Yeah…It Kind of IS About the Sex

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Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (4)

Paul Newman once said that the secret to his 50-year marriage to Joanne Woodward was due to “the correct amounts of lust and respect.” Sound like anyone else we know? If you’re a fan of the Outlander series of books, you’d probably laugh and say “Of course! That sounds just like Jamie and Claire!” If you’ve only seen Season 2 of the television series, I’m not so sure that’s who would immediately come to mind. I can’t tell you how sad that makes me.

At its heart, Outlander is Jamie and Claire’s love story; it’s the glue that holds everything else together, no matter the events happening around them. That’s why we love it. Not the history, not the time-travel, not the medical information, not the other characters. It’s not that we don’t appreciate all of those things and how they inform the story. We do. But it’s Jamie and Claire that keep us coming back for more. I’ve read that Diana Gabaldon hates it when people refer to her books as “romance” novels, which I completely understand if they are lumping them in with cheesy Harlequin Romances with Fabio-like creatures on the cover. In that sense, no, they are not “romance novels.” But they are, in fact, a great love story.  (Here’s a little-known coo factoid:  I almost never read the Outlander books because I thought they were “bodice rippers” and considered the genre beneath me. I am forever grateful to my friend Lynne who told me that they weren’t that at all, then urged me to get off my high horse and READ THEM because, like so many of you, I have fallen in love with Jamie and Claire’s story). I was thrilled when I learned it was coming to television, and Season 1 did not disappoint.  However, Season 2, like Claire and Jamie’s bed, has left me a wee bit cold. So my question to Ron Moore is this: What have you done with Jamie and Claire and why are you killing their love story?
I thought long and hard about whether or not to write this critique of Season 2. After all, the season is drawing to its close and it is what it is. Nothing I say can change it. What I can say is that at the end of Season one, I was left wanting more, dreading the long Droughtlander ahead. This year? I kind of just want it to be over. The lack of connection between Jamie and Claire this season makes me almost not care what happens to them. Almost (I haven’t entirely given up hope). And I’m not alone. There has been a lot of grumbling out there on social media this season, and we’re all pissed off about the same thing: The passionate, funny, wonderfully compelling couple that we love from the books (and Season 1) have all but disappeared.
So I considered not bothering. It’s just a TV show, right?  Who cares?  Well, dammit, I DO. And then I watched the penultimate episode last night, The Hail Mary. It should have been called The Hail Black Jack Randall. I have nothing against Tobias Menzies. He’s a fine actor. But we are ONE EPISODE away from the finale and they just used a good portion of the entire episode as a showcase for Menzies, when ONCE AGAIN, they missed the boat and failed to focus on the most important event of the story, the inevitable parting of Jamie and Claire (you thought I was going to say Culloden, didn’t you?). That decided it. I had to get it off my chest.

Let me start with a few statements:

  1.  I am a huge fan of the books.
  2. The casting for the show is spot on. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect Jamie, Claire, Black Jack/Frank or any other character. This is not an indictment of any of the actors or their performances, which have all been amazing.
  3. I DO NOT believe that the show should be “exactly like the books.” I understand perfectly well that changes are necessary to adapt the story and move it forward within a visual format and a limited time frame. Two totally different mediums-I get it. Further, there have been many changes from the books that I loved (the enhancement of certain characters, for example: Angus, Rupert, and Murtagh (ESPECIALLY MURTAGH!), the depiction of Claire during her time as a nurse in WWII and the resulting PTSD, and the relationship between Claire and Murtagh, to name a few). But I can see no valid reason for changing the personalities of the central characters. Not one.
  4. I loved 95% of Season 1 (I’ll explain my issue with the other 5 % later, or you can see my recap of To Ransom a Man’s Soul from last year: “I Just Want This To Be A Pleasant Experience For Us Both” ).
  5. I don’t hate Season 2. I appreciate all of the hard work put in by the cast and crew. It’s beautifully done-the performances, the production value, the sets, the costumes. So…hate? No. Disappointment? YES. Why? Jamie and Claire are MIA.

