It’s almost 4pm. As I write this, I have Queens Bohemian Rhapsody on repeat in my head. I guess that’s what I get for going on a Queen marathon on You Tube the other night- so, it’s my own fault. Not that I’m complaining. I love Queen. If I were honest, there are far worse ear-worms to have – Baby Shark for instance?
I had no intention of writing a blog today. None. For one, the weather is bloody awful. It’s cold, wet and miserable and two it’s a public holiday here in Victoria for the racing of the Melbourne Cup. A horse race that stops a nation for exactly three minutes. Happens every year in November. My Father and I place a $2 bet on the cup. We never win but its fun though.
The reason for this blog? I need to talk about Outlander – Episode 401. I have to. I need to talk about the episode, the reaction from fans and the social media melt down after it aired. I’ve watched it twice and if I were brutally honest … I’m still emotionally raw from watching the episode. Reading DOA is one thing… but watching it come to life on screen is an entirely different beast to be reckoned with.
I haven’t been part of the fandom for long. Only since last July. But in that time, I’ve read all the books and watched all 3 seasons several times over. I’ve made new friends, spoke to people all over the world across several social media platforms, had discussions relating to the books and TV series several times over, appreciated artwork, laughed my ass off at memes and sat on the fence regarding the subject of shipping.
I don’t ship. In saying that, I don’t discourage those that do either. I’m friends with a lot of them on socials. I’m also friends with a lot of non-shippers as well. To me, both sides have valid arguments, raise interesting discussion points, and I have an equal number of things I agree with and don’t agree with on both sides. Each side has a line they do not cross, and I respect that. Sure, watching them argue and bicker with each other annoys me, but I understand that’s what makes this fandom an incredibly passionate one and without it – there would be no TV show or books. Live and let live, I say. We’re all here for the same reason, are we not? Celebrate it in a way that works for you. Don’t rain on another’s parade just because what someone else is doing doesn’t work for you. Keep an open mind. Who knows? You might learn something. Both sides fascinate me, and I guess in that respect, it keeps me interested, entertained and invested in the fandom – which is why, over all, I love it so much.
I suppose I didn’t notice it at the beginning of Season 3. I was way too excited! I had only just discovered the show (and the books) and was hell bent on catching up on as much as possible before the Season went to air. To give you some idea, by the time Season 3 went to air I had binge-watched seasons 1 and 2 and has just started reading The Firey Cross. I’d also started following cast and crew on social and joined a dozen Outlander pages on FB. So, there was a lot going on to distract me from what I’ve been told is *The Usual* for Outlander. The over whelming response from Fans at the beginning of a season.
Since Season 3 started in September last year, I’d only gone through *Droughtlander* for about 5 minutes compared to everyone else so I no idea what it was like. When it ended in December last year, I commenced my first official Droughtlander. It’s a long wait. A very long wait. (What I did and got up to will be in another blog in coming weeks) You wait, and you wait, and you wait. Then, you hear the magic words “That’s the wrap!” and you start to get excited. Before you know it, season promotion starts. The conventions, the interviews, the official trailers get released, the whole shebang. It’s at this point I think, wires start to get crossed and people get confused.
“I don’t understand why such and such happened?!”
“I’m not watching anymore because it such and such part didn’t follow the books to the letter!”
“This is an outrage! Everything is wrong! How dare everything and everyone!”
*Enter producers /directors and show runners explaining and justifying their decisions about the show for 84 years after an episode airs* – I don’t see why this is necessary. Particularly after everything has been explained to the best of their ability, so as to not give away spoilers, during the promotional period.
Take for example Season 4 Episode 1. America The Beautiful.
For me personally, it ticked all the right boxes and it covered the first few chapters of the book perfectly. It was intense, emotional, sad, bittersweet, tender, exciting and infuriating all at once. I knew going in to watch it what to expect. I knew because I’d already read the book and had watched all the live panels, read the interviews and kept abreast of as much as possible in the lead up to November 4th. (November 5th in Australia) It was perfect. The attention to detail. The costumes. The sets. The dialogue verbatim – lifted straight off the pages of the book itself.
Stephen Bonnet (Played to perfection by the talented Ed Speleers) was every bit as to be expected. So much so and I loathe to say this – I hated him on sight and screamed abuse at my computer the second he appeared on screen. He is everything Bonnet is in the books and to that end I tip my hat to Ed. He’s a fantastic actor and a wonderful addition to the Outlander family. With all the love in the world, I look forward to loathing Him this season (and future seasons if his schedule allows for it)
John bell gave a powerful performance as Ian discussing his treatment at the hands of Gellis Duncan (The Bakra) and I cried. I cried when Hayes died. I cried when Jamie gave Claire the medicine box for their anniversary, “I’ve been married to ye for 24 years today, Sassenach. I hope I’ve nay given ye cause to regret it” *BRB -Sighing and crying 5-eva*
The last scene is what I want to talk about. The scene where the Frasers are attacked by Bonnet and his men. Now, it’s this scene that was discussed at panels during the months of promotion. It’s a scene with very little dialogue. It’s violent. Throats are cut. People die. The song of choice that was played over the top of this was a song by Ray Charles. It was this choice of song that seemed to turn the Outlander-verse on its head. Some thought it was insensitive. Some cried foul and said Outlander had suddenly spun on a dime and gone all out political. Others thought it weird because ‘why would a modern-day song be playing over a 18th Century scenario’ and others, like me thought it made such a pivotal moment of Claire losing her ring all the more powerful. In the books, it’s Franks ring that gets taken by Bonnet. The series decided to opt for Jamie’s ring – stating that it’s more recognisable to the audience. (There was more to it than that, I just can’t remember it right now) and it’s something that will make sense in an episode at a later date. Outlander is notorious for doing things like that. Changing things, rearranging things, doing things just a little different to the books or even doing things that aren’t in the books at all. As a lover of both the books and the TV series, I love the fact that they have perfected the balance between keeping true to the books but changing things just enough to give the TV show a uniqueness all of its own.
But there it was. Jamie getting beaten to a bloody pulp, Ian fighting for his life and Claire, after trying to unsuccessfully swallow her rings in front of Bonnet, left in a distraught heap on the floor while Bonnet and his men get away with their gemstones and jewellery. It is one of the best scenes Outlander has ever produced and I hate them for it. I hate them for making me so angry I wanted to cry, scream and yell abuse. I hate them for ripping my heart out and stomping it into a thousand pieces. I hate them for making me dream about it, for allowing it to wake me at 3:30am this morning – still fuming. Still furious at Stephen Bonnet for what he’d done.
I cannot wait till next week. I really can’t. One episode in and I know this is gonna be a cracker of a season. I cannot wait to see how this season is taken from the books and bought to life on TV.
What happens with Ian and Rollo. Roger and Bree. Jamie and Claire and the beginnings of their life on the ridge.
‘Lord, Outlander is a glorious thing – and God, I love it well!’
Thanks for reading,