mandersonmsp (mandersonmsp) wrote in ontd_sassenach,

As Seen on TV: The Development and Underdevelopment of Jamie & Claire Fraser

I saw this on Tumblr re: Claire's choice:
There seems to be a lot of confusion about why Claire stayed with Jamie. Confusion from non-readers who watch the show with readers and … don’t get why Claire stayed with Jamie.

o Some think the stones didn’t work.
o Some think Claire left to say goodbye to Frank and came back (my personal favorite).
o Some just can’t believe it at all.
o Some think she’ll be going back later (on her own).
Then, on the other side are the book readers who can’t understand the lack of understanding.
Then come the long, long posts of people fighting saying,
o Because Jamie is her soulmate
o Frank is boring
o Jamie loves her, followed by a litany of amazing things Jamie says to Claire in the Outlander book.
o What about this? What about that? Doesn’t that prove…?
Well, yes, but NOT in the show. None of those things were ever in the show.
The show had ONE JOB: show why Claire would stay.
The story of Outlander is quite simple: a woman falls backwards in time and finds a man, a relationship, and a life offered to her by both so compelling that she decides to stay. (The meta story that we find it so compelling that we want her to stay too.)
That is the most basic, broadest way to describe the story. When I say, “the story” from now on, this is what I mean.
Therefore, everything in the show adaptation should be filtered according to the story: Does this show why Claire wants to stay?
o If yes, then it stays… as much as time allows.
o If not, it stays only if it serves the sub-plots and details of the world that become relevant after she makes her decision. .. like Black Jack.
The show did NOT do this. Instead, they
o Elevated and changed Frank’s character to remove his bad points
o Diminished Jamie’s character (he is in 1.5 hours of the first 8 - that’s it) to remove his good points
o Focused so much on the subplots and minor characters that they “ran out of time” for the story.
Without the marketing campaign, would anyone know that Claire and Jamie belong together? Other than for having great sex?
The showrunners have started with the assumption that
o Claire and Jamie have the ultimate love story
o Jamie is the King of Men
But they never showed it. For longtime readers like me, it was interesting to see what was going on down the hall with the McKenzie brothers while I was busy being enthralled with the actual story … but … um… what about the actual story?
Episode 111 is the epitome of this problem. 40 minutes - 40 MINUTES!! - was spent on a trial that was supposed to be a farce. Witnesses testified for 5 to 10 minutes and then we’re told by the lawyer doing the cross-examination that none of it mattered; they were going to burn anyway.
WE KNEW THIS ALREADY!! It’s a witch trial; it’s not about the law. Who cares about those witnesses? Or what they had to say? Witch trials never found anyone innocent.
Then, there was only 20 minutes left for the stones. The stone scene is 2nd in the whole series only to the print shop. It is the most important scene in the book … before [Spoiler (click to open)]Wentworth. Even so, there is no Wentworth or even Wentworth making sense unless the stones scene happens the way it does.
Well, the stones scene was rushed and shortchanged to make room for the trial. That is straight from the creator Ron Moore. Well, he didn’t say “rushed and shortchanged” but he did say they added a lot to the trial … all time stolen from the stones.
Personally, I feel like it was a slap in the face. This scene was so important and it was passed over like an afterthought. This scene is the WHOLE POINT and the foundation of the book. It’s the one re-read more than any other except the print shop (and alright the really hot sex scenes).
I don’t think the show respects or understands the story. They’ve done really well elevating little side bits to the top, but none of them serve the story. Some - like all that Frank - undermine the story.
What saves this episode is what has been saving this show overall - the outstanding performances of Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. Sam saved this episode in particular. He did so much with the little he was given, it’s the only reason some non-readers do understand Claire’s choice at all.


My thoughts: I think this is an excellent compilation of a lot of the points made here and there in this community. Some really good points here, and that's saying something coming from me, someone who has tried to stay positive and go with it and be like, just wait and see, we'll get there, etc. And I think this had a lot to do with some things that came up in the unpopular opinion post. Anne definitely has some work to do next episode but it is achievable IMO.

From here on out I feel like it's going to be all Jamie and Claire. Now that Claire's revealed her secret I feel like Jamie and Claire will really start to bond. And now that we're going to Lallybroch I think we will really learn a lot more about Jamie, good and bad. I feel it between them, but sometimes I think I have a hard time separating what I know from reading the book from the show. And many of you have made very good points that the focus is too much on the sex and not enough talking. I would love for all you non-readers such as flippet or dazzleships to weigh in on this.

So let's take stock after 11 episodes. We only have 5 (FIVE!) episodes left until 2016 (all the tears), and all of you book readers know there is a lot to fit in. I was going to post this after 12, but I think the last episode was a pivotal moment for Jamie and Claire. I will leave my further thoughts in the comments, but here are some things to consider:

- What does the show have to do to sell people who aren't sold on Jamie and Claire? Please remember to use a spoiler cut when necessary.

- Caitriona said as she prepared for the Stones decision scene, she considered the reasons why Claire would stay. What are some examples on the show of fundamental growth in their relationship, as well as reasons why Claire would stay? (I'm legit scairt of these responses and people being like, "nothing" LMAO)

- What were their best moments? GIFs are welcome! Because gifs make people happy!

- What were their worst moments and how did these set the show back in building this relationship (feel free to speak out about the strapping)?

- What were the missed opportunities that really stick out?

- Any overall thoughts on this couple?
Tags: because jammf, claire beauchamp randall fraser, j/c is murtagh's otp, james alexander malcolm mackenzie fraser
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