A Finale. My Fan Expectations Shattered.

I’ve spent the week since the Outlander Season One finale, pondering why I am so discontented over it.

I’ve said repeatedly in my writing and podcast, these are two different Outlander universes. We get to keep our book friends while experiencing and enjoying our screen friends.

I completely understand how adaptation works. Adding characters, shifting timelines, creating new storylines, broadening parts, having an actor’s hair, height, or eye color be different, does not have to be a big deal to the heart and path of the story.

So why if I know this, am I struggling with the focus, content, and ending to the season?

I was desperately trying to stick to my own advice, to separate the two universes, yet I cannot lie, the last episode was a deep letdown. So much so, I worry what the next seasons will look like. Will there be any semblance of what I and others so treasure and love?

This one thought keeps brimming to the surface as my mind will not quiet on the subject.

Since the show was first announced, book fans were assured the story was in good, capable, and understanding hands. Showrunner Ronald D. Moore repeatedly stated publicly to the existing fan base, that he promised (not exact quote) his longtime book fan wife and Head Costume Designer, Terry Dresbach, he would not mess up her book. The fact that half  the writers’ room team were avid fans as well forebode that this would translate into the screen version in essence faithfully.   Great news all around.

I cannot dare speak for all book fans, only for myself. I understood this to mean that the essence of these beloved characters, the relationship development, important events and key scenes would remain intact if at all possible.

I began to feel unease after the second half of the season started, though initially amazing, writers’ room concoctions began to take more screen time leaving less for the core relationship and story development.  Episodes were counting down with extensive material yet to cover. I pushed aside the reader worry, and kept the trust alive. I kept reminding myself what Ron said, what he promised, along with Diana Gabaldon’s assurances. I believed redemption would be had.

My first viewing of To Ransom A Man’s Soul left me utterly shocked and angry. I could not take off my reader goggles no matter how I tried.

Is that really it? Is that all? Wait, wait, what?

The next viewing, I had more success taming my inner book fan and reviewed it strictly on what I saw on-screen, negating my foreknowledge. The third and fourth viewings, simply left me in a quandary of dissatisfaction.

But why? I can see an adaptation for what it is an enjoy it. Why not this instance?

Since I could not make peace, I allowed my reader goggles back on and pondered all these days off and on. I critically thought it through. Still I found no comfort.

The heart and spirit of the material was watered down. Claire appears more fragile and weaker than she is. Her digging deep into the supernatural, pushing herself to the brink of her own limitations, expressing a fierce love toward Jamie in necessary fashion was truncated and diminished.  Her strength where he had none lacked follow through.

Jamie’s healing is cruelly shortchanged. The powerful love they share that binds forever who they are together, is a mere spark of what it ought to be. Jamie had saved Claire from certain death. This was her chance to pull him from darkness, to champion his body and very soul. He didn’t get to fight back and win his freedom through Claire pretending to be BJR. She did not get to push him to healing and wholeness. The emphasis was on the darkness with a passing nod at ransoming Jamie’s soul.

My heart beats hollow. Our beloved friends seem glancing imitations of who they should be at the end of this episode.

I kept thinking that even without complete restoration of soul and spirit, and knowing there would be no hot bath scene, surely, there would be an intimate, passionate reclaiming of each other through sex as healing medicine. If not, then a deeply connected time of conversation, holding of each other, sharing, crying, nurturing scene of healing. Nope wrong again.

Instead an unnecessary beach scene with Willie, Angus, and Rupert saying goodbye to Claire and Murtagh while Jamie sat in the row boat occurs. Then once on board a lackluster and almost impersonal exchange between Claire and Jamie on the ship’s public deck ending with her blurting out she is pregnant. They are left without virtually any individual and relationship structural reinforcement.

Deer in headlights. THAT’s the end. What just happened? I never ever saw that coming.

Bottom line, I feel terribly misled by the powers that be by the continued assurances, by the promise not to mess it up for book fans. I trusted fully. Shame on me for taking it at face value. I take responsibility for my lapse into the Pollyanna. Right or wrong my feelings and interpretation along the way.

I say write a great adaptation,give us excellent storytelling, and incredible acting. Defend and own your new vision without inferring the core will remain.  Please don’t sell me something that you know will not delivered upon.

Feeling cleansed and purged, I’ve now little expectation of what is to come in Season Two or down the road. Like other adaptations, Outlander is venturing down alternate unknown paths.  In all truthfulness, that is quite fine with me. Now that my rose-colored glasses of expectation are in the trash, I will be able to watch with no interference from the Outlander bookverse no matter what any power that be says. One harsh reckoning for this book fan and in the end needed to break any ties to the written word.

