And now for some costume and props fun.
It’s the last of the summer wine? Or the best for last? The last in the Outlander Summer Web Series was with Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, catching up and discussing the charity Doctors Without Borders and answer a few fan questions. Also spirit animals, the mysterious Lady M, and more.
What a great madcap team Tim Downie and David Berry have become with this podcast! If you are still Droughtlandering along, stop, listen to these!
Great fun as Tim and David invite guests to pick a favorite scene and have them play the parts. Tim is so great at mangling the Scottish accent, and David Berry loves playing female characters. With great insight with each actor on their own character. So, go in deep for the silly dive.
We’re still waiting for Duncan, sigh.
For all episodes go HERE OUTCASTS!
For all of you who could not watch the Virtual PaleyFest LA live August 7, 2020, here’s the panel.
June 18, 2020, 10 AM Pacific Time/ 1 PM Eastern US
Join thousands of other fans at a virtual screening party with Deadline and panelists Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Matthew B. Roberts.
You must RSVP for a link at https://outlander2020.splashthat.com/
If it tells you the event is not available for registration, it may be very busy.
For more information on their Virtual Screenings Series.
Warning. The season finale of Outlander Season 5 doesn’t hold back. As with past episodes dealing with extreme violence, you have been warned. You may want to have someone there to hold your hand. Yes, there will be some spoilers.
Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) has had a great deal of tragedy in her life. She was orphaned at 5, lived with her Uncle Lamb, explored the world, married first husband Frank, then war broke out. Seeing death and destruction as a WWII combat nurse, Claire has been banged around for years in two centuries. She has had to sacrifice herself, as in having sex with the King of France to secure Jamie Fraser’s release from prison, has been tortured by Black Jack Randall, forced to endure leaving Jamie behind to be raped. Her daughter followed her into the past and was raped. It’s inevitable that Claire would go through her own tragedy. Nearly losing Jamie to snakebite wasn’t enough. Leave it to the mind of author Diana Gabaldon and the writers of Outlander, in this particular episode Mathew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia, to hit us with one intense script and visceral imagery.
Claire’s abduction and Marsali’s (Lauren Lyle) beating at the end of “Journeycake” left us on edge for the finale, and some wondering if the abduction would carry on into season 6. But with great storytelling and a dream state sequence that invokes David Lynch in Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks, we open with Claire in the 1960s in an amazing modern house putting the record on the turntable with the song “Never My Love” from 1967. She is young again, in a very 1960’s very red dress. The door opens and in comes a younger Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) short curls and killed. The table is set for Thanksgiving and guests to arrive from the 18th-century. It becomes clear that she is trying to escape her terrible ordeal as we cut to the dark reality, filmed in dark and muted tones, the story of her abduction and torture by Lionel Brown and associates. This contrasts with the bright, autumnal tones in the dissociative sequences with golds, yellows, oranges, blues in that dark color echoed in seasons 1-5 in sets and costumes. Claire escapes to a world where her friends and extended family are, and she barely speaks and watches everything is going on around her.
Claire has met with some formidable foes in the series, but one that truly echos that fiendish manipulation of Father Bain (Tim McInnerny). Remember him from season 1 and the witch trial? Who she outwitted with solving the mystery of poisonous plants killing children, only to be used by the good Father in her witch trial, where he admits to his advantage that she had saved the children, but uses it to bolster his position in town. Worse than that and rolled in with qualities of just pure savagery, is Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy). Lionel gets even. With villains like Black Jack Randall and Stephen Bonnet in her past, who were both manipulative in their way, they do not compare with the outright crushing of women’s rights that Lionel Brown shows us. He makes it personal. Claire dared to stand up to him about the abuse of his wife, and to top it off, has been writing under the name of Doctor Rawlings suggesting that women abstain from sex to prevent childbirth. Lionel makes his crushing of Claire a personal delight.
