the waitress at milliways (fenchurchly) wrote in ontd_sassenach,
the waitress at milliways
fenchurchly
ontd_sassenach

Summary of Ron's Podcast for 2x04



2x04:
- This episode had been referred to "the dinner party episode" in the writer's room when breaking the season.
- Toni was really excited to get to write 1x04, though was nervous after having the witch trial episode last year (i.e. another one that takes place in a room with only a few characters).
- Originally the baby name sequence was a more intimate moment in the bedroom with just Jamie and Claire. They moved it to the chess sequence to show that at that time, Jamie and Claire weren't being intimate yet and were a bit at odds.
- There were some French court ladies fawning over Jamie here (one said "he can castle my queen's side anytime) but it was cut for time. As was the Royal Physician who saw to Claire's care.
- Structuring the season, they talked a lot about how and when Claire tells Jamie BJR is alive. Her doing it post-poisoning, in the bedroom, was a late development. Deciding Jamie's reaction would be joyful was also a later development, and a departure from the book.
- In the book, Charles is not at the dinner party, but they wanted to tie the dinner party more closely to the ongoing plot on the show. So they decided to include him so that he could be "shown up" by Sandringham which helps Jamie and Claire's plan (i.e. to show Sandringham what a bad investment Charles is, so he would stop giving him money).
- 🚨 Ron says, "It's so funny, literally today we were sitting downstairs at Tall Ship Productions working on Season 3 in earnest, working on story structures and breaks..." Toni says, "[Season 3's] Episode 4! And we're watching [Season 2]'s episode 4!" Ron says, "This is like we've gone through the stones and gone back to a different era... Season 2!" 🚨
- They don't know how the actors keep everything straight since they shoot out of order, and in some cases, months later after going to Prague.
- Ron loves the comedy beat where Claire looks at Murtagh after he finds out Jamie knows about BJR and says "I don't know what you were worried about" and shrugs".
- They cut a scene where Fergus was at the foot of the stairs talking about prostitutes and the merits of large melons, while Jamie is just trying to figure out which one prostitute he can get information out of (i.e. they'd slept with Charles, Duvernay, Le Comte... etc) without having to sleep with her. Toni says, "but this plays later when Claire gets upset about the bite marks". DID IT THO?
- In the book, Claire picks up a wolf's skull in Master Raymond's secret room, but Gina Cromwell (set designer) found even more interesting and cool looking ones. Toni describes them as "dinosaur, pre-historic" so they were used instead.
- Toni loves when Master Raymond says, "I'm fascinated by things not of this time", because it sets up this "how much does he know?" moment from Claire's PoV.
- Toni thinks it's important to show that Claire is worried about Frank because she loved him once. She doesn't really have anyone to talk to about him, because she would never talk to Jamie about Frank like that.
- In the first draft, Raymond read Claire's astrological chart and Raymond finds that something is off about Claire because he discovers she's clearly not born in the year she gives him for it. But that changed, and they went away from astrology because they felt it was cliche, to the bones on Ron's suggestion. Toni thought it was a nice tie into her past with Uncle Lamb.
- The necklace Claire now has with "the magic stone" plays a larger role in subsequent episodes. Terry designed it.
- The cuckoo clock (which was made from scratch) moment was taken from the book in a later chapter (what will be 1x07, which Toni is also writing). It won't be used on the show during its chapter adaptation, so Toni stole that moment and used it here.
- Toni wanted Louise's monkey to get loose and be chased around the house, and then for Claire to discover Louise crying, but it turns out Louise is actually crying over the pregnancy. David Brown, a producer, sent Toni an email saying "the monkey stays in the cage" (for logistical filming purposes) and Toni laughed, saying she couldn't argue with that, and substituted the cuckoo clock moment.
- Toni loves seeing the more serious side of Louise as it's a new part of her we haven't seen.
- They talked about the "bite mark" scene endlessly in the writer's room. How upset is Claire? How defensive is Jamie? What is the anger really about (the prostitutes or their division as a couple)? "We didn't want to play that [Claire thought that/was seriously orrid about] Jamie slept with someone else because [we all know it's very unlikely Jamie would bed someone else at this point]".
- Ron says, "men are stupid" and that some guys would really logic it out and be excited to tell their wives that a "hooker got them excited!" to show that they were good to go again. He says this as also a time to talk about the aftermath of Jamie's experience with Jack and how it's been holding them back/keeping them from being intimate.
- Toni says the lean to/blade of grass speech didn't fit in Season 1, but Maril reminded the writers of it and said they should find a place for it in this season, so they did.
- Toni says some things sound really good when you read them, but when they are said out loud it doesn't really translate. She talks about adapting those lovely moments from the book but having them fit the show (i.e. the lean to speech in the show was said by a more tormented Jamie, whereas in the book it's more of a flowery, romantic speech).
- Toni says they kept joking about the daybed, "somebody has to have sex in there!". At one point it was going to be a funny scene with Murtagh and Suzette having sex and they'd be discovered by Claire and Jamie. Instead, Ron came up with the idea of the re-discovery sex between Claire and Jamie happening there, since it's a dark and intimate place not surrounded by a bunch of distracting set pieces/props. Says Toni, "It's just you and me in the dark, and we have what we have, let's not lose that".
- Ron added Claire's "find me" line.
- Cait felt very strongly that pregnant women are sexy and they should not hide her belly. Toni says everyone was in agreement and loves this scene.
- Ron and Toni says them having sex again was not always set in this episode, that it took awhile for it to feel right and organic before it landed in this script.
- The scene of Charles coming through the window is from the book, and it's the first time in the book that the reader meets BPC since it's all in Claire's PoV. They preserved that this is the first time Claire meets him, but Ron acknowledges that because it was his intro in the book, it had a different dramatic power.
- Toni says it was important to not make BPC a total clown, because then why would people be following him? He had to have two sides.
- Andrew Gower did his own stunt. Toni said that they told him, "you're going to stand on this railing outside the window, we're going to dump water on you, and then you're going to jump through the window...". Toni says he was a total trooper and did it several times.
- There was an early version of the dinner party where they were going to invite King James (Charles' father) to the dinner party. It was decided to keep it with the characters that we've already met, so they used Sandringham instead (plus he's already giving Charles money, so it fits the plot easily).
- Matt Roberts loves Murtagh so he came up with the Fergus/Murtagh moment. Toni says it's a pure character moment and sometimes those get cut in favor of scenes that move the plot forward. Ron loved it and set he would never cut it.
- Originally, Murtagh and Fergus were going to be throwing knives at onions, but they couldn't find big onions in Prague, so Matt Roberts, who was the supervising producer on these episodes, gave them a squash to throw instead.
- There was talk of cutting the scene at the hospital with Mother Hildegaard and Claire doing procedures because it's not directly plot related, but Toni fought to keep it because she loves Frances de la Tour.
- When Mother Hildegaard tells Claire "You're a great deal better than nothing" is one of Toni's favorite moments.
- Originally the scene was longer with Mother Hildegaard telling Claire she should become a doctor one day, and offering to set her up with an apprenticeship, but Claire saying while she'd love to, her main focus is her family.
- Ron says there were a lot of conversations about the timing of all the events leading into the dinner party - when as the carriage sabotaged, who was arriving when, what time of day is it, etc... Toni says of course Sandringham gets there first because he's enamored with Jamie.
- Toni loves the little shiver Sam does when Jamie meets Alex Randall.
- Toni used her grandparents' names for some of the guests.
- There was conversation about how many people could actually fit at the dinner table because of the width of the women's dresses. They did a whole run through with fully dresses extras to figure it out, and then did tricks like the General bringing his male aide instead of a woman, so more people could fit.
- Mary's rape was shot in Scotland in an alley behind Hopetoun House. Jamie chasing Fergus in the previous episode was also shot there.
- The attackers were all stunt guys, not actors. Toni says they just had them yell stuff and then their voices were replaced in ADR.
- Toni says the attack was very upsetting to watch in person.
- Toni says she loved watching fans wondering who the woman with the Comte was when promo photos were released months ago. Apparently Diana had even forgotten that she'd written that the Comte brings his wife to the party, so she sent a note to Toni saying "the Comte doesn't have a wife". Toni reminded her it was in the book and Diana laughed saying she'd forgotten!
- In the book, Louise's husband is not introduced, but they anted this"train wreck" to happen where Charles has to see Louise after she's jilted him.
- They are very complimentary of Douglas MacKinnon (the director) and how he choreographed the dinner scene. It was like a chess game trying to figure out who sat where (i.e. the Comte had to be next to Claire, Louise had to be in Charles' eye line).
- The actress playing Suzette improved the line about being worried about Murtagh.
- There wasn't a "back staircase" on the set, so they sort of just cheated it and have Claire say "go up the back staircase".
- In the book Claire suggests canceling the dinner party but they decided to flip it on the show, so Jamie suggests it. Likely because if TV!Show Claire suggested it, TV!Jamie would have agreed.
- Ron and Toni compliment Cait how she chose to run to the room with the guests in it, but then slow down right before in order to compose herself. Ron says Cait "always knows where she is, emotionally, in each scene".
- They chose to not subtitle Charles' Italian, "porca miseria!" which means "misery is a pig!" which basically means, "life sucks!" because they figured the audience would get the sentiment.
- Toni says all of this feels very Dangerous Liasons, and in fact she re-watched the movie while writing this episode.
- Toni tells a story about Stanley ("who is such a nice guy!") whom she didn't realize was French at first and went to tell him that a scene was being switched from English to French and that she "hoped he could learn it by tomorrow!" and he jokingly responded in perfect French.
- They didn't ant the be brawl to be super serious because if it were, Jamie and Murtagh would have killed everyone in "two seconds". It had to be a lighter moment.
- Ron describes when Claire tosses the curtain cord to Jamie as a "Three Musketeers moment".
- It was Ron's idea to have Fergus sneak in the room and drink wine and eat while the brawl is going on. They knew they wanted to end the episode with this moment.


You can download the podcasts here.

🚨🚨 ALERT ALERT ALERT: In this podcast, Ron confirms breaking Season 3 story lines with the writers. So... where's that announcement, Starz? 🚨🚨
Tags: 2x04, podcast, ron d. moore, season 3, toni graphia
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