‘Outlander’ Finale: Ron Moore on Tackling Rape Scenes Truthfully

outlander season finale postmortem
Image courtesy of Starz

Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen the “Outlander” season one finale, titled “To Ransom a Man’s Soul.”

Starz’s “Outlander” has seen its heroine, Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser (Caitriona Balfe), navigate from the battlefields of World War II to the emotional minefield of the 18th century Scottish Highlands, facing threats too numerous to list — but her greatest challenge came not from a physical fight, but the struggle for her husband Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) soul following his rape and torture at the hands of Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall (Tobias Menzies). It’s a confrontation that’s been building all season, hinted at in the penultimate episode and brought to gut-wrenching life in the finale.

To break down the many shocking developments in the season finale, Variety spoke to showrunner Ron Moore about tackling the challenging subject matter and adapting Diana Gabaldon’s most potent prose for the screen, as well as his plans for season two.

Since Diana’s novel is told solely from Claire’s perspective, we don’t find out what happened to Jamie in Wentworth until after he’s been rescued in the book. Did you have any temptation to keep Jamie and Black Jack off-screen for most of episode 115 to build that tension, or did you always plan for it to unfold the way it ultimately did?

I think we decided that pretty early. It was one of the reasons why back in Episode 9 we opened on his point of view, so it gave us permission to do that kind of thing, because we wanted to be able to do that once we got to this section in the story. In the [finale] you see that it is more flashback and he’s remembering, but it allowed us to play those scenes in a different way because if he’s telling Claire the story and then you’re flashing back from his perspective, it’s also influenced by what he would tell her and what he would verbalize and what he wouldn’t. By doing it objectively, it gives you a chance to just play the scene and see what’s happening in real time. It also meant that when Claire’s creeping through the fortress there’s a tremendous amount of tension because we know what’s going on in that cell and you’re waiting for her to get in there, and it just felt like a really good dramatic construct.

What was your experience of filming the scenes between Jamie and Black Jack in that cell?

All season long we obviously knew where the story was heading, so there had been a lot of conversations in the writers’ room and with the cast. We all knew where this was going to lead to, so we had given a lot of thought in leading up to those events.

Then as we got into that last block — because we shoot them in blocks of two, so 15 and 16 were shot together by the same director in the same span of time — we set aside extra rehearsal time for them so Tobias and Sam and (director) Anna Foerster would go off and would rehearse alone and we carved out extra time in the schedule for them to do that. Then at a certain point they brought myself and Ira Behr, who wrote the first episode and co-wrote the second one, and they showed us all the scenes. They had walked through them all, they’d rehearsed. Then we discussed it, we had conversations. So there was a lot of preparation and a lot of thought.

We built the prison cell set on our stages here at Cumbernauld, and it was a heavy thing. They were physically dark — there wasn’t a lot of light in there. The stage around it was dark. The crew gave them space. The crew knew what was going on. They were psychologically prepared, but it would be very long, draining, emotional days. When we were done with that section, everyone was happy to be out of that prison cell. It was a genuine sense of release once we had completed it.

What was the mood like on set during those scenes?

There was a heavy weight to it psychologically. It was not a light set. There wasn’t a lot of banter and joking going on — usually we have a very light and happy set. There was really none of that. Everyone just stepped back, stayed away from the set as much as possible. The actors kind of stayed in that place. They’re two very different actors, so they approach the material in different ways, so it’s not that they were both in the scene all the time. Even off-camera they had separate methods and ways of doing that, but the atmosphere surrounding them had a weight to it and a heaviness. We knew we were going into this area of the story and that feeling permeated the shoot.

Can you talk a little more about what you’ve observed of Sam and Tobias’ differing methods, from an outsider’s perspective?

It is just an outsider’s perspective, but I would say that right off the bat Tobias tries a lot of different things within a scene from different takes, and he’s always experimenting — not so much with the words, because he comes out of theater. We’ll have discussions ahead of time about dialogue and character and all that, and we would do some polishes and rewrites and worked with him a lot and Sam in the early days as well. But once the script was a script, Tobias is always giving you choices. He’s always trying something different in the performance take to take and scene to scene, so there’s a lot of experimentation.

And I think Sam is more into that moment and into that character — he is Jamie and he wants to maintain that focus of where Jamie is and where he is.

Were you able to shoot chronologically to allow them to stay in the moment and have an emotional throughline over the course of those scenes?

In the prison cell, I think that was shot fairly chronologically in the story. I think we set it up specifically so that we could move them emotionally through the story arc, so it’s one set and just a couple actors, so it wasn’t difficult to schedule it that way.

It’s obviously a very graphic, visceral and disturbing story arc, but there’s also a lot that’s implied rather than explicitly shown, which is a testament to the power of the performances, writing and direction. Was there more graphic content that ended up on the cutting room floor, or did you have an idea of the balance you wanted to strike before filming began?

There was more material shot than was ultimately used, as there always is — different angles, some dialogue cut, moments were cut, some of it was shifted around in editing afterward. On a certain basic level, part of my job is to make that call where you’re deciding, “what’s too much and what’s not enough?” I would look at it and try to take it as far as I could, feeling like, “OK, I want to tell this story, I don’t want to flinch, I want to tell this story, make you look at something and make you look at something uncomfortable and feel it.” But there is a point where I’m looking away, too. There’s a point where I don’t want to watch it anymore and that was sort of my [barometer]. I’d have to have that internalized, “OK, now I don’t want to watch this anymore” and “OK, that’s where we have to cut away” or “we’re not going to do that.”

