Fabulous BTS Look at the Season 3 Finale by Rock Star Laura Prudom

Photo: Outlander Season 3 finale, Mashable

The tagline for Outlanderbts.com is Quality Curated Content, which means I bring you my own content, and I also look around for BTS material of high quality (or sometimes just extra fun). Laura Prudom is probably my favorite “mainstream media” Outlander journalist; she’s thoughtful, a good writer, and she turns out quality interviews and pieces (which is why she got her own category on this site a long time ago).

Laura was on set for the Season 3 finale, and has produced a wonderful piece about her experience for Mashable. Some of the highlights are below, with a link to the full article at the bottom.

Excerpts:

Laura sets the tone…

It’s a crisp June morning on Silverstroom Beach, a secluded bay located on the western cape of South Africa. The normally pristine stretch of soft white sand is littered with the debris left behind after a catastrophic shipwreck — barrels, rigging, and jagged chunks of wood.

There are two bodies on the beach, a man and a woman, both damp and disheveled. She lies motionless as he crawls towards her, his movements desperate despite his obvious exhaustion, and sweeps the sand-matted hair from her face. For a moment, she doesn’t stir, then a wracking cough shakes her body, and relief blooms on his face.

 

Toni and Matt always knew…

Executive producers Matt Roberts and Toni Graphia once again partnered to write the finale, as they did in Season 2, with Roberts also making his directorial debut on the episode. While scripts are usually assigned to writers over the course of breaking the season, the duo always knew that episode 313 would be theirs.

Toni on room notes…

“The finale is something you’re talking about all season,” says Graphia. “Starting on day one and then all through the season, everything that happens has a ripple effect and affects the finale, so we’ll take room notes literally all year long.”

Room notes keep track of all the episode ideas that the writers come up with throughout the season, and Graphia says that for the finale, “we broke our record… it was 277 pages of room notes.” For the sake of comparison, on a general episode, “you’d have maybe 25 pages,” she says.

Matt on prioritizing Jamie and Claire…

The writers’ guiding principle, according to Roberts, is that “the one story we absolutely have to service is the love story” between Claire and Jamie — which is why, when characters or arcs from Gabaldon’s books are omitted, it’s generally because those plot points don’t have much of an impact on the Frasers’ relationship, or would be too costly or complicated to film. But the writing staff also tries to keep fans on their toes, especially if they’ve been immersed in Gabaldon’s world for years already.

 

On the process of script writing…

Most scripts will go through several revisions to address further notes, plus a pass from the showrunner — who may make slight amendments or basically rewrite the whole script, at their discretion — before a production draft is locked. Even during filming, it’s common for scripts to change as scenes are being filmed, if the actors and director feel that something isn’t working on the day.

 

Laura on that beach in South Africa…

My first day on set, while Balfe and Heughan are rolling around in the sand in the middle of the South African winter (it’s sunny, but there’s a distinctly Scottish nip in the air, and unlike the soggy stars, the crew are snugly wrapped in puffy jackets and hats), I duck into a cozy tent to catch up with executive producer Maril Davis, who flew in the day before and is just as jetlagged as I am.

Maril on churn and burn…

“We’re already deep into Season 4,” she reveals, despite the fact that filming on the new season won’t begin until October. “It’s a year-round machine at this point. I think [the fans] do wonder why we’re not on sooner, it’s just, I don’t think we could churn them out any faster.”

 

Caitriona on Claire and Geillis…

“I think the Geillis-Claire relationship [has] just always been really interesting,” Balfe says in a break between camera setups. “It’s nice to see these two women who have this very unique position struggle with what their bond is, because obviously they sit at very different ends of the spectrum — Geillis being a murdering, sort of machiavellian [character], and Claire, who just accidentally kills people.”

 

Bear on Geillis’ S3 musical identity…

McCreary says he turned to an instrument called a yaylı tambur — basically a five foot banjo — to “distort” the notes of the Stones Theme and create what he calls the “Bakra Theme,” which becomes Geillis’ signature sound in Season 3.

