Outlander S3 Epi1 – The Battle Joined
Written by Ron D. Moore Directed by Brendan Maher
This conversation is between Blacklanderz Vida, Amanda and Jean. Edited by Vida.
BRUTAL | HEARTBREAKING | HOPEFUL | RED HAIR!
Vida: Doughtlander is FINALLY O-V-A-H! I am glad they started with the battle and sped up the timeline. It was definitely a Battle Royale for all – Battle of Culloden, Jamie and Black Jack, Claire and Frank and then as the title would indicate, the Battle Joined of Jamie and Claire. Jamie now has to battle and survive with not dying with the other Highlanders. Claire now has to battle and survive in a more civilized world where she is not expected to speak or have opinions, let alone think intellectually. As we all know with our beloved, potty-mouthed, whiskey drinking Claire, that ain’t happening. Then you have Jamie and Claire’s ultimate battle is to survive in separate worlds without each other.
At times, the Battle of Culloden was very hard to watch; it was just brutal. Yet, it was excellently choreographed and executed. I really didn’t know what to expect with this episode, but I was glad that it really did show Jamie and Claire’s parallel lives, the agony of loss and desire so great that one only wants to disappear. Though it was emotionally draining, I thought it was a strong start to S3.
SANGUINE | RELUCTANCE | FRUSTRATION | DESPAIR | TRAUMA
Amanda: This was a very strong start for S3. The episode is laying out the conflicts for Jamie and Claire post Culloden quite nicely for the non-readers. The decision to connect events in Scotland and Boston using thoughts and images works well on a cinematography level and for the non-readers to understand the emotional bond that endures. The battle scenes made me squeamish but in a good way because of the depths of emotion they reached. I am excited for this season in a deeper way compared to the S2 opener. The setup for Jamie and Claire’s eventual reunion so far is working a lot better than the setup for failure in Paris.
INTENSE | TORN | TRAUMATIZING | FORLORN | WEARY
Jean: After surviving another Houston hell bound hurricane, I needed the return of Outlander. FINALLY, it’s here! But it didn’t erase the woe I’ve been through in an hour as I hoped. Instead, I saw a television scene full of dead Jacobites. There wasn’t but for one flicker of joy: Brianna’s birth. Yet, even that moment swam in the sea of despair, red hair and Jaime without Claire. When you wait so long for the return of your favorite show, this episode drained the joy right from me.
However, I did notice a theme in this episode: Family. No matter which way you look at the episode it is all about family. It’s family that Jaime sent through the stones. It’s family that pulls Jaime from the mound of BJR and the dead. It’s family that’s murdered before the firing squad for being Jacobite traitors. It’s family that saves Jaime from the firing squad. It’s family that Frank wants. It’s family that Claire’s left. It’s family that Jaime goes home to. It’s family that gets you through when the world drains the life out of you.
The way we structure the first half of the season and the length of time and how we’ve decided to tell the story of Jamie and Claire in their separate parallel storylines will surprise people. We decided to expand on what is told in the book. A lot of what is told about Claire’s story is told in flashbacks or memories at later times, and we thought it would be so interesting to see her journey in becoming a doctor and try to keep the Claire and Jamie journey, the emotional beats, and where they are in their character arcs, in kind of the same places in those 20 years to see what they’re each going through.
~ Maril Davis, Pop Yowza!
A: I love how the new Scotland and modern Boston scenes are woven into the opening credits. It’s a great way to set the mood for the story.
V: I also liked it. I was wondering how or if they would change it up. I am glad they kept the pagan dance and added some of S3 in it.
Battle of Culloden
A: Jamie’s hazy memory is a bit of an expanded view of what happened compared to his recollections from the novel. Sam Heughan is showing the beginning of Jamie’s PTSD without acting over the top.
V: I knew the episode would start with the Battle of Culloden, but my God, I didn’t expect it to be of that magnitude – the shear horror of seeing all of those dead bodies all over the place. They did an exceptional job with the cinematography, sound effects and Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies performances. For Sam to be able to convey every emotion and make the viewer feel what he was feeling, without uttering a word of dialog was simply outstanding. I agree with you about Sam’s fever dreams; it was very subtle, yet effective.
A: Mark me, I want to punch the Prince in the face!! Showing his bad decision making with that final debate really hits it home for the non-readers why the Highlanders failed. They brought swords to a gunfight.
