• Television

    Outlander episode 508

    Cold open: Oxford University, 1969. Professor Roger Wakefield is being a little bit of a jerk in that way academics sometimes do to make a point. (I can do without that, whether on TV or in daily life.) Bree enters the classroom and admires him working. In this scene we get the question (but no answer): “what does it mean to bury the hatchet?” which is a bit of foreshadowing. We also get the episode title, “Famous Last Words.” When asked, Roger doesn’t speculate about his own last words, just says he hopes the people he loves will remember his words and deeds when he is gone. After class, Roger…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 507

    No cold open.  Title card is a man in 1960s or ‘70s clothing writing, “The Ballad of Roger Mac,” which is our episode title. Is this Roger? If so, when? 1771 (finally, we know what year it is!) Hillsborough Roger is singing “Oh, My Darling, Clementine” to Jem, which seemed like an appropriately old-timey song to me (compared to songs from earlier episodes), but according to the internet was written in 1884, and that’s what happens when you have time travelers flitting about, singing to their children. Roger is always singing; in this episode especially, it’s foreshadowing. (“I promise, I will be back to sing again for you.” Will you?)…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 506

    No cold open. Title card is a slave powdering a man’s wig. The man wears a creepy cone to protect his face that looks like a cross between one of those old-fashioned plague doctor masks and a dunce cap. Later it becomes clear that this person is Phillip Wylie and that mix is spot-on, frankly. Scotland 1746. Carriage racing down the road in what appears to be the early morning light. They’re stopped by redcoats. A man with an English accent says that he’s Samuel Torrington and they are fleeing Culloden and grateful to see the redcoats. They ask him to have his wife and daughter step out of the…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 505

    Cold open: 1960s Claire in a mostly-empty Catholic church. Book-readers and those attuned to the episode title might surmise that she’s there for the perpetual adoration of the blessed sacrament, though the show doesn’t say that here. My husband thinks Claire’s wig is from “Jackie O: the mature collection.” Claire stands alone in front of the altar and her voiceover takes us to her “present” in 1770s North Carolina. “Eureka!” she’s found penicillin under the microscope. She teaches Marsali to say “eureka” and heaven help me, all I can think of is Kelly Bundy. (“Topeka!”) I love this opening song with the choir. Haven’t skipped it yet. Title card is…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 504

    No cold open this time. Title card is a man’s hand with a fancy ruffled cuff, playing with a coin. Stephen Bonnet. Roger & Co. ride into Brownsville. Roger and Fergus approach the Trading Post on foot. Fergus notices the barrel of a gun sticking out the window. They stop. Roger introduces himself. Man inside the house does not address Roger, but yells instead to Isaiah Morton (“Morton, you bastard!”) He then shoots at Morton, knocking him off his horse. Pandemonium. Gunshots from the house, militia scattering, men trying to find fighting positions. “Do you think they’re Regulators?” John Quincy Myers asks. “Well, not unless Morton’s secretly a corrupt tax…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 503

    Cold open: Claire watering her moldy bread. She adopts the Socratic method to avoid Marsali’s questions about how she got this idea in the first place. All this food is under glass, but I seem to remember that in the book she wanted the food open to the air to catch mold spores on the wind. I admit this is prettier than that would be. The title card after the music is out of focus — is Marsali practicing stitching on a bird or piece of meat, perhaps? Jamie returns home after his adventures with Rationalizing Lieutenant. Looks like Claire is sleeping in her surgery or in the kitchen of…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 502

    Cold open: mob burning someone in effigy, then dragging officials out to the street and tar and feathering them. Murtagh is overseeing the tar & feathering. Right off the bat, this is a brutal episode. “Go to it, lads,” he says, but they’ve already poured burning tar on them, what else? Opening credits: I like the choir, though my husband says it’s harder to make fun of the song this way, so perhaps that’s a small down side. (He likes to sing, “Sing me a song of a lass who is wrong . .”) I think the image of the clasping hands is new this time. Title card of Claire…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 501

    Here’s how we’re going to do this: I will assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve watched the show. The post is based on notes I took while watching, so events should be mostly in the order they aired. Some scenes are going to get more attention than others. I am not trying to be a television critic. I am an Outlander fan who wants to comment on the show and how it compares to the book (when that’s important to me). For the most part, I no longer read what Diana Gabaldon says about the books or show. Sometimes I watch the Starz behind-the-scenes extras, sometimes I don’t. I’m…

  • Books,  Television,  Writing

    And Now for Something Completely Different

    Season 5 of the TV series Outlander started last weekend. I’m crazy about the show and a long-time reader of the books on which it is based. My husband watches it with me — he likes the show and is good-natured about my outbursts during viewing (we have to pause it a lot and occasionally rewind). Most of my friends gave up on the show in season 3, but even when more of them were watching it, no one was interested in engaging with me in endless recaps, book comparisons, and general prattle. (Surprising, I know.) I have filled the gap with Outlander-related podcasts. Podcasts allow me to listen while…