I end this no longer grieving how Season One ended. I am a clean slate sailing away with television Jamie and Claire. I’m ready for whatever comes our Outlander way.


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83 thoughts on “A Finale. My Fan Expectations Shattered.

  1. Leslie says:

    Hey, Des. You expressed my thoughts, sadness and misgivings for the future of the series as well. So glad to know I am not alone in this. My daughter also has the same feelings about it as we do. Well done. I will be curious to see if I can stay with it for the next series.


  2. Des, I’m so sorry you feel this way. I know how excited you were. I had my own issues with episodes and wrote about it of course. I guess after reflection, I’ m falling closer to the idea they are telling a good story just not exactly the way I would have told it…at times. Other parts they have told far above my expectations and imaginings. I read a post early on from a woman who said she realized very quickly that the show was not her book and never could be and she just quit watching because ” it was just another TV show”. As far as the writers go. I think they believe they have given us the spirit of he story and J & C. How do you argue with someone’s vision? I don’t feel duped just a bit wistful for what I’m missing from the book. Wonderful blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. stajeldin says:

    I also had a hard time with last episode. It was hard to see the book here but this has happened to me before. I was in love with Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series turned HBO True Bood. I had to leave the books behind if I wanted to enjoy the TV show. I still have Diana’s books and my favorite passages marked which I have read over and over. I guess it’s time toes e Claire and Jamie’s story behind. They will try but time constraints will prevent them from telling our story . Love your commentary! Sara Tajeldin

    Sent from my iPod


    • Ah, books and show were a disappointment to me. Des knows how I felt about True Blood. The show lost it’s way because it strayed too far from the book. I went into Outlander thinking I was not going to let changes bother me. I don’t think Outlander will stray.


  4. Mary Beth says:

    I appreciate your blog. I was so excited to watch the OL series and have enjoyed much of it, yet my experience and feelings are very similar to yours. After the finale, it took me quite awhile to process my experience and move past my disappointment. Ultimately, I decided to try not to dwell on it and enjoy Droughtlander. When Season 2 rolls around, I too will watch with tempered expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Getting it all out is therapeutic huh? As I said in DM, I missed the fight scene between Jamie and Claire. Sam and Cait were so good, I wanted to see the fight scene play out and then have hard core ‘get the memory of BJR out of my mind’. Body and Soul! I am just glad I have been down this adaptation road before.


    • Very true. But b/c there was so much added that wasn’t in the book, I believe the quality of the J/C relationship suffered. Honestly? I didn’t see enough of Claire’s regard for Jamie to believe that she would leave behind Frank, the man she was trying so very hard to get home to (and was spanked b/c she disobeyed orders), and run off with this other man. It’s not Sam & Cait; it’s the lack of time and the lack of evidence that her heart was changing toward him. They did very well…with what they were given.

      And now I realize why I was disappointed with the scene at Lallybroch where Jamie told Claire he loved her…b/c it came off as lackluster b/c there hadn’t been the buildup needed to really sell it. JMO of course.


      • Cary says:

        I agree with your opinion. Have been talking recently with some non-book reading fans of the show and they were all of the opinion that Claire tried to go back to Frank at the stones but couldn’t. Sad, isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aj says:

        I can’t get my Economics professor’s lesson out of my head. Perhaps the first or second class, he was explaining the concept of Opportunity Cost.

        In a thick accent he said something along the lines of:

        “it’s not the bang you get for your buck…it’s what else you could have potentially spent that buck on and what you lose by not doing so.”

        I thought the Frank and BJR sections were well done in particular. The search, parts of the watch, and others a little less so.

        I would have preferred that they invested a few more of their “bucks” on J and C instead of any of the above.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with your opinion. Have been talking recently with some non-book reading fans of the show and they were all of the opinion that Claire tried to go back to Frank at the stones but couldn’t. Sad, isn’t it?

        Seriously Cary?!? Oh wow. If people thought this then they REALLY dropped the ball. I think if they’d shown more scenes that would’ve made people believe that it was Jamie that made her WANT to stay (and not that she couldn’t go through the stones) than it would’ve been that much better. UGH.


      • That scene was so important, because it was the point where Jamie and Claire’s relationship took the last step from “I’m stuck with you, but you’re kinda hot, so I’ll make the best of it” to “I choose you, forever.” I feel like the people who have read the books were cheated because we didn’t get to see that evolution played out on screen, and that the people who have only seen the series were cheated because they didn’t get to see it, at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Robin says:

    I love the show. I think they are doing an incredible job with it.

    That being said, I acknowledge there ARE deficiencies, and they can be layed squarely with the network on which it airs. STARZ isn’t giving the show enough room to do the story justice. Season One would have been better served with, at a minimum, eighteen episodes, although twenty-two episodes (which is the norm) would have been ideal.

