Episode 306 in Review: OutlanderBTS Deep Dive into A. Malcolm

OK, we start with a mysterious woman helping Jamie with his stock and scarf, but since I’m a book fan, I know that’s Madame Jeanne, not Jamie’s new love. Speaking of which, if you are not a book reader, this piece is chock-full of SPOILERS.

As usual, the details of the sets, locations, and costumes are phenomenal. Kudos to Jon Gary Steele and his team, and Terry Dresbach, and hers.

I also think Sam’s makeup is perfect. He looks older, but not too old. And in my opinion, he inhabits 40-something-year-old Jamie very well. I assume Wendy Forbes is responsible for this job well done, as she is his makeup artist. (More about Wendy in a bit).

The whole intro is fabulous, spot-on. We get an overview of Madame Jeanne, Jamie’s neighborhood, the smuggling, Geordie and his goiter, Jamie as a printer… and then

Claire walks in,

Jamie hears her voice, (plays this so well),

and… 

Boom! 😉

We’re caught up. And all before the opening song. Well done.

Caitriona had this to say about Sam’s fall: “Sam had to fall quite a lot, I remember,” Balfe said, laughing. “He can handle it. What’s the point of him having all those muscles if they’re not cushioning him when he falls?” Source: ELLE. In a recent Q&A with Sam, he said he fainted 15 to 20 times!! (that’s dedication. Any bruises, I wonder?)

So exciting to see John Bell and César Domboy’s names in the title sequence! 

I’m struck by the beauty of the Skye Boat score. Bear is really so very talented, as is his wife Raya Yarbrough, who sings it. 

I also loved the printed credits for Matt and the director, Norma Bailey, which, incidentally, were printed by Sam… (though the hands in this photo are definitely not Sam’s).

Excerpt: “The printed sheets in the title cards, by the way, were made by actor Sam Heughan himself on replica 18th-century typesetter presses. ‘That’s all me!’ he beamed, hoping he’d made his printmaker mother proud.” Source: ELLE

We get to see Jamie going through the printing process, and from what I know of Sam, I imagine he loved learning this new skill (I had forgotten that his mom is a printer -added bonus).

In Episode 306, writer Matt Roberts seamlessly picks up where Toni Graphia left off in 305, and we see Jamie’s POV (point of view). This is very similar to the transition between episode 108 – Both Sides Now (written by Ron D. Moore), where we see Claire’s POV of being captured and taken to BJR, and episode 109 The Reckoning, written by Matt in which we see Jamie’s POV of the same sequence of events. Both scenarios lead to that famous moment: Jamie in the window…”I’ll thank ye to take your hands _off_ my wife….” just as both episodes 305 and 306 lead us to the moment Jamie faints.

Matt had this to say about the printing scenes in his script notes: “During this scene, we see a little more of Jamie’s work at the print shop—we see the skill involved in what he’s doing as he sets out the type face, rolls out the ink, etc. This is important because we wanted the audience to be truly immersed in Jamie’s world: not only to get a feel for what he does each day and to have a true sense of what he’s been doing during Claire’s absence, but also, to show that, for Jamie, it’s just another ordinary day at the print shop. It’s with Jamie’s line “is that you, Geordie?” that we come to realize that we’ve seen this moment before, in the previous episode. We decided to show what had happened in Jamie’s world before Claire arrives, and to repeat this aspect of Episode 305, as we wanted to ensure that we captured both Jamie and Claire’s two different viewpoints and responses in depicting what is such a pivotal and iconic scene from the book—the moment we have all been waiting for. Jamie’s reaction is extreme because he’s had absolutely no warning of what’s about to happen, whereas Claire has had time to think carefully about the decision she has made, to anticipate the moment, and to savor the excitement and trepidation that comes with meeting a lost love after twenty years apart.”

Such a romantic, is our Matt Roberts! 

I love the addition of Jamie wearing glasses, which according to an interview with EW, was Sam’s idea…

“It was my idea,” Heughan tells EW proudly. “… I sent an email to Ron Moore last year saying, ‘How about glasses?’ It’s not something in the books but I thought it would be a nice surprise. It’s a weakness of Jamie’s. He doesn’t have many. It’s nice, and it’s something we can play off. It’s kind of a disguise as well. He plays so many different characters and I felt when we first see Jamie, it would nice to see him as a completely different character, a gentrified Edinburgh man who has his own business.” Source: EW Interview

Costumes can really help an actor get into character, and I think the glasses help Sam play older Jamie. The glasses will also help to create a nice contrast between A. Malcolm, Printer, and Jamie Fraser, Smuggler. The inky fingernails are a nice touch too – of course he would have them.

For me, in this episode, Sam is the standout performer. His facial expressions, the depth of emotion, it’s all there. I’m a big Sam the person fan, and I loved Sam’s acting in Season 1. Season 2 lost a little something for me, due to multiple factors. But I feel Sam has come back with a vengeance in S3, and this was a stellar episode for him. I’m not sure what unique blend creates the winning combo, because there are so many factors that go into how a character is ultimately portrayed: the writing, the actor’s interpretation, interaction with scene partner, the director’s coaching, post production editing, limitations of physical surroundings, timing, etc. 

Whatever the case, I’d say it’s in play…

And, in my opinion, Matt knows how to write Jamie Fraser. In this particular instance, he stuck very close to the book, which is never a bad idea, considering Diana is a genius.

I’m not sure, but I think the director probably has a big impact on performances. I imagine the director is like the coach. Looking back, for me, the exceptional performances have come under the direction of Richard Clark (109), Anna Foerster (107, 115, 116), John Dahl (101 and 102), Metin Hüseyin (201, 207), and then Brendan Maher has kicked ass all the way through S3 so far. I’m going to say that Norma Bailey is excellent with Sam. She directed 307, so I’m very interested to see that one. 

Back to 306… Shock, and so many emotions coursing through Jamie, and then we see his naked, overwhelming desire to touch Claire, to kiss her…

And the restraint, while he asks permission

Claire’s yes…

 

The music is breathtaking… beautiful moment…

For me, this shot is just… art.

 

 

Their first words, first kiss, all perfect. So moving. (Sam better get nominated for a freaking Emmy or a Golden Globe, BAFTA, or a something this year!!!!)

