BTS and thoughts on Episode 703

Hello All,

Thank you so much for all your comments and well wishes, they mean a lot to me. 🙏🏼

What did you guys think of Episode 703? I believe I enjoyed it even more than Episode 702. Similar to Season 6, so far, each episode just seems to get better. Here are some thoughts I jotted down after watching…

I thought of Catherine, and how she likely cheered when they showed Jamie and Claire’s bedroom wallpaper burning!
Smart to have Sam whacked in the head where he got his scar by slipping on ice at Sassnak City, so they don’t have to keep covering that up. Fun easter egg for Sassnak City goers!
Of course I thought of Karmen and Stephen Woolfenden, and our “things we noticed” segment, when I saw Murtagh’s cairn is back! 
Every single scene in this episode moved the story forward, which made me think of Antoinette, of course.
I thought the writer did a phenomenal job – shout out to Tyler English-Beckwith, as did director Jacquie Gould.
I noticed that the writing and directing allowed Cait to portray Claire in a more subtle and therefore more sophisticated and powerful way. She conveyed the strength and vulnerability of Claire, which is both more in character, and more potent in my opinion. I loved Claire in this episode.
Jamie & Claire were allowed to comfort each other in real and meaningful ways so far this season – in the scene when Claire hears Jamie praying, but waits and picks her moment to tell him, “You’ll always be enough.” Last episode when Jamie comforted a very distraught Claire about all the losses (little did they know what was coming) “Let them come – weep for them.” Beautiful.
Jamie & Claire feel like equals this season.
Hugh Ross was masterful as Arch Bug in my opinion, showing so much range – desolated husband, vengeance, proud Highlander, etc.
I thought of Antoinette when I say the vista of the ridge – it’s not the fake one from before – the trees were actually blowing and you could see real nature in the near distance. 
I thought Sophie did a great job in this episode. Interestingly, it’s really not until Echo and MOBY that I began to warm to the character of Bree, and the same thing seems to be happening with the show.
How do I say this? The scenes are less “sticky,” somehow. They aren’t all dragged out and melodramatic, but they are well done.
The pacing was fast, but complete in my opinion – they hurtled forward, but without losing me.
I thought the Big House fire was masterfully written, choreographed, directed, executed, and acted. Of course they’d try to save their house, though we could see their efforts were futile, and then Jamie realizes and you see the impact as it hits Claire and him.
Brilliant scene between Roger & Bree re the matches and how they actually prevented the other fire – I don’t know if that was ever called out in the book? I don’t remember that, but I liked it.
I noticed that Ernie’s taken up the role that used to be occupied by Fergus – rocking the baby carriage 😆.
I noticed they changed the words for Claire from “because I cannot admit that there is anything to do but win,” to “because I cannot admit that there is anything to do but go on.” I wonder about what lead to that decision to change the dialogue.
I noticed that the book lines were woven in seamlessly.
I thought they chose the perfect spot for the cutting of their thumbs (even though they cut them in a different spot than in the books I believe); I like how they did that. Sam mentioned that they’ve shot that scene many times but have not found a place to use it. I thought this was a good organic spot to include that scene.
They maximized screen time for including important things and moving the story forward, I thought.
They trusted the viewer to be intelligent and keep up.
I feel like they’ve stopped trying to play down to non book readers – if you’re lost – go read the book!
J and C flying out of conflagration was cool.
The new production designer has done a good job – the only distracting set for me was the Spaniard’s cave – a bit roomy. But I get they need that for filming. I liked the adaptations instead of Jem falling in Jamie – Jamie almost stepped on the guy etc.
Really smart to have the scene with Murdina Bug in 702 to establish some bond between her and Claire and Ian.
I’m Concerned about the current Jem’s ability to pull off the scene in the hydroelectric tunnel. I guess finding red headed twins was tough and I do think they look like Ed Speleers, so there was that mystery. Maybe they’ll age him up here soon.
I liked 80’s Roger & Bree actually – and how they did the Lallybroch scene.
Everything worked. Another great episode. Packed in a ton without rushing or losing me. Plenty of intimacy between J and C & they stayed in character – so I really enjoyed the ride.

I saw that one person asked why they didn’t include how Jamie knew exactly the size of Claire’s grip for her new knife. Perhaps they will address that in the podcast – I notice that 701 and 702 are out. Official Outlander Podcast. There is also a link to these at the bottom of my Home Page. Someone was asking about the link to the scripts on the Home Page – that’s still there, but I don’t see any links to the Season 7 scripts yet.

I saw that several people called out that Ian was not in Episode 406, Blood of My Blood, so how could he be referencing Willie and the privy scene? I find it hard to believe that there would be an oversight of that magnitude, so I’m guessing there is a plan – a flashback? Something. Perhaps we didn’t see every moment of Willie’s visit to the Ridge in 406? 

BTS about the actor(s) who play Adso (Cybill and Bob). Now… we book readers know that SPOILER this is not actually goodbye – they do see Adso again but maybe they’ll have a new actor playing Adso by then? 


My question about an older Jemmy was answered shortly after Ep 703 aired, when the new older Mandy and Jemmy were announced. Rosa Morris will play Little Mandy, and Blake Johnston Miller plays Kid Jemmy.

(which presumably means we say goodbye to the twins Matthew and Andrew- who have played Jem since they were tiny).

Neither the new Mandy nor the new Jem have the coloring of the kids in the books, but I have complete faith in Suzanne Smith and team to have cast the best actors for the roles.

Tash pointed out that the new Jemmy is one of the blond boys from this adorable Omaze fundraising video with Sam from 2019. I was curious which of the blond boys it would be, so I did a little research, and it turns out these two boys are brothers – Caleb and Blake Johnston Miller. Blake (the younger one, who defers to his older brother about how to flirt) is playing Jemmy this season. Based on Caleb’s personality in this video, he would certainly make a stellar Germain! Both boys recently acted in “The Devil’s Hour” on Amazon prime.

Sam and Omaze for MPC (Blake is in the blue, and Caleb is in the grey).

Since we lost the Big House in this episode, I thought I’d post this tour by Sam through John Gary Steele’s wonderful set one more time…

Sam gives a tour of the Big House.

This is not specific to Ep 703, but is a nice walk down memory lane…

Speaking of how young John Bell was when he started on Outlander, this photo came up from this date in 2018, in Paris. Look at Wee John Bell!! Lots of life has happened since then, for all of us…

Photo: Landcon 2, Paris, July 2, 2018. Richard, Charlie Hiett (Captain Leonard), Baby John Bell, Courtney, Laurin Lyle, César Domboy, and Steven Cree.

There is an Instagram Live with Charles V and David Berry tomorrow – 


Hugs xo


BTS for Episode 702 and more…


Source: Elle Magazine

Source: Tash

74 comments on “BTS and thoughts on Episode 703

  1. Thanks for this Courtney . Hope you are feeling better soon. Really do miss your ladies’ recap and observations. It’s my favorite recap of them all. I must say it is a little weird to have Outlander airing in the summertime. In my eyes it is more of a fall or winter show . Feel better soon and I cannot wait to see you on the screen again talking all things Outlander

  2. I had to get over the mild gaslighting that the show pulled on us by having Ian who was nowhere near his aunt and uncle in 406 when LJG and Willie visited (he was “away hunting with his Cherokee friends” which was very disappointing back then), but somehow now remembers all these things about the visit and Willie’s personality. Maybe he had pulled one of his silent ninja moves off and watched everything from afar??? But that and the somewhat unearned grief over the Bugs situation, it was yet another wonderful episode. Beautifully filmed, full of amazing performances and music. Very enjoyable!
    It’s so good to have you back, Courtney. Hope your health continues to improve!

    • Thanks you guys – ❤️ – Veronika I agree that Ian’s grief was a bit implausible – not enough character development for Mrs. Bug or relationship building leading up to this episode between Mrs Bug and anyone, really. I bought the affection between Arch and her – but I did ask myself, why is John Bell not a standout in this episode? And I think you nailed it. John is a great actor but it didn’t quite work – I agree.

  3. I’m sooooo glad you feel well enough to do this! I was just wondering what your take would be on this season. I too loved this ep and I’m right there with Catherine as that wallpaper burnt! 🤣🤣 It was well paced and allowed us to absorb everything that happened in the last 2 episodes. Looking forward to hearing more from you. ❤️❤️

  4. I think it’s so wonderful that you are sharing your thoughts on the episodes, Courtney. Miss seeing you and the Ladies and hope to see you all again soon.
    Thank you for doing this for us all.

  5. Hope you’re on the mend from what’s ailing you. Just wondering if you have any idea how I can find out the exact color paint they used for the parlor in the picture above. Trying to match with paint cards but it’s the type of color that could be a nightmare if you get it slightly wrong. Is it Antoinette who’s obsessed with that color or the one similar in River Run?

  6. Very enjoyable recap. Love all the insider info. I agree with all you’ve detailed. And btw… Ian was not in the episode with Wille at The Ridge.

    • I know – I wonder how they are going to reconcile that – surely that’s not a gaping oversight. That’s not like Matt.

  7. Glad you are feeling better! This covers so much that I will read it a few times and take notes to
    find all of the easter eggs!!! I think maybe they over did what Ian knew about Willie’s visit, but he could have known some of it from Jamie and Claire when he returned. I’m sure it was a story told around the dinner table, perhaps eating something that Ian brought back. I’m not that picky about details added, but more about big changes and things left out. Thankfully, the books are near by. Hope to see you after the next episode.

    • Thank you Gretchen. Yes – I’m sure they did tell that story at the dinner table, but Ian saying that he saw the force of Willie’s personality and how Jamie looked at Willie is a direct reference to Ian having been present – surely they will patch that hole! Yes agree about big changes and things left out. I do think they’ve done a really good job of weaving a great deal together to include a lot of the story, while slowing down and capturing important scenes without rushing. Not easy!

  8. This was an interesting read. Thanks. I agree that the episode seemed to flow nicely and not drag out. Did you notice Jamie’s expression when he wished the family of 3 the best. He did some kind of eye roll. I wasn’t sure I interpreted it correctly until someone else wrote about it. He didn’t approve, but has made peace with it.

    • Yes! – when he mentions Lizzie’s baby’s “parents,” and then it hits him anew that he’s referring to a mother and TWO fathers, and he just can’t quite take that in, so he kind of shakes it off (as is often described in the books). That’s what I saw.

  9. Sorry to post again, but I’m wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on something I noticed. There were a lot of letters in that chest from Claire and Jamie, however, we watched Claire write the first one. I’m wondering if the ending to Outlander is in those letters which is why they didn’t have Brianna read them all??????

    • Oh interesting thought. They don’t read them all in the books (until Jem disappears), but that could be a vehicle to end the show. (I personally hope they will recast Jamie & Claire and finish the story. My first choice is that Sam & Cait play them, but if they feel finished with those roles – don’t end the story prematurely – recast an older couple as J & C). Controversial opinion I know.

  10. Hi from New Zealand Courtney. I am so pleased that you feel able enough to give your thoughts on the episodes. I love this season’s first three eps. Very emotional, (tissues on standby); all involved have done a wonderful job, I am thrilled with so much dialogue from the books. Sending hugs.

  11. It’s so great to have your comments back – you are always so insightful and knowledgeable and it’s obvious you love the show/books. Thank you.

  12. Courtney- wonderful reading your thoughts on ep. 3. As insightful & detailed as always! Really missing you & your ladies. I too had issues with Ian’s grief over Mrs. Bug. Was it the writing? I felt as if John Bell wasn’t comfortable with it as well. His acting was off kilter, forced. So unlike him. Book Claire emerges! Yeah. Finally…emotional & strong. Sophie’s acting has really improved this season. Wonder what changed for her? Great to see her inhabiting Briana. Loved the episode. Sam’s nonverbal acting is beyond brilliant! Sending you lots of healing blessings as you continue to improve.

    • Gail I agree with all you said – John did almost feel like when you see a little kid who’s trying to cry but not fully invested. That should have been a standout performance, but it just wasn’t convincing, for me. I didn’t feel he was convinced.

      There was also something odd about the burned big house and how they had him lurking around up there – it looked like a stage – it looked staged. I did think the scene with Claire had good moments – but overall the whole thing felt a bit contrived.

      They often try to handle these storylines in one or two episodes, but I think we needed more seeding along the way over the last season or two to be invested and make it believable. I also get that they don’t always know if there will be another season, so they can’t go back and plant seeds in retrospect for future storylines. For example, have we ever even seen Arch go to River Run in the show? I don’t think so. Did we ever see Hector’s mausoleum? Again, I don’t think so. I think this is where new storylines, like Murtagh staying alive might cause problems – there is so much to fill in from the source material – adding in new stories like Murtagh and the taxes, or taking full episodes to explore characters like Down The Rabbit Hole and Ep 412 (I can’t remember the name) create problems down the line. Hindsight is 20/20! Thanks for the well wishes. Truly

      • Courtney- Agree with everything! Down the Rabbit Hole etc…….what were they thinking!!! The one time I remember Mr. Bug going to River Run was in season 6. Mr. Bug & Kezzie were loading the wagon. I think taking whisky to River Run. Jamie asks Mr. Bug to check for any mail while at River Run. That’s the only reference I can recall. All my best Courtney. So looking forward to hearing from you soon.

      • Hi Courtney! So very to see you here & writing again. Your observations are great to read.

        One note: There was a brief scene in S6 of Arch heading off to RR, when he was up on a wagon ready to go and patted the seat next to him to get Keziah to climb up. There’s another mention I think, can’t recall at the moment. But yes, not enough seeds planted, I agree, & notwithstanding their not knowing if they’d get enough time to fill out the story.

        Be well!!

    • I would cite the quality of the writing for her character has “improved.” I was never one of the fandom that criticized her acting chops. When she was given next to nothing in a scene, she always delivered and stayed in character–even from the back of the church watching Roger preach. Marsali was getting the writers’ focus over Bree (too) much of the time.

      Then again, I was never among those who didn’t warm to book Bree from the beginning–even though Gabaldon has said that writing her was a challenge, a “tough nut” not a “mushroom.” Maybe that’s because I prefer nuts to ‘shrooms. Who knows?

      I agree that there was not enough throughout the season between Ian and Mrs. Bug or any development of the Bugs beyond servants to the Frasers to make the scenes in this episode fly. Without the grounding in the books of the whole gold storyline from Ardsmuir through River Run and to the Ridge, it was all a little too hasty to make sense. Even less for non-readers, I imagine.

      The fumble with William’s portrait and Ian privy to something he wasn’t present to see was just that–a dropped ball. I suppose there are bound to be those from time to time considering that the writers’ room has a revolving door. I’m surprised at how much they get right.

      • Hi Lynda,

        Yes Bree’s character has more meat this season – last season she was really almost like Fergus! I do think Sophie has had some growing pains as Bree – but we can agree to disagree on that point.

        I see what you did there with the privy homonym – 😁. Yes – I hope that gets explained later – or else I’d say that was a very big oversight. In which case JB had two tough challenges to overcome in this episode.

  13. I was so pleased to see a note from you in my Inbox and thoroughly enjoyed your synopsis of ep 703. I agree with all you shared including what your besties would have highlighted as well. More than that, though, I am thrilled that you are feeling stronger and able to give us this capsule of Outlander BTS. To your health and more good days ahead, Wendy

  14. Thank u for your thoughts. I miss all u ladies.
    I watched another recap by someone else but you ladies give wonderful I sight and you all remember how it was in the books!
    Hope you all can get back to it soon hope your health is improving .
    Thank you again

  15. Thank you for this wonderful information!
    I have been unable to watch for abit and was thrilled to read this. Looking forward to watching.

  16. Good tae read your synopsis. Aye, well, the story is travelling a pace and it’s all been done so seamlessly. There’s nae doot having read the books has helped. I’m loving the filming and lighting. It’s beautiful tae watch. Arch was great but he does hae a very fine ‘Kelvinegrove’ accent which made me smile (a posh suburb of Glasgow) and the word ‘ye’ came oot very oddly. Nit picking a ken but a cannae help it. I’m enjoying it all and the acting is so fine fae all of them. I’d agree that Sophie has grown intae the character.
    Nae sae fine ye’ve been hae’in such a sair fecht. I hope all is getting better for you.

    • Hahaha that’s hilarious about Arch Bug’s accent! I love the hometown POV 😁. Thank you Ann 😘

    • My husband and I have rented a flat in Kelvinbridge —he will be golfing with a local friend and the week of July 17 will be attending the OL Conference at the University. It’s our third visit to Scotland but my first time in Glasgow. I am totally enjoying the season 7 adaptation—has definitely been a retro-fit at times, but still loving all the book dialogue!

      • I’m ferr pit oot that I cannae attend the OL Conference at Glasgow Yuni. I’m a weegie (Glaswegian) now bidin in NE Scotland. Unfortunately, I hae a velcro dog that I cannae bring wi me so I’m nae able tae attend. Hopefully baith you and your husband will hae a fine time in Glasgow – It’s a fine city. I do feel lucky though that I heard Diana speak in Inverness a few months ago.

  17. The young lady playing Mandy, in the pic you posted, reminds me very much of the young Willie (Clark Butler) – the shape of cheek and chin. I find that fascinating – Jamie’s young son and young granddaughter with a strong resemblance.

  18. So glad you are back , missed you lots can ‘t wait to see you and the gals in BTS videos. Thank you for all you do!

  19. I cheered too when the wallpaper burned! This version of the house was so unrealistically fancy for the backwoods!

  20. Hi Courtney, lovely to get your email! Loving the S7 so far (especially ep2 for me 🤩) The scene where Claire sobbs into Jamie’s chest and he scoops her towards him saying at the end…”I’m here”! Its up there as one of my top favourite ‘intimate’ scenes. Sam and Caitriona were amazing. The saying reminds me of the scene (S1) when Claire tell Jamie she is from the future and at the end he says the same thing….”I’m here”😍
    Agree about the bloody head scar for Jamie, cleverly done. I noticed how they had ‘aged’ Murtaghs cairn with moss etc. Some beautiful scenes in ep3.,. Like the one where J and C walk out of the stable and it mergers to the arch at Lallybroch.
    Show Jamie and Claire are becoming more book Jamie and Claire, which is always good..😉 The pacing is fast, sometimes it feels like a pint in a half pint pot, I realise the reasons etc. But as a book reader it does seem fast a times. Roll on Friday for ep4!!

    • That scene was so so good. When I interviewed Sam way back when and said that the intimate scenes that I (& I think many book reading fans) like the best are not necessary the sex scenes – but ones like this one you mentioned. That’s the stuff that makes one melt, imo! Hope your knee is doing better all the time xo

  21. Thank you so much for posting. As soon as the episode ended I began missing your recaps. They add a wonderful warm layer to the Outlander experience and family we have all become.
    I hope you are well, or improving and that you know how much you are all missed.

  22. Absolutely thrilled to read your recap. As always you included so many details and a friendly nod to your “sisters’” presumed thoughts. 🫶

  23. Just listened to the official podcast for 702. Seems Matt was as glad Catherine probably was to see the wallpaper in the bedroom of the house burn. 🤣🤣 I too was not a fan of the wallpaper.

  24. Really lovely to ‘see’ you again Courtney. Was so sorry to hear you were down and out of it. Praying you continue to feel better, the fandom is not the same without your intelligent and witty commentary ❤️

  25. So sorry you are under the weather. I wish you well. Thank you for taking the time to give your summary of Season 7 so far. As usual, you are right on target! Will keep you in my prayers for a speedy recovery.

  26. More great comments, I’m thrilled to read them. It’s giving me hope. I had the same thoughts on the wallpaper and the cairn. Miss you guys and I Hope you continue to feel better.

  27. I am loving this whole season too!!! I am so sorry you’ve been so sick, Courtney! Thanks so much for this great recap!

  28. Courtney, so glad you are on the mend! This season has been so rich and so many times I have wondered what you and the “lasses” would have to say. Wishing you continued progress!

  29. I’ve just started watching S7 and may not be the first to mention this, but since gems are hard to come by, why did they not have the big blue gem cut into smaller pieces to have a surplus for future trips? Still, naturally I love the season so far. Having seen just the first two episodes after waiting for all to be available for a good binge. I look forward to having time to read all the posts and replies here. 🤗❤️

  30. My first thought on this comes from some things that were mentioned in the books in relation to other items – it might be difficult to find someone to cut the gems, and it would be a bit of an advertisement that you had them if you asked someone to cut it. That was just how I rationalized it.

  31. Thus far, the only ‘glitch’ in this season for me was when Jemmy was playing with a toy airplane while sitting in a wagon in town b4 the young family went back though the stones. I saw the plane and thought, “OMG, someone’s going to want to know what that is!!!”

  32. Courtney… so glad you are feeling better. I’m enjoying watching the freedom that being in a more modern time ( their time) gives both roger and Bree … Rik and Sophie seem more at ease . Take care of yourself…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *