Game of Thrones Season 6 Review: Worst Moments

Despite having improved from last season, there were still many storylines and character moments that were a complete miss this season. Whether it was the filler episodes or the cartoonish villains, Season Six proved that Game of Thrones is far from overcoming some of their missteps in later seasons.

Ramsay

Ramsay’s characterisation this season was one of my least favourite things. Iwan Rheon plays him brilliantly, but his villainous nature was established way back in season 3. We didn’t need more reminders as to why we disliked the character this season, and all of his actions of violence felt far too gratuitous and unnecessary, and it was far too obvious that they were just there for shock value rather than part of any decent storyline. Even genuinely shocking moments such as Ramsay killing his father Roose were not properly expanded on, and it would have been far more interesting to have a scene in which Ramsay reflects on killing the man whose validation he’s craved for years, rather than setting his dogs on Walda and her child.Through Ramsay they wasted the character potential of Osha and Rickon, bringing them back only to kill them off without hearing about what they’ve been through since season 3 was a missed opportunity,   Ramsay was simply a cartoon villain this season, and it feels like the writers wasted the last season they had with his character just for some shock value and cheers when he finally got killed off.

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Dorne

This plotline annoys me far too much to get it all down in a short paragraph, but I will never understand if the purpose of Dorne was for them to end up supporting Daenerys, like the characters do in the books, then there was no reason for the mess the writers created the past two seasons. They didn’t need to kill of Doran, and they could have incorporated at least parts of his plan from the books, and end the season in the same way, with Dorne’s army sailing towards Westeros with Daenerys. They simply ruined it. At least the writers understood the backlash towards Dorne, and only included the Dornish characters in two episodes this season. There are so many problems with Dorne, and I do plan on writing a whole post about it.

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Rickon Stark

Moments like Rickon’s death  in ‘Battle of the Bastards’ were sad, but even then it was hard to feel attached to a character they brought back and gave zero lines to this season. Rickon wasn’t a character, he was a plot device, simply a way to get Jon to charge first. They didn’t bother fleshing his character out at all, and it seemed a waste to kill off an unused character just for shock value. The reintroduction of his character was just another wasted opportunity.

Euron Greyjoy

Compared to Dorne, the focus on the Iron Islanders wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It wasn’t terrible, but it was certainly disappointing. It was great to see Yara again after the mess of the episode she appeared in in Season 4, and while diverging from the books I didn’t mind Theon being back home and it give him some character development after the hell he was put through. They only introduced one new character for this plotline, and it was just.. underwhelming. I’m not a massive fan of the new Greyjoy characters introduced in A Feast for Crows, but I know there are many fans who love Euron Greyjoy’s character and I can understand why.  His entrance in the Kingsmoot is dramatic, and whether you like him or not he’s the character who captures your attention. Not including the Dragon Horn either was an odd choice for them to make, as not only does it cause him to gather more support, it makes for an incredibly dramatic entrance for this character. I can accept the change they made in directly showing Euron killing Balon as the first time the audience is introduced to him, but to me it didn’t make sense why Euron would admit to killing Balon so openly. It made far more sense for Balon’s death to be viewed as an accident by the rest of the Iron Islanders, and it was one of a number of decisions that didn’t make sense in that storyline. Yara and Theon escaping so quickly without anyone noticing and stopping them, as well as Euron’s plan to build a thousand ships with the few men he had left on the Iron Islands just didn’t make sense. Game of Thrones had a serious villain problem this year, and instead of a character that should have been interesting to watch, whether you liked him or not, we just got another cartoonish villain that no one took seriously.

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Meereen

With Daenerys away from Meereen for the majority of the season, the person left to carry the storyline was Tyrion. For me, it was one of the most dull parts of the season. Peter Dinklage is always consistently great in his role as Tyrion, but he got his worst material so far. His storyline this season just consisted of drinking and making awkward jokes with Missandei and Greyworm.  Not even Varys could save it, and it just wasted all the storylines they could have done. Killing off Barristan Selmy last season proved to be a mistake, and I’m still bitter that we won’t get to see his character taking charge. Meereen is far from perfect in the books, but I was never counting the minutes until their chapters were over, unlike the scenes this season. There was a nice scene with Tyrion meeting Daenerys’s dragons, using a story from the books that was nicely incorporated and no doubt led to more people believing Tyrion is a secret Targaryen. Peter Dinklage receiving an Emmy nomination this season therefore felt a little undeserved, as they could have given another actor a nomination. Someone like Iwan Rheon, despite the issues I had with Ramsay this season made Ramsay terrifying and one of the most memorable characters on the show, deserved a nomination for his last season on the show.