This bit is STRAIGHT from the book, I know, because I looked it up. The only differences are, before he kisses her, in the book he says “I havenae done this for a verra long time,” and Claire says “Neither have I,” and that’s how they tell each other they’ve not been with others. I decided to take a look at the script, so I could get an idea of the flow regarding some of the changes. I was surprised to find that Matt has literally taken almost this whole episode directly from the book, only changing the order here and there. The script reflects the book:

 

It would be interesting to know the choice(s) that lead to combining that line into we.

The “Dinna be afraid, there’s the two of us now” line was split between them in the script, and in the show, whereas Jamie says the whole thing in the book. 

It’s interesting to note that there are certain nuances, and even lines added, that do not appear in the script. For example, in the scene where Jamie is taking off his pants, Sam adds the line “Do ye mind?” which does not appear in the script. When they play the scenes in reality, they have to say and do what feels authentic to the moment, and to the character, otherwise it will come off as forced, and farcical. In my opinion, that leeway is what enables the magic to happen, and what keeps it alive and interesting for the actors, and so, for us. 

In the next bit, when Jamie tells Claire that she came to him whenever he needed her, we see and feel his heartbreak when he says, “you never touched me.” We know in that moment that he needed her to touch him, he needed to be touched, and he never was. That comes through in spades because of how Sam portrays that moment. When I read the book, I remember reading that line as Jamie explaining his visions of her over the years, I saw you, but you never spoke and you never touched me; I didn’t experience the heart break, but in the show it is real.

Anyway, my point is, it’s an actor’s prerogative to use his or her instincts to interpret his or her character in the most authentic way possible. Sometimes this will mean changing the script slightly or changing the feeling of a scene. It’s fascinating, really, this Outlander thing, to watch not only the characters, but the people grow. In fact, as Jamie becomes the man he becomes, I see Sam also changing. Here is a clip of my interview with Sam in NYC just before 301 aired, where I asked Sam and Cait how they prepared for playing older characters who are parents. Sam answered that for Jamie, and I’m guessing for Sam too, it’s about the experiences that Jamie goes through, that make him who he becomes. Makes sense, and it’s really how it happens in life. Someone who is 38 and single is quite different than someone who is 38 and has a husband and four kids, for example. Life experiences do really shape us. (The relevant part of this clip to my point here, ends at 4:41).

 

More about this in a moment.

Back to 306… at this point, Claire says “I can touch you now” and then “Do not be afraid…” and she waits, and Jamie answers, “There’s the two of us now.” Beautiful, really. This is the first moment they are saying to each other, “I still want this,” and  “Me too.”

This beautiful scene is interrupted…

by the 18th century embodiment of a buzzkill, Goiter Geordie.

Geordie is 👌🏽.

In the back room, grandpa Jamie puts his specs on

and gets introduced to the concept of photography and to his daughter all in one go…

Now, there was a pretty extreme fallout on social media after this episode aired, surrounding the way this part of the story was portrayed. People assumed that the script departed from the book here, and there was a fair amount of Matt bashing on Diana’s Facebook page. When I looked, I was surprised to find that the script matches the book, exactly.

On Tuesdays, the writers take to Twitter to answer questions, and this one came up. The question was essentially why didn’t Jamie fall to pieces as it says in the book… Here is the script for that scene:

Toni Graphia and Maril Davis responded in lieu of Matt, who was absent due to Season 4 demands:

As of this writing, the Podcast is not yet up (understandably, as they are fully tasked with Season 4 right now), but here is the link: Season 3 Podcasts (you might want to save that).

Apparently (and atypically, in my experience), Sam was following the conversation and got involved. Here’s what he had to say in response…

Way back when (Jan 2015, I believe), there was a Q&A panel with the Outlander cast, in which Sam made the statement, “He’s my Jamie too.” I can’t find that interview for the life of me, but I thought that was a pretty cool assertion, and it’s nice to know Sam is still sticking to it.

Sam has been speaking up more lately on social media too. When Popsugar announced their piece on “The 38 hottest pictures of Sam Heughan as hot Scot Jamie,” Sam replied…

Let’s do the best scenes instead. (Good for him). 

They did do that piece, by the way. This thing is riddled with adverts and blinking things, but I’ll include it for positive reinforcement 😉 Popsugar 10 Best Jamie Scenes.

Just this week, EW released a piece about Sam’s makeup artist, which had a complete click bait title: “Meet the other woman who’s paid to touch Sam Heughan,” and he called them on it…

Love it.

OK, Back to 306, Jamie and Claire are looking at photos of Brianna in Jamie’s room…

Here are Matt’s notes about these scenes: “Jamie’s back room at the print shop is described as being “Spartan at best” and “lacking a woman’s touch”—these details are the things that Claire is noticing too as she takes in her surroundings, hoping to learn all she can about Jamie without prying too much. Both she and Jamie are haunted by questions to which they’ve been deprived of answers all this time—Claire is eager to find out if Jamie has moved on and whether or not he has made a life with someone else during her absence, while Jamie is desperate to know what became of the child they conceived together—not knowing the child’s name, whether it was a boy or girl, or indeed, whether he or she survived at all. Both are vulnerable in their mutual ignorance about one another’s lives.”

He gets it.

I assumed Matt put in the bit where Claire says Brianna has red hair, and Jamie says, “like her sister, Faith.” But it was actually Caitriona who is responsible for that addition to the script, which makes sense, as Faith was a significant episode, and I think, experience for her.

Excerpt: 

For Balfe, it was important that that they also talk about their stillborn daughter Faith, who died in season two, so she petitioned the writers to include a reference in this pivotal reunion scene. “I just thought that no parents would ever forget a child, even if the child didn’t make it to term,” Balfe said. “She’s still very much part of the family unit.” Source: ELLE

This was also a moment for them to connect again, about Faith, together, as much of Jamie’s scenes were cut from that episode. Faith, 207, Deleted Scenes.

