Sunday, October 8, 2017

Episode 305: "Freedom & Whisky" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 305 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Freedom & Whisky".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.


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The opening shot, with the "Brianna's 1st Christmas" ornament, strikes me as poignant and sad. Both as a reminder of all those moments in Bree's childhood that Jamie never got to see, and as a reminder of the earlier, happier years of Claire's marriage to Frank, when they were able to set aside their differences out of their shared love for Brianna.

It's great to see Claire working as a surgeon.

The professor quoting from "Paul Revere's Ride" made me laugh out loud, thinking of the scene in ABOSAA chapter 77 ("The Eighteenth of April") where Bree recites the poem to Roger.

When the professor says "One if by land", notice Bree sketching archways in her notebook. An early hint that she's more interested in engineering than history?

Actually, the point the professor is making is one that Diana Gabaldon has also stressed in the books: that what we think of as history is what people wrote down, and it's subject to error and misinterpretation just like anything else. Think of Frank's genealogical chart showing his ancestor as Black Jack Randall rather than Alex Randall, for example.

I think it's realistic that Bree is struggling academically, considering how her life has completely been turned upside down in the last few months.

The next scene is very sad, though there's no dialogue at all.  I like the Frank theme playing softly in the background. Bree misses her daddy, which is totally understandable, especially around the holidays. (This would be her second Christmas since his death.)

The photographs -- can you say foreshadowing?? <g>

I liked this exchange between Joe and Claire:

"What the hell happened?"
"We...went our separate ways, and I had hoped that we would be able to find each other again, but--fate had other ideas."
"F*ck fate!"

In retrospect, considering how this episode ends, I think it's interesting that Roger's arrival at the Randalls' house is also completely unexpected. Though I can't imagine Book Roger making a transatlantic trip like that without even calling first to let Bree know he was coming!

Roger's awkward arrival in the middle of a heated argument reminds me of Claire's first visit to Lallybroch, in Episode 112 ("Lallybroch").

I don't blame Bree at all for needing a break. "She puts up a good facade," as Roger says, but she's been through a major shock, to put it mildly, and she'll need some time to come to terms with it.

I loved Claire's mention of reading "A Christmas Carol" to Bree.
I knew the story very well; it had been part of our Christmas ritual, Frank’s and Brianna’s and mine. From the time Bree was five or six, we had read A Christmas Carol every year, starting a week or two before Christmas, Frank and I taking it in turns to read to her each night before bed.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Night on a Snowy Mountain". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
And finally, we're back to the book! Roger's explanation of how he found the article by "Alexander Malcolm" is the first bit of this episode taken directly from VOYAGER, and I was glad to see it.  I love the difference in the way they reacted to the news: Roger with barely suppressed excitement, Claire with what looks like fear (in the sense of "I'm not ready for this!"), then anger.

"I could have lived the rest of my life not knowing."  I thought at once of Frank, finding evidence of Jamie in the past but keeping that knowledge from Claire, presumably so she wouldn't be tormented, knowing he was alive but unable to leave Bree to go to him.

I think Claire's conflict in this episode, over whether to leave Bree, is stronger than it was in the book, because Bree is so clearly struggling on a number of levels -- academically, emotionally. I find the idea that "she needs me" somewhat more convincing here than in the book, where Bree seemed to take everything in stride (more or less), once she got over the initial shock.

Claire with the pearls -- I'm so glad she got them back in Episode 303! I love the Jamie and Claire theme playing in the background.

The scene with Joe and Claire and the skeleton is terrific, very much as I imagined from the book.

"There were artifacts found with her," Joe says. Like an ax, maybe? <g>

"You still love him?"
"I never stopped."

Perfect answer!

"I've watched you live a half-life for fifteen years. If you have a second chance at love, you should take it."  Joe is very perceptive. Claire was very lucky to have him as a friend.

Meanwhile back at the Randalls' house, Roger is watching "Dark Shadows", and the show's dialogue is eerily appropriate:

"She was desperate to be reunited with him, no matter what sacrifices she had to make."
"Even her life?"
"Yes, Barnabas, even her life. She wanted to be with him that much!"

