Waiting Is Good Sometimes… Happy Easter/Passover xo

Whatever it is you celebrate, I hope this post finds you well and surrounded by the ones you love. Love isn’t always easy, is it?

Passover and Easter, and Jamie and Claire’s story is really all about that…

May we find the courage and strength to stick with ourselves and to find the path of love, even though it’s not always the easy road.

Enjoy this look back, to another time we were waiting… for the second half of our first season’s story to unfold. A special greeting and a big thank you to the hard working producers, cast and crew of this show, I hope you are enjoying some well deserved time off. And of course, my gratitude and admiration goes out always, to Diana.

Also, my condolences to Richard Rankin and his family for the recent loss of his father…

30 comments on “Waiting Is Good Sometimes… Happy Easter/Passover xo

  1. Thank you as always Courtney!

    I was thinking back to your letter to Ron some time ago commenting on Jaimie’s character in the series. Why is it that we find the books so compelling, but the series… the 1st season was outstanding, as the recap of Season 1 you just included proves, and the first half of the 3rd season rang true, – Sam was outstanding, but the second half just was not… I can’t put my finger on it. The books, all 8 of them, continue to draw us into the characters, their lives, their passions, their integrity. We love and admire both Claire and Jamie. The books are so much more than a rip-rousing story and history come alive… they are a journey into the soul of a relationship/ a marriage, between two people who are each other’s EQUAL and whose strengths compliment each other and I just didn’t feel that in the 2nd half of the 3rd season. To me, Jamie did not come across as worthy of Claire’s heart wrenching, irrevocable decision to go back in time to him. His actions were, for the most part, similar in book and series, but his character seemed immature, driven too often just by emotion…and his lying and pettiness (I’m sure that scene where he shows no concern about continuing to live in a brothel despite Claire’s objections was NOT in the book – please tell me it wasn’t) seemed to use up so much more air in season three than in Voyager… What’s happening?

    Is it that Sam and Cait’s off stage relationship is influencing the acting, scripts and directing?

    If you compare how Sam and Cait interacted in the “chemistry” take (with him reassuring her that she did well, and her clearly appreciating that reassurance) to how they typically interact off stage now, I wonder if that dynamic, where she pokes fun at him and puts him down a bit, and where she clearly, in interviews, has a very sharp mind whereas he is, well, great, but let’s face it, not consistently as articulate and thoughtful as she, is affecting the writers, directors and his performance and influencing the way he is written and directed, and the way he plays his part? Something’s off and I do hope they can find a way to fix it.

    The series is still wonderful, but it could be SO much more… and the clip they’ve shown us so far from Season 4 has me quite worried. She’s telling him about the American dream and he looks up at her sort of doe-eyed (she comes across as the wise older woman/ teacher/mother and he almost her child) and asks if that’s how it will be like for them (I forget the exact lines) and I just found myself wanting to throw something at the screen because that’s NOT how I think our Jamie would behave. He is sexy and strong, yes, but also smart and educated and PROUD and honorable and his own person, and I WISH they would stop painting her as emotionally and intellectually stronger and more honorable than he is. And I also think that Terry and Meryl (? am I remembering her name correctly?) need to continue to insist on a Jamie who is closer to the complex, mature person we see in the books. Help me here, Courtney. Do you feel at all the same? You have a gift for capturing such nuances and conveying them well.

    • Hi Piper! I’ve not seen the trailer for Season 4 – I usually avoid the trailers, as I like to be totally surprised with each new season.

      I do think there’s something going on and that it’s more complex than meets the eye. I think part of it has to do with Sam – finding the balance of taking his work seriously while remaining his carefree self, and also not being too deferential (and this is an outsider’s opinion, mind, so that and a couple of bucks will get you on the bus).

      I think there was already this tendency in Season 1 to “de-hero” Jamie (ref the writing and especially the editing that created Boobgate) – but then, in particular this tendency increased in Season 2, in what I see as a backlash after the release of season 1, when Sam got SO much attention; the producers backed off of or found small ways to weaken Jamie’s character in order to highlight Claire’s from then on IMO. I think it’s possible that Sam has internalized this, and it shows – so he can really shine in scenes and episodes he does as Jamie without Claire, but less so due to the writing, and his understanding of what’s wanted, in scenes with Claire. (I will say he showed up fully in episode 308 – but that was almost straight from the book and a rare instance when Book Jamie was also admitting to being flawed (a coward)). Most of the other times, the show is adjusted to downplay Jamie/ make him more fallible, and to strengthen Claire.

