Sunday, December 10, 2017

Episode 313: "Eye of the Storm" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 313 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Eye of the Storm". I thought this was a terrific episode, well-written, suspenseful, and very faithful to the book. A wonderful way to end Season 3!

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

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


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Here are my reactions to OUTLANDER Episode 313, "Eye of the Storm":
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The episode opens with a dream-like sequence, accompanied by Claire's voice-over: "I was dead. Everything around me was a blinding white, and there was a soft, rushing noise like the wings of angels. I felt peaceful and bodiless, free of terror, free of rage, filled with quiet happiness."

This is a direct quote from VOYAGER chapter 63 ("Out of the Depths"), but I thought it was an odd choice for the "title card" of this episode, when we'd last left Claire alive and unharmed, watching Jamie being dragged off by Captain Leonard's men. Even for book-readers who know what it means, IMHO to begin at the end of the story like that is jarring.

The scene where Claire watches a procession of black people with torches marching down the road is visually interesting, but also somewhat puzzling. Are they escaped slaves -- maroons?  We never do learn the answer to that.

At the inn, Fergus and Marsali discover that Claire has gone in search of Young Ian.

"Fergus Fraser. I'm your wife. I'm going with you." That's a very Claire-like sentiment, coming from Marsali. <g>

Meanwhile, snooping around the grounds of Rose Hall in the dark, Claire encounters a rather mangy-looking dog, nosing around what turns out to be the corpse of a boy. And before we (or Claire) have time to recover from the shock of this discovery, the slave Hercules (who is huge, just as described in the book) grabs Claire from behind.

I love Young Ian's fury in the scene with Geillis:  "I'm tired of your bletherin'! So leave me be or get on with it, you BITCH!"

I absolutely loved the scene between Lord John and Captain Lieutenant Leonard of the Porpoise. David Berry was in top form, absolutely channeling Lord John!  The way John talks to young Leonard sounds exactly the way a (former) Lieutenant Colonel would dress down a junior officer who's overstepped his authority. Just perfect!

"I'm afraid the army takes a more traditional stance in these matters, preferring to grant a title of command only when it has been earned."

That's actually not true; as we've seen in Diana's books, British army officers at the time (including both Lord John and his brother Hal) actually bought their commissions. But I can understand the impulse to say it just to watch young Leonard squirm. <g>

"...before you dispossess him of his freedom." - nice turn of phrase there!

I like the way John says "Lieutenant Leonard" at the end, biting off each syllable.

I liked this exchange between John and Jamie:

"Seems we've been indebted to each other so many times, I lost count."
"Until the next time, then."

The scene with Geillis and Claire is very good. I like Geillis much better in this episode than in Episode 312. Seeing her in this scene, it's not difficult at all to envision her as the aged-up version of Geillis from Season 1, something I had a hard time doing in "The Bakra".

"I sacrificed all for you, and still you come into my home and lie to me."

Ha. That's rich, considering that Geillis lies about just about everything.

On the other hand, I do give Geillis points for doubting that Claire would ever voluntarily leave Jamie. <g> ("Not even war could part the two of ye.")

"I had to. For the safety of my child."  Even though it's been 20 years, my heart hurts for Claire, having to re-open that old wound.

"I've read better stories in Mills & Boon," says Geillis skeptically, referring to a well-known British publisher of romance novels.  And Claire, in desperation, produces the photos of Brianna as proof.

"You actually met her at the university in Inverness in 1968." Many of you will recall that meeting, from Episode 213 ("Dragonfly in Amber").

Geillis, on her late husband Greg Edgars: "He was one of my favorites. Handsome. Such a lovely c*ck." <snort!>

And while Claire is thinking of Jamie -- on the other side of the stones all those years, somehow drawing her to him -- Geillis has already moved on, plotting her next move, which will clearly have something to do with the "200-year-old baby".

In the next scene, Claire, locked in the guest room, hears Young Ian outside. Then there's a noise at her door. She raises the candlestick to bash the intruder over the head, and nearly hits Jamie instead. (I liked the parallel to the scene in Episode 105, "Rent", where she has a similar encounter with Jamie. <g>)

It's not entirely clear to me how Jamie managed to get into Claire's room, but I don't really care, as long as they're back together.

