There's something about modern music played over period scenes that's just so...exhilarating? Wonderfully alarming?
Not sure what the word is, but we did love how tonight's episode of Outlander ended with a Marshall and Sarah cover of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."
Bob Dylan originally released the song in 1963, which means it's perfectly reasonable for it to have been playing as Claire and Brianna packed up and headed back to the U.S. (even if this cover actually came out in 2012), but it was a little more jarring to hear it as Jamie, with tears in his (and our) eyes, bid farewell to his son and headed back to Scotland as a free man in the 1760s. But jarring in a good way, because we then googled the song and have now been listening to it on repeat.
Tonight's episode, "Of Lost Things" brought us ever so closer to Jamie and Claire inevitably reuniting as we finally caught up to where Claire, Brianna, and Roger were in the season two finale on their quest to find Jamie. Meanwhile, Jamie was dealing with his new life as a groom for a wealthy family.
It would have gone fine if it weren't for the family's 17 year-old daughter Geneva who took a liking to Jamie (because who doesn't?) and decided she was going to have sex with him before her arranged marriage to the much older Lord Ellesmere. Jamie tried to decline, but she kinda sorta blackmailed him into doing it, and thus Jamie and Geneva had some sex (in a scene very much...softened...from the book).
Imagine Jamie's surprise when, several months later, Geneva came back for a visit with a very large bump and a bit of a smirk on her face. A few months after that, Jamie was called in the middle of the night to get the horses ready, because Geneva was in labor and not doing well.
The baby was fine, but Geneva ended up bleeding so much that she died, and Lord Ellesmere was pissed because he was pretty sure he couldn't have gotten Geneva pregnant in the first place. He was about to even shoot the baby, until Jamie shot him, and Geneva's mother was offering Jamie the chance to go home but he wanted to stay to see the baby who was definitely not his son or anything grow up.
All of a sudden, it was like seven years later, and everyone was whispering that little Willie, Lord of Ellesmere, was spending so much time with the groom that he was starting to look like the groom, and thus it was time for Jamie to leave before more people got suspicious, with John Grey there to look after Willie. All of that happened in a matter of minutes to the point where we were exhausted when we should have been dealing with all that heartbreak. And that was only one half of the story.
In Scotland, 200 years later, Claire, Roger, and Brianna have been desperately searching prison records and trying to track Jamie after Culloden. The closer they get, the more they individually start to freak out a little bit. Claire has a job and a life and a daughter she's finally feeling closer to, and Brianna has had an entire life with the guy she thought was her dad, and now she's finally getting to know her mom better and her mom's thinking of leaving her for the past. And then Roger knows that when they find Jamie, Claire and Brianna (or mostly Brianna) probably won't need to live in his house anymore. So everybody wants to find Jamie but also kind of doesn't want to find Jamie.
In the end, Claire and Brianna decided they'd searched enough, and it was time to go back to the U.S.
The two stories together were kind of strange. Jamie's spanned a decade while Claire's was just a few weeks or so, and they just didn't quite feel like they belonged in the same episode, but tha'ts just kind of an inherent problem for this part of the season. The show has to get both Jamie and Claire to the same place before their inevitable reunion, and Claire's 20 years passed slightly less eventfully than Jamie's did (but only slightly).
With the way "Voyager" was written, it makes sense that either they had to divide it into two with the reunion as the season finale, or do it as one and just really have to sail through much of the story (pun for the back half of the season not intended). And while this is all probably for the best and it probably would have been tedious to have this first half as an entire season, it would have been nice to spend more time with some of these characters, and to not feel quite so rushed.
Scroll down to for scoop on this season so far!
In tonight's episode, Claire and Brianna both went back to Boston, where Brianna struggled to adjust to regular life after learning who her real father was. In the book, only Claire goes back to Boston to get her life in order before going through the stones. Brianna and Roger even follow Claire to the stones, but in the show, Brianna and Roger stayed behind and we didn't even see Claire's journey back in time. EP Maril Davis says there are a few reasons for that change.
"One, we've seen that journey through stones with Claire before," she tells us. "This is not the first time we would have seen it. Two, the location where we go and film the stones is not easy to get to, and sometimes it's difficult if you're only doing one scene there. ... I mean, creative is always our first guidepost in terms of obviously, if we think creatively it works, we'll push for it. But I think this time, because I think we felt like we'd seen that before and you know, the logistical issue, combined with the fact that we wanted to put a little spin on it with bringing Roger out to Boston instead of taking the ladies back out to Scotland, we thought was an interesting little twist as well, so I think all of those factors combined for us to do it this way and do something a little different and put a little spin on the story."
While Brianna doesn't get to be the protagonist in very many scenes in the book, she gets some time here to start to dissect how she feels about what's going on—the news about her father, the reality that they may find her real father, and the fact that she may lose her mother to him forever.
We'll see a lot more of Brianna in episode five, and Davis says this is a perspective that the writers didn't want to overlook.
