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S04.E01: America the Beautiful

Aaaaand welcome back from Droughander everyone! I’m happy to say that rewatching the first three seasons, and fan fiction has helped me survive this dark time. 

 

Now to the first episode. 

 

I’m in agreeance to the following. 

- Wigs: so, so bad. I mean, don’t they watch the scenes after filming and think “hey, that doesn’t look so great, get Sam back in Hair and Makeup” ?  Guess not. Big mistake there. 

 

- The CGI. My goodness, the CGI. I understand that certain things are difficult to film, but.... we’ve had a lot of crazy scenes filmed before. Budget is large. And something so obviously crappy looking should have been looked at for re-filming. So have such a beautiful scene travelling down the river in the barge, a tender loving moment between Jamie and Claire, and learning that the Captain freed his slave was all lovely. But I couldn’t appreciate it at all, due to CGI. I’m sure something different could have been done about it. 

 

- The music during the last scene seems to be the most controversial point. I’m on both sides. I appreciate the song choice, I think it was the right song to choose and felt it invoked more emotion than just a brutal fight scene; especially as we are unaware of the exact dialogue. However, the way it began threw me off. I was confused as to what was going on (even though I knew that Bonnet was going to show up) and was so focused on where the absurdly loud music was coming from and lost track of a very fast paced scene. I definitely need to watch a second time to appreciate it and feel a bit more along with Claire. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was clever to utilize the song this way and an excellent choice of scene. I just wish maybe it began a few moments later, and maybe not so loudly overwhelming to take over the scene in its entirety. 

Definitely needing to watch it again just for this. 

 

On to other things. 

- I was happy about the ring change. I wondered how Bree was able to pick out her mother’s ring and read an inscription without squinting at it closely in the sunlight. I’ve inscribed my husband wedding ring, and I tell you that is HARD to read. And his band is wider than Claire’s. 

 

- Sam and Cait have excellent chemistry on screen, and I think they did an excellent job this episode too. Likely makes a difference that they are excellent friends in real life, and I respect that they can make Jamie and Claire feel real to us on screen. Sam is a wonderful actor, but Cait took the award on this episode for me, especially in that last scene. 

- Speelers works incredibly well for Bonnet in my opinion. I never imagined him as an old man while reading the books, but someone younger and conniving. I get Heath Ledger vibes but it doesn’t ruin it for me. I get Downtown Abbey flashbacks but hopefully those will fade over seeing him more on screen. I also liked the foreshadowing of his drowning fears.

Spoiler

I think that was a clever tie in, and when the time comes for him to die, we’ll be happy they threw the nugget in this episode for us. We’ll appreciate his demise even more. Hopefully that’s not too many seasons out. But maybe they need a villain next season too, so who knows what they’ll do. 

 

Overall a solid episode. A lot to get in to give a foundation for the season and what’s happenings 

 

True that bad things are happening all the time to Claire and Jamie. But I’m happy for the next few episodes: hopefully we’ll have some enjoyment watching them build a new life together, before the really big drama unfolds! 

Edited by LadyBrochTuarach.
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18 hours ago, BitterApple said:

The use of the Ray Charles song seems to be a "loved it" or "hated it" debate on other forums. Personally I'm in the latter camp. I love his rendition, but I hate when the show uses modern music for the 18th century.

I think the 1972 song with lyrics ruined the drama of that 1767 scene. That wonderful Ray Charles classic has been used in the news and juxtaposed with horrible current events. It is done as a sarcastic political statement. 

But for this show, it  seemed wrong and out of place. The scene would have played better if they even used Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 or even Ernest Bloch - Concerto Grosso No. 1.

I hated the choice. 

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Was glad to have the show back.  I read the book years ago, but have forgotten all but the main details.  I guessed it was Bonnet, but puzzled at his youth and fine looks. I don't mind.

Hanging and killing of characters we haven't bonded with, while the important ones survive. *sigh*

Mills and Boone sex scene *yawn*

Violence and death *flinch - close one ey*

Declarations of love to pander to the romantics *again!*

I didn't notice the wigs! I bet I will next time.  Everyone looked bonny as they should.