    Now, Season Two is only getting twelve episodes for Dragonfly in Amber, which is a much longer, more intricate story. I don’t see how it can be told in only twelve episodes, although I have no doubt Ron Moore will do the absolute best he can under such unreasonable time constraints. And I will watch because Sam, Catriona and Tobias are mesmerising on screen, and the show is worth watching just for them alone.

    Between the inadequate number of episodes, the way STARZ keeps screwing around with the schedule of the show (a six month hiatus in the middle of a season? really…?), and with no word on when Season Two will start, it’s as if STARZ is out to purposely make the show fail. I can’t account for any other reason why they would so purposely treat the show and its fans so badly.

    I hope, despite STARZ’s efforts to sabotage it, that the show DOESN’T fail, because even with its faults, it’s still the best thing on TV.


    • Ah….most of STARZ shows get 10 episodes for a season – in that OL is still ahead of things. Maril commented about that. I don’t think any show gets 21 or 22 episodes anymore. Also can’t quite square your idea that STARZ is trying to shoot the show down – you don’t pour the amount of money they have into advertising and gala premiers for a show you want to have tank. The show will do fine as long as it has enough fans to make money for Sony/STARZ


      • Liz says:

        To agree with Ryan – yes, only network shows have anything like 20-22 episodes per season. Premium channels like Starz & HBO typically only give shows about a dozen eps. There were changes I didn’t love (mainly RDM’s choice to completely eliminate the sci-fi element, BOO) but I still think we, as book fans, are incredibly lucky to get the show we did. I wish they hadn’t played up that “promise” either – I was immediately skeptical and suspected it was to assuage devoted book fans’ panic that it wouldn’t be done right so the show would have a chance. That said, I think they’ve done it justice overall. I’v had to get over that their vision is not my vision and appreciate it for what it is. Season 2 *only* getting 12 episodes I suspect may have more to do with actors’ filming schedules & other commitments.


  7. Des – I’m so sorry you have been disappointed with the show. I’m so pleased though with how you have expressed that and made positive statements moving forward. I hope you can begin to enjoy it for the entity it IS separate from the books.


  8. Natalie says:

    I have read all the books many times, and am totally enjoying the show. Yes, some things are missing but, as Ron and Diana have said many times, budgets and time just do not allow for everything to be in the show that are in the books. I am just so happy to finally see my favorite books come to life on the screen. I hope everyone can damp down their expectations and just enjoy the show. It seems that people I know who have not read the books are really in love with the show – the acting, story, costumes, sets, scenery.


  9. Elaine says:

    I have also been a huge fan of the books and have, and am, reread them several times. I decided after the last episode that we are watching a series about Johnny and Clarice. If I look at it that way I can enjoy the episodes. If not I want to scream. The acting is superb but it’s became less and less MY Outlander as the season progressed. I’ll keep watching because it is a good story and is very well done but it’s not my story and it could have been with more judicious timing. Ah well, I still have the books, aye?


  10. I also agree with you. There was a promise not kept. I, too, waited out the filler episodes. Yes, enjoyable. But I would have given them up gladly to have had scenes that developed Claire and Jamie’s relationship per the book.

    The finale could have worked. Certainly, the sadism and destruction of Jamie by Randall were a success. The production’s error was the lack of balance. Ok, we lost the hot springs! That was fine. But to have Claire’s true ransoming of Jamie to be so short changed??? How could Ron et al have thought that was the place to abridge the content of the story. To take us down that degradation and then not give full time and value to Claire’s struggle to bring Jamie back? I don’t get it. I don’t understand how Ron and the writers could have made this choice. Did they not understand the true climax of the whole book?


  11. “Bottom line, I feel terribly misled by the powers that be by the continued assurances, by the promise not to mess it up for book fans. I trusted fully. Shame on me for taking it at face value. I take responsibility for my lapse into the Pollyanna. Right or wrong my feelings and interpretation along the way.

    I say write a great adaptation,give us excellent storytelling, and incredible acting. Defend and own your new vision without inferring the core will remain. Please don’t sell me something that you know will not delivered upon.”

    What you said.

    In recent interviews/twitter convo’s Ron Moore and Terry Dresbach have stated what their perceptions of the Outlander story are. In one interview Ron has said that the scene that made him know he wanted to produce Outlander was Jamie’s rape scene. He did not even mention the second part of that – Claire’s healing of Jamie’s trauma. Terry has said that she sees Outlander as Claire’s story. She doesn’t see it as primarily a great love story. They both seem to see Frank as a much more major character than I ever did, in fact it seems they may see him as equal to Jamie in Claire’s life. So there is the explanation of what we are seeing on screen. They are staying true to the story as THEY see it. They told us that from the beginning, but unfortunately we were missing the details of how they saw it. That’s where the miscommunication happened.