V: Isn’t that the truth. All he cared about was drinking AT A BATTLE no doubt. As Claire indicated last year, just a fool! Oh, not just guns, they had cannons too! They never stood a chance, and we clearly see that ole Bonnie Prince was so far out of his league. He is the reason for all the deaths and the death of an entire culture. That is another reason I am glad Outlander has the popularity that it does. Perhaps, they can begin to bring back some of their culture.
J: The battle was just too much. There’s nothing more awkward than watching the life leave the eyes/body of a man. This merciless account of Culloden just tore me up. Not an ounce of mercy was shown. Don’t pass go. All ye to hell with your wounded. Watching Jaime survive then wanting to die again (he did this after Wentworth); nope, it’s too much.
The encounter between him and Jamie is spoken about but not directly, or you don’t see it directly in the books. We see that, and it’s nice to actually see it happen. As Jamie is laying on the battlefield wounded, he’s having these slightly hallucinogenic flashbacks to the whole battle and in there, he remembers the encounter. It’s a slightly dream-like dance of death; part fight, part embrace.
~ Tobias Menzies, Pop Yowza!
V: I was really glad to see our favorite godfather, Murtagh, who is always by Jamie’s side and has his back. I do hope they extend his character out.
A: The final showdown between Jamie and BJR was so epic! I got the sense that BJR was finally admitting that Jamie was the best adversary he ever came across. The hand reach as he collapsed said it all. I usually get squeamish with the battle scenes but I found myself flinching a lot less than I usually do. The cinematography and the music heightened the motions in the scenes.
V: It was very haunting at times and the colors used for each of the scenes were incredible – gray tones to start, blue with visions of Claire, yellow/orange and red for the fight scenes between Jamie and BJR. It really was an epic battle between the two, a true fight to the death. And BJR’s trying to get one last touch – reaching out to Jamie before they fell. God! Though I hated how BJR died on top Jamie and Jamie not having enough strength to push him off. Thank you Rupert!
J: For that scene of Jamie waking up with BJR, I have two words: EWW and Bleach! The various flashbacks of the battle with BJR lying dead on top of Jaime was just too much for me. It made me nauseated. Then, when Jaime finally has an iota of strength to push BJR off, it’s barely enough. Jaime’s face is still breath to death in BJR’s face…almost like the cliché pause in a romance movie before a climactic kiss. This scene exuded the twisted kind of infatuation that BJR had for Jaime. It’s the death BJR wanted: dead atop his most beloved soul to torture, James Fraser.
V: I have to agree with you. I was very uncomfortable seeing the position BJR died in, made my stomach churn.
A: Ghost Claire is wearing a dress very similar to the wool crepe one she wore when she traveled through the stones. It was a powerful visual reminder that Jamie uses Claire’s memory as his motivation to live.
V: Yes, it was a powerful visual. It amazes me how actors can get in a zone. Even though I know the bodies are not really dead, to have to walk through that many would be too much for me to do. It would freak me out! As confused as Jamie was, going in and out of consciousness, flashbacks to the battle and in his hour of greatest need, he visualizes Claire. She has always been there and it shows just how strong their bond is and the deep love they have for each other.
I suppose a slight departure from the books, we kind of pick up from where we left off. Jamie has lost Claire. He’s sent her back to the future. He goes to battle thinking he’s got only one thing left to do, and that’s to die by the side of his men. He doesn’t expect to survive. And so, when he does, it’s a bit of shock to him. Then going through the next few episodes, we see the effect that that has on Jamie, on him sort of living without Claire, and recovering from the trauma of the battle. But also sort of losing his life. So, it’s a slight departure from the books, which is that, obviously in Diana’s book, Jamie doesn’t remember the battle. And actually, in the battle, Black Jack Randall appears, and there was sort of the final showdown between them. It’s been a remarkable journey for Jamie, actually. It’s really interesting few episodes. First few episodes.
~ Sam Heughan, Collider
Are you alive?
V: It was good to see Rupert again, coming to Jamie’s rescue, and to hear his shout out to Angus.
A: I love that the transitions from Scotland to Boston are using shout outs to the novels. The dragonfly and the rabbit were great Easter eggs for those who have read the books.
We finally pick up with Claire back in Boston and it’s really picking up after episode one, season two. When we meet back up with her, Claire is essentially a widow in one way. She believes Jamie has died at Culloden and she has now re-entered into this marriage with Frank, pregnant with Brianna and she’s trying to build a life for herself.