After Claire’s abduction and travels are told in sequencing with the arrivals of Ian dressed in 1960’s military attire, Marsali, Fergus and children, Murtagh, and Jocasta turning up for Thanksgiving dinner. The reality is that Lionel confronts her, who informs her in his righteous declarations that he was put on the earth to make Claire pay for the shame she has caused on all men of their women reading her Dr. Rawlings Recommends writings. One way to stop her is to intimidate and silence her. And that won’t happen with just killing her.
Claire is always quick thinking, and one of the abductors, a reluctant former slave Tibby, shows caution. He has heard she is a conjure woman. Claire seizes the opportunity and begins cursing them all to hell. The men start to have a fear of her. Hodgepile shoves her around roughly and they make camp. Claire continues to go in and out of dream states, and we see her tied to a tree, bloodied, and a big gash on her breast. Wendigo Donner comes to check on her, seeks that she is choking on her gag. He demands to know where she has come from, and when.
The next day, Tibby is put in charge of her while they make to cross a creek. She tries to talk Tibby into helping her escape, talking about the water horses taking her away and she won’t harm him. He is close to consenting but Lionel gets wind of something and confronts them. He has plans for dealing with her.
In her dreamscape, Murtagh and Jocasta turn up, they all sit at the dinner table.
Claire keeps cursing at the men as they try to tie her up again and make camp. While Hodgepile and the other rough her up, she shouts out an infamous, ” Jesus H Roosevelt Christ!” Wendigo then knows she is like him as he suspected. Lionel and Chisholm tie her to a tree. While lying there she sees a small rabbit. She is choking on her dried, bloody nose, while gagged. Wendigo comes at night and loosens the gag.
“Does the name Ringo Starr mean anything to you?”. Claire is stunned, she realises he is a traveler like her. “He’s a drummer.” Wendigo tells her he knew that Dr, Rawlings had to be like him, someone from his time would know the medical things written down, not a local doctor in the 18th-century. He never thought he would meet another. He advises her that she should have behaved more like the women of this time, not been so forward. She has angered many men, made them feel threatened.
Wendigo tells her his story. He traveled back in time with a group of 4 other men and said it was evident it was too late for the Indians. Claire realizes he was a companion of Ottertooth and asks him. “Where is Bob?” he asks. She tells him the Mohawk killed him. “I need gemstones!” She asks him to help her get back to Fraser Ridge, she has stones and knows where the stone circle is. Wendigo says no, Lionel will kill him. It has become very evident by now that Lionel is one of the ones that has been going causing the crimes that the Committee of Safety claimed to be protecting people from. They are interrupted by Lionel, who has brought a young boy to rape her, to have his first go at dominating a woman.
Claire returns to her alternate dissociation and police officers arrive at the Thanksgiving dinner that everyone is at and have been waiting for Bree, Roger, and Jemmy. All the time everyone had been saying it must be the traffic keeping them. The police inform her that Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie and their son were all killed in a car accident. Claire has been fearing what befell them. This is all going while a series of men take Claire.
Back To The…
Stones. Roger, Brianna wake near the stones, and young Jemmy is very excited…to find cousin Ian sitting on a mossy boulder asking where they went. The trip failed. Brianna and Roger realize they had been thinking of home, and that the Ridge had become their home. They go back with Ian to the Ridge, and just as they are planning to camp for the night, Brianna sees the Fiery Cross burning on Fraser’s Ridge at a distance. They rush home to find the men of the Ridge preparing to go after Claire.
Josiah and Roger pledge to find Claire and seek justice for Claire. Roger begs to come along with Jamie if he will allow it? Jamie is glad to have him and the men set out.
Claire slowly comes out of her fog and the reality becomes a dream sequence. Men shouting, musket fire, battle scenes in the camp. Jamie finds Claire tied to the tree, and he indicates that he knows what has happened to her.
“You are alive, you are whole Mo Nighan Donn.”
The men come to tell them they have killed all but one of the party. Ronnie Sinclaire asks if Claire would wish to take her vengeance.
