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S01.E16: To Ransom a Man's Soul 2015.05.30

I don't think it matters. Other than he didn't get it over Jamie's heart.

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I'll be back next season, but yeah, I barely watched this.  I could only skim.  Not to be too off topic, but it wasn't until I saw Mad Max last week - a story about sexual slavery and rape that never shows a single rape scene and no sexualized nudity at all - that I realized just how sick I am of the trend of automatically treating graphic violence, both sexualized and not, as brave or automatically good.  There comes a point where it's a distraction to the story, where the narrative would be better served by focusing on the fallout and the emotions rather than the act itself.  This was gratuitous.  This was torture porn.  This was absolutely shockingly badly handled.  It's funny, I was so worried about the strapping scene and wasn't worried about Wentworth because I didn't think there was any way they could screw it up.  I was so wrong.  And it's not all the showrunner's fault.  A lot of this blame rests on Gabaldon.  Her use of rape is so heavy handed and overdone that it's long since lost its dramatic impact. 

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Did the cave scene even happen? It's supposed to be a symbolic rebirth for their love, but I haven't seen it mentioned in any recaps or posts. (I don't plan to watch the episode otherwise. The book's descriptions were bad enough.)

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I'm of the exact opposite opinion. I thought they showed enough to make us understand all Jamie has to get over for the rest of his life. You can't deal with rape without showing *something*. There's nothing about rape that's sanitary, unfortunately. It's interesting that other violence gets a pass.

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You can't deal with rape without showing *something*. There's nothing about rape that's sanitary, unfortunately. It's interesting that other violence gets a pass.

 

Yes you can.  You literally can.  Much better fiction has succeeded without resorting to torture porn.  That's ridiculous and entirely untrue.  And other violence doesn't always get a pass.  I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I specifically said violence both sexual and nonsexual in my post.  I'm sick of it.  It's not edgy.  It's not even shocking anymore.  And it's completely unnecessary 99.9% of the time.  

 

Oh, and as for having to show something, multiple reviewers have already pointed out that Jamie's traumatized body at the beginning of the episode was more than enough to tell us everything we needed to know.  Audiences are not dumb.  We do not need to be spoon fed every every violent thrust and exchange of bodily fluids to understand.   I know everyone loved ganging up against the hitflix reviewer last episode, but her review of this episode is spot on.  http://www.hitfix.com/harpy/recap-outlander-what-did-i-just-watch/1

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I know everyone loved ganging up against the hitflix reviewer last episode

 

I'm the one who posted the link to the hitflix review of episode 115 in the media thread and I said I thought it was a badly written review.  (Actually I think I called it petty and childish.)  A few people agreed with me but not "everyone".  Then I posted links to a half-dozen reviews at legitimate news outlets including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal -- all of whom had thoughtful and mostly positive things to say about episode 115.  I look forward to seeing what they have to say about the finale.  

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Yes you can.  You literally can.  Much better fiction has succeeded without resorting to torture porn.  That's ridiculous and entirely untrue.  And other violence doesn't always get a pass.  I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I specifically said violence both sexual and nonsexual in my post.  I'm sick of it.  It's not edgy.  It's not even shocking anymore.  And it's completely unnecessary 99.9% of the time.

 

 

The way the phrase "torture porn" is thrown around is unwarranted. (I don't even know what that means.) The scene was just as disturbing as it needed to be. Your opinion is nothing more than that. If you're sick of it, well then, you're sick of it. Doesn't mean we all are calling it a day. I'm looking forward to the next season even if some aren't.

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I actually thought it was more toned down from what I was expecting. I was afraid this episode would focus more on the torture, but I felt it, ultimately, focused on the abbey scenes. It really did seem more about the redemption than the torture. 

 

Sure, it could have been shown without it. I would have been fine with that too. But I think this episode succeeded in my eyes, because it really was about ransoming a man's soul. It was when Claire entered into Jamie's darkness that they were able to emerge together into the light. And into the future.

 

Even though more was shown here than in 115 ("Wentworth Prison"), I feel like 115 was more about the torture - anticipated though it may be - than this one. (Though I realize that probably makes no sense.) I think the way 116 was structured made it more focused on the redemption.

 

Maybe I was expecting worse. I think I was worried the episode would dwell in the torture. But - for me - the show never seemed to do that. It went through the torture in order to get to the redemption. 

 

Of course, milages vary incredibly.

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Oh, and as for having to show something, multiple reviewers have already pointed out that Jamie's traumatized body at the beginning of the episode was more than enough to tell us everything we needed to know.  Audiences are not dumb.  We do not need to be spoon fed every every violent thrust and exchange of bodily fluids to understand. 