      I think there is a fundamental belief by someone making decisions that men are kind of dirt bags, and that no guy like Jamie really exists, and this belief drives decisions that subtly undermine his character. I think men are dealing with this question in the culture right now in general: it is felt that men need to be degraded to elevate women, and I think men have internalized that. I can see the confusion in many boys and men around me, and I think we see it in Jamie’s character – in fact especially in the case of Jamie, when the writing is literally on the wall. If you happened to watch Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes, you may have seen the elated reaction by the men when she INCLUDED them as being phenomenal, and part of the solution vs lumping them all together as the problem, and this is a very powerful woman speaking.

      I think what’s needed is some male leadership within the show – to recognize that this is Jamie’s story, as told by Claire, and to speak up, and to dare to put forth a male heroic character who is very definitely not a dirt bag, and is being played by an exceptional man as well, who deserves support for his craft, and writing and editing that allows him to be able to portray a character as amazing as Jamie really is. I think for a lot of reasons this would be excellent, for everyone involved. Book Jamie has flaws and weaknesses, they don’t need to add more. And frankly, overweighting Claire makes her unlikable, to me. How’s that for a response? ?

      • Dear Courtney,

        “How’s that for a response,” she asks? Hurrah!!! From your pen to Sony, Ron’s, Matt’s, Toni’s ears! At its best the series is truly remarkable, but I do wish they could follow the example of the incredibly talented writers / directors of, say, The Americans (now there’s a well-matched couple, played to perfection).

        You have spoken most eloquently to the issues / concerns I was trying to analyze – particularly what seems to be happening with Sam. Thank you!!!! Sometimes it seems a bit whatever to spend so much time on what is, after all, “just” fiction, but I do think that Diana has given us a rare glimpse into the complex, evolving relationship of a complex couple who are both so strong they really only can be happy with each other. And we want the series to do the books justice!!

      • First I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to see these changes. I find your observations very on point. “Voyager”, was perhaps, the most important book in the series and the directors and especially the writers butchered the story. Everyone keeps praising and loving Diana Gabaldon is a great writer and they love and worship her words. Then why change the meaning , point , plot and love story?? Sam and Cait just missed the mark from the reunion on. All of them directors, writers , producers and actors let us down. DG is politically accurate and they should have left Mr. Willioughby alone. There was prejudice against Asians and not any of them had been trained at Oxford. Too much of the stupid excise man’s head wound. Mr. W. killed him not Claire.(which made Jamie a screaming and blaming and made Claire preachy shrewish), and the clothes I hate to say this but not putting them in clothes in the book didn’t work for anyone. They wasted time in the jungle and then didn’t do that reunion correct AGAIN. Gellis was to be fat why change that . Jamie is a multi layered character and so is Clair and they kept hitting one note all season. And it didn’t ring true. They didn’t sell the love story . And we noticed

        • Beth, I think making this show is a lot harder and more complicated than any of us knows. Most of the producers’ choices are good ones, and I really believe they truly put their hearts and souls into making this show the best they can. I also believe that Maril, Matt and Toni understand the essence of the story. But I think the Jamie/Claire thing is almost unconscious, because of what is going on in our culture right now, and art always reflects that. It’s a moment in time. If this show were made in the ’90’s, it would be different, or if it were made 20 years from now. I hear your disappointment with Season 3, and I think that we have to be mindful of the fact that this is their baby, and they are doing their best when we express ourselves about their work…

          • Piper, Thank you for answering my response. I really do understand how hard it would be to cull these books. I get that they work hard and I appreciate this, but they made awful choices last season. The add ons did help the story. Just like keeping Murtagh alive, I love Murtagh, but I think the reason he died was to build the relationship between Ian and Jamie and to have Jamie really alone until Claire comes back. But there was something off between Jamie/Claire the heat-passion just didn’t seem to be there. But more importantly they made Jamie small and ordinary and Claire too modern . It is a shame that they are letting “current events” interfere with this story line. I also think that “they” should be mindful that we the fans have made it possible to do this work.

      • I’ve read Piper’s take on the Jamie & Claire dynamics as per the show verses the books and Courtney’s reply. I agree with both ladies that somehow they have gradually made screen Claire more the focus than Jamie on many occasions which differ greatly from the books.
        I saw a tweet a while ago to Matt Roberts from a fan. She asked how many more times will Claire be given Jamie’s lines in Season 4 and so on. He was not happy about the comment. I however felt she spoke for many of us fans of the books and the series.
        They have definitely diluted Jamie’s character in order to promote the stronger message of the lady being the lead character instead of portraying the couple as equals as Diana intended.
        I love Balfe and her acting has grown throughout the series but this is not just her show.
        That small snippet of the trailer from S4 with Jamie asking Claire about how things would be in America; was typical of making Jamie look like a love sick, awe struck adolescent, rather than the intelligent Alpha male that he is.
        I love the books and enjoy the series greatly, especially the amazing designs both in scenery and costumes but would dearly love them to equalise the main couple as they are meant to be and thus deliver an even more appreciated impressive show.
        I would also hope they will give Sam more scenes to show his acting strength which is amazing when given the right material has he was so many times in S3 thankfully.
        I really hope they address these issues but feel they are being influenced by the focus on women’s equality as the hot topic which is prevelent throughout all media channels at present.

        • Yvonne, I agree with what your saying. It has become the “Claire” show and that’s a shame. I think the reason S! &2 are so loved is because we saw them as equal. I said in another response, they shouldn’t be letting “current events”, influence the adaptation of the books. We die hard fans love the story and the people just as they are. I keep reading and agreeing DG has written marvelous and real people. Bring them back.

    • Piper, I totally agree with your assessment of the differences in book Jamie & show Jamie, which was very pronounced in S2 also. I love both actors/characters and I dearly love the show as it stands on its own merits, but something is off when they are in rolls together now. I’m not bashing the show or it’s actors as I write my thoughts, just voicing my opinion on things that could be improved upon IMO. In the first half of season 3 they each gave stellar performances independently and Jamie’s demeanor was how I picture it when I’m reading. I always call it his “head of the family” attitude. So no doubt both Sam & Cait have outstanding acting abilities but due to the way the scripts are written or bias on the part of some writers and producers, or something we don’t know about, Sam’s acting did an about-face in the second half of the season and it came across (to me) as lack of confidence or even lack of interest possibly. It’s evident that they are not the young, naive people (IRL) who started out in this show and we all know with maturity comes changes in people. Plus there have been changes in their personal relationships that could be a factor into especially Cait’s tenseness in sex scenes now. I noticed she even batted his hand away in one scene when he almost touched her breast. You mentioned the scene about him wanting to continue to live in the brothel, no that was not in the book but then most of the episode, Creme de Menthe, was rewritten to the point of non-recognition! You took the words right out of my mouth about the S4 trailer too. I can’t stand to even watch that, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the mother/son type acting will continue, at least we hope not. Maybe they threw that together on the last minute.
      So, my best effort at coping with the differences is just to enjoy the books and the show separate from each other. We all know books are always better because we put a part of ourselves into the story through imagination. Thanks for reading my rant. 🙂

  2. After season 1, I have commented on many occasions that it’s like feminism has taken hold and the writers/directors seem hell bent on making Claire appear a “Superwoman” even giving her some of Jamie’s parts/words..not on..this reduces/relegates Jamie to a subservient position which I have never found in the books. SH is a very good actor and I don’t enjoy seeing him have to portray JAMMF like this. Yes, Claire is a strong (20th Century raised) woman but she wouldn’t survive in the 1700s without him; her demeanour would soon land her in trouble..in fact it is said just so later in the books..

  3. I think the writers have forgotten the book fans adore Jamie because he is “the King of Men” strong, smart,funny,and fearless honor with a hit of compassion and kindness. They are dwelling on his weaknesses we don’t want Jamie to be weak. We watch because he is both mentally and physically strong. Follow the books they are perfect, you did in the first season and it was great when you start going off message the scenes become weak. We do not want an inferior Jamie. I still love Outlander but not quite as passionate as I was. My family might think this is a good thing.