    Like you, I wish I had known this going in. Would I have given the show a chance? Yes. Would I have watched all of season 1? Yes. But more importantly…I wouldn’t have felt blindsided over being misled that I would be seeing the love story of Jamie and Claire. I would have been spared the frustration and disappointment that culminated in Episode 116.

    Like you I now understand that we are in Outlander Alternate universe. S2 will be like watching a brand new unknown show and I understand that I may or may not find it to be my cup of tea. I will keep an open mind because I love Sam and Cait and the cinematography and the costumes and the music.

    And I’m actually happy there will be a long time before we see S2. That will give me time to get over S1 and approach it as a fresh new unknown show. They have the talent to wow me with the new story they want to tell, and I truly hope they do so now that I have absolutely no preconceived expectations of what I will be seeing.


      • I am so glad I found this blog. I have been feeling very down and very alone in my reactions to the 2nd half of Outlander. I have been reluctant to say too much online because I have seen the reactions from some fans to anyone who has presumed to question the series direction. Beth Wesson’s blog is one place I did find that was accepting of rational discussion and critiques of the show but that was about it. Even there many were very rah rah about the show. It really helps knowing that others feel the same as I do and being able to express my feelings without being tarred and feathered! 😉

        Right now I feel like I need to re-read Outlander just to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Then by next year I hope to be able to move on to watch and enjoy the “Inspired by” version of the story, knowing ahead of time that I won’t be seeing the Jamie and Claire story I love. it’s still hard for me to believe that anyone can put down that story. How rare is it for books to address the story of a marriage after the happy ever after? That may not be a wham bang boom action story, but there are so of those out there and that story is very unique and special. That’s the one I had hoped to see.


    • Barb, thanks so much for putting into words, what I’ve felt and didn’t know how to say. Seeing the Twitter Q&A after the finale finally put it all into perspective. There were also other tweets that didn’t make it into this summary. From what I read, for Terry, Outlander is not a love story, it’s a story about Claire and the man she loves. Ron has said all along he didn’t want to mess up his wife’s favorite story. So, as you said, they are staying true to the story as THEY see it.

      Everybody has a unique experience when reading a story, silly me to think that everyone would think this is a love story about Jamie and Claire. Glad we cleared that misunderstanding up, just wish I had known that at the beginning of the season instead of at the end, after the finale.

      I love Sam and Cait, I’ve enjoyed what they’ve done with Murtaugh and Willie’s character. There’s so many changes they’ve made in this story that I’ve enjoyed (some that I haven’t, but let’s stay positive), great costumes, music, cinematography. As you say, I just need to go into S2 with no expectations.

      Thank you, Des, for sharing your thoughts and your positive outlook on how to go forward. I think we need a group hug.


  12. Lauren says:

    Les, and fellow bloggers, I can’t find the words that truly say how I feel, but I will give it my best shot. Les, you’ve come the closest, because you’re “calm” and not yelling at the TV as I did starting after the hiaitus in the middle of the season.

    They (RDM, Diana, Tall Ships, etc) all talk about time constraints, and other things as to why certain things can’t get in the show. I’m still scratching my head as to why Horrocks came back and took up an episode. He took up an episode!!!

    One of the best things from the book is when J takes C to the Stones, and when she doesn’t go back, he says to her, “I prayed to God that I’d have the strength and courage to let you go.” That takes what, 10 seconds? 15? You can’t fit one of the most powerful likes in the book in the show?

    When they aired episode 9 after the break, I knew “Outlander” was over. I knew the book was no longer what we were going to get. We were going to get what someone ELSE wanted, regardless. WHOAH! Eye-opener! And that’s how it stayed.

    In episodes 15 & 16, I had more “happiness” if you will with those two episodes than 9-14 combined, but I also had serious issues with them. They did a wonderful job of showing the emotional destruction of the rape. Those in charge cheated US out of everything that happens at the Abbey, and I do mean everything, because what happened there didn’t happen in the book – or they were there, and not given their due. Claire’s rebirth after her deep soul searching and having her grow and develop. Gone. Poof. That doesn’t matter. Jamie’s deep emotional fighting. There. No doubt. Claire going into the darkenss with him…yeah, that wasn’t even a Reader’s Digest* version.

    On an even MORE serious note, if you’ve ever been raped or sexually assaulted, the lack of showing what it takes to put your life back together as much as possible, or to even really TRY was attrotious. I’ve been down that road, and several of my friends who have ALSO been down that road, but HAVEN’T read the books, found themselves calling me and cussing me out because now they’ve relapsed themselves, felt violated all over again and are still “shaky”. I can’t say as I’m far from that, and I READ the books and survived a sexual assault.

