[Note: I had this post finished several days ago, but forgot to publish it by Saturday.]
Outlander covered quite a bit of ground this week, literally, figuratively, and temporally. Ten years passed for Claire, Frank, and Brianna. Claire graduated from medical school, Bree from high school, and Frank went to the movies with his mistress. Only four years (or thereabouts) went by in the eighteenth century, but they were an eventful four-ish years.
Did the episode meet my hopeful expectations? Absofreakintlutely. So, let’s discuss
All Debts Paid, Episode 303
1 Major John William Grey
In a world of memorable, well-written, beloved supporting characters—Jenny Fraser Murray, Angus Mohr and Rupert MacKenzie, Mrs. Fitz, to name just a few—John William Grey is by far my favorite. Perhaps it’s because I identify with him. A military officer from a good family, trying to do what’s right while maintaining discipline. Yet there’s a sadness, a haunting loneliness just beneath the surface. Or perhaps it’s because he’s just So. Damned. Handsome. (I can be shallow that way.)
2. Murtagh Fitzgibbons (Fraser)
He lives! The #SaveMurtagh campaign worked. Or (more likely) Ronald D. Moore had plans for him all along. Jamie’s godfather is alive, but not so well in Ardsmuir Prison. He was so ill, I was afraid he’d been saved at Culloden, only to die in prison. But John Grey provided a physician for Jamie Fraser’s kinsman, and Murtagh recovered. Enough to be sent to the American colonies while Jamie’s exile was to occur elsewhere. They didn’t even get a chance to say good-bye. 😦
2. Matthew B. Roberts
The author of this week’s episode also wrote this season’s most highly anticipated, yet to come. Someone on a forum asked, “Do we like Matt Roberts?” The response was an enthusiastic “Yes, we do!” He has written some great episodes, but also a clunker or two. But here he wrote a superbly tight script. In a few short scenes, he succinctly showed the decline of Claire and Frank’s marriage. In the time left over, he told a complex story of two men who initially despised each other as they began to admire and respect each other. That is, until one of the men screwed it up. There were many scenes of Jamie Fraser and John Grey that had to be cut for time, but the essence of their budding friendship became evident in what was shown.
3. Outlander‘s casting department
In a show filled with much-loved characters, the casting of the characters is critical. In a show this vast, the casting department has exceeded expectations. I’d say they’re batting .980 but that’s just a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) because it’s difficult to count the number of actors they hired. In my opinion, they’ve missed the mark only once. Which leads me to…
4. David Berry
My personal pick to play Lord John Grey was Jensen Ackles. Grey is described as having fine, almost feminine features, and Jensen is the prettiest actor I can think of, while still maintaining an air of masculinity. But it turns out Australian David Berry is an excellent alternative. Not only is he as pretty as Jensen, he appears to be as talented an actor. Hell, he’s even perfected the classic OPT (one perfect tear) Jensen is known for.
5. Goodbye Frank
I will not miss you.*
*Gah, I am so sick of all the Frank Randall and Tobias Menzies love. Some episode reviews spent all their time talking about Frank, how long-suffering he was, what a great father he was (News flash! Spoiling a child does NOT make you a great parent!), and what a great actor Tobias Menzies is. All right, I’ll give you the last; but nearly every actor on Outlander is terrific, and I found nothing nuanced about Tobias’s Black Jack Randall. Really, enough is enough.
6. Once again, Sam Heughan
He is just killing it this season. Not that he hasn’t in other seasons, but more than any other, much of this season’s story is told from Jamie’s point of view. He has more screen time, and so much emotion to portray.
7. Lord John Grey
Yes, it has to be said again (under his other title). Because he’s just that wonderful!