My own personal bias about Show Jamie is that we don’t see fierce, protective 18th century Jamie. I think it has to do with the cultural climate surrounding women and men right now. I’ve written about this before, that healthy male aggression becomes vilified as the enemy of women’s progress, when, really, the two have nothing to do with each other. I first noticed this discrepancy in Season 2, when Claire appears in her low cut red dress; Jamie has a mild reaction and brushes it off rather quickly. Likewise, when the Minister of Finance is hitting on Claire, Book Jamie is more menacing. In 306, when Jamie sees Bree in a bikini, we see his shock, but we don’t see his protective, male aggression aroused. We don’t really see that aspect in Show Jamie. That part of his character is absent, both in the writing, and in Sam’s interpretation, in my opinion. This is an observation, not a criticism. I think that aspect of Jamie would be interesting to explore, especially in this day and age, when male aggression is viewed as negative, except in the narrow realm of sports. I would like to see Sam explore this aspect of Jamie, and bring it to Claire. 

Another very controversial move is the introduction of Willie in this scene, by Jamie to Claire.

Here is what Matt says about that: “We debated this one in the writer’s room—a lot—with many varied opinions. But ultimately the powers that be decided to have Jamie tell Claire about Willie in this scene. Jamie fetches the small portrait of Willie—we wanted to make sure that he was clear with Claire from the very beginning that he fathered a son. At the end of the day, JAMMF is an honorable man. He’s keeping one secret—two felt a little much. And in keeping as faithful to the source material as possible, I borrowed “the telling” from later in Voyager. I felt that if we were going to do it, it should be in similar fashion to the novel.”

This reasoning, in fact, makes a ton of sense to me. In the book, the scene with Brianna’s photos is interrupted by the tavern bell, so in fairness Book Jamie really didn’t have the chance to tell Claire about Willie, and nor had his mind even gone there yet, most likely. In the show, it felt like a pretty natural segue.

This is interesting, to me. In the script, Jamie is meant to tell Claire that he was blackmailed into sleeping with Geneva (which he does not reveal in the book – always a source of irritation to me); but in the actual episode, he does not. I’m curious about the reasoning there too, as I feel quite sure it exists. I thought they both played this scene really well. 

 

The bit about Frank does not take place in the book, but it makes sense to me here too. 

God’s tooth! it’s 13:00, and, they’re off… they meet Fergus. César does a great job picking up where Romann left off as Fergus. I am especially impressed with the continuity of accent, inflection, and speech between the two. My guess is that’s Carol Ann’s (dialect coach) good work, along with César’s attention to detail. Nicely done. This scene with Claire feels so natural to me, he absolutely feels like the same Fergus.

And Fergus got a wooden hand instead of a hook. Or wait, maybe this is his go-to-market hand, and he also has a hook? 🤔

We got the politically correct version of Mr. Willoughby, which is not a surprise, although I would’ve liked to see him fly through the air in a little ball, knocking Sam to the ground. No foot fetish, elbow licking instead. Makes me wonder what will happen on Jamaica, hmmm.   

Here are Matt’s notes about that meeting: “‘It was a pleasure Yi Tien Cho’. Claire shows respect for Mr. Willoughby throughout the season by addressing him by his given name—‘Yi Tien Cho’. We liked the idea that, also being an ‘outsider’ herself, Claire is known by the name ‘Sassenach’, and although it becomes a very affectionate nickname, it’s something that does serve as a reminder that she is an outsider. Continuing with the theme of identity then, we wanted to show that Claire is empathetic, sensitive and—having come from the future—does not harbor the kinds of prejudices held against people of different ethnic backgrounds that were so prevalent during the eighteenth century. She tries to make Willoughby feel accepted and essentially, less of an ‘outsider’, by using his given name.” 

Sir Percival Turner, the exciseman, is played well by this guy who clearly went to the Duke of Sandringham school of sliminess.

And then, they’re back at the brothel. Move over Madame Jeanne… Mrs. Beauchamp Randall Malcolm Fraser is back in town!

Madame Jeanne – “Your…wife? Monsieur Malcolm…you bring her here? I thought… a woman… well enough, but to insult our own jeune filles (which means young girls) is not good… but then… a wife…?” Poor Madame Jeanne, like every other man, woman, child, and animal, she has a thing for Jamie.

In my piece, The Wedding Episode… Blueprint for The Print Shop?, I speculated about whether there would be ties between the wedding and this reunion, and indeed there are. The long undressing scene recalls us to the night of their marriage…(but I’m worried Claire’s homemade buttons are all going to pop off if they are treated like snaps instead of buttons! Careful guys!) Recalling that piece, I wonder how many hours Caitriona and Sam spent gazing at each other and undoing their buttons for this scene? 12? 😩

In the same ELLE interview cited earlier, Caitriona talks about these scenes harkening back to the wedding episode- Excerpt:

The goal with the couple’s conversation, she [Caitriona] said, was to mirror their wedding night. Just as the three sex scenes in that season one episode took Jamie and Claire through different stages—from getting it over with, to exploring each other, to finally falling in love—the print shop reunion, too, has these three stages. Source: ELLE

I love the room at Madame Jeanne’s, it’s perfect. Kudos to Jon Gary Steele’s team. And the moaning when they first get there, 😂 I’ll have to look and see who the moaners are in the credits. I seriously hope they show up at a fan convention one day – would be so awesome.

The next scene is great. Although, again, Show Jamie is less insulted than Book Jamie by the suggestion that he’s a very good customer of the brothel. Book Jamie is very Catholic, and is offended by the mere insinuation. Show Jamie is made more uncomfortable than outraged by the suggestion, but still this scene works. There are a couple of changes from the book (which is fine, of course), and to be quite honest, I generally don’t compare the two regarding plot points. I do compare them regarding characters. In the book, Jamie makes it clear that he is grateful to Claire for coming with news that she and his daughter have survived and even thrived, and that all of his past suffering and longing was not in vain. He also asks her if she came because she wanted to or because she felt she must.
He says, “Sassenach, will ye take me- and risk the man that I am, for the sake of the man ye knew?” 
Claire responds: “It’s a lot too late to ask that. Because I’ve already risked everything I had. But whoever you are now, Jamie Fraser- yes. Yes, I do want you.”

In the Outlander Writer Q&A, someone asked: “Will you risk the man I am…” beautifully reflects Jamie’s fears about his secrets. Why was it omitted?

And the answer was…

I’d say this means we’ll be watching and hearing those lines later.

