The Not-Sunday Seven for Outlander 306

Claire and Jamie share a kiss after 20 years apart.

The long-awaited, highly anticipated “print shop scene” episode has arrived!  You knew there would be disappointment in the crowd.  After all, everyone has a favorite moment they want to see brought to life, and you can’t possibly recreate everyone’s moment, let alone portray it exactly as they had in mind.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t have any particular notions or desires, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed.  I, too, had read Voyager with great anticipation for Jamie and Claire’s reunion, and was thrilled to experience it, but… eh, we’ll get to that later.   So let’s discuss

A. Malcolm, Episode 306

1.   It’s a special episode

Just in case you didn’t realize it was a “special episode,: we got an extra 15 minutes as a reward for waiting two weeks.  Then we got a cold open (the first ever of the series) that depicts a day, or at least a morning, in the life of Jamie Fraser Alexander Malcolm, Printer & Bookseller.  And its title card boasts a special conceit with the writer and director coming hot off the presses.

Outlander's episode 306 title card was printed on an 18th century printer.
Clever or conceit? Or clever conceit? (Photo © Entertainment Weekly)

2  Once an outlaw…

… always an outlaw.  Jamie finally has a new life as a legitimate business man.  He could make a comfortable, safe living for himself and his family.  Instead, he continues his Jacobite agenda by printing and distributing papist propaganda.  And if that’s not seditious enough, let’s add bootlegging/smuggling to the mix.  Because a law-abiding hero is just not interesting or sexy enough.  I guess?  Still, he knows how to rock a blanket shawl down the high streets of Edinburgh.

Jamie jauntily and stylishly heads to work.
The best in 18th century men’s fashion

3.  The worst voice-over ever

Normally voice-overs don’t bother me.  I didn’t mind the extensive ones from season 1.  Even the “I need something more” voice-over guiding Claire to medical school in episode 302 didn’t bother me.  But here it came on like a caterwaul.  A better use would have been snippets of Claire and Jamie’s conversation over dinner.  All the same emotions could have been shown rather told to us.**

4.  The longest foreplay in cinematic history

How long was it?  So long I actually fast-forwarded during my initial viewing.  On the second watch, I timed it to be around seven minutes. Interestingly, turns out I wasn’t the only timer in the audience.  I suppose the purpose was to highten the anticipation, but it resoundedly backfired.

5.  All The Secrets!

There’s the secretive paying of “taxes” to some well-to-do shady guy.  There’s the mysterious “associate” Mr. Willoughby (a most problematic character) who says Jamie is a true friend.  Yet Jamie appears to dislike him and treats him like shit.  Then again, the Chinese were treated like shit in the 18th century—and well beyond.  And then there’s the Secret That No One Will Say Outright.  Whatever could it be???  Oh, let’s not forget the man lying in wait when Claire returns to Jamie’s room after breakfasting with the whores.  Who is he?  Which leads me to…

5a.  That ending?

Was it really necessary to end the episode on a cliffhanger?  Especially after the last episode’s cliffhanger?  Additional points off for being a particularly bad cliffhanger.**

6.  I am worried

In her Sex and Whiskey review for this episode, Lani Diane Rich said the story is about to change.  I’m not sure if she’s referring to the story told in Voyager or the overall story of Claire and Jamie throughout the entire series.  Now that Jamie and Claire are reunited, does the saga change from that of enduring, once-in-a-lifetime love to the adventures of an extended family?  If so, I’m not sure I’m all that interested.

7.  I am really worried

Jamie told Claire about his son Willie.  In the books, it’s Lord John who tells Claire about Willie and how he (John) came to care for him.  Does this mean Lord John’s role in the rest of the season is being diminished, or even—horrors!—eliminated?  David Berry’s current IMDB bio says he’s in only two Outlander episodes.  And they’ve already aired.  I will be most displeased it that should happen. 😤😡😰

Lord John Grey agrees to look after Jamie's son.
This better not be the last of Lord John Grey!

And So…

** Examples of lazy writing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Matthew B. Roberts.  He’s written some of my favority episodes.  But it feels like he tried too hard to make this Special and took the easy way out in a couple of scenes.

2 thoughts on “The Not-Sunday Seven for Outlander 306

  1. Seven minutes?! Geez, no wonder they went long.

    I *think*, though I don’t know, that often a recurring character/actor’s credits don’t show up ahead of time for a current season. I can’t believe they’d cut John Grey THAT much, when so many people adore him like mad. Also, they don’t necessarily know which episodes a character will be in. That may not apply for a show like this and the way it films, but generally speaking, it avoids spoilers. I mean, Bobby’s return on Supernatural would have been totally ruined if it was on IMDb ahead of time, you know? 🙂 So don’t worry yet.

    Am I right in inferring that you haven’t read past Voyager, given your reaction to Lani’s comment?

  2. OK, I won’t worry. Anyway, I’ll always have A Place to Call Home to get my David Berry fix. Although his character in that show is kind of a wimp.

    You are correct, I haven’t read past Voyager, nor do I intend to. Even Lord John Grey can’t force me to. 😮

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