Outlander: The Battle Joined   Books Included 
September 11, 2017 11:10 AM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Jamie's past provides his only hope of survival following the Battle of Culloden; a pregnant Claire attempts to adjust to life in 1940s Boston.

And so we begin "Voyager."
posted by olinerd (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(1) Voyager is one of my favorite books (well, the first half, anyway) so I'm excited for this season
(2) omg all the Claire/Frank awkwardness was viscerally painful
(3) mad props to Sam Heughan for acting this entire episode laying down and yet still being damn good at it
posted by olinerd at 11:12 AM on September 11, 2017

YES! I've been refreshing this page in FanFare all day waiting for this thread! I didn't realize how much I missed having new episodes of this show until the opening song started.

Parts of Voyager are also among my favorites in the series, and it could have been a better book with a heavy editing hand, so I'm also excited to see what the show is going to do this season. There's potential for the show to actually be better than the book, as long as Ron Moore doesn't screw up the one pivotal scene that we are all waiting for.

This episode was better than my expectation, it really resonated with me emotionally. Frank and Claire's tension was really hard to sit through. Rupert made me cry.

Was the American woman (Nelly?) a character in the book? I don't remember her at all, but I read a review that implied that she's important later.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 12:03 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

The only things I really didn't like about this episode were a part of it giving equal - call it time spaced time- to Claire as Jamie this episode. Because there's a lot of interesting things Claire does that I would love to see, but they don't happen in the few months after she gets back, whereas Jamie's were. That's the great thing about them being told through flashback rather than concurrent storytelling in the books -you can give equal weight while spacing them differently.

Also, the whole "everyone is sexist in the forties and fifties in America" thing - like, yes, but so was the era of Scotland she wants to go back to?
posted by corb at 2:36 PM on September 11, 2017

I mean, it must be nice to not be tried as a witch for not conforming to gender stereotypes in the 50s, at least.
posted by olinerd at 3:36 PM on September 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think Claire's reaction to sexism in the 1940s is informed by having experienced sexism in the 18th century.

"Two hundred years later and I still have to deal with this shit?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:40 PM on September 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

Tracking Outlander filming locations has become a bit of a pastime for me. Anybody who spends time visiting them can get a very interesting insight into the the country and its history (although you will not be alone in your quest). But there is a tendency to relocate practically any global location into somewhere reasonably easy to reach in the country's central belt. I think they just about got away with that with France - but depicting Glasgow as Boston - well Harvard I presume - seems like quite a stretch for some reason. Maybe particularly so for a show with an American author. Gabaldon is from Arizona - but would presumably know that is not quite how things looked in 1940s Cambridge MA.
posted by rongorongo at 11:59 PM on September 11, 2017

Actually, I live in Boston and I thought their Back Bay-ish scenes looked pretty legit to me.

That is totally not Harvard though.
posted by olinerd at 4:12 AM on September 12, 2017

And banjo_and_the_pork, no, I don't recall Nelly from the books.
posted by olinerd at 4:13 AM on September 12, 2017

Okay last post for the morning - this is pretty funny, if you need a little more Claire and Jamie to start your day.
posted by olinerd at 5:16 AM on September 12, 2017

Agreed about the Back Bay scenes looking believably Boston-ish, but ouch, the Harvard ones were distracting. Robocop is Bleeding and I had a good chuckle over "Harvard" looking like Oxford (or Glasgow University). It was gorgeous, but all that stone is decidedly not New Englandy.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:18 AM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

my spouse who has read the books was not helpful when I had questions about the bug-in-amber. the framing of the shot made me think it was supposed to be (or going to be) super significant but other than getting that sense from it I couldn't figure out why . . .
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:11 AM on September 12, 2017

Dragonfly in amber is the name of both the book that encapsulated the last season, and the finale episode. It was a wedding gift from Hugh Munro and if I recall correctly, it's the parting gift Claire gives Jamie.

Him dropping it dramatically is I think supposed to symbolize both that 1) it is the thing that he has clung to even while desperately wounded, and 2) he won't be able to hang onto his marriage with Claire where he is going.
posted by corb at 11:02 AM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

In my understanding - TV only - the dragonfly in amber is a symbol of love surviving purgatory. Towards the end of the last episode of series 2 we see Jamie and Claire prepare to part as she goes through the stones - just before the battle. He tells her that his destiny is to die on Culloden moor rather than to follow her through the stones - and that after his death his soul will have to endure purgatory until they can be re-united one day. She gives him the piece of amber - which had been a wedding gift to them and asks him to keep it "blood of my blood, bone of my bone, as long as we both shall live". He is the dragonfly - or maybe they both are.

Earlier in the episode we see 1968 Claire visiting a museum of Culloden. She overhears a couple looking at a case of "artefacts found of the battle field" and discussing a piece of amber with a dragonfly in it. So this is, to her, surely a sign that Jamie perished on the battlefield as he said he would. This is why when we see Jamie let go of the stone when injured - and then go on to survive - it is an important plot point.

Exactly how the idea of purgatory works in a time travelling universe when the past does not catch up with the future - is a whole other question, I guess.
posted by rongorongo at 12:35 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

After re-reading Voyager and getting back to the episode again, I think part of the problem is that the show is reluctant to take a clear stance on Frank. Book Frank is sexist as hell - wanting everything to be perfect even if Claire is struggling - and also really racist, saying ugly things about Claire's friendship with Joe Abernathy and about Brianna possibly dating a black man. In the books, it's pretty clear that Frank was not a great choice, just the best of bad choices. The show seems to want us to keep guessing, which makes these scenes far less interesting.
posted by corb at 8:41 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

the show is reluctant to take a clear stance on Frank. Book Frank is sexist as hell - wanting everything to be perfect even if Claire is struggling - and also really racist, saying ugly things about Claire's friendship with Joe Abernathy and about Brianna possibly dating a black man.

Yes! Some time last season Gabaldon wrote a facebook post about how Frank was such a good guy, and it was so hard for him to come to terms with Claire's love for Jamie, blah blah blah, and so many fans were fawning about Frank, and I was like o_O . Frank was such an asshole in the books, and that bit about wanting to move Brianna to England so she wouldn't date a black man was unforgiveable. I can't get over how many fans are willing to overlook that. And Ron Moore is such a Frank fan-boy (fan-man?), it drives me bananas, how anyone could read the source material and feel like Frank is just a sad woobie really burns my cookies. It's affected some of Moore's editing and writing choices in the show, often) to the detriment of Claire & Jamie's relationship/characters.

Sorry. I have a lot of feelings about how much Frank sucks.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 11:23 AM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I think on the show, they do a good job of calibrating Frank. He's a good enough guy that he doesn't deserve what's happened to him and his marriage, but not such a terrific guy that it becomes hard to forgive Claire for wanting to be with Jamie, who is flipping magnificent.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:44 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I liked that Tobias Menzies was a weight, both figurative and literal, that pressed on both Claire and Jamie.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:15 AM on September 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

when do we never have to see frank again, is it soon
posted by poffin boffin at 12:50 PM on September 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

his ghost shows up in a later book....and in still later ones there are potentials for flashbacks....
posted by brujita at 9:01 PM on September 29, 2017

I'm posting way late, but...the changes to Frank's character are my favorite thing about the show vs. the books. Making Frank a jerk in the books made Claire's situation way too easy. Frank is in DTMFA territory pretty much immediately - there's no logical reason for a character like Claire to stay with him. (It also reminds me of that thing that happens in fanfic where writers will demonize a character's previous romantic interests in order to make the chosen love interest seem even better by comparison.) It also makes Claire's character more complex, because she has failings that she is not willing to own up to.

Tobias Menzies in an interview said that the first part of the third season is about the shrapnel that the "one true love" situation throws into the lives of other people, and I really appreciate seeing that on screen. I hate Book!Frank but I love TV!Frank (not to be confused with TV's Frank) and I wish things could be better for him.
posted by rednikki at 4:17 PM on October 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

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