Where were we, ahhh yes, “Why?”  (have you come back)…

 

Because I want you, you dumbass!

 

The build up, the brief kiss, and then the disruption by the chambermaid… all recollecting the wedding night, and the moment Rupert and Angus burst in.

And then dinner…

 

The music, the sound of the wine gurgling into the glasses. The looks between them. Like the wedding episode, they are getting to know each other again, letting their feelings build…

Claire looks older, but not by much, to me. Maybe that’s meant to be the difference of a cushy 20th century life vs living in a cave, in prison, and as an indentured servant for all those years. Makes sense, if so.

And then, Jamie asks Claire if she’ll go to bed with him, and she says “yes” (of course). They begin undressing each other. This is a parallel to the wedding night, beautifully done, with the shyness of not having seen each other for 20 years, and lack of familiarity, insecurities.

First they undo each other’s buttons,

 

and then Claire undoes Jamie’s stock.

The last time we saw this was in Episode 103, The Way Out…

 

 

Fair’s fair… and we are recalled to Jamie removing the delicate lace choker on their wedding night.

Another of Sam’s expressions… wonder, hunger… I would imagine these scenes are hard to shoot, for many reasons.

Same choreography as in 107… (note the bum roll made of mattress ticking)

with 20th century technology… (this is even more confusing than last time, damn it!)

Jamie meets the zipper

and we land here… “Will you bloody well say something…”

“Christ, Claire, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” (that was pretty good!)

Beautifully expressed, Caitriona

“I want to see you…” Again, from the wedding night (In 107, she said, “I want to look at you.”)

We’ve seen this gesture throughout Jamie’s sexual history (see The Wedding Episode… Blueprint for The Print Shop? for more on that)

At last… and then…

BONK!

In non-TV intimacy, these are some of the best moments, which lends a sweetness to these scenes, and comes from the book.

After some clumsiness, they get where they’re goin’…

         

“Do it now, and don’t be gentle”

And he does, and it’s not, and it’s a beautiful love scene.

When the camera pans down Jamie’s back, it’s a recollection to all the pain and scars they’ve both endured while apart, and still carry with them.

 

Sassenach, is that you? I cannae see ye properly wi’oot my spectacles 🤓 (OK I added that line, he doesne really say that)

Matt’s notes about these scenes: “You may notice that this scene is long in comparison to other scenes—and deliberately so. In writing this episode we wanted to offer up a true portrait of a relationship—in this sense, the scene isn’t driven by plot, it is rather a chance for the audience to spend time with our hero couple as they (finally alone at last) get to know one another again. We allowed these moments to breathe—to play out almost in real time—to get to know them as a couple after having watched them lead separate lives over the course of so many years. Scene 12 is about 13 pages long—probably the longest single scene in the Outlander series to date.”

The pillow talk is sweet: Claire notices that Jamie is fit and has more chest hair, and he notices that she eats rrrrreguly.

I’m wondering, does Sam have chest hair augmentation now? Jeez, bedroom scenes must mean hours in makeup. He’s got the older Jamie makeup, the back scars plus the many other scars: the BJR one, the gunshot wound, the new thigh one, the one on his face; older Jamie is supposed to have darker skin (tanning cream?), and now a chest merkin? Poor Sam.   

Speaking of makeup, in that piece I mentioned earlier, Wendy Forbes discusses Sam’s…

Excerpts: Forbes says it takes two hours and 20 minutes to do [Sam’s] hair, makeup, and back scars. “He’s a lovely man but none of them are that patient in the chair,” admits Forbes. “They don’t want to be in any longer than necessary.”

[For Jamie’s back scars,] Forbes created two silicone molds in season 1 that she still uses today… the scars haven’t changed — only the shading she applies after each silicone piece is adhered to Heughan’s back [changes].

“There was talk about changing the shape of the scars after 20 years, but we decided against that. We just keep coloring it lighter so the scars don’t look as red as they were 20 years previously. The mold comes to me already scarred. Then I color up,” adds Forbes. “This year I made it a bit lighter. Then I add a water-based paint. All the scars on his chest are hand-painted. I didn’t want to use too many mediums.”

Photo: Starz, Wendy adds dirt and blood for filming Episode 301, The Battle Joined.

Excerpt (cont’d): Since the process is a long one, Forbes does the first part with Heughan lying down so he can take a quick nap. “It’s usually half past 4 in the morning.” 😲

She’ll complete the process with Heughan standing up so she can smooth out the pieces over his back. “He always says, ‘Wendy, you are the best,'” says Forbes. 
Source: EW
          

Speaking of scars, Matt did leave the bit about Claire’s stretch marks in the script, which I, and probably any reader who’s had babies, always loved in the book. 

My guess is this part was edited for time. But perhaps they decided not to take the time in makeup for stretch marks on Caitriona, which would have to be repeated from here to eternity for every intimate scene. Or, was it omitted as a creative choice by Sam or Caitriona? It would be interesting to know.   

Jamie pinning Claire’s arms over her head during their sesh is also in the script, but missing from the show. Also included in the script, but absent in the show is “Jamie, don’t stop, for God’s sake don’t stop!” However, we did get, “Do you want me now?” “God, yes” which was pretty dang hot.

After some pillow talk, Jamie gets up to roam around and get some food while Claire guesses what he does for a living. I suspect this choreography was added for the female gaze. Let’s face it, while being a lovely person, Sam is also a beautiful man with a stunning physique (which he works hard to maintain).

I think Claire’s glad she came back.

After establishing that Jamie is a cafeteria Catholic,

and a smuggler, it’s established that Jamie does not do it with Madame Jeanne, and that it is Claire’s business to know that.

This very sexy exchange leads to their next love making session, which is beautiful and slow, and extremely emotional for Jamie, which makes sense. He is getting all of this awakening, grieving, rediscovery, etc. in the span of hours, where Claire has been going through it by degrees over months. 

 

Phew, can’t imagine being this vulnerable in a room full of 15 people! 

And, clearly, this sequence parallels the last time they made love in The Wedding Episode.

Afterward, Jamie tells her how he got his leg scar, at Culloden, and she promises never to leave him again.

I love this next part, where he tells her she’s a wonderful mother,

and her heart breaks, thinking about having left Brianna behind.