 

I can agree with both you, CatMack and Nidratime on some points.  I think the opening scene of Jamie naked on the bed was a good indication he had been raped by Randall, but there was more done to him than just rape.  He was "hijacked" for lack of a better word (I mentioned Hunger Games earlier).  I think showing just how methodical Randall was in torturing and twisting his assault on Jamie to destroy his memories of Claire needed to be shown, not just told verbally.  I appreciate that they gave the actors the chance to step up their game and pull it off visually and emotionally to give the scenes weight.

Edited by Glaze Crazy.
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If you're sick of it, well then, you're sick of it. Doesn't mean we all are calling it a day. I'm looking forward to the next season even if some aren't.

 

I don't believe I ever said everyone should call it a day.  In fact I already said I'd most likely be back next season.

 

But I don't want to derail this conversation.  I'm not interested in turning this into a repetitive argument like so many threads have been lately.  So I'm out for now.  I'll come back to this board when I can read it without it triggering panic attacks.  And I'll stick to media that understands how to handle rape without triggering rape survivors.  Maybe the showrunners will actually listen to some of the criticism the show has received lately instead of just the praise and by the next time they have to deal with a rape scene they'll be able to manage it with a little more intelligence and grace.  

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Thanks AD55 for the link to the New York Times Review.  I think the most interesting part was this:

 

 

With Claire’s violations, the show barreled forward without allowing the character time enough to process her ordeal. If the series itself can’t be bothered to care about Claire’s well being in the aftermath of rape, then why should the audience. Jamie, on the other hand, is afforded two entire episodes to process what happens to him, and as stellar as the episodes are, it’s impossible not to compare the time and  serious consideration given to the traumatic experiences.

This highlights a real problem that is still lingering over the show from episode 108.  The condensing of those two attacks into one episode really was too much and the lack of clarity over the attack by the deserters has obviously left this reviewer with the mistaken impression that Claire WAS raped.  It's a problem.  

 

But overall it is a very positive review with lots of well-deserved praise for the actors and I'm delighted to see it.

Edited by WatchrTina.
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Claire tells Brother Anselm that everything is her fault. How is ANYTHING her fault? If shehadn’t come through the stones, Jamie would have likely died on the ride home that night when his wound went untended. Yeah her getting captured by Black Jack did bring to his attention the fact that Jamie, the “striped-back lad” was back in Scotland but Jack’s unholy obsession with Jamie is the only reason Jamie is still alive. Jamie’s return to Lallybroch, his ride with The Watch, his capture by the Redcoats in the ambush that Horrocks set up, his re-capture later on – how is any of that Claire’s fault? That was a dumb line.

Why is Claire acting all uncertain about telling Jamie about the baby? That seemed off to me. Of course he’s happy. It actually makes no sense that she didn’t tell him sooner as it would have given him yet another reason to live.

 

I get where she's coming from. He's just been through this whole thing,yeah, it could give him a reason to live but it could also send him into a tailspin. They're on the run, they have little money, etc etc. It's not exactly the ideal time for a baby.

You see the brand when he's first in the monk bed and I guess you can fanwank that she doesn't really notice because it's still all red and puffy and you can't really see the letters.

I also get why she thought it was her fault - she sees it as, if she hadn't come to the prison he wouldn't have agreed to give into Randall. It's not rational, but at that moment she's very emotional.

Edited by ulkis.
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Rewatching in the background right now. I had wondered during my first watch, but sure enough... Sam's voice sounds remarkably different in his scene with Willie than, basically, anywhere else in the series. There's a darkness in his voice that isn't found elsewhere, making it clear he's really in angry despair. So well done.

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Thanks AD55 for the link to the New York Times Review.  I think the most interesting part was this:

 

This highlights a real problem that is still lingering over the show from episode 108.  The condensing of those two attacks into one episode really was too much and the lack of clarity over the attack by the deserters has obviously left this reviewer with the mistaken impression that Claire WAS raped.  It's a problem.  

 

But overall it is a very positive review with lots of well-deserved praise for the actors and I'm delighted to see it.

 

Whether or not there was actual penetration doesn't IMO make the reviewer's criticism any less valid. Claire was sexually violated and faced death twice. On one of those occasions, she stabbed a man to death, something I can't imagine getting over quickly, if ever, and went into shock. In the first instance, there is more focus on Jamie's guilt than Claire's trauma, which is portrayed as manageable in the immediate aftermath and nonexistent afterwards. In the second instance, as the reviewer notes, she is blamed and then beaten. Jenny is also blamed and only "forgiven" when Jamie realizes there was no penetration. While I admire the last two episodes a good deal, I agree that it's a huge problem that sexual violence is portrayed as way more traumatic for men than for women even allowing for the brutality of Jamie's experience. If I were stripped to the waist and had a knife pressed against my chest, I wouldn't get over it anytime soon and I'm not sure I would be able to forgive the man who blamed and beat me for it. I love the show, but this is a huge problem.

Edited by AD55.
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AD55 you misunderstood me.  I was agreeing that the reviewer raises a legitimate complaint over the way that the assaults on Claire and their lingering effects on her were not addressed.  He points it out as a problem and I agree it is a problem. 