~ Caitriona Balfe, Pop Yowza!
Battle in Boston
A: I like the transition from the battlefield to 1948 Boston too. Claire is reusing her honeymoon coat, which is a sign that she’s trying to get back to a place where Frank is foremost in her life. I also like that the show is adding in the details that life in Boston was a little on the rough side. Claire has too many secrets to trust the other housewives and Frank has to adjust to a different culture. The little things like the busted stove and the complaints about Lipton tea bags are supporting the theme of the separation.
V: I cannot wait to see the costumes Terry (and crew) design for this season. I love the clothes from the 50’s and 60’s, for men and women, because they were so classy. Look at Frank being dapper in that Fedora! I also liked the set design of the house and Harvard – I think it is High Victorian Gothic, but I might have to ask Jon Gary Steele about it.
Claire has never had a home and that is what Frank is trying to give her. But the struggle is real, as you mentioned, with her having difficulty trying to light the stove so she can cook. When she is unsuccessful, she resorts to how she cooked living outside! Loved it!
A: My favorite scene was Claire trying and failing to argue with Franks’ boss. It was an excellent example of why Claire longed for her life in the 1740’s. The Highlander men were distrustful of her opinions and leadership skills, but she demonstrated her competence and gained their respect.
Frank’s colleagues just see her as a baby incubator and believe she shouldn’t offer her opinions on Truman’s candidacy. Although people disagreed with me on Twitter last night, I’m getting STRONG Betty Draper vibes from Boston Claire. I don’t know if Caitriona Balfe is doing this accidentally or on purpose but I am totally here for it! I’m not talking about the costumes, but the attitude.
She is a Desperate Housewife because society won’t allow her to continue practicing medicine. Frank’s coworkers have so much disdain for women the same way Don’s friends did. I’m sure we’ll see more of Claire drinking to ease the pain of her loss of relative freedom to post-WWII patriarchy. Frank seems 50/50 on going with the flow and letting Claire have some independence.
V: That scene was a good one to show just how little men regarded women during that time, particularly not as intellectual equals. I found that I was as uncomfortable watching the conversation play out as she was having to deal with it. Dean Jackson was a prick! I somewhat mentioned this on Twitter and someone responded that some men still treat their wives/women this way. I didn’t watch all of Mad Men, but I can see the Draper vibe. I hadn’t thought about it when I watched it. Sadly, Claire is finding that she was more comfortable doing what she damn-well pleased in the 1740’s (for the most part); whereas now back in the 1940’s, she is expected to stay in her place!
J: At least Frank tried to stand-up for Claire when he touted her WWII Army Nurse service! The condescending, ungrateful, sewage-conduit crone of a professor made me wish that I had an ashtray to throw in his vicinity! His “be pretty and stick to the domestics” mentality stung a wee bit too much, considering our current state of affairs. Yay for Claire sharing that Harvard admitted three women to their medical program! She was like a femme fatale on the puffery of a male-dominated field. I love that about her! Here’s a shout-out to the nice non-verbal cinematography as feminist Claire spoke up in a crowd full of men, while the camera turned toward the “seen not spoken” wife of an adjoining professor.
V: Yes, he did stand up for her. Surprisingly, he looked a little pissed that the Dean was chiding Claire. I thought he was going to go all BJR on him and start pounding him in the chest!
It’s quite a difficult time for both of them. They’ve made this promise to each other that they’re going to try and forge a new life together — but obviously it’s not as easy as that.
~ Caitriona Balfe, Yahoo TV
It’s not an entirely happy return. Definitely we find them struggling to make a new life together, to rebuild things, despite the commitment they made to each other. I think that’s temporarily relieved by the arrival of Brianna. But yeah, it’s a series of false dawns really. And ultimately the painful truth beneath it all is that Claire does not love Frank like she used to. There’s no getting away from that. Hopefully, if we’ve got it right, you’ll see a relationship heavy with regret and sadness, two well-intentioned people failing to reach each other.
~ Tobias Menzies, Yahoo TV
Battle for Intimacy & a Marriage
A: Frank throughout this episode is eliciting a lot more sympathy than I had for him in the books. Tobias Menzies is doing a fabulous job of making people see Frank’s unfiltered emotions. The Boston scenes were entirely from Claire’s point of view so we don’t see her mistakes as such. He’s trying to reach out to Claire and to get to a clean slate but she’s still holding onto Jamie. Frank has a bit of an attitude, but so much of that is because Claire is making him frustrated and angry.
