Outlander – Rent

Dougal (Graham McTavish)  in Outlander

Dougal (Graham McTavish) in Outlander

Rent, the fifth episode in the first season of Outlander on STARZ shoots the story ahead.  The reviewers who saw multiple episodes of the show before it even aired and reported there was no action or intense drama have me wondering what show they watched.

On her facebook page the day this episode aired Diana Gabaldon posted a picture of Graham McTavish, the actor who portrays Dougal with a note “All Dougal, All the time…”, and after watching the episode I can easily understand why — the plot gave him a thousand and one moments to shine, and he made the most of each and every one of them.

For those reading as we watch, last week we ended at approximately page 200, or the beginning of Part III / Chapter 11, well, I hope you have a boring week ahead of you in the real world, because STARZ, Ron Moore et al, packed this episode full of great stuff, much of which was out of the book, and suddenly we are gearing up for some of the events at the beginning of chapter 21 next week!

Set aside some time in a comfy chair and pull out your book, Chapter 21 starts on page 371 and that is the best approximation of where episode 5 left off and 6 will pick up.

Always keep in mind scenes are shifting around slightly, situations are changing, and part of the fun of reading the book as well as watching the show is seeing what so captivated everyone that it simply could be no other way, and what this amazing collaborative team came together on as a force of nature and suddenly one woman’s vision has been enhanced, and changed and now on the screen in vivid color we have these walking talking characters.  I try to find the chapter in the book that come closest to matching where the episode left off, knowing the book often contains subplots that could not make it to the screen, characters we seem to recall reading but not seeing, and so on.

As has been happening with each episode, there are changes being made, and so many of them work so nicely, there were a few here that strengthened a lot of relationships, and the actors, one and all, worked beautifully with the material they were given.  I love the looks they exchange, the nuances they have in their performances, the subtleties they are filling their roles with.  Rupert and Angus, and the clansmen Claire and Jamie travel with as Dougal collects the rents feel like genuine people and characters, as opposed to extras who happen to be on the screen at the same time, and for that I give everyone a great deal of credit, as that is much easier to do in a book than in a television show.

Scenes that in the book built up Jamie the one man Claire knew and trusted, were used in the show to flesh out the world, to build her understanding, to build the audience’s understanding of the people and the world, and to create a genuine quandary at the end of the episode so it ended on a question that could have been a simple yes or no but was, instead, a question that makes you want to tune in next week because Claire could answer it either way.  As the screen faded to black she is clearly debating her answer, and with seemingly good reason, a different situation entirely than the end of chapter 20, and yet they both clearly set her up for the beginning of chapter 21.

This episode is a prime example of why the actors, and the writers, deserve kudos and high marks for the fantastic job they are doing taking Outlander from the page to the screen.

And, as an added bonus in this post, a link for those who did not get a “Pocket Jamie” at Fan Expo or one of the other fun events promoting Outlander, you can download one from STARZ and the Outlander Community.  (Yes, I wish Pocket Jamie had gone to Casa Loma.)

If you are loving the music in Outlander, and want a lot of great information about it, and don’t mind reading an article with plot points and details laid out, surf over to Bear McCreary’s blog and read his article about The Way Out, the Gathering and Rent.  He mentions a detail I had suspected when I heard one of the songs:

“The Woman of Balnain,” the song that concludes this episode {The Way Out}, was actually the first music I ever composed for Outlander. The lyrics are by Diana Gabaldon herself, from her books, and getting to set them for this collaboration was the perfect way to start my experience on this series! I was thrown immediately into the deep end of the pool, and was asked to write a single piece of music that could accomplish the source and score needs for the scene, and be practical for Gillebrìde to perform on camera. – See more at: http://www.bearmccreary.com/#blog/blog/outlander-the-way-out-the-gathering-and-rent/

Highlight the space/text above with your cursor and it will magically appear… if you don’t mind a few details that should not qualify as storyline spoilers, but one never knows where others draw the lines, so I decided to err on the side of caution here, and conceal those details from the naked eye.