Ranking Outlander, Part 1

We have Ronald D. Moore to thank for bringing Outlander to television.

Give credit where it’s due—to Ronald D. Moore

The Outlander part of the SciFi Chicks Summer Series 2015 is to list highlights and lowlights of each episode.  Since I’m behind schedule on that, this week’s outing provides a ranking of the episodes.  We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.

I’m not your typical Outlander fan.  I’d never heard of the series of books until I watched the television show; nor did I find the television version until four months after the first half of the first season had ended.  You see, obsession knows no time limit.  All that is to say, you may not see a typical episode ranking here.

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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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Outlander: Wentworth Prison (115)

Claire finds Jamie in his prison cell.

Claire (almost) saves Jamie.

Dear Kristin Dos Santos and Diana Gabaldon,

I hold you both personally responsible for the internet frenzy over the final two episodes of Outlander.

First you, Kristin.  You take your inside knowledge of the episodes and make several posts about their brutality and horror at Eonline.  One post would have sufficed.  It’s like you’re gloating, “I know something you don’t know.”

And you, Diana!  For a highly intelligent woman, you continually put your foot in your mouth.  No one else on the Outlander team interacted with the worried fans.  Why would you even bother posting at all, let alone state that one of the “alleged” rapes is not defined as such?  Talk about adding fuel to the fire.

I suppose it worked, though.  It certainly garnered a lot of free publicity for Outlander and Starz.  I suppose the best thing about all the hysteria is that it prepared us for the worst.  (Even if the worst is yet to come.)

Much like Supernatural’s “The Prisoner,”   “Wentworth Prison” was extremely well done, with great writing, excellent direction, and superb performances.  It pulled at our emotions and kept us riveted to the screen.  Whether it was “enjoyable” depends on your definition.  A well-executed production?  Yes.  Made you happy?  Uh, no.  Still, I have highlights.

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Outlander: The Devil’s Mark (111)

This week’s post is brought to you by Macallen 12 year old Scotch.  Outlander is doing a bit of damage to my pocketbook.  Also my sobriety.*  I just learned you do not drink Scotch on ice.  About that I will paraphrase what I said about my (previous) preference for blended Johnny Walker Red:  I’m secure enough in my Scotch drinking to not worry about what the snobs enthusiasts say.

*Not to worry.  Alcohol isn’t really my drug of choice.  That would be chocolate.

I’m not sure this is my favorite episode (so far), but possibly it is.

Jamie brings Claire to the stones at Craigh na Dun.

Perhaps you can go home again.

Emmys for everyone!

The performances were off the charts.  The way Caitriona Balfe’s voice broke as Claire told Jamie her true story; the many facets of Sam Heughan’s face as Jamie listened, without saying a word.  Lotte Verbeek was riveting as Geillis Duncan sacrificed herself to save Claire.

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My Own Personal Outlander

[This post is safe for non-readers of the books and non-watchers of the television series.  *cough*Natalie*cough*]

As he did with Battlestar Gallactica (or so I’m told because I never watched it), Ronald D. Moore does podcasts for every episode of Outlander.  I came across them only recently and decided to listen to them in chronological order rather than jumping in with the most recent episode.  My preferred method of listening to the podcast is to synch it with the televised episode (sound off, close-captioning on).

Watching one episode per day (or thereabouts), last night I came upon the highly disturbing “The Garrison Commander” (106).  For this podcast Ron was accompanied by his three cats, the third of which is named Romeo.

Romeo is my black and white tuxedo cat.

Hey Ron, is your Romeo this handsome?

I have a Romeo, too!  I bet Ron’s isn’t as handsome as my boy is.

This fact might not have been blog-post worthy, were it not for something I came across the night before while reading Voyager, Diana Gabaldon’s third book in the Outlander series.

My Kindle app tells my I’m 65% of the way through Voyager, but recent going has been slow.  Glancing ahead to the next chapter (to determine how far I’d read before turning off the light), I espied a word familiar to me, but had never encountered in fiction.  It took me a moment or two to realize what I’d read.

The purser on board the HMS Porpoise is named “Mr. Overholt.”  I’ve seen Overholtzer in creative works before, even Overholtz, but never Overholt.

This Mr. Overholt is described as a bald-headed, short, rotund fellow, so he can’t be related.  All of the Overholt men I know are either very tall, hair-gifted, or both.

I may have to change my opinion of Ms. Gabaldon.  But I probably won’t.