Damn, these guys can never just be like WOOOOOO HOOOO! Last time Frank was lingering back in the 20th century, and now it’s Bree. Ahhhh, the complications of life, and being married to an 18th century Highlander.

The exchange in the morning is superb, and comes directly from the book, about not knowing what it is between them, but it’s still there. Palpable. Cait is excellent in this scene, the way she slows it down and takes on a wondering, ethereal vibe, their hands performing an entwining slow motion dance.

Jamie is looking a little Frodo this morning – can’t be gorgeous every moment.

In the script, they talk about Claire being a surgeon, but that part didn’t make the show. Again, not sure why. I think it was filmed. Probably cut for time, I’d guess.

And then, Jamie starts to tell her about… Leg Hair… but she stops him. Get out of jail free card. That’s Matt hooking a brother up if you ask me!!

This will make for an interesting set up for later…

And then Claire says, “I just want to know one thing.” Yep, that’s what I would want to know too. This scene is very well done.

“Did you ever fall in love with anyone else, after I left?” 

“No, Sassenach, I never loved anyone, but you.”

And soon enough, we’re back at the beginning of Episode 110, (ahem). But instead of Murtagh banging on the door, it’s that damn Pauline again. “Breakfast Mr. Malcolm.” 

Jamie: “Come back later <kiss> <kiss> if you well <smack> <lick>”

Claire: “Don’t you want to eat?”

Jamie: “Aye”

Matt Roberts! You dirty little thang. And look at Frodo-Jamie’s face here. Feral. Run for your life Claire! 

     

I like Jamie bossy “You’ll stay here ’til I return” (Matt actually had this as a question in the script – go Sam!)

And then of course, we meet Young Ian, who is perfect.

I LOVE love love love the brothel breakfast scene. Wonderful, and straight from the book.

However, the priceless conversation about stopping a bairn from coming is all Matt.

In fact, my favorite line from this episode is in this scene…

What’s yours? Put it in the comments if you like 😊.

If I’m being honest, I did not like that ending. That excise guy seems like someone from a James Bond movie, vs. someone in Jamie and Claire’s world. Spoiler: In the book, Mr. Willoughby comes to Claire’s rescue, we’ll see what happens next!

Hint: I won’t tell you, in case you don’t want to know, but the script goes on past the present ending. If you’d like to go see for yourself, the link is Script for Episode 306.

I am impressed with the way Matt was able to move the plot forward, and cover a lot of territory in this episode: catching us up on Jamie’s life, re-introducing Fergus, introducing Madame Jeanne, Mr. Willoughby, the excise man, Young Ian, AND to also give us the long, slow, intimate rediscovery moments with Jamie and Claire. He strikes a very nice balance here, in my opinion. In Season 2, there were so many political machinations and character introductions, that we had little to no moments like we enjoy in A. Malcolm. Well done, Matt and the whole team. And always, Caitriona and Sam.

Looking forward to 307.

 

66 comments on “Episode 306 in Review: OutlanderBTS Deep Dive into A. Malcolm

  1. This is a really good review/recap. You must have worked really hard on it, making all the cross references to past episodes and scripts. I am very impressed and thankful. You have made me appreciate 306 a lot more. I must admit that when I first watched it I was a bit disappointed. The build up in the media for the famous reunion created an awful lot of expectations. I was expecting a lot more emotional scenes ( tears, hugging, etc.) ( I am French so I cannot help it, We are rather melodramatic at times). Now I can appreciate the restraint that Sam showed and I think he was right in his approach. On to 307. Thx again for this.

  2. Well written. Thank you. I hav a couple of questions. Why didn’t Claire bring a better picture of Brianna? Also, having not read the books, will the scene where Frank sees a man standing under a streetlight looking up at Claire in their apartment window, be revisited? Again, not having read the books, I’m curious to know if that was Jamie.

    Such an outstanding show.

    • The books are so detailed and amazing that when they do make a heart wrenching scene change as Sam has done in 306 it is hard to put aside. Its worldwide on Twitter so I am not spoiling.
      I love OBTS great writing!!

    • In response to your question about the man standing under the street lamp, Diana has said that it will be explained in book 10. I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

  3. What an outstanding blog you wrote! It is exceptional. I haven’t watched Season 3 yet (waiting for DVDs to come out), but I have read the books numerous times. I love the BTS information you provide. It adds that extra layer of depth, so that when I do watch Seadon 3, it will be all that more meaningful.

    Thank you!

    • Sam’s change in a key scene if you are a beloved book reader as am I may break your heart in a few places in The Print Shop- prepare.

      • Hi, Pamela! Like many others, I was a bit disappointed about Jamie’s response to Bree’s photos and his quick introduction of Willie. I totally understand their adding Jamie keeping the truth between them about Willie and this was a good place to add it. I felt that he had brushed over feelings for Bree…BUT, I watched the episode again and paid more attention to Sam’s acting chops. He does show a lot of emotion regarding Bree beginning with his LONG gaze at the first picture of her as a baby, moving to sit heavily on the cot, and his facial expressions as he moves through the photos. Also, Bree was not real in the sense that he had not had physical contact with her as she developed, was born, toddler years, etc. Sadly, he did have those connections with Willie and then tragically, had to give him up. Sam’s interpretation of “falling apart” was salvaged for me after my second viewing. Voyager is my favorite of the series and I’ve read it many times…Hope you’re loving Season 3 as much as I am!

        • The photo episode was a huge disappointment-and I have to say the world noticing it was a comfort- I have a real “thing” for photos, so I was hoping wasn’t just me and I am so attached to this scene that went rogue- Sam said the photo scene felt melodramatic too in a tweet, so I’m hoping moving fwd. that I’m not bitter. I love the books so much💜Now I know why when I loved Murtagh being saved made other people angry- you love who you love…lesson learned.