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Claire may not have noticed the details of the BJR brand because when she first examines him, it's just a round red burn. He keeps his hand over it in every scene after that, and he will not let her touch him. When she finally does see it a couple days later, it has scabbed over into a distinct scar.

Also, why is everything Claire's fault? You're right, it's not, but from her POV, he may or may not have survived the episode 1 wounds (he survived others), but because of her, his Jamie McTavish cover was blown and rescuing her after she didn't stay in the wood put him back in BJR' s orbit. Or she could mean that her failed rescue and his subsequent trade for her life at Wentworth resulted in his night of torture, rather than going with his original plan, which was to keep attacking BJR until BJR just killed him. Any way you slice it, she felt guilty for setting the events in motion.

The NYT article misses an important point. Neither Jenny nor Claire was actually raped. And whether they were rescued (as at Fort William) or rescued themselves (with a knife or with laughter), they didn't have a part of themselves taken away. I'm not saying at all that their assaults were NBD, but I don't think they are a completely fair comparison with Jamie's. If you replace "lass" with "lad" in the theme song, you have Jamie at the end of "Ransom": all that was good, all that was fair, all that was me is gone (as he sails off over the sea).

ETA: one, ulkis and I were posting at the same time, and two, Jenny's attack had happened four years prior. There was no rape to process - and didn't result in wee Jamie. When Jamie was yelling at her, she honestly couldn't fathom what he was on about.

Edited by Archery.
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I cried when Rupert kissed Claire's hand- I will desperately miss my Highland boys.

At least we still have Murtagh...

I too will miss the Angus and Rupert comedy team. And Dougal. Yes, he's a cad, but he's so totally hot I don't care. I could just look at him and listen to him speak all day long.

Very glad Murtagh is going along to keep an eye on Jamie and Claire. He's one of my favorite characters on the show.

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AD55 you misunderstood me.  I was agreeing that the reviewer raises a legitimate complaint over the way that the assaults on Claire and their lingering effects on her were not addressed.  He points it out as a problem and I agree it is a problem. 

Thanks for clarifying. When you pointed out that Claire wasn't actually raped, I thought you meant that the show leaving that ambiguous is what led the reviewer to criticize how her assault was treated. I would argue, BTW, that rape need not involve penetration.

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The NYT article misses an important point. Neither Jenny nor Claire was actually raped. And whether they were rescued (as at Fort William) or rescued themselves (with a knife or with laughter), they didn't have a part of themselves taken away. I'm not saying at all that their assaults were NBD, but I don't think they are a completely fair comparison with Jamie's. If you replace "lass" with "lad" in the theme song, you have Jamie at the end of "Ransom": all that was good, all that was fair, all that was me is gone (as he sails off over the sea).

 

I strenuously disagree, and I have to say that I'm finding the notion of "actual rape" increasingly offensive, though I am sure that is not your intention. The attacks on Jenny and Claire would inspire terror that might go on for years if not forever. Surely, never feeling truly safe again is losing a part of yourself. In any case, I'm not interested in using a yardstick to figure out who gets to feel most traumatized, and I don't believe that the reviewer is either. The significance lies in the fact that the assault on Jamie is given weight, as it should be, whereas the ones on women are treated more as plot devices.

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Still processing the episode's overall themes and throughline of the story.  But I have to reiterate what others have said about the acting in this episode being some of the best I've seen anywhere: TV, film or stage.

 

Specifically Sam more than deserves an Emmy nod as well as SAG Award, Critics awards and any other accolade the industry wants to throw at him.  Just a beautifully delineated performance full of subtlety and a depth of emotion that was awe-inspiring to see.  Kudos to Cait as well because no one can act in a vacuum and she brought it in every scene.  I'm sure Tobias was appropriately creepy but I either shut my eyes or fast-forwarded thru a lot of his work.  At some point, I'll watch all of it, but not right now.

 

When Willie stole my heart during the Bible smackdown scene in Ep 07, there was no way I could have anticipated that the character would break my heart as he did in the scene with Jamie.  The actor, Finn Den Hertog, really rose to the occasion, bringing warmth, loyalty and a basic goodness to the character.  He so wanted to help Jamie and was believably horrified at Jamie's request.  Hertog also has set up nicely Willie's actions in DIA, making them completely understandable, knowing his devotion to Jamie and now, Claire as well.

 

Duncan Lacroix's Murtaugh is amazing and is so needed in this story as a father-figure/voice of reason.  Yeah, I totally believed he would kill Jamie if it would spare him suffering and I also saw how much it would hurt him to do it.  

