Fanwoman Without a Show: Living through Droughtlander AGAIN!

Written by: Teddie Potter







Without revealing one smidgen of partisan detail, I will simply say that these past few months in the U.S. have been supremely distracting. After getting sucked into the quicksand of current events, I needed a break and I needed it bad. I needed the kind of distraction that could literally take me away to a different time and a different place. I needed — you know where this is going, friends — OUTLANDER — and I needed it now! It was time for an Outlander Starz redux — again.

In my world of WithOutlander, any official re-watch worth its whisky always begins with season 1. Season 1 isn’t “old news;” for Outlander fans, it’s THE news — at least it is at my house. My focus on S1 mirrors my Outlander book-reading style; despite having read the entire series of novels and all of the offshoots and novellas, I always go back to the beginning. An Outlander reread is a sacred undertaking; it’s a gift I give to myself. Whether I’m reading, listening, or now, gloriously viewing Outlander on screen, starting all over again is like what Madonna sang: I'm touched for the very first time.

So, without further ado, here are my observations from my most recent rewatch. Let's see if anything rings true with you.
First some backstory. 

My rewatching begins while the season is still in full swing. Each new episode is watched at least once daily until the next episode comes around. That cycle repeats itself with each episode until the season is completed (Nor am I alone apparently, as our survey showed.). My habit keeps my on-screen Outlander anticipation going, as in, I pray think/know/hope what will come next episode. This also allows me to associate any screen cap I might encounter in my internet travels with the exact scene that’s being depicted, pinpointed to the precise moment of dialogue and the swell of music that goes with it. 

These are useful and valuable things for a fanwoman such as I, because when the season is over, it’s not, um, over. I can savor and pore over specific episodes that resonate and hold my attention from start to finish. I have my pet moments, my favorite bits of dialogue, and to be perfectly honest, those where I note that Sam’s Jamie is a really good kisser, whereupon I ponder “modesty pouches,” or how fictional logistics ensue on the carpet when the kilt looks pretty much intact. Burning questions we all have, I know.

Despite scores of previous re-watches, certain moments must not be missed. My list is too long to list, but aside from the obvious (all of the “The Garrison Commander” and “The Wedding," at the very least), these moments run the gamut from a pointed glance from BJR, a close up of intertwined hands or a loving touch, all the way to Rupert’s hilarious “that’s what she said” moment, and any of those times where Jamie’s eyes flare with fear, anxiety, or anger. Those last ones, dubbed "Crazy Eyes" by some beloved fandom friends, make noteworthy screen caps for all of Outlander posterity.


This obsessive rewatching aside, I do have a confession to make. Forgive me, Father, for I have fast-forwarded. As a long-time reader, the premiere of Outlander unfolding on screen was breathtaking. But because things only really get going when Claire first goes back in time, in my post-season episode 1 re-watching habits, I skip directly to the mid-episode mark to that point where Claire’s through the stones, and the cinematography gets all glow-y and Claire’s lovely white dress goes bad. My other S1 skippy moments include Mrs. Graham reading Claire’s palm, or much later, telling Frank “but they returrrn” (I’m still not buying that she would give that one away), or when Frankie pulls the blackjack (!) from his pocket for the big beat-down. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that Claire’s boogie-woogie roadshow is part of my fast-forward sinfulness, too. Since I do not put much stock in dream-sequences, when Mrs. Fitz goes exorcist over Claire’s confession, I have also applied the button. Look, I love both Mrs. Fitz and Mrs. Graham as much as the next person, but when I’m waiting to see Claire and Jamie in the glade, I’m pressing the button.


Like a virgin, there is no fast-forwarding when you don’t know what’s in store. But let’s just say that I am suspending my knowledge of Outlander Christmas Future for now. I have placed a piece of electrical tape over the fast forward button, in the same way that I have been known to tape over the “check engine” light. It’s OK; I’ll deal with it eventually.

I swear by this holy iron, etc., that this, my big post-election re-watch of S1, was done with a commitment to watch each episode as a shiny and new entity, and to this end, the Fast Forward function was not utilized.

Results: the takeaways are many, and my fan-womanizing ways grow ever more personal and fun, because, damn, I love Outlander. The consensus among my reading colleagues is that each re-read reveals new discoveries of plot twists, language, and character traits. On screen, there is only so much time for detail; nevertheless, details that I both crave and cringe over await. Je suis prest!

Here's a bit of what I took in while the fast-forward button was ignored.


