Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: Second Half Discussion


It seems to me that there is a problem between Ron Moore and both the character Jamie and the real life actor Sam who plays him. On the character: Ron seems to have intentionally set out to diminish Jamie as well as the bond between Claire and Jamie culminating in the well executed rape and torture at Wentworth that almost destroys Jamie but also has him responding not just physically (which happens in rape) but sexually. (I know, I know, he thought he was Claire, if you buy that.) You can see what Ron is doing with the two characters, making them a, if not the, central relationship for narrative purposes instead of Jamie and Claire.

On the other side, Ron is enamored it appears of both the characters Frank and Black Jack and the actor Tobias Menzies. Ron has said he wants to expand the Black Jack role, just because Tobias is so good. Ron thinks, he says, Frank is a great character and wants to expand it, too. Now Ron is giving interviews about the characters taking on lives of their own, especially in the context of Frank especially because he wants to use Tobias more. Of course things change in television adaptations, but not usually in the first season and not usually making such sharp angled turns. When a relationship is the core of a story, usually that is fully and solidly established, before branching out. Claire and Jamie are the core of the story in the books, but not apparently to Ron.

In True Blood things changed as they did in the books, but the show succeeded first thing in establishing the centrality of Sookie’s relationship with Bill. It didn’t muddy the waters almost immediately. And regardless of her later relationship with Eric and with others down the line, we at least knew where things began and why.

In Outlander, Ron cemented the centrality of Claire’s relationship with Frank, at the expense of viewers getting to understand the power of the relationship between Claire and Jamie. There are a lot of people out there still mystified as to why Claire chose to stay in the 18th century: the foundation for that decision was unclear. In To Ransom she finally says to Jamie that she believes the very reason she was sent back in time was to be with Jamie. But, the audience is told it and not shown it. The joyful parts of their falling in love are brief, we do not see the strength of the bond that keeps her from returning to her own time. The book characters (forgive me) actually have conversations, banter, and are equals. It’s fun. But we only are allowed in the television show a glimpse of that after lots of screen time establishing the primacy of the Claire-Frank relationship. We see Jamie literally sacrificing his body as promised to save Claire, and Claire going crazy trying to save him, but why? what is it they see in one another?

On Sam: It has become noticeable to fans of the show and even academic researchers that Ron has a problem with Sam. What that problem is, no one knows. But it is objectively manifesting itself in public. Over and over Ron gives interviews wherein he praises Cait and Tobias and says NOT ONE WORD about Sam or maybe mentions his character if he is forced to. Even in interviews about Wentworth and To Ransome a Man’s Soul he has little if anything to say about Sam, the actor. It is clear that he has a bias, but what is it? Does he find Sam uninteresting as an actor? Then why did he cast him? Is it that he just cannot abide the character Jamie, who he eye roll, finger quote, calls the King of Men? Has he had to mentally un-man Sam as well as Jamie to create his own Outlander world?

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by jackie.