Outlander: Surrender   Books Included 
September 17, 2017 4:23 PM - Season 3, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Hiding in a cave, Jamie leads a lonely life until Lallybroch is threatened by redcoats pursing the elusive Jacobite traitor. In Boston, Claire and Frank struggle to coexist in a marriage haunted by the ghost of Jamie.
posted by olinerd (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Having not read the books, it's really unclear where any of this is going. It's still reasonably engaging, and certainly very watchable, I just have a sense of like... why is this still a show? It feels like we reached the natural conclusion of the story and have just kind of kept going out of momentum but no real direction. I'm sure it'll get clearer as things go on here.

Honestly it seems like Jamie should probably have taken Fergus and gone to exile in France a while back. That would probably have been too sensible for him though. This current plan does not seem like a strong one.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:28 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


This episode makes it really clear that they are trying to make Frank more of a good guy, and I don't like it. Where's the scene where Frank gets mad because she didn't put on a nice dress and some makeup? Where he is following her all over like a sad puppy and sex is initiated by him? I feel like Diana Gabaldon's view of Frank was actually predicting some feminist critiques of even Nice Guys, and I'm disappointed to have them gone.
posted by corb at 11:09 PM on September 17


Raise your hand if you supplied all of Jamie's bearded non-dialog as "YARP" or "NARP" ala Hot Fuzz.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:37 AM on September 18 [6 favorites]


I have to say I'm struggling with how they're doing this season narratively, versus the books. There was so much tension and excitement in the books with the flashback model for Claire's timeline where she, Roger, and Brianna are trying to "find" Jamie in history and then she goes into her memories of her life with Frank after her return. I'm not feeling the tension, I guess, is the problem right now, even though as a book reader I do know what payoff is coming.

And yeah they are making Frank *way* too sympathetic.

Sam Heughan did a hell of a job as DunbonnetJamie - body language, facial expressions (under the beard), etc. The guy is just a really fucking good actor.
posted by olinerd at 6:05 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


I watched both this season's episodes yesterday (of all times to go on vacation, I pick Outlander premiere week! GREAT JOB) and I really liked them back to back, but had the feeling that you all would be impatient with it and that I will also grow impatient with it over the next few. I have this experience with SyFy's adaptation of The Expanse, too. It takes too long! Get to the good stuff!

I actually like what they're doing with Frank, though, compared with sucky BookFrank. Tobias Menzies is a gem and I'm sure that's part of why they're making him a more sympathetic character than Gabaldon does in the books, but I also think the show's narrative structure makes their relationship a lot easier to grok. I've always found the Voyager flashbacks of Claire & Frank's marriage frustratingly opaque; the show is making it much more coherent. We see them trying to put the past behind them, having angry and confused times, finally facing acceptance that their marriage will essentially be a child-rearing partnership. I'm certain Frank is going to have an affair with Millie soon and that will create some tension and maybe ShowFrank will start to suck more. But if he doesn't, that's okay. I always felt Frank's shittiness was a weak point in the books and I'm okay with him not being as shitty on TV.
posted by something something at 6:36 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Also: I was annoyed they took the "I haven't done this in a very long time"/"Neither have I" exchange from Claire and gave it to Mary McNabb. WRONG.
posted by something something at 6:37 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Tobias Menzies is a gem and I'm sure that's part of why they're making him a more sympathetic character than Gabaldon does in the books, but I also think the show's narrative structure makes their relationship a lot easier to grok. I've always found the Voyager flashbacks of Claire & Frank's marriage frustratingly opaque; the show is making it much more coherent.

The thing that's frustrating me is not just that they are making Frank a more sympathetic character, it's that they're doing it at the expense of making Claire a less sympathetic character.

In the books, Frank is having affairs from the very beginning, even after Claire returns, and he is the one who pushes for a resumption of sex:
He’d been discreet, though. He was always home at night, and took pains not to have lipstick on his collar. So, now he meant to come home all the way. I supposed he had some right to expect it; was that not a wifely duty, and I once more his wife?
In the show, they are having Claire push for a resumption of sex, for no other reason than because she's lonely and misses having sex. They do this to make Frank more sympathetic because in 2017 we recognize that Frank is a fucking asshole for expecting sex with Claire. But being sexually aggressive while pretending she's having sex with Jamie and not telling Frank is also sketch as fuck.

