Outlander: To Ransom a Man’s Soul (116)

Claire, Murtagh, Rupert and Angus contemplate their next steps.

Angus, Claire, Murtagh, and Rupert keep Jamie safe, for now.

The television series Outlander has had a difficult road to travel.  It came with a pre-installed fan base who’d had images simmering in their minds for over two decades, with preconceived ideas of how the story would be told.  The source material had a number of controversial scenes that would surely garner criticism and debate.  Perhaps most difficult, what began as a touching, adventurous love story then veered into raw, gut-wrenching darkness.  All these things—plus some poor pacing choices by the producers—led up to a highly volatile season finale that exploded in an uproar of emotions, attitudes, and widely disparate reviews.

“To Ransom a Man’s Soul” was not an easy episode to watch.  I wondered if those who hadn’t read the books, who had been enchanted with delightful characters and gorgeous Scotland, would be turned off by the events of Wentworth Prison.  The answer?  Many have been.  In fact, had I come into the episode without having read the book (which I started only after the mid-season finale), I might have been among them.

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The Flash: Grodd Lives (121)

Joe, Barry, and Cisco search the sewers for Grodd.

Searchin’, searchin’, searchin… (It’s an old song lyric)

Catching up on this week’s shows, with the first to air the last to be covered.  Or FILO, as they used to say in the olden days of computer lore.  Who came in first among our players?

1.  Iris!

Iris now knows that Barry is the Flash.  Thank goodness that dead weight of a plot point is over!  Throughout the episode she learns that she’s the only one who was kept in the dark.  Well, Captain Singh doesn’t know either, but he doesn’t count since he’s a recurring character and not a regular.

Iris actually handles these reveals with grace.  She’s not so much mad as disappointed.  Guess what, guys?  She’s as smart, strong, and capable as we expected.

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Arrow: Al Sah-Him (321)

Oh fandom, you’re so funny.  One of the first comments I read after “Al Sah-Him” aired was “I hate this show.”  To which I ask, “Then why the hell are you watching it?”  I know, I know.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go of a show you used to enjoy.  But why spend precious time watching something that’s gone sour for you?

In the holy triad of this week’s CW shows, Arrow comes in last.  But it wasn’t a total loss.

Katrina Law plays Nyssa al Ghul on Arrow.

Nyssa: Can we keep her?

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Outlander: By the Prickling of My Thumbs (110)

Dougal MacKenzie flies into a rage after the death of his wife.

Dougal MacKenzie loses his schniz over the death of a wife we’ve never seen or heard of before.

[This Outlander “non-recap” is brought to you by this week’s Scotch, “The Glenlivet, 12 years of age.”  Hey, that’s what it says on the packaging.  I do not like it as much as last week’s 12-year-old Glenfiddich, but I will persevere and finish the (relatively small) bottle.  Not all at once, mind you, but soon enough to try a different Scotch next week.]

In an episode seemingly designed to lessen my enthusiasm obsession, who ruled the day?  Who lost?  And who sucked arse?

Ruled:

1.  Colum MacKenzie:   Do not mess with the laird.  Gary Lewis (the only Outlander actor whose Scottish brogue is perhaps even more pronounced than his character’s) for the win.  The diminutive actor made not one, but two strapping men cower.  And rightfully so.

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Damn You, Outlander!

Sam Heughan plays the beloved Jamie Fraser on Outlander.

Curse you, Sam Heughan and Diana Gabaldon, for making love this guy.

Have you ever loved a story so much it hurts?  You feel so passionately, you get a hole in your gut and it feels like your heart is being ripped in two.

That’s how deeply Outlander has affected me.  I’ve been fanatical about various shows, characters, couples and the like in the recent past, but I can’t remember the last time something pierced my soul the way this show does.

Outlander actually debuted early last fall, but having never read the books, nor being a regular Starz watcher,  it passed under my radar.  I didn’t discover it until mid-December.  The upside was being able to watch the first eight episodes in quick succession, without having to wait a full seven days for the next episode.  The downside is that most of the fervent online activity has subsided.

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We Interrupt This Arrow-thon to Bring You…

… the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

The Doctor meets Santa Claus.

It’s Santa vs. The Doctor

Except that I tuned it out after 15 or so minutes.  Nor was checking in at various intervals enough to interest me.  Even the appeal of Danny Pink didn’t lure me in.  Instead, it felt as though Steven Moffat is running out of ideas.  The dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-(ad nauseum) has been done before, and better, in Inception.  Even the spinning jack was present, albeit replaced by the first word on a randomly chosen page of text.  Perhaps it’s time to turn the writing over to someone else.

As much as Peter Capaldi makes a marvelous Doctor, and as good as Jenna Coleman was last season, the prospect of the two of them journeying through all of space and time for another year holds little interest for me.

However!

I have been distracted. 

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan star in Outlander.

Jamie (Sam Heughan) wraps his “plaid” around Claire (Caitriona Balfe).

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