Category Archives: Maria Doyle Kennedy

Outlander Panel at NYCC 2019 Season 5 Musings

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The cast of Outlander Season 5 was asked a battery of questions for an hour on the Hulu Stage at Madison Square Garden on October 5, 2019. Many were from fans and a few from presenter @GingerZee. It was live broadcast on SyFy Wire at 5:30pm EST.

Outlander New York Comic Con Season 5 Panel October 5, 2019 Video

Cast members Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Duncan Lacroix, David Berry, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Maril Davis (Producer), Ron D. Moore (Showrunner/Producer), and author Diana Gabaldon arrived at the panel. Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin were absent this year and filming in Scotland for the show, however there was a question and answer video from them and a new Season 5 teaser.

What we know from the new Season 5 trailer and the three panels at Comic Con?

Claire wants Brianna, Roger, and Jemmy to go back. It is too dangerous in the 18th century, and she blames herself. They are there because of her choice to go back. There is the growing conflict with The Regulators, which is a small prelude of things to come with the larger scaled American Revolution. Roger wants to go back, and Brianna clearly states that their family is there. What she really fears is that Jem can’t go through the stones, and the safety of her parents.

In the spirit of letting the audience in on as much as they could, with the watchful and warning Maril Davis, Maria Doyle Kennedy admitted that Jocasta (er) would have “relationships”. Those of you who have read the books know where this may be going. Duncan Lacroix stated that the role of Murtagh has been ramping up each season, and in Season 5 he is doing some of his most challenging work.  Sam and Caitriona talked about the dangers of the New World, the upcoming battles, and family concerns.

SyFyWire Outlander Panel

EW Season 5 Previews

Outlander New York Comic Con Season 5 Panel October 5, 2019 Video

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Sam Heughan, Duncan Lacroix, and Maria Doyle Kennedy

Here at last is the clean version of the official Outlander Season 5 Panel at New York City Comic Con 2019 on October 5, 2019. Have patience, the camera person was not doing good tracking during the live feed, hopefully this copy will be better with the actor’s answers during a bit of the panel.

Watch as Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore, Executive Producer Maril Davis, Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Jocasta Cameron), David Berry (Lord John Grey), and Author Diana Gabaldon take the stage at New York Comic Con 2019.

Outlander Season 5 Last Block of Filming

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Updates this week as the cast and crew are getting into the last stretch of filming for season 5. Matthew B. Roberts (@TheMattBRoberts), writer and producer on the show had shown a picture of his heavily marked up book for Season 6, A Breath of Snow and Ashes and a Guy Fawkes mask. What is the message we get here? Rumors have it parts of ABOSAA is being used in  Season 5. Guess you will just have to read it after you hurriedly  finish up The Fiery Cross.

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The S5 filming blocks are ending, which means the set up for the conclusion of the season is underway. Sam Heughan and Colin McFarlane (Ulysses) gave us a great BTS shot this week. Large amounts of extras and crew can be seen in the background. No shots of Maria Doyle Kennedy (Jocasta), although her Twitter said she was hopping around in the PNW (Seattle) in the US this week.

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Also seen on set again and acting, or behaving badly were the kittens playing Adso. Apparently a huge distraction with everyone on the set. Adso is a character we follow with great fondness, who becomes a fixture of the big house and Claire’s surgery room. But no more spoilers here. It looks like we are close to a wrap on this season’s filming. That means production will be at least 3 more months. As Matthew B. Roberts has said, he is already on the scripts and John Gary Steele is designing sets for S6. We’ll see who joins the writers room this coming season. The War of Regulation is fast approaching. And after that, the American revolution.

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Yes, those are Caitriona Balfe’s hands. Hope they got a lint roller.

Outlander Season 5 Premiere Date Announced February 2020

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Starz® just announced today that Season 5 of the Outlander series will premiere on February 16, 2020. The time travel series about a World War II combat nurse Claire, (Caitriona Balfe), her husband Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) continues its next season on Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina. The Frasers will be dealing with new settlers on the ridge, Jamie seeking recruits for a mustering to hunt down the Regulators and namely his Godfather Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix). Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) will seek to get married and care for wee Jeremiah together, albeit with their history of contention, there will be some rough roads ahead. Not to mention the ghost of Stephen Bonnet. Will we see Young Ian (John Bell) come back from his time with the Mohawk? There will undoubtably be trouble with Governor Tryon, we know that Tim Downie has had quite a few BTS days on his Instagram feed of late. Marsali and Fergus may get that print shop together after all.

It doesn’t state in the synopsis whether they are taking material from The Fiery Cross, or taking elements of the storyline and possibly blending some of it in with the 6th installment, A Breath of Snow and Ashes. It has been stated by Executive Producer Ronald d. Moore that they may be taking half of a book and blending it with another. The books, if you have read them, are lengthly indeed and very detailed. Not everything translates well to screen. And since Dianna Gabaldon is finishing up another installment, which takes 4 to 5 years, it is quite possible that the series my overtake the book series, much lake Game of Thrones surpassed its authors writing and ended as a series this year. Could it be that Moore and Mathew B. Roberts see that the story line may play out or that Starz® may stop production after two more seasons?

Ah, and there is a big gathering at the beginning of the Fiery Cross, the fifth book in the Outlander series written by Diana Gabaldon with all kinds of drama and mischief.

Starz® released this synopsis for the upcoming season:

Season 5 of “Outlander” finds the Frasers fighting for their family and the home they have forged on Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie must find a way to defend all that he has created in America, and to protect those who look to him for leadership and protection – while hiding his personal relationship with Murtagh Fitzgibbons, the man whom Governor William Tryon has ordered him to hunt down and kill.

With her family together at last, Claire Fraser must use her modern medical knowledge and foresight to prevent them from being ripped apart once again. However, while focusing on protecting others, she risks losing sight of what it means to protect herself.

Meanwhile, Brianna Fraser and Roger MacKenzie have been reunited, but the spectre of Stephen Bonnet still haunts them. Roger strives to find his place – as well as Jamie’s respect – in this new and dangerous time. The Frasers must come together, navigating the many perils that they foresee – and those they can’t

Get Your Tickets to New York Comic Con!

Starz® will have an Outlander Presence at New York Comic Con for a second year with Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, author Diana Gabaldon, and producers Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis.  For their first NYCCC appearance Duncan Lacroix, Maria Doyle Kennedy and David Berry will be attending. The official Outlander Panel will be at New York Comic Con 2019 will take place on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 5:30 pm ET in The Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

Can you survive 5 more months, Sassenachs?

https://ew.com/tv/2019/08/29/outlander-season-5-premiere-date-starz/

Images © 2019 Starz® and Sony Entertainment

Bursting the Murcasta Bubble

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Yes, spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a good romance. It’s just you see Murtagh’s a favorite of mine, a very special character that’s had a lot of grief in his life, a survivor. One we know would not be content to just live after all the hardships, well the easy life won’t do for him. He’s feisty to the end. Many were so quick to jump to the pairing of two unlikely characters, the fandom’s big fantasy of many fans on Murtagh taking the place of Duncan Innes came to life. He was a Drums of Autumn and Fiery Cross book character, who eventually weds Jocasta to secure River Run against marauding neighboring landowning and non-landowning suitors . You see, Jocasta in the series has been pretty tame so far. She’s smoldering under the surface. However her machinations and control aspect, as a MacKenzie, have barely begun to surface. It’s a tale of survival by wits and how else can a woman retain power in the man’s world of the 18th Century?

So why am I taking the angle here, it’s certainly  not the popular one? I just don’t see that they have a future, really. Can Outlander handle another power couple? I mean I am rooting for a change up on Jocasta, maybe Murtagh can change her so, get her to see the truth. When you are in a healthy relationship, growing together is one thing, having to make someone change, or trying to make them change, doesn’t always bode well. Murky waters ahead for sure.

