Little spoiler warning here…if you haven’t read the books at least through Drums of Autumn you might want to steer clear of this blog – but since it’s mostly the book readers who are upset anyway, read on.
I awoke this morning –to a 5am text from an upset friend no less – to find out that it was Sam Heughan himself that made the creative decision not to include that iconic moment in his performance in A. Malcolm. I have to admit I got a little chuckle about the production team throwing him in under the bus so to speak, quite frankly with all the upset about the Bree/Willie scene I’d probably be pointing and going he did it, he did it myself.
You know the moment I’m talking about don’t you? It’s the moment where Jamie breaks down sobbing in Claire’s arms honoring not only the sacrifice of their parting to see the child safe but also honoring the sacrifice of that twenty-year-old girl brave and selfless enough to forever give her mother back to the man she loves. I don’t know a person who’s read the books that didn’t dissolve into a blob of sobbing goo after reading this particular scene. I don’t know too many who aren’t pissed to the nines that it didn’t air.
To some…having Sam choose not to do the scene the way it was written was tantamount to Clark Gable deciding to go with “Meh, I might call you tomorrow” instead of “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” at the end of Gone With the Wind. Sam had his reasons – Jamie hasn’t met Bree, he had a relationship with Willie, stunned by the technology of photographs, thought it would be melodramatic. Do I think he was right? Hell no! But at least I think I know where he might be coming from.
You see for Jamie, Bree isn’t quite real yet. The idea of her exists on celluloid and I think in Sam’s mind, Jamie looks at Bree much like most of us look at Sam himself. He’s adorable, seems generous and kind, we’re proud of the work he does and we might even do a bit of heavy breathing in his direction from time to time but the “love” we claim to hold for him doesn’t begin to compare to what we feel for the living, breathing men or children we share our lives with – those we can hold and touch.
In Willie, Jamie had something tangible to love and hold in a time when he needed it the most. It’s perfectly natural that at this point he’s going to be just a little bit more favorable toward him. Doesn’t mean he loves Bree less – he just doesn’t have the emotional connection of knowing her. Because he loves Willie, does it mean he had feelings for Geneva – which let’s face it is what is most important to not only us but Clare as well. Not at all. Just as you can’t hold the child accountable for the sins of the parent – you don’t have to love the parent for the child’s sake as well.
We need to keep in mind too…that Sam has read the books. He knows he has the upcoming scene where Jamie meets his daughter for the first time. Remember in my last blog I talked about emotional beats? I think Sam believes the emotional beat of Jamie and his daughter should be saved for when it matters the most – when Jamie finally holds his living, breathing child in his arms.
The emotional drama from their meeting comes from Brianna in the book. We get clues to Jamie’s reaction from Brianna’s descriptions of his words and physical actions. It won’t work that way on TV, we will see the emotional beats played out for both and that is when we should see Sam Heughan portray the eruption of near-debilitating emotion as Jamie touches his daughter for the first time – and rightly so. (Um…you might want to take a hint here Sam – since I know you haven’t filmed this yet.)
Ultimately though, the Print Shop isn’t about Brianna, William, Fergus, Ian or any of the others Jamie and Claire take into their hearts and home. The soul of the Print Shop is about the two of them reconnecting. I think we can all agree the beautiful dance of Jamie and Claire coming together again, physically, mentally and emotionally was, well everything. There wasn’t a single misstep in my opinion and I rarely say that about a TV show.
The loyalty to the book and performance of the actors on Outlander are as true to the original written material as I’ve ever seen in an adaption. Let’s bring up Gone with the Wind again. It’s a legend of both screen and print, although the two vary greatly. TV and book are two different mediums, of course, there are going to be differences. As I’m fond of saying- if they were going exactly by the books, we’d still be in season one.
It’s capturing the soul of the work that’s important – and Outlander does that in spades. Even though from time to time we may think a producer, writer or lead actor may need to be taken to the woodshed. Let me put it this way…I really hope the Ian whipping Jamie scene is played out – I have a feeling a lot of us are going to enjoy it!