Then the reverse is also true. You don’t want to cut it back to the point where you feel like you’re cheating the audience, you’re cheating the story, you’re cheating the truth of what it is. To do this tale there had to be a certain just kind of “this is a horrible thing to look at” quality to it.

Sam has previously mentioned the number of prosthetics he had to wear in those Wentworth scenes. Some of the practical effects seemed very elaborate, so can you talk about the process of visualizing those?

We had specific people to create and design the prosthetics for his hand. It was actually his hand and most of his forearm. And there’s an articulated one where he first puts the hand on the table, Jack says “put your hand on the table,” you see the fingers move — they had to have cables in there and off-camera so that they could make the fingers move just a little bit before the nail goes in, and same with the hammer. And then other times it’s makeup and prosthetics on top of Sam’s real hand. And the trick was always just deciding which one you were going to use and which angle, so that the audience always felt like it was really in his hand. So it took a lot of time and thought, but I thought that they did an amazing job with it.

Male rape is something that’s rarely depicted in mainstream media, and it’s even rarer to see your lead male hero in such a vulnerable position. Obviously that’s a credit to Diana’s novel first and foremost, but how much of a draw was that subject matter and the chance to explore something so foreign to audiences, just from a creative standpoint?

When I read the book the first time, I was surprised — because that’s not a place you take your lead male hero, and I had never read that before or seen it before. I knew, “OK, if we do this book and we do that and that’s really the end of Season 1, it’s really going to be something,” because that’s just not where you go. So the storyteller in me was really drawn to that like, “Wow, let’s go out on the high wire here. Let’s do something that no one has done and know that it’s tricky territory and there’ll be a lot of criticism one way or the other. But those who dare, so let’s go do it.”

And we just tried to then approach it with, “OK, we’re going to do this; let’s make it as truthful as possible. Let’s talk about who these characters are. We’re doing this for a reason. What does Jack want? What does Jamie want? What are their vulnerabilities? What are their weaknesses? What are their strengths? How does this game of cat and mouse between them play out? Where is the violence in it? Where is the rape? Where is the breaking?” We really went through it and talked it over and made sure that we were telling a story, we weren’t just trying to show you something that you’d never seen before. This was an organic part of this tale that was in the book, that is an outgrowth of earlier episodes. It’s part of the reason why we spent as much time as we did back in Episode 6 with Jack Randall and Claire. We kept letting him tell us the story of the flogging. Let him tell us about his obsession with Jamie, so that you’re in that character’s mind and you’re starting to lay the track for where this is ultimately going.

From your perspective, what does Jack want? What is he getting about this? I’m sure that’s a very subjective answer that differs from you to Tobias to Diana, but what’s your take on his motivations?

I thought it was a complicated question. I don’t think there is a simple answer to it. I think what he wants and what he gets can be looked at in a variety of ways. I think that on a certain level it’s power; on a certain level it’s breaking a man that he was unable to break before, the interest in that, the sort of “Why can’t I break this young man? He’s interesting to me, and then he escaped, and that’s unfinished business.”

Part of it is sadism — part of it is taking pleasure in someone else’s pain. It raises questions of, can Jack experience pleasure? What is pleasure to Jack? Can he ever enjoy anything without someone else being frightened, terrified, in pain, or not? Is there jealousy involved? Is he jealous of the man that Jamie is? He can never be Jamie and is this an expression of that?

I think that there are a lot of ways to go and I think they’re all part of it because in a character like this, there are no simple answers to it. I think it’s a mix of a lot of these different emotions and a lot of these different psychological drivers.

Rape is a kind of violation that a person never fully recovers from — there are physical and mental wounds that Jamie will always carry with him following this ordeal. The season ends on a hopeful note with Jamie and Claire escaping to France and Claire revealing her pregnancy, but where does their relationship stand now?

The after-effects of this will live with them into the second season. They’re going to France. They are going to try to stop the Jacobite rebellion. They are going to try to stop history, and she is pregnant, but these shadows will be with them and this will affect their relationship into the second season. But the second season will be a very different show. It’s a very different look. It’s Paris; it’s aristocracy; it’s the court of Louis XV; it’s in the City of Light with a lot of lies. It’s a completely different look and feel, visually and in tone, than the first season was. So we’re really kind of prepping a new show and shooting a whole new television series in a lot of ways.

Looking back at the season, what strikes you most about Claire’s evolution? She’s been through an emotional and physical journey of her own, and we see a very different Claire Fraser at the end of season one.

I always said that the primary characteristic of Claire to me was her intelligence and Cait embodies that. Claire’s a smart woman and she’s always thinking. She’s thinking her way out of any situation, “How do I get out of this world? How do I get out of this castle? How do I get out of this scene?” She’s always trying to rationalize how she gets in and out of that — I think that’s the amazing part of Claire, and Cait just breathes that.

I was looking for an actress that you could watch think on camera, that you just went, “yeah, that’s a capable, strong, smart woman,” and she just is that. It’s unbelievable. And considering the physical wear and tear that we put her through in season one, which was every scene every day in all kinds of conditions, day and night, rain and sleet and freezing, she was just always a trouper and always the one on the set who’s cracking jokes while other people are freezing. I have an enormous amount of respect for her and also just appreciation because she really lived it. She really brought this character to life and pulled you into this amazing story.

I loved the scene where she’s confessing to Father Anselm — the catharsis of being able to say everything to a complete outsider, and to just be able to finally let go of some of the stuff she’s been holding onto, probably things that she couldn’t even tell Jamie, to a certain extent.

It was interesting, because that’s a scene that actually went in and out of the script and in and out of the cut several times, because I kept struggling with it in terms of “why is it in the show?” And I wasn’t sure that it was giving us that piece, because she had told Jamie that she was from the future, and it didn’t feel like confessing then changed her, it didn’t put her on a different path.