I guess this episode was annoying because it was an inauthentic narrative set-up.  Jamie telling Claire about the various players in the colonies and land and his Aunt J's love life.  Claire filling him in about the war.  Hard to believe they hadn't discussed all this well before now. Better off telling a third character (who will soon have their throat slit).  Still, it is much easier to fill in all that detail in a book. 

Some clunky dialogue "You must be grateful every day" and the circle narration at the beginning.

River scene looked fake to me.

I still enjoyed it, cos it's been a while. I just prefer pointing out the bad. 

 

 For the good - showed ongoing negative impact of rape.

Opening credits were interesting, though I miss the bagpipes.

Liked Claire getting excited over her med box.

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Loved the song choice- the sudden disconnect and dichotomy mirrored their being jarred out of a sound sleep then as it progressed it only furthered the inequity of their waltzing into this brave new land of opportunity expecting the best and receiving the worst.   

In my head Bonnet was older and vile and revolting visually even before his behavior confirmed it. And IMO the actor looks a tad too much like young Ian- caught by candle light I had to look twice to know who it was.  

And speaking of young Ian- did anyone else find some of his mannerisms to mirror those of his mother to a remarkable degree? I very much doubt the two actors are really related, so to me his reminding me so much of Jenny was a real treat- the way he used his hands and his face really resembled her. John Bell was astounding.

Edited by Pestilentia.
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Personally I think Ray Charles and America the Beautiful would have been better suited for the closing credits.

Edited by Haleth.
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6 hours ago, LadyBrochTuarach said:

The music during the last scene seems to be the most controversial point. I’m on both sides. I appreciate the song choice, I think it was the right song to choose and felt it invoked more emotion than just a brutal fight scene; especially as we are unaware of the exact dialogue. However, the way it began threw me off. I was confused as to what was going on (even though I knew that Bonnet was going to show up) and was so focused on where the absurdly loud music was coming from and lost track of a very fast paced scene. I definitely need to watch a second time to appreciate it and feel a bit more along with Claire. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was clever to utilize the song this way and an excellent choice of scene. I just wish maybe it began a few moments later, and maybe not so loudly overwhelming to take over the scene in its entirety. 

 

That was my take exactly.  I started to hear the piano and my thought was: "piano?  Is someone playing a piano?  Do they even have piano's yet?  Is Claire playing a piano on a barge?"  That took me right out of the episode trying to figure out what was going on.  I also think that the song would have been better to start later.

Edited by AEMom. Reason: Typo
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5 hours ago, insubordination said:

Some clunky dialogue "You must be grateful every day" and the circle narration at the beginning.

I actually really liked the circle narration and accompanying visuals in the beginning.  I thought it was cleverly done.

Not a fan of the closing song, though.  Something purely instrumental would have been more moving and appropriate, I think.  I agree with whoever said Cait hit it out of the park.  Despite the distracting soundtrack, I felt her pain right through the tv screen.  I'm not sure what actual value Jamie's ring would have to Bonnet, though.  The gold one would have been worth far more to sell.

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17 hours ago, Annj said:

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Claire needs more foreplay people!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you seen shirtless Jamie?Enough said!

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15 hours ago, TarotQueen said:

I thought it was a fairly solid opening episode.  Bonnett does look like Heath Ledger, but I never saw that similarity back when Speelers on Dowton Abbey so I think it’s the hair.

Seems like everyone has a distinct feeling on this but count me in the hate for Ray Charles “America the Beautiful” being used as it was.  I found the anachronism jarring, not charming.

Do the sets look kind of cheap compared to prior seasons to anyone else?  Like backdrops where they used to have actual real places, especially outside.  It’s not a big problem to me as a viewer but I am wondering if their budget is tightening and what that might mean for the implications of the show.

Nope. I didn't notice. But i watch it all at face value-- I "believe" what they show and tell me without question usually. It has to be really atrocious to pull me out of the moment.

I adored the Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful while all the violence and horror were taking place. GOD! That was powerful! IMO.

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I'm so with everyone on those wigs! I was watching season 1 not too long ago - the "Scottish alarm clock" scene where Claire is running her hands through his hair as he "performs" - and lamented that we'll never get anything like that again with this atrocious fake hair.

Everyone keeps talking about the Bonnet actor looking like Heath Ledger, but I kept thinking he looked like he could be Ian's brother. 

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Oh I agree! He and Ian look a lot alike to me.

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I mistook him for Ian for a minute there too. Then I had to look him up on IMDB because it was driving me crazy where I knew him from. (Downton, obviously.)

I honestly didn't notice anything amiss with the wiggery but I did notice the crappy CGI on the river.

I didn't really have a problem with the song at the end, per se. I objected to the attack itself because it's one thing after another with Jamie and Claire. It wouldn't have mattered to me what song they chose to use.

Edited by iMonrey.
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13 hours ago, Cdh20 said:

Have you seen shirtless Jamie?Enough said!

I couldn’t agree more with this statement. May I virtually high five you? 4E56FCA6-A2FD-4948-AE75-6C52E667E52E.thumb.jpeg.00d612831bc85d391ee38db71bb13506.jpeg

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23 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I mistook him for Ian for a minute there too. Then I had to look him up on IMDB because it was driving me crazy where I knew him from. (Downton, obviously.)

I honestly didn't notice anything amiss with the wiggery but I did notice the crappy CGI on the river.

I didn't really have a problem with the song at the end, per se. I objected to the attack itself because it's one thing after another with Jamie and Claire. It wouldn't have mattered to me what song they chose to use.

DRAMA! seems to be Claire and Jamie's shtick. With out it-- they don't have much of a story I am thinking.

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I think I am probably the only person NOT attracted to Jamie's chest.  I think it looks weird.

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DRAMA! seems to be Claire and Jamie's shtick. With out it-- they don't have much of a story I am thinking.

But that's simply not true. There can be plenty of drama to their story without making it a personal tragedy for one or both of them every time. There was plenty of drama and intrigue for them in France during Season 2, for example. There was plenty of drama for them during their search for Ian. They can experience drama without being whipped, beaten, raped, kidnapped, tortured, robbed, and otherwise molested and traumatized every damn time.

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18 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

They can experience drama without being whipped, beaten, raped, kidnapped, tortured, robbed, and otherwise molested and traumatized every damn time.

I agree with this actually. 

Some rape scenes seem like they’re thrown in for the heck of it. But on the other hand it’s historic reality that this stuff did happen, and still happens today, sadly enough. I do hope they choose wisely how and what to include in the future. 

Is the barge theft scene this horrific in the books? I don’t fully recall everything, but I don’t think anyone was murdered, and when Claire went to swallow her rings one flew from her hand, and I don’t believe Bonnet pried it from her mouth, or Jamie being beaten as badly as they showed. 

 

Maybe being tv they’re just picking the most dramatic things to happen and using those to fill in, as after book 4 I find things slow down a bit for them, and it’s more day to day living their lives. Aside from when the war scenes come around. For me I thought Voyager was literally a slap in the face every turn of page, and things were constantly happening and felt over the top for me. 

A bunch of things were cut from Voyager though that were dramatic, and I’m grateful for it. 

Like the scene where Claire and Marsali are attacked by a pirate (I think that’s who) as the Artemis has been set upon, and Claire tries fighting him off and ends up with a massive gash in her arm from a cutlas. 

 

I didnt reread Drums before the episode aired on Sunday, purposefully. Now I’m wondering if I should go back and reacquaint myself with the story specifics? I read Voyager before season 3 and found I was constantly picking everything apart and didn’t enjoy it as much. It wasn’t until my third watching of it last week prior to season 4 premiere, that I appreciated it more and enjoyed it thoroughly. 