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Arya

I’ve already said that many parts of this season were just underwhelming ,and this storyline was definitely one of them. Since Arya has gone to Braavos  it has highlighted how messy the writers make the show when adapting a trickier storyline from the books, such as this one. Arya spent these past two seasons training in a storyline that felt it wasn’t really going anywhere. Lady Crane was a nice character to be introduced, but it wasn’t enough to save the plot. The performance of the events at the Purple Wedding were a better part of Braavos, it was interesting to see how everyone else would view the events in King’s Landing. However, the scenes went on far too long and just appeared to be filler  moments until they could do a dramatic event at the end of the season. Arya disobeying the orders of the Faceless Men was fine enough, but at the the end of ‘The  Broken Man’ the show got ridiculous. Arya strolled around the streets, happily booking her passage home and stopped and admired the view in Braavos. It didn’t make sense that she wasn’t on the run or in hiding. Arya would know the Faceless Men would be after her, and could be anyone she spoke to. But it was the Waif stabbing Arya numerous times, Arya falling off a bridge, the Waif not checking if she was really dead that bothered me. Soon after the episode aired, theories began emerging that Arya planned it and it wasn’t really her and so when next week’s episode ‘No One’ aired everyone wondered what would be revealed. But, no. The plot was just that disappointing,and did nothing to contradict it in one of the season’s worst episodes. Arya somehow magically survived her stab wounds enough to run and jump around the streets of Braavos while being chased, then somehow still had enough energy to fight and kill the Waif. It was one of the show’s laughable moments, and I think that everyone is finally relieved to have Arya away from that storyline now.

 

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Riverrun

I was pleasantly surprised that the show included the Siege at Riverrun, the storyline being one of my favourites from the books. It’s crucial to Jaime’s character development, his relationship with Cersei, as well as making clear of the effects of the Red Wedding and how the conflicts have affected Westeros. I expected to be disappointed, but this shouldn’t have made it on my worse moments of Season Six.First of all, many people who watch the show won’t remember any of the Tully characters like the Blackfish or Edmure. I can’t remember anyone mentioning them since the end of Season Three, and to have them shoved back in just so Jamie and Cersei could be apart for the tial wasn’t good enough. This would have worked a lot better last season, instead of sending Jaime off to the complete shit that was Dorne. The siege itself roughly followed the books, apart from one crucial moment. Killing the Blackfish offscreen. The Blackfish is still alive in the books, and I can understand why the show didn’t necessarily want him to escape in the same way. Even so, with Brienne turning up and trying to get the Blackfish and his army to join Sansa, it would have been better if the Blackfish realised his home was lost and joined Brienne and Pod back to Winterfell. They could have had him return for the Battle of the Bastards, and given him a good battle scene before killing him off if they wanted to. They cast the Blackfish so well, and Clive Russell is a fantastic actor, so this whole storyline just seemed like another wasted opportunity, that had potential for better character moments.

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Episode rating lowest to highest:

The Red Woman

No one

Blood of my blood

Oath breaker

The Broken Man

Book of the Stranger

The Door

Battle of the Bastards

The Winds of Winter

(Also, WHY STILL NO LADY STONEHEART??)

Sarah

 

 

Game of Thrones Season 6 Review: Best moments

(Warning: this post contains spoilers for Season Six , as well as moments from the books)

There was point last year where I considered not watching game of thrones anymore. I hoped, as did everyone that the Winds of Winter would be published before Season Six premiered, and then I could watch the show, with the show and the books being caught up.Season Five, was simply a mess. Even those who haven’t read the books still noticed a drop in the storytelling and the direction the show was taking. The decisions the show runners made in a lot of cases didn’t make sense, and the changes from the book seemed to have no logical reason behind it (i.e Dorne and Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay)

My expectations were low. The endless media stream of how this season was ‘the best yet’ only reminded me of the hopes I’d had for characters last season that were ultimately dashed. I decided to keep watching, because regardless I was going to find out on the internet what happened, and knew my curiosity would get the better of me.

 

 

Best Moments

Every scene with Lyanna Mormont.

A character we have yet to properly meet in the books, she simply stole every scene she was in.  You have to give all the credit to the casting director  who manages to find all the best child actors. I’d much rather have her ruling the Iron Throne than Daenerys.The character was a big hit with the fans, and I want to see more of her in Season 7.

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At this point there wasn’t any doubt by numerous fans that this theory wasn’t true. It all made sense, and it was great to finally have it confirmed on the show. They did the Tower of Joy perfectly, and again the casting was fantastic. They found the perfect actor to play a young Ned, and Lyanna as well Arthur Dayne. They kept the main quotes from the books, and the heart-breaking ‘Promise me Ned’. The only issue I have with this scene was that they didn’t say Rhaegar’s name when Lyanna gave the baby to Ned, and so I think some show watchers many not have understood who the father was at first.