    I was extremely dissatisfied and FURIOUS with the time spent on Jamie’s rape, and the lack of the reckoning with himself and with Claire. No words.

    Diana made a comment a couple of weeks ago to the readers: Put. The. Book. Down. it’s an adaptation. She should have followed the Put the book down with it’s no longer the story I wrote. I’m handing it off to others to make up a new story.

    I don’t think I’ll be watching Season 2. As far as I’m concerned DG’s book ended in episode 8 of season 1. I have no clue what I’ve been watching since then. Very very VERY disappointed.


    • Aj says:

      I think similar to you Lauren, I had 2 expectations going in to the show:

      1. A dramatic return to the stones
      2. A satisfying aftermath of Wentworth/The Abbey

      I felt that I could put down the book and still enjoy the story even with departures/additions if these elements were done well enough.

      However, after these 2 significant elements were so botched, I am feeling a bit disappointed in the series as a whole in terms of writing and character development.

      Did I read a different book?


  13. Conny says:

    Thank you for your -very brave- assessment, I wholeheartedly concur. IMO, after the break the show started straying more and more from the book, unnecessarily so, changing character traits for no apparent reason , wasting precious screen time for a lenthy search e.g. which would have been better put to use for “the stones-scene” and healing at the end. My expectations plummetet for good when DG saw fit to warn the fans in advance that the last eps would not at all be like the book to prevent the storm of protest that was sure to come. Too bad, it would have been so easy to do so much better by staying with an already perfect storyline. Judging by the ratings, the last 2 eps were not as well received as they want people to believe and they already had lost a lot of viewers due to the break.I cannot say if this bodes well for a possible S3, perhaps it sells well enough in the other countries to justify the immense production costs.
    And so I fear for S2, as Ron already teased to give his fav actor Tobias more screen time- which means straying even more.


    • I think it’s telling that since Ep.116 Terry D has been on Twitter several times defending what they are doing with the show. So has DG to an extent. They say that “the majority of fans are non readers” (where is that statistic coming from BTW?) and “readers alone aren’t a large enough fan base to support a show.” 25 million worldwide book readers are not enough fans to support a show? Really? Then why did they make such a concerted effort to woo the book fans and why are they now trying to keep them in line behind the show? If book readers are so negligible why not just ignore them? Why have they said to the fans that they shouldn’t be honest about expressing their dissatisfaction with the show online because it could lead to cancellation? At the same time they say that they are not worried about viewer drop off because even though “some will leave, more will start watching”. Huh?

      Clearly they have gotten the message that there are more than a few fans who see the story differently than they do and who are unhappy about where they have taken the story. I don’t believe it will change anything about what they plan to do – RDM has made that very clear. But they are concerned. with possible viewer drop off. So their alternative is to to use the (implied) threat of cancellation to try to keep the book fans quiet, while continuing to try to push them and cajole them into accepting what they are doing. Many will go along and accept it while rationalizing why they are doing so. That’s not for me to criticize. That is what works for them.

      Personally ,I like the idea of admitting that it is a different story and then selling it on it’s own merits. Truth in labeling. Admit you’re writing your own version. Call it “Inspired by” not “Adapted from.” If I buy what is labeled Chocolate ice cream and when I take a bite I find out it’s Hazelnut I’m going to be upset. Not because I dislike Hazelnut, but because that wasn’t what I thought I was buying. But if the store said “We don’t have Chocolate but you might like Hazelnut instead” and I bought it, I would be okay with it because I knew what was I was buying up front. My choice wasn’t taken from me by misleading advertising. Because, maybe, I don’t like Hazelnut and would have chosen Strawberry instead.

      That’s all. Respect your viewers intelligence and don’t try to sell them a bill of goods. Have enough confidence in your own vision to let the viewers know and choose what they are buying in to,and then wow them with what you have done and make them want more of it.

      I’m giving them a chance to do that in S2 and I hope they come through.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Laurie says:

    I initially had similar thoughts about the finale. I knew there would be no hot spring scene, but expected there would be something similar, some scene to re-establish their connection. I thought we would end up at the same emotional place that the book ended in, and I don’t feel that we got that. However, I now think that we weren’t meant to.

    My expectation was that we were still going to get from A to Z in the course of the episode, just with the intermediate letters a bit changed. And, upon watching, I didn’t feel like Z was earned. I thought “How on earth are we to believe that Jamie and Claire have reconnected and she has healed him after one conversation, a tentative hug, and a somewhat awkward talk on the boat?” But now I don’t think we’re supposed to believe that we’ve gotten there yet.

