First, let me say that I absolutely loved Episode 704, and I will circle back and do that one at some point.
My overall impression was that I enjoyed this episode, I have a ton of respect for them having the monumental task of getting everything into this season, and I think for the most part they are doing a phenomenal job. There were some issues for me with this episode.
My favorite scene was probably the one between Rachel and William, when he confesses to never having killed a man before. I thought they both played that scene extremely well – understated, and very much brought to life the book characters, for me.
Lots of things worked for me, namely, most of the acting. All of the Rachel, Denny and William scenes worked for me. I love the Lallybroch indoor sets. Those and the hydroelectric scenes were well done and worked for me, for the most part. I think Sophie is holding her own this season, and I am happy about that. The Ian and Emily scene worked, except for one minor thing. The new Jemmy is fabulous – kudos to that kid. I’m buying Roger and Bree as a married couple with kids. I like how they are building up the Nuckelavee over multiple episodes, dropping clues. I love Roger and Jem’s relationship. The writing worked – there were many adaptations and I think most of them worked – ie making Walter Woodcock the patient with the leg amputation. Even the lights in the tunnel, and the way the stone vortex was portrayed. The ending worked, I loved that.
My least favorite scene was pretty much anything with that French captain at Ticonderoga in it 😬.
What didn’t work – Something was different about this episode – I think it comes down to the director, but I’m not sure about that. Instead of being “into” the story, I found myself being very aware of watching the performances, almost as if I were watching a play. It felt like a series of scenes, not always, but often. The choices for shooting the scenes seemed somehow less sophisticated, and distracting. The acting was good, but I was aware that I was watching people act. I think the Ticonderoga location and sets didn’t quite work for me. I was aware that many of the sets were sets, and that’s not usually the case. The choice to frame Ian and Claire with someone working in the background – not sure if that was an artsy choice or to lend reality, but I found myself watching the guy in the background! And then the scene where Jamie is posing with his leg on the railing on top of the bunker as the scene starts and the camera pans toward him- it looked to me like an actor posing, waiting for someone to say “action!” I really didn’t care for the French commander – his role seemed almost comedic, and also forced. In the first scene between him and Jamie et al, many of the shots of him looked like they were done without anyone else in the room. I found myself thinking, “OK this set was too small to fit everyone in one frame.” Or “Oh, this is like the scenes with Aiden et al, filmed during covid, when they had to film the children separately.” I also felt everything about the Walter Woodcock scenes was too clean – the actors, the costumes, the set. And spacious. For many of the scenes at Ticonderoga felt too contrived for me. I found the scene between Ian and the officer who sent him to Emily’s village a little awkward. I thought the misogynistic doctor was too singular. He was like the odd man out surrounded by feminists and I don’t think that would be the case in that time. They had so much to squeeze in, I get it. “Swiftest of Lizards” is adorable, but I noticed that he has a very modern, almost Valley Girl accent 😊.
I noticed that William was riding the Beardsley’s horse 😆. I noticed that I think Charles V and Lizzie have more chemistry than Lizzie and Ian. That stew at the murderer’s house looked truly disgusting!!! I can’t believe Denny and William ate it! I noticed they omitted William’s fart from that scene 😄. I noticed that Roger didn’t look very thoroughly outside for the Nuckelavee.
Standouts – I think Charles V is a really good actor, and has a very firm grasp of the character of William – not an easy task. He also seems to have the gift of slowing down the scenes he’s in, much like Lauren Lyle – he takes his time and pulls me in. And, like Sam, he acts with his face and whole body. I really think he’s great. The actress who plays Rachel is also really strong in my opinion. She conveys the essence of that character, for me. I wasn’t sure when I first saw her. I also really noticed the actress (Morgan), who plays Emily – she conveys a lot with her face. And slows the scene down. In a jam packed episode, I appreciated those moments. Cait was consistently good in this ep, as was John Bell – even though some of their scenes were distracting for me, for other reasons.
I will say, that was a very big episode to tackle, with so many moving parts and different story elements going on; there were some problems, but overall I think they did a really good job, and I enjoyed it.
Question for Catherine & Karmen: In the below cast interview, Cait says she thinks the misogyny of the doctor character in this ep probably isn’t that different to what female doctors encounter today – do you guys agree?
I am adding Karmen’s response to this question as well as her comments about the episode here (and you can find them below in the comments too).
“Enjoyed your take on the episode, Courtney. Don’t agree with all your pov but as always, it causes me to think.
Are today’s doctors as misogynistic as Lieutenant Stactoe? Well, first off, he is not a doctor. He probably apprenticed with someone so he could function as a physician. But, in my experience today’s doctors are not as openly misogynistic as this pompous ass. They can still exhibit subtle ways of dismissing or undermining female colleagues, but I don’t think it is as frequent nor as blatant as it used to be, even in my lifetime. However, I think if the door were to open for them to mistreat a woman, many would walk through it without a second thought. Not all, but many.
I thought of Cathy as Roger was rolling on that gorgeous red paint. It was even in the kitchen!
I give the episode 4.5.
Agree about the French officer. I thought that accent was a bit fake.
I did like the interaction between Rachael and Ian. I thought it was shy and promising.
I loved the casting of Swiftest Lizard. What a cutie. Funny about the Valley girl accent.
I was deeply moved by the convo between Claire and Ian. That was a hard one for her. There was no way a discussion of Rh factor would have worked so I thought the whittling down was effective. Ian went away feeling good about himself.
The exchange between William and Rachael was very good. I do like both of those actors very much. Denzel is also appropriately prim and proper.
Liked the amputation scene although it had some issues which I explain in my mini lesson.
I think Rick is doing a believable job as a hubby to Bree and dad to his kids.
So far, I am not impressed with the kid playing Jemmy. Very cute kid, but am waiting to see if he gets some life to him. Jemmy is a spunky lad.
I still have issues with Sophie. She doesn’t seem to know how to talk to kids. I am not sure but if she has any siblings which might help. I did like the scene in the damn dam tunnel and the force field.
Why were all the lights blazing in the caravan when Roger stepped out to “search” for the nucklavee?
Did you catch Claire telling Walter Woodcock that the British were likely to show him “mercy?”
This is enough. Good night, loves! I miss our episode dissections! ”
What did the rest of you guys think?
Here are some BTS tidbits and an anatomical piece by Karmen!
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) July 19, 2023
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) July 18, 2023
New coworkers, new friends, and even new family! Take a look at what our #Outlander fam has to say about Episode 5.
(previously recorded) pic.twitter.com/Wc5IUHIOFb
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) July 16, 2023
— Outlander Anatomy (@OutLandAnatomy) July 19, 2023
Take good care x
For my thoughts on Ep 702…