Outlander: Dragonfly In Amber   Books Included 
July 11, 2016 12:08 PM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Flashing forward to 1968, Claire revisits the past and reveals to her daughter, Brianna, the truth. Back in the 18th century, the Battle of Culloden has arrived and Jamie must do everything he can to save the ones he loves. (season finale)
posted by oh yeah! (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sophie Skelton is a millenial, but as Brianna she shouldn't SOUND like one.

Iona Claire is too pinched looking for Fiona and I didn't get the sense here that she's hot for Roger.

Roger in the books is physically more strapping than Richard Rankin .

Claire doesn't need glasses until much later in the 1700s. How is she going to explain these when she goes back?
posted by brujita at 2:00 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Couple of book nitpicks- They didn't do Jamie and Claire cutting their initials into their hands. Ugh. Why, show?! (I read D. Gab's facebook and apparently the "why" is because it would have been too messy for them to try to film the blood for the scene, which seems like a ridiculous cop-out for a show that's repeatedly shown very gorey violence. Ron Moore really Does Not Get a lot of what makes the book tick). It's kinda gross but it also showed how driven to amorous despair they were. Sigh.

Also, I don't love how they changed the naming the baby Brian line in the show so it was Claire saying it. That totally messes up a future line I was hoping to get in season 3. I'm going to set my expectations super low for any emotional scenes I hope to see in upcoming seasons.

I also didn't care for the Fiona casting or how she was played. And like I said in the other thread, OMG Sophie Skelton does not seem like a good choice for Bree. I can deal with physical dissimilarities from the book if she could act well.

Despite all that, I did actually like the episode. I'm not much of a crier but I sure went through a bunch of Kleenex.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 2:08 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was really disappointed in the episode, actually. Sophie Skelton is not working for me *at all*; in a show that has done some really astoundingly excellent casting work, her lack of connection with the Brianna character sticks out like a sore thumb. On top of that, whether it's the writing or the directing or whatever, Brianna is coming across as flat out bratty and annoying in a way I didn't feel like she was in the book. The ending was obscenely cheesy - consider the subtle scenes that packed an emotional punch in "Faith" and compare it to sunbeams over standing stones and it's like two entirely different shows, ugh. I thought they did pretty well aging Claire, but I just wasn't getting any emotion from her in the 1968 scenes. Which maybe was the point? But it wasn't like "emotionless and closed off because of the tragic loss of the love of her life," just more "this storyline has no emotional resonance."

But all that said: the parting at the stones I still liked, even if it wasn't 100% true to the book. Sam Heughan played it excellently. Fergus's departure brought tears to my eyes. I enjoyed Roger. I was pleased to see Fiona (what a lovely thing for book readers to get to recognize her before she was introduced - I like those little easter eggs). I enjoyed the Geillis storyline.

I also, as an engineer from Boston, had a righteous freakout when she said she was a history major at Harvard but I read later on that I'd simply forgotten that this was indeed the case in the books and she switches to MIT/engineering after Claire goes back so now I feel better.

It's so funny to me how people freak out about characters looking different than they were described in the books. I think I have some form of whatever that syndrome is where people can't remember faces - I literally have never in my life fully pictured a character from a book in my head. I can remember details from the books about references to hair color or eye color or whatever, but who a character is to me has nothing to do with how they were described, so usually when casting news comes out for a movie or show my reaction is more "Oh, that's what they look like!" The same thing happened with all the Harry Potter characters. So yeah, my complaints about Sophie Skelton have 0 to do with her height or her hair color and everything to do with the appearance that she can't act.
posted by olinerd at 2:43 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

IDK. It's one episode, I'm not going to be too fussed about Brianna until season four. I'll see how Sophie Skelton does with the rather hefty storyline she'll have coming due then, and for now I'll reserve judgment. I feel she did do some studying of Sam Heughan's physical "Jamieisms" and incorporated some of them into her performance, which was nice to see.

I loved Roger to bits, so lovely and cuddly and funny. Richard Rankin really seemed to immerse himself into the whole thing. I never do get much of a good sharp image of what book characters are supposed to look like so I thought he inhabited it well enough...again, for a single episode. In all, he was enjoyable.

I did expect more of a sprightly little fireball for Fiona, though. Ah, well.

My understanding of the scars thing was that they were concerned about the blood because of the costumes. They only make so many copies of a garment, even for principal cast. They'd had enough trouble with the cutting scene from the wedding, that was mentioned either on DG's Facebook or in an article, I can't quite remember... anyway, between the caution for costuming and concerns that they wouldn't be able to guarantee consistency for the fake scars in future seasons, farewell to the scars.

Frankly I'm more annoyed about the goodbye quickie, and normally I'm not bothered about that kind of thing. But it was over so abruptly. I get that the whole situation was fraught with danger and it HAD to be fast, but it really felt like the transition between frantic lovemaking and coming back to their senses was awkwardly handled. It could have been more graceful.

