Outlander: of fascinations and frustrations — Part V
The worst of Outlander was certainly the second half of 3rd season; its denouement was weaved together with cheesy threads heavily reliant on a coincidence of the extraordinary kind — the stupefying congregation of major characters at the Governor’s ball in Jamaica. With the governor of course turning out to be our angel, Lord John Grey wetting himself twice over, firstly for Jamie, secondly for the royal hairpiece he sported. He was once again kind enough to bestow another gift of life to Jamie. More so, I could hardly invest any interest in Geillis who had, by now, metamorphosed into a villain whose cringeworthy schemes were weakly reminiscent of the Evil Queen, the venomous nemesis of Snow White.
I feel I am slumping to a minority in sharing the following grievance: given the first two beautiful seasons, I was already in bed with the Scottish Highlands so I utterly resented being fixed a date with the US of A. The story was weaved bloody well with the history of the highlands. Then, in faith with the other concoctions, even our characters’ stay in the USA was thrusted upon them by a crafty turn of events. Their return from the Caribbean was definitely done on a Monday given the lackadaisical manner in which the story drifted along the North Atlantic ocean before throwing the final tantrum that had it stubbornly flop on the shores of Georgia.
If I may squeeze in a report of my delight in between this deluge of frustration: somewhere early on in my viewership, I was relieved to learn that the show wasn’t really a bodice ripper. Thank goodness because Covid had had me short on tissues. Now one may scrub this meditative joy off an otherwise epileptic rant.
The villainy of Bonnet seemed to have been manufactured out of a desperate desire to gift the plot some spice through a malefaction just for the sake of it but of course, it simply paled in comparison to Black Jack Randall’s calculated perversion. The intensity of the first two seasons was dialed up so high that they really couldn’t have been surpassed in terms of quality. Amidst the backdrop of the Battle of Culloden the narrative was born and tumbled with such attractive ferocity that you were glued in. Sure, conveniences were rode on however, the characters were richer and the plot thick. Crucially, in the first two seasons, any lacunae in the plot structure at worse, only unsuspectingly teetered toward contrivances because of the novelty and freshness of the premise; the primary conflicts were still resonating among the characters and the impending doom of the Battle of Culloden, progressively becoming more apparent, tugged events together to a collective conclusion. Granted, there were still advances in the story arc that had to be forgiven for the winces they educed, such as the cozy convenience that the cousin’s lavish mansion studded with conscientious servants provided to J&C.
With Frank dead, it was only her overeager compassion and a cartoonish want to be a participant in needless adventures that earned her my rebukes. Seriously, Claire! Stop prancing around the deck, and get the entire fifty kilograms of you inside the hold till the storm subsides. Yes, you’re the surgeon. So, you are needed in one piece. Perhaps I risk being mischaracterized as a person wanting in ethics but I must complain about Claire’s largely unwavering sense of compassion. Deciding to heal the man who raped you and would have eventually had you murdered had he and his henchmen not been apprehended is out of this world crazy. Bonkers. Recall that in season 2, Claire went so far as to tactfully contrive for a whole party to be privy to her friend’s liaison with Bonny Prince Charles so that he’d lose the funding for a scottish rebellion. Characters occasionally trespassing into the unethical, adopting illicit means to fulfill their goals makes for an exciting watch as opposed to being the picture of piety, immune to the most humanly traits such as vengeance and savagery when pushed to the wall. If you always overcome challenges without so much as a blot on your character, then… Well then, Hi Noddy.
Make way for Noddy, readers.
The series began as majestic and then turned formulaic. Even so, in my stiff denial to concede to it any legitimacy, I pretend as if the latter parts were some fanfiction writer’s wet dream who was possibly dealt corporal punishment for a little too much of Cinderella as a kid. And that the real story ends as Claire, on tenterhooks, walks in the print shop of A. Malcolm and I feel myself dissolving into a puddle, mumbling a mantra under my breath, let it be Jamie, let it be Jamie, let it be Jamie while the protective side of me pulls me to a cynical seminar to soften the blow of a possible dejection. We steadily approach this Malcolm, that wrangling within my mind has me dizzy, my butt is sore with all the sitting, I’ve forgotten to blink, the music soars, it’s the keys reaching the crescendo and…