More on the ether/PTSD subplot, and Claire in Season 7

Jamie and Claire Episode 607

Yesterday on TheLitForum, we were discussing the ether/PTSD subplot in Season 6. I've made my feelings about that quite clear -- see my blog post from April 2022 -- and I found Episode 607 ("Sticks and Stones"), in particular, very upsetting, in the way that it portrayed Claire suffering from what appeared to be a very serious mental illness. Did that very emotional, cathartic scene between Jamie and Claire near the end of the episode really put an end to that storyline for good?

I commented about this in a post on shortly after Episode 607 aired last year:

The writers have dug themselves a deep, deep hole with this plotline, as I said somewhere upthread. It sounds like they have given Claire not just a ladder to climb out of it, but a high-speed elevator <g>, so she will be more or less back to normal before the action picks up in the season finale.

I was very much relieved to see that Claire was "back to normal" in Episode 608 ("I am Not Alone"), essentially indistinguishable from Book Claire. But what can we expect in Season 7? I've been wondering for some time how the writers will deal with Claire's character in the new season, which will be airing on STARZ this summer.

So I asked Diana Gabaldon if she was pleased with the way they've handled Claire's character in Season 7. I said, "I am looking ahead to the new season with some wariness, hoping they will stay somewhat closer to the books in their take on Claire in S7, but frankly afraid to get my hopes up too much." Here is Diana's verbatim response:

Dear Karen--

      No, Claire is back to her practical, brave self.

That's immensely reassuring to me, and I thought I'd pass it on to the rest of you, because I know a lot of people were upset by what they did to Claire's character in Season 6.

I encourage you to check out the discussion on TheLitForum for yourselves. For those of you who don't know, TheLitForum (formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community) is the online community where Diana Gabaldon hangs out. I have been moderator (aka "Chief Bumblebee-Herder") of Diana's section of the forum since 2008. You have to sign up to read or post on the forum, but it's free.


Unknown said...

Thanks Karen. Really the S6 with the character of our dear Clarie was very unfortunate the approach that the writers gave it. She would never have gone to her problem with the ether and Jamie would never have fallen asleep when she came downstairs.

Anonymous said...

Agreed! I was so upset about that story line . Sometimes sticking to the original story is the way to go, especially since the book fans have spoken by the love shown in the success of the show.

Anonymous said...

I hated the ether arc in season 6. We love how the character was written by DG. And to make Jamie so oblivious to her actions. It shows how little the screenwriters know our beloved characters.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the ether abomination aside, I want to know how is Claire going to hit the rock bottom when Jamie dies, when she has already been there scraping that bottom for two years? After ether, booze is just not good enough, she cannot go back to ether - so nothing will suffice to illustrate that THIS is Claire's biggest existential crisis.

Anonymous said...

I look at the poor choice of topic in another way. Let’s be practical about the whole thing. Where in the world did all that ether come from? Not something she could easily buy. She had to make it. Where did she get the ingredients to make and did no one notice her making it? Had to have a lot to last 2 years. Ether worked differently for Claire too. In one scene she was sitting on edge of bed when she put the mask over her face. in the real world she would have immediately fallen over hit the floor and the mask would have come off and she would have woken up. Could have broken something (That would have been a lot more interesting than what we got) If the writers are going to give us a story line at least make it realistic. Season 6 is the only season I have only watched once.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this a lot, thanks!! I got nervous today bc Starz posted a video on the Outlander IG today and Sam and Cait are playing Catchphrase and one of the words Cait has to guess is ‘ether’ and Sam’s clue is ‘Claire’s habit.’ This made me very nervous that ether is continuing in season 7, however some of the other Catchphrase terms were not season 6 specific, so they were likely pulling from all seasons. Did anyone else feel that way?

Jill said...

Thank goodness. I wasn't particularly fond of the storyline with Claire. I can see in to some degree but Claire of the books seems to face things head on. So this is great to know.

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