There were many controversial things in season 4 of Outlander, and episode 402 – Do No Harm was one that seemed to generate extreme emotions. For some people it was their least favorite, but though… More
Cat’s Alternate Universe Twitter Version of Outlander 411
Just for fun…
My Twitter Alternate Universe version of what I wanted to see in Outlander 411, If Not For Hope. Or as I like to call it, If Not For Roger!
Cat’s Recap of Outlander Episode 303 – All Debts Paid
Wow – this recap took me a very long time. I think it was because it was so important to me to spend enough time showing the end of Frank’s story. I know there are people who hate him with a passion, but I never have. When I read the books, I truly didn’t spend much time reflecting on him, other than to occasionally feel a bit sorry for him, or annoyed at him. I even had a grudging respect for his obvious devotion to Brianna. But even with some of things Claire reported him saying, I still never HATED Frank.
But the show version of Outlander gave me a chance to see his perspective, and Tobias Menzies made me finally understand Frank. Tobias is such an amazing actor, and I’m still in awe that he was able to portray two such diverse characters like Frank and Black Jack Randall. I didn’t ever confuse the two, as Tobias was always so visibly different somehow, even though all that changed was the costume and the wig. They didn’t use a single prosthetic, so the only difference was in how Tobias performed each character. He’s just brilliant.
Now I feel such a deep and abiding affection for Frank. Though his part of the story is tragic, I admire what it must have taken to spend 20 years loving Bree so completely, and never once letting her feel she wasn’t 100% his own. Sure she knew her parents marriage was bad, but her devotion to Frank shows he must have made her feel completely secure in his love. To me, that took a real man, and Tobias’ performance brought me to that conclusion.
To be fair, I think Diana sprinkled the books with enough of this information that I should have reached this conclusion on my own. But I truly believe that seeing Tobias as the living, breathing, and caring personification of Frank made me realize what a good man he was, and I felt a need to make sure I highlighted that in his last episode.
I was lucky enough to meet Tobias briefly at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, and I told him though I had read the books since 1991, I never understood Frank until I saw his performance. He looked sincerely touched, and it made me love him even more.
And just as this episode showed the ending of one relationship, we also got to see the beginning of another one. Jamie meets the grown-up Lord John Grey at Ardsmuir, and it’s going to be another beautifully complicated relationship. But of course it is – that’s the way Diana Gabaldon writes them, and luckily for us, the way the show enhances them.
So here it is: my recap of All Debts Paid. I hope you like it!
Note: I’m so excited to see Tobias Menzies take over the role of Prince Philip in The Crown! Just think, a role where we’re pretty sure he won’t die. And if you, like me, appreciate what a fine actor he is, make sure you watch The Terror from AMC. The show itself is amazing, and Tobias delivers another incredible performance.
Cat’s Recap of Outlander Episode 302 – Surrender
You know, Outlander 302 was another emotional roller-coaster. I’m sensing a trend: I always need some tissues and whisky, but I’m sure to find at least a chuckle or two.
Surrender was divided between the two timelines again. For Jamie’s story, we see how he’s turned into an almost feral man in hiding. He lives a really stark and lonely existence, and it’s hard to see anything of the Jamie of old. But there is one tiny bit of levity. In Diana Gabaldon’s book, Voyager, Jamie wears a brown hat, or a dunbonnet, to disguise his red hair while he’s in hiding. Over time, the Dunbonnet becomes something of a legend. In the TV adaption, I had to laugh because they kinda missed the point. They included the legend of the Dunbonnet, but had Jamie with long flowing RED locks, that in no way was covered by the hat. Yep…
For Claire’s story, she is missing Jamie, but she has baby Brianna to give her a purpose. And while there’s a rekindling of the attraction she once felt for Frank, the memory of Jamie is never far away.
I thought the show beautifully presented both the Jamie and Claire stories, and I hope you enjoy my musical take on this amazing episode!
And if you’d like to hear the full versions of the songs I used, here they are!
Cat’s Recap of Outlander Episode 301 – The Battle Joined
If it’s a recap, it must be Droughtlander. Yep, it’s that time of the year when all my Outlander love and affection is poured into musical recaps of every episode.
I loved The Battle Joined. In fact, I loved it so much I didn’t want to wait until the off-season to do a video, so I wrote about it. I just re-read that blog post where I described how it made me feel, and I STILL feel that way. You can read it here.
Finding the perfect balance between the abject horror of Culloden and my usual type of recap was really tough. I think I managed to do it in a way that respects the story. I have to say the Claire and Frank parts were fun to do, and made it easier to finish. I hope you like it.
One down, twelve to go!
And if you’d like to hear the full versions of the songs used in the recap, here’s the Spotify playlist for 301.
Claire and Coco: Their chemistry cannot be denied
I was so impressed by the chemistry between Claire & Coco, I felt they should have the chance to act out some classic film moments. So I made memes. Many, many memes…
TAXI DRIVER – 1976
COOL HAND LUKE – 1967
SUDDEN IMPACT – 1983
DIRTY HARRY – 1971
DIRTY DANCING – 1987
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: TWO TOWERS – 2002
MOONSTRUCK – 1987
TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT – 1944
A FEW GOOD MEN – 1992
NETWORK – 1976
THE WIZARD OF OZ -1939
SCARFACE – 1983
JERRY MAGUIRE – 1996
GONE WITH THE WIND – 1939
ALL ABOUT EVE – 1950
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE – 1951
GRAND HOTEL – 1932
THE GODFATHER – 1972
GONE WITH THE WIND – 1939
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY – 1991
“You might feel some discomfort.” – Outlander 301
You know when you go to the doctor or dentist and they say you might feel some discomfort? Sometimes they really do mean you’ll be uncomfortable for a moment. But you know it’s just a euphemism for some level of pain. And sometimes it means LOTS of pain.
Well Ron Moore must have been a doctor in a previous life, because he caused me every euphemistic level of discomfort in the season 3 premiere of Outlander. The Battle Joined brought me everything from “you’ll feel a slight pinch when I give you this shot” all the way to “you may feel some discomfort as I saw off your leg, so here’s a leather strap to bite down on.”
From the very beginning I was crying from the pain of Culloden. My visceral reaction to the absolute waste of human life was swift and felt like a punch to the gut. It reminded me of when I stood on the actual Culloden battlefield, and experienced the real weight of the tragedy that happened there. Knowing what would come after, the destruction of the Highland way of life, made it even more painful. Ron has said they’ve been promising Culloden since the first episode, and boy, did they deliver.
The thing was, thanks to Diana Gabaldon’s amazing story and the fabulous TV adaptation, it didn’t feel like I was just watching a reenactment of a long-ago battle. It seemed so personal. These were MY friends, MY loved ones being wiped from the face of the Earth. All I can say was it felt so REAL to me, and I was in mourning.
Then I saw Jamie. Now, I first read Voyager in 1993, so it’s not like I wasn’t expecting this. I thought I had braced myself for this level of pain. But the combination of Ron’s script with it’s lack of dialog, the way it was filmed and edited, and the shear bloody brilliant acting of Sam Heughan made this excruciating. That labored breathing, his inability to move, his nuanced facial expressions, the flashbacks that gave us a glimpse of what happened, had more impact than if we had seen the battle played out in a linear fashion.
It did something else, though. Ron somehow made ME feel like I should be able to do something to ease Jamie’s pain. That psychological discomfort of wanting desperately to help someone, but not being able to do anything is literally the stuff of my worst nightmares. Whether he intended to make me feel that way, I don’t know. But that feeling of uselessness was devastating to me.
It became full-blown “cut off a limb” discomfort when the British arrived, and began the process of killing my friends who survived, one by one. Again the mixture of what really happened after Culloden, combined with my personal attachment to the story made me lose it. That cold, dispassionate “next,” the recording of the name, the brief pause, then the sound of gunfire off-screen. And Rupert, joking til the very end. Though so much of this was directly from the book, the pain felt real. Even when Jamie was begging to die, against my will I was thinking, “oh please, someone put him out of his misery.” And knowing I felt that way was ultimately more painful still.
The more I think about it, I do believe Ron knew exactly what he was doing. Because once I saw Claire and Frank, it was all about psychological discomfort. Watching these two kind, caring, and decent people struggle in an impossible situation made me cringe. It was like when I was young and my parents would have “discussions.” I usually didn’t know what was going on, but I knew from their tone that it was bad, and all I wanted to do was stop it. Brianna isn’t even born, and I’m already dreading those discussions on her behalf.
As an adult, it was so uncomfortable to watch. The mind-blowing acting of Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies sucked me right into their nightmare. It was as if I was a good friend, watching two people I love have a major meltdown. I felt the same pain, and cried the same tears for them, as I did for Jamie. And I felt just as helpless.
Seeing what it meant to be a woman in 1940’s America also caused some euphemistic discomfort. I KNOW that’s the way it was, but it doesn’t lessen the impact when I see a realistic portrayal. But it was harder to see Claire not being CLAIRE. Oh, I totally understood she was grieving and trying to find herself again, but it still made me squirm. In season 1 when she landed in a different time, she was full-on Claire from the moment she commanded the men not to touch Jamie’s shoulder. She never doubted who she was, or what she should do. The only other time I saw her so lost was in Faith, and it hurt to watch that, too. Caitriona is the most amazing actress, and the life she brings to the character of Claire leaves me breathless. Don’t even get me started on “Where is my baby?”
Even the fact that the timelines didn’t neatly match was unsettling. Jamie’s timeline happened over the course of perhaps a day, but when we switched to Claire, weeks or months had passed for her. What was more disorienting were the actual transitions from one timeline to the other. They seemed more abrupt than the “smoother” ones used in 213, and it made me feel unbalanced. I now suspect everything about the episode was SUPPOSED to make me feel uncomfortable.
By the end, I was given a wee bit of salve for my wounds. From the long shot of the wagon at Lallybroch, I saw Jamie’s arm finally reach up and embrace Jenny, and I knew it was a small sign he might be ready to live. And when Brianna was born, I could feel the joy that radiated from both Claire and Frank.
Then “Dr. Ron” throws in the line about red hair, and I realize I’ve just been given another leather strap to clench between my teeth.
But guess what I discovered? I may be a bit of a masochist, because I loved every excruciating minute of this episode.
It’s clear to me that Ron Moore and his team of artisans are brilliant. They’ve delivered an episode creating so much discomfort, that I felt as out of place and lost as Jamie and Claire. Nothing is the same for any of us, and the show makes sure I know it. I’m not supposed to be sitting back and enjoying my regular Outlander viewing. (Not that it’s ever been what I’d call easy.) No, I’ve been given full warning that for at least the first few episodes of season 3, I’m going to be uneasily teetering on the edge of my seat, clutching my stomach, and reaching for the tissues and whisky. Rarely, if ever, will I feel “comfortable.”
The hopeful thing is, to put an end to the metaphor, is that when I have that pain at the doctor’s office, I almost always feel better afterwards. So I’m ready to withstand whatever discomfort Ron and company dish out. Because I’ll relish every moment, and when I reach the healing part of Outlander season 3, it will be all the sweeter for having survived the pain.
Edited to add this acknowledgement: I realized after posting this, that I failed to point out that Ron was able to study the master of this technique. Diana Gabaldon is my original Doctor, and I’ve loved being her patient since 1991. –Cat
Note #1: I actually felt some lightness in 301: seeing the rabbit and the little bird. I’m not sure about the bunny, other than thinking it’s a symbol for life. But the little bird reminded me of three previous things in Outlander.
- Colum’s caged birds – and how he was trapped himself
- The murmuration of starlings – when Claire & Geillis were trapped in the thieves hole
- The blue heron at the beginning of Faith – Claire sees it in a vision, flying free while she’s trapped in the horror of her miscarriage
I may be reading too much into it, but for me it was a little reminder that though she may be feeling trapped, if that little bird is flying free, maybe there’s hope she could follow?
Note #2: Many of you have been kind enough to ask if I’ll continue doing my musical recaps of each Outlander episode. When I finished 213, I was sure that it would be my last one. Then I watched 301, and my head filled with songs. Mainly sad ones. I think that means I’ll be doing at least one more…
I feel lucky
I adore Outlander so much, it’s kind of hard to quantify. But one of the things I love the most is the humor that Diana has woven throughout the story. I think the TV adaptation has done an amazing job of spotlighting that humor, and in some cases, even expanding it. Just think about the comedy duo of Angus & Rupert!
If you watch my musical recaps, you already know I love to laugh. And I’ve been lucky enough to attend several Outlander fan events. Being me, I’ve managed to express my humor in my interactions with the stars. The fabulous thing is that the stars all seem to have amazing funny bones themselves, and have been willing accomplices in my escapades!
I Am The Warrior…
I just got back from the Highlanders 2 fan event in Blackpool, England, and had fun with my two group shots. I was excited they offered a group shot of the women of Outlander – Rosie, Caitriona, Lotte, and Annette. It seemed perfect for a real warrior pose!
Waulk This Way…
The real highlight was the group shot with all 10 celebrities: Finn, Grant, Stephen, Graham, Gary, Steven, Rosie, Caitriona, Lotte, and Annette. I was dressed in my lovely costume made by my great friend Anne Swetonic (@aswetonic), and I did a little waulking demonstration. Their expressions are priceless!
Later in the day, I entered the costume contest. I was a “waulking woman” and I had a flask for drinking, some cloth for waulking, and a bucket for…well you know. Thanks to Grant Gowdy, there’s photographic evidence.
For my finale, as a joke, I threw the contents of the bucket on the judges. And it wasn’t what you think – it was gold confetti! Thanks to Maggie Bond there’s video of it! I THINK they were laughing!
This picture from @AniaNL captured their expressions perfectly. Poor Lotte!
Time After Time…
As much fun as I had, I don’t think I’ll ever top my “Time Travel for Dummies” prop at Emerald City Comic Con. Sam and Caitriona reacted perfectly – and in character! This just may be my avatar for life. No doubt about it. I feel lucky!
Cat’s Recap of Outlander Episode 213 – Dragonfly in Amber
Thoughts and feelings:
I cannot express the relief I felt finishing this recap of the last episode of Outlander Season 2! I finished it right before I left for San Diego Comic Con, so I was able to fully enjoy myself, knowing there were no more recaps waiting on me to come home.
As much as I dreaded recapping the Claire & Jamie story-line, I was thrilled to finally get to put music to my Roger. Yes, MY Roger. See, from the very beginning, I knew Jamie wasn’t for me. He and Claire are so perfect together, they almost make a new singular entity. And there’s nothing about my personality that would make me a match for Jamie.
But Roger? Oh yes, from the first moments of meeting him in 1992, I knew he was my kind of guy. And I have maintained my pretend relationship with him every since. And finally, in 213, I got to meet TV Roger, aka Richard Rankin. It was love at second sight.
This partially helps explain why this is my longest recap ever. I wanted to make sure Roger (yes and Brianna), had some happy getting to know you time.
But I also had a need to honor the heartbreaking events leading up to that moment at the stones. And as a loyal book reader, I wanted a nod to Claire and Jamie carving their initials in their hands. So I added a few extra slides.
Now that we’ve reached the end, let me say thanks again for all your support of my recaps, and I hope you like this final installment.
Spotify playlist of music used in the recap. It’s 3-1/2 hours of musical goodness.
Cat’s Recap of Outlander Episode 212 – The Hail Mary
Thoughts and feelings:
Again, how much can Outlander pack into an hour? It turns out a whole bunch! This was another jam-packed full of intrigue episode!
There were three prevailing plot lines:
- The last ditch efforts to stop Culloden
- Two sets of dysfunctional brothers
- The solidification of the awesomeness of Murtagh
Jamie works on the first plot, coming up with the idea to lead a surprise attack on the British the night before Culloden. Of course anything involving Prince Charles is always problematic. As to the second, we get to see to wildly differing brotherly relationships: the MacKenzies and the Randalls.
For Colum and Dougal MacKenzie, there was an emotional conclusion to the rocky relationship we’ve seen since the beginning. But in my usual wacky way, I keep getting a picture in my head of the two of them doing a modified rendition of the “Sisters” number from White Christmas. I kept myself from putting it in my recap, but couldn’t resist making a meme. Sorry for the indignity, Graham and Gary!
Of course – there are MORE dysfunctional brothers: Jack and Alex Randall. I have to say even I was shocked by the bizarre twist introduced in their final scene. Yikes!
Finally, the last plot point leads to the most incredible Murtagh moment: when he offers to marry Mary. Yep, you sure can see where Jamie gets it!
And that’s exactly why @ConnieBV was right when she coined the best Murtagh catch phrase ever!
As it was intended to do, other than the Murtagh bit, this left me feeling discouraged, drained, and dreading what is to come in the next episode. I don’t think I have enough whisky & tissues to recap 213. Sigh.
Despite the turmoil, I hope you enjoy my quirky take on The Hail Mary.
Spotify playlist of songs used in this recap:
Cat’s Recap of Outlander Episode 211 – Vengeance Is Mine
Thoughts and feelings:
This was another jam-packed episode, full of plot twists and intrigue. It’s not surprising, since this episode was penned by Diana Gabaldon. Even though she was constrained by the set storyline she needed to cover, there are many places where you can clearly hear her voice.
The best example is when she gives us a moment that is quintessential Claire and Jamie. And for me, the kind of thing from the books that was sorely missing for much of season 2. It was just a beautiful and poignant few minutes amidst an action packed episode, yet it conveyed the deep and abiding love between my favorite couple.
Everything is falling apart with Claire and Jamie’s plans to try and change the outcome of Culloden. A run in with the British army leaves Rupert wounded, and when fixing him up, Claire gets to make a pirate joke. As soon as I heard it I knew I had to put in a bit of Black Sails music in honor of Bear McCreary!
It was great to see our good friend Hugh Munro again, and especially nice to see he was able to keep his head during the TV version of the adventure!
Another familiar face that was lovely to see was Mary Hawkins. Unfortunately, we also saw the Duke of Sandringham, too. But our Murtagh made sure it would be the last time. And he proved the old adage that two heads are indeed better than one!
Thank you as always for following along. And if you want to hear the complete versions of the songs I used, here’s the Spotify playlist!
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