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Best episode of the season: Battle of the Bastards /Home/ The Winds of Winter= Overall The Winds of Winter

It would be easy to name the’ Battle of the Bastards’ the best episode of the season, with many already claiming it’s the best episode of the show yet. I can understand why, it was exhilarating to watch, bloody, brutal and brilliant. Miguel Sapochnik masterfully directed the best fight scenes I’ve seen on television, a long unbroken shot at the same level as Jon making the audience feel as if they’re on the battlefield with him, getting a very real image of how the battle is quickly engulfed in chaos.  The pile of bodies is a reminded throughout of the horrific cost of war, and the episode doesn’t glorify it at all. As a watching experience, this could be the best episode of the show.  However looking into the plot and rewatching it again, highlights the weakness of the plot in comparison to the other battle episodes. Either Jon or Ramsay was going to win, and whoever lost was going to die. It was unlikely they would kill Jon off again after the end to last season, and everyone predicted that Littlefinger and Sansa would save the day. Apart from Ramsay and Smalljon Umber there were no characters on the other side we knew, and the two we did you despised. The Battle of Blackwater in season 2 is my favourite because you have conflicted feelings regarding both sides of the battle. There were no real heroes or villains, whereas this episode showed clearly who the good guys were, and who were the bad guys.. In terms of production and visuals, this episode was the best o the season. It was an incredible viewing experience, but looking at the narrative compared to other episodes, it fell short.

 

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Home

After the first episode of the season, my low expectations for season six didn’t change until next week’s episode, ‘Home’. It wasn’t perfect, but it was an episode that I genuinely enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised at throughout.We finally saw Jon’s resurrection, the reintroduction of the Iron Islands storyline and the brief moments we got of Euron were nowhere near as disappointing as the introduction of the Dorne storyline. Balon, a character I thought the show had completely discarded was finally killed off, as he should have been a long time ago. The Ramsay storyline was the only weak point for me, as explained later on. After that the show pleasantly surprised me more than it disappointed me, and this was in large part due to the show branching out and not following the books, or poorly adapting parts, not leaving many disappointing moments for book readers, or plots that didn’t make sense or were expanded on properly. Was ‘Home’ one of the best episodes of the season? No. But I do rank it highly than episodes with far more important and dramatic moments because it proved the show was on a better path this season, and even straying from the books could lead to an enjoyable, mostly well written episode of television.

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The Winds of Winter

The morning after this episode came out I was staying at a friend’s house before I went on holiday that morning. I woke up at about 6am, and just put my headphones in and quietly watched the episode on my phone. I knew that the finale was not something I wanted to be spoiled, especially when I wasn’t certain I would be able to watch it while I was away.  This s the episode I think I’m most grateful not to have been spoiled, because ‘The Winds of Winter‘ is just an incredibly intense episode of television that managed to anger, amaze and frustrate me. Miguel Sapochnik also directed this episode, and I’m sad to hear he’s not directing anything in Season 7 because I want him to direct all the episodes on the show. All the directors bring their own talents to their episodes, but he just makes every look better. This episode didn’t feature the battle scenes of ‘The Battle of the Bastards‘ but Miguel Sapochnik makes the smaller, quiet feel just as intense. The trail was wonderfully executed and edited, between Margaery and Loras at the trail, Cersei watching from her balcony, Pycelle meeting his end by Qyburn and his little birds, and Lancel discovering the wildfire while it was too late. I expected Cersei to blow up the sept, but the loss of so many characters in 20 minutes was unexpected. I really expected Margaery to live and get out. Margaery was arguably my favourite character on the show, and I’m sad to see her go. I wished we got to see more of her plan for the High Sparrow, but I’m glad she went out still being more intelligent and observant than everyone else, and trying to protect her family. Jon being titled King of the North was a nice callback to Robb at the end of Season One, but I really hope Sansa rules over the North in the end. The ending shot was maybe a bit predictable, but it’s about time Daenerys set sail for Westeros, so Season 7 is already looking interesting.

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The Hound

Ian McShane spoiled the return of the Hound in interviews before the season started but it was still an incredibly enjoyable moment to see the cold open in ‘The Broken Man’ showing us the return of a character everyone thought was dead at the end of Season Four .  Ian McShane’ character Brother Ray (who I will always just refer to as Septon Meribald) gave a nice speech to the community in this episode, but due to the episode title, a lot of ans, myself included were expecting the incredible ‘Broken Men’ speech Septon Meribald gives in A Feast For Crows. Even so, they merged parts of the book quite well in this storyline, and it’s good to have the Hound back on the show and I’m intrigued to see what direction this character will go in. (Seriously though please give us CleganeBowl in some form)

The improvement of Bran’s storyline 

Bran’s storyline for the first time, was interesting. I don’t dislike Bran, but I’ve never found his story as engaging as others in the books as well as the show. It was a smart move to keep him out of the uneven last season, and his return and the application of his abilities meant I actually cared when he was on-screen. Bran can show the audience significant moments from the past, and now being the three eyed raven makes his character more crucial, made evident in the interactions with the Night’s King that are bound to be developed further, and witnessing the Tower of Joy and the revelation that Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. Even smaller moments such as watching young Ned and Lyanna at Winterfell were still just as great to see and I hope we see more flashbacks next season.

