- Outlander -'Outlander' Fans Name The One Scene That Keeps Them Up At Night
When you have a fandom as passionate as Outlander's, naturally there will be some passionate opinions. Recently on Reddit's Outlander community, user Mindful_Maya posed the question of what upsets fans the most, whether it be from the series or Diana Gabaldon's books.
Inspired by the query, I decided to ask some Outlander fan accounts to share things that have kept them up at night — whether it be a change in plot line, an acting choice, or even book scenes omitted from the show — throughout their time dedicated to the show. Below are 11 things that members of the Outlander fandom are still thinking about.
And remember: They're only so passionate in the things they dislike because they love Outlander so damn much.
1. The Depiction Of Frank
"His self-absorption during the first part of the books gives the readers a picture of what their marriage was like and what elements are clearly missing," she says. "Jamie's ability to fill in those missing pieces is part of how Claire falls for him so deeply. ... [She didn't] realize what was missing in their marriage until Jamie."
A specific instance of the show changing Frank's character came in the very first episode when Frank performs oral sex on Claire at Castle Leoch. Beatriz calls this a "faux pas," because, on her wedding night to Jamie in the book, Claire reflects that Frank hasn't ever gone down on her.
"Though she had been with Frank for some time, there were things they still hadn't been able to explore intimately yet that Jamie (even being a virgin) openly and enthusiastically dove straight into with her," she says. "Frank is more reserved and seemingly less in-tune with her wants and needs where Jamie is not only in-tune with her but he also shows unblinking support of her goals and ideals even in a time when women were mostly ignored."
2. The Strapping Scene
One of the earliest controversial scenes in Outlander came when Jamie beat Claire for disobeying his orders in "The Reckoning." This comes directly from the Outlander book, but Mary and Blake Larsen of Mary & Blake Media and the Outlander Cast podcast specifically felt like the tone didn't match the scene.
"It's a very serious scene with extraordinarily complex implications for the Jamie and Claire relationship dynamic," they tell me.
In the book, Claire talks about how she feels "deeply betrayed" that her friend/protector/lover would physically beat her against her will. "Yet, it's played off like a joke [in the show] and something that's funny. Especially via the score," Mary & Blake add, citing the jauntiness of Bear McCreary's music as Claire fights off Jamie.
3. Jamie's Assault At Wentworth & The Aftermath
Nearly every fan can agree that one of the most upsetting events to happen in all of Outlander is Black Jack's rape of Jamie in the Season 1 finale, "To Ransom A Man's Soul."
"I have rewatched Season 1 so many times I've lost count, but I skip that episode. That was difficult to watch and it was difficult to read in the book," Shrada G., who is behind the Twitter account KiltyMind, tells The Dipp.
"I wish they'd found a way to include the scene from the end of Book 1 in the hot springs," she says, referring to when Jamie and Claire make love in the water in a cave that is said to contain healing mineral springs. (Outlander creator Ronald D. Moore told Access Hollywood why the scene was left out, citing it as a "logistical nightmare" from a production standpoint.)
"It was such a pivotal point for them, so much healing and a strengthening of their love for each other," Shrada argues. Adding, "If that's even possible as their love/bond is [already] so strong."
4. The Missing Initials
The Season 2 finale where Jamie and Claire leave one another is heartbreaking, plot-wise. But some book fans were heartbroken for an entirely different reason.
"What upset me the most, and still does to this day, is the scene they changed from the book where Claire and Jamie carved the 'J' and 'C ' on each other's hands," Stephanie Bryant, who runs Outlander Print Shop and is an administrator of Outlander North Carolina, tells me.
Like the hot springs, Moore addressed the omission, telling TVLine it complicated their goodbye too much. So rather than having the leads carve into each other's flesh, the show had Claire give Jamie the wedding gift Hugh Munro had given her back in Season 1 — which just so happens to be the title of the second book and the Season 2 finale.
5. Everything About Geneva Dunsany
Lorenza V., who runs the multifandom Instagram account I Have My Own Path To Follow, tells me she has several issues with the Geneva Dunsany plot from Season 3's "Of All Lost Things."
In both the book and show, Geneva blackmails Jamie into having sex with her while he serves as her family's groom. "Even if I can understand why Geneva acted the way she did (she has the feeling she was going to be sold to an old man), she also used Jamie as an object — a tool to get some sort of revenge or to just have some sort of control over her own life," Lorenza says.
Executive producer Maril Davis addressed the change in the scene from page to screen, noting it was simply because the purpose of the scene changed. In an interview with Decider, Davis said, "In the book, there’s a question of whether or not Jamie rapes Geneva, because he does say, ‘When I start I won’t be able to stop.’ And she does at one point say, ‘No, no.’ And he continues."
As far as how the show handled it, Davis told Decider that they chose not to include that moment, as it wasn't "what the scene [was] about."
"The [show] scene is about Jamie taking comfort in someone that he doesn’t love. But he feels empathy for this character even though he’s coerced into Geneva’s bed, he still feels like he wants, as a gentleman, for it to be a satisfying or non-threatening experience for her."
6. Jamie's Response To Seeing Photos Of Brianna For The First Time
Carol Stark and Tracey Randinelli of My Outlander Purgatory are in full agreement over this one acting choice they were waiting to see played out on screen.
"The most difficult thing for us to watch in all five seasons of Outlander is Jamie looking at the photos of Bree that Claire brought from her time," Stark tells me. "Book lovers know that Jamie 'buried his face in [Claire's] shoulder and went very quietly and thoroughly to pieces' upon looking at those photographs. We waited for it, and were hungry for his meltdown."
But that's not exactly how Heughan portrayed Jamie's emotions. "Instead, we got Jamie nonchalantly handing the photos back to Claire in much the same way one would hand over the TV remote, and launching into a confession about having a son," Stark says about the "A. Malcolm" scene.
"The pride on his face when he handed Claire the portrait of Willie was the icing on the cake. The reaction he should have had to Bree's existence took a back seat to his feelings about a spoiled son who he doesn't even plan to see again."
7. Jamie Knowing About Laoghaire's Involvement In The Witch Trial
Remember when Claire told Jamie that Laoghaire was behind her being tried as a witch? Well, this has major ramifications in Season 3 when Claire learns that Jamie freakin' married her. This part of the show didn't stick to the books, which fans are still thinking about.
"In the books, Jamie never knew that Laoghaire was responsible for Claire's imprisonment," Beatriz of The Lallybroch Gathering tells me. "Not only would Jamie never have forgiven that betrayal, but he would most definitely not have married a woman who almost had Claire killed."
8. Jamie Asks Fergus To Start A Mutiny
In Season 3's "Heaven and Earth," Outlander introduced a storyline that wasn't in the Voyager book when Jamie asks Fergus to start a mutiny on the Artemis. Ginger Wiseman of The Outlander Podcast says this moment was the most disappointing to her because it "represented a character change of a main figure," with Jamie guilting and manipulating his adopted son.
"Scenes and places and things and hows and whys — adapt, please do. But one thing that should not be changed is the core of someone's character," Wiseman says.
Luckily, Jamie's request ended up not having many repercussions since Fergus stood his ground and Claire got off the Porpoise.
9. Bree's Short Lallybroch Visit
When Sophie Skelton's Bree goes back in time in Season 4's "Down the Rabbit Hole," she gets to see her father's home. In the books, it's Jenny who Brianna interacts with at Lallybroch. But due to Laura Donnelly's unavailability, the show rejiggered things to have Bree first meet Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) and then, her Uncle Ian (Steven Cree).
Dorianne Panich of Outlander Homepage accepts that Jenny couldn't be there, but she still thinks there was another way to go about it.
"When Bree finally gets to Lallybroch, Ian barely has time to introduce her to Jamie's family or show her around! Yes, Jenny wasn't present, but Ian could have done what Jenny did in the books for Bree," Panich says.
10. Bree's Traumatic Timelines
In Season 4, after losing her virginity to Roger after they were handfasted, Bree is raped by Stephen Bonnet. Then, in Season 5, she has her official wedding to Roger and during the reception, learns that Bonnet is still alive.
In the books, these events — her handfast and rape, and her wedding and learning that Bonnet is still alive — don't happen on the same days. And Cathie McQuistion of Cats and Kilts and Caitlin's Coterie wishes that those moments had been kept separate.
"What should have been a first loving sexual experience — which yes, was marred by a fight — became a physical and emotional nightmare for Bree," McQuistion says of the night she's handfasted to Roger. The show also left out that Roger says he'll return to her after their fight, which McQuistion says "not only take[s] away [the] certainty of his commitment, they also put [Bree] through one of the worst things that can happen to a woman. On the same night."
11. Claire's Assault In "Never My Love"
In the Season 5 finale, Outlander introduced a harrowing plot from the sixth book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, where Claire is sexually abused by multiple perpetrators. "The worst scene for me, beyond all doubt, was Claire's shocking ordeal and brutal rape in the 'Never My Love' episode. I watched it in disbelief," Elaine U. of Oddie Outlander World says.
She notes the harsh depiction was like what happened to Jamie at Wentworth in "To Ransom a Man's Soul."
"I'll not watch that episode again," Elaine says of the Season 1 episode. "I don't think I'll ever watch 'Never My Love' again for that [same] reason."
These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.