 

Father Anselm was well cast, but it was Brother Paul (?), Jamie's caretaker who provided a calm, capable presence during those scenes in Jamie's room.  He seemed so much older than his years, as if this wasn't the first time he had cared for a person whose spirit was broken.  And of course, Rupert and Angus were so comforting to have around.  You can always count on their antics to pick you up, no matter how dire the circumstances.  Can't wait to see them next season.

 

As far as the violence and gratuitous-ness of the rape depiction, I have always felt that the issue rested on how the show dealt with the aftermath.  For the most part, the show dealt responsibly with the fallout of Jamie's body and soul violation.  That last rape depiction, even though it was extremely difficult to watch (and I actually have only listened to parts of it while looking away), was necessary to make us understand why Jamie has no desire to continue to live.  Not only understand, but empathize:  I wouldn't want to live either after enduring something like that.  I felt Jamie's shame and it was uncomfortable.  Indeed, I felt that Jamie was still haunted by the event even at the end of the episode.  That shot of him sitting alone in the boat while Murtaugh & Claire were saying goodbye was brilliant.  It said volumes about his isolation.  Again, Sam Heughan = Emmy.

 

There was only one point that the episode fell down for me.  The story was building to Claire's ultimate action to save her husband.  Stakes were high as Jamie's life (and not just his life with Claire) was at risk.  Murtaugh says someone has to crawl into the darkness with him in order to pull him out.  That was set up as the episode's climax.  But Claire's "descent into darkness" if indeed that's what that was, was anti-climactic for me.  In the book she really does go to a dark, ugly place, but in the show, not so much - she didn't put herself really at risk.  That's a problem of the writers, because Jamie's "re-emergence" isn't really earned - unless they wanted to leave him at a place where he's not really healing, but going through the motions for Claire's sake.  If all that was needed to give him the will to live was to talk about it with Claire, then they should have given more weight to her conversation with Father Anselm.  So that after unburdening herself to him she receives some inner peace.  But maybe I'll feel differently about it after a re-watch tomorrow.

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This was my favorite part of Matt's review:

 

 

Outlander characters: will someone please remember to stab or shoot Black Jack Randall while he's TRAPPED UNDER A DOOR? Why would you leave him to crawl away to evil up another day?

 

I don't watch The Walking Dead but isn't there a thing on that show that you have to always double-cap a zombie (two to the head.)  Someone from The Walking Dead needs to have a serious talk with The Outlander crowd on this topic.

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Re: The Walking Dead.  You have to shoot, stab or otherwise crush the brain to stop them getting up again and eating you.  Or restrain them effectively if you want to keep them around.  Yes, someone should have ensured that BJR was really most sincerely dead.

 

On a rewatch I noted that, when Jamie and Claire are on the ship and he's hugging her after the baby reveal, once his face is out of her sight his big smile disappears and he looks haunted again.  So, if that was the intent, nope, Jamie isn't over it yet or that easily just by finding out about a baby.

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I can appreciate that Jamie's entire ordeal is important to story and his mindset afterward, but the two parts felt very unbalanced.

Why go through the ordeal in such agonizing detail and short change the aftermath? It did feel rushed and didn't do justice to that part of the book.

Since we weren't going to really get into the "after" (what all of 5 minutes?, 10 tops) there was just no point in spending so much time on the details ... For me, it was just too much.

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I can appreciate that Jamie's entire ordeal is important to story and his mindset afterward, but the two parts felt very unbalanced.

Why go through the ordeal in such agonizing detail and short change the aftermath? It did feel rushed and didn't do justice to that part of the book.

Since we weren't going to really get into the "after" (what all of 5 minutes?, 10 tops) there was just no point in spending so much time on the details ... For me, it was just too much.

In a sense, the entire episode was the aftermath.  And it had more to do with the mental. emotional, and psychic trauma that Jamie went through that just the physical rape and abuse inflicted by Black Jack. That ordeal, that both Jamie and Claire faced in different ways then, and as a result of the earlier dealings of the Frasers and Claire with Black Jack, is important in how Jamie and Claire are affected going forward. As time goes on through the books, both will show how much they learned from these experiences, and so it was important. Yes, these last two episodes asked much of the viewers especially those who had not read the source, but I'm glad to be able to come back for season 2 and DiA, and know that while this will be referenced, it will not be a story arc we'll have to deal with further.

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Unbalanced is exactly how I describe it too. In the book Claire bringing Jamie back from the brink was just as intense as what Jack did to him. This balance has been missed in other ways. They showed every bloody fraking stitch of the hand repair but not the moment with Jamie's awe and thankfulness that he still has a hand. 

Edited by MedievalGirl.
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I should also mention separately that one of the tweets that Meril Davis sent out this evening was the the cattle were very cooperative, and they were able to film that scene of them entering and going through Wentworth Prison in one take. Bear also tweeted something out, but he still has to write the blog entry for these last two episodes, so we do have that to look forwards to as well.

Edited by theschnauzers.
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They showed every bloody fraking stitch of the hand repair but not the moment with Jamie's awe and thankfulness that he still has a hand.