He still loves her, but a part of him knows that she technically cheated on him and built a whole life without her. I know many people can’t stand Frank but making him 100% terrible now defeats the point of the story. Claire needs the struggle with making a life with Frank in order to grow as a character. We know at the end of last season Claire wants to go back, but we need to see why it takes 20 years to do so.
You asked me to leave behind everything that truly mattered to me, yet it’s fine to go on and on about the good old days. Never talk about the past, that was the bargain.
I think when you read the books, once again, you can dismiss Frank very easily, and the scenes get washed over, also mentioning that he’s heard people say they actually skip Frank’s scenes in the books. But he talked about the importance of this character in creating a real dilemma for Claire. Jamie, let’s face it, he’s a pretty awesome guy. He does most things really well, he’s handsome, and then as far as we can tell, he gets seasick and he can’t wink. These are his flaws. And he’s very sensitive and he has these Hallmark moments where he says these things, and then he goes and kills bad guys. So it’s a tough character to write, so if Frank was just such a demon and just such an ass then what’s the dilemma? Go with that guy, stay with that guy.
~ Matthew Roberts, Collider
J: Yeah, I was thinking . . . Somebody hug him. I feel badly for Frank. He’s loving Claire “for better or worse, in sickness and health” because death did not separate them. But it isn’t enough. That kind of woe breaks a man. He’s trying to be the healer in this marriage at this low point. Claire’s too hurt to see it. Hurt people hurt people. But that ashtray scene though…he deserved that “ish” with his BJR looking self.
I am not the one who’s been out fucking other people! ~ Frank
V: I totally agree with both of you. It is unfortunate that Claire cannot explain the love she has for Jamie to him and we ALL know it is the kind of love that cuts deep to the bone. I think this scene would have been totally different if it had been other actors. Tobias and Caitriona gave that scene everything they had – Emmy worthy performances for sure! I didn’t particularly like Frank in the book and I think they (writers and Ron) made a conscious decision to slightly change the character for the show because of Tobias and it’s paying off.
When Frank went to touch Claire’s stomach, I turned sideways as if he was trying to touch me. Crazy, I know. But I’ll admit when I like a show, I really get into it and learn as much as I can about the story, characters, locations, etc. But with Outlander and these actors, they are really making me ‘feel‘ what their character is feeling in that moment. I seriously think I might need therapy after this season with a first episode starting the way it did.
Battle to Survive
A: Rupert’s resolve with helping the teens and the other Jacobites face their fate made me tear up. The beauty of the last two seasons is that the Highlander minor characters feel more developed compared to the novels. They accepted what happened with a little bit of dignity. The Million Dollar Question is if Murtagh is still alive? I hope so of course!
He’s lost all of the people he’s closest to, so you get to see a self-contained Rupert who’s getting to explore maybe even a more noble side of himself, and he gets to be heroic […] but he’s still the light relief when he needs to be, and has that great quality of gallows humor, which is never going to leave him I don’t think. I think the only thing he’s lost now is having a mate there to be the one laughing at his joke.
~ Grant O’Rourke, Collider
I’m not saying I forgive you for Dougal. But I’ll no go to my grave hating you for it either. The Lord will judge us both and I trust His mercy. Farewell.
Traitors ALL . . . RIP, Rupert Thomas Alexander MacKenzie!
V: I love, love, loved Rupert (Grant O’Rourke) in this episode and his shout-out to Angus. And you’re right, the minor characters, like him, Willie and Angus, were more fully developed for the TV show. In doing so, I think it added a lot more flavor to the show and provided a wider range of perspectives from which to understand the battle, time and the story. It was heartbreaking to watch that scene. They only had an hour and basically had to volunteer to be shot next. After they showed the first person being shot, I was glad they made another creative decision for us to hear only the shots for the others. After Rupert was shot and Jamie teared up, I started crying too. I truly hope Murtagh is alive and his character is expanded.
A: I liked how the show stressed Hal’s appearance as a complete shock to Jamie. He wanted to die, but fate wasn’t going to let that happen. This was an important point for the non-readers. Jamie’s return to Lallybroch was bittersweet because he is still in danger.
Does the name John Grey mean anything to you?
V: Yes, the scene of him travel home was an eerily reminder of the him escaping Wentworth in a wagon.
Am I dead?
I was so glad to see Jenny and Ian.