Believe it or not, there were those of us cringing when this coupling happened. Many of us book readers know a different Jocasta. Granted, very few things from the books have been in this season, or at least not the way they went in the book Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. To be fair, you have to give screen Jocasta a chance. But I believe we really haven’t seen her true self. It’s true that Ron Moore warned at New York Comic Con 2018 that the books will be there in essence, some books may be split, some mixed in timelines, and characters changed. So here’s my take on why I see Murcasta heading for sweet disaster:

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River Run

Jocasta Cameron, played by Maria Doyle Kennedy to perfection, has been mistress at River Run for many years, and relies heavily on Ulysses, her slave, to run the plantation. Indeed, you come to find that really it is he who runs the plantation, and quite a bit more. She has been fending off many influential men herself since her forth husband died. She may be almost totally blind, however her other senses are very, very sharp, and she runs things like a fist of iron through Ulysses. She has avoided several offers of marriage herself, as she knows that the suitors are after River Run. When Jaimie and Claire turn up, she finally has a solution: her nephew can help her run the place, thus she makes him her heir. She tries to control another pawn piece. It’s a game to keep control, especially when she has lost her sight and her youth. Claire picks up on her manipulations to control Jamie, and when Jamie and Claire make the decision to take up Governor Tryon’s sign-in-blood offer for land, Jocasta tells her she is doing her nephew a disservice by persuading him to leave River Run. Because, she has to blame someone, Jamie cannot make a decision for himself. Claire, in her usually stand up fashion, tells it like it is. Really, Jamie is his own man, and wants his own land and opportunities on his terms. Unfortunately he makes a deal with a devil to do it. However, he can chose his devil. Really, we don’t like that Jocasta tried to come in between Jamie and Claire.

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The Heir

In the book storyline, and in the series, we see Jocasta latch on to the next best thing for some control over River Run’s future, the saving of Brianna’s reputation, and perhaps naming a new heir. She spends a great deal of effort to try and secure a wealthy influential neighbor for Brianna’s and child’s security, which really is about the family saving face. And well, having a familial ally to help her just is another card in her game. Brianna’s resistance and quick thinking finds a temporary ally in Lord John Grey. By keeping up appearances and having a beneficial betrothal, and well, having a Lord in the family with property does just as well, Jocasta has made quite a coup. Jocasta, being a busy body and manipulating others in such a way, really doesn’t score high on the redeemable qualities. In the book. Ever a MacKenzie. Is Jocasta redeemable?

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Which Brings Us To Murtagh

So, many of you will be rewatching Season 4, probably already have, and certainly rewatch the finale Episode 413 Man of Worth, again, if anything just to watch and hear the Murtagh and Jocasta dialog. Some funny things have niggled at me, as I like to look at storylines from all angles. Murtagh, played intrepidly by Duncan Lacroix, was an indentured man for 14 years, then stayed on as smithy in a small town a few days up river from River Run. Now, Jocasta, who has her pulse on everything going on from the coastal waters to the mountains and beyond, did not know that a “Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser” was in the vicinity? Someone she knew from the old days, someone she had a little crush from the side on because he was in actually in love with her sister? Or did she know full well, and didn’t want to tarnish her reputation and estate with such acknowledgement? Indeed in the Murtagh and Jo tête-à-tête, where many short heated accusations occurred from their past, I was waiting for her to slip up that she knew where he was and had not contacted him because he was the trouble maker he was. This could still turn up in an outtake. Of course, when the sparks flew with two old adversaries, the reality set in that Jo did like him, and was just too proud to do anything about it, or knew that her families’ many machinations to get her married and allied for their gain, would stand in the way. Remember, the man we all love has never had more than two sticks to rub together, except when he ran the smithy. Sadly we know that what little he had gained with his smithy, he has had to forfeit because he is fighting in a just cause.