"Brianna and Claire have always had a tough relationship. It's certainly loving, but it seems like Claire has always held Brianna kind of at arm's length. And Brianna's always kind of wondered why and has always been closer to Frank, and to find out the reason for that is because your father was somebody else, and maybe every time your mother looks at you she thinks about your real father and that is a very complicated relationship," she says. "To then question your own identity and what that all means was important to us, because if it was glossed over in the books, we felt that was something that was so interesting to portray and such an interesting character beat for that character, to see those emotions."
Nobody's a huge fan of Frank Randall, but you have to admit that you kinda feel bad for him this season. Poor guy finally found his wife after she's been missing for three years, and she's pregnant with the baby of a man from the 1700s, who she's desperately in love with. That sucks!
There are more scenes in the show featuring Claire and Frank than there were in the book (at least in this particular book), both in this episode and in the episodes to come.
"Book Frank is a little different than TV show Frank," EP Maril Davis explained to us. "And you're never going to root for Claire to stay with Frank, you just aren't. I mean as soon as she meets Jamie, it's like Frank's off the table. But the thing from the books that we really enjoyed and wanted to continue in the show is that Frank was an outstanding father to Brianna. And you know, Claire makes the ultimate sacrifice to stay with Frank for her daughter. I think if she had come back and she wasn't pregnant, I don't think she and Frank would ever have been together or stayed together, but I think she knows that it's a certain time and place and Brianna needs a father, and if it can't be Jamie, she wants Brianna to have a loving man in her life, and Frank, for me, is one of the tragic figures of Outlander because he loves Claire desperately, but that love is not reciprocated."
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Forget watching the Battle of Culloden. Thanks to tonight's opening scenes, we were in that battle.
"It's wonderful, it places you in the action, and obviously it's a memory of Jamie's, but he's sort of coming to and remembering the moments that happened there, and of course he meets Black Jack Randall in the midst of the melee and they have this great sort of finishing chapter to their relationship," Sam Heughan told us of the scenes, which he says took a couple of weeks to film.
"Doing it in flashback like that gives it a slightly surreal, unworldly kind of atmosphere to it," Tobias Menzies added. "It's kind of a more interesting way of doing it than just straight on, kind of battle sequence."
Watching that jerk of a doctor force Claire to be knocked out for the birth was infuriating, but it was historically accurate.
"Up until the late '40s, early '50s, childbirth was mostly done with midwives and it was very much a female thing, and it was only in the '50s that it became much more medical, and it started being treated as some sort of an operation," Caitriona Balfe told us. "So women, they were sort of taken out of the process completely. They were told to just sort of lie there, shut up, and do what they're told. So it was really interesting to have Claire—obviously she's coming to it having already lost a child, and she had a lot of nerves about it. She was worried about it. So to have this man sort of come in and dismiss any concerns she might have or any knowledge that she might have, or desires...it was pretty frustrating for her."
Stay tuned for more scoop on season three!
Jamie and Claire are apart for now, and while many of us are going to be waiting with bated breath for their reunion, don't discount the stories that need to be told before they find their way back to each other. Executive producer Maril Davis says their separation was a major concern going into season three, but the writers quickly found that there's a lot of excellent story to be found in their separate journeys.
"I think going into it you do worry that these two people who are the backbone of our show not being together, that's what makes this show very special, is their relationship," she told us. "But quite honestly, while we do all prefer having them together, I do think we were pleasantly surprised how well the stories worked on their own, because each have such strong stories, and the reason it works is that they have such a longing for each other. And there's a despair there. There's a hole missing because they've lost the loves their lives. So I think that's actually what makes Claire's story with Frank so interesting, because it's like there's a ghost in the room, and then also for Jamie, he's like a walking ghost himself, because it's almost like he's missing an arm or leg, because he doesn't have the person who makes him whole. So we just felt like those stories, while at first we were concerned with how that would be, I think we're all pleasantly surprised and thrilled about how well this turned out."
"The journey had to be earned," she continued. "They are separated, and then you feel like if it's a chapter before they're together again, you're not living their lives with them separated. Even as a book reader, I think while you want them desperately to be back together, you appreciate that time that's apart because it makes their reunion all that much sweeter."
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While this season follows the third book in the series, "Voyager," there are going to be a lot of changes from book to screen—some minor, some major. But they're all in service of making the show as good as possible.
"We're never going to be able to make the books exactly as they are," Davis explained. "There's so much detail in the books, and there's certain things we've always said that read well but sometimes don't translate well to screen. So for us the perfect balance is keeping all the beats of the book and keeping the spine, but also infusing into it things that we feel are interesting or want to see, or maybe filling in the gaps in certain places."
"Jamie's story is laid out very well, and with specific tentpole moments and Claire's story was a little more difficult, because not all of her story with Frank is told in this book, so we did kind of have to add and just wanted Jamie and Claire to be on a similar emotional journey over those 20 years that they're apart."
Trust us, that journey's going to be good.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.