    • I agree with you Patricia and I hope these comments make it to Ron, Meryle , Toni etc. They need to know how disappointing S3 was.

  4. I think that the change that occured in the team, both writers and directors in Season 3 has had a negative impact on some of the storylines. The new people do not seem to understand the characters as well as those that worked on Season 1 and 2. As for Catriona, I think that if sometimes she seems off, it is because she does not enjoy all the media frenze, the marketing appearances, the interviews as much as Sam who thrives on it. Plus she has had to suffer criticisms on social media because a large portion of viewers are women who adore Sam. She might be hurt by those comments made about her.

  5. I agree with all, especially Piper who started the commentary. The S4 trailer is as Piper described. I thought it was my imagination. Also, when they landed on the beach in Georgia, it appeared that he was befuddled ( as an educated man, he would know Georgia was a Colony) and it was Claire who was thinking clearly… and she had just recovered from unconsciousness! Also, book Jamie waited until he knew where they were, and safe, before revealing their true identities. Also, last rant, it was Jamie’s ask that their child be named after his father. I haven’t a clue why that was taken away from him. To return to the topic, Claire recognizing Jamie’s strength, solid judgement and integrity (and vis versa) is the center pillar of the books, story and characters. Claire states her respect of him MANY times, and defers to him or ensures they share decision-making. Sam has read the books and is very close with Diana. Perhaps he’s a bit disillusioned? (And I’ll bet Diana is.)

  6. Ron Moore has said several times in interviews during the first year, that he sees this as a story about a strong woman. And I think his wife and Maril agree. Thus the ‘seconding’ of Jamie. I agree that the books are the story of “JAMIE AND CLAIRE” together, one soul, for one without the other is only half the story. And this is NOT what comes through on the screen, at least not since the first season. I think for whatever reason, they interpret the books as a story “…about a fiesty woman”. I get that a book doesn’t ‘just’ translate to the screen, but I really dislike some of the changes they have made…they do not seem to move the story forward and seem kind of optional.
    My obsession has slowly dwindled as the show has moved farther away from the soul of the book. I will continue to watch for now, but no gaurantee for how long…

  7. This is the best discussion of what I and my friends see as a increasing editorial effort to weaken Sam as an actor and Jamie as a character — all to increase Claire’s presence. I also agree that most of the writers/directors/producers hired after Season 1 have been generally subpar, with the obvious exception of a very few episodes. Episodes 301 and 304, for example, were beyond superb. Episode 307 was so laughably juvenile and inept, it was difficult to believe anyone cleared it for release. Maybe the seemingly inventive idea of having different writers for each two-episode block has contributed not to excellence and freshness but rather to too many different viewpoints and lack of cohesion among storylines and acting.

    Most often, Sam/Jamie seems to simply react to whatever Claire/Cait is doing or saying. He does not get to truly ACT except when he is in scenes without her. The books are mostly centered around Claire telling Jamie’s story, with her reacting to him. Cait is excellent in the part but all too often at Sam’s expense. I may well be imagining this, but I can almost see the confusion in his eyes. I too often see Sam ACTING, not Jamie.

    • My observation is that when these things reach a certain level of consciousness, something happens. Some movement. A change. The whole reason I started this blog, and that I enjoy doing this blog journey so much is that there is a story unfolding behind the story as “the story” develops. This community includes a fabulous group of humans, quite literally capable of anything; we are all woven into both stories – it’s all part of the magic of Outlander. Let’s have faith and see what happens… xo

      • I have read with great interest all the comments and views above. They are all very intelligent and I loved them all. I think they have voiced the unspoken concerns and wonder for us all. I have read and reread all the 8 “Outlander” books by Diana Gabaldon – I love them so much. There is a lot to learn from them. In my heart I feel that in Season 1, the heart of the story is of Claire, a nurse of WW2, being transported from the 1940’s to the 1740’s – a big jump into very dangerous times for anyone who looks at everything through the eyes of someone from the 1940’s and is having to make big adjustments – as to mental outlook, culture and social complexities of the 1740’s. I feel that has all been abandoned from Season 2 and onword. I have noticed a big change between Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in their acting roles between each other, with a sinking heart. Caitriona and Sam are brilliant actors – but I feel that somehow along the way that has been eroded. It must be very trying to always be interviewed, rumours put out by the media, a lot of fan attention, etc. I am in agreement that unfortunately the role of Jamie has been diminished – that he is a follower – a reactor to everything around him. Jamie that we know in the books – is a leader, a soldier, an educated, travelled and strong minded yet stubborn man, a man who knows his self-worth. My question is why did they change that?

