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Outlander: Turning Points

A lot of this season – so far, anyway – has echoed Outlander's second, with Jamie and Claire once again traveling with a rebel army. Maybe that's why I've been enjoying it so much.

After chasing off grave robbers who were planning to hurry Jamie along to death, and then scolding him to a fare thee well for getting hurt, Claire treated Jamie's once again badly injured hand. Was the operation in the tent by candlelight oddly romantic, or was it me? Perhaps it was because she waited until everyone else was treated so that she could concentrate solely on him? Because she treated him so tenderly?

This isn't usually where I put "book versus series" stuff, but everything here was out of An Echo in the Bone except for one detail: during the operation in the tent, Claire had to take off Jamie's ring finger. The joints in that finger had been fused by what happened at Wentworth and because he couldn't close his hand, he'd broken it more than once over the years. This time, the damage was too great.

And yes, they had to change it because actors are involved. Can't expect Sam Heughan to sacrifice a finger just for a role, can we? But it's a moving and memorable scene in the book, and I was wondering if they'd leave it out completely. Instead, they gave us a decent compromise.

There was a good bit of hanging about camp meeting historical figures in between the first battle of Saratoga (September 19) and the second (October 7). A likeable Major General named Benedict Arnold stopped by to trade cinchona bark with Claire and to discuss, of all things, laudanum addiction. Was this perhaps an acknowledgement that Claire left her substance problem behind at the Ridge?

Jamie and Claire discussed whether Jamie breaking the British charge could have changed history. As a big fan of this series, book and television, I sometimes wonder what happened to Jamie in his original timeline before Claire changed everything. Did Jamie originally die at Culloden? (I think the presence of Jamie's ghost in the pilot episode suggests that he did.) Is it even possible that he would have wound up part of the American Revolution? Seems unlikely.

On to the second battle of Saratoga, where Jamie disobeyed a direct order to shoot at his cousin Brigadier General Simon Fraser, and accidentally shot William's hat off instead. Hey, I brought you into this life, I can take you right out again.

Sadly, General Fraser was fatally shot anyway, and that led to some interesting plot developments. Under a flag of truce, Jamie got to say a gentle goodbye to his cousin and talk with his son face to face. I absolutely loved that Jamie gave William his own hat to replace the one he shot off his head. It felt like a fatherly thing to do.

And General Fraser's death gave Jamie, Claire and Ian a massive gift: a free trip to Scotland under the protection of the British Army. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. And may I say, thanks for the uneventful voyage, over in only five minutes of screen time. Jamie was seasick, Ian missed his dog, and voila! The Scottish coastline! We're finally returning to Lallybroch!

Let me pause briefly to catch up with Ian's awkward romance with Rachel Hunter. Honestly, the best part of it was indeed Rollo the dog, who has a fondness for goose grease that was intended to go elsewhere. Ian and Rachel have already progressed to kissing, slapping, and sexual threats. How can it go any further when Denzell is absolutely right that no Quaker woman would marry a violent man like Ian?

But Ian left her his dog. For me, that's a lot more significant than an engagement ring. And voila, Mr. Bug is not a dropped plot thread; he ran into Rachel and Rollo on the trail to Valley Forge, suggesting big time that Mr. Bug is going to kill Rachel to revenge himself on Ian.

Meanwhile, the 1980 part of the story was short but dire as Roger and Buck suited up in their eighteenth century duds and went through the stones to find Jemmy. It made total sense for Buck to go since he is returning to his own time, but I still thought it was lovely when Buck said, "I want to help. You're kin," and he clearly meant it.

It's been a long time since we had a scene at Craigh na Dun, and Roger and Bree saying goodbye absolutely got to me. Their relationship has gotten so much stronger after all these years, and it was heartbreaking to watch him leave her and their daughter like that. But what else can he do?


— This week's post-credit vignette was the boot in the stirrup upside down and dripping blood. A powerful little visual there.

— The Denzell/Claire scene outside the field hospital only made me like Denzell more. He treats Claire like the senior doctor she is, and doesn't think being a Quaker makes his struggle any more important than hers. Such a good guy.

— William Ransom is now a captain. General Fraser had him promoted.

Daniel Morgan was whipped by the redcoats like Jamie was, only more so. It's in his wiki page.

— Jamie was again wearing a brace on his damaged hand like he did in season two. And I just realized that Jem being kidnapped and taken to America is an echo of teenage Ian being kidnapped and taken to Jamaica in season three! Diana Gabaldon does repeat herself at times.

— I'm really missing Fergus and Marsali. And Lord John.

— "In loving memory of Sinéad O'Connor."

— So we're already back in Droughtlander. The second half of season seven will air in... 2024? When in 2024? And filming of season eight has already been postponed because of the strike. Argh!


Claire: "The subject is your stupid hero complex. You think I have nothing better to do than to trot around after you, sticking pieces back on?"

Denzell: "All this violence is difficult for a man like me."
Claire: "A human being?"

Claire: "War is a terrible business, William, no matter who wins. That's the part no one tells you about."
William: "I am beginning to see that."

An excellent episode, with a good balance between the historical and the personal – as in, predominantly personal. Three out of four cups of goose grease,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Just found you on Facebook. Thanks for spot-on review/observations from a follower who has also read/thoroughly understands Outlander book series! If possible, please would you share comments (general public may not be aware of) why remaining books' are being compressed and hurried into production by Maril Davis & Matt Roberts. My sole reason for subscribing to Starz, is their production of "Outlander" series. Has the series' popularity waned, or are Sam and Catriona anxious to move on to other projects? Personally, I find the notion of doing a Game of Thrones-style rush to end the series extremely disappointing (before Diana's 10th installment will be published...). I hope you may have some inside knowledge on this disappointing turn of events.

    1. cwetzel752, I really don't know what's going on with the Outlander management, and I have no inside info at all.

      That said, it's my impression that the reason why the series is ending with season eight is because they've hewed closely to Diana Gabaldon's books, she hasn't written the tenth yet, and they don't want to finish the television series without her. I agree with that. It takes Gabaldon a long time to finish one of these extremely long books, and she's focusing on Blood of My Blood, the Outlander prequel series, right now. It's gonna be awhile.

      I don't think they're planning to compress book nine and their guesses about book ten into the eighth season of the series. I think they're planning to end with book eight as season eight, which has a really good stopping point. I am also guessing that with Balfe and Heughan as executive producers and totally on board, that they could possibly pick up and do a final movie or something when Gabaldon finishes the book series. Balfe and Heughan are both significantly younger than their characters right now, too.

      I don't want a hurried Game of Thrones ending, either. For what it's worth.

  2. I really enjoyed the Benedict Arnold section. I love it when a show brings in an actor for just one or two scenes, and they somehow wind up being charming and memorable.

    Also, I appreciated that he was someone I actually knew something about.

    Did Jamie originally die at Culloden? (I think the presence of Jamie's ghost in the pilot episode suggests that he did.)

    Oh, interesting theory! I've assumed that they haven't changed history yet, but there's no real reason for me to think that.

    I know we got a cliffhanger with the Bree/Roger 1980s plot, but I have faith that the show will not harm an actual child. It was nice to get a resolution to the American portion of the Jamie/Claire story. I'm excited to go back to Scotland.

    In loving memory of Sinéad O'Connor.

    I was wondering if the show would be able to honor her somehow, and I'm so glad they did.

    Y'know, I technically knew this was a split season, and that the eighth would be the last. But I think I thought that meant only one more batch of episodes, not two. I'm happy about that!

  3. Did anyone else beside me catch the revelation in either this or the last episode that Jamie is buried in the cemetery near Lallybroch? Remember when Bree was in the cemetery talking to her Dad! And she even makes reference to her Mother! But it appears that Claire is not buried with Jamie! Did I misunderstand this scene?

    1. Anonymous, it was my understanding that Jamie *could* be buried at Lallybroch, not that he actually was. They haven't found the grave.

  4. I don't think Jamie accidentally shot William's hat off, he's a sharpshooter, my feeling is it was intentional, a warning to get down


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