“I use that theme all throughout episodes 12 and 13, to heighten the tension, to create this sense of exoticism,” he explains. “There’s dissonance in there that is creepy, but not quite horrific, because we like her…. It was a great opportunity to create tension through weirdness.”

 

Sam in the jungle…

“We were shooting the other night in the jungle and there’s this crocodile being strung up and there’s this voodoo ceremony and you’re like, ‘we’ve really gone from the days in Castle Leoch and people drinking whisky to this brave new world,’” he chuckles.

 

Ron on editing the Voodoo scene (I knew he edited this episode! The master…)

“I did play around a lot with that sequence,” Moore says of editing the scene. “How often to cut back to the dance; when you come to them; how long to stay with them; then trying to build the momentum because there’s a murder that takes place towards the end. Then it felt like you needed to speed up the intercut a little bit to create that momentum.”

 

More from Bear (could we ever have enough???) on writing the music for the Voodoo scene…

“It’s a 10 minute drum circle performance that is loud — it can be heard a mile away — but then once they get there, there’s also this drama and revelation and discussion and conflict that happens right there, and the drums don’t stop,” the composer laughs. “Ron showed that sequence to me and he was like, ‘What do you think?’ I thought, ‘Oh my god, how are we going to do this?’ But it became this really cool sequence.”

 

Terry on the Voodoo scene and Claire’s costumes…

You’re now talking about slave culture. What are their resources and how elaborate and how complicated can their costumes be? They’re cobbling together things from their environment, and so it’s adding on bits rather than, ‘Let me go put on this incredible costume.’”

“The challenge, of course, is not only to not have everybody get sick to death of seeing it, but for the viewer to believe and want to watch it that many times, it has to be really versatile. And a lot of the ways we do that is with the aging, and watching it break down, which follows what’s going on in the story,” she says. “You’re literally watching Claire disintegrate as she takes this insane journey, and by the end, she’s barely held together.”

 

Lotte on the death of Geillis…

“I think it’s a beautiful death because she dies in the middle of the highest pursuit of her cause, and you can wonder if she regrets anything or if she’d do it all again if she could, and I think she would. I think it’s a beautiful scene. It’s going to take three days to shoot, because it’s Cait and I on one side of the cave and then there’s Sam and Hercules, so that’s gonna take some logistics.”

 

Ron on spurting blood scenes…

“Blood coming out has been a real pain in the ass,” Moore agrees. “All through the show from the beginning, we’ll have characters that are being killed or they’re supposed to have blood spurting. The script only says, ‘Blood spurts out,’ and you try it on set and it always looks kind of fake, and they will fix it in post. You go through pass after pass after pass trying to make it look real. There’s blood spurting out of Geillis’ neck that I’m still not happy with, but at a certain point you have to just lock the show.”

 

Sam on ship scenes and acting tossed about…

“There wasn’t much acting involved because literally, they’ve got a hose and just spray it in your face and you’re screaming above the rain, but it’s incredible,” he laughs. “It’s real Star Trek acting, falling from side to side. I enjoyed it a little too much, bouncing off barrels and things. There was one day Matt was like, ‘we want you to fall into the corner over there, get washed over by the wave,’ and I just threw myself at these barrels because I thought they were all soft and, yeah, they weren’t. It’s good fun.”

 

David Brown on Claire’s drowning scene…

With Claire being dragged down by ropes, Brown explains that the sails and rigging have to be attached to the bottom of the tank, with underwater cameramen (aka “the frog squad”) poised to capture the illusion. While the underwater filming is taking place, stunt performers on jet-skis will run over the surface of the tank to simulate the disturbance of the water in a storm, and a gigantic crane is poised to drop a section of the Artemis’ mast (once the stunt doubles are safely out of the water) so the cameramen can film it sinking. “We’ll probably spend the whole afternoon filming that one element, which will probably take five seconds to actually achieve,” Brown admits.