 

Aww, I forgot about that part. I wish this episode could have been 2 hours long. 

 

If they don't do that scene in season 2, I'll just pretend it happened on the boat on the way to France. 

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Wasn't his hand still bandaged up on the boat? His appreciation of the hand repair would fit right in to season two, when it's usable again.

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Pushing a moment to season two isn't balanced. We needed to see that moment and others to even out THIS episode. I expected just about everything we saw in the rape scenes. If I wish for them to have been shorter it isn't a complaint about porn or rape culture or having expected a romance novel. Yet another episode not really about Claire. Not really about her POV.  Not really about all the cool things she knows and has learned from living in two centuries and could pour into saving the man she loves. Just blah. 

 

It is late and I'm really tired. My daughter would not go to bed. She even popped up again at 11:08. I had turned the TV awkwardly away from the door and DH and I were huddled at the far end of the room. I don't think she saw anything. 

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Aww, I forgot about that part. I wish this episode could have been 2 hours long.

If they don't do that scene in season 2, I'll just pretend it happened on the boat on the way to France.

I would have loved to see Jamie thankful for his hand, but I don't think the repair to his hand here was anywhere like it was in the book. We saw his bone go back in but otherwise it's much tamer. Imo.

I think they made some pacing mistakes here and there, but ultimately I think 16 hours was more than enough to adapt the novel. My favorite book is Les Miserables, and I am fortunate enough that it is a novel that has been adapted many times, some versions 2 hours, some 10, and my favorite is a 4 and a half hour version, and it's about 200 pages longer than Outlander. I think any mistakes to Outlander have not been a lack of hours but just bad decisions.

I do think Angus' (or the other sidekick) forced kiss on Claire was lame, after an episode all about rape. I get what they were going for, but it ended up awkward.

Edited by ulkis.
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One thing that had never occurred to me until this episode -- right after Claire announces her pregnancy, Jamie says something in Gaelic. Part of me wondered if that was Jamie wondering what might have happened if he had killed himself and left Claire pregnant and alone (even though she might have Murtagh). That could be a huge character moment, along the same lines of when Jamie tells Claire he'll "see to it" that everything will be alright for them. This could bring out a strong sense of responsibility he feels for his loved ones,

which we see through the rest of the books. Including, and maybe especially, the end of DIA.

 

It's a unique perspective, because the book isn't structured the same way with her pregnancy announcement. Kind of interesting.

 

Edited for later book spoilers, just in case.

Edited by Dust Bunny.
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Yes, yes and yes to the viewers who see this as slash torture porn, the total degradation of a vibrant and positive character and the deliberate production of an episode that will wholly appeal to those of perverted and violent tastes to be viewed over and over again with delight and glee. While episode 115 actually benefitted from some very fine acting, and a balance between darkness and light, this episode totally goes to the sewer of perverted pleasure and delights in the destruction of all that is worthy in this series, it destroys the joy and pollutes the love between the two major characters, and trivializes the immensely long, healing process that would be necessary to even partially overcome the torture. I liken it to beating your favorite  dog or brutalizing a child and then just letting them lie there and get up after a little pat on the head and a smirk. I have read these books, They can be brilliant, pendantic, erotic, violent , boring, many many different things because there are over 8000 pages in the entire series, one thing they are not is pornographic and hopeless despite the rape-device that the author delights in using to develop her hurt/comfort theme and to intensify the sexual relations between the lovers in the books. That device in itself becomes a lazy go-to when she requires an energization or motivation of the plot line, but it never becomes a foul pit of excrement in which the reader is invited to roll in and ingest. Normal people can read these books and not feel too dirty or depraved. But I could not watch this episode without thinking that I must be turning into some perverted sex monster . The long scenes of torture, the violent rape, the soul deadening look in the formerly vibrant character's eyes, the hideous delight of the monster who rapes and dirties and destroys then throws aside, I need a bath after this one. And then, in the midst of all of this horror, we get humor in the form of a Laurel and Hardy shtick which uses violation of personal space as something to chuckle over. Go figure, cause I can't. The only thing I can say, is that the actors do pretty well at representing violent and vile rape, torture and extreme despair and I don't know if that is a high recommendation for any of them. The people who  produced this can brag all they want about how they have gone to somewhere no one has before, who wants to go there?, It is easy to violate the sensibilities of 99 percent of your viewers and then pat yourself on the back, a little more difficult to produce something with taste, impact and dignity and still go to that special, ultimate place. This episode reminds me of those performance artists way back in the seventies who stomped baby chicks and called it avant garde or of the artist who immersed the crucifix into piss and called it edgy . It is neither avant garde nor edgy, it is prurient and  manipulative.