The scene with the dancers around the fire is exotic and mysterious, and I think the drums add considerably to the effect.

Notice that one of the men is wearing a crocodile headdress, just like Ishmael did in the book.

I love the way the scene flashes back to the dancers at Craigh na Dun from Episode 101 ("Sassenach"). That's very appropriate -- how could Claire not be thinking about the last time she witnessed something similar? -- and I thought it was a nice touch.

And suddenly Mr. Willoughby appears out of nowhere, and the dancers fall silent. His rapturous expression when he talks about Margaret Campbell seems way over the top to me. "She is the first woman to truly see me, the man that I am, and I see her. We wish to be together."

This, on the basis of a few hours' acquaintance?  Sorry, but I don't find that believable.  Even if they had a simultaneous "coup de foudre" moment, falling in love with each other at first sight, it's only been a day, at most, since the Governor's Ball where they met.

The scene with Margaret Campbell is suitably spooky and unnerving.

"I see you in an orchard of death, sown with blood.  I see the rabbit." And for those who didn't get the reference, we see a brief glimpse of Jamie lying wounded on the battlefield after Culloden in Episode 301 ("The Battle Joined"), and the rabbit that appeared nearby.

"I see a bird on a windowsill. He sings to you when you are sorrowful -- but you hear him [meaning Jamie]." This, of course, is a reference to the bird that Claire saw through the window of her house in Boston, in that same episode, at a time when she was still grieving deeply for Jamie.

Margaret Campbell speaking in Brianna's voice is not nearly as eerie and spine-tingling as it is in the book (the audio version of this scene always gives me chills!), but I suppose they weren't able to have Sophie Skelton dub those few lines. Oh, well.

And here comes Archie Campbell.  Mr. Willoughby looks at him with utter contempt: "You are not welcome here."

I thought Claire was a little slow to get the point about the "200-year-old baby". After all, Geillis mentioned it only a short time before, when she saw the photos of Brianna. But it's only now that Claire seems to make the connection to Bree.

The next sequence must have been complicated to film. There are actually three separate storylines taking place simultaneously:

- Claire and Jamie, realizing that one of the photos is missing and Geillis must have stolen it
- The confrontation between Archie Campbell and Yi Tien Cho
- The dancers around the fire, who are now engaged in some sort of ritual involving sacrificing a rooster and drinking its blood

With so much going on at once, it's hard to know what to pay attention to.  If you're not watching closely, you'll miss the point where Yi Tien Cho kills Archie Campbell. (Right after Jamie and Claire talk about Abandawe.)

When Jamie and Claire return to the fire, they're startled to see the black man in the crocodile headdress drinking blood. As disturbing as that is to watch, it's somewhat less so than the scene in the book:
[Margaret] clutched the gurgling, struggling trussed carcass tight against her bosom, crooning, “Now, then, now, then, it’s all right, darling,” as the blood spurted and sprayed into the teacup and all over her dress.

The crowd had cried out at first, but now was quite still, watching. The flute, too, had fallen silent, but the drum beat on, sounding much louder than before.

Margaret dropped the drained carcass carelessly to one side, where a boy darted out of the crowd to retrieve it. She brushed absently at the blood on her skirt, picking up the teacup with her red-swathed hand.

“Guests first,” she said politely. “Will you have one lump, Mrs. Malcolm, or two?"

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 61, "The Crocodile's Fire". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 
Just before Jamie turns to leave, notice that one of the men around the fire has put on Campbell's wig.

As they approach Abandawe, a circle of standing stones is clearly visible on the hill ahead of them. So the cave presumably lies directly underneath the stone circle.

"We lost Faith. We will not lose Brianna."  Great line, and a touching reminder that Jamie has never forgotten their first daughter.

Meanwhile, in the cave, Geillis is laying out gemstones in a patten on the floor.  Young Ian lies nearby, bound and gagged.

I love the way Geillis's eyes bug out as she says, "I have to, Claire. For the greater good."  She looks truly insane there.