Ron Moore had every opportunity to film all of the intrigue and action that was in Season 2 without watering down Jamie and Claire’s love story. For some unfathomable reason, that’s not what he chose to do. In making that decision, he did the fans a huge disservice, in my opinion.  As I said, I understand the need to change plot lines and time frames, to add or delete certain characters. What I do not understand, and what was completely unnecessary, was changing the essential natures of Jamie and Claire and their relationship.
(Note: I am laying this decision at the feet of RDM as Show Runner. I have no idea if he is the one who made this choice or not. But the buck stops with you, Ron, so ultimately, it’s your responsibility).
Claire and Frank
Let’s face it, book readers know that book Frank was kind of an ass to Claire in the years after she returned to him. He resented her medical career, he was a bigot to her closest friend, Joe Abernathy, he wanted to leave her and take Bree with him, he lied to her about Jamie’s fate, he was unfaithful to her…you get my point. He may have been a good father to Bree, but he sucked as a husband. Unlike his portrayal in the first episode of Season 2, book Frank wasn’t exactly loving or “grateful” upon her return:

“Yes,” I said. “I told him. All about the stones –about Jamie. Everything.”
“Did he believe you?” Roger asked quietly.
My lips felt sticky from the lemonade, and I licked them before answering.
“No,” I said. “Not at first. He thought I was mad; even had me vetted by a psychiatrist.” I laughed, shortly, but the memory made me clench my fists with remembered fury.
-Voyager

He was, in fact, quite angry, not weeping with joy at her return. Some would say rightfully so, given that she admitted to being in love with, and marrying, another man. Not to mention being pregnant with this other man’s child. And yet, he chose to stay with her. Personally, I don’t think it was out of love for Claire.  It was more out of a sense of duty. As Claire explained to Roger,

“He said no one but a cad would dream of abandoning a pregnant woman with virtually no resources.”
-Voyager

So why the change? Why waste a lot of valuable screen time on Frank, instead of focusing on Jamie’s recovery, which was not dealt with at the end of Season 1? I recall Ron explaining that he wanted to show Claire’s “conflicted feelings” about Frank and Jamie. But that’s not the story.  Once Claire fell in love with Jamie and decided to stay, there was no conflict. She never considered going back to Frank.

Outlander is a love story between Jamie and Claire, not a love triangle between Jamie, Claire and Frank. So why imply that in the show? It’s an overused theme in film and literature (and has NO place here).The only purpose it serves is to undermine the strength of Jamie and Claire’s relationship in the eyes of the viewers.  Claire did not go back to Frank out of love for HIM; she went back out of love for Jamie and to save their child:

“Claire,” he said quietly. “Tomorrow I will die. This child…is all that will be left of me—ever. I ask ye, Claire—I beg you—see it safe.”
I stood still, vision blurring, and in that moment, I heard my heart break. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem.
At last I bent my head to him, the wind grieving in my ears.
“Yes,” I whispered. “Yes, I’ll go.”
-Dragonfly in Amber

And then there was the scene in the show with the wedding ring. The only way Jamie’s ring would have come off book Claire’s hand would have been if Frank had cut it off of her cold, dead finger. She would NEVER have started to take it off, as she did in the show. It was completely out of character for Claire.

“No!” I exclaimed, panicked, as Frank tried to twist if off my finger (my emphasis). I jerked my hand away and cradled it, fisted, beneath my bosom, cupped in my left hand, which still wore Frank’s gold wedding band. “No, you can’t take it, I won’t let you! That’s my wedding ring!” (again, my emphasis).
-Voyager

So, once again, show Frank is portrayed as being oh so loving and sympathetic by “stopping” her from removing Jamie’s ring, and telling her to wait “until she was ready” (which of course, for book Claire, would have been NEVER). As the above quote shows, book Frank tried to take it from her and she basically told him to sod off. Yet another not so subtle RDM suggestion to the audience that Claire’s marriage to Frank was the stronger, more significant relationship, which, as we book readers know, it was not.