    There was not enough time to portray Jamie’s horrific experience at Wentworth AND a thorough treatment of his way back to Claire. So instead, we got the horrific experience and the beginning of his way back to Claire. I don’t think we got to Z, and the writers know it. I don’t think they meant viewers to take the Jamie/Claire scenes in the last part of the finale as a complete healing and reconnection. I think they meant to show us the first tentative steps back toward each other. They got Jamie past the point where he can’t look at Claire or let her touch him, and he’s shared the thing he’s most ashamed of. And he’s to the point where he can believe in a future for him, and them together, with their child. But that’s as far as the finale took him, and us. He, and they, didn’t get as far in their healing as they did by the last page of the book, and I think Ron and the writers are well aware of that. In the book, the last chapters took us from A to Z. The show could not and did not get us all the way there. I trust that Z is coming in Season 2.

    Of course, I could be wrong, and I’ll have to eat my words next Spring, but I’m choosing to have faith in this very experienced production team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve very eloquent and bright readers. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your feedback. Once I posted the piece,I knew immediately it filed a gap in what had been previously written. Others saw their own voice being heard.


    • Azi says:

      Great comment. This is similar to what I said, which is that RDM and Team clearly opted for an “un-ending,” so that the story line can proceed into the next season. If there was a sense of “completion” about Season 1, then why would a viewer want to see Season 2? I think the writers were smart for it, although I wish the farewell scene had been shorter (or not there at all). All on all, the adaptation is pretty intriguing and the visuals are stunning.


      • I think they were very unwise. It’s sort of limped off into the ocean. And the end of outlander should stand on its own each has a distinct sort of season. At least in my mind


    • Laurie, here is an interview where Diana explains just what you’re saying
      And I just found this interview with Cait and Tom O’Neil where Cait hints a little about the healing (Yay, there’s hope, but I’m still keeping those expectations tamped down, realizing it will be different from the book)
      This was the best news I’ve heard all week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, Colleen, those were both wonderful interviews, especially the one with Diana. Thanks ever so much for posting them.


      • Laurie says:

        Thanks, Colleen! I saw those interviews, too, and felt reassured. I am more convinced then ever (ha ha – “ever” being these past two weeks) that me may yet get some of those emotional beats that many of us felt were missing from the season finale.

        Like everyone else, I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve come to believe that there is just no way we were meant to believe that Jamie is whole again. Putting Ron aside, Sam and Cait are both talented enough to portray that very convincingly if they wanted to or were directed to. If we were meant to see a renewed connection, we would have. Instead, Jamie’s arm around Claire’s back was very tentative. Their interaction on the boat was stilted. As a viewer, I was longing to feel that strong intimacy between them, and was so disappointed that I didn’t. But maybe that longing is exactly what we were meant to feel, because that’s how Jamie and Claire are feeling at this point: longing to get that connection and intimacy back, but knowing it can’t be fixed in the snap of a finger.

        In that interview, when asked about what they’re filming now, Cait describes Claire and Jamie being on a “complicated” and “difficult” journey, both trying to get past what happened and “find a new normal” and the *two of them* “figuring out a way to heal properly”. She specifically mentions her appreciation that the writers “have stayed with that story and let it continue”.

        I know that there is a LOT of ground to cover, plot-wise, in the second season, so I don’t think for a second we’ll get even one episode devoted solely to the restoration of Jamie and Claire’s relationship. I anticipate a series of scenes scattered throughout the first episodes that show the progress they’re making toward each other. I really hope some of those scenes will include nightmares for Jamie, crying together, etc. And, because this show has never shied away from portraying the intense sexual connection between these two, I can’t imagine that they won’t show us the journey back to that as well. Again, I could be wrong, and I may be disappointed. I can guarantee it won’t be like what I’m imagining in my head, but I will go into it without expecting it to be.


      • Racquel Morgan says:

        Why do you think they are adding an ex-girlfriend of Jamie’s in France? For some reason I never think of their story as one of distrust between them; devotion , love, disagreements, and a good working relation. Throwing in Frank scenes and adding Jamie’s ex, just doesn’t seem very DIA. I’ m rereading Voyager right now . Now I’m getting worried, are they going to keep Jamie and Claire apart for most of that season (if we get it) or go right to discovering him. And reunion.