J: As I said earlier, it’s family that gets you through when the world drains the life out of you.
V: The tick-tock of the clock has also returned – TIME!
And then, there is this . . .
I find myself in need of your assistance once more. I hope that you’ll indulge me in undertaking some research regarding an 18th-century Highlander who fought in the Battle of Culloden. His name was James Fraser.
V: After an emotional episode, it ends with Brianna’s birth. All seemed overjoyed and ready to move forward with their lives, a new beginning for them . . .
. . .
Where’d she get the red hair?
A: LOL THE RED HAIR COMMENT. JUST LOL! It’s really in your face foreshadowing, but I love it all the same.
V: My heart sank for Frank in that moment. Poor thing just couldn’t catch a break. It will be a constant, as you said in your face, reminder for him!
Episode Rating (1-5): 4 – Shots
Our average for this episode is 4-shots! Overall, it didn’t waste any time jumping right into the battle scene and provided the much-needed closure to that part of the narrative we have been dealing with for almost two season. We loved the title card that now includes shots from this season, yet kept some scenes from S1 and we loved hearing Skye Boat theme song.
Speaking of songs, one comes to mind for this episode, James Brown’s, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” with the first line of the lyrics: This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world. Why? Because the episode alluded to it over and over again. In the episode – men kill men, man demeans a woman, man wants wife to move on and man anesthetized a birthing mom against her will. Though all of that is true, we kept in mind the time and era in which the story takes place. There will be more cringe-worthy topics and actions in the episodes/seasons to come that are totally out of sync with a 2017-18 viewpoint; however, we cannot view the show through a 2017-18 lens or perspective. That is the beauty of Outlander that makes it so enjoyable to watch – the authenticity of it from the dialog, the costumes, set designs (Corn Flakes cereal box on the counter) and the mind-set of people of that time. Hopefully along the way, such topics will open the door for more discourse so we can have an open discussion about them.
With that said, for the most part, we thought it was a good episode that exceeded expectations. As with S2, this episode brought an end to beloved characters: Rupert and Murtagh (don’t know what they are going to do with him; hope he is alive); the Bonnie Prince, hopefully, has been ‘marked’ for the last time and of course last, but certainly not least, the long awaited death of that psychopath Black Jack. Thank god Mary is now a widow. The episode also introduced new characters of importance with Lord Melton, reminding us of another TV family motto – ‘The Lannisters always pay their debts‘ – with his Greys always keep their word and family honor. It will be exciting when Lord John Grey comes on scene.
The script was brilliantly written by Ron Moore and we appreciate that he trimmed the dialog and allowed the actors to ‘show’ not just ‘tell’ what they were going through and how they felt. We were also glad that there was only Frank’s voiceover. Hopefully, it will be this way moving forward and we will get to see other viewpoints on screen that were not visible in the book. The acting was superb. As usual, Sam, Caitriona, Tobias and even Grant brought their A-game and gave the fans what we have waited for 14 months to receive.
How did you rate the episode and why? Let us know in the comments section.
What we are looking forward to in the upcoming episode.
Vida: With the time of the next episode being six years later, I am just looking forward to what all they cover. I am also looking forward to seeing Claire’s journey from the 40’s to the 60’s, what the writers have in store for Frank in these upcoming episodes, how Jamie will adjust to his cave life and the costumes. Later in the season, I am looking forward to more 60’s music. I hope Bear McCreary creates Bree and Roger’s song this season.
Amanda: The development of Claire’s career on the modern side of the stones is going to be a plot point I’m really excited to see in future episodes. I’m also interested to see how the show will deal with Jamie hiding out from the Redcoats. I’m a little concerned that the Dunbonnet isn’t exactly hiding his red hair.
Jean: I’m curious to see how Jenny and Ian try to keep Jaime out of harm’s way. Fergus…where/how is he doing without, mi lord! Later on in the season, I’m looking forward to the return of Brianna and Roger. I need something uplifting.
Outlander S3 Epi2 Preview – Surrender ~ Video via AresPromo
Directed by Jennifer Getzinger Written by Anne Kennedy
Hiding in a cave, Jamie leads a lonely life until Lallybroch is threatened by redcoats pursing the elusive Jacobite traitor. In Boston, Claire and Frank struggle to coexist in a marriage haunted by the ghost of Jamie’s love.
Disclaimer: We hold no rights to any of the pictures; all are from Starz. No copyright infringement intended.