I’m also aching for Roger to return to screen, I like his character a lot 🤷🏽‍♀️

Edited by LadyBrochTuarach.
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44 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

But that's simply not true. There can be plenty of drama to their story without making it a personal tragedy for one or both of them every time. There was plenty of drama and intrigue for them in France during Season 2, for example. There was plenty of drama for them during their search for Ian. They can experience drama without being whipped, beaten, raped, kidnapped, tortured, robbed, and otherwise molested and traumatized every damn time.

Haha! I guess I meant the author feels the need for big messy drama all the time for Claire and Jamie. Like seriously. I only ever read the first book because mainly -- when I found out the next book was a 20 year !! 20 freakin' years separation!!!????!!!  -- I was like-- way too much drama.

But I love the actors and I love the scenery and the costumes so I keep watching.

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53 minutes ago, taanja said:

Haha! I guess I meant the author feels the need for big messy drama all the time for Claire and Jamie. Like seriously. I only ever read the first book because mainly -- when I found out the next book was a 20 year !! 20 freakin' years separation!!!????!!!  -- I was like-- way too much drama.

But I love the actors and I love the scenery and the costumes so I keep watching.

The author isn't the problem, if indeed it is actually a problem.  The books are chock full of day to day stuff where they're living their lives and the drama, what there is of it, is pretty low-key. That's why the books are 1000 pages long. 

The problem is translating that to television and making a show that a lot of people want to watch.  I could read all day about Claire puttering around in her surgery, grinding things and examining bread mold.  Hell, I would enjoy watching that, too.  However, most people wouldn't. 

One of my least favorite things about the show is that every single conflict is amplified.  It wasn't enough that Jenny was skeptical of Claire and a little bit leery of her when she came back 20 years later.  No, they had Jenny go full-on shrew to the point where Ian had to say something to her .  Get ready to have Claire & Jocasta having a lot more conflict than there was in the books. 

Right or wrong, the showrunners think all this is necessary. And they probably aren't wrong. I heard a lot of people complaining that this last episode was boring until the attack on the boat. 

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18 hours ago, LadyBrochTuarach said:

I agree with this actually. 

Some rape scenes seem like they’re thrown in for the heck of it. But on the other hand it’s historic reality that this stuff did happen, and still happens today, sadly enough. I do hope they choose wisely how and what to include in the future. 

Is the barge theft scene this horrific in the books? I don’t fully recall everything, but I don’t think anyone was murdered, and when Claire went to swallow her rings one flew from her hand, and I don’t believe Bonnet pried it from her mouth, or Jamie being beaten as badly as they showed. 

 

Maybe being tv they’re just picking the most dramatic things to happen and using those to fill in, as after book 4 I find things slow down a bit for them, and it’s more day to day living their lives. Aside from when the war scenes come around. For me I thought Voyager was literally a slap in the face every turn of page, and things were constantly happening and felt over the top for me. 

A bunch of things were cut from Voyager though that were dramatic, and I’m grateful for it. 

Like the scene where Claire and Marsali are attacked by a pirate (I think that’s who) as the Artemis has been set upon, and Claire tries fighting him off and ends up with a massive gash in her arm from a cutlas. 

 

I didnt reread Drums before the episode aired on Sunday, purposefully. Now I’m wondering if I should go back and reacquaint myself with the story specifics? I read Voyager before season 3 and found I was constantly picking everything apart and didn’t enjoy it as much. It wasn’t until my third watching of it last week prior to season 4 premiere, that I appreciated it more and enjoyed it thoroughly. 

I’m also aching for Roger to return to screen, I like his character a lot 🤷🏽‍♀️

Don't reread it! I haven't read past Voyager (having fallen in love with the show-I read the first 3 books quickly after binge watching), but when talking to people-the book readers are the most unsatisfied unless they read it years ago.

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Right or wrong, the showrunners think all this is necessary. And they probably aren't wrong. I heard a lot of people complaining that this last episode was boring until the attack on the boat.

You can't please all of the people all of the time. As you mentioned, there are plenty of places in these rather long books where day to day things happen. When you show some of that on air, you get the people who say an episode was too boring for them and they want action, action, action. Then you get the other side of the coin, where people complain that the show has Jamie and Claire constantly in peril and they wish for episodes where nothing like that happens. Just have a day in the life episode.

