during the hangings in the episode before “Wentworth Prison,” the condemned men — Jamie among them — discussed the fact that hanged men soil themselves, but they meant only the involuntary evacuation of the bowels; the writers were careful not to include the fact that men’s bodies also involuntarily ejaculate during hangings. At the time, I wondered why the prisoners didn’t talk about the ejaculation since even women and children knew about it in those days. Now, however, I think the writers intentionally left that information out in the hanging scene discussion because it was going to be the involuntary ejaculation during the rape that was going to “break” Jamie’s spirit.

It’s the one thing that the writers of the Finale did get right: Jamie’s psychic pain and unbearable shame over his body’s involuntary ejaculation during the rape. Jamie’s misinterpretation of that ejaculation as good feelings toward BJR, or as sexual excitement, or even as love for Black Jack, when Jamie knows perfectly well that he does not love BJR, is what causes Jamie’s unbearable shame.

That’s what Jamie meant when he told Claire that BJR had broken him.

Because he felt completely and utterly broken.

That’s how rape victims feel.

Poor Jamie.

The Cows

images-12I gotta tellya, those cows were great. The way they just stampeded into the prison, without any weapons or protection of any kind. The way they knocked down those doors and those Redcoats to rescue Jamie without ever once slowing down to think of their own safety. The way none of those cows deserted or ran away in panic. Those cows were great. So brave. So self-sacrificing. So honorable. So… Cow-y. They were wonderful. I applauded them.

I looked for their names in the credits so I could list them in this post; alas, they were apparently just stunt cows, without any lines, and without any screen credits.

The show needed more cows.

It’s gotta have more Cowbell.

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p.s. Hugs and kisses and thanks to regular commenter, Jo, for the much improved title, and for permission to use it.

Related Posts

Outlander: Season 1 Part 2

Give me again all that was there: Starz’s Outlander “The Devil’s Mark”

Claire & Jamie & The Joy of Sex

Sing me a Song of Lass that is Gone:Episode 14 of Starz’s Outlander

Outlander: Season 1 Part 1

By yon bonnie banks, and by yon bonnie braes:
Starz’s Daring Outlander

The broken heart it kens, nae second spring again:
Starz’s Outlander

Both Sides Now: Review of the Mid-Season Finale
of Starz’s Outlander, and Season 1, Part 2

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Filed under Actors, Authors, Books, Cows, Movies/Television, Outlander, Rape, Violence