“It is myself who kills for her,” says Jamie, with Ian and Fergus echoing, “And I!”. Jamie asks how many raped her, she says nothing. “Jamie gives the command to kill them all. The men of the ridge decimate the abductors, killing all but Lionel Brown. Claire listens in shock. Jamie takes her to view them all, to show her they cannot hurt her. Wendigo is nowhere to be found. Roger asks if they should question him now. They take the injured Lionel with them back to the Ridge.
Claire finally speaks and asks about Marsali. Jamie and Fergus tell her that Marsali is okay, the baby is fine and she is still pregnant. She asks about Wendigo, tells them that he was from the future like her. No one has seen him. How is it that Roger is there? Whats happened, why are they back? Roger remarks that there’s no place like home.
While the series has received a lot of criticizing and praise in how it deals with abuse (Jamie’s Rape in season 1, Brianna’s in season 4), this time it is very real for Claire as the one who had to heal both Jamie and Brianna. This time, it will need to be Claire that needs healing. The fact of the matter was that in these times, women were not in power, and often subjected to terror in any way to keep them from having control by men.
Physician, Heal Thyself
Brianna races out to greet them as they come back to the Ridge and it is a long healing process for Claire. Marsali comes out, with a blackened eye healing. She and Claire embrace with Brianna. Brianna takes care of Claire, bathing her, comforting her. Marsali is left to deal with Lionel Brown. Brianna (Sophie Skelton) tells her that she will take care of her, she is there to listen to her.
Claire keeps her resolve to heal herself, somehow. She keeps examining herself, feeling her bones to see if it’s really her. Her face and body are battered. Jamie comes in. She tells him she will survive this. She declared that she has been through so much war in her own time and other trials, she will not be shattered by this.
Everyone on the Ridge wants to kill Lionel. Jamie tells her that Lionel is still alive. He is only kept alive to get information out of him, and because Claire has her oath to do no harm. He asks her if her oath is so strong?
Roger (Richard Rankin) is shaken by what has happened in rescuing Claire. He did what he promised he would do, defended and avenged Claire. However, Roger’s life was also changed that night. Brianna and Roger are getting ready for bed, and Roger is deeply troubled and asks Brianna if Jamie told her about what had happened. He begs to confess what has happened and asks her to blow out the candle. In the dark, he declares that he has killed someone. Roger was the last hold out, the educated man who struggled with being violent, even in defense of those he loved. Coming from an era of law and the idea of a fair trial, it hasn’t been easy for Roger to cross that line. Now he has.
Hell Hath No Resolve Like a Marsali
Claire finally goes down to the surgery and starts trying to check on Lionel, with Lionel begging for mercy, to loosen his bonds. Lionel tries to manipulate Claire into not harming him. He keeps begging and Marsali tells him to keep quiet. Claire instructs her to make the comfrey tea. Lionel will not stop, Marsali tells him to be quiet. Claire unrolls her surgical kit, picking up a scalpel. She considers it for a moment. She puts it down, then states she will do him no harm. She leaves the surgery then collapses upstairs in the hallway weeping.
Lionel is emboldened and snide. Because Claire has said she will do no harm to him, he thinks he’s been saved. He is abusive and bragging about how he has to be treated well, Marsali keeps telling him to mind his manners. He is bossy still. If he is not treated well, his brother will come along with his men. He will slaughter them all in their sleep. Marsali is getting the new syringe filled with something and we are all cheering her on. Oh, Marsali, you go, girl, you tell him.
Marsali, in a deep, matter of fact and a righteous voice says, “She took an oath to do no harm. But I have taken no such oath. You hurt my family, my man, I’ll burn in hell before I let you harm another soul in this house,” and injects Lionel with the liquid, that as we all hoped and suspected, was the Water Hemlock root. Good riddance.
Afterward, she is sitting on the floor, shaking and Jamie comes in and sees Lionel is dead. She asks if she will be haunted by him. Jamie assures her that no harm will come to her. He then wraps the body in a shroud and takes it to Brownsville, alone, and delivers it to Richard Brown, throwing it to the floor. He explained that a group of men including his brother attacked the Ridge and abducted and harmed his wife. He killed all of them. He is indicating that he is to blame, no other.