So, what should these writers do?

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17 hours ago, toolazy said:

The problem is translating that to television and making a show that a lot of people want to watch.  I could read all day about Claire puttering around in her surgery, grinding things and examining bread mold.  Hell, I would enjoy watching that, too.  However, most people wouldn't. 

One of my least favorite things about the show is that every single conflict is amplified.  It wasn't enough that Jenny was skeptical of Claire and a little bit leery of her when she came back 20 years later.  No, they had Jenny go full-on shrew to the point where Ian had to say something to her .  Get ready to have Claire & Jocasta having a lot more conflict than there was in the books. 

 

Yeah. I am thinking those kinds of scenes would be like watching paint dry. They would NOT translate well to television --which is visual so the more action the better.

I watch this show to be entertained -- and generally I am. Since I haven't read any books except the fist one -- I have no expectations. I go with the flow. 

Bring on the conflict with Aunt Jocasta (<<<what a cool name I must say)

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Not surprised it looks like they're going to make Claire far more vigorously anti-slavery than she was in the book. In the book she was just uncomfortable with it and Jamie says to her at one point that he can just tell by her face that she doesn't like it and that's why they wouldn't keep the plantation. But there were some instances where she felt guilty for liking to be pampered and dressed by them too, and I KNEW they weren't going to have that shit onscreen. Brianna is even less conflicted about it when she shows up and it's mentioned that she gets used to having them there to do things for her. No way that's the case either, she'll probably be just as verbally against it as Claire.

Edited by ruby24.
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34 minutes ago, ruby24 said:

Not surprised it looks like they're going to make Claire far more vigorously anti-slavery than she was in the book. In the book she was just uncomfortable with it and Jamie says to her at one point that he can just tell by her face that she doesn't like it and that's why they wouldn't keep the plantation. But there were some instances where she felt guilty for liking to be pampered and dressed by them too, and I KNEW they weren't going to have that shit onscreen. Brianna is even less conflicted about it when she shows up and it's mentioned that she gets used to having them there to do things for her. No way that's the case either, she'll probably be just as verbally against it as Claire.

One of the most decent things Brianna does in the book is not let any of the slaves empty her chamber pot.  But everything else, yeah. 

Part of the issue might be that Jocasta was, relatively speaking, decent to the people she owned which probably made it easier to ignore the fact that she owned those people. 

I'm nervous about how this plays out during the season because I don't entirely trust the showrunners to find the right balance.  But I guess we'll see.

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10 minutes ago, toolazy said:

One of the most decent things Brianna does in the book is not let any of the slaves empty her chamber pot.  But everything else, yeah. 

Part of the issue might be that Jocasta was, relatively speaking, decent to the people she owned which probably made it easier to ignore the fact that she owned those people.  

I'm nervous about how this plays out during the season because I don't entirely trust the showrunners to find the right balance.  But I guess we'll see.

I really liked that Jamie (in the book) explained the complexities of the law and freeing slaves.  It frustrated Claire to learn that it wasn't as simple as just saying, "Sure, we can inherit the plantation and then just free everyone."  Wish it could have been that simple.

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You can't please all of the people all of the time. As you mentioned, there are plenty of places in these rather long books where day to day things happen. When you show some of that on air, you get the people who say an episode was too boring for them and they want action, action, action. Then you get the other side of the coin, where people complain that the show has Jamie and Claire constantly in peril and they wish for episodes where nothing like that happens. Just have a day in the life episode.

So, what should these writers do?

It's not a choice between scenes of monotonous table setting or scenes of Jamie getting the shit beat out of him week after week. It's not black and white. As I've stated, clearly you can have action and drama without it being a personal or physical tragedy to Jamie and Claire, specifically. It's not the case that if they weren't robbed, raped, kidnapped, beaten and molested every single episode there would be no story and they'd just be sitting around knitting. That's sort of a strawman argument. There's lots they can do with these characters that doesn't involve them getting beaten down, literally or figuratively - or both - time after time after time. They just never get a break. There can still be lots of excitement and drama without them losing all the time.