Anyway my major takeaway is: MOAR Roger now plz
posted by angeline at 3:18 PM on July 11, 2016

Davina Porter has Bree sound a bit like Katharine Hepburn in the audiobooks.
posted by brujita at 3:25 PM on July 11, 2016

I pictured Greg Edgars as much older.

Book Roger inherits his green eyes from Geillis, Buck.....and maybe the prostitute in The Space Between. Daniel Radcliffe's were color corrected for the Harry Potter movies; I don't see why they couldn't have done so here. Also, IIRC he doesn't grow a beard until he goes back.
posted by brujita at 5:47 PM on July 11, 2016

I totally agree that Claire was pretty flat and emotionless in the 1968 scenes, though I thought that was to be in keeping with the books. The impression I got from the book was that Claire was really closed-off to both Frank and Brianna while Bree grew up. I thought the show played their tense relationship pretty well, because I read their book relationship as being kind of distant and tense. (I may have brought my own personal baggage to the reading of that relationship) I feel a little bad for Sophie Skelton, because I don't think the feedback for her performance will be good, and that's got to be tough to read, but I totally felt like I was watching an audition tape when she was delivering lines.

I pictured Greg Edgars as much older.
Me too!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 6:42 PM on July 11, 2016

I was underwhelmed by the finale. My initial reaction to Brianna was a pretty strong 'ugh', upgraded to 'meh, whatever, I guess' by the end. It is strange that they seem to have fumbled the casting when they've done so perfectly with so many other characters throughout these two seasons. Was she struggling with the accent, I wonder? Did starting her out so bratty poison the well? Very odd.

The murder of Dougal was probably the highlight of the episode for me, and Murtagh telling Jamie he'd come back to fight with him. Everything else just felt like ticking off items on the to-do list we need to get through to get to season 3.

I posted the thread from my phone at work, sorry for the lack of links/recaps up top.

Hollywood Reporter - 'Outlander' Boss Ron Moore Dissects Emotional Finale, Looks Ahead to Season 3


deadline.com - ‘Outlander’ Season 2 Finale: EP Ronald D. Moore Talks Jamie’s Fate, Seasons 3 & 4, Emmys & Some ‘Game Of Thrones’

I'm kind of concerned about Moore's quote in the deadline.com interview that "the adaptation process [of book 3] has already proven easier in the writers room because the structure is a little bit more straightforward." I really hope that means they found a way to fix the Willoughby problems, not that they think everything in book 3 is just fine & dandy for adaptation.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:40 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by poffin boffin at 8:15 PM on July 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

I imagine it's hard to cast someone who looks like a mix of those two actors at all, much less find one who's really tall to boot. Maybe they just went with looks over acting skill?

"Also, I don't love how they changed the naming the baby Brian line in the show so it was Claire saying it. That totally messes up a future line I was hoping to get in season 3."

Aw damn, I hate when people do that! (Don't even get me started on ruining the "open my heart" story in the Eat, Pray, Love movie.) Wasn't it something like, "that's a horrible name for a wee lassie!"?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:21 PM on July 11, 2016

I am not ashamed to admit I cried when they told her Jamie wasn't dead and the color came back into the world.
posted by corb at 11:20 PM on July 11, 2016

Arrrgh I am so sorry for not posting this! I watched it late on Saturday and went to bed rather melancholy about the end of the season and meant to post in the morning, and didn't. Thanks for posting it, oh yeah!

I didn't like Brianna in the books and found her to be bratty and irritating there already, so Sophie Skelton was just fine with me, heh. I like Roger, and the actor who plays him, and although it's important to their storyline the green eyes were important, but the genealogy gives us enough information to run with, so I can let that go.

The scenes in the past were, as usual, more nuanced and emotional, but I definitely got the emotional distance between Claire and...well, everyone around her in 1968. Loved her hair, thought the ageing was cheesy but, eh, what else can you do outside digitally ageing the characters for the rest of the show. If she only needs glasses to drive, then I guess she will do fine when she goes back for a while, before her eyesight will be bad enough to need something more frequently.

I was also annoyed though about Claire promising to name Bree after Brian instead of Jamie asking. It's such a small thing for the writers to leave alone; why change it? It makes no sense!

I'm glad they simplified Geillis's story in 1968. It was a little boring in the books and this way we really understand her motivations for travelling back, and you can see that she is so fervent she will kill her (admittedly a bit crap) husband to get there, which means she is probably devout enough for the cause to burn at the stake if she thinks her mission has been achieved. I like that both Bree and Roger meet her here, for future story purposes. I know Roger met her husband; can't remember if he met Geillis too.

I flat-out cried when Murtagh told Jamie he would stay for the battle, because, well, we know. I will be so sad when we hear about it next season. And Angus's betrayal!

OH MY GOD and Dougal's scenery chewing at PEAK DOUGAL. Love him.
posted by tracicle at 1:20 AM on July 12, 2016

The Bree casting pains so much knowing Sharon Belle auditioned for the role and really wanted it. I can't speak to the quality of her acting, but after what we saw in this episode I can't imagine that it's worse than what we have, and she looks exactly like Bree did in my head (and she's over six feet tall). Oh well.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 1:53 AM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh wow, yeah, Sharon Belle is much more in line with how I'd pictured Brianna. However, I agree with tracicle here:

I didn't like Brianna in the books and found her to be bratty and irritating there already, so Sophie Skelton was just fine with me, heh.