    • lmmerrill says:

      Laurie – I completely agree with you. Due to filming constraints, the producers made the decision put the Abbey in Scotland. As such, they were all still in great danger of being found by the British. So, the Abbey of the book – which was amazing, lovely, lyrical, spiritual, brutal and ultimately healing – took place over several months because they had no limits on their time there. The Abbey scenes in the show took place over 2-3 weeks probably, in order to evade re-capture. So, Jamie’s healing had only just begun – at least he was no longer trying to kill himself – and they had to set sail. I think showing the scene where he’s crouched in the row boat looking very unwell while Claire & Murtagh take their leave of the MacKenzie boys – while a bit silly – actually highlighted for me how much further Jamie still had to go. And I think I’ve heard commentary that we will be seeing the after effects of the rape well into the next season. I think Des’ point about this not being “her” Outlander is valid. However, the books belong to all readers (including Teri and Ron) and as such, there are different perspectives. So, many believe it’s solely a love story between Jamie and Claire and that’s completely legitimate. But many others – and I am one – believe it’s Claire’s story – of which a part is her love for Jamie, part is her past (and future) with Frank (and I appreciated the fleshed out Frank scenes), part is her indomitable spirit, her healing powers, her complex nature, her modern woman in a decidedly un-modern world, her spirituality, her motherhood, etc, etc. For me personally, the book is all those things – they all serve Claire’s story, and so too does Jamie.


  15. Mary Jo says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your review, For lack of a more articulate way of saying it, I just kept feeling that the ‘heart’ of the story was missing. I never got the inner struggle Jamie was having ‘burning’ for her touch but unable to get over his shame. And you are so right about the show making Claire look weak—having to be told by Murtagh that someone needed to go into the darkness with him????? The beach scene was horrible with the pitiful attempt at at humor. And my biggest problem with the episode was that they made it appear that Jamie’s healing came with hearing that Claire was pregnant. NO! That is such a cop-out to showing the complexity of this healing! I cannot stop watching because tenuous as it is, it is a connection to the books I love and I do love Cait and Sam and want them to be Claire and Jamie. But my husband and daughter watch the show and I constantly find myself apologizing and and saying ‘the books are so much better’ and ‘this nonsense didn’t happen in the books’


  16. Your reaction mirrors my own in most regards – and I did not read the book until after final episode. So, simply taken aback rather than misled, my non reader reaction agrees that the salvaging of Jamie’s soul was poorly done and almost trite after the gravity given to its destruction. I wasn’t aware of how it was handled in the book I just knew it needed more. After reading it still doesn’t matter to me how the show provided more, sourced from book or not. Even a few minutes taken from the scenes you describe as unnecessary (I agree) would have allowed for more discussion of what was demolished – what the book describes as the small place that holds your essence or soul, that Jamie needs physical/emotional release of experiencing resisting Randall to start to begin to regain his. Also, portrayal of more time elapse during the monastary period of his recovery would have helped a lot. It’s always simply the start, to regain his essence not yet whole self.
    All show statements say that recovery will continue in season 2 but they already lost the crucial moment. So we’ll see.
    Just like you, even from POV of show fan only, I’m not sure how much I trust show’s choices. I wasn’t crazy about how they seemed to drop main relationship development almost completely after return to Lallybrook. I don’t mean Claire and Jamie in a bubble, but where were they? Almost whiplash after intensity of Claire’s reveal and general rise in commitment level in previous episode. The I love yous in window were lovely, not much more. Fantastic actors added in those episodes but not all story lines.
    Again, like you, somehow I’m still looking forward to next season. I love the characters and entire cast so far is wonderful, I have seen the show at its best and hope it gets there again.
    Note: not much can take away from the absolutely extraordinary performances in the finale, my complaint is solely what the actors are given to work with in the short time allotted to healing.


    • Thanks for the link; it’s very interesting and I would have replied there, but I can’t figure out how to. I wish Ron, the other writers, and the producers could read what you said. It might make a difference. I’d also like to see what Diana thinks of what you said. She claims to be satisfied with the adaptation, but I wonder if secretly she doesn’t share some of your concerns.

      It’s unfortunate that the bad outweighs the good for you to the extent that you won’t watch anymore. You must be dreadfully disappointed in even the good things if you’re willing to cut off the nose to spite the face like this. While I have been disappointed at times (mainly with the second half), the good outweighs the bad for me so I would never dream of leaving.

      Kudos to you for such an in-depth, to-the-point analysis though.


  17. Diana McGrew says:

    I no longer think of it as particularly Outlander, once I realized that it was and interpretation not an adaptation..I think of it as Claire and the 7 Scots..with Sam as the Prince..did not love “search” or “watch” and we got double dose of rape & brutality so no time left for love and redemption (i.e. the pool)..just love S.H.’s performance since #1, but as D.G. suggested, I have put the books behind me!