Claire and Jamie
Outlander fans love Claire and Jamie. She’s smart, witty, resilient. He’s intelligent, funny, brave. They are completely in love with each other (and oh, by the way,  would never be unfaithful to each other-so what was the true purpose of the attempted seduction by Laoghaire in Season 1 and in bringing Jamie’s old flame Annalise into the story in Season 2? To imply that Jamie would cheat on Claire? That’s the impression given to the audience, even though book readers know that would never happen. Another unexplained diminution of Jamie’s character).

This is also a good place to remind people that Jamie and Claire are enormously sexually attracted to each other throughout the entire series (even in MOBY when they are in their sixties, they are still all over each other- AND HAPPY TO BE THERE). It’s as integral to them as breathing and a huge part of how they express their love and commitment to each other. It was covered beautifully in Season 1 – not overdone or gratuitous in the least.  And it was a fair representation of Jamie and Claire.  However, in Season 2, that Jamie and Claire are nowhere to be found. Even if we get “the big sex scene” in the finale before she goes back, it will be too little, too late. In fact, after this cold-bedded season, it’s going to seem rather incongruous with the state of their of their Season 2 marriage.
As I mentioned earlier, I said I loved 95% of Season 1. The 5% with which I took issue was about time management. In my opinion, The Watch and The Search should have been combined into one episode in order to leave adequate time to deal with the aftermath of Jamie’s assault. That could have solved a lot of the intimacy issues we’re seeing in Season 2. There were SIXTEEN episodes in Season one. Ron and Co. knew what was going to happen to Jamie at the end of the season. It didn’t take a genius to see that that they would need to deal with the aftereffects of it. That’s not something someone just “gets over.” To many of us, Jamie’s recovery felt rushed and insufficient because they didn’t plan adequately for it. We were denied a thorough enactment of the opium-induced “exorcism” (a scene that would have been amazing to see,by the way..Sam and Cait would have knocked it out of the park!). Even just including the very end would have been lovely and touching:

“Jamie, love,” I said, whispering through a bruised throat, “Come then, lay your head, man.” The mask trembled then and broke, and I held the big body hard against me, the two of us shaking with the force of his sobbing.
-Outlander

More important than the exorcism, though, were the beautiful, intimate scenes in which Jamie and Claire reconnect physically, which was pivotal to Jamie’s recovery:

I didn’t bother asking what he was doing there; that was becoming quite plain. Nor did I ask whether he was sure. I had my own doubts, but would not voice them for fear of making self-fulfilling prophecies.

The good hand gently explored my face, smoothing away the wetness on my cheeks.
“Were ye afraid for me?” he asked
“Yes,” I said. “I thought it was too soon.”
-Outlander

Shoulda, woulda, coulda. It bothered me a bit at the time, but I truly believed that Ron and the writers would add these intimate scenes in Season 2. We, as the audience, needed that catharsis as much as Jamie and Claire.  Alas, I was wrong. They chose to go a completely different, and far less compelling, way to portray both Jamie’s recovery and it’s effect on Jamie and Claire’s relationship.
The sexual and emotional bond between Jamie and Claire is what heals him. Why would you deliberately choose to eliminate that from the story? It is a huge event that intensifies the bond between them forever; a turning point in a love that is supposed to transcend time. Instead, when they finally do make love, 4 episodes into Season 2, it’s Claire that initiates it. In the book, it was Jamie that found the strength to come to her. After what he suffered at the hands of BJR, that took an enormous amount of courage and trust on his part. But he was driven to act by his love and desire for her.  It was as much his sustenance as food and water. But instead of showing us Jamie’s struggle to recover by seeking Claire out, they showed him pushing her away (undermining Jamie’s character…again.  Is anyone else noticing a pattern here?).
Jamie and Claire’s relationship is built on the strength of their love, their physical and emotional passion for each other and the candid humor between them. It is those things that we love about them and their story. These have been lost on the viewers (and missed by the readers) this season through the very obvious lack of playfulness and sex between them. I understand that there are a lot of serious, heavy issues to deal with in DIA, but “book Jamie and Claire” struggle through them together with tears, laughter and intimacy. Season 1 had plenty of heavy drama as well and the love story didn’t suffer for it. We just aren’t seeing that connection this season.  Maybe someone needs to remind Ron and Co., before they start the scripts for Season 3, that DG’s books have sold over 26 million copies and earned her legions of fans for good reason.
Another example of this lack of connection was the difference between how book Claire
and show Claire reacted to Jamie’s “La Dame Blanche” story. In the book, it was a very funny and sweet exchange:

“So you told them I was La Dame Blanche,” I said, trying to keep any hint of laughter out of my voice. “And if you tried any funny business with ladies of the evening, I’d shrivel your private parts.”
“Er, well…”
“My God, they believed it?” I could feel my own face flushing as hotly as Jamie’s with the effort to control myself.
“I was verra convincing about it,” he said, one corner of his mouth beginning to twitch. “Swore them all to secrecy on their mother’s lives.”
“And how much did you all have to drink before this?”
“Oh, a fair bit. I waited ‘til the fourth bottle.”
I gave up the struggle and burst out laughing.
“Oh, Jamie!” I said. “You darling!” I leaned over and kissed his furiously blushing cheek.
“Well,” he said awkwardly, slathering butter over a chunk of bread. “It was the best I could think of. And they did stop pushing trollops into my arms.”
-Dragonfly in Amber

In the show, she’s practically spitting venom at him for spreading that story.  That is NOT Jamie and Claire. What are you thinking, Ron? There is such a wealth of great dialogue in the books. Why not use it?  Diana Gabaldon is a consultant to the show.  These are her characters; she knows them inside and out.  Use the treasure trove that she’s given you.
This year what we have is a couple completely at odds with each other. In the first half of the season, Jamie was hostile and reclusive, internally dealing with his trauma; Claire was shrewish and angry, acting more like his mother than his wife. Someone decided to write it that way. They did not have to. They could have dealt with Jamie’s recovery as it was in the books, which would have conveyed not only his anguish, but also the depth of the love between he and Claire, instead of portraying them as some dysfunctional married couple that barely touch each other. It doesn’t get much better in the second half. Although Jamie’s strength as a leader is more apparent (finally), the relationship between he and Claire is almost platonic. A kiss here, an embrace there. Where are the Jamie and Claire we know and love?  Certainly not here.
I’ve seen many blog posts and Twitter chatter making excuses for the lack of intimacy this season, going so far as to accuse the people who wanted to see more of it as wanting only sex but no plot.  THAT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE SAYING.  I’ve also seen the response “use your imaginations; you don’t have to see everything.” Seriously? That’s what I do when I read the books.  Last time I checked, film was a VISUAL medium.  So I take issue with that.  Are these people reading the same books I am?  Jamie and Claire have A LOT of sex. They revel in it. They can barely keep their hands off each other. They’re like magnets. It’s who they are…and we love them for it. By way of demonstration, I give you this passage from DIA that, I think, sums up their physical and emotional relationship perfectly:

“Claire. To feel the bones of your neck beneath my hands, and that fine, thin skin on your breasts and your arms…Lord you are my wife, whom I cherish, and I love wi’ all my life, and still I want to kiss ye hard enough to bruise your tender lips, and see the marks of my fingers on your skin.”

He dropped the towel. He raised his hands and held them trembling in the air before his face, then very slowly brought them down to rest on my head as though in benediction.

“I want to hold you like a kitten in my shirt, mo duinne, and still I want to spread your thighs and plow ye like a rutting bull.” His fingers tightened in my hair. “I dinna understand myself!”

I pulled my head back, freeing myself, and took a half step backward. The blood seemed all to be on the surface of my skin, and a chill ran down my body at the brief separation.

“Do you think it’s different for me?” I demanded. “That I don’t sometimes want to bite you hard enough to taste blood, or to claw you ‘til you cry out?”

I reached out slowly to touch him. The skin of his breast was damp and warm. Only the nail of my forefinger touched him, just below the nipple. Lightly, barely touching, I drew the nail upward, downward, circling round, watching the tiny nub rise hard amid the curling ruddy hairs.

The nail pressed slightly harder, sliding down, leaving a faint red streak on the fair skin of his chest. I was trembling all over by this time, but did not turn away.