Edited by 8papillons.
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Apologies if this has already been mentioned and I missed it, but something that went past me on first viewing is that we don't see Jamie take leave of Willie et al. Instead, he's a lonely figure in the boat with two men I presume are strangers while Claire and Murtagh farewell the men who risked their lives to save him. I'm going to assume he hasn't even been able to bring himself to look them in the eyes to thank them.

 

I thought about this episode into the wee smalls, and I realize I still don't know how I feel about it. On the one hand, I believe it was a groundbreaking piece of television -- beautifully acted, directed, and written. On the other hand, I find myself agreeing with many, maybe even most, of the accusations that the violence was excessive and even meets the definition of torture porn. I've completely lost my objectivity.

Edited by AD55.
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There was only one point that the episode fell down for me.  The story was building to Claire's ultimate action to save her husband.  Stakes were high as Jamie's life (and not just his life with Claire) was at risk.  Murtaugh says someone has to crawl into the darkness with him in order to pull him out.  That was set up as the episode's climax.  But Claire's "descent into darkness" if indeed that's what that was, was anti-climactic for me.  In the book she really does go to a dark, ugly place, but in the show, not so much - she didn't put herself really at risk.  That's a problem of the writers, because Jamie's "re-emergence" isn't really earned - unless they wanted to leave him at a place where he's not really healing, but going through the motions for Claire's sake.  If all that was needed to give him the will to live was to talk about it with Claire, then they should have given more weight to her conversation with Father Anselm.  So that after unburdening herself to him she receives some inner peace.  But maybe I'll feel differently about it after a re-watch tomorrow.

 

 

I agree. I wanted to see more of Claire pulling Jamie out of his despair *and* I wanted to see more of her coming to terms with her feelings of spiritual wrongdoing with Father Anselm. These were much more prominent in the book and they were given more of a rush job in the episode. I get that these actions and thoughts are kind of surreal and cerebral but the show can handle it. It could've been another in their succession of types of episodes that marks this show as one that can not be pinned down as any one thing.

 

The topic is addressed in this interview with Ron Moore:

 

(This link also contains discussion of season 2, so if you don't want to see that, please don't click on the link. I've pulled out the relevant section to this discussion below.)

 

TVLINE | When Claire confronts Jamie at the abbey, you’ve portrayed it as less of a fever dream than it is in the book. What went into the decision to play it straighter and to have Jamie more mentally present in the moment?

 

It was just more about translating and adapting the material. On the page, it becomes more surrealistic… It’s a wonderful passage of the book. I know we’re going to get some criticisms from fans who will miss it, because it was such a great, really well written section, but making it literal changes it.

When you suddenly start getting into literally making surreal television, what are the shots, and are we in a [computer-generated] world, and are they floating? You just start getting into all these discussions that I felt instinctively were going to take you out of the story instead of keeping you in the story. Very early on, we said, okay, we’re just going to play it more grounded. We’re going to play it more real, and just let the actors carry it through.

 

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We don't see Jamie take leave of Willie et al. Instead, he's a lonely figure in the boat with two men I presume are strangers while Claire and Murtagh farewell the men who risked their lives to save him.

Yeah I wondered about that as well.  I get that the writers wanted a bit of humor in the farewells so they needed Jamie to not be a part of it.  My fan-wank is that Jamie is still so unsteady that it took more than one of them (the men) to help him into the row boat, so they said their farewells there after they got him on board -- but they were short and humor-free owing to Jamie's fragile condition (both emotional and physical.)  Then they walked back onto the shore where Claire had been watching the process and she takes her leave of them.  My only support for that is that Jamie is quite unsteady on his feet as he walks towards Claire on the ship.

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We don't see Jamie take leave of Willie et al. Instead, he's a lonely figure in the boat with two men I presume are strangers while Claire and Murtagh farewell the men who risked their lives to save him.

 

 

That's a good point. Considering all that came before in this episode, that didn't even register with me. However, thinking about it, seeing Jamie alone on that ship while his wife and godfather say goodbye to his friends and comrades does emphasize how apart and alone he is and still feels. Despite the rescue, despite the healing and the return from utter despair, Jamie still feels isolated, I think -- especially from those men.

 

Jamie took a real hit to not only his body and his soul, but to his manhood, to his view of himself as someone who fights back and withstands and doesn't buckle under. Randall may have literally "got him by the balls," but most importantly he got him figuratively, through Claire and that left him defenseless ... finally. Even when Randall was flogging Jamie to near death, he was strong and withstood and he retained his self-esteem. But, I bet a part of him feels ashamed and victimized and that can't be a good place to be in his head, facing his comrades, including a boy he took under his wing. I can see why he'd remain apart from them. Not seeing Jamie say goodbye to them emphasizes that point.

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That's a good point. Considering all that came before in this episode, that didn't even register with me. However, thinking about it, seeing Jamie alone on that ship while his wife and godfather say goodbye to his friends and comrades does emphasize how apart and alone he is and still feels. Despite the rescue, despite the healing and the return from utter despair, Jamie still feels isolated, I think -- especially from those men.