I found it a little hard to follow the action at the end of the fight. Here's what I think happened, as best I can make it out:

Jamie picks up the dirk and holds it to Hercules' throat. Geillis says, "This is God's will," and starts toward the pool of water that Claire has guessed must be the time portal.  Claire screams, "NOOOO!!" and lunges for Hercules' machete, lying forgotten on the floor.  And then Claire rushes at Geillis with the machete, with the full force of her body and her rage behind it. The blade catches Geillis full in the throat, and she falls dead.  Jamie lets Hercules go, saying, "You're free."

While Jamie unties Young Ian, Claire stands there, frozen with shock, the bloody machete still in her hand, staring at Geillis's body on the floor. Then the portal starts making an unearthly sound, and she starts toward it, only to be pulled back by Jamie at the last second. I thought that was very well done.

Just before they leave the cave, notice Young Ian gathering up the gemstones. (Good thinking!)  Jamie grabs the singed photo of Brianna, and they make their escape.

"I knew you'd come, Uncle Jamie. But ye left it a bit late, aye?"  This line comes straight from the book.

Meanwhile, Claire is still in shock, as she realizes that she actually held Geillis's skull in her hands, in 1968.  I thought this bit was really well done, even better than the very subtle way it's done in the book.

"But first I must hold you both," Jamie says, gathering Claire and Ian into his arms. I loved that!

The "noises ye don't make" scene, aboard the Artemis, is one of my favorites from VOYAGER, and Sam and Cait did a fantastic job with it!  The whole scene is almost word-for-word from the book. Perfect, just perfect!!

The hurricane sequence is amazing, riveting to watch, and it must have been immensely complicated to film.  My first thought, watching the rain pounding on the deck, was, "Didn't anybody check the Weather Channel?"  I was kidding, of course, but it really underscores how difficult and dangerous a sea voyage could be in those days: completely at the mercy of the weather, with no ability to predict even the most massive storms in advance.

So Claire goes up on deck, leaving Fergus, Marsali, and Young Ian below, which doesn't strike me as a very safe place to be in a storm like that. Not that anywhere on the ship is safe, but how would they get out if the ship started to sink?

The sight of the mast breaking is terrifying!  For a moment, Claire and Jamie lean on the rail, and it looks like they might be safe. Then they look up, and see this monster wave coming!  I liked the look on Jamie's face when he realizes Claire has gone overboard.

The underwater scene where Jamie rescues Claire is fascinating to watch.  There's a sort of mystical quality to it, like an underwater ballet.  Still, I wish they hadn't shown part of this scene already to open the episode. I felt a bit cheated, thinking, "As beautifully filmed as this is, as lovely as the words are, why are they showing it to us twice?"

"Damn you, Sassenach, if you die here now, I swear I'll kill you!"  This is very close to the line in the book.

The camera pulls away slowly, showing the two of them floating in a vast, vast ocean.  And then it pulls back still further, until we can see that they are in fact in the literal "eye of the storm".  I thought that was very cool!

The next scene, where they wake on the beach, is not in the book, but I thought it was well done. Jamie is clearly terrified that Claire is dead, until he kisses her and, like Sleeping Beauty, she awakens.

"I thought you were dead."
"I told you I'd never leave you again."

I love that!

At the very end, Jamie and Claire are in each other's arms, hugging so tight that you feel they'll never let go. <g>  And I have the same peaceful, contented feeling I always get at the end of VOYAGER:  Jamie and Claire have no idea what's coming next, but whatever happens, they'll face it together.

What a terrific way to end the season!  I loved this episode, and I think the whole cast and crew did a great job.
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I hope you enjoyed this recap.  Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes so far.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought it a wonderful episode to end a great season. I’m so happy I discovered this incredible series, which lead me to reading the books.

Susan said...

I assumed the slaves/maroons passing Claire in the carriage were ritual participants and on their way to the ritual site.

♥Susanlynn said...

Well, they managed to get Jamie and Claire to Georgia, but it was a bit frantic.

David BErry was amazing again. I really did not like Lord John in the books because , like Claire, I was jealous of his love for Jamie. Step back, man. However, DAvid Berry is doing a great job with this role , and he has made me love JOhn and feel sorry that Jamie cannot return his love...because...well...Claire!