“Sometimes I want to ride you like a wild horse, and bring you to the taming-did you know that? I can do it, you know I can. Drag you over the edge and drain you to a gasping husk. I can drive you to the edge of collapse and sometimes I delight in it, Jamie. I do! And yet so often I want”-my voice broke suddenly and I had to swallow hard before continuing- “I want…to hold your head against my breast and cradle you like a child and comfort you to sleep.”

My eyes were so full of tears that I couldn’t see his face clearly; couldn’t see if he wept as well. His arms went tight around me and the damp heat of him engulfed me like the breath of a monsoon.

“Claire, ye do kill me, knife or no.” he whispered, face buried in my hair. He bent and picked me up, carrying me to the bed. He sank to his knees, laying me amid the crumpled quilts.

“You’ll lie wi’ me now,” he said quietly. “And I shall use ye as I must. And if you’ll have your revenge for it, then take it and welcome, for my soul is yours, in all the black corners of it.”

The skin of his shoulders was warm with the heat of the bath, but he shivered as with cold as my hands traveled up to his neck, and I pulled him down to me. And when I had at length, taken my last revenge of him, I did cradle him, stroking back the roughened, half-dry locks.

“And sometimes,” I whispered to him,” I wish it could be you inside me. That I could take you into me and keep you safe always.”

His hand, large and warm, lifted slowly from the bed, and cupped the small round swell of my belly, sheltering and caressing.

“You do, my own,” he said. “You do.”

– Dragonfly in Amber

That’s the Jamie and Claire we want to see, Ron. Please, I’m begging you…bring them back.

P.S. A word of advice for Season 3… If you don’t want to completely lose your audience, you’ll take the print shop scene pretty much word for word from the book. I don’t think the fans would ever forgive you if you screw that one up. I’m still trying to forgive you for nearly killing  Jamie and Claire’s love story this season. I hope I succeed.

 

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264 thoughts on “Yeah…It Kind of IS About the Sex

  1. this is such a fantastic write up – I’m really worried for season 3 after the decisions they made in season 2. Not only am I not all that excited about the show anymore, but VOYAGER is my favorite book. I hope we get a return to season 1A quality with it but I am doubtful. -Amanda

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  2. Thank you for this !!
    Long time book reader
    You are spot on in your analysis in this post and finding Mr Fraser post.
    I felt Jamie was diminshed/emasculated almost but could not express bow
    I am actually terrified what can happen in season 3 if RDM doesn’t reconsider the approach I might not be able to watch. And it may affect my purchasing decisions around season3
    BTW I just bought the twentieth anniversary hardcover of outlander
    Any guess how many copies of that I have bought over the years?
    Our purchasing decisions may be the only way to effect change

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    • Totally agree, Patricia. Ron may not care what the fans think, but Starz would certainly pay attention if they staet losing subscribers and ratings. The problem is, the fans, myself included, don’t want the cast to suffer the consequences. I wish Ron would step aside and hand the reins to Maril- she “gets” who these characters are.

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      • Hi Victoria. Yes, I have. But as I’ve said before, it’s not that I had a problem with them dealing with Jamie’s recovery in the beginning of S2 (they HAD to, since it was pretty much ignored at the end of S1). My issue is in the subtle ways that it seems Jamie’s character is being undermined and overshadowed by Claire’s (and even Frank’s to some extent): great lines of J’s being rewritten for Claire, not showing any of what J went through when he thought C was dead and that it was his fault, C saying she hated him (did not happen in the book…I double checked), having C “help” J kill Dougal (when in the book he killed him defender HER), the whole “nettle scene” where they find each other in their grief and anger, etc, etc. They’re all small things, but , cumulatively, they start to create a weaker version of J. I KNOW they can’t include everything-I never expected them to. They just seem to cutting way more of J than the other major characters.
        Regarding the intimacy, per Ron in this article, “It was great to see [showrunner] Ron [Moore] going, ‘OK, we can delay that and move this forward here.” Apparently he meant until Seas 3. As a viewer, I never really felt that J&C reconnected, so the finale, and their parting, almost seemed almost silly and disingenuous. I certainly wasn’t sobbing as I expected (hoped?) to be.
        As for Frank, yes, Tobias’ portrayal was great… except that the writers made him into this great, understanding guy. That’s not the Frank I saw in the books. Maybe it’s just me.
        I’m sorry…don’t mean to go off on you, it’s just hard to describe the differences because they’re quite subtle…but like I said, they start to add up over time and I don’t care for the picture they’re painting. It’s frustrating because I want to love it again like I did in S1. Maybe my expectations are just too high. I truly do hope for the love and passion we saw in S1 to come back in S3.