 

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Sansa and Jon’s reunion

This scene was so emotional, I couldn’t help but tear up during it. For so long the Starks have been separated, and to finally have two of them reunited was something so unexpected.  Sansa and Jon had never shared a scene previously on the show, and  yet Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner portrayed the relief and shock perfectly. On a show filled with dark moments, especially for the Starks, having a simple moment of happiness for these two characters who have suffered so much was beautiful to watch. Their relationship this season was one of the show’s highlights, and I really hope they stay united next year.

 

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Hodor 

No one will ever see the phrase ‘Hold the door’ in the same way again. George RR Martin revealed this moment to the show’s writers, and they pulled it off in the most heartbreaking and memorable way. Hodor isn’t a character that people are attached to in the same way they are to characters like Jaime or Sansa, but his character was always a constant comforting presence. Hodor was always a fixture in the background, and to show the origin of his name and the part Bran played in causing it all was one of the season’s most surprising moments. Hodor was a loyal and good-natured character until the end, and Game of Thrones made this episode one fans won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Music

I love composer Ramin Djawadi’s score on this show, but in ‘The Winds of Winter‘  alone he produced the best pieces of music on the show so far. The opening sequence of all the characters getting ready for the trial in King’s Landing was stunning, and as the trail started and the events unfolded, the music just managed to heighten everything and the sense of dread and unknown at what was going to occur. The piece of music ‘Light of the Seven‘ is hauntingly beautiful and the trial sequence would have been nowhere near as powerful without the music building up to the dramatic climax of the Sept blowing up. The other piece of music, titled ‘Hear me Roar‘ played over Cersei’s coronation blends together music from ‘Light of the Seven‘ and last season’s ‘Atonement‘. It’s dark, and fits the scene perfectly as Cersei becomes Queen. ‘Tower of Joy‘ is another heart wrenching piece that plays when Ned discovers Lyanna.

 

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Overall this season was a much better improvement compared to last year, and showed they know how to create some of the most memorable moments of television. The casting, directing, and acting are always consistently fantastic, with actors like Sophie Turner, Kit Harrington, Alfie Allen, Lena Headey (and of course, Bella Ramsey) bringing the best performances this season.

The next part looking at the weaker points of Season Six should hopefully be up next week!

Sarah

Outlander Season Two Episode 13 Review: Dragonfly In Amber

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As someone who hasn’t read the books, going to 1968 in the episode was a surprise. I had heard the novel started 20 years after Claire’s return, but I expected they would leave that  until the beginning of season 3. However it was a great surprise, I really didn’t think I’d prefer the episode spending so long in 1968 rather than the Battle of Culloden, but I did. The audience knowing this entire season that Jamie and Claire’s mission would fail meant that it didn’t need to spend ages dragging the events out in the finale. It focused on where it should have, on Jamie and Claire and their relationships with the other characters in Scotland.

That being said, I do hope we see in flashbacks next season what happened with Jamie and Murtagh, not to mention Randall’s death. It was the right call not to stuff the episode with the battle and the aftermath when they wanted to introduce Bree and Roger, helping them fully focus on Claire and how she’s changed since her time in Scotland.

Douglas’s death I had been spoiled about, but it was still painful to watch Jamie kill his Uncle and a character that was truly devoted to the Jacobite cause. I understand that he was furious hearing about Jamie and Claire killing Prince Charlie, but his reaction just sealed his fate.

I was surprised Jamie and Claire never seriously discussed killing Charles before, I know they dismissed it earlier in the season but I thought they could have had this discussion a few episodes ago.

I really hope we see Fergus again, Jamie and Claire acknowledging that they love him like a son was so sad, when Claire goes back I hope he’s still there.

Murtagh was probably one of my favorite characters this season, his loyalty to Jamie is perfect. “I’ll be dying with you” when he insists on fighting at Culloden with Jamie stabbed me in the heart. I know it’s unlikely but please say the writers keep him alive. His relationship with Jamie is one of the best.

Claire and Jamie’s goodbye was everything I wanted it to be. I know they stuck closely to the book in terms of dialogue, and I’m glad they did. I know Diana Gabaldon wrote a post mentioning how Claire’s gift of the Dragonfly in Amber to Jamie wasn’t as emotional as Jamie and Claire cutting their initials into each other. I have to agree, I can understand why the writers wanted to show the importance of the title of the novel and episode in their goodbye, but I would have preferred the book version.

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The transition from Brianna sleeping to Jamie back in 1745 was stunning.

Caitriona Balfe never fails to amaze, but her work in this episode was incredible. Having to play Claire 20 years older couldn’t have been easy, and yet she manages to show all the pain Claire’s been carrying, while still keeping the spirit and determination the audience loves. I loved some of the little moments in this episode, such as when Claire was looking round at the funeral and she reached up to touch something, we got a shot of her wedding ring to Jamie, telling us straight away the love and devotion Claire still feels after all the years.