        • Is always question my non-book-reading husband about his reactions, which he loves. 🙄 Anyway, he thought Jamie did “fall apart” while looking at the pictures, which leads me to believe that men “fall apart” differently than women. It’s more subtle, but it’s there. My husband was more dismayed by Jamie, the printer’s, casual acceptance of photographs. He expected Jamie to examine the photos, flipping them over, holding them up to the light, and generally being fascinated by the future ability to capture a person’s likeness on paper. Maybe that, like a few other reactions, will appear later in the series. I’ve learned to separate the books from the show, and enjoy both. I also reserve judgment until after I watch twice. The first viewing, for me, is full of self-imposed distractions of that’s not the full line, he/she didn’t say that there, wow! Diana’s such a great writer, and other book-related comparisons. Upon the second (and third and fourth) viewings, I can finally watch the episode for what it is and wash those book expectations out of my hair. I’m just really thankful that Ron and Company are adapting my favorite book series. I can’t wait for each new episode. Thanks for a wonderful, thoughtful, reference-filled recap and analysis. 💕

          • I love all that you said and love your husband’s viewpoint re the photos. I said in another comment that Sam IS a man, and even though I adore DG’s books, she has a woman’s viewpoint. I believe Sam made the right choice even though the book fan fury has gotten out of control. Even to the point of throwing insults at Sam’s looks and how he walks! I loved your husband’s take on examining the photos because they are nothing short of a miracle to Jamie. Enjoyed your comments very much🌹🌹🌹

          • Haha Dori, your 🙄 made me laugh out loud! Our poor husbands. Great to hear a man’s perspective. My husband fell asleep before he finished 306 🙄😉. Thanks for your comment!

  4. You are a marvel! What an in depth, brilliantly written review. You never fail to deliver. Made me feel better about all the rather frightening drama of some criticism and it not being taken well at all. I loved the episode. I am a book reader (twice) and I loved all,of it. I realize that some plot lines have to give to make these very large books fit into a season. I am grateful for the fine actors that have brought these characters to life. Looking at Sam and Cait’s faces in this episode made me feel what they were going through. Truly fine acting. Truly fine review. Thank you

  5. I always enjoy what you write Courtney! This is so spot on. It was a beautiful episode and just keeps getting better and better. You make me laugh about credits to the moaners! I thought the same thing, “how’d ya like to have the job of being one of the brothel moaners?!” Thanks for making these blog posts. I love how you think! Sam and Cait are doing an incredible job as well as the entire Outlander creative team.

  6. I was not able to see the script and will try again later. This was excellent to read. I loved all the pics tied in with your comments. My big question for the other secret Jamie is keeping—how will he explain or rather the writers explain why the hell he married Claire’s enemy. In the book he does not know L is responsible for Claire almost getting burned at the stake. They changed the script and he knows what she did. At any rate, this is the best show ever. Thnaks for all hour work for us to enjoy.

  7. I have to agree you did a great job here. I enjoyed most of the acting etc. as you said there was a lot of great work done. I loved the duel perspective, though I hated the print shop, being on the different levels, though it was used well. That being said I say I was disappointed in the episode as a whole, I have not been able to say what it was. I feel strongly about it, there has been only one other episode that I have not been able to love and I think everyone knows which one it was. I have read/listened to the book about 10 times but it is not that they didn’t use this or that that. Please let me state it is not one thing, I am not bashing anyone I am just saying that the whole thing did not sit well with me and I was disappointed. I feel that someone had to make the point we are not anti anyone but also should have, have the right to express what we feel and that it was disappointing to many.
    I love Cait and Sam as Claire and Jamie and enjoy the series greatly, I really enjoy your blogs too and you are very insightful. Keep up the good work.

  8. Excellent review – I too appreciate the decisions made by all – better – after reading your blog and appreciate your diligent research- I especially liked that the second sex scene truly captured how older folk would do this – with much more comfort lying down side by side , than the youthful position from the Wedding Scene – really believable – which is kudos to the director, the writer… ? Terrific acting.. Diana has seismically shifted perspective of honest intimacy that all who engage with are growing in … So glad that you see that too in how Sam and Cait are maturing as better actors playing these roles ….Good observation hinting at the magic of this artful work. Thank you for doing your job so well.

  9. Wow. Reading this slow-mo review was like savoring the print shop all over again. Thanks so much for this review! I’ve already watched the episode a couple of times, and was looking forward to another viewing this weekend before crème de menthe, but this morning read a hopelessly negative review of the Brianna/Willie scene… 🙁 kinda ruined my pleasure. Thanks for giving it all back… Lovely!

    • I felt very bad about some reviews and some negative fan comments that, from what I saw, upset Matt Roberts tremendously. I felt as you do, that Beth’s review set the world right. I read one comment that he felt like just quitting. From Matt! Enjoyed your comment and feel the same.

    • There are reason’s for the negativity. Matt should not have been drawn into it tho, the script was beautiful. Sam went rogue on the Brianna Photo scene,saying his own words and his own interpretations.It was a wrong call- Maril posted the script on Twitter

      • I’m really upset that Matt has been criticized since he wrote it in the script. I think Sam is a wonderful actor, but made a bad decision here. I’m surprised that Diana didn’t clue him in as to how iconic the breaking down bit was with book fans as I know Sam consults with her regularly. I’ve made a new rule for myself – I’m not going to expect the show to give me the same level of emotion as I get from the book. That way if I get it, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I won’t be disappointed if I don’t because I’ve lowered my expectations.

        • I agree 100% Bev,
          A heads up on the importance of the photo’s of Breanna and Sam made an organic decision- nope stick to Matt’s writing. I just listened to the podcast and they never thru Sam under the bus, though when I watched it I felt like I’d been run over by a bus like most of the readers, we eat,live and breathe the books, they change peoples lives. I don’t know how anyone who’s waited 20 yrs. could handle it-I’ev only waited 2 years. I always have huge expectations to go with my huge imagination. I’ll keep my imagination for the books. This was a life moment, a sad moment watching this scene.

  10. My favorite line was when the former prisoner says to Geordie… that goiter looks like a small child hanging onto your every word! I laugh every time and I don’t know how Sam kept a straight face.

  11. I was heart broken completely when Jaime didn’t take time or any loving comments with Brianna’s pictures or broke down crying😢 Then the beloved Willie bragged about. The world spoke up I am not alone- I am cannot watch that scene, Sam made the call a bad call.

  12. Excellent recap! The photos are even better on my Mac!

    I really didn’t understand the uproar? It seemed kind of childish to me to expect to see, in a theatrical production, an exact interpretation of something read when reading is experienced internally. When you go to a book club, everyone has something different to share. It’s why I quit following Diana Gabaldon’s FB and twitter.