 

Matt on the name change… 😝

While Graphia took the lead on writing the Geillis scenes, Roberts had a particular vision for conceptualizing the hurricane — including the moment that would inspire the episode’s final title, “The Eye of the Storm.” (The previous title, “The New World,” was changed “because it was tweeted out by somebody who will remain nameless: Caitriona Balfe,” Roberts dryly reveals.)

 

She so gets it… Toni on the Eye of the Storm metaphor…

“And there was something that crystallized about the whole script for me from that, because that’s a metaphor for their whole relationship. They’re in the eye of the hurricane,” she adds. “They’ve always got drama, and chaos, and war, and strife, but their relationship is what gives them that sort of bubble that they’re in, of heaven. And it allows them to deal with all the crises in their life because they have that central beauty and calm together that makes them a team.” 

 

Ron on the details…

“When you throw this rain in front of the camera in post, and you pump up the wind sounds, and the soundtrack, you just want to believe it,” Moore says with a chuckle. “If you break it down and you really look at it, you go, ‘Wow, that is not a storm at all,’ but the audience just goes with you. They want to believe it’s a storm. They’re not looking for the flaws. We look for the flaws.”

 

Caitriona on the New World…

“Obviously, America to Claire is something very different than it is to Jamie,” Balfe points out. “Their intention is to get back to Scotland [when they leave Jamaica], and at this point, maybe their intention is to still try and do that, but for Claire, America is really home, and that’s been her home for 20 years. But this time, it’s with the man that she loves and it’s in a different time and it’s at a different historical point.”

 

Awww, Sam…

“I was quite emotional that day,” Heughan recalls. “Because he’s been through so much and definitely he thinks he’s lost her, and then she’s alive … They believe that everyone’s been shipwrecked, possibly lost, and [then] there actually are survivors. It’s just relief for Jamie. And to be in America, I think it’s something he’s never really thought about. He had no intention of going there, but he’s got her and I think that’s all, at the moment, he can really rely on.”

 

Bear on the final scene…

“The final shot, what the music is saying … It’s triumphant and epic, but it is a conclusion of this story that you’ve seen. It’s playing themes that are associated with Jamie and Claire. It’s very much rooted in the familiar,” he points out. “When we cut to the end credits, it’s completely new sounds. It’s fife and drum marching ensemble, just doing a Revolutionary War sound. In fact, we did some research, and it is an extremely popular song in the lead-up to the Revolutionary War.”

 

Sam wraps it up…

“This season has been a great journey,” Heughan says. “It’s been incredible from starting at the end of Season 2 with Culloden and going through Jamie’s journey, losing Claire and rebuilding himself to regaining her to falling in love again … The way it’s set — the introduction of this world of America — it feels like we’re just on the edge of yet another great adventure.”

 

I’ve included quite a few highlights from this piece, but I recommend that you take the time to read the whole thing, it’s so well done, and enjoy the fab photos. Thanks to Laura for this excellent coverage of the Outlander Season 3 finale. 

To read the full article: Source- Shipwrecked Souls, Mashableby Laura Prudom

3 comments on “Fabulous BTS Look at the Season 3 Finale by Rock Star Laura Prudom

  1. Interesting aspect of the season. Toni talks about keeping the love story central and how the things they cute out didn’t impact the story. I disagree every change from the batsuit /Gutenburg dress, this lead to the excise man change. Which Willioughy killed not Claire doing surgery. Then you have Jamie telling her about Willie/John Gray. The book had plenty of tension . I understand that you can’t have everything in but some stuff was just plain stupid. Another point Jamie isn’t arrested at the Governors party. Wilioughy’s “pc” change was sad. They were racist back then and why change the Campbells? A lot of us love this book most of all . We are glad that you made the show but I think you missed the point of the book. It was all about change and it was pivotal to the rest of the books.

  2. I was not familiar with Laura but boy did I take notice of her today. This article was so interesting and very well written! Thanks for reposting and sharing this with everyone!

  3. I wish they would throw in a few moments of Jamie looking directly into the camera so we can see through Clair’s eyes. I think fans would love it . Not just the loving times , but also anger etc..
    It would be the icing on the cake!!

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