They've already been through the ringer and it's not as if they're living the life of Reilly but they had these jewels to sell and they had some money and they were on their way and BAM of course they lose it all in one violent, fell swoop. That's what I'm tired of - they never get a break.

Job had nothing on these two.

Edited by iMonrey.
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Claire swallowing the rings instead of handing it over to Asshole McBadwig is just such classic Claire. "You want my rings? Well SCREW YOU PULL IT OUTTA MY STOMACH DICK!" Its not a smart move, but swallowing her rings basically out of spite (or was it to get them back...later?) is such a Claire thing, in the best way possible. 

Another year of Outlander, and more trauma for Jaime and Claire! It really is out of the frying pan and into the fire with those two, all of the time. I just want them to get a break damn it! I know it wont happen (as yet MORE shit is about to go down) but its nice to imagine. They're chemistry is still wonderful, and it keeps me invested, no matter how depressing things get, and no matter how much the show always changes. 

With all the talk of American the Beautiful, I want to say that I like the new theme song a lot, and its American remix. It has a sort of blue grass vibe that seems very old time and nostalgic, and I dig it a lot. 

The scene between Young Ian and Jaime at the graveyard was actually my favorite part of the episode. It was really well acted, and it was nice to see how far Jamie has come in dealing with his past trauma. It is rather depressing that this kind of scene is basically inevitable in a show where almost every major character has been raped/almost raped/assaulted/molested at least once or twice. 

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So I just rewatched the first episode and as usual I missed so much when  I do that first 'power' watch.  Start to finish it was great.  I know everyone is talking 'bad' wigs but I see it differently.  Who really had good hair back then? That would be no one.  So the wigs are not as polished but why should they be and well that is OK.  I did make a comment about Jamie and Crew not having any weapons.  I do understand that any weapons for the Scots have been banned for so long but again that does not equate to not having common sense in not having something for protection.  So I don't get their lack of forethought in having something for protections.  S. Bonnet was charming and they let their guard down.  Hopefully they won't repeat that mistake again.  The chemistry between Claire and Jamie is spot on.  They belong together and I felt that during the entire episode.  As usual the song choices for any shows can make people really happy or not so much.  This was a great choice.  American the Beautiful.  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  PEACE

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A lot of people complained about the green screen used for the moving shoreline behind the barge set.  I never noticed it when I watched the first two times so I specifically looked for it when I watched again while listening to the podcast.  Honestly I don't know what people are going on about.  I thought it looked like they were really on the river.  The CGI shore looked fine.

Edited by WatchrTina.
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3 hours ago, GingerMarie said:

So I just rewatched the first episode and as usual I missed so much when  I do that first 'power' watch.  Start to finish it was great.  I know everyone is talking 'bad' wigs but I see it differently.  Who really had good hair back then? That would be no one.  So the wigs are not as polished but why should they be and well that is OK.  I did make a comment about Jamie and Crew not having any weapons.  I do understand that any weapons for the Scots have been banned for so long but again that does not equate to not having common sense in not having something for protection.  So I don't get their lack of forethought in having something for protections.  S. Bonnet was charming and they let their guard down.  Hopefully they won't repeat that mistake again.  The chemistry between Claire and Jamie is spot on.  They belong together and I felt that during the entire episode.  As usual the song choices for any shows can make people really happy or not so much.  This was a great choice.  American the Beautiful.  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  PEACE

I don't think people are complaining that their wigs/hair are messy or not polished. The problem is that they look very much like wigs, which takes people out of the story.  Unlike most people, it's really Claire's wigs that bug me.  Jamie's just look like his hair's a mess.  

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On ‎11‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 12:49 PM, MV713 said:

I think I am probably the only person NOT attracted to Jamie's chest.  I think it looks weird.

Since a bunch of people liked your post you are NOT alone! 

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