Outlander Season 2 Ends

And I’m a mess.

Claire and Jamie watch from the door as Fergus takes off for Lollybroch.

Claire and Jamie watch Fergus leave for Lollybroch, and it’s heart-breaking.

I stayed up late Friday night to watch Outlander‘s season 2 finale, “Dragonfly in Amber,” since Starz made it available OnDemand at that time.  At a special 90 minutes length, there was a lot to take in.  I teared up a little.  I didn’t watch again until the episode had its network airing Saturday evening.  That’s when I joined the live tweeting at The Scot and the Sassenach, something I’ve done for the past few episodes.  (This was quite an achievement as I am an immense Twitter-phobe.)  Towards the end of the episode, I kept putting my tablet down to watch the scenes.  And I cried—enough to bother my sinus and get a headache, thus requiring some pain reliever before bedtime.

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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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What’s for Summer?

Now that my favorite television shows have finished their first-run episodes, what’s a person to do during the summer months (or, in the case of Outlander, more like an entire year)?  How about the SciFi Chicks Summer Series 2015, where I attempt to post weekly discussions favorite episodes (Supernatural and possibly Arrow), highlights and lowlights of the past season (Outlander), and various musings (including, but not limited to The Flash)?

Let’s start with a musing.

Sam Heughan and Jared Padalecki were two of Cupboard Maker Books' champions.

Two Sams: two of Cupboard Maker Books’ four author-nominated champions*

In my bi-annual visit to Facebook yesterday, I found an intriguing entry from my friend Natalie.  She told me to visit Cupboard Makers Books’ Facebook page and vote for my favorite “champion.”  Then, if I came to the book-signing event at the brick-and-mortar Cupboard Maker Books on Saturday, I might win a prize!

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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 Watch (113)

This Outlander review/recap/commentary/list/whatever is brought to you by Laphroaig Quarter Cask.  In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m basically going through the Scotch whiskies that were featured in Scotch Tasting with Sam Heughan and Kristin Dos Santos.  It’s not the same Laphroaig as in the tasting, but the Quarter Cask was on sale.  It’s very smokey.

Jamie gets into a fight wtih members of the Watch.

Jamie Fraser vs. four Watch men? No problem!

Outlander is gearing up for its season 1 finale; “The Watch” signifies the beginning of the end.  Jamie and Claire’s peaceful life at Lallybroch couldn’t last, lest the show lose its male viewers.  (Some were bored with last week’s episode which focused on Jamie’s personal growth.)  The idyllic life came to an abrupt end last week in the form of a gun pointed at Jamie’s head.  If you didn’t guess the perpetrator of this abomination, it was the Watch, those pesky highwaymen who are loyal only to the highest bidder.

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Outlander: Lallybroch (112)

This week’s post is brought to you by Kenwood 2013 Sonoma County Chardonnay.  Had to take a break from all the Scotch.

Jamie returns to Lallybroch with  Claire.

Jamie returns to Lallybroch with Claire.

 It’s been an Outlander Watershed Week

“The Devil’s Mark,” met with severe criticism from long-time Outlander fans for minimizing a significant and much loved section of the book.  I too was disappointed these scenes weren’t included, but I still found the episode excellent in its own right. Thus, I decided to enjoy the television show for itself without reference to the books.

Also, I finished reading Voyager, the third book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and there I will stop.  Well, I might pick up a Lord John Grey novel or two, because he’s a wonderfully sympathetic and honorable character.

In a week of minimal action, Jamie and Claire had a much needed reprieve.  But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t drama.

Remember when I wrote about how much this show moves me?  The scene of Jamie and Claire riding across a verdant field evoked a love so profound, my heart exploded.  And now, that scene has arrived  (although the actual galloping scene wasn’t in the episode).  They’ve put their time at Castle Leoch behind them.  The horror of the witch trial is over, Jamie now knows the truth about Claire, and they’re traveling toward a new life.  To Lallybroch—and home.  It”s a beautiful ending to a rich story.  Except we’re only ¾ of the way through the story.

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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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Outlander: The Reckoning (109)

It’s back!

Outlander finally returned after a three- six-month hiatus.  (I discovered the epic series in late December, so my wait time was half that of original viewers.  And even that was too long!)

How did you celebrate?  I pulled out my knitwear (two handwarmers and a 99% finished cowl) and poured myself a glass (or 2) of Scotch, discovering I prefer 12-year-old Glenfiddich to my previous regular Johnny Walker Red.

In keeping with my penchant for lists, lets begin.

1.  Jamie’s voice-over…

… was key to this episode.  It gave us a chance to see what the Scots were up to while Claire was busy being arrested and nearly raped; helped us see Jamie’s perspective of that Controversial Scene; and gave us insight into the politics at Castle Leoch.  But most importantly, it helped move Jamie from the naive young man he was to the intelligent, savvy, adult he is to become.

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And Now for Something Different

We Interrupt Supernatural Favorites-a-thon…

…to bring you this Outlander Sam Heughan news commentary.

If you watched the recent #Hangoutlander session with the women of That’s Normal, you’ll know their love for Sam Heughan has died down.  Their complaints?  1) He’s let his looks go during the off-season, growing his hair out and sporting a scraggly beard.  2) He seems to be a bit naive with his new-found fame, making un-star-like comments (whatever they may be).  However, Outlander Online posted a page from Cosmopolitan magazine featuring Sam and some of his quotes.  To wit,

British women can be slightly more reserved.  Scottish are little more crazy and fun, and American are more forthright, which I really enjoy.  I haven’t met enough American women.  I think we need to rectify that.

I’d say he’s adjusting to his new fame and giving just the right sound bites quite well.