Sophie Skelton sure did kind of suck, but for some reason I spent the whole episode thinking it was her first ever acting job and that maybe she'll be better next season, so that mitigated it a bit for me. I've since looked her up on IMDB and found that she's been working a while already, so yeah. I don't really get it. But: oh well, Brianna's not my favorite anyway.

I was riveted the entire episode, but found the ending to be way, way too cheesy, with the sun coming up and all that. I also wasn't huge on Claire immediately deciding, "I have to go back," without thinking of Brianna standing right there, who is the whole reason she came back to the 20th century in the first place. In the book Brianna is the one who first broaches the subject and encourages her to go and Claire is reluctant at first to leave her daughter, which seems more in line with her character.

Oh, and I did think it was odd that Brianna specifically mentioned Jamie being 6'3" and then they cut to a shot of Jamie & Claire standing together in which he is at most three inches taller than her. Why include the detail when it's obviously not accurate with the actors you have?
posted by something something at 6:12 AM on July 12, 2016

Never read the books so I didn't have any expectations, but I was a bit underwhelmed and I'm not sure why. There were some emotionally resonant scenes for me -- Jamie walking Claire back to the stone, Murtagh telling Jamie he'd go back for him, future!Claire at Lallybroch, even the last fight with Dougal -- but I still kinda had a hard time getting into the episode. I suppose it was the constant cutting back and forth. I can see why it worked in some ways, but sometimes it was a bit too abrupt.
posted by lullaby at 6:25 AM on July 12, 2016

The writers screwed up with 15 minutes of Roger, Claire, and Brianna wandering around rooms before getting to the point. They could have nailed the casting of Brianna but since they decided to give her the most difficult possible job for an actor (stand there and don't say anything while we watch you) we will never know because we are now mightily annoyed.

I thought Dougals death was one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen on film. I mean, well done.

If that was my last glimpse of Murtagh I must excuse myself and go cry now.

I finally paid full price for Voyager on Kindle (probably the fifth or sixth time I've paid for that book) and it is just non stop fighting and kidnapping and voyaging and shit from the second Claire sets foot in [spoilers redacted] so good luck to the writers with that adaptation.
posted by annathea at 7:33 AM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

and she looks exactly like Bree did in my head (and she's over six feet tall).

posted by poffin boffin at 10:05 AM on July 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

also older claire's wig was appalling and i hope someone in wardrobe "loses" it before next season's filming starts.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:07 AM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Eep. Sorry, Ms. Boffin: Terry Dresbach says it's not a wig.
posted by angeline at 4:25 PM on July 12, 2016

Hee. I was amused by the grey being just one tiny, strategically placed streak. I figured that a little grey hair was going to be the main extent of aging up Claire & Jamie, but I expected more of a salt & pepper look for her than just the one little streak. Since I'm a redhead who has been going slowly grey for years now, I expect I'm going to find older-Jamie's hair hilariously awful if/when they screw it up.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:47 PM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Was anyone else completely turned off by the score throughout almost the whole episode? I kept getting distracted by how awful it seemed, but it was the first time I'd watched any episode with head phones so I'm hoping maybe that was why?

Yep, Sharon Belle = Brianna in my head. This Sophie Skelton has a lot of work to do to win me over.
posted by danapiper at 8:00 PM on July 12, 2016

I watched it again last night and timed it and yes, it is ten minutes of Brianna standing around with her hands under a coat.

Also, if you were looking at Greg Edgars and thinking "I know that face. Where have I seen him before...?" it turns out he was tiny William Wallace in Braveheart.
posted by annathea at 7:24 AM on July 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


If Written in My Own Heart's Blood gets filmed how are they going to handle Roger and Buck meeting Geillis? In the books we don't yet know if Bree and the kids met her before coming back to NC....is DG going to tweak what she'd planned?
posted by brujita at 7:34 PM on July 15, 2016

I can't imagine that she would. The show is based on her source material, not vice versa, and she's rather strong-minded...I can't see her changing anything to suit someone else's vision. The show has been largely free with adapting what they need/want to do, so they'll sort something out. And at any rate, Lotte Verbeek is a stunning woman, it wouldn't take much to digitally age her down for a few scenes.

Plus, this isn't like Game of Thrones. DG is just about absolutely going to get to the finish line first.
posted by angeline at 8:55 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Last one to the party. I binge-watched the last half of the season last night after losing interest during the early French scenes. It was the same with Season 1; it didn't kick into high gear for me until episode 5 or 6. One good thing about procrastinating: I don't have to wait as long for Season 3.

I haven't read the books but to me, the show really came alive with the Scottish scenes and the clans, the mud, the kilts, and the competitive relationship between Colum and Dougal. If the series had been set ten years ahead of Culloden, we could've had ten years of skirmishes with the British and no need for the Mary Sues in exile treatment.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:36 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

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