As the denizens of Outlanderverse eagerly await the first episode of season 7, I was lucky enough to attend the premiere preview this past Friday night in New York City. I do not take pleasure in spoiling anticipation, therefore I offer no spoiler alerts, and before I overall critique the experience provided by Tribeca Film Festival and Starz, I want to provide Outlander Homepage followers with my perception of the first episode of season seven of OUTLANDER. (Only based on the premiere, not as a recap)
I am an OUTLANDER novel fan! I have read and re-read the entire novel series, as well as listened repeatedly to the audio versions. I am always keenly aware of and often hyper-critical, of the screenplay adaptations of Diana’s writing. Rarely have I been disappointed and I have to say this episode brilliantly took a page, (or several) from A Breath of Snow and Ashes. Most up to date viewers know that Jamie, and Claire particularly, were left in quite a life-threatening predicament at the end of season six. As always, the focus of just about everything Outlander, revolves around Jamie and Claire and their immediate family. But for this season's opening episode, I want to highlight one of Diana Galbaldon’s most misrepresented characters, Tom Christie.
Tom Christie is not the most likable resident of Fraser’s Ridge. He is sanctimonious, and his haughty piety rankles, yet the first episode provides this parent of Claire’s murdered nemesis, to redeem his years of jealousy and pride, by sacrificing in the name of unrequited love.
Mark Lewis Jones portrays Tom Christie so poignantly, and perfectly as the character reveals personal truths, and steps up to right the wicked wrongdoing of his family member that he feels personally responsible for. With life-altering strokes of his quill, and a simultaneously shocking, (for Claire) and freeing, (for Tom) confession of true feelings and false violence, Mr. Christie not only saves the Frasers, he sets himself free.
Of course there are multiple storylines to cover in each episode, and Roger and Bree are Jamie and Claire's next generation, except both share the gift of modern knowledge while living in the 18th century. I must honestly say I am not pleased with Roger playing Devil’s advocate with another time traveler, especially one with the ability to bring ruin upon the entire ridge and almost does just that further along in the storyline. So I am curious and apprehensive to watch to see how that particular situation plays out through this season.
The premiere event itself was an entirely different animal from past season premieres. While Starz has always done a fantastic job of producing fan friendly events, this year it seemed that the network took a backset to the event host, the Tribeca Film Festival. Outlander Homepage certainly understands the effort and difficulty of organizing, producing and successfully managing celebrity events, as we have had several such events that have included Sam, Caitriona, various other cast members, even a private dinner with Diana, all accomplished with the help of several other Outlander fan groups. But I suspect the organizers of this particular premiere misjudged the enthusiasm of the Outlander fandom, especially when offering a red carpet highlighting their favorite stars of the show. The seemingly, (if premeditated was pretty shitty) last minute decision to issue randomly assigned seating tickets to people who had purchased general admission, and stood in line for hours in the rain for that reason, was not well received as many of the venue employees quickly learned. Poor time management of the show prior to Outlander’s premiere also caused lengthy delays that did not endear already wet and tired fans. Once inside, the theater itself was a perfect venue for viewing the first episode, as well as hearing the panel discussion afterward. Not a bad seat in the house, which did make it feel a wee bit cozier and intimate than previous season premiere venues.
The panel consisted of the four main character actors, Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Richard Rankin, Sophie Skelton, and producer Maril Davis, along with local TV personality Ginger Zee as moderator. As always, the comedic charm of Richard Rankin filled the theatre with thunderous laughter and applause, while Caitriona’s good natured yet snarky humor zinged fellow cast mates, much to everyone’s delight. Individually and as a group, these stars give the air of folks you would enjoy casual cocktails with. Each seems very unpretentious, self-deprecating in spite of their fame. I can tell you from personal experience, both Sam and Caitriona are very easy to chat with. The one thing the panel lacked was Diana Gabaldon, who was in attendance as we later discovered. I was also mildly disappointed that new cast members being introduced to the plotline this season were not given more of the limelight. I think fans, especially those who have read the novels, are quite excited and curious to meet the grown up William, as well as young Ian’s future happiness, Miss Rachel Hunter.
Overall, even soaking wet and looking like drowned rats, it was a great evening filled with camaraderie, post covid reunions of friendships forged by our love of the books, and series, and the anticipation of the return of our beloved saga, OUTLANDER.
Written by Nancy McGehee Fontenot, who is from Louisiana, runs a Whisky tasting blog, and has all around never met a stranger!