When Murtagh shows up after his jail escape, Jo is tells him to fill up and be on his way. She does give him a whiskey and the conversation turns. Of course, not one to back down from a fight or pointing out injustice, Murtagh sets right in with tearing apart her perfect River Run life. He tries to reason with her, point out that others have lost all they had, she of course goes on about how others had made something out of themselves. He brings up he did not come there by choice, but he did make something, and the over taxation was strangling him and others. He had been and seen the same cruelty play out in the past. It happened to many a Highlander up to Culloden, and the subsequent crushing of the Scottish people after that forced many of them out of Scotland. It would continue as long as The Government exploited the king’s subjects. Of course, when the two pair up, and somehow she conceals him at River Run, while there have been search parties for weeks, we are wondering how she managed that. Jamie and Claire notice the relationship it in the mad dash to get Murtagh out to the slave quarters to hide. They are not sure about this new development either.

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Future Twists

More spoilers ahead. Turn back now. If you think Jocasta hasn’t lead her own interesting life, there’s a few mysteries about her that end up coming to light in subsequent books. You then start seeing her more robust self, the woman she was before she lost most of her sight. She has survived several husbands. She has her own uprising story to tell, and subsequent fleeing to the colonies.

Her right hand man has been Ulysses. He has run everything for her for years and has been closer to her than you think. Is he willing to just step aside for another man? Or will Jocasta have to wed again for convenience sake, since she can’t openly do so with Murtagh, a wanted man? Or, will the wily pair contrive an existence of Jo hiding and running guns through her plantation to help Murtagh’s cause, while keeping up appearances? Would Ulysses ultimately manipulate this himself?

Then there is the conflict with Jamie and Murtagh having to be on opposing sides now that Governor Tryon has declared war on the Regulator Uprising. Murtagh will be conflicted, Jamie will be conflicted. Jamie will have to make it look like he is keeping the Regulators in check, and hunt his Godfather. This means separation for the couple. Will there be coded letters and messages? Will Jocasta decide to stick to her old ways and not endanger her lifestyle? Or will she by the end of season 5, break from it all and follow Murtagh and live in hiding. Will Murtagh allow that sacrifice?

img_2102Ultimately, I hope that Jocasta can change, she can come around a little to the reasoning of Murtagh, that she can actually see ahead despite her physical limitations, that owning slaves is wrong, and that over taxation is cruel. That she should meet the man she loves at least half way. That the rebelliousness that had her flee Scotland to seek a better life, could include a full, real life. However that would be too easy, and perhaps will be a long hard lesson for her. It will certainly add some spice and make sparks fly in the coming season.

Then there’s that other Duncan Innes plot twist book readers know about. Hmmm, that could twist things up a bit.

I’m digging out my Season 1 part one DVD set. I have been a fan of Murtagh from the beginning, and Jocasta better live up to that man’s love. Let’s hope she proves it in Season 5.

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Outlander Episode 402: Do No Harm

i-2As you can guess by the title of the episode, there is going to be something that goes against the Hippocratic Oath. Claire being a doctor has faced many a deadly scene, and saved many lives, including an excise man who clearly meant her harm in Season 3, Cream De Menthe. So it is with a title like this that we find that The Colonies are indeed becoming a very dark place indeed for the Frasers. And as always, don’t read on unless you’ve watched Season 4 “Do No Harm”.

I also have to warn you, if you are a big Diana Gabaldon and Drums of Autumn fan, there are story changes in this episode. Many of the changes portend even more to come. I enjoy many of the changes, and agree that not everything can make it to the screen. That said, a few things stay in, if not exactly in the book, then the spirit of the situation. i-1

We begin with our travelers still on the river, heading to Aunt Jocasta’s plantation. Jamie, Claire and Ian show up worse for wear at the River Run dock. After their encounter with Stephen Bonnet, they arrive as paupers, which shames Jamie greatly. They are welcomed in and find that the vast property is heavily worked by slaves. While Jocasta explains away concerns, and that she tries to keep families of slaves together, it is still apparent that the practice of slavery runs deep in the colonies and Jamie and Claire are faced with a moral dilemma. Claire is very adamant about her views on slavery, and is identified as being a Quaker by Jocasta trying to make sense out of such ideas.

john-quincy-meyers.w700.h467To help adjust to life in their new surroundings, Rollo has decided to have an encounter with a beast most foul. The rare bit of Outlander comedy ensues and we meet John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees),  the bigger than life mountain man that will help guide the Frasers and Young Ian through their first adventures in the wilds of America. However, his first mission is to rescue all from a fate worse than death smell that Rollo manages to find,  courtesy of a wee black and white beastie. We also have a change from book, a certain medical procedure seems to not come into play at River Run. However, true to Outlander writer’s form, a far more sinister one comes into play later.