So, there were times I took it out and times I put it back. Then ultimately, Diana Gabaldon herself really fought for it and said, “Look, I feel like this is really important; it’s a key part of the book; it matters a lot to me.” And I went “OK, I’m going to listen to that, let me find a way to make this work,” and I’m glad it did because I think it is a nice part of the episode.

The season had two female writers (Toni Graphia and Anne Kenney), and one female director (Anna Foerster) who helmed four of the most emotionally and physically challenging episodes. “Outlander” is obviously a female-driven story from a female author, so how important was it to you to make sure that female talent was represented behind the camera, since female writers and directors continue to be dramatically underutilized in the industry?

That’s very true and I thought it was important. It’s a female lead show. It’s really the story of this woman and her amazing journey. I specifically was looking for a female director on the wedding episode and one of the women on the show to write it because I just wanted to have that aspect of it — men and woman sometimes bring different things to scripts and to directing, so I thought “let’s lean into that.” And once I had seen Anna’s work on that block and the way the cast responded to her and the way she dealt with the cast, it wasn’t too big of a leap to say she should do the finale too, because this is going to be incredibly emotionally complex. And I intuitively thought that in the mix of that, if we have two male actors, that the director, if it was a woman, was just going to add an element that would feel important in that scene.

What are you most proud of, looking back at the season as a whole?

I’m really proud of the diversity of episodes and stories. It’s an amazing series in a lot of ways, but just the fact that you can’t point to an episode and say, “well, that’s a typical ‘Outlander’ episode.” The cliché “Outlander” episode is what? There is no cliché “Outlander” episode. It’s interesting that each one of these was its own individual movie and that the story just kept pushing forward and that we were up to it [as a] production. It was difficult and taxing for the whole cast and crew to pull off something like this, but they were always up for it and in the end it’s a beautiful, amazing show. Visually the performances are solid. The story’s there. The music is fantastic. All the elements just came together. I’m just very proud of this team for really all pulling together as one and creating this thing.

What did you think of the “Outlander” season one finale? What do you hope to see in season two? Share your reactions below.

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  1. Susan horton says:

    I believe that the part of the rape scene was a tricky one, it portrayed what people will not speak of doing it by flash backs was the perfect way so that you could feel what Jamie was going through, it brought the situation to the viewer through the eyes off the victim i felt hart broken for what he had to endure a brilliant ending to season one looking forward to season two. Well done to all the cast for an amazing story that makes you fell as if you are living it with them

  2. Tammy says:

    The viewer is not ignorant. The scene felt forced on the viewer and I felt very uncomfortable. I too will more then likely not watch anymore. The response from another viewer I agree with ” it felt like a gay porn show”

  3. Jennifer says:

    The season finale went too far. I maybe done watching it because of the horrific nature of it. These books were written for women and we don’t need to see that stuff. You could have done it with less time and leave more to the imagination. It seemed like a gay porn show for guys.

  4. Marci Harwood says:

    I just watched all of season one on Amazon Video. I think it captured the books essence very well. I was very excited to see it. I remember seeing a director, author, cast panel at the beginning of the creation of Outlander as a series. There was a comment that Diana Gabaldon said about Jaime that stuck with me. She said, “I can’t wait to see Jaime get rapped.” I thought the scenes did it justice. It was horrible to read and it was just as horrible to watch.
    What I really missed was the very very important spirituality that was not represented at the monastery. I found that real and raw and extremely important in the development of Claire. Diana did a fantastic job grappling with the conflict between spiritual and worldly understanding in the book.The resolve of that was such a huge part of how Claire saved Jaime. How they both healed or set the path for healing. The friendship with the monk and his story and the healing spring that opened her womb… so very important to the story and sorely missed. The almost cut scene with the confession was a pale shadow of what I found to be one of the most interesting things about the book. I understand completely why Diana fought for it. We are spiritual beings, not acknowledging that in this spiritual story is a gross miss-justice.
    That is my one and only disappointment about the series. I was brought back to the story and relived it. I loved the acting, directing, scenery… all of it. Everyone involved kudos to you!! Great work!!

  5. Gilly Hynes says:

    I thought the entire series was magnificent. Ep 16 forced me to view the entire series as a whole, not episodically, and the story arc transition from the books was sublime. Production values superb, writing, editing, music, lighting, costuming,acting, casting – fantastic. Its my beloved Outlander brilliantly adapted from Diana’s books. Can’t wait for Season 2 and hopefully many more Seasons to come.

  6. JoAnn Schmidt says:

    I knoe someone else who is an avid “Outlander” fan like me who did not even what the last episode because she couldn’t bear to see Jamietortured anymore.

    • Grace says:

      Season 2 Outlanders, not for us the writers went into the deepest, darkest recesses of their minds and tapped the dark side to write this , Absolutely horrific. As soon as the torture began we has seen enough we just turned it off . We are not remotely drawn to the dark side, and will no longer be watching the series. Perhaps that is the goal to go down in flames

  7. JoAnn Schmidt says:

    For me the rape scene was too much-too graphic. I was exhausted by Bllackjack’s torture of Jamie. I was disappointed that Blackjack was able to break Jamie. I did not think it was consistent with Jamie’s character.

    The whole episode was so bleak that when Clair told Jamie she was pregnant, I was happy, but said to myself, They’ll probably have her miscarry.” I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen!!!!!

  8. shellinaya says:

    “that’s not a place you take your lead male hero” – exactly. Hated that it went there.
    But fighting for Claire’s confession was smart, because it reminded the audience that this is a time-travel fantasy story, not just a period drama.