Richard thanks him for giving him back his brother, he reaped what he sewed. He understands that Jamie must do what he must to protect his family….as he will do when the time comes. The Frasers and Browns feud begins.
When Will We See Season 6?
We have now officially entered Droughtlander 6, yes that’s counting the first one between the two-part first season. Pre-production has halted due to the pandemic, where work on episode 601 had started. And we will face a good 10 months of filming at the very least. So it will probably be Summer or Fall 2021 before we have season 6, which will be based on A Breath of Snow and Ashes, with possibly the 7th book, An Echo in the Bone being adapted in.
How Many Easter Eggs Did You Spot?
A Dragonfly Sculpture – Dragonfly in Amber, Season 2, and symbolic of Claire’s being trapped.
The Red Dress – In season 2 Paris Claire comes up with an extravagant and very revealing red dress for the Versailles court.
An orange – Reference to the orange picks up after having slept with the king to get Jamie out of the Bastille after his duel with BJR
Rabbit – Jamie sees a rabbit on the battlefield of Culloden in season 3 after the battle and he lies wounded before Claire shows up in a vision.
Claire wrapped in Fraser tartan – Season 1 Jamie comforting Claire after several bad things, well most of them.
Claire and Jamie Talking after the rescue, more reminders of season 1 with Claire stabbing soldier in shock.
Car Accident – Frank Randall dies in a car accident in Boston, freeing Claire up to search for Jamie.
Blue Vase – A blue vase finally in a home for Claire, from the series pilot.
While Outlander, the wildly popular series starring Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, is hoping to restart season 6 prep and production, many production crews around the globe struggle with how they will film during a pandemic. Both stars have been contracted for seven seasons, however, there has been no official go-ahead from the studios for a season 7. Prepare yourself for a long shoot that may be broken up into sections depending on if this global pandemic comes back several times as predicted.
Some crews are starting up production plans again in other countries. However, Scotland seems to be still on hold, sadly after announcing building plans for new film studios and announcing Glasgow as the new Gotham for the upcoming Batman film. Filming, just like theater or any other production, requires a lot of people to be in close proximity. How on earth will Jamie and Claire have the, er, famous scenes they are known for? Will all storylines be filmed that don’t require close contact, and camera trickery used to make actors appear close. How will actors adapt with greater distancing in shots? Well, if Graham McTavish can be made to look like a dwarf in his 6 foot plus frame, a film can change perspective and will have to.
Keep in mind that Outlander on a good year bar Scottish weather, can film a season in 8 to 10 months, this production may have to spread out over fall and spring through summer of 2021. Not what you wanted to hear. Sam Heughan revealed recently in a Twitter Q&A that they had started filming and work on episode 601.
It’s the penultimate episode, and another one filled with danger and loss. In an episode penned by author Diana Gabaldon, what else do you expect?
Jamie, Claire, Brianna, Roger, and Ian are traveling back from Willmington after the ordeal with Bonnet. Jamie teases Claire about the bags of peanuts she has brought back, asking if they are for some medical experiment. Claire smiles and remarks they are for eating and her next experiment will be creating peanut butter.
“I’ll be damned if Jemmy grows up without tasting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
All is not smiles for long. The party comes upon a burnt-out cabin and finds several dead bodies inside. Jamie (Sam Heughan) looks around and states that they must have been dead before the fire started. He and Roger (Richard Rankin) go looking around the exterior. Roger comes upon a young girl burnt nearly beyond recognition. He tells her it will be alright and tries to calm her. Jamie looks her over and with a knowing look, making sure Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is not around, indicates that she should be put out of her misery. He is, of course, concerned that Claire will try to save her. He tells Roger he will take care of it, however, Roger takes the responsibility. He found her and had reassured her. It’s a sign that not all is well and that the troubles leading to war are definitely brewing. And might I say, this is indeed another BAFTA set moment. What a set.
