Written by: Janet Reynolds and Anne Gavin
It’s not that dinner with those other folks wouldn’t be fascinating, but let’s get real – Outlander Season 3 is in the works and we have things to say! Decisions are being made and, as avid TV-show fanatics and book readers (can we ever thank Diana Gabaldon enough?), we are obsessing over what may or may not be happening in Scotland as they film and adapt Voyager, the book that is our – and for many fans – the favorite (or maybe second behind the first book) in the Outlander book series. No pressure, Ron and crew. But, rather than wait around to see if Ron adds us to his dinner party list, we decided to invite Ron to dinner ourselves. Yes, it’s a fantasy dinner, but get excited — we’re inviting you to listen in to our chat. Our Uber just arrived and we are off to meet Ron…
And so, we’ve arrived! Time to get eating, drinking and talking…
We’re meeting Ron at one of his favorite haunts – the Public House, one of the restaurants onsite at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, home of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Major League Baseball World Champion San Francisco Giants. It might seem like an odd place for a dinner, but we know not to get between a man and his baseball team, and Ron is a total fanatic about his Giants. The kind of fan who, yes, keeps stats during the game. Yep, he’s THAT guy!
Matt Moore gets in trouble but limits damage to one run. Giants lead 6-1 pic.twitter.com/D8g2tE15p1
— Ronald D. Moore (@RonDMoore) September 17, 2016
Spoiler alert—If you haven’t read Diana Gabaldon’s third book in the Outlander series, “Voyager,” stop here…and get reading. You won’t be sorry!
Ron smiles wryly. It’s not as if he hasn’t met a million other maniacal adoring fans. He easily could have run out the door at this point and straight for his Club Seats in the stadium, but thankfully, the waiter shows up with a menu and the bottle of Scapa 16. Ron’s eyes widen a bit and we see a flash of his mischievous grin before he settles back in his chair. So, we take collective deep breaths and tell him why we’re here. We’re here to talk about some of Season 3’s sacred coos. We know it’s TV, we know he has only 13, 55-minute episodes to tell the story, and we know that change from the books is inevitable, indeed even required in certain instances because TV is a different medium. But, we want him to listen to us. To hear us. And, to, yes, question us about whether these sacred coos can and should remain as part of the production. So, we toast “Slainte Mhath!”, take a swallow of the Water of Life, and we begin.
Our basic operating theory is go big or go home. We’ve got one shot to tell Ron our thoughts — who knows if he’ll even stay in the room after we start talking? We are at a Giants game after all! So we jump right in to discuss the elephant in the Season 3 Outlander fandom room: the Print Shop Reunion. There isn’t a fan of this series and/or books who doesn’t have verra clear ideas of exactly how this critical scene should be done. And there are some of us (okay, Janet) who are super concerned that it’s not going to be done the way it should because of certain hints we got in Season 2 about how Ron et. al. think they should handle Jamie and Claire’s relationship. We take gulps of our whisky and dive in:
Now I am already steeling myself for the reality that is probably not how it’s going to go with Season 3 on TV; I’ve listened and read what you’ve said already, Ron — about the need to show what happens to both characters during their 20-year hiatus from each other. I am going to trust that you know what you’re doing there. But on the Print Shop Reunion scene I am begging you to follow Gabaldon’s lead. The woman did it right. From Jamie’s fainting, to their getting reacquainted, to showing photos of Brianna, to eventually and ultimately their reunion sex (yes, Ron, we have got to see this reunion sex. No fade to black. We need to see it.) My two cents on this scene would be this: Ask yourself WWDD (What Would Diana Do) and then read it, and just do it exactly the same. This would be a very good time to cut and paste.
As Janet wraps up, Ron’s eyes are bulging just a bit. I notice Janet has drained her whisky glass, so I reach over and pour her another, as I also reach for a small piece of paper I pull from my handbag. Ron eyes me skeptically as I begin to read from the paper.
And, while I won’t, as Janet urged, insist on it being word for word the way Diana wrote it, I would like that all the lost time together (from Season 2) be poured into some memorable scenes that truly reflect that our couple is back in grand fashion. Give the dialogue to Sam and Catriona and there is no question they will play it exactly the way it should be played. Because, they are THAT talented and they do understand the Jamie and Claire story. Mark me, the Print Shop scene will become the scene everyone will be talking about for the entirety of the season. It is the “Wedding” episode of Season 3. It will be what everything else will flow from — the good, the bad and the ugly from “Voyager”. It will make or break some fans’ interest in continuing to watch and support the series. It’s THAT important.
So, while I have faith it will be treated with the respect it deserves, I also think you and the producers, Ron, need to know that dilly-dallying in the 20th century for longer than absolutely necessary will be ill-advised. We love Tobias Menzies too, but when you go for the final cuts, maybe think of a little less Frank angst and a little more Jamie and Claire EPIC LOVE STORY. Because after all, Ron, to quote a (very) wise man, “It’s the two of them that is at the foundation of everything that is Outlander.”
With the exception of Black Jack Randall, Laoghaire is the Outlander character fans love to hate. But while she was mostly an annoyance in the books, in the show she has morphed, due to changes in storyline, from being that annoying fly that won’t die to a sinister bat. She refuses to fly out of our living room and we all have strong thoughts of offing her. So it’s not surprising that we have strong feelings about what happens between her and Jamie in Season 3.
The show’s sins continued in Episode 2.08, “The Fox’s Lair”, when Laoghaire showed up acting penitent towards Claire, yet still exhibiting stalking tendencies towards Jamie. As Laoghaire said to Jamie in the hallway at Leoch — “Whhhhy?” Scenes from episodes 1.09 and 2.08 were completely unnecessary. We already know what Laoghaire did setting up Claire and that is, in fact, the important part when it comes to Laoghaire’s appearance in Voyager/Season 3. Jamie’s sense of honor are what drive him to take the suggestion of his sister to marry Laoghaire and give both her and her children some security. It is NOT because of any sort of tender regard for Laoghaire or actual affection. It was duty and honor and we needed no foreshadowing of any kind of a Jamie and Laoghaire “relationship” in Season 1 or Season 2. Simply because, it did not exist.
The conflict, in fact, lies with Claire and Laoghaire, and this was already well established in Season 1 for book readers and show watchers alike. TV watchers are smart. They don’t need everything explained to them and, for many things, they would not have had to read the books. So, let’s just call a spade a spade when it comes to Laoghaire. There need not be any dramatic scenes with her and Jamie in Season 3 and certainly no scenes showing them embracing or worse yet, in a marriage bed together. No, no and no. Potentially this could be one of the worst perversions of Diana’s tale if more is made of the Jamie and Laoghaire accidental marriage. There is a story to be told here, but the story is about Laoghaire and Claire and how Claire reacts to the news that her beloved has gone and married her betrayer. From this, we get to Jamie and Claire and the consequences of this revelation. But, no more Laoghaire add-on scenes are necessary. She’s not important but for the conflict she provides. Period. End of story.
I can see you’re wilting a bit, Ron, after Anne’s on-the-money analysis of how the whole Laoghaire/Jamie storyline should be handled, so I will just add a few points for emphasis so you don’t think Anne is the only fan who feels this way. But first, let me pour you another glass.
- Jamie did not, I repeat did not, love Laoghaire. Do not even think about adding an emotion other than pity for her to this arrangement. Seriously.
- Do not try to make this “marriage” a deal-breaker between Jamie and Claire. In the book, the biggest tension arose because Jamie did not tell Claire (big mistake, Mr. Fraser). That meant she discovered this marriage when one of Laoghaire’s daughters burst into their bedroom, which in turn, played to Claire’s worst fears about the years that they were separated — that Jamie would have moved on and found someone else. They have an epic fight and Claire storms out of the house — only to come back two days later after hearing Jamie is shot (Young Ian is terrific here). By the time she has ridden into Lallybroch’s courtyard, she has already forgiven Jamie and their second reunion — the one that really solidifies that they are soulmates and the only person for each other — is wonderful and immediate. Laoghaire as a problem between them dissipates in the wind; the only concern is how to get her out of their collective lives.
- Oh, dear God, please don’t make us see them in bed. Like seriously, Ron, please don’t do that… I will not be able to cope. (Oh and this: Laoghaire is overweight and haggard in the book; life has not been kind to her. It would be super awesome if she looks like hell on the show, too.)
Geneva Dunsany and Jamie
Right. Back to the topic at hand. I had no problem with the way it happened in the book — Geneva basically blackmails Jamie into being her “first” before her arranged marriage to an older man she does not find attractive. Jamie reluctantly agrees to protect his family. Then in the passions of the moment, Geneva seems to change her mind (she says “no” at one point) but Jamie moves on with the task at hand. The fandom regularly discusses whether or not this was rape. I would actually like that bit of reluctance removed in the show, not because I thought it was so awful but rather because I don’t want to listen to a certain faction of the fandom go all PC about it and make a stink. I’m sure Season 3 will offer plenty of moments when the fans will decry the TV choices that were made. This one is easy to avoid, Ron. Just don’t have Geneva ever say “no.” Voila. Scene done, controversy over. Focus will then be diverted to what matters: the resulting child and the rest of Jamie’s time at Helwater and how he gets to that print shop… you know, the scene we all need to see before Season 3 is half over (see above).
Still, as Janet mentioned, William needs to be conceived so it must happen. The best way to deal with this on screen so as not to create an unnecessary distraction from Season 3 altogether, is to do away with Geneva’s dramatic protestations. You can show some reluctance on her part once she realizes what she has actually gotten herself into, but loud screams of “No! No!” need not ever be uttered for the act to occur and culminate in one Viscount William Dunsany, Ninth Earl of Ellesmere. There will be plenty of scenes to get people talking about Season 3. This doesn’t need to be one of them.
At this point, I’ve realized that eating spicy chicken wings while drinking peaty whisky makes a fine combination. I might think better of this later! Ron, however, has politely listened up to this point and I haven’t noticed any glassy eyes, even as he sneaks a peek of the television monitor behind the bar from time to time to see how long until the first pitch. We continue with some thoughts on the quirky Mr. Willoughby. Stay? Go? Important to the story? The fandom already has its collective knickers in a twist over this character. Let’s just get to it: in or out?
Outlander has been good at many, many things when it comes to adding, subtracting or expounding on characters from the books. Case in point, we have the loveable Rupert and Angus comedy act, sweet and loyal Willie and, of course, the magnificent expansion of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. And, in Season 2, we were gifted with the fated Lallybroch Highlanders, Ross and Kinkaid. All brilliant adaptations.
While the racial stereotype doesn’t bother me that much, Diana was writing historical fiction and it was very likely accurate to the times. That said, to avoid the PC police, Willoughby could easily be portrayed by one or multiple other minor characters and we probably wouldn’t miss him. It could easily be Claire that came up with the acupuncture remedy given she has been around the proverbial block a few times. I would miss Ping-An the Pelican, though, as Diana writes animals so well. But, I am sure production could just as well do without having to deal with a trained pelican on set. I say “no” on Willoughby. Let’s save some time and use that for more relevant scenes in the story.
I may have been gesticulating wildly and perhaps a little louder than I needed to be while describing that last bit. Ron smiles and oh-so-casually glances at the TV screen behind him. The teams are finishing their warm-ups. Definitely time to go. He rises, thanks us for the whisky and food. We thank him for listening. He’s been more than generous with his time. As he walks off, we look at each other. So? Any hope? Did we make any progress on what needs to happen in Season 3?
Only time will tell.
Did you serve rhenish?
Anne K. Hawkinson — No. Just beer and whisky because that's how we roll.
Great stuff, and I pretty much agree with everything. I vote for keeping Mr. Willoughby, as IMHO his lost sense of self is a heartbreaking and haunting subtext to Voyager. However, I *could* see them dropping the entire Mr. Willoughby/Margaret/Rev. Campbell subplot, so we'll see. I'd hate to lose that alligator/chicken/gris-gris scene though. That would be awesome on screen.
Just one dinner party note – Margaret Thatcher? Only if you're serving hemlock.
Great "dinner" with Ron! Agree with most of what you proposed. I'd do away with Mr. Willoughby and let Claire perform the acupuncture. That's all we needed MW for anyway. And NO romance between Jamie/Laoghaire or Jamie/Geneva. Those "connections" serve as a source of conflict between Jamie/Claire and also the means to bring young William into the world. But they were not Jamie's true love, so please, no romance/affection! Let's not spend too much time with Frank, making him out to be nicer than he is. Remember, book readers? And he imposed conditions upon Claire, took her away to Boston, and forbade her from all things Jamie. Let's not waste valuable Outlander screen time! Season 3 needs to be about Claire and Jamie re-uniting and beginning their lives anew. Let's get there in a reasonable amount of time. And, yes, cut/paste for the Print Shop scene is a must! Don't mess this up!
Charlotte I agree that alligator etc scene was amazing in the book–so surreal on so many levels. And yet probably droppable for reasons of time without ruining anything.
And on Margaret Thatcher–too funny. We wanted to throw in something a little different. I see you got our point. 🙂
Brilliant! This has got to be my all-time favorite Outlander Cast blog ever! Please, please, please, let Ron see it and take heed of all points made, and made very well, I might add. Janet has a new big-time supporter. I have a feeling we share a great many opinions.
Do I deduce Anne and Janet may have actually shared a bottle of whisky when they put their heads together to write this? ???? Your descriptions were so vivid and real. How were those heads feeling the day after?
P.S. The only sex between Jamie and Laoghaire I could tolerate would be showing how he tried to serve her well and how unsatisfying it was for him and how distasteful it was for her.
Thanks, Charlotte! Willoughby stuff is probably not necessary but who wouldn't want to see the alligator scene on screen? How would they do that? Let us not speak ill of the dead. Margaret was a great woman 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. Much appreciated!
Don't forget about the lovemaking turn to passion fighting when Jamie and Claire interrupted by Marsali and Claire hears about marriage to Loughhaire (sp?) It can be a dynamite scene!
Maryann Meister — yes, we all bow down to Janet. She is the BEST! Thanks for your kind comments. We had fun writing this…
Terrific blog piece .. and I agree with all you said. I also want to see the PS fire scene and the following interrogation with Young Ian accusing his father of being a hypocrite and calling Claire a whore.. lol
Deborah J. 00 I have no doubt we will see this scene. Key part of the story. Plus, Cait and Sam do fighting (and making up) so well!!!! Thanks for reading and commenting!!!!
Angela Hickey — that is a great scene! So many terrific scenes with Young Ian. Can't wait to see this young man in action. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Maryann Thanks for your kind words…..I agree on that Leghair/Jamie sex scene—and hopefully mostly in the dark 🙂 And for the record Anne rocks too. We had a lot of fun writing this….
Made me laugh and I needed a laugh. Of course I agree on the print shop, there may be a riot if they do that wrong. I'm conflicted about the other sex stuff, I mean we will likely see Claire and Frank and we know they had a long relationship but we can't bear seeing Jamie feeling tenderly towards anyone else for 20 years? If it has to be someone…let it be Geneva.
Enjoyed your article. I haven't really noticed that the fans complain extremely loudly when the books are not followed to the letter. I followed Game of Thrones fans before Outlander, and those fans are so much more vocal when the TV series deviates from the books. Personally, I think the producers and everyone else on Outlander has done a truly wonderful job bringing this story to the screen.
As to Geneva, the girl they chose to play her is so beautiful, I could see Jamie being attracted to her but trying not to be. The scene could be a love scene. Plus someone on SM pointed out that she looks a bit like Cait, too.
As to Willoughby, I think he is unnecessary. His story would take up a lot of screen time and his character is too much of a stereotype. If he is included, hopefully he will have more dignity than as written by DG. (not that I'm criticizing her mind you. I think she is one of the most brilliant writers of all time.)
In my opinion,considering what is going on in the US since the 11/8 debacle, it would most likely be wise to leave Willoughby out and not have Jamie participate in act that could be construed as a rape. The fans of Game of Thrones went crazy about two rape scenes and, at least one of them, was in the book, would have happened in medieval times and would not have been considered rape. It would be sad to see Outlander fandom spend an excessive amount of time complaining about a rape scene.
What a wonderful piece of writing Janet&Anne,really enjoyed it.I do hope RDM will do Voyager justice in the adaptation.I always felt some things should left out ,like Geneva's stop & Jaimie was blackmailed into the act,also pls less Leghaire,no Mr Willoughby,although I liked him in the book.I don't know how they'll handle the alligator?,but I'm sure that & the voodoo will be in,I agree with all,but fervently hoping they get the printshop scene right,as its vital!!
I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. It was fun to write and to collaborate with Anne. A new writing duo may have been born! I agree that voodoo in some form will be in there–too unusual for RDM to ignore the opportunity to have some fun with it. He likes a good challenge for sure.
That's an interesting point about the emotions roiling post the US election (which will certainly affect the world) and perhaps stepping back a bit on some choices–Willoughby and Geneva rape. I do remember the reaction to GOT rape scenes and it was loud and vocal. It's amazing to me to hear someone say GOT fans are more vocal about book-to-TV criticism; I feel as if there is a faction of Outlander fans who are waaaaayyyyy over the top in that area and who feel they can say whatever they want to anyone about anything, including some very personal stuff. But I admittedly while a GOT watcher do not follow the fandom the same way I follow this one.
Thanks for reading!
You are being logical about Frank and Claire….I intellectually agree. But then my completely irrational emotional side kicks in and I say NO! 🙂
It's the Jamie and Leghair one I really don't want to see. I get it–we need to understand what Claire goes through during her absence from Jamie and we need TV-only viewers to understand her relationship with Frank so they see why she goes back. Okay….
But Jamie so clearly does NOT feel love for Leghair in the book–pity, yes. Desperation, yes. Loneliness, yes. But love—no. That's the road I really hope RDM does not go down.
Thank you Anne and Janet,for a brilliant pre-season three synopsis. I am waiting with bathed breath for S3 to commence, and on pins and needles for the print shop reunion scene between Mr. and Mrs. Jamie and Claire Frasier respectively .
Turtle soup ….. a must ???? Brilliant article BTW
I enjoyed this very much and agree with most of it. I know there is going to be much more Frank and I hope everyone realizes that there has to be in order to have Claire in the story through all of the different parts of Jamie's life without her. I think Mr. Willoughby should stay in the book, too. There is so much to cover and his character would invite so much negative comment. All the sex Jamie has outside of his love with Claire should be absolutely miserable. Thank you for this.
Diane — Laughing is GOOD! Glad we could bring some humor into your life but I do have to say "heck no" on any sort of "romance" between Geneva and Jamie. She's not fit to shine his shoes. Let's hope that part of the story is dispensed with quickly. Thanks for reading and commenting. We appreciate!
Hey, zsuszip! Can always count on you for a fun comment and some great insights! But, yes — would LOVE to see the alligator bit! How would they do that!?!?! Thanks for stopping by. We love hearing from you.
Paula Towle — thank you. It was just the burning questions we had and figured many of our readers did as well. Yes. Print Shop. Cannot_Wait! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Andree Poppleton — INDEED! The Turtle Soup scene is a must!!! And, I can see Sam and Cait having a lot of fun with that. Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting!
Linda Brumfield — I hear you on the Frank stuff. But, I think it can be dispatched with in one or *maybe* two episodes. Much more than that is not needed. That's not the story of Outlander. Jamie and Claire is. But, I guess we will just have to see how Ron decides to do it. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. We love hearing from our readers!
Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!
(That's what she said)
I love absolutely everything you had to say to Ron. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Go on with your amazing selves!!
Thank you so much for your kind words! That really made our days. Thanks for reading the blog!
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I know I'm late to this conversation but I agree no love scene with L'herry but the scene @ Lallybroch needs to happen. As far as Geneva well that scene takes place in the LJG series & should just be a Jamie & Clarie conversation sharing their time apart. While I would like to see more of Jamie's side (culloden & adsmuir)in the show & a bit more about Frank & Claries life, I so agree the reunion is so important & should turn us back to the love story of Clarie & Jamie. Oh & please don't forget to play up Ian as well as Bree & Roger! They will definitely bring more sizzle to the show that already SIZZLES!
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