  9. This is an amazing TV series overall! Love it! The finale was intensely difficult to watch, painful and heart wrenching to see. Rape of any kind is traumatic to the victim, but this was abuse and violation in the worst possible way. Left you feeling sick, which means amazing acting! Can’t wait for season 2!!

  10. Kate C. says:

    I think it needs to be kept in mind that not everyone watching the series has read the books. Looking at it from that perspective makes me feel that the way Wentworth was presented was not over the top, but crucial for non-readers to see the extent of the brutality in order to understand how and why the incident has such an important impact on these characters and the way(s) they deal with it.
    I always watch each episode at least twice, because the first time I can’t help but make comparisons to the books but then try to see it through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know the story.

  11. Shirley Oliver says:

    Amazing series! The actors have embodied the nature of Diana Gabaldon’s characters so beautifully. Anxiously awaiting season 2 magic from Mr. Moore.

  12. Aleta Pahl says:

    I think Outlander is the best series I have ever seen. It takes risks but never sensationalizes sex or violence. Whatever is shown comes from the books and is part of the overall arc of these characters’ emotional bond and journey through all the following books. If you do not show what is truthfully hard to watch, you are not doing justice to the core of the saga of Jamie and Claire. When we see the after-effects of Wentworth Prison in their relationship, we are now going to understand the depth of Jamie’s torment and struggle to live with it. Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies all deserve Emmy nominations as well as Outlander for Best Drama.

  13. Ed D says:

    Lacy J – I agree. Your remarks have a lot of merit.
    Episode 16 should have been entitled “To Destroy a Man’s Soul”.
    The viewers were treated to a continual series homo-erotic sado-masochistic images. It was grotesque and revolting. This was porn, not art. (Art in intended to raise the human spirit, not depress it.) As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart when struggling to craft a legal definition of pornography, “I know when I see it.
    Best guess; the producers sold out to the darkest longings and imaginings of the “fan base”. If you have seen some of those audience Q and A presentations, you know what I mean.
    By the way it was not a rape. It was voluntary and consensual. But not exactly Sidney Carton’s “It is a far, far better thing that I do.”
    Nevertheless another massive leap down “the slippery slope” to Gomorra.
    Speaking of “fan base”; over 90% of the comments to this interview are from women. The general consensus is that while shocked or made uncomfortable, but instead of being outraged, they will continue to watch out of affection for Jamie and Claire.
    That is all very nice (and just what the producers were counting on) but as we roll into Season 2 I worry that we will be treated to even more renditions of the Wentworth Prison “fun and games” via flashbacks as Jamie (who doesn’t look very healed) fights to exorcise the BJR experience from his psyche. Also there is a French brothel and the possibility of child molestation.
    I want to see more action: riding, shooting, stabbing and sword play. For action Season 1 was tepid and anemic. I really got tired of Jamie being used as a punching bag all the time. In the book Claire murders a guard in the prison and later she takes down a Dragoon with a pistol shot. Not to mention the wolf. Yeah, maybe Nora Donnelly (Two Gun Jenny) should have gotten the part of Claire after all. “Correct me, Brother…..” I love the way she delivered that line.
    The producers are always whining that there is not enough time. Are you kidding? They did “Gone With the Wind” in three hours. And “The Winds of War” was over 1000 pages, but it was covered in less than 16 episodes – 883 minutes running time.
    I liked the scene in the first episode when Claire tried to run away and Jamie caught her. He said he would put her over his shoulder and carry her back, if she did not come willingly. She says she doesn’t want that. And he chuckles and says, “Well I guess you’re comin’” That was all very Errol Flynn. Liked it a lot. (However Donnelly would probably have knocked him down and taken the horse.)
    Sadly I will not be going to France. I have had enough.

  14. LacyJ says:

    Love D.G.’s books (finishing Drums of Autumn now) but as much as I admire her research & writing skills, would say Diana (and everyone else who’s claiming Black Jack Randall is “not gay”) is in deep denial.

    Through out all the scenes with BJR (in all of the books his character is in) he’s never once actually had sex with a woman; there is a vague reference to some obscure woman he attacked but we have no actual scene or details.

    Twice he went through the motion of initiating raping Claire but, he did not actually do so in either situation, and, in the scene where he has Claire face down on his desk (and Jamie appears in the window to thwart him), he MAY HAVE attempted anal sex/rape, but we’ll never know if he was “up to” actually having heterosexual sex with her. We DO KNOW that he could not ‘perform’ when he was accosting Jenny at Lallybroch. IF he were indeed “merely a sadist and not a homosexual sadist,” he would have surely raped Jenny without difficulty.

    The greatest proof to anyone (without an agenda for being ‘politically correct’ or pleasing everyone) that BJR is only attracted to men was that he had no interest in either raping Claire in the next to last scene at series end, nor, was he interested in ‘watching’ his henchman do so – even though this would have caused a great deal of pain and anguish for both Claire AND Jamie. IF he were merely a sadist with any tendency toward heterosexuality, he would have likely jumped at these tactics, but he stated that this did not interest him.

    ***SPOILER, in Dragonfly in Amber (2nd book); BJR rapes a boy in a brothel – he could have easily exercised his sadistic practices on any of the women there, but no, he chose to molest the boy. SO, clearly, BJR is a homosexual who also happens to be a major sadistic perv. I don’t understand how D.G. can write all of those scenes and then claim that BJR is bisexual or also likes to torture and have sex with women when he clearly avoids those opportunities at every pass.