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The scene of Claire talking to Jamie at Culloden Moor was heartbreaking, “Rest easy soldier” broke me.

I like how there was little narration this episode, we didn’t need to know how Claire was feeling as Catriona’s acting said it all. The most beautiful and heartbreaking scene was when Claire went to visit Lallybroch, and all the memories came flooding back..

I can’t compare to how his character is portrayed in the books, but I loved who they casted for Roger, straight away he’s a character you just like and his attempts at flirting with Brianna were sweet. The scene between the two of them discussing history was adorable.    I look forward to seeing more of his character hopefully.

I liked Brianna, she was a great combination of the two main characters though I preferred Roger from this episode. I’d like to know more about her, flashbacks from her time growing up and a chance to explore her relationship with Claire and Roger more.

GELLIS. I was so happy to see her, I loved her character so much last season. It was interesting to find out more about her life before she travelled back in time, though killing her husband was extreme. Roger’s “It smells like a fucking barbecue!” was a great callback to Gellis before the witch trial last season.

Jamie not being able to hear the stones but Bree and Roger being able to was an exciting piece of information, will they travel back with Claire at all?

Claire finding out Jamie survived Culloden was perfection, the focus on the joy in her face and she looked at the sun rising on the stones was simply beautiful and the best way to end the season.

On another note, the Emmy awards were announced and Outlander was robbed. It got nominated for best scenic and costume design which it deserves, but no acting nominations. The cast were superb this season, all I know the acting categories are always competitive but at least Caitriona Balfe deserved  one. Or they could have swapped Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones, who really didn’t deserve one this season to Tobias Menzies instead.

This season has been a dark one for Outlander. It’s truly tested the strength of Jamie and Claire’s relationship. I personally found the move to Paris a welcome one, but after all the heartbreak a return to Scotland was much-needed for the main part of Claire and Jamie’s story. They’ve tackled a lot this year, and they handled the trauma from last season with Randall well, truly showing how it impacted Jamie and his relationships. Claire losing her baby was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve watched on television and Caitriona Balfe can really do anything. (Seriously, now I’m annoyed again that she didn’t get an Emmy nomination, like she is utterly incredible). The addition of Bree and Roger will make next season better, further developing Bree and her handling the fact that Jame is her father, and her relationship with Roger, who I love already.

By next season I’ve decided I would like to have read the first three books at least, as I’ve enjoyed this show so much and definitely want to read and compare how the show has adapted it. I’ve really enjoyed starting to write reviews, and will continue to review Outlander when season 3 comes out.

Sorry for the late review, I’ve had a busy week and didn’t want to rush writing about the episode and looking back on Season 2.

Until next season,

Sarah

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(Credit to Outlander Online for the screencaps I’ve used for this episode)

Outlander Season Two Episode 12 Review: The Hail Mary

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Despite knowing already that Jamie and Claire fail in their plan to prevent the Battle of Culloden, it was still incredibly frustrating to watch them not succeed in their attempts to change history.  I still throughout that maybe, Jamie could convince Charles not to battle at Culloden and their last ditch attempts to stop it would work. Watching it you knew that the attack on the birthday party wasn’t going to go as planned, but I still convinced myself that they could change history somehow.

Jamie’s frustration echoes that, and how this season he and Claire have been rebuked every turn almost in their attempts to shape the future. Now there’s certainly no chance of stopping it, and Jamie and Claire are heading to what they’ve always feared, helpless to stop it.

I was glad we got to see Alex again, even if it was in poorer circumstances. It’s sad to know that Alex’s illness is now causing his immediate death, but there’s some comfort in knowing that he and Mary got to share some happiness together, even though it was short-lived. Especially considering last time we saw him Claire had dashed his hopes of a future with Mary.

Mary appeared to have matured significantly since the last episode, I’m not sure how much time has supposed to have passed since then. Her relationship with Alex as well as her pregnancy have caused her to grow up, and her frostiness when she meets Claire again is expected.  The devotion she has to Alex was incredibly sad to see, but thank god her marriage to Jack Randall will be short-lived. Not to mention it’s a huge relief knowing that the child recovered from her marriage with Jack is actually Alex’s.

It was a shock seeing Randall again this episode. Tobias Menzies is beyond amazing in this role though. He’s the most horrible character to watch on-screen, and yet you can’t keep your eyes off him when he appears. It was interesting to see a Randall at the mercy of Claire this week, rather than the other way round. Randall’s vulnerability this week was odd, I wasn’t convinced at first that his affection for his brother was genuine. It’s hard to wonder how Jack treated Alex so kindly compared to everyone else in his life. It adds some further layers to this twisted character, and it’s something to know he can feel love and affection towards someone else. It felt odd watching him be nice, especially in his pledge to look after Mary and her child. But the Randall we know and hate was still there, his scene with Claire serving as a strong reminded of how sick this character is.  Even when he needs help he’s still manages to unnerve everyone. His small, small good side is till tainted by his terror, and his beating of Alex after his death was awful.