 

Jamie took a real hit to not only his body and his soul, but to his manhood, to his view of himself as someone who fights back and withstands and doesn't buckle under. Randall may have literally "got him by the balls," but most importantly he got him figuratively, through Claire and that left him defenseless ... finally. Even when Randall was flogging Jamie to near death, he was strong and withstood and he retained his self-esteem. But, I bet a part of him feels ashamed and victimized and that can't be a good place to be in his head, facing his comrades, including a boy he took under his wing. I can see why he'd remain apart from them. Not seeing Jamie say goodbye to them emphasizes that point.

 

This is my take as well. I can only imagine his shame at having asked Willie to kill him. The shot of him in the rowboat wearing that risible tricorn hat about does me in. This show is so smart and the acting so brilliant that I can't help but worry that I am rationalizing away some of the indefensible choices. I am a dab hand at the self-serving rationalization as anyone who has seen my shoe collection knows.

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Random Outlander-related thought of the morning.  I was thinking about the make-up crew and all the scars they have to remember to put on Jamie's body whenever the script calls for him to get his kit off.  I found myself imaging the run-through of the first reading of the script for the finale and the make-up department saying, "Wait!  You want him to brand himself right over the heart?  And then to have a nasty scar there for the rest of his life?  Absolutely not!  Put it on the side, down low so we don't have to see it all the time.  Don't you know we have to have a certain number of shots of bare-chested Jamie, gently lit by fire-light every season?  It's important.  And you are not mucking those up with a nasty scar right over his heart.  You cannot show Claire's head lying on Jamie's chest in post-coital bliss and also show a nasty scar that reminds everyone of the worst moment in Jamie's life.  Move that damn brand!  Better yet, have Jamie move it as a small act of defiance. Yeah, that'll work."

 

Seriously -- I hope this happened.

 

ETA:  All kidding aside, did anyone else think that the scene with Murtagh cutting off the brand was a visual homage to the Claire-Jamie scene in Episode 102? He's sitting there in exactly the same way, kilt on, shirt off, chest gently-lit by fire-light, Claire standing right behind him and to his right.  I don't think that was an accident.  I think it was symbolic of his coming back into himself.

Edited by WatchrTina.
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Can you imagine the fallout if they played the rape/torture more true to the book and showed it all? Randall did a HELL of a lot more to Jamie in the book. A lot. *shudder* (or maybe it came out in later books, I don't remember)

 

I'm surprised everyone was ok with Angus forcefully kissing Claire AND grabbing her boobs? Not cool. And within Jamie's sights as well. Didn't sit right with me. 

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He grabbed her boob, too? I didn't even notice, just the kiss.

Edited by ulkis.
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No, I get what you're saying. I don't think they could have gotten rid of the pregnancy though. And I suppose some of the trope of well everything is great now she's pregnant xxxxx xxxxx - spoiler warning for those who haven't read book 2 - xxx.

 

That wasn't much of a warning, I read it before I knew it, and I hadn't gotten to that part of the book 2 yet. Aren't we supposed to discuss things that only pertain to what happens through the first book in this thread? There's a way to cover up the spoilers where you have to click on it to see it. I'm not sure how to do it, but I would recommend doing so (as well as the posts after this that continue to discuss it), so that part isn't spoiled for others.

Edited by TexasChic.
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Good morning all. Watched late last night and want to get my thoughts down before I'm influenced by many. I'm sure though that most have been said.

 

The beginning scene with Jamie lying on the cot that was the still photo in promos was so haunting all week, then to have the camera show BJR lying next to him made me gasp and my stomach drop. My husband even let an "ugh" out. Just chilling and the most terrifying thing in the whole episode. Second saddest was at the end with Jamie sitting in the row boat alone in clothes that just aren't him. 

 

This maybe unpopular but I thought episode 15 was a far better structured episode that is still lingering in my thoughts. With the exception of the above mentioned shots this just didn't live up to 15's emotional punch. It was still pretty good but I was left feeling underwhelmed. 

 

Jamie wanting to kill himself via a knife was very out of character to me. I thought condensing the scenes at the abbey worked.  The interpretation of Claire healing Jamie could have been great with the direction they were going but then it felt flat, like they didn't go deep enough yet they devoted way to much time to the actual rapes. 

 

This brings me to my biggest problem with the episode. They could have included graphic cuts in much less time. There was no need to linger. You know that there will be other shots of this in seasons to come. I'm willing to bet we will see next season how Jamie got that blood on his mouth...

 

We do need the horror to appreciate the goodness but there was to much of an imbalance.