It’s been building up over the season that Brianna and Roger, at Claire’s urging, should try to go back through the stones to their own time. Revolution is a dangerous thing. And while Roger is learning that real history is nothing like in the books, he, of course, agrees with and has been trying to persuade Brianna to take Jemmy back home to their time. Brianna has been resisting, not wanting to leave her parents behind, however, after dealing with Bonnet and realizing how truly dangerous it is in the 18th-century, rape and kidnapping being a good indicator, Brianna is in agreement. However, they don’t know if Jemmy can really go through the stones.
Leave it to clever Ian to find that out. Ian is playing a dangling carrot game with young Jemmy, in this case using Ottertooth’s massive opal necklace. The shiny object is of course incredibly attractive, and as young Jemmy touches it cracks and is hot. Brianna and Roger rush over and Brianna interrogates him. Then Claire, Roger, and Brianna hear the buzzing sound of power. They ask Jemmy if he can hear it, and he says yes. They all look at each other and discuss it. Poor Ian of course left on the outside asks what does it mean when he and Jamie cannot hear the sound. Jemmy can travel.
Of course, something always interrupts joyous times, and the Browns (Chris Larkin and Ned Dennehey) come riding in with a large group of men. Jamie addresses them and wants no quarrel. They discuss Morton and grumble about the past and letting bygones be bygones, however, Richard Brown asks Jamie to come to aide with the Committee as the Browns had gone to the Regulators conflict. Jamie reminds them that it was sanctioned by the Governor and did they have authority from the Governor. Ian (John Bell) points out that it was not Indians, it was staged to look like it.
No one on the Ridge wants trouble and they certainly don’t want them finding out about Claire, Brianna, and Roger as time travelers. Claire asks about how young Bonnie is doing (the child that was rescued from the Beardsley’s), she is fine, however, Lionel Brown’s wife is looking poorly in the back of the wagon. Upon examination, Claire and Marsali notice the injury to her wrist has to do with being intentional, not from a fall. Claire, being Claire, asks her questions, and then of course when Lionel comes to the surgery, there’s a confrontation. Lionel gets surly and well, we know that isn’t going to go away easily.
Ian is troubled by what has transpired with the stone. He ken’s that strange things always happen around Claire, and still believes her to be a Fairy. Claire assures him she is not. He wants to know why Roger and Brianna are so different, that he has suspected that there is more to the stories he’s been told. He tells them that the Mohawk discussed the opal, and Otter Tooth, what transpired many years ago. It is said that the ghost appears to those that touch it. Claire admits she has seen the ghost. Claire finally tells Ian that she is from the future. Ian presents them with a small leather journal, one that the Mohawk said Otter Tooth had. Claire looks at it, is astounded. The writing had been done with a ballpoint pen. Ian asks if Murtagh knew, and they tell him yes. Finally, Ian is let in on the store of Claire and how she came to be in the 18th-century.
Claire and Jamie check on Ulysses (Colin McFarlane) who has been staying in Murtagh’s forest shack. Ulysses is horrified at what he had to do, but he would do it again to save Jocasta. Claire has brought him books to read, as the man is dying from boredom. He reveals that he is Manumitted and is a free man. He had been freed after Mr. Cameron had died. He had stayed to help Jocasta. There are penalties for slaves on estates if one commits murder. Jamie and Claire work to find a solution to help Ulysses escape from North Carolina.
Brianna and Roger try to reason out what is going on with Jemmy. He could definitely feel the hot stone and hear the buzzing sound. How would they travel with him? Brianna mentions that the can’t just disappear from the Ridge, too many questions would be asked. Roger and Brianna cook up a plan to tell everyone that Roger has accepted a teaching position in Boston, and they would be moving out of the area.
A Guest Brings a Gift
It is time that Brianna learns she has a brother, and Jamie wants her to know before she leaves. His opportunity occurs when Lord John Grey (David Berry) suddenly arrives (he has that knack), Jamie apprizes him of the fate of Bonnet. Lord John is relieved for Brianna’s sake and of course, for others, he has harmed. He and Jamie have a long conversation as John is returning to London, the Helwater. He must arrange things for William’s estate and make sure that his grandmother, Lady Dunsany, is provided for. He tells Jamie of his son, how he has been at school in London. He must never know of his true father or he risks losing his whole fortune.
