Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer



–I had a reaction to the attempted-rape scene that hasn’t happened before. Along with cringing, as usual, watching such a scene, my legs instantly clamped shut of their own volition. Rewatching the episode the next day, it happened again without conscious thought. It wasn’t the most brutal or the most upsetting thing I’ve seen, but the perspective and presentation (and Caitriona’s performance) were obviously very effective.

The one with Jack… I realize that Claire being bent over the table and the very close shot from behind showed just how vulnerable she was, but to me, that brief backside closeup was too much. It felt gratuitous and exploitative. Having her bodice torn open, her hands tied behind her, bent over and skirts lifted, and Jack holding the knife to her breast were more than awful enough. That brief closeup was more like a typical male-gaze shot.

–From reading other forums, I’ve seen that some of the criticism of how much Frank’s presence has been increased (particularly in 108) is due to a perception that Jamie hasn’t been developed enough yet as a full character on the show. He’s been this sort of earnest guy attracted to Claire who now is in the throes of his first love, but is that enough for her to choose to stay with him? A lot of their ongoing conversation as a couple hasn’t occurred (at least not yet), and now all these big events will be happening that might preclude or reduce it. In their criticism, hotness is definitely not enough reason for her to stay. Non-book readers obviously don’t have the full perspective, and some book readers worry that the strapping scene will make it harder for them to accept Claire’s choice to stay in 1743 (and they want viewers to stick around to see the full perspective).

–I loved Maureen Ryan’s article, and even though it’s sad that The Wedding is considered groundbreaking at this point, I do feel that a tide has shifted in a larger sense regarding women/feminism. The slowness of change and the fact that it often looks worse in early stages is frustrating, but it’s there. For example, all those attempts at sickeningly misogynistic abortion laws requiring internal sonograms and other terrible elements were loudly denounced, and at least some were defeated (don’t have the facts at my fingertips). It felt at first like things were going horribly backward when they all started cropping up, but then it seemed like lancing something ugly and exposing it to light; also, some “unenlightened” men lost their political positions due to their views. In Mississippi (or Alabama?) a strict law that would have closed nearly all clinics in the state was defeated. It is sad to have to pass a law to say that consent can’t be given while unconscious, but… it is a way to teach boys/young men that they are not entitled to do whatever they like. We have anti-discrimination and civil-rights laws that are also sad in the necessity but have helped change views over time. There is still a long way to go, to be sure, but I do feel that real change is happening – even worldwide (e.g. Malala’s movement) – and that it’s gaining momentum. The bad always gets more attention for being so loud and awful.

Of course, then there’s Hollywood… The view of an actress’ F***-ability determining whether she ought to be hired is outrageous; the gender-unequal display of bodies and the excessive display of women is upsetting; and the fact that all women are supposed to look like porn stars with no pubic hair is more than disturbing since it’s a child’s appearance. But again, there are bright spots, Mr. Moore among them. (I could give a few positive examples on the “hair issue” alone! LOL!)

–Re: Under the kilt questions – yeah, it’s pretty rude and unoriginal; they’ve asked others besides Sam as well. As for potential full-frontal — well, I can understand interest in terms of wanting equal exposure, so to speak, and how rare full male nudity is comparably, but if it happens, I rather hope it isn’t in the expected way — that it’s not a romantic context. The Wedding was so well done, it just wasn’t necessary. In the meadow in Both Sides Now, they’re both almost fully clothed, and that first moment of joining — totally effective without explicit visuals. — One way that I could believe it as “valid” would be in the abbey. As a comparison, in the movie Eastern Promises, Viggo Mortensen’s character fights naked, but it’s not about leering at him. His life is at stake, and it conveys incredible vulnerability even as he’s doing very violent things. Here, it could be appropriate in the slightly similar context in the abbey, but even then, it’s not entirely necessary. Just … I hope that it’s not ever a case of full-frontal on Caitriona but not Sam, in any context. While mostly not gratuitous, she has been exposed quite a bit already.