    In closing, we have a group of friends & family who are watching the series together that has grown to 21 people. 20 of us thought that Ron Moore lost a bit of integrity in the production of the last 2 scenes of season One by devoting an overwhelming amount of time to BJR’s raping and torturing of Jamie. As my husband noted (a successful Clinical Psychologist and author in his own right – 5 books via Doubleday), who specializes in Psych Disorder testing, evaluating, and therapy for deeply disturbed patients), Moore could have shown half the footage of those scenes and still given us the shock effect quite sufficiently – which makes one feel he let the integrity of telling the story fall by the wayside in order to just get viewers to guffaw and tune in for the sake of over emphasizing the brutal scenes. This left mere minutes or less for other scenes that were just as powerful – such as when Claire fools Jamie into believing she’s BJR in order to give him a chance to take back his soul and dignity. In the book this was as powerful a scene as the brutalizing scenes between BJR and Jamie in the prison cell, but we got a quick water downed version that amounted to maybe 2 minutes.

    Seven of our group said they would not be watching the next series because of this (I will admit that most of us are either authors, writers, editors, professors, book reviewers, or a combination, so we’re probably tough critics). At least 7 more are “on the fence” about following the next TV season (myself included). It was just so disappointing to see Moore and the screen writers do such a fine job in the previous episodes only to see it end with over sensationalizing those rape/torture scenes by devoting the majority of the show’s time to that and rushing through so many other really good scenes. This just brings the unique quality of the story and show itself down to the level of so many cookie cutter shows that over emphasize sex and violence, and, most of us began watching (as we have read D.G.’s books) for that special quality that sets this story at such a higher level than all the rest…

  15. Charlotte R iley says:

    Above and beyond !

  16. Taylor Howard says:

    It’s so beautiful that Jamie realized he was Gay. You can just see it in his face when Jack Randall puts lavender oil on him, he has a look on his face of such pleasure. I don’t know why he was feeling guilty with Clair afterward. She won’t be able to satisfy him anymore.

  17. Susan Shular says:

    Outlander is the best of the best. I have never been so enthralled with a tv show as I have been with Outlander! My husband and I watch together and eagerly await the next episode! Cannot wait for Season 2! Now I have to go buy the books. I agree with most of the other commenters that this finale episode was very hard to watch. I think we’ve all pretty.much fallen inn love with Claire and Jamie. Everything is so well done! You all deserve Emmys! I just cannot wait for Season 2!

  18. Antonella Dininno says:

    The best show ever, i am hooked. I will start reading all the books. Thank you Starz for airing this amazing show. Clarie and Sam are amazing, they love for each other is so real. There like a real married couple, with the arguements and the making up. How she respects him and he does her.

    When is the new season going to air?

    • Seems like they just wanted to let loose on the filth, no action, no good dialogue, no suspense, loved it until the last episode. Good acting but not the writing. Will never watch again.

      • LacyJ says:

        Agree…Ron Moore devoted about 70 to 75% of the final 2 shows to the torture/rape scenes between Jamie and BJR, bringing the integrity and quality of this series from way above all similar shows down to the depths of over sensationalizing the sex/violence.

  19. Lucille Milewski says:

    Outlander season one was a work of art. I appreciate how the book was brought to life with such care. I’m looking forward to season 2 and hope this cast and crew are permitted to continue through all the amazing Outander series.

  20. Leslie Vinson says:

    Having read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series over and over since the second publication, I am one of many who feel connected to the original characters as she wrote them. STARZ production of the stories has been a fabulous depiction in every aspect, right up to the first books finale – that is where I stand conflicted. Anna Foerster’s direction of Toni Graphia’s and/or Anne Kenney’s writing of the final episode script fell very short of the impact of those last 113 pages of the 2nd edition Outlander paperback that drew me into the world of Claire and Jaime. In Ms. Gabaldon’s version, after the horrendous torture Jaime went through, it was more than just a brief struggle between he and Claire that brought Jaime out of his death wish. It was an entire night of “Jacob wrestling with God” between Claire and Jaime, and the actual weeks of physical healing that brought them back together as passionately as before. In the STARZ version we are in no doubt of Black Jack’s villainy and the extreme torture and humiliation put upon Jaime, but left feeling a great void between Claire and Jaime due to the lack of effort given Jaime’s healing process.

    To those who watched the series but didn’t read the book I recommend – READ THE BOOK! The show is divinely beautiful. Don’t give up on it based on the finale. These episodes are important, but you will get much more from the book in the end.

    • Charlie Es says:

      I agree with the previous comments. I have read all the books and while I think the last episode was raw and bloody I think it helps how we should begin to understand the depth of Jamie’s character and Claire’s courage. I think they did an injustice in not showing more of what happened in the book during that confrontation between Claire and Jamie at the abbey. Since it much more than what they showed in the episode and his healing during that night makes his actions later more understandable.

      It is the series of my dreams, beautiful, realistic, historical, sexy, and full of great performances by Sam and Caitronia. Great books…Read all of them…I can only dream that they will continue to give us more seasons in the future.

    • LacyJ says:

      So glad our group that’s been watching aren’t the only ones feeling this way. It seems that in the end, Ron Moore and writers just put way too much emphasis (and time) on the tortuous scenes between Jamie and BJR and lightly brushed over the scene between Claire and Jamie where she spends all night trying to get Jamie to see her as BJR so he can exorcize the demons and reclaim his sole. Thought (in comparison to the other scenes before the final two) that the production and writing was spot on, but then, those last 2 episodes just seemed to jump on board over emphasizing the sex/violent/torture scenes for sheer shock factor…truly hope Mr.Moore et al rise above that in upcoming series. Otherwise, the series will lose many of the devoted fans of the books!