Lord John also being a man of the army recognizes the storm that is brewing, and warns Jamie, who is all too aware. He then brings a small portrait gift to Jamie of William.
Later Claire is examining her new lens provided by Lord John for her microscope. She invites Jamie to look. He asks if they are the wee beasties she calls germs, and she informs him that no, it is his seed. He is quite amazed at the vigor of the wee things.
Later Jamie brings the portrait to Brianna and shows it to her. Finally, he can tell her of her brother. Brianna asks a lot of questions, however, she is very glad to know that she has one. She is glad that Lord John has been a father to him. Sadly she will never meet him, and it is discussed why she should not meet him. Jamie then asks when they will leave, struggling with the words. But of course, they must go, Jemmy will be safer in the future.
Even though they have a good exit plan, not that it is not filled with danger, the MacKenzies taking leave of their neighbors. Marsali and Fergus are taken aback, and Marsali is grieved, she feels that Brianna is a sister to her. They then realize that they must say goodbye to everyone on the Ridge. This becomes a really difficult task, as Lizzy (Caitlin O’Ryann) expects to be taken along with them as a servant. Brianna has to release her from service and tell her her home is on the Ridge. She is crushed and Brianna struggles with reassuring her. Lizzie’s whole world has been built around Brianna and Jemmy.
Later Ian, in heartfelt anguish, asks if he can go with them through the stones. Apparently hearing how Claire and Jamie tried to change history and failed, did not rub off on him in the right way, and he is desperate to go back in time, to help his wife he has talked very little of. Brianna and Claire assure him that history cannot be changed, nor can they pinpoint a specific time to go back to. It is not an exact science.
When it comes time to leave, Roger and Brianna ask Ian to help them get to the stones that Roger had encountered when he had been taken as a slave to the Mohawk. Keep in mind that this particular travel took a few months as it was several colonies away. Ian agrees to accompany them, and the MacKenzies with their stones and a rope tied about them, hear the calling of the stones and say farewell to Ian. As they disappear through the stones, Ian is in shock seeing the reality of it, and he then touches the stone, hoping to travel.
Of course, Claire and Jamie are crushed at the loss of their children and grandchild. Claire hears a commotion downstairs near the surgery and rushes to find out who is trashing her medical instruments and medicines. She meets with part of the Brown party, breaking the glass and riffling through all of the drawers. She attempts to stop them and they seize her and take her captive.
Jamie comes to the surgery and cannot find her, he rushes out to the wicker Celtic Cross in the Ridge built to send a call for arms and fires it. He is calling the Ridge to aid him in the search for Claire.
Never My Love airs this Saturday, May 9 at Midnight on the Starz App, Sunday, May 10 at 8:05 PM ET/5:05 PT and Monday, May 11th on Amazon Prime UK and IE.
Brianna and Roger don’t time travel back to the future until A Breath of Snow and Ashes, book six. We don’t know if they really have gone back to the right place, or another parallel storyline in another time. What was the scary thing Brianna and Roger saw when they traveled through the stones? The burnt-out house? Did they go back in time and find Otter Tooth? Or is this the way of dealing with them as the writers and producers have not got a season 7 offer yet from Starz and they are really consolidating storylines from the books.
While this episode has done quite a bit of housekeeping, and we see the beginnings of the feuding with the Browns becoming over the top and the next villains in the cavalcade of baddies for Outlander, I felt like a few things were rushed and brining elements in from book 6 making me wonder if we may not get a season seven. While we do need to see some action getting towards the actual battles of the Revolutionary War coming to pass, there were a few changes here at may not have translated well in season 6. I just this that this episode could have had a bit more threat to it, and it is true that Claire does get taken hostage quite often. It was, however, a reality in the times that people were often absconded with for many reasons, pressing into the navy, sold as slaves, revenge. Here’s hoping that the finale is action-packed and a great cliffhanger.
And stay tuned for an extensive DROUGHTLANDER this time as production crews around the world wait out COVID-19 pandemic closures.