    The acting was brilliant. Outstanding. Loved 306 and am loving S3 tremendously.

    Thank you for your recap and review! Thoroughly enjoyable!

  13. Excellent recap and analysis, Courtney! I agree with all your thoughts. I was hoping this episode would be epic, and I wasn’t disappointed! Sweet, sexy, soul satisfying…all words I can honestly apply here. Actually, words don’t do justice to how deeply glad I am for it.

    To me, they very best part was Having Jamie and Claire reconnect and make love (NOT just having sex) without the scenes being rushed or gratuitous. The difference between how the two of them together make love vs. how they were with other people is palpable…best shown when Jamie and Claire stared at each other long after the intercourse was done, in stark contrast to how Jamie behaved with Geneva…there it was only sex. I especially loved the scene where they’re laying on their sides, obviously joined, and just looking at each other, moving slowly. It was more than just erotic, it was the most romantic and soul-satisfying reconnection ever seen on TV (IMHO).

    This episode is now my ALL TIME FAVORITE, HANDS DOWN!! While I love The Wedding, Sassenach, and The Reckoning (among others), this episode had me melted the entire time. I know that some are questioning the jarring ending, but we do have a story to get back to after all. I’m just so grateful to Sam, Cait, Matt Roberts for their excellent work, and to STARZ for allowing us to go on this journey with our lovers.

  14. Love all your thoughts on this episode. I don’t understand all the negative comments some have made on other sites. I have been reading these books since the 90’s and know there have to be changes from the book. As Diana has said – it is an adaptation. I enjoyed the episode. The writers, producers and all the people involved in this show have done an amazing job.

  15. 306 is ‘well played’, but I did want to hear JAMMF speak the ENTIRE line as written by Diana, “Sassenach, will ye take me – and risk the man that I am, for the sake of the man ye knew?” IMO, then 306 would have been PERFECT.

  16. Your review is so good. Enjoyed reading it. If I can add my opinion about Jamie’s aggressiveness. The beating which sadly fell with the time and he later regretted which is remarkable for that time. The witch trial and his defense of Claire. So perfect, fierce and you believe it. And at the church in season 2 when Rupert is shot, his fierceness in not giving up Claire. You can feel it in the words. Just an opinion. I enjoy this show and losing myself in th characters.

  17. I am one of those book readers, I have read each book several times, some more than others. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the adaptation and have watched each episode several times, some more than others. The producers have done an amazing job adapting the stories and I am looking forward to see how they will do the rest of the books. That said, Willie did not belong in 306, it took away from Brianna’s introduction to Jamie. I like Willie, I like his interactions with Ian, with Claire, with LJG and with Briann and Jamie. I am looking forward to seeing him play out in the years to come, but 306 should not have included him, at all.

    • Thank you Carol
      I have had hard heartedness about this since last Sunday at 12:10 am. It even got worse when Sam tweeted that he had changed it because Breanna’s picture scene where he falls apart fet melodramatic! I thought someone should have caught this in the “dailies” . Then Maril started posting actual scripts that clearly state our beloved book memories. So I’ve watched it twice since and skip the photo part and I find my Outlander Love again. I do hope somewhere soon Jaime fixes this heartache. Oh man it sucks.

  18. Wonderful recap and review. Claire sharing Brianna’s photo’s, Jamie’s reaction, admittedly threw me at first but his creative decision made a lot of sense. Unfortunate, if his interpretation upset writers or producers. They all must work together in harmony in order to present quality. Controversy on social media was to be expected being that so many fans are rather insistent regarding details following the book exactly. DG says “lay down the book,enjoy the adaptation” and “written word does not always translate well to the screen”Show may agree or disagree. Either way, following closely I’ve noted opinions tend to be quite superficial, don’t consider the “Big Picture” and unfairly judgmental. Writers made it a point to clarify on Twitter that they were pleased with the emotional performance.

    • On Outlander Podcast this afternoon Matt Roberts was clear he didn’t want Willie shown in this episode, sadly Matt was attacked the most.
      The man’s a genius- when a genius has differing opinions of a storyline than people are not encouraging nitpicking or negativity- The head writer put it all out where… I feel the viewers have their opinions and they should be validated. Yes we are grateful for Starz,Diana G., Matt, Toni everyone but for The print shop Sam should have had a heads up and been told go by the script.

  19. When talking about the make up of Jamie and the adding of scars, I am shocked that they do not show the scars on his hand from the nailing and broken finger. This was such a traumatic scene in Season 1, why show the scar from the branding and not the one from the nailing?

  20. Love your review, as always. Some thoughts about the Willie reveal. Jamie, while pretty much an Outlander himself has a very strong concept of family. We meet him under the protection of his uncles. He thought Jenny sacrificed her virtue to save his life. When Claire asks him to tell her about his family, he queries “how many generations back” and later in The Reckoning he mentions the culture of wives obeying their husbands “on and on back” When they are in the Laird’s room he shares with Claire that he went through the second flogging because he still felt his father’s kiss on his cheek.
    With regard to his own chances of fatherhood he very bravely assures Claire that her apparent infertility doesn’t matter to him. Then is thrilled with the happy news. In season two when Claire loses Faith he initially has no knowledge of her gender etc. he is broken hearted and hopes they may have another chance. When they do he ends up sending them both back never to see that child either. At Helwater he tells Lord Dunsany that he has lost two children. With Willie he has the brief joy at fatherhood before having to leave. Okay so now with reunion, he gets a chance to “see” his child in photographs; like a painting and that puts him in mind of Willie. He’s able to say he has a son to the one person who could understand what that means to him and I think Claire gets it when she responds “and yours”. Mostly her concern is whether or not he loved Willie’s mother.
    In conclusion, after my initial surprise I value the choices made