  18. Azi says:

    Great blog, and thanks for writing it. Your perspective does capture the emotional dilemma that so many readers experienced. Where is the soul-deep, heart pounding depth that was loud and clear in the book? Where is the healing, and even cathartic, cleansing of Jamie and Claire in the gorgeous hot spring, which afforded this damaged and weakened couple to heal and strengthen? I feel your pain. However, I see that with the trajectory of the season and with SO MUCH to cover, there was no way that Ron and Team could address it all and, logistically, the writers needed to create an “un-ending” so that viewers would ask questions and come back to future seasons of the show. What will happen next? Dismissing our understandingfrom the book, new eyes would likelylove that season ending becauseit indicates a time and spacial distance from Jamie’s pain and torture. Overall, while I might have found a few more things to add to the finale, I believe “non-bookers” probably find those final scenes with the farewells and the boat to be cathartic. And in that regard, I’d say “mission accomplished” to Ron Moore and the directors and writers! We may just keep our show due to these tough screen adaptations!


  19. Azi says:

    Great blog, and thanks for writing it. Your perspective does capture the emotional dilemma that so many readers experienced. Where is the soul-deep, heart pounding depth that was loud and clear in the book? Where is the healing, and even cathartic, cleansing of Jamie and Claire in the gorgeous hot spring, which afforded this damaged and weakened couple to heal and strengthen? I feel your pain. However, I see that with the trajectory of the season and with SO MUCH to cover, there was no way that Ron and Team could address it all and, logistically, the writers needed to create an “un-ending” so that viewers would ask questions and come back to future seasons of the show. What will happen next? Dismissing our understanding from the book, new eyes would likely love that season ending because it indicates a time and spacial distance from Jamie’s pain and torture. Overall, while I might have found a few more things to add to the finale, I believe “non-bookers” probably find those final scenes with the farewells and the boat to be cathartic. And in that regard, I’d say “mission accomplished” to Ron Moore and the directors and writers! We may just keep our show due to these tough screen adaptations!


  20. Racquel Morgan says:

    I loved reading your most recent review. I do agree with most of what you’ve stated.

    Sam mentioned in an interview I just read that, after his huge smile of being happy over the baby, his look of concern was deliberate. When I read that Jamie will still have effects from his torture and rape that will affect his and Claire’s relationship, is that why they are bringing in more gratuitous Frank scenes or does that refer to the BJR duel? I just finished rereading DIA, Frank isn’t really necessary until Voyager. Just because RDM likes Frank is not a reason to stick him in the show.

    I was disappointed with the amount of time spent on the BJR and Jamie scenes and the lack of time on Jamie and Claire’s healing. Even when she did that whole bit with the lavender, why didn’t she stay in BJR character instead of talking as Claire? I think that ruined the whole concept and would have brought a better closure. I did love ending on the boat. My biggest disappointment of the show was the lack of Jamie and Claire intimacy. I’m not talking porn, but the strengthening of their relationship and the fun they share as written by Diana.

    I know I’ve stated this before but I did enjoy the show. Many parts disappointed me and many absolutely enthralled me. As long as the main theme remains, as I see it, Jamie and Claire’s togetherness and connection makes them whole and they work as a team, although they each can function, to a degree, separetly, then I can be a happy camper. I would also like a less than 20 yr separation. I still can’t see them with an I-don’t-know-how-old actress play their 20 yr old daughter and I don’t want to see them in laughable aging makeup.

    Thanks again. Hope you have a new podcast soon!



  21. I agree with much of what you said.

    It seemed to me that during the second half of the season the writers failed to grasp what was important to the story and stuck in a lot of totally unnecessary material instead. They could have filmed more of the actual story by shortening Claire and Murtagh’s endless wandering from town to town in “The Search” and eliminated that ridiculous bit with Angus on the beach….among many other changes I’d make.

    I have the same feeling as most others that Jamie’s healing was severely short changed in the final episode. That could have been avoided somewhat if Starz had agreed to a two-hour finale. I’m really surprised that Ron, Diana, somebody didn’t fight for that. But maybe they did and lost. So sad for the fans.


  22. Yes, I suppose so, but I don’t think he’d have been against having a two-hour finale if Starz would have allowed it. Biggest mistake Ron’s made, in my opinion. I can’t believe Diana was very happy about it either.


  23. Tricia says:

    I am so glad I found kindred spirits here that. I stuck with the show until “Ransom…” , but came away from that episode stunned. When I explained to my DH how it plays out in the book, he agreed and said he thought they definitely made poor choices. I will continue to watch, but will no longer champion the show.


  24. Lauren says:

    Dram, I think this is as much as, if not more Terri’s vision. I know his name is on as the executive producer, but he’s doing this “for her”, and with Terri doing the clothes (which ARE fantastic), I think that’s where her business needs to end, and let the producer produce. I know I sound trivial, and in the end it doesn’t even matter, but I put more of this furiousness on Terri for twisting her husband. IMHO.


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