  21. Pauline Pituk says:

    I did not like the rape of Jamie. I think it took away from him being the main male hero. The graphic torture and severe injury to his hand and other acts that took place in the prison cell were enough for one episode. Let’s get back to Jamie and Claire’s love story, and back to the fighting where Jamie wins. I want see Jamie defeat Black Jack once and for all. Black Jack deserves to suffer the way he made Jamie suffer; no more rape! Enough!!

  22. shirley watkins says:

    I love how Claire was able to bring Jamie out of the dark with the one thing he was trying to save her from when she was in the cell with Jack Randell. For her not to DIE….

  23. Hannah says:

    I was blown away by Tobias Menzies. He’s a stunning actor. I hope we see more of Tobias in season 2. Both of his roles interest me greatly.

  24. Elisabeth Fricker says:

    Of course it was shocking !(the finale)but I was stunned breathless with the acting qualities of the the main characters ! I liked the confession scene with the message of “forgiving”, and the ending on the ship was the right thing to do for a director (feeling witrh the audience)’ I know all the books and now I look forward to season two !

  25. Donna Brown says:

    My all time favorite show. Why do we have to wait so long for the next season? I loved the finale when Claire and Jamie were sailing away. The rape scene was hard to watch. Not so much for the sexual part but I could not stand to see Jamie hurt. Love the show and I am now reading the books. I hope they are up for some awards.

  26. Helen Tree says:

    Just finished watching Season 1. I fell in love with Jamie and Claire over 10 years ago when I read the books.. I just loved the casting of this. I always wondered who could do Jamie justice and Claire’s strength and humour and stubbornness and beauty. I’ve been telling my husband about these characters for years. Everytime I re read the books. He’s not a reader but he’s now lovingJamie and Claire just as much as me. Can’t wait fir season 2. Please hurry

  27. Scott G. says:

    I just read the comments below and enjoyed them. The comments that are critical of the Starz production seem to be missing a few points with the series. First, we must remember that 18th Century Great Britain, was pretty brutal and bloody and simultaneously well-mannered, compassionate and often tender. I believe that Ron Moore and the tremendous craft and art of the actors show the dichotomy of brutal and bloody, combined with good manners and compassion. Ms. Hay commented that she didn’t like the way Ms. Balfe was portraying Claire. She said that Claire was all “goodness and light” and didn’t have a darker side that was mean and arrogant. I think Ms. Hay needs to realize that Claire’s sometimes strident outbursts are caused by her fear of her totally unfamiliar situation, and she deals with these fears exactly as she did in the books. I believe whole-heartedly that Cate Balfe has captured “Claire’s essence” perfectly, as has Sam Heughan has captured Jamie’s “essence” perfectly. If Ms. Hay would re-read the books, I believe she will find that during Claire’s first months in Scotland were terrifying and she re-acted the best way she knew how to survive as someone from 1945 thrust suddenly into 1743. Claire does soften later in the series, after they move to South Carolina in the colonies. But she never loses her intelligence, warmth or her “edge”. That’s how she survives through 8 novels. To those who object to the nudity, I say this: sex between Jamie and Claire is a huge part or Ms Gabeldon’s novels. As someone said below, the entire story is the journey of Jamie and Claire, and it is necessary to show their intimacy, because it is such a central theme to the story of their passionate love for each other. This is not a Disney story. The nudity, violence, rape, brutality and murder are a part of this epic tale. To ignore these acts or “not show” them would be to gloss over and undermine the written story by Ms. Gabledon. I believe they are intricate to the television series and show real life the way real life is, and was. I will admit that the first time I saw Claire nude, I had quite a bit of lust in my heart, but the thing is: I got over it pretty quickly because I realized this ultimate intimacy of seeing another person naked is vital to the honest telling of this incredible story. I also didn’t mind seeing Jamie and Black Jack Randall nude either, because it is part of the Gabeldon novels. Like many people I was very uncomfortable and un-nerved by the rape scene in the season finale, but I also couldn’t take my eyes away. This happened in the books and it was disturbing to read and now see, but it is also absolutely spot on, and an essential part of telling the story on television.

  28. Scott G. says:

    Just like Ms. Bierle’s comments below, I have also read the first 8 novels and had such fun reading all of them. It is a truly great, epic story. Of course, I fell in love with Claire and Jamie and later Bree and Roger and all the protagonists in the books, really, (even the antagonists). They all are intricate parts of the story and move it forward. But what I wanted to say was: as I was reading “Outlander”, at the same time, I was also watching the four year TV Series “Battlestar Galactica”, which as everyone ‘kens’, was also developed and produced by Ron Moore. I was riveted to the screen every week for every episode of ‘B.G.’, and after the series ended, (which had such a satisfying end, and didn’t drag it out, like most TV series do), I purchased the BluRay DVD set of the entire series. I watch it about once a year. Anyway as I was simultaneously reading ‘Outlander’ and watching ‘Battlestar Galactica’, the thought kept recurring to me that ‘Outlander’ would be the perfect story to by made into an epic Television Series like ‘B.G.’ And I wasn’t really surprised, a few years later, when I heard Ron Moore was developing Ms. Gabeldon’s novels into another epic Television Series. And I knew, I just knew that Mr. Moore was the only producer who would have the vision to do justice to ‘Outlander’. After watching intently, the first season, I can say with every confidence that Ms. Gabledon need not worry about having her story in the hands of Ron Moore. He is a unique developer and producer who has an almost uncanny genius with bringing huge, epic, intricate and complex stories to the Television Screen. Congratulations to Ms. Gabeldon, Mr. Moore, the directors, cast and crew of ‘Outlander’ for an enormously satisfying, incomparable, well-crafted first season. The season finale was appropriately very emotional, disturbing and hard to watch, (but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen). I believe it will someday be viewed as a ground-breaking marker in series television. You truly took the viewers to places they’ve never been taken before by anything else on television. It was incredibly powerful. I also think the casting of all the principals was absolutely perfect, and I can’t wait for the next season to begin. I am very interested to see who is cast as Bree and Roger and other primary characters in future seasons. My only hope is I live long enough to see the entire series . . . and I WILL purchase the BluRay DVD complete set when all is said and done. Take it forward and make it great!