They also have her do this at about the year-and-a-half mark - we can tell by the age of Brianna - which contrasts really strongly with Jamie, at 6 years in, outright refusing all sex until Mary McNab explicitly says that it doesn't count as real sex and she knows Claire will always be the most important. So they're essentially having Jamie wait for her, while having Claire just kind of missing him. And perhaps most importantly, when they have Claire fantasize about Jamie, it's always naked, whereas when Jamie fantasizes about Claire, she's always loving him or returning towards him.

So in essence, I think that the difference between the male-directed show and the female-written novel are so great as to take away a large part of what made the latter good - the female gaze and understanding. Making Claire kind of a bad person is what Ron Moore thinks of as being more interesting? Color me unsurprised, but I don't have to like it.
posted by corb at 7:12 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]


I agree that a lot of the tension from the book is gone, and I'm wondering how on earth they're going to come up equal plot time for Claire's story over the next few episodes, when so much happens in Jamie's story, and in the book Clarie's life right now is glossed over pretty quickly. As always, the attempt to make Frank suck less aggravates me. I'm hoping he takes a sharp turn for the worse in the next episode, which I also hope speeds up Claire's story to time warp us ahead a few years. I was surprised we didn't get a scene of Frank being a jerk about Claire going to medical school, didn't he have a problem with her being a doctor very early on? Ugh, everything about Frank makes me mad.

That said, overall, I really liked this episode, mostly because I'd really never given as much consideration to Jaime's Dunbonnet years and how desperately lonely and sad he was, and Sam Heughan did an AMAZING job portraying that. Also, even knowing what was supposed to happen from the book, the scene with the Redcoats searching Lallybroch with Jaime hiding with the baby was nailbiting! OMG, don't hide with a baby, even when they're not crying they're noisy!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:18 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I don't really feel that Claire is unsympathetic. This is probably because I'm totally a Claire apologist and in my mind OF COURSE she's going to imagine Jamie when she's having sex with Frank. Who wouldn't?!

I like that there is some obvious reason (i.e. his basic decency) for why she didn't divorce Frank, other than financial necessity. Because as a book reader, I never quite got why she didn't. Staying with a man simply because it's the 1950s and you need a father for your baby is not in line with Claire's character.
posted by something something at 7:24 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


didn't he have a problem with her being a doctor very early on?

Yeah. They don't go into it too much - because the book doesn't give equal time to the two stories - but:
“Really?” he said curiously. “Only from the things you’ve said about him, I shouldn’t have thought he’d have liked your wanting to go to medical school or be a doctor.”

“He didn’t.” Her lips pressed tight together; the motion told Roger more than words might, recalling arguments, conversations half-finished and abandoned, an opposition of stubbornness and devious obstruction rather than of open disapproval.
As a book reader, the impression I was left with was that she didn't leave for the first few years because Jamie had asked her to stay - as a man of the 1700s, the concept of a woman living alone without a man was kind of terrifying for him, and he wanted someone who would protect Claire, so he told her to go back to Frank. And then after that, Frank was a really, really good father to Brianna, so for her it was her idea of giving Brianna her best chance.
posted by corb at 7:35 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Also: I was annoyed they took the "I haven't done this in a very long time"/"Neither have I" exchange from Claire and gave it to Mary McNabb. WRONG.

I thought Mary's response was something along the lines of "Neither have I, but we'll remember how 'tis." They just cut off that last bit. No?
posted by olinerd at 9:16 AM on September 18


They did have an exchange like that, but the dialogue in the show was word for word taken from Jamie & Claire's reunion scene.
posted by something something at 9:36 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


bleh, this episode gets an F for filler and for forcing me to fast forward through uncomfortable frank sex scenes.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:42 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Frank: "When I'm with you, I'm with you. But you're with him."

cut to sasquatch
posted by tracicle at 1:52 AM on September 20 [2 favorites]


Boy, reading how much people hate Frank and think this is boring is just shocking to me! I absolutely loved this episode and found it deeply engaging. I love the pacing and the way the episode is allowed to breathe, and the tension in the scenes between Frank and Claire have me just as much on edge as the tension in the scenes with Jaime. I love the complexity to Claire's character and seeing that she makes mistakes. It makes her feel more real and more identifiable. And, like something something, the revamp of Frank's character is the only thing that makes me buy that Claire would stay with him. The divorce rate was about 10% in the 1950s and it is utterly implausible to me that Claire would not be one of those women if confronted with Book!Frank. Really? After all she went through in France she's gonna let Frank walk all over her?
posted by rednikki at 4:26 PM on October 1


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