TEDDIE’S S1 REWATCH REVELATIONS, Vol 1
Sassenach
I love Tobias Menzies’ Frank more than ever.
Castle Leoch
I squirmed less during Claire’s Hamish faux-pas, because, Rhenish.
The Way Out
Arthur Duncan really DOES look like one of my female ex-in laws.
The Gathering
Will never tire of watching Jamie’s face as Claire undoes his neck cloth and shirt.
Rent
There needs to be a hazmat suit made for waulking wool.
The Garrison Commander
I do not regret watching every single second, every single time.
The Wedding
Fan-woman heaven; the many meanings of Jamie's hair, from stables to wedding to bed head.
Both Sides Now
Mrs. Graham shares more than your average druid should; I would get carsick facing backwards in a jolting wagon all the way to Fort William.


Happily, there is no Droughtlander mid-season break for the re-watcher, thanks to all goddesses and fairies of the spooky Highlands. The only break is the bathroom break. Maybe some popcorn, too. Carry on:


TEDDIE’S S1 REWATCH REVELATIONS, Vol 2
The Reckoning
The editing out of the line from Legwhore’s failed seduction scene at the stream doesn't stop me from knowing that Jamie does in fact says that he is happy about his marriage to Claire. In fact, I say it out loud and on cue.
By the Pricking of my Thumbs
Claire’s amazing powers of concentration are revealed in the opener; I’ve decided that button-flies rule.
The Devil’s Mark
Fr. Bain goes for the 18th century Oscar; Claire cries pretty.
Lallybroch
Sam’s hair looks great throughout the entire episode.
The Watch
It was like having the original members of the Rolling Stones to dinner; the addition of the Taryn MacQuarrie character was a stroke of genius and a joy.
The Search
Possibly the most epically gorgeous music of the entire season is found in this episode; Murtagh-by-the-sea makes the squirm-worthy road show fade into nothingness.
Wentworth Prison
A mother of a clue (the zen of barfing); and the value of a few good friends.
To Ransom a Man’s Soul
Healing is hard; love, not so much. With Murtagh at the bow, all is possible.



Outlander Season 1 Rewatch: Coda 
The serenity of the gorgeous sail away, the swell of the sea and Bear McCreary’s score has me all teared up; again. While I didn’t get the book's hot springs, hot sex, and the deliriously loving slog up the stone stairs, ending with a vision of the moon through an oriel window, I got much more than I had ever hoped for. Now, where’s my book? Ahhh; it's right here by the remote.


How often do you rewatch Season 1 of Outlander?
Readers: do your viewing habits mirror your reading habits?



10 comments

  1. Beautifully stated...I share your viewing habits...and the Garrison
    Commander is a great episode that has one of the funniest Black Jack
    reactions of all time.....when he is asked to remove the dust from
    his clothes so to spare the Claret any contamination....his brushing
    himself off at the door jamb in a typically tempermental exaggerated
    childish motion makes me laugh every time I watch it...I think I have
    it memorized by now..

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  2. I love that moment, too! So irreverent. We will get a little more of BJR next season.. I may not miss him, but I will miss Tobias Menzies..Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary.

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  3. Teddie, I love this! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who fast forwards Episode 1 until Claire goes through the stones. I can't risk developing feelings for Frank at this stage of the game.

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    1. Haha, Nikki! Frank's not contagious, you know. But he's not, um, well you know who.

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  4. Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes, Teddie .... all of the above!! I loved reading your article and have experienced so much of that myself ..... except there is no-one in my current or ex-family who looks like Arthur Duncan :)
    I have lost count of the number of times I have watched all the episodes of S1 and S1 ..... lets just say it is a VERRA LARGE number! Sometimes I do fast forward and it can be different bits depending on the mood I'm in, and I also go back and watch 'like a virgin' sometimes .... like you say there is always something new to discover. But I do always like to get to the glade :) 
    Has everyone tried watching the episodes with the subtitles on? I enjoy this because you can pick up all sorts of little asides and bits of conversation that may be going on in the background. Unlike you, I knew nothing of the books until I had seen the show ... so discovering the books was a whole new source of wonderment ..... and I've read them multiple times now too. My name is Andrée Poppleton ... and I am an Outlander Addict 

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    1. Thanks for your input! Andree, it's a syndrome; a happy affliction. We don't need no doctor :)

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  5. I am a fan, but also friends with some of the cast. It's best not to obsess over it. We don't have Season 2 yet, where I live and to fret does me no good.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, but obsess I must. Books, show, events. It's irresistible. Thanks for reading and commenting, GH.

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  6. I don't know how anyone who has seen BJR..... can even look at Frank the same! I get the creeps! Tobias is a great actor ....... that is for certain!

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    1. He is simply perfect in both roles. Frank has some of my sympathy, because it's not his fault that he's not Jamie. Claire knows that, too, I think. Thanks for commenting, Lisa.

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