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  3. I think the intimate physical love between Jamie and Claire is beautiful, I just hope they can do it without the nudity. I’m sure I will be “raked over the coals” for this but it makes me uncomfortable to watch with anyone else,when they show completely naked actors-even if they are as attractive as Cait and Sam! As in the books, I don’t need to envision them naked, for the dialogue alone is so expressive & sensual.
    Thank you Diana!
    So if anyone disagrees, so be it, but I think at least a few fans, surely, feel the same, & our voice deserves to be heard also.

    Your entire commentary about the focus of the shifting emphasis is one I had not really thought about, but I do know I was so glad to have them back in Scotland!
    Perhaps that is why I didn’t like them in France–they had to pretend to be something they are not. Great acting, great sets, great everything, I just didn’t want them there! Thanks for sharing your take on the series, it was a well written, well thought out critique!

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    • Thank you for your comments, Amelia. I can understand that some people might feel uncomfortable with the nudity (although, I have to admit, sometimes I think Sam should be legally required to be naked at all times…lol (kidding!). But to your point, even just seeing them cuddle, hug, kiss, share pillow talk…SOMETHING, in S2 would have been appreciated. I know not all will agree, but I think that was a huge mistake by Ron, as showrunner. I just hope they give us back the J&C we know and love in S3.

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  4. Just read this one after responding about this very subject on your post “Looking for Mr. Fraser”. It’s exactly what so many of us are feeling. I really hope somehow TPTB see all of this and “get it” because it’s just a huge, gaping omission of the most important thread throughout the entire book series. The love story that is Jamie and Claire.

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  5. Pingback: Looking for Mr. Fraser | Moolach Ard

  6. My obsession with the _Outlander_ TV series is SO OVER now because of what the writers, producers, AND actors did with season two. It’s been two weeks since the finale, and as time goes on, I find myself feeling more and more resentful about the stupid decisions that were made regarding the intentional eclipse of Jamie and Claire’s epically passionate relationship.The powers-that-be can ignore us book fans if they want, but I don’t have to tune in to season three and probably won’t if episode 301 does not follow _Voyager_ closely. And though some _Outlander_ fans may call me a traitor, Masterpiece Theatre’s _Poldark_ series is coming back this fall with season two. While the central love story in the _ Poldark_ saga is not so steamy and passion-filled as _Outlander_, it’s still obsession-worthy. And the writers have stayed true to the original novels by Winston Graham! If anyone is going through _Outlander_ withdrawal and is in need of a new TV and book series to obsess over, Winston Graham’s twelve _Poldark_ novels rival Gabaldon’s in terms of being well-written historical fiction. Plus that, U. S. fans don’t have to pay for a premium cable service to see _Poldark_ because it’s broadcast on your local PBS station at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday nights.