    • Josie says:

      I totally agree and i want to read the books and believe Claire is perfect for her role as is Jamie and i believe they will always be remembered for their portrayal of the romanticized couple we will always remember. The writers and directors are doing a great job bringing the story to us and i truly hope they will have a happy ending together after the last book. Like a great novel, you want to get lost in it and feel good after it is over. I hate the 20 year split i heard about, such a waste of time they could have been together. I had never heard or seen this story before. So engaging, i want to know more and about the couple that play so well off of each other. You actually feel for them, believe them and want them to be together always. Maybe they will fall in love for real and appear in other films together in the future.

  29. kutedymples says:

    This has been my all time favorite television series. Never in the history of my television viewing have I loved a program as much. I do not know how I am going to make it in between seasons. It will be very difficult. I was mad, cried and went through the gamut of emotions during the series finale. Wow, just so glad it ended the way it did or I’d have been in my bedroom hysterical.

  30. Kate Bierle says:

    When I first read the outlander books over a decade ago, I said to myself “that would make a great movie”. So now 8 books in, I am ecstatic for the Stars series. The portrayals by the actors have made me laugh (Angus!) and I have found myself in tears at different times (twice in this finale). I can’t wait to watch the court of France (please tell me that the monkey makes an appearance). I love sam’s facial expressions and how he can so clearly convey pain, happiness, love, loathing and everything in between. The casting choices are suburb and the translation of the stories to the screen is perfection. A high standard has been set by season 1, and I have every expectation this will continue for seasons to come.

  31. Mary Kanady says:

    I was convinced no man could ever play Jamie, but Sam is “perfect”. The finale was hard to watch, and Black Jack is pure EVIL! He exudes
    Evil. You certainly made it uncomfortable to watch. This first season was a “10” and I can’t wait for season 2. Will you do all the books?

  32. christine says:

    Have read the entire series of Outlander novels and have thoroughly enjoyed the Starz series. Season 1 has followed the book to the “t”! Actors are incredible and have really brought these characters to life! Thank you Dianna for writing such a beautiful story and Ron for bringing it to the screen and of course to the incredible cast! Looking forward to next season.

  33. berrypayne1 says:


  34. RZS says:

    Truly a work of Art. I begs the question of the human condition…in time and space

  35. Patricia M Hay says:

    I for one do not like the way Claire is being portrayed. She is not mean and the have let her become an arrogant nasty person who is not the person in the books. My take, I loved the first eight and bought it. Debating whether I wand the next eight. I have read all the books, I think it’s time for the heroine to read them also. She does not have Claire’s essence. In the books she was never nasty to his men, who loved him. They have not even brought out that he is Jamie’s godfather. If they don’t want to lose the faithful they better soften Claire or thy won’t make any money selling the DVDs.
    It was really hard watching part two and some of the invented new material. Stop thinking Claire is a 2014 heroine and think I of her as what a women felt born on 1918 and achieved maturity in 1942. I ave no other fault with the series as I loved the books from being to end. Not one to go over board on sex scenes as have a great imagination and done need to be shown. Would rather hear great dialogue nd story. Great deal of history and medical information in these books which does not seem to be played. It’s a loss. Thank you for listening. Patricia Maureen Hay

  36. Barbara says:

    This is my favorite show! I’m mesmerized by the theme music, which by the way, is soothing to the senses, after the rape scene(s). The initial assault came in last week’s episode, which I found ‘turn away’ shocking. This week’s episode was a continuation of the same, but mercifully that torture ended. I do love the intensity of this series however. The actors are fabulous in the telling of this magnificent story. I think that I may be moved to read the books at the series end. I hope that the end is a long time coming.

  37. momentsintime says:

    Perhaps STARZ’ Outlander is a miracle of forces, aligning at just the right time to produce something far larger than its parts. The power and beauty and truth first inherent in Diana Gabaldon’s original story, respectfully nurtured by the team assembled and guided by Ronald D. Moore, and acted to perfection by extraordinary players of ALL parts, small and large has created for me, a magnum opus to delight in over and over. Perhaps the thing I appreciated most, was how often there was silence. Silence gave the viewer time to take it all in, process it and revel in the enchantment of Scotland and a well-told tale. Many thanks for such a marvelous gift.

  38. Brenda says:

    I LOVE the story! I love the great acting! I don’t like all the nudity. I know you are doing what you think your fans want and I know it’s all in the book, but there are still plenty (I hope) fans who would love to watch their beloved story unfold with some things left to the imagination. After reading the books we all know what happens. Do we really have to see the sex scenes to appreciate the beauty of Jamie and Claire’s love or to know that rape is horrific? I was disappointed in the finale as I felt that too much was left out just so more of Black Jack and Jamie’s rape scene could be shown. That being said I still LOVE the acting. Every actor did a fantastic job and each seemed perfect for his/her role as far as I pictured the characters!

  39. cheryl says:

    The season finale was everything I had hoped it would be. The tension between Jack and Jamie was beautifully played. I suspected that Claire was pregnant from the small physical clues such as throwing up and passing out. It was a great way to end the episode on a positive note. I can’t wait for season 2 to start!

