There are so many blogs out there. Why would I want to put one out there? I could not remain silent regarding the mischaracterization at the print shop.
I have no passion for nitpicking. I gain no satisfaction from pointing out what’s wrong. My joy is found in the lives of these deep rich characters Diana Gabaldon created and gave to the world in all media.
I am devoted to the integrity of the characters and their story being communicated authentically in what they say and what they do where it matters most. Critical thinking isn’t criticism for the sake of saying “that’s wrong”. Group thinking and a mob mentality that “if you don’t like then don’t watch” is a feeble argument. When something is done well, I praise it and if I don’t, I usually move on. This week’s scene at the print shop however, was disappointing at a level that I need to address because TPTB stepped too far out of character and slighted a defining scene in this story.
There was a lot of HYPE going into “A. Malcom”.
There are always going to be compromises in adapting a huge story into episodic television. Some scenes don’t fit across one medium to the other and are changed. Sometimes lines and scenes and the actual voice gets moved around to fit within time and further the plot. Of course there are going to be comparisons to the source material. The show is based on a book! It isn’t unreasonable to make them.
Yes, I can separate show from book and do. The show is an extension of the book. However, there are some scenes that are definitive.
The print shop is one of them. It needed to be clean and cohesive. It is a key scene that production hyped for months. I can deal with additions and subtractions so long as they serve a purpose.
The scene in Jamie’s back room where Claire introduces Brianna to Jamie is an epic fail.
Were there things they got right? Yes. Were there additions? Yes. Were there subtractions? Yes. Does it all make sense? No.
It isn’t about how much is in the book. It’s about what was added, what was subtracted. What would those characters do in that moment? It isn’t about Book VS Show. It isn’t about "it’s in the book" therefore it must be in the show. Matt Roberts KNOWS what’s in the book. Diana consults with them. All the pieces for getting that scene and those moments right were all there. Do all the additions and subtractions serve a purpose? Do they further the plot? Do they echo the motives of the characters? Are they serving the story or serving something else?
Addition: The pictures are in a plastic bag.
Additon: Jamie’s glasses. Not a deal breaker.
Subtraction: A kiss on the cheek from his daughter.
Subtraction: He did not “thoroughly fall(s) to pieces”. This is a big one.
Addition: He sees the baby’s red hair and mentions it is like her sister, Faith.
Addition: He hands the photos back to Claire. Wait. What? Yes, he hands them back. I could deal with him not thoroughly falling to pieces if he put those pictures in his breast pocket close to his heart. It would show his never wanting to let her go.
|Even Cait felt it as Claire|
Addition: He shows Claire the miniature of his son.
Let’s talk about Claire and her experience. The improbable journey back into the past sees her back with the love of her life. She tells Jamie she wasn’t happily married, but she and Frank loved raising Bree together. She is standing there anxious, insecure, and vulnerable. Those are 3 adjectives that seldom describe Claire. Why would Jamie hand back the pictures of their daughter to her and flaunt his son? How must that feel to her? She would have stayed and died with him!
She knows Jamie’s had another life as she expected he would. Twenty years is a long time. He is going by an alias. He has secrets. What else is he keeping from her? I have to wonder that while he beats around the bush telling her what he does for a living later at the brothel, when at the first opportunity he tells her about a bastard son that he isn’t likely to ever see again. He doesn’t tell her about his other family up in the Highlands and that he might be a bigamist, yet Willie was an absolute necessity for him to come clean about? Of all the secrets he has, why Willie? He didn’t tell her about L’heery because he feared she’d leave. Did he think acknowledging his son who he wasn’t likely to see was the least of his many secrets? Maybe we’ll find out. I just hope Fergus comes back with good advice from Ned Gowan.
I could go on that I saw a picture with two different hands holding those baby pictures. No, I didn’t catch it while watching.
I find it interesting that Outlander Community, the fan interaction site for Starz, published the print shop scene from the script and it was written that Jamie did indeed fall to pieces, after “A. Malcolm” aired. Matt gets this story. Maril gets this story. Moreover, they know these characters. We may never know why it didn’t make the final cut. All evidence from the books and the 34 episodes leading into this episode paint a Jamie that would not have done what was done in the print shop. A fan on twitter asked Diana Gabaldon if she liked the addition of Willie. When I didn’t think I could love Diana more, she answered. (Insert tweet from Stephanie). So, do I feel validated? You bet I do! No one knows those characters better than she does. There is a disconnect. It doesn’t ring true and I didn’t need Diana or Maril to tell me. There are things Diana has no power to change. Please don’t say “Jamie wouldn’t fall to pieces because…” Jamie did because his creator said he did. No other rationalization matters. Jamie didn’t flaunt his son because it wasn’t the time and place. He was terrified she would leave. Nothing says family bonding like, “Oh, she is a bonnie lass. Can you hold those while ye have a look at my braw lad?”
When I didn’t think I could love Diana more, she answered. So, do I feel validated? You bet I do! No one knows those characters better than she does. There is a disconnect. It doesn’t ring true and I didn’t need Diana or Maril to tell me. Please don’t tell me that if Diana likes it than who am I to complain. There are things she has no power to change. Don’t say “Jamie wouldn’t fall to pieces because…”. Jamie did because his creator said he did. Jamie didn’t flaunt his son because it wasn’t the time and place. He was terrified she would leave. Nothing says, “Oh, she is a bonnie lass. Can you hold those while ye have a look at my braw lad?”
The additions and subtractions have to be grounded in substance and represent who and what are happening and where in a specific context. It has to all add up in the end. It has to be cohesive. Authenticity matters. Substance matters. Make changes where it makes sense and serves a purpose, but please do not do it at the expense of the integrity of the characters that drive this story. Please don’t insult my emotional intelligence. I have enormous respect for this production. I credit the writers, directors, performers, EVERYONE who brings this story to life in this medium. The show gives these characters another “life” and sometimes a different narrative. I beg you see it safe and please don’t take away its soul.
Until “Crème De Menthe”, thanks for reading.
Peace, love, and Outlander.
Laura Michelle Martin is an admin of Outlander Forever, Outlander Homepage and an organizer for Outlander in the City event productions!