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Phaedra (Natalie Simpson), Jocasta’s body slave

Again the Frasers are cursed. We meet yet another odious character in the form of Lt. Wolff (Lee Boardman), and he is just as annoying if not more so than in the books. He is one of many suitors of Jocasta Cameron’s, one she has turned down before.  She has huge acreage and wealth in the plantation and he considers it his right, and uses the Navy contracts to push his personal agenda. He is used to negotiating with Jocasta, and when Jamie begins to assist his aunt, is met with brusque resistance. To make matters worse and as a preemptive strike, Jocasta acknowledges Jamie Fraser as her heir in River Run, showing she is every bit Colum and Dougal MacKenzie’s sister. She seeks to have a way to keep her unwanted suitors at bay and has found the perfect way to do it through Jamie.

download-1A matter of great distress occurs as Jamie is adjusting and discussing the new role of being named heir to River Run. He immediately sets on a path to find some way to do away with the slavery issue, to find some way to emancipate the slaves and pay them as servants. As is pointed out by Farquard Campbell (James Barriscale), a dear and long time friend of Aunt Jocasta’s and landowner, and the every encroaching Lt. Wolff, that the laws must be followed in order to free a slave. Slave must have saved a life, and there is a compensation of £100 per slave to buy their freedom. Unfortunately Jamie learns quickly that the laws are just as hard to work around in the Colonies as they are in Britain. His grand sweeping ideas will meet with great resistance. And this plays out in a terrible fashion.

News comes from the pine works that a slave has attacked an overseer and drawn blood. Jamie, as new Plantation Manager and Claire the healer, rush off to aid the man, and in so doing become embroiled in a scene of slave punishment and laws they do not understand. A young slave, named Rufus, is found hanging by a hook, Jamie rushes in with pistols and demands that Rufus be taken down. With Farquard Campbell trying to diffuse the situation, and explain the laws to Jamie and Claire, there are grave consequences if the punishment of the slave is not carried out. Claire has the young slave brought back to the house and she saves his life from the hook wound, only to have to make a terrible decision later.

Claire has been against slavery and being from the 20th century, finds it abhorrent in any form. In saving a life and following her oath as a doctor, she does not see all that is going on around her or the consequences. In comes Ulysses, to explain the reality of slave life to Claire and her headstrong convictions. The ever faithful Ulysses (Colin McFarlane) is always at Jocasta’s side and as book readers know, really is the one who has kept River Run running. He is well educated for a slave, and seeks to educate Claire on how the lives of the others slaves are affected if one slave does something that is against the law. All slaves on the plantation will be made to suffer if Rufus is not taken to justice by the overseers. Ulysses is a steady hand in the household of River Run, and will keep things running as smooth as possible, and seeks to educate Claire. However make no mistake, his loyalty is to Aunt Jocasta.

Again we see that the Frasers and Young Ian are still not finding a place to call home. The River Run plantation is a great beauty of a place, but it’s underlying current is one that reflects the other plantations in the colonies, that of an ugliness lurking below. It is operated on the backs of slaves and cannot run without them. The laws are unjust, as Claire and Jamie have already experienced in Wilmington, and even more constricting in a place like River Run. The offer of becoming settlers on land of their own that Governor Tryon offered to Jamie and sponsoring other settlers, is becoming more and more appealing to Jamie. Is this an escape and a way to make the rules their own, or will it be filled with just as much danger and injustice  brought on by life in The Colonies?

Book or No Book

There is always the possibility that what was cut out of this episode, may turn up later. Gabaldon’s writings are so rich and much detail has been edited due to time and feasibility constraints. It could even involve a different character, one we all love and hope to see return. I could see a particular medical procedure being performed on this character, the actor is always up for an interesting challenge.