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Remind not to go back into the no book talk thread.  It's hard not to comment, especially when a lot of the comments are along the lines of "people actually LIKE these books??"  "WTF is wrong with them??"    I don't appreciate the implication that we are gross perverts for loving the books, when YOU HAVEN'T READ THEM.   I love them, not because I enjoy reading about rape and violence, but because the love story between Jamie and Claire is absolutely astounding and lovely and their absolute devotion to each other is what keeps me stuck to the books. If their marriage was all unicorns and butterflies, there really wouldn't be a story to tell.  The fact that they stay so devoted to each other, through every horrible scenario possible is what makes them so utterly wonderful.  They fight like hell to stay together, and without the outside forces it would just be boring. Ok, rant over....just needed to get it off my chest.  Back on topic....

 

As much as I love and adore Cait/Claire, co MVP (MVP is obviously Sam) goes to Duncan/Murtagh.  He can portray so damn much with just his face.  His absolute heartbreak for Jamie shows in every nuance and look.  I am so glad we get a lot more Murtagh in S2.

 

I missed the part when Jamie leaves the abbey buck naked and Claire goes after him, but it wouldn't have worked in light of the changes. 

 

I am looking forward to Season 2.  Bring it!

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He goes in with both hands grabbing her breasts.

Yeah that was crude but I'm okay with it for two reasons.  One -- it's completely in character with the man who crashed into Jamie & Claire's honeymoon suite in the hopes of getting a "keek" at her boobs.  Two -- he is immediately chastised for it by everyone and then Rupert gets to put him down even further by showing how a farewell to a lady should be done.  That being said, Murtagh seemed uncharacteristically amused by it.  Maril Davis tweeted last night that the cast kept cracking up during that scene.  I suspect the amusement we saw on Murtagh's face was more likely a bit of unscripted, uncontrollable mirth by Duncan than a scripted reaction by Murtagh.

 

 

This brings me to my biggest problem with the episode. They could have included graphic cuts in much less time. There was no need to linger. You know that there will be other shots of this in seasons to come. I'm willing to bet we will see next season how Jamie got that blood on his mouth...

I hope you are wrong.  As a reader I think I know how Jamie got that blood on his mouth and I'd rather not see it (though there is no cut on Jamie's chest so, maybe I'm wrong).  Anyway, my main point is that I doubt if anything more from the dungeon will be revealed next season.  Muted-toned flashbacks to what we already saw?  Yes.  Count on it.  Especially when Jamie first thinks he sees Black Jack in Paris.  But new footage?  I doubt it.  I posted three interviews with Ron Moore about the finale in the media thread and in one of them he talks about making the choice of how much to show -- both action and body-parts -- and I think he's shown as much as he intends.  I think we're "safe" from having to see anything new from the dungeon.  

Edited by WatchrTina.
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That wasn't much of a warning, I read it before I knew it, and I hadn't gotten to that part of the book 2 yet. Aren't we supposed to discuss things that only pertain to what happens through the first book in this thread? There's a way to cover up the spoilers where you have to click on it to see it. I'm not sure how to do it, but I would recommend doing so (as well as the posts after this that continue to discuss it), so that part isn't spoiled for others.

 

I edited it, sorry about that. I don't know about the rule re: what we can and cannot discuss, but I definitely feel like people have discussed things that have happened in the later books in the season 1 threads, so that's why I just put the written warning and I didn't spoiler tag it.

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I hope you are wrong.  As a reader I think I know how Jamie got that blood on his mouth and I'd rather not see it (though there is no cut on Jamie's chest so, maybe I'm wrong).  Anyway, my main point is that I doubt if anything more from the dungeon will be revealed next season.  Muted-toned flashbacks to what we already saw?  Yes.  Count on it.  Especially when Jamie first thinks he sees Black Jack in Paris.  But new footage?  I doubt it.  I posted three interviews with Ron Moore about the finale in the media thread and in one of them he talks about making the choice of how much to show -- both action and body-parts -- and I think he's shown as much as he intends.  I think we're "safe" from having to see anything new from the dungeon.  

Narrative-wise I agree with you and think you are correct. 

 

You know I love the show and the books but unfortunately I kind of feel like they will go there again. This episode kind of broke my trust in them with regard to the rapes. I'm ok with graphic cuts but they went on to long for me. I don't think RM is above going back there. I really hope I'm wrong. To be clear, I still love the show but I am concerned.

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To me, it was torture porn. The blood on his thighs, the lingering shots, the way they filmed the last time Randall rapes him, as  if they were just  having sex... I  can't even imagine the outrage if Jamie had been a female character. I've seen lots of rapes on TV -man to man too- and this is the first time I've felt more disgusted at the writers/director than at the rapist. The cherry on the top was to have Angus kissing Claire against her will and to play it for laughs.  Don't get me wrong, I did laugh; I'm starting to think Angus  and Duncan come  from a special  branch of  randy and aggresive hobbits. But I wouldn't have made that joke in  this episode.

 

On  the other hand, now it's over and  hopefully I'll be able to enjoy the rest of the story, at least for a couple of seasons. 

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