Murtagh again continues to be the most lovable character on the show, and his offer to marry Mary was so sweet. Never change Murtagh.

The scene with Dougal and Column was incredibly sad, and Dougal’s face when he realises Column has passed away while he was speaking was heartbreaking.

Until next week,

Sarah

Outlander Season Two Episode 11 Review: Vengeance is Mine

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This week didn’t hit the same highs as the past few episodes, but had important character moments and developments which I greatly appreciated. Plot wise it didn’t move the story forward in any significant way regarding the Battle of Culloden, but overall still managed to be interesting and important with the characters.

  • An episode where Prince Charles didn’t say ‘Mark me’ has to be noted. I’m glad there was less of him this week, though I do like how the writers showed his fierce determination in continuing moving forward in the rebellion, and not wanting to follow his generals advice in going back to Culloden. I’m not a massive fan of his character, but appreciate the dedication he has in his cause and in pursuing it.

 

  • I admit I had forgotten about the Duke of Sandringham, but it didn’t take long to remember how much I hated him. I wondered if we were ever going to find out about the attack on Claire and Mary, and it was a good and shocking reveal that the Duke was behind it. The fact that he expected Claire to be grateful for only having his men order to rape rather than kill her really only reinforced what a detestable character he was. I like how the reveal was done with Claire noticing the mark on the servant’s hand, as they focused on that in earlier episodes this season.

 

  • You may hate the Duke but he had the best comedic moments in this episode. The opening episode title with the wig falling over was brilliant. I loved how the first thing he did when Jamie entered to save Claire was to put his wig back on, he couldn’t bear to face Jamie without looking presentable. It was even better because he didn’t put it on properly. 193.jpg

 

  • Munro was a character I had completely forgotten about, especially since it’s been so long since we’ve seen him. Still, it was nice to be reminded of his character again, especially in his loyalty to Jamie and in helping Claire by receiving her messages and giving them to Jamie.

 

  • Angus’s death last week hasn’t been forgotten, poor Rupert consistently bringing him up. It’s nice to know he’s still being remembered so often, even after time had passed after the battle.  Rupert can’t get a break though, thankfully Claire managed to save him after he was shot in the eye by a British soldier.

 

  • Murtagh finally being able to avenge Claire and Mary was great, as you could tell his failure to prevent the attack had haunted Murtagh, and for him to be able to honour them by killing the Duke and bringing his head to Mary and Claire was a powerful moment. Murtagh never disappoints. Case in point, his best lines from the episode ““Tell me, does it ever occur to you that taking Claire to wife might not have been the wisest thing you ever did?” and “I kept my word, I lay your vengeance at your feet.”

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  • I was so happy to see Mary again, when Jamie and Claire left Paris I was sad that we didn’t see her before they left, that one scene after Claire visits her after her rape didn’t seem like a fitting farewell to the character. After another surprise was revealed that she was the Duke’s god-daughter, it made the Duke working together with the Comte for the attack on them so so much worse, especially his lack of remorse. Mary’s inner strength was on display this episode, and though her initial hesitance at going to the front to warn Munro was frustrating, her gaining the courage and eventually stabbing her rapist was an important moment. Mary deserved to exact her revenge more than anyone, and having her kill her attacker was the best part of the episode for me. I hope we see her next week too.

 

  • I was loving Claire in this episode, especially considering she wasn’t prominently featured in last week’s episode. Her feistiness and showing  she had just as much dedication as Jamie to protecting their men was a fantastic scene. ” Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? Are these not my men too?” is probably my favorite line of the episode.

 

Until next week,

Sarah

 

 

Outlander Season Two Episode 10 Review: Prestonpans

 

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If I was a mess this week watching Outlander, god knows how I’m going to survive the finale. Knowing the rebellion is going to fail is going to make watching everyone head off for war incredibly painful.

  • Philip John directed this week’s and last week’s episode, and he’s done a brilliant job. I hope he directs more episodes in the future. The battle sequence wasn’t like other battle sequences I had seen before, and the battle being clouded with fog heightened the uncertainty the characters and the audience were feeling in the moment. The opening shot of the single soldier was fantastic. The slow motion and the sound effects were used brilliantly, and created the perfect tense moments.

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  •  Fergus had some of the most heartbreaking scenes this episode, having to watch the men go off to battle while he was left to tend the fires with Claire wasn’t what he thought he should be doing in war, and he sneaks off to join the battle. Along with the shots of Battle , the moments of Fergus clutching his knife in terror as what chaos surround him was a powerful scene, and horrible to see the shock and pain Fergus gets from seeing the reality of war.