Loved the scene on ship with Jamie as a man with a plan..a very good plan, indeed.

The underwater scene of Jamie swimming to rescue Claire was beautiful and meaningful. These two have a mystical connection that let's them find, save, heal each other...always. Beautiful. The eye of the storm was a magnificent image . Watching them float together in that endless, blue sea was amazing.

Anonymous said...

Susanlynn,
I agree with you about LJG. Halfway through Drums of Autumn I really started liking him. At this point, he doesn’t seem like a threat to Claire. The actor that plays him makes me like him even more.

Susan said...

It was a fantastic ending to a great Season!
The scene of the dancers with the flash back to the dancers at Craigh na Dun gave me goosebumps. Bear's music throughout the whole series has been so beautiful, helping to pull you in to each scene.

I was happy to see that Mr. Willoughby got a happy ending with Margaret Campbell.

I thought the rescue scene was so well done, reminiscent of Jaime's scene on the battefield of Culloden, it had an unearthly feel that was quite haunting and the kiss was a beautiful touch.

Was really glad to see the "noises ye don't make" scene follow the book so closely. Sam and Caitriona did such a great job of showing such tender passion with a bit of playfulness, bringing Jaime and Claire closer to the Jaime and Claire of season one.

The beach scene was a perfect ending to a great Episode! Can't wait for season 4!

Anonymous said...

Really loved this season, but there are numerous fans that are frustrated that the character of Jaime has been diminished so. We understand adaptation, but do not understand change in the actual character from the books.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful episode. Really great. But this is more of a general comment. It just occurred to me that this couple's real life relationship parallel's the story in many ways. They (SH & CB) are "forced" by circumstance to be intimate, more intimate - I dare say - than many married couples. At the same time they have such genuine regard and respect for each other.

It makes them a pleasure to watch - on and off screen. In addition to being achingly beautiful, they are BOTH immensely talented and a genuine pleasure to watch. I am grateful to them and everyone responsible for the Outlander phenomenon - book and tv show alike.

Such a wonderful world to escape into when I can barely tolerate my own.

Mary Tormey said...

HI Karen sorry I didn't give you my review , my computer had to be fixed so now I can .loved the final and it ended the way fans wanted and can't wait to add season 3 to my Outlander library . please post more soon. Sincerely .

Melinda Ray said...

Over the last 3 days, I have binge-read ALL of your recaps from all three seasons!!! I used to enjoy your commentary on Diana's website, but over the past couple of years fell into the habit of going to her FB page instead. I have missed you! I really enjoyed your recaps. Like me you seem to be able to enjoy the series without getting totally BENT OUT OF SHAPE when there are changes from the books. And we are obviously in agreement over the absolutely superb job they have done with the adaptations so far. I would like to address something that you mentioned that bothered you regarding season 3, that I would like you to consider. First of all, I must say that I like the television interpretation of the Yi Chen Chou character MUCH better than the book version. I think the reactions and demeanor of the TV character are much more realistic for someone of the Eastern culture and religions than the "stereotypical" depiction in Voyager. There were depths in the character in the book but they are hidden till very late, in that beautifully written discourse on the ship. But I think that Claire, being from our time, would have seen and acknowledged those depths sooner, as depicted in the show, rather than just going along with the 18th century prejudices as much as she did in the book. This is one of those extremely rare occasions where I think the TV series got it "right" to an even greater degree than the books. As for the attraction between him and Margaret Campbell- assuming the premise that she is a "genuine" seer or psychic, and knowing the reverence that the eastern religions place on this "gift" which is so different from the stereotypical and historic Western Chirstian view, I can well understand Yi Chen Chou's reaction to her both as a fellow ALIEN creature and as someone with a true reverence and respect for her "gift", and I can understand his ability to perhaps see the human being behind the "gift" with less judgmental and more appreciative eyes. And he sees others despise her for her differences and her appearance much as they have him, so there is a element of protectiveness there from the start as well, made even more so once he realizes she is being not only used but abused by her brother. So that is my "take" on that situation, as depicted in the TV series. Hope you find it helpful.... I look forward to Season 4 and hope we can exchange viewpoints!!!