I wasn’t going to review this episode, because I didn’t feel compelled at first, and I likely won’t go into the detail I did with Ep 306 (I never truly know until I get started). But I like to understand why things are the way they are, and there are some interesting elements to explore in this episode, in my opinion.
Indeed, 307 picks up right where 306 left off, with Claire and the James Bond-esque intruder struggling. However, as I said in my Deep Dive into 306, in the 306 script, the scene actually continues on, ending with Jamie bursting in, seeing blood, and saying:
“Sassenach! Are ye all right?”
Claire answers: “It’s not my blood.”
And Jamie: “What in the Devil happened?”
In both 306 and 307 podcasts, the producers talk about the decision to end the scene earlier in 306, so as not to distract from the essence of that episode, which is of course, the reunion.
So, as it happens, Episode 307 starts with the struggle, and then Jamie bursts in while Claire is standing over the body, holding a bloody knife, obviously in shock.
Now, I’m not sure what happened to “Are ye all right?” and “It’s not my blood.” Jamie goes straight to “What the devil happened?”
Here is the next section of the dialogue…
In the script, Jamie asks: “Christ, did he violate ye?” and after Claire says she didn’t mean to hurt him, he says: “Doesna appear he left ye any choice in the matter.”
Why is this important? Well, those extra lines, which were either filmed and edited out, or not spoken, surely make Jamie seem a bit more concerned for Claire after she’s just been attacked. The way it plays out, he’s a tad abrupt, like What the hell have you been up to in here Claire, stabbing guys again? 🙄
Claire’s doctor instincts take over, and that makes sense to me, whereas Jamie’s thinking, Save him? He’s a scum bag! and that makes sense too.
The first time I watched this episode, I was pretty caught up in the nonstop action. It sticks pretty well to the script for the ensuing scenes.
I love César Domboy as Fergus. Like Richard Rankin as Roger, it’s as if he walked right out of the pages of the books and onto the screen (for me).
Young Ian is very physically different from Young Ian in the books, but he is adorable and John Bell plays the part well. I liked the scene where they haggle with the whisky buyer – great chemistry between John Bell and César Domboy.
The next scene, to me, is classic Jamie and Claire. He’s trying to keep this guy quiet, no doubt preferring to just strangle him instead, and she’s saying “you can’t be rough with his head like that!”
Are you kidding me lady?
“Remove the stock… remove it!”
Wait ’til I get you alone later you pain in the ass, I’m gonna spank you like there’s no tomorrow!
I actually love this friction between Jamie and Claire; it is in keeping with their characters, in my experience. It’s reminiscent of the energy in this iconic scene by the river in 109…
Now… in the 307 script, this scene is not quite so heated (makes me want to look back at the 109 script), and Claire says please remove the stock. But in the actual scene, both their tempers are roused, and I think her choice to play it as she does is a smart one. Caitriona and Sam excel at meeting each other as scene partners, so if one ratchets up the intensity, the other one responds with Game on!
At this point there’s a knock on the door, and we hear the voice of Madame Jeanne announcing that Sir Slimiville is downstairs…
Now, I have to admit to being surprised by the goings-on in the salon of the brothel 👀. Cast your… er… eye… downward yon henchman.
Sir Percival: Really? I go to Lord John Grey’s place, there’s nothing here that interests me in the least.
Back in the honeymoon surgical suite…
Honorable wife is maybe crazy lady. Cut hole in exciseman’s head.
Gary Young, who plays Mr. Willoughby, does a great job with just his expressions. His gentle nature comes across in these scenes, and his allegiance to Claire, whom he respects as a kindred healer.
Ohhhhkay, the whole surgery is a bit graphic and gross (for me). I admit to closing my eyes. And the gushy skull drilling sounds are pretty nasty too. Oh, the clot’s released. Yay! this scene is over.
Good bit of suspense while old milky eye checks to see if that puddle on the floor is brandy. (His blind eye effect is achieved by the very talented makeup team with a contact lens, by the way).
Either this is crème de menthe or someone around here has diabetes.
But, alas, it’s just water. Phew.
OK, this next part is where things start to turn, for me. Jamie comes back into the room, (and in the script, Sir Percival is coming up the stairs behind him much of the way). He says “This ends now.” Not unreasonable, considering he’ll be hangit if Percival finds this dude’s body in his room.
Claire’s line in the script is: “He’s dead. You got your wish,” which is what she says in the show. But it’s how it’s said. Like, Are you happy asshole? This guy’s dead, and if you’d only been a little more positive, maybe there would’ve been a different outcome! And then she looks at Mr. Willoughby like, Can you believe this guy?
Now, I will say, that in stressful situations, I can get a little blamey with my own husband, for sure (he will LAUGH if he reads this). And maybe after a 20 year hiatus, the honeymoon really does end that quickly… 🤔, but Claire doesn’t seem a little defeated (as prescribed in the notes), she seems a little bitchy in this scene. But maybe that’s how Claire does defeat, and, uh… possibly how I do it too (ahem).
The next part makes sense, Claire is a doctor, a healer, and always has been. Now she’s taken the Hippocratic Oath, but that has always been a driving force for her, we know, and Jamie knows too. She was in surgical mode and is just dealing with the reality and aftermath of having lost this battle.
And good old Jamie softens toward her, which is the thing Frank was missing. And I can’t blame him. How long can you go on loving someone who loves someone else? He softened in the beginning, but then was unable to, so she got harder and harder, and so did he.
But Jamie softens, and so Claire softens. Ohhh kay, I recognize these two from the night before…
And suddenly she sees beyond herself. She sees the big picture. She admits to putting his livelihood and his life in jeopardy with her compulsion to heal. And Jamie, of course, says “Ye came thousands of miles and two hundred years to find me… and I’m grateful…” He even likens her return to the sun coming out, which is a callback to their wedding day.
What a lovely scene.
Here are Karen Campbell’s notes for this scene “When Jamie enters and learns that Barton is dead, he’s understandably relieved. One of his problems has solved itself, and while it pains Claire to have lost her patient, she realizes her actions have put Jamie and others in danger. There’s a bit of thaw between them, both realizing that assimilating back into one another’s lives won’t be seamless. It will be a process, which is natural after spending two decades apart. It’s another step towards the two of them getting to understand/becoming more comfortable with who the other is now.”
Here is a moment where Caitriona diverges from the script, and her words are more Claire-like than what’s in the script in my opinion… the script calls for “You’re probably right about that.” and Cait says, “I suppose you’re right.”
In the script, it says that Claire is chagrined, which we see here, as she knows that placing the dirtbag’s life above Jamie’s concerns and welfare is inconvenient, to say the least (good thing Jamie’s ego is intact).
The script also says that Claire is to fall into Jamie’s arms and let him hold her. Now, maybe this is akin to the Brianna’s photographs situation, because I don’t really see Claire falling into Jamie’s arms here, seems a bit melodramatic and unClaire-like. But, there was something else needed here, for me. Claire’s response after Jamie’s flowery profession of love, is a bit…
Oh, aren’t you sweet, well, thanks for that, but I have to go, I have a non-urgent random patient, because you see I cut in line at the apothecary in order to prioritize the dirt bag exciseman, and I don’t want to keep the Fortune Teller waiting, you understand.
Say what? How about staying to help clean up that dude’s blood off Madame Jeanne’s sheets? Do ye no remember what a pain in the arse it is to do laundry in the 1700’s Sassenach??
That part really threw me for a loop. Didn’t we just go through this? I get it. It’s hard to capture Claire’s dedication to healing and her dedication to Jamie in an action packed show, but I think there was a little too much editing in this section of the episode.
I of course don’t know if this is the case. I asked the very approachable Metin Hüseyen about how the editing/ director’s cut works (I was researching 207 at the time), in these shows, and this is what he had to say:
Always do a director’s cut.
— Metin Hüseyin (@MetinHuseyin) October 23, 2017
On US shows, I don’t cut anything out as the showrunner’s like to see the script. I try and make the scenes work at their best as scripted.
— Metin Hüseyin (@MetinHuseyin) October 23, 2017
Editor cuts as you shoot. Director works with editor 4-5 days per episode on the Outlander eps I worked on.
— Metin Hüseyin (@MetinHuseyin) October 23, 2017
This episode is very short- 49:00 minutes and change. In the 307 Podcast, Matt and Toni mention that this episode wound up being even shorter when originally completed, and they added the Fergus/Young Ian selling the whisky scene in after the fact to get it to its present length. So, I just wonder, was a little too much edited out along the way? Or were certain parts skipped? Or, what happened?
OK, back to 307: Jamie realizes she’s determined to go, and says, “You will return, afterward?”
Wild horses couldn’t keep me away, that is… as long as there are no medical emergencies, because my job comes first.
Wow, I am starting to feel like a real asshole writing this review. How can I complain when these guys do a nearly perfect job???!!!!
Next, we’re in the tavern. I love this set.
Young Ian and Fergus are a pleasure to hang out with, again. And one of the best moments in this episode is the moment when, and the way in which Brighid says the word “whisky.” I’m gonna practice that in the mirror “whheskay.”
Armed with Fergus’ sage advice, Young Ian is PSYCHED.
And Claire makes it to the Campbell’s and meets Margaret 👀 😱
(Way better than time with Jamie 🙄)
No, this is an important scene to lay the groundwork for what happens in the future. Though, Archie is not a minister in the show, but a fortune teller, and Margaret is a seer. I like Claire in this scene. She’s her pragmatic self, taking in the details, unruffled by the fact that Margaret is clearly WHACKO.
Young Ian is so adorable. I’ve been racking my brain to figure out who he reminds me of, and I’ve finally figured it out just today, it’s one of my son’s friends! I may have to close my eyes for this next part! 🙈
The Frasers and Murrays evidently spend a lot of time watching the horses…
But Brighid is no a hoor, and so Young Ian says, “Tell me how ye like it, and I’ll do whatever ye want.” Sweet boy.
Er… I’m in the coffee shop, so I’ll need to change locations before reviewing this next scene 😬.
Oh, it’s Jamie and Claire. A bit of tension in the air. Jamie wants to stay in the brothel (this is Show Jamie, Book Jamie would find that indecent and an insult to his wife, I’m pretty sure). And Claire wants to start a doctoring business so they can get the flock outta the brothel. Another interruption. It’s Madame Jeanne again, saying Ian is downstairs. Claire is thrilled at the prospect of seeing her brother-in-law, but Jamie instructs her to lie about the fact that Young Ian is in Edinburgh.
For me, Ian’s appearance, and Steven Cree’s portrayal of Ian in this scene acts very much as an anchor in this episode. It is similar to the way I felt anytime Murtagh appeared during Season 2. When Jamie and Claire don’t quite feel like Jamie and Claire, it’s a relief when a familiar, dependable character shows up. When we see Ian here, it’s like “Oh, thank God, there’s Ian, and he’s still acting like Ian.” His genuine emotion at seeing Claire acts as a contrast to and highlights the almost flippant way Claire has been retelling her story:
I thought Jamie was dead so I went to the colonies tee hee.
Which, though annoying, is entirely appropriate because as we know, Claire is a terrible liar.
“Claire? It is you, lass… Jenny and I, we grieved over you, for years. Where on earth have you been all this time?” 💔
It’s sad to watch Jamie and Claire lie to such a distressed Ian.
Jamie lets Ian know he’s not coming clean with Claire about his other wife, and it’s pretty clear to everyone that Jamie is in over his head at this point.
“All will be well” NOT
We cut to Young Ian, rockin’ the print shop backroom
when a noise is heard.
“That I heard.”
Old milky eye is back, rummaging through the print shop looking for evidence of Jamie’s smuggling. Ian very sweetly sends Brighid on her way, and confronts Milky, leading to skirmish and the discovery of the seditious pamphlets, and ultimately the print shop catches on fire. Milky escapes, and Ian is trapped.
“The years apart couldna erase the meaning behind that look.”
And the second time honeymooners are at each other again. Claire is upset (understandably) about lying to Ian, and about the fact that Jamie lied to Ian so easily. Jamie reminds her that they lied their way through Paris, and in fact just lied to Ian about where Claire’s been all these years. She replies that that’s different – a white lie. To which Jamie says,
“Oh I didna realize lies had shades” (great line)
I actually like this scene, because, again, there is balance. If Claire’s going to be a B (as she was most of Season 2, IMO), at least make Jamie her equal. They go toe to toe here, and call each other out quite a few times.
Claire tells Jamie he doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a worried parent, which leads Jamie into a small tirade about the bikini (YAY! delayed, but here it is!)
“No, I’m Brianna’s father… that wretched thing you call a bikini.”
“Even whores have the decency not to go parading about in the like.”
“Christ, I’d forgotten how bloody rigid this century is!”
Claire tells Jamie Frank was a wonderful father, and then Jamie is green around his collar… “And was he a wonderful husband to you as well? Did you fall in love with him when you went back?”
This brings up a pretty good point. Claire grieved for Jamie, knowing that he died on the battlefield. But, Jamie lived. And he doubtlessly imagined Claire back in her life with Frank, possibly happy and in love with him, raising their child. Which would be harder?
“No. I loved him, but that was before you.”
And then, you guessed it, Madame Jeanne is at the door again (she’s worse than that Pauline!)
announcing the fire in Carfax Close. Yep, the print shop.
The print shop is ablaze and Jamie realizes Young Ian could be inside. He goes in to find him, and this is where we see shades of Sam’s days as Batman...
Jamie locates Young Ian
while a worried Claire, Fergus, and Mr. Willoughby look on
Jamie gets Young Ian out safely
And by the way, Sam had this to say about filming these scenes…
— 🖤Elida Christín (@elidaplida) October 24, 2017
Printshop fire. Different sets and live flame… got very hot! https://t.co/X2fZ3OxNKB
— Sam Heughan (@SamHeughan) October 24, 2017
Here are Karen Campbell’s notes: “Print shop fire! There were so many elements that went into building/shooting/creating this epic fire. Our crew absolutely crushed this sequence. Construction built a print shop exterior that matched the Edinburgh location on our backlot that SFX actually burned down. (The building we used for the other exterior print shop scenes is a museum in a close right off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and as a result, we couldn’t burn it down). VFX built on what was shot in camera on the backlot and the combined result is stunning. I’m so proud of the amount and quality of work the crew and cast accomplished on that cold night in January (turns out working in a stone close is akin to working in a giant refrigerator). It was a massively successful team effort from everyone.”
Jamie grabbed Willie’s photo, but didn’t bother to get Bikini Wearing Brianna’s (JUST KIDDING!!) The writers fielded that question…
— Lucy Provost (@Mon_Repos2) October 30, 2017
— Outlander Writers (@OutlanderWriter) October 31, 2017
Claire makes Jamie realize that he must take Young Ian home
While Claire takes care of Young Ian, Jamie gives instructions to Mr. Willoughby and Fergus. Fergus learns that Claire doesn’t know yet about you-know-who. Love the eyebrow!
Jamie walks toward the fire,
and watches the print shop burn, THE END.
So, what happened here? Why was this episode generally not well received by the fans?
I’m going to make an uneducated guess and say that the post production for this episode took place during a major transition – the cast and crew were in the process of gearing up and moving to South Africa when this episode would have been being edited and finalized. Did it kind of fall through the cracks? Many scenes were left out. Were they filmed? Or were they cut? Lots of lines that would have softened the exchanges between Claire and Jamie were excluded. For example, here is the ending that was in the script…
Here’s another bit that would make Claire seem more vulnerable, this is the scene about Frank…
Here’s another (extended) scene that was deleted, possibly not filmed, but I doubt it.
Since editing happens right along, is it possible that they’re so used to having to cut the excess that they cut too much? I’m not sure. But, when an episode is a huge success, we recognize that it was a group effort, and so, it is likely due to a combo of factors. This episode has some really great moments, I just think there was too much fat trimmed. It’s gotta be tricky finding that balance. In any case, I think the world of the whole team and look very forward to the next episode, which airs Sunday-Monday, depending on where you are in the world. Here’s to 308!