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  • I like how the audience felt sympathy for both sides, the sights of the massacred British soldiers demonstrated the horrors of war that both sides had to endure. Dougal’s murder of the British soldier we met last season trying to help Claire was unexpected and sad to watch. Of course the Scottish and the characters have every reason to hate the British army, but outside of the brutality  we’ve seen committed from characters like Randall, this episode showed that many were just men serving their country as they were taught. Jamie’s pissing contest with the British soldier showed not only a much-needed comedic moment, but also a nice human moment between two men outside of their obligations to war just having a laugh together.

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  • Noticeably a lack of Claire this episode, but her scenes were still important and affecting. It showed the pains the women endured, simply having to wait for the men to return, hoping their loved ones would be alright, never knowing how badly wounded the soldiers they treated would be. Claire’s speech to try to keep them busy and focused was a nice moment, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that later this season.Sam Heughan was incredible this week, Jamie’s role as a leader in war fits the character perfectly and it’s great to see Jamie in a better place in a role he suits so well.
  • “You’ve won a battle but you will never win this war”- couldn’t help but be reminded of a similar  line Robb Stark gives in Season 3 of Game of Thrones, “I’ve won every battle but I’m losing this war”.

 

  • Prince Charles’s weaknesses are truly on display this week, not that we didn’t know already that he wasn’t a strong leader to command such a rebellion, but his inability to make choices and understand the Scottish men around him highlight how doomed this rebellion was. I’ve said it before, but there should be a drinking game for whenever he says ‘Mark me’.
  • The second Claire said goodbye to Angus and Rupert you knew one of the them was going to die, but having Rupert appear to be mortally wounded but then having Angus suddenly die was so unexpected and heartbreaking to watch. Angus was a loved character on the show, and his return last week was so joyful. I’m disappointed we didn’t get to spend more time with the character this season, but it’s not surprising in a big battle episode that the writers wanted to kill a character off. Even with only 50 losses for the Scottish in the battle, it demonstrates how every life lost has devastating emotional consequences. As Claire holds Angus as he dies, it brings the story back to the first line of the episode. with Claire thinking

“How many men had I seen killed in war?”

“Far, far too many”.

Until next week,

Sarah

 

Outlander Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Je Suis Prest

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“I don’t know if I’m ready to go to war again”

Despite not being as plot heavy as last week, this episode surpasses last week with the strong character moments and dealing with the practical and emotional impacts of war.

The episode opens with Claire and Jamie taking their men forward to join the rebellion, only to discover men deserting on the way. Simon has left to urge the deserters to return, by promising them land after the rebellion. Claire and Jamie stop with other members of the rebellion, meeting up with Murtagh and Fergus, who joyfully hugs Claire when he sees they’ve returned. Angus and Rupert have returned, and in a needed bit of comic relief reveal the fate of Willie, and just as Claire and Jamie get worried about what’s happened to him we only discover that “The lad.. He went and got himself married” Angus and Rupert somberly note. It’s great to see these two again, and all that characters from last season reuniting and being together again.

 

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That’s not the last reunion though, as Dougal makes his return, to a happy Jamie and a pensive Claire. “It wouldn’t be Scotland without you Dougal”, Claire tells him. Dougal, a proud Jacobite supporter, is thrilled to have Jamie supporting the cause, but Clan Mackenzie has only brought in three members for the rebellion.

Dougal seems more naive in his faith of the men they’ve brought, but Jamie knows what the Scottish are up against, so he chooses to stay and train the men before they join Prince Charlie’s army. Murtagh begins with teaching the men drills and how to march properly, his yelling providing some great lines, such as “What are you laughing at bastard!”.

As Claire observes all the training around her though she is caught off guard by flashbacks of her time in WWII, watching men train and die. Before we can look deeper into these flashbacks we get a training montage of the day, the men improving and practicing with weapons, and physical training, everyone there playing a part in preparations for war. It’s nice that they showed how everyone was affected by war, and everyone had their own roles and duties even outside of the actual fighting. After a successful day, Dougal is eager to join Prince Charlie but is rebuked  by Jamie and Murtagh who know that the men still have a long way to go.

Another flashback from Claire after seeing Angus look in disgust at his food, shows her meeting two American soldiers, and commenting on the poor state of the food. Later on with her head in her hands, Jamie sees she’s not herself but Claire insists that she’s fine.

The next of training shows the men half heartedly doing the drills, lacking motivation. Jamie quickly steps in, acknowledging how silly something such as marching may seem to them in regards to the battle itself. “Then I went to France, became a soldier. Then I saw what a modern well trained army can do.” Jamie proceeds to highlight the harsh realities of battle against the British, finishing with “It takes more than courage to beat an army like that. It takes a soldier.” The men are finally motivated and cheer, but Jamie’s victory is soon cut short when Douglas, Angus and Rupert suddenly charge towards them, sword in hand, screaming and wild.