  40. nancynywoman says:

    Incredible, mesmerizing show. Thank you for bringing the book to television with perfect casting, costumes, settings. The season finale was painful and jaw-dropping. Looking forward to next season in France.

  41. Leslie says:

    No typical outlander episode? Don’t get me wrong, I love the show, but your typical outlander episode is ” ______ almost gets raped by _________. ________ saves _________ from being raped. _________ tells story of almost being raped. ______ ‘s sister/mother/cousin/friend/neighbor’s uncle’s 2nd cousin twice removed’s grandmother is almost raped. Sheep rape. Rape jokes. Rape flashbacks. Rape, rape, rapity rape rape rape. Torture rape. Male rape.

    And on to season two of Outraper…. Oops I mean, Outlander.

  42. swalt says:

    I love, love, love Outlander. I picked up the book because I knew it was coming on TV and needed to kill time on a plane. I’m so glad I did. I’ve read the entire series at least 3 times now and LOVE the show. From the writing, to the actors, to the costumes, to the music, to the scenery, it’s all been fantastic, I very much appreciate Ron Moore’s attempt to stay with the book when possible and am looking forward to seeing season 2 come alive.

    Kudos to Sam, to Cait and to Tobias – although I am not a fan of Frank or Black Jack – Laura, Lotte, Graham, Duncan and all of the Highlanders. One thing that really impressed me is that each actor cast is so perfect for the part he/she plays – which I think is a reflection of both excellent casting, as well as, the quality of the actors.

    The costumes are also phenomenal. I’ve followed Terri’s blog and it has me looking very closely at the costumes in other shows/movies. I was watching a very popular big budget movie from a couple of years ago – Roman times – and noticed how “new” and wrong the costumes looked.

    This show deserves a huge number of Emmy nominations.

    Thank you, Diana, for such a great story.

    • Leslie Vinson says:

      If Outlander doesn’t win several Emmys…well, I can’t say it better than Britlover58:” If this series does not garner multiple Emmy’s it will prove that Hollywood wouldn’t know true talent if it bit them in the arse. Ya’ ken?” Sam’s & Tobias’ acting skills in the prison cell went beyond anything TV has seen before, and brilliantly. Ron’s production, Terry Dresbach’s costumes, the writers, etc., etc. We have been transported to 1945 and then back to 1745 Scotland and fallen in love with the images we’ve been shown. THAT is Emmy winning television!

  43. KColburn says:

    What do I want for season 2? I would like Ron Moore to GET OVER his man-crushes on Frank/BJR/Tobias … and stick to the story of the primary characters of Claire and Jamie in 18th century France.

    • Josie says:

      I second that an Emmy nomination for the show, scenery,,actors, writers ,costumes and especially Claire and Jamie

  44. Jill Benone says:

    Impressed with how well the scene was presented, mainly honoring the book and definitely honoring the arc of the story. Compressing the locale and some details worked. Both Heughan and Menzies were excellent, as was Balfe’s strong Claire. I usually watch each episode twice; will certainly do so with this one! Looking forward to Season II.

  45. Kit Hawke says:

    Very hard to watch. Looked @ it all the 2nd time. I live in the west & watch it on both channels.
    Easier second time around for many scenes but especially this one.

  46. joanapolis says:

    When i first read the “finale” in the book, both my brain and my stomach were unsettled for a couple weeks in a way I have never experienced. I still am not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but it certainly compelled me to hug…or cling…to these two characters like no others and read their story from book after book. I was curious how the TV show would play out and how it would affect me given that i knew the story. What it added was sensory dimensions that layered perfectly on top of the book. To hear and to see things the way the cast, most especially the way Sam Heughan played them out took the story to a new and appreciated level. The looks on Sam’s face killed me. Multiple times. The look on his face in just the opening scene still haunts me. I do hope they are all considered for Emmys and the show. Because the show is still getting anchored, if they just get nominated, that is an enormous win. For season 2, I am counting on Ron enhancing the flow of the story so that it is more enjoyable even than the book. What I hope is that Ron keeps as much of the Jamie and Claire intimate scenes going forward because there is always an important reason why they are there. Diana Gabaldon was not throwing them in gratuitously either. Cut other stuff from the book, but not those. Add new things to the story, but not at these scene’s expense. It is THEIR relationship that we are following over 8 books….

  47. Peggy Perling says:

    Still haunted by last night’s finale. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it on TV. Sam Hueghan was unbelievable. Sometimes, I think when an actor is so attractive, it’s hard to take them seriously.

  48. ladyastara says:

    Congratulations to Ron D Moore, to Anna Kenney, to Anna Foerster, for bringing Ep 116 alive. My respect for Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Tobias Menzies has grown leaps and bounds. To Terry D and Jon Gary Steele, you’re fabulously talented and amazing. Kudos to Maril Davis and Matt Roberts! The last scene on the boat is what I carry in my heart into Droughtlander. Looking forward to Season 2 #TheRedDress

  49. sue says:

    Take a bow all who are involved with this series..I AGREE, each episode is like a movie in itself..LOVEEEE THE whole thing..Actually it is making me read the books again, haha..Greattttttt acting Great Great, great editing..

  50. Elizabeth A. Mas says:

    BRAVO…well done to ALL involved….Painfully beautiful….

    • QAnita Stone says:

      I began watching Highlander on Netflix and gradually realised it was the story from a book I had read many years previously. It bought the whole book back to me and I have bought the box set to enjoy again. Jamie and Claire are exactly as I had imagined. The whole series was mesmerising. I have began watching it all again and no doubt will do so a few more times. Longing for series 2. Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe I wish you every sucess in your careers,you are both sensational. Anita. Norway

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