Apparently, I’m not the only fan that had difficulty discussing last week’s Outlander episode, “Creme de Menthe.” Shaun, the Scottish guy who vlogs about the series was so uninspired he didn’t even do an entry for the episode. Thankfully, this week’s episode was near perfect. And yet, here it is, Saturday, and once again I am scurrying to get my thoughts posted.
Here’s what I learned.
First Wife, Episode 308
1. Now I get it.
I never cared for Young Ian in Voyager. Not anymore. This isn’t a new concept. Several fans who didn’t care for Lord John Grey in the books finally saw his appeal when David Berry brought him to life.
When I first saw pictures of John Bell as Young Ian, I was unimpressed. But an actor is so much more than a face, and John Bell is perfection in the role. I was just beginning to adore this character when his life changes dramatically and his future becomes uncertain.
child person for passive-aggressive personality?
Feeling betrayed by Claire’s long, unexplained absence—and its effect on her brother— Jenny’s dialog consists of nothing but a string of zingers aimed at Claire and Jamie, both individually and together. And her actions (calling Jamie’s other wife to Lallybroch) are catastrophic. Laura Donnelly owns every scene she’s in, from slapping Young Ian across the head to pouting when her husband tells her, “If there’s a pot of shite on to boil stove, you stir it like it’s God’s work. ” Which brings us to…
3. Ian Murray
I love this guy. Steven Cree is so underrated in this role. He’s the voice of reason in the Murray household. While Ian was shocked and thrilled to see Claire in Edinburgh, he’s visibly angry when Jamie brings his son home, having lied to him. He’s smart enough to know that a “wee fire” destroyed the print shop and wouldn’t be enough to send Jamie home. But he’s not so set in his ways to not try a new form of punishment for Young Ian.
4. Ned Gowan!
Everyone’s favorite 18th-century lawyer makes an appearance. Already somewhat elderly when he first appeared in season 1 (20+ years ago), he states his longevity is due to never having married. (Ha! I knew single life had to be good for something.) Bill Patterson is a treasure. And speaking of treasure…
5. Jamie lied!
If you were thinking that Jamie was telling the truth to Lord John Grey (in episode 303) about not finding any treasure other than one sapphire, you’d be mistaken. It’s just more proof that Lord John’s love for Jamie Fraser is totally unfounded… and undeserved!
One other thing: Silkie Island had no seals? C’mon! Perhaps they were more difficult to CGI into the frame than an island or a pirate ship.
6. No mention of Brianna
Many fans were annoyed that Claire didn’t mention her daughter as one of the things she missed back in Boston. Not me. What, you didn’t know I don’t like Bree? And most likely never will, given the uncharismatic actor who portrays her.
7. Sometimes flashbacks are necessary.
Some reviewers complained about the two flashbacks in this episode, that they were superfluous. I disagree. Both sets of flashbacks were necessary to advance the story.
The tale of Jamie’s escape from Ardsmuir prison was told very much the same as in the book, in retrospect. It’s necessary because if shown at the time of the escape in “All Debts Paid,” we would have known immediately that Jamie lied to Lord John Gray about finding treasure. It added a level of suspense, a bit of mystery.
The flashback to Jamie’s first Hogmanay after his return to Lallybroch showed us his state of mind; how sad and lonely he was, how alive Marsali and Joanie made him feel, and why he was drawn to their mother. If it were simply told, it would 1) make for bad television, which requires movement to keep the eye involved, 2) it couldn’t be told in “real time” as it occurred two years earlier, and would have given away the main plot, and 3) most importantly, gave us a visual reference into Jamie’s state of mind, which is generally more impactful than simply listening to a retelling.
(I’m sorry there are no photos or screencaps of Hogmanay because it was such a lovely scene, but the lighting made it much too dark and the action much too blurry to capture anything decent.)
The word of the week goes to kebbie-lebbie. Last week it was “Gleep, gleep,” which means absolutely nothing, except perhaps that the speaker is not of sound mind. This week the meaning is clear. It’s a kerfluffle, which everyone knows is a brouhaha. Which leads me to wonder just how many informal words pertain to a big-ass mess of plot.