“That’s how you bring down redcoats” Dougal proudly exclaims, but Jamie isn’t happy and this contradiction of what he’s just tried to teach the men causes him to pull Dougal aside. Jamie reasserts his authority as a leader, but Dougal laughs, asking if Jamie seriously thinks he knows more about fighting than him, to which Jamie bluntly replies that he does. Dougal is taken aback, but accepts Jamie as his superior. This lasts for about 5 seconds, and Dougal goes into to see Claire and manipulate her into thinking Jamie needs help but is too proud to accept it. Dougal reminds her of her promise to marry him if Jamie died, but Claire sees right through this bullshit though. “You suffer from narcissism” Claire harshly declares, before delivering the best line of the episode “Fuck yourself”. Claire Fraser is my hero.

Another training montage follows, this time with more physical fighting training, Dougal and everyone teaching the men the skills they need for war. Jamie and Murtagh then lead them men in loading and shooting guns, both commenting on Claire’s lack of spirit. Later on at dinner, Claire gets furious at Angus for treating his feet badly, putting him at high risk of trench foot. We then see another flashback of Claire’s time in WWII, Claire giving a speech to soldiers, dealing with the same lack of interest and care in her warnings. Furious, Claire storms out. It’s something I hadn’t thought about a lot, the fact that Claire had lived through another war and had seen and endured horrible things, watching men die. It’s understandable that in the preparation for another one these memories would come back to haunt her, and I like that the writers chose to explore this part of Claire’s life, making t well directing and paralleled with her current situation.

Later that night, then are alarmed to see men entering the camp, but it’s only Dougal with some new recruits. Jamie however, isn’t impressed. Then men on watch shouldn’t have let all the men through so easily, and Jamie orders them brought to him. Jamie’s angry at Dougal for not obeying orders, but Dougal persists “when did you order me not to recruit new men?” he asks. Jamie then sets Dougal and his men to guarding the camp for the rest of their time there. Jamie arrests the men who were originally guarding the camp, and gets them whipped. 

Later, Claire walks by the men firing their guns and it soon overwhelms her as she falls to the ground, falling into another flashback. In this one Claire and the two American soldiers we’ve seen her chat to get fired at while driving, and Claire and one of the men are thrown over and hidden in a ditch. The other soldier however was still by the car, and is crying in pain. However much Claire wants to help, she knows it would only cause her death. The other soldier attempts to sneak across but promises to come back for Claire. Just as he runs over, he is sadly shot down. Claire now alone and having to her the other boy’s screams of pain curls into a ball and puts her hand over her ears. The next morning she’s still there, shocked and rigid in fear when a soldier discovers her.

 

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Back in Scotland this is how we see Claire, with her hands on her ears on the ground as Jamie rushes over. After she explains, Jamie reassures her that’s there’s nothing she could have done, and Claire knows this and told herself this, but “Then I just closed the door on that night”. Now that another war is here “I’m not sure I’m ready to go war again”, she confesses. Jamie recommends sending her back, but Claire refuses, knowing that would be even worse. In the most honest and heartbreaking moment of the episode, Claire gives this speech

“If I go back, it will just be like lying in that ditch again helpless, and powerless to move like a dragon fly in amber. Except this time it will be worse. Because I’ll know that the people out there dying alone are people I know. People I love. I can’t do that Jamie. I won’t lie in that ditch again.I can’t be helpless and alone ever again.”

Later Jamie is suddenly attacked by an intruder in the camp, who is with the British. Jamie doesn’t want to kill him, but just as they are about to torture him to find out who he marches with, Claire steps in. “Scottish bastard!” she yells, and predents to a be a captive who resisted Jamie’s advances earlier, and says he can sleep with her if they let the intruder go. As they start to make a scene, the intruder yells at them to stop, and promises to tell them information if Jamie lets Claire go. It’s an incredibly fun scene to watch, the two acting their parts to perfection and the glances they give eachother and how they react to eachother reinforce how well they know eachother. (Murtagh’s reactions during this are everything)  He introduces himself as William Grey and is travelling with a large group of men who are heavily armed. If the information he gives proves true, Jamie orders him to be tied to a tree where his men will find it. “I owe you my life” William admits before being taken away, “I must regard it as a debt of honour” “Once it is discharged, I will kill you” he says. I have a feeling we will see him again.

 

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Dougal’s men were guarding the camp, but the unguarded fires by Jamie caused them to be noticed, so Jamie submits himself to being whipped. It’s horrible to watch him suffer this again, and the men are clearly horrified seeing Jamie’s already wounded back be whipped again. Jamie and his men then go and sneak into the British camp, sabotaging and taking the wheels of their supplies, preventing them from coming after them that quickly. Jamie returns and thanks Claire for saving lives with the information she got out of William.

The last scene with a beautiful score behind it, and well directed shows the men marching towards Prince Charlie’s camp and reaching the outskirts. Jamie lets Dougal ride ahead and announce their presence.

“No turning back now, Sassenach” Jamie notes

“I should say not”, Claire retorts.

And then with the last line, after all the suffering she’s relieved and gone through with Jamie, Claire utters the Fraser motto. “Je Suis Prest”.

Until next week,

Sarah