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  7. Hello! Love your blog! I’ve written a previous comment, but feel the need to comment again. I just read Barbara Frasers comment, and I don’t agree with her feelings about Season 2. Season 1 was fantastic! Season 2 was an embarrassment to the actors, writing staff, etc., as well as an insult to Diana Gabaldon, the author. The love story, that is Outlander and the charismatic character of Jamie Fraser was no where to be found. In my previous comment, I talked about how the most emotionally significant parts of the book were either watered down, mutilated, or scrapped from the show. At the time of my last comment, the parting scene had not aired. Well, the most emotionally devastating scene from all 8 books was allowed a meager 6. 5 minutes of a 90 minute episode that was so rushed and so poorly done, it left you wondering how the show could possibly go on to Voyager. Most of the beautiful parting scene was missing and what remained certainly didn’t warrant a love to last through a separation of 20 years, and if what I have heard of Season 3 is true, the writers are going to show that it didn’t. The writers will have Jamie and Claire come to realize, at the highly anticipated reunion, that they were only in love with each other’s ghost and not the person who now stands before them. They will have to learn to love each other again. Here we go again! Certainly not the emotionally charged reunion from the book. Not looking forward to Season 3. Can you blame me? I’ve had all the missing intimacy and disconnect between Jamie and Claire I can stand. What happened to Diana’s timeless love story? It’s at the point of being ridiculous now. Thank God they kept the main characters names intact or you wouldn’t recognize what book this adaptation was taken from. Also, Barbara Fraser mentioned the dropped love story and intimacy between Jamie and Claire was dropped in order to receive Emmy Nominations. What happened? Where’s the show’s well deserved nomination for a sex free season. Where’s Catriona Balfe’s nomination for her work in Episode 207, Faith, as well as Tobias Menzies’s work in 201, Through a Glass Darkly???? So, Barbara Fraser, there goes that theory. Let me give you another. Catriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies may receive a Golden Globe nomination for their work this season, but the show will receive nothing, other than costumes and sets. But, costumes and sets will not make up for a lack luster season.

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    • Dear Sondra, thank you again for your comments and your kind words about the blog. While I do consider Barbara a friend and I respect her views, like you, I disagree. I certainly hope what you read about the reunion in S3 is wrong; I’m not sure even the people defending S2 would forgive that. Not only would fans leave in droves, it would be incredibly sad for all of us who love Outlander so much. What makes me so angry about it is that it’s unnecessary. They did a great job with S1, so they clearly DO know how to adapt these books. I keep hoping Ron & Maril will listen…I know they’ve heard all the criticism. Unfortunately, they seem to be ignoring it. Once again, just today I saw Terry defending the S2 adaptation on Twitter, so I fear it’s falling in deaf ears. I certainly hope their stubborn insistence on veering away from the core of the books is worth losing their most important fanbase. I really, really, REALLY hope I’m wrong.

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      • I hope I’m wrong about the reunion, as well, but I’ve read several articles by, Maril and Catriona Balfe stating as much. In fact, Catriona Balfe claims to be looking forward to the complexity of Jamie and Claire having to learn to fall in love all over again, after realizing they had each other up on a pedestal and were really just in love with each other’s ghost and not the person they now see in front of them, claiming a separation of 20 years is a long time. I really hope this is not the case, but after The way Season 2 played out, I wouldn’t put it past these people to destroy this most anticipated scene, as well. I really hope there’s a chance I misread these articles, for if not, this would surely put the nail in the coffin for the fans of the show. They would never forgive the Outlander team for this horrendous change from the book, as Voyager is one of the books most loved by the fans.

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  8. Trouble is it isn’t only about Jamie & Claire’s love story (which I love). I also love the history & the other characters & the adventures. I wasn’t completely on board with the extended separation with J&C in France but that was how Sam & Caitriona wanted to play it. I loved everything in Scotland. Jamie coming into his role as leader. Everything was perfect. Totally looking forward to S3 and beyond. The sex scenes that you missed were part of J&C’s world just not enough time to show it.
    Opinions are your own & mine. And I loved both S1 & S2.