        I feel that Sam Heughan, though I have never met him, is a great actor but I feel that he has been made, unfortunately, to look like an “younger brother/child” to Claire. As a Highlander from the 1740’s Jamie would have been more stronger in nature, someone Claire would definitely look up to which she did – as, if you have read the books, she always safe and secure with him. They had their little spats occasionally, what married couple doesn’t, but their love for each other grew stronger all the time. This has been almost diminished as the Outlander series has progressed.

        I get the feeling there are changes going on – very unsettling ones. But, what are they.

  8. In a recent interview in L.A. Sam literally said, in season 4 there is a “partly disfunctional marriage” meaning “Jamie does, what Claire says”. This is clear enough, isn’t it? I had found this interview bit on Youtube, it had been published by Italian outlander fans and it was an outtake of an “Access” interview (I think the source was called “Access”). But the account of the Italian outlander fans was taken down shortly afterwards for “copyright reasons”. Maybe this interview is still available somewhere else, I do not know.

  9. I’m not interested in any other show there either to much violence.This is a real story.They don’t even make movie’s like it please hurry I’m going nuts.

  10. My husband has not read the Outlander series, and as he has watched the show he has observed that Jamie’s character as a man is being slighted/sidelined. He becomes impatient with Claire and told me that the way they are being written makes him want to read the books to see how Diana actually portrays them. He has also observed that it is just another example of TV and movies reflecting the skewed culture we are living in.

    • I also noticed that Jamie’s character as a man has been sidelined. Jamie was a very much a man of the 1740’s – a powerful one. Has the Series Outlander been gradually crafted to fit our political outlooks and current issues – if it has then the very essence of Outlander has been erased. This is why I read the “outlander” over and over, just because I love the strengths of both Jamie and Claire. The “Outlander” tv show seems to be a totally different entity. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  11. Hi Courtney,

    Is there any way Ron, Marril, Matt and the rest of the writers and directors could read all these comments? I would love them to know that we are not happy for demeaning Sam/Jamie and try to elevate Cait/Claire?

    Thank you

    • Hi Astrid, I am working on a post, and have just emailed people to see if I may include quotes from their comments. I need to work out how to say things respectfully, yet truthfully – but it’s coming x

  12. I also noticed that Jamie’s character as a man has been sidelined. Jamie was a very much a man of the 1740’s – a powerful one. Has the Series Outlander been gradually crafted to fit our political outlooks and current issues – if it has then the very essence of Outlander has been erased. This is why I read the “outlander” over and over, just because I love the strengths of both Jamie and Claire. The “Outlander” tv show seems to be a totally different entity. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  13. I loved the reunion episode in season 3 but there was something that stood out to me and I thought it was odd. In the entire episode, Claire only addressed Jamie one time (using his name), and that was when she said “whoever you are James Fraser, I do want you”. She never called him by name during lovemaking or during all the pillow talk afterward. She never did in the printshop either. I thought that was so odd. In their first scene, why wouldn’t she say “Jamie, I thought you were dead”, instead of just “I thought you were dead”. Or when talking about Willie, why not say “did you love his mother Jamie”? There were many other opportunities for her say his name while they were talking but she didn’t. He addressed her as Claire or Sassanach repeatedly during the episode. I thought it would have been much more personal and intimate if she had done the same. Did anyone else notice this?

    • Well Susan the answer is simple. The writers keep changing everything and to be honest I think Cait/Sam make changes also. But that whole reunion was more than off. The leg wound, which , in the book had Claire placing her cheek on his thigh. Which I think showed imitatecy . I understood the nervousness but in the end in the book , they came together as one. I thought the two of them were off all season.

    • Yes, I did notice it, but I think that at this point, it didn’t really matter if Claire addressed Jamie as Jamie or James Fraser. The fact that that they were able to be together again was a miracle and spoke louder than words, Twenty years apart is twenty years apart and some personal readjustment was bound to happen.

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