I Dun Been Kilted: Post Kiltum Depression

Post Kiltum Depression: The Winter of Her Discontent
“But look, yon light in that window breaks—‘tis the moon on the arse of Jamie Fraser, and yer mother needs a moment alone.”
                                                                             –Himlet, Act 2
And so, the long grind of winter sets upon Outlander fans, blissfully filled with minor events such as “Thanksgiving”, and “Christmas” and “Boxing Day”, serving to fill their hearts with the business of celebration while Jamie Frasier endures a five month squat in a freezing window.

I couldn’t be more thankful. Before I draw the ire of legions, allow to me explain.

I recently began listening to the Outlander novels while I run. There are some obvious comments, such as– audio books bring an entire new experience to the story, they enrich my views of the characters, and Davina Porter has, by now, received my offer to narrate my life in live action. 

“Terry was never discrete when selecting cheeses at the market,” intones the narrator, “but the Roquefort appealed to the very heart of his roguish nature.” If she cashes the check, prepare to be wowedby my simplest actions. She’s thatgood.

Unfortunately, Davina has captured the vile heart of Black Jack Randall, too, and that’s where the trouble starts, because her skill as a voice actress is interfering with my workout regimen. I run for health purposes. You know, maintaining the ole’ ticker and all that, but listening to Davina voice the predations of Black Jack leaves me alternately curling my hands in anger or standing, stock still, with hands on hips and a look of utter disgust on my face when I revisit what happened in Fort William. 

Since I run in a family-friendly park, people tend to give me a wide berth while discreetly noting my description. Male. Face like a bucket of worms. Hates someone named Jack. Could stand to lose a few pounds, but won’t if he just stands there.Davina is so skilled, I find myself wondering if anyone will have the courage to dress as Black Jack— the realBlack Jack—for Halloween.

Now, a note about courage.
Let us discuss actor (and apparently delightful human) Tobias Menzies: a man who actually attended high school with other people, graduated from college with an advanced degree, takes his craft seriously, likes dogs, and by all accounts, is a professional, charming, dedicated person to work with. For all we know, this gentleman may end up curing cancer and settling Mars at some point, but I’d like to draw attention to the enormity of his decision to play Jack Randall. Is it a tremendous career opportunity? Of course. Will millions of women regard him. . . differently, now?

Why yes, Tobias. Yes they will.

I’ll simply say that Tobias better cut his food into small bites for the remainder of his natural life, because if he chokes in public, every woman in the restaurant will encircle him like malevolent druids, chanting, “You like that, you wee bastard? HAVE ANOTHER!” while kicking him into a pulp. Tobias, as one man to another: dine at home, eat toast, and chew your food well.

I’ve found my interest drifting to casting issues for the upcoming episodes. I love the periphery of Outlander; as a writer, the minor characters bolster a scene, as a reader they make it rich and detailed. There are major considerations at stake with the casting of Brianna. After all, this is the fruit of Jamie’s and Claire’s passions, and thus will be a critical addition to the experience. It’s also an issue that has wildly divergent answers based on who you ask. 

If you ask a female Outlander fan, the answer might be something like this:
“Oh. My. God. She should be smart and funny and shy and a little bit uncertain at first, but then she totally falls in love with Roger but only after she realized how smart and sort of tough in a nerdy brilliant way, and you really have to use the line where she describes his green eyes as ‘groovy’. She has to make you think about Sa- I mean, Jamie, and she should have the perfect accent but not to be too young because I don’t want anyone showing Cait up in set and I will neverforgive them if they cast someone with the wrong color eyes”—

Ask an Outmander about casting Brianna, and this is what you get:
“A six foot redhead? Sweet Jesus. Yeah, that works.”



You see, men like redheads like women like Jamie. Exactly like that. The next season promises to be a win/win, as long as you can overlook the vampirism, sadism, creepy need for oily buggering, rampant death, destruction, use of cattle, broken bones, disease, famine, did I say death, and forced hugging while pleading for cooing about love.

But I’m not complaining. We’ve got redheads.

Until next time, friends. Stop by my blog, check out my paranormal books, stalk me at will. It’s been a pleasure.
Terry Maggert

I Dun Been Kilted: Claire Goes Both Ways

Well hello there, friends! I trust you’ve had a week to adequately, ahh. . . review the material from last week’s episode.

You know, for the purposes of art.

Moving on. I admit that, based on the title, I thought that many Outmander’s wishes were about to be granted as Claire played both sides. After I realized my, ah, interpretation was incorrect, I made peace with the actual plotline and moved on after some quiet sobbing.
We begin our travels this week within the friendly confines of the Scottish police offices, and I’d like to give proper credit to the producers for resisting the temptation to resort to cheap stereotypes. That’s integrity!

And one more thing about Scotland. Seriously, even in the most dreary of conditions, the raw beauty acts as another character, a looming presence that either crowds the actors into a cloistered tension or spreads before us, without limit and daring the eye to look away. Is it any wonder that such land creates poets? That this land can make us believe, with great ease, that there is a love story unfolding before us that is so powerful, it overcomes the rules of clocks?
Forgive me for descending into romanticism. Let’s return to the brutality of the era, shall we?

 
BUT. The possibility of freedom– of a sort– for Jamie, and by that rationale Claire? It’s a tantalizing glimpse at what might be even in the convoluted world of Outlander. I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention the issue of Jamie (Former Virgin) and Claire (Veteran) establishing that, yeah, it was pretty good. Okay, maybe better than good.



The pain that Frank is experiencing almost lets us forget what a total bastard his progenitor is, but nonetheless, the loss of one’s spouse is reason enough to take leave of your good senses. I was nearly shouting at the screen as I watched the comedy of errors unfolding. Desperation can make stupidity as natural as eating or breathing. We hear new theories about Claire’s disappearance, much to the chagrin of Frank.



And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Frank a World War II veteran? At what point does it seem like a good idea to visit a darkened alley. Past midnight. With reward money? Oh, perish our collective worry. He’s the suspicious blood of Black Jack Randall coursing within him, and if we learn anything from Outlander, blood never forgets.

Claire must begin to adapt. 1743 will not mold to her; she must recast herself to survive in the world around her. Fair enough. Begin with a knife, and some of the finest advice ever given.

Indeed.

 
 But then, the real world intrudes yet again in both flashback and highland settings. I would love to see the casting call for the actors so ably filling the roles of rotten bastards in red uniforms.
“Wanted: Filthy sod with antlers for teeth and flexible position on sodomy. Bonus for pre-existing skin condition. Apply to Herself. Be on your best behavior.”
A passionate exchange between Jamie and Claire is shattered