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    • Thanks Barb. I appreciate your comments. There were many things I liked about S2. I love the history, the adventure, the medical/herbal info, the funny banter between Jamie and Claire, and yes, the sex, too. I just felt like they got off track in S2…and I’m really not just talking about the sex; it was the overall lack of intimacy between them for 95% of the season. Saying there “wasn’t time for it” is an excuse. They have extremely talented people working on this show. They could have worked it in without losing the plot lines. That says to me that it was deliberately eliminated, to the show’s detriment, IMO. At the core, it’s the love and intimacy between J&C that makes these characters, and the books, so wonderful. When you short-change that, it’s like cutting the heart out the story. I so wanted to love this season as much as I did Season 1. I just didn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • IMO it was done that way because the sex was all a lot of the reporters & interviews talked about. Probably the reason no Emmy nominations because some in high places wrote the show off as a “bodice ripper”.
        I will continue to support the show and cast and crew.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Barb, thanks again…I respect your opinion so I’m glad you’re presenting your view. What you say may be true, but I saw it as the press paying attention because the sex and intimacy were being done right, instead of exploitatively, for a change. That’s part of what made S1 so fantastic and, in the words of TPTB, “groundbreaking” because it was more “real” and shown from a female perspective. Besides, if RDM et. al. were really worried about the “bodice ripper” image, then what is the explanation for that EW cover and photo shoot prior to S2?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. While listening to Dragonfly in Amber, I was reminded that Master Raymond sent Claire some packages when she and Jamie returned to Lallybroch. It would have been nice to see one of his curious packages arrive to keep a connection between the two since they ARE connected. Opportunity lost in the scene when Jenny opens the package from France, just before Jamie and Claire go to see Lord Lovatt. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      • It would have had a nice small arch if Jenny got her package from Jared, Ian also received some mail I think, Jamie got the awful letter from the Prince with the Jacobite list of supporters and Claire received a package from Master Raymond. Four people receiving mail in 1745, the excitement of opening it up in front of the fire and sharing their news. It wouldn’t have taken long to establish this little scene and would have also commented on the relationship of the four of them as heads of the household, a team of four, connecting to the world, together and separately, as their mail/packages were different and held different news and outcomes for each of them. Those small opportunities could really change the nuance of the show.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Don’t shoot me. I have to consider the task that the production has. Diana’s book are enormous and there is a lot of action, events and locations. Events move the story forward, a love story does not necessarily do that. How do you pick a choose both and make a TV series? While we might moan about the loss of “Jamie and Claire”, the story has to move forward. If they kept the focus solely on the love story, it might not reach a larger audience and I think we would find it tedious too. Be honest. Yes, this season spent too much time considering a 21st century interpretation. I’ve read at least a dozen reviews of the finale and the season, each making interesting observations. Seems there is one concern that shows up repeatedly and that is the casting of Brianna; not liked by many. Do the producers read these? Would they recast her? I’d welcome it. Would be tough on Sophie’s career.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t disagree with you (and even if I did, that’s fine). Everyone’s opinion is welcome, as long as it’s expressed respectfully. I agree that OL the show can’t be ENTIRELY about J&C’s love story, just as the books aren’t. I know things have to be changed or omitted in order to move the story forward. However that being said, the love story is integral to advancing the plot, IMO. They did it beautifully, for the most part, in S1. In S2, it felt like they not only forgot about it, but deliberately dismissed it until the finale. By then, it was almost too late to be credulous, given the lack of intimacy in the previous 12 episodes.
      What bothers me the most is that it was unnecessary. They have very talented writers, directors and actors that should have figured it out. Even as a non-industry person, I could see scenes that could have been done with more intimacy, while changing very little of what we actually saw on screen (more about that in a future post).

      As for Sophie, I also felt that her performance wasn’t to the same standard as everyone else’s. In her defense, she’s definitely playing in the big leagues, and maybe she just needs more time. The casting directors have been SPOT ON with everyone in this show thus far, so I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt for now. We’ll see how it goes in S3.

      Like

      • I do so agree with you! We should give Sophie a chance….even in the book DIA she is at odds with Claire initially, and who can blame her…..if my Mom (MHDRIP) would have come up with this ‘fairy tale’ about my father, I too would have doubted her sanity or veracity! I loved the show, have read and reread the books at least six or seven times over the past 20 years…………I do however think that Bree does look like her Dad Jamie! We do have to remember that even Jamie wanted Clair to ensure that Frank loved both of them and was a major part of Bree’s life……and was in fact a father to her (even if he ‘hated him to the very marrow in his bones)! I have never seen a book and a movie or series that were identical! Let us all take a breath, love the fact that the series has been ‘started’, and look forward to seeing Season 3 and 4……Je Suis Pres!
        Leah Glogauer

        Liked by 2 people

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