  21. I have not seen the season yet. Waiting… And waiting… Maybe on DVD for a Christmas gift? This is a hint to whomever could take the decision…
    But I have read the books. “Voyager” two times in French and once in English because, the translation into French is not accurate. I am re-re-viewing the spoilers and everything related to this season 3 and especially the “reunion”. I heard and read so much about it.
    No, I am not disappointed because I think the Jamie and Claire of the books (in French) and the ones (in English) are already different. Some translated lines do not sound the same in the two different languages. So, when you adapt a book to television (or to a film), the interpretation is different also, because it is seen with different eyes, understood by directors of all kinds, by the actors themselves, put in different sets and scenes. Especially in such a large books with lots of characters and things that happen all over the thousand and something pages. Translate it in a TV series must be so hard and you only keep the important lines. YOURS!
    Read critics of all kinds, grumbling, disdainful, grateful, ful of enthousiasm, ful of humour, etc… And I keep it all in mind for the day that I will be able to view the series myself.
    Don’t you all think they have done a great job? Mat Roberts, Ron D. Moore, Marill Davis, Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Cesar Domboy, and all the others I do not remember. It is their job and just think about it: some scenes are repeatedly done for a whole day sometimes! I am grateful for the work done and admire them. It is possible that some scenes will be less passionate, added because it seemed the right moment to do so, etc… I will see. Later. But am already grateful to all the actors, crew, cast, whoever and whatever, for the coming hours spent with OUTLANDER. The French author Bileau said “La critique est aisée. L’art est difficile” (Criticising is easy. Creating art is difficult.)

    • I love what you say. Very well put. I am well aware that when there is artistic license taken, there will be dissenters. I appreciate what they say. I am very sure that it is a rare thing that folks who read books first are ever all content with interpretations thereof. I to, have wondered about this and that in the show. I prefer to let the two stand alone. I loved Beth’s view of the show. She sees the nuances and they are wonderful. I loved Sam’s much disputed interpretation of The Beloved Scene. My first viewing, I was taken aback by the change. Then I watched it again. I now much prefer Sam’s version. He has one thing going for him that Diana G., for all her marvelous talent does not. He is a man. I saw the emotion. He went to the bed and sat down. I saw it in his face. If there was one thing I would have loved to see, I forgot about until a fellow commenter pointed it out. Breanna’s kiss for Jamie that was forgotten.

      • I second yor comments, Joan. As a book reader, I’m grateful for the show AS THE SHOW, and fully support Sam’s embodiment of Jamie. Others can disagree, as is their right to their own opinion, but I’m not going to let their negativity reduce my enjoyment of the show. Let’s be grateful we have such a talented cast, crew, and writers putting together our beloved story!

      • Joan, who is Beth? 😂 Beth Wesson?

        I also missed the kiss and am OK with the way the photo scene was portrayed. So happy he got pissed about the 👙 in 307 too.

        Thanks for all your comments.

        Love, COURTNEY 😉

    • I feel Matt Roberts wrote the art in every detail possible- acting is not simple- but respect the art that’s been written for you, in this case Sam had a masterpiece already written by Diana G. in the book and Matt Roberts for the tv show. Most of the script for episode 306 is verbatim from the book.

  22. I’m really disappointed they didn’t include Claire’s stretch marks. They reflect a very important part of her story, as do Jamie’s scars for him. And what a missed opportunity to show that women with stretch marks are sexy too. The omission feels a bit male gaze for me.

    I was also surprised that Jamie told her to stay – one of the key growths in Jamie’s character in the books is that he doesn’t tell her what to do or expect her to stay behind like he used to. I really hope this is shown as the series progresses.

    I loved your recap, particularly the detail you went to. Always a fantastic read 🙂

  23. I too love your blog and have read each one. I have watched 306 “7” times. I was so angry at first, “the not falling to pieces”, moment. I have given this some thought. I think the reason we were/are so upset with, this omission is because (drum roll please), this is the moment that Jamie becomes “Jamie”,he gets to feel again.! He has been beaten so far down, had, so much taken away. Has had absolutely no say about his life for nearly twenty years. Then literally out of the blue there she is. The one person in all the world that he trust completely. And she brings “Pictures” of his and her daughter and there’s nothing. He jumps and say I have Willie!! In the book he is so afraid that Claire will leave if she finds out , that, he isn’t the man that he was when, she last saw him.! That was the whole point of not telling her right off and the other “knot” in the rope. Jamie is so overwhelmed by emotions. He has hope and unconditional love again. Plus fear, he say’s to Claire in the book, I have not felt much ,most I have not felt afraid for a long time. I always thought he just didn’t care enough to be afraid. This whole section of the book is pivotal to the rest of this book and some others. There is no doubt of the acting and writing always , outstanding, they all give us more than we can imagine. But Sam made boo boo this time and I think the director missed . I hate that this episode is just a rehash of the Wedding. I never in all the times that read this section, thought, that. I get the association but I think it’s just more about these two fabulous people finally getting to be together. I agree with the gal above about the stretch marks, it was another bond they share and that conversation was a great one. Kudos to Matt for following the book, shame on whomever, that they didn’t follow it.
    We the fans have been pretty blatant about how we wanted this scene to be just like the book. I love this series and I think this should differently be Sam’s years for all the awards!! Cait too but really it’s his story. Thank you.

    • Thank you Beth. Good points. I think they abbreviate and compress sometimes to also just fit it all into 13 episodes. I liked what he says in 307 – no I am Brianna’s father…

  24. I have to agree that Sam is magnificent, as a speciman AND an actor.(wow-the things he can say with only his eyes!) BUT, as I mentioned in another post, please don’t sell Ms. Balfe short. To maintain that tremble-and the sheen of tears in her eyes, for God knows how many takes-well, that is skill. And it should be lauded!

    • I so agree – Caitriona is skilled beyond measure. Her portrayal felt flat for me on the first viewing – even my hub said “I thought Claire would be more excited to see Jamie.” But in subsequent viewings there is more there. I didn’t mention this in the piece, but I felt like she was flippant in her description of where she’s been all these years “Oh I thought Jamie was dead so I left (tee hee),” especially when telling Young Ian. Anyway, I think Caitriona is a fabulous actress, but in this episode her portrayal was not as “on” for me as usual.

  25. Loved the head bonking. Laughed outloud. So realistic. How many of us have bonked, fallen off the bed, got twisted up, got the giggles. Love the portrayal of funny sex. Nice change up over boring quickies or pornish hook up sex, or boring old married sex. Refreshing. Loved the slow sex, too. Classy and classic.

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