Claire's not yet at that point, but she's getting closer!

In the scene with Bree and Roger in the Cloisters at Harvard (well, OK, they filmed this in Glasgow, but I'll suspend disbelief), once again we see that Bree has been fascinated with engineering since she was a young girl.  Maybe Claire was right:
"I never was sure whether she really wanted to read history, or whether she did it mostly to please Frank. She loved him so much--and he was so proud of her."

[....]

"And then when Frank died...I rather think she went ahead with history because she thought he would have wanted it."

"That's loyal."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Night on a Snowy Mountain". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I'm glad they included Roger's line, "Everybody needs a history."

I really could have done without the scene with Claire and Sandy. I don't think it added much to the episode.  On the other hand, I do have to give Sandy credit for this line, which I totally agree with:

"A part of [Frank] was still in love with you, and always would be, no matter how much you broke his heart."

In the next scene, with Claire and Bree, I really liked Claire's response when Bree wonders if Frank hated her because of her resemblance to Jamie:

"Oh, no! You were the one thing that was really important to Frank. Raising you--that was his life's work, his greatest joy."

"I love you for you, Brianna, not for the man who fathered you." Good line, and Bree needed to hear that.

I love the way Claire and Bree's relationship is starting to heal at last.  "I love you, but I don't need you. Not the way I did when I was little." This was Roger's line in the book (VOYAGER chapter 22, "All Hallows' Eve"), but I think it works well here to have Bree say it.

The Apollo 8 Christmas message is, of course, a real historical event, that took place on December 24, 1968.  I liked Claire's voiceover very much:

"I had been, in many ways, further than the moon, on an even more impossible journey. And the answer was yes, you can come back to your life, but it's never the same. But maybe it was enough, to have gone once. How many people can say they had that?"

Notice the music of the dancers at Craigh na Dun, as Claire looks out at the moon. She's starting to think seriously about doing it.

"To not be there, to see you get married [...] or to watch you become a mother, hold my first grandchild...."  And of course, all the book-readers are saying, "But you will! You will, Claire, don't worry."

Bree says, "I'm more you than I am either of my fathers."  Well, wait until she meets Jamie, and maybe she'll change her mind about that, because all the evidence in the books points very strongly in the opposite direction! <g> Still, it's a kind thought.

"You owe it to him to go back. I want you to go, and tell him everything."  I like that.

I think it's understandable that Claire would have a little self-doubt ("What if he doesn't love me anymore?"), but I thought Bree's response was just right.  She doesn't roll her eyes and say, "Oh, Motherrrrr", like a teenager. She responds with empathy and compassion, a little bit of logic <g>, and a good deal of maturity for her age.

"You gave Jamie up for me. Now I have to give him back to you." Awwww!! In this whole scene, I felt Sophie was basically channelling Book Bree. Very well done!

In the scene with Joe and Claire, when she closed the office door, I was sure she was going to tell him about the time-traveling, and I was surprised when she didn't. I did like the scene, though. It added a little welcome humor, after the very intense scene with Bree.

The gift-giving scene was sweet. "I 'borrowed' some scalpels and penicillin from the hospital," Claire says. Topaz is my birthstone too. <g>  And the gemstone is a very thoughtful gift!

The brown hassock (or ottoman) by the Christmas tree is very similar to the one we had in our family room when I was a child, at about this same time (late 60's-early '70s). I smiled when I saw it.

The scene with Claire sewing her "batsuit" made me laugh, remembering the many hours I spent watching Batman reruns after school with my sister, when we were kids.  It's not what Book Claire would have done, but I can accept that TV Claire had sufficient sewing skills to manage it.  And I love the idea of all the secret compartments sewn inside it.

Claire dying her hair is understandable, but I kept thinking that Jamie would have told her not to bother.

"He's a good one," Claire says approvingly of Roger. Awwww!

"The first time I went through, I was terrified. The second time, heartbroken. This time, I want it to be peaceful. If I had to say goodbye to you there, I might never go."  I like this very much.

I have tears in my eyes, watching them say goodbye. Claire giving the pearls to Bree is a lovely moment, very emotional.

