Now for a review of Season 3 of Outlander. I am a big fan of the books, and I have truly enjoyed the miniseries so far. I look forward to the new episodes weekly. It is a well crafted presentation of the novels, even though they have changed up a few things, differences by the way, which actually made the story better.
And no I’m not going to discuss the controversial scene sex scene from the book that was rewritten for the tv series. It has been discussed ad nauseam. Suffice it to say, I didn’t like how it was written in the first place decades ago, and I am glad they changed it.
I am not certain what more there is to say. We know what is going to happen, and the two actors who portray the main characters are very talented. But I do have a bit of an issue.
Honestly, and I am not a prude, but I think that much of the latest episode skirted soft core porn at some points. It truly is not necessary to show everything so explicitly. Being adults we are entitled to use our imaginations. And yes, I do skip over most of the sex scenes in the book. I do not find them entertaining. I actually find them rather annoying.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are some societal issues that may be hard to watch, but are necessary and add to a social reality that we still face, such as Jaimie’s rape in the first book and in season 1, and it’s aftermath. The fact that he suffers over his entire lifetime because of what Black Jack did to him, is important to put out there. Men are raped, and it is a topic that society still finds anathema to discuss.
The way women were treated, and how they were thought of, is also important if not uncomfortable to discuss. Even the attitudes toward women during the 50s and 60s is important to remember. How women had to fight, and what they had to endure, as Claire fought to become a doctor, so that today’s generation would have it easier, is something we spoiled people of the 21st century tend to forget. It’s not that third/fourth wave feminists have no issues to discuss. It’s just that sometimes they sound petty and infantile (intersectionality as if everything everyone does is connected) compared to what women went through in order to run their own lives, and what others still go through around the world (fgm, forced marriage, honor murders). We forget the shoulders we stand upon, and especially forget to thank them as much as we should. So no, everything is not overdone. (Actually here is an interesting article from Lilith magazine discussing a rather sordid and unknown aspect of the suffrage movement.)
(And yes if you want to make an illusion to Harvey Weinstein to show that we still have a societal problem of sexual harassment, and rape, then go ahead. But today’s feminists were not discussing the Leftists that rape, only that Trump is a misogynistic pig. So there is that political correct stupidity as well.)
And yes, sometimes characters do need to go through hell and back in order for the reader to understand who they truly are. It is called character development. Just as people grow and change in real life, events in a characters existence needs to happen so that they grow and develop as well. It is how a good author gives life and breath to their subjects.
But really how many times do we need to read or watch Claire and Jaimie having sex? Ok, what they tried to show was how the pair would great each other after 20 years apart. True enough. But again there are ways to do things with a just a little more taste. Sorry. But it takes the class out of the show. And yes, they did say that the scene in the brothel was over 20 pages in the book. But it is a huge tome, 20 pages is nothing.
What I enjoy in the novels, is the family stories, and the history. It is the interplay between the characters that is interesting. It is the interplay between past and present that is engaging. It is the growth and strength of the characters that teach us something about our own past, and what we may even expect from ourselves. It is how the author writes people, places and events that occurred well over 250 years ago that makes these novels wonderful. This is a meticulously researched book series, and TV show. It is a feast for us history buffs.
I do want to say one last thing about Frank Randall. I am glad to see that they made him out to be more of a descent man than was written in the book. He always came across as heartless and selfish in the story. But it was nice for the writers of the TV show to give him a little more of a soul. Of course, Frank could have divorced Claire at any time, but being a man of honor, and having made a promise to help raise Brianna, he stayed in what he knew was a loveless marriage. Well it wasn’t totally loveless. Claire loved him, just not the way he was entitled to be loved.
Of course, I have no respect for the “other woman.” Her self-indulgent scene at Frank’s memorial was truly an epic piece of selfishness. When you have an affair with a married man, you set yourself up for heartache, and well, coming in last in someone’s life. That she decided to stay around, and wait for Frank to leave Claire, was her choice. It was not Claire’s fault, that Frank chose not to leave. It was this professor, this Phd’s choice, to be an afterthought to a man. That she blamed Claire for Frank’s and her choices only shows how even apparently very smart women can lie to themselves about reality. She epitomized the 1990s talking point: “why do smart women make stupid choices.” So I guess this character was also way ahead of her time, as well.
So now that Claire is finally back in the Scotland of the past, and she is with Jaimie, I suppose the fun is going to begin. Different reunions abound, and adventures are on the horizon. Trauma and heartache do await Claire and Jaimie, and it’s not as if they haven’t had their share already. We already have taste of what is to come next week. And it is not pretty.
This season is based upon the book Voyager. We all know that eventually they end up in the American colonies. We also all know what happens there in no short order.
One last thing, with a quick mention by Jaimie, to a now fully grown Fergus about Ned Gowan and the need for some legal advice, we understand that there is an issue at hand. Those of us who have read the books know what that issue is, and it involves Jaimie and bigamy. (Spoiler alert) What I am waiting with interest to see, is how they show Claire’s response when Jaimie tells her that since he thought he would never see her again, and according to all she was dead, that he went and married Laoghaire. It’s not every day that your husband, the great love of your life, marries the bitch that tried to have you burned at the stake.