Outlander Episode 10: A Wind of LibertiesApril 13, 2015
It may be one of the most awaited passage of the season; bringing in a famous character from the novel, episode 10 of Outlander offers lots of surprise as it takes liberties being at some point totally different than the book. For the best or for the worst?
It is common knowledge that adapting a book into a TV show or a film can be tricky, especially when they’re as big and popular as Outlander. Some sides have to be taken and some changes need to be made… which is exactly what happened in this episode when the story created by Diana Gabaldon is widely changed and we aren’t talking small details but many scenes. (SPOILERS AHEAD!) The hunting scene turns into duel, the discovery of Geillis’ secret is no longer discovered by her husband and Claire’s role in Jamie’s attempt to get a pardon is much more important.
Surprisingly, it is far from being disappointing. In fact, it only makes the story even better.
The changes start with the famous Duke of of Sandringham, a character whose long past with Jamie is hilarious in the novel. In this case, the episode didn’t, sadly, dig too far with them as it is not what’s the most important here. Actually, his personality has been referenced several times earlier this season notably in the 1940’s by Frank and the Reverend Wakefield, but more recently by Claire. When she was held captive by Randall and attempted to use some information, she dropped the name of the Duke and it worked as Jack Randall immediately sounded surprised and not very happy.
The viewers are pretty aware of his power, his dark side and his horrible secrets. When Dougal said that the men should watch their backside, it was immediately clear that he meant it. Instead, his little eccentricity is greatly represented by Simon Callow’s performance. The change of the storyline, where the hunting scene in the book became a duel in the show is an improvement as it allows him to be more present on the screen which is far more enjoyable. It also makes Jamie’s encounter with him funnier, especially as one of the other biggest changes is Claire’s role.
In the novel, Claire tends to be quite passive but on the show, she has the power! She is not the loving wife waiting for the male to act and deal with his own problem; she takes matters into her own hands. Lets be honest, this change is welcome and incredibly awesome. Both the book and the show are quite feminist, but in this episode it is a bit more obvious. Claire’s meeting with the Duke shows that she has a brain and knows how to use it.
Of course, Claire loves Jamie but the problem of the show is that, unlike the book, we are not always in her mind. We don’t share her thoughts so writers have to find a way to represent that and they have done a great job so far. The fact she is now even helping, unbeknownst to him, allows the viewers to see how much she cares about her husband. It is not just a matter of sex and of little affection; she deeply cares and it is obvious.
As for the Geillis’ story, the show changes the discovery of one her secret, likely due to some timing limitation and because of this, Arthur Duncan’s role does not exist in this case. The poor man has no idea of what is happening around him and maybe that’s better for him. Instead, the show decides to follows a more “supernatural” plot, playing a lot on the Geillis-the-witch idea. At first it kills a bit the suspense but it is for the better; the episode moves straight to her pregnancy and who is the baby’s father and also leads to another famous passage of the book with Claire and the baby in the forest without losing anytime. It contributes in building the plot of the next episode without complicating things needlessly. Some fans may think that this portion of the story moved too fast, but it would be too long and convoluted to work in otherwise.
Even if the only faithful scene appears to be the end of the episode, the adaptation is greatly done. From one episode to another, the show is renewing itself and succeeds in dealing with the many storyline’s Diana Gabladon created without losing the viewers attention and trying to please the novel fans. Whoever the viewers are; a fan of the show, a fan of the book or both, it offers a refreshing view proving that with a great writing, taking some liberties and being unfaithful to the original can be for the best.