As Claire's cab drives away, I'm so grateful that Bree has Roger, to help her through this. His gift of "A Christmas Carol" is thoughtful and very appropriate.

I just love the way they used the bit about puddles from the Prologue to VOYAGER here! I think it's a very creative and effective way to show the transition between time periods. And just as with the transition in Episode 201, I feel a rush of excitement just knowing that Claire is back in the 18th century, with Jamie somewhere nearby!

When Claire reaches out to touch the printshop sign, you can almost see her thinking, "It's real! He's really here!" Cait does a great job of showing Claire's excitement, nervousness, hope, and a little fear all mingled together, as she climbs the steps and finally musters the courage to walk through the door.

The printshop scene was just PERFECT!!  Really. I'm so delighted with the way it turned out! The fact that the printshop entrance is above the shop itself (which I wasn't expecting at all) makes it a little more dramatic and visually interesting when Jamie faints, because Claire can't just run to him immediately.  And I just love the look on her face at the very end!

Wonderful episode, very well done! Kudos especially to Cait and Sophie for their excellent performances!
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I hope you enjoyed this recap. Please note, there will NOT be a new episode of OUTLANDER next week, but I hope you'll come back in two weeks to see my reactions to Episode 306, which airs on STARZ on Sunday, October 22. (My understanding is that Episode 306 will be about 75 minutes long.)

Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes so far.

13 comments:

♥Susanlynn said...

Karen, thank you for another detailed analysis.

I was disappointed in most of this episode. It seems that so much of it was added and unnecessary . I did not care for the Batman music, but someone on CompuServe stated that it might have been a shout out to Sam's theatrical Batman.

I was confused that Claire was not joyful at Roger's news that he had found Jamie in Edinburgh.

I totally understood Claire coloring her hair. She wanted Jamie 's first vision of her to bring back memories of their time together. She wanted to appear to him as close as possible to the way he remembered her.

I giggled at Claire sewing an entire wardrobe out of raincoats! That outfit looked very heavy and very utilitarian. I will miss Claire popping the seams of her Jessica Guttenberg frock and having to go to the whore's brunch wrapped in a quilt. Well, nobody will think that she is the new whore in that outfit.

I did think that the scene of CLaire stepping into the puddle as she exited the taxi and then stepping into a puddle as she exited the coach was very clever. Withhout the heavy eye makeup and teased, sprayed hair, we again have the beautiful Claire whom JAmie fell in love with.

I loved the last five minutes. I thought the episode would end with that bell on the door ringing. I loved seeing Jamie gaze disbelievingly up at Claire bathed in a halo of light before he fainted. I think I read that they used the set from Master Raymond's shop...thus the raised entrance which I thought was very effective. I cannot wait to see the next episode and all the others to follow now that Jamie and CLaire are back together again.

♥Susanlynn said...

Sandy Candy...the reason you shouldn't take lollipops to the beach.;-)

♥Susanlynn said...

Just watched the episode for the second time, and I liked it better than my first viewing. Loved the ending even more. Claire's face positive!y glowed with pure joy as she stared down at Jamie . So beautiful .Then, he fainted away, and she looked so distressed. Watching Jamie's reaction when he awakens in Claire's arms will be wonderful.

Their twenty year separation seemed even sadder abd more devastating as depicted on the show than it did when I read Voyager. It seems as though they have been apart and sad and longing for each other forever.

Kathleen Ballenger said...

Why isn't it on on the 15th?

Karen Henry said...

Kathleen - see my post here for some speculations on that.

http://www.outlandishobservations.com/2017/10/a-brief-break-between-episodes-305-and.html

Karen

Shelljo said...

My guess is the Sandy/Claire scene is a foreshadowing scene. I'm guessing we'll see a similar conversation between Claire and Jenny or Claire and L (I can never remember how to spell her name. feel free to edit and add it!)

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen , this episode opens with the old Christmas decorations that Bree remembers from her childhood , like seeing Claire back at work in the hospital with her friend Joe , and while learning about the Midnight ride of Paul Revere which the professor is correct was false , Bree is more interested in the engineering than history , she leans that she is Failing her classes , but after learning about her real father its hard for her to . very sad scenes in which Bree goes through her fathers things and photos missing him so much , crying over them , great to see Roger arriving in Boston , but right in the middle of another fight between Claire and Bree as he rings the bell , he's warmly greated , but there is tension between mother and daughter , great scene in kitchen with Roger , as Roger gives Claire the printshop information on Jamie and his name on it , he's surprised by her reaction, she 's afraid of going back to the past , because he doesn't want to leave Bree alone and feels she can't go back , lovely scenes in which Claire fingers Jamie's pearls , the scenes with Joe and the bones and the examination of them are from the books , plus Claire confiding in Joe about Jamie and he past , plau loe seeing her show off her knows about bones , love seeing Roger watching "Dark Shadows , ' loved it as a kid , and my babysitter loved it too , love the Irish Sweater Brianna wears in the scene. . and the wardrobe she wears to Franks Dedication cereamony , the confrontation between Claire and Frank's mistress was very intense , which Bree , sees , also loved the scenes between them in the Collage , love the scenes in which Claire is remembering Jamie and is close to making a decision about going back to the past , loe the moon and the music , very magical , love the scene in which CLaire tells Bre the pros and cons about her decision , and the fact that she won't ever see Brianna get married and have children of her own , nit true. . love seeing her unsure of herself and vuluabality , and love Bree telling her that she was giving Claire back to Jamie , Great Christmas gift giving scenes , espscially the neckless with Brianna's birthstone in it , and the idea of making her own Outfit, ."Batman ' was one of the most popular show on at the time and me and my brother loved it , so was thrilled to see them use the TV show theme show as Claire was making her outfit, love how Claire feels insecure about herself as she dyes her hair , beautiful moment when Claire gives Brianna the pearls and was teary eyes through the scenes , loved the toast and the fact that Bree is wearing the Pearls as Claire leaves in the cab , for the last time , love the fact that Roger is there for Bree when she needs him the most , love seeing the Lobster Roll and Boston Cream pie as Brianna is given A Christmas Carol , a first edition and they read it out loud , its what Claire will do for Jamie after he is ingured in "Drums Of Autumn ', seeing Claire step out of the cab and into the past from the carriage , and into the past was done in the beginning of season 2 after Claire returns to the Present to live in Boston with Frank , love the Edinburgh past scenes , love seeing Claire walking through the streets looking for Jamie , a thousand emotions are going through her here , and you can see it , love Claire putting her hand over the A. Malcom sign , then go upstairs to the door was holding my breath as she entered the shop , then hearing Jamie calling out and her reaction , was glad Jamie and Claire had a chance to see each other before he faints and the episode ends, this was one of the best episodes and ended the way fans wanted it to , I think this will be the best season yet , please post more soon. sincerely .

Cara said...

As a Revolutionary War era reenactor in the Boston area, I was so delighted that the writers got the Paul Revere story right, including the bit about William Dawes also riding from Boston on April 18, 1775, and Samuel Prescott completing the mission to Concord. Did you know that General Thomas Gage, who was governor of Massachusetts at the time, fought at the Battle of Culloden? It was one of the few times he was on the winning side...

Good episode.

Ann K Vopalecky said...

The entire episode was a essential prelude to Claire's returning to Jamie. More so than the book, it explored the difficulty of Claire's decision to leave Bree. She also gave up her exalted position as a surgeon at a prestigious hospital, but the adaptation did not explore this as much. Since Claire didn't reveal to Joe Abernathy Jamie's precise location in time, Bree will have to do it because she, Roger, Jem and Mandy will need his help when they return from the past in the future. And the end of the last sentence illustrates the paradox of time travel. 😀

Anonymous said...

Claire would never sew her own outfit.

Stan916 said...

The one thing I found puzzling was that in all her prep it doesn't show her taking a photo of Bree to show Jamie.

Cathy Caissie said...

I agree with Stan916...i was waiting for that moment to see the picture

♥Susanlynn said...

I just watched the end of Episode 305 The PRint SHop and then the trailer for episode 306 in which Jamie and Claire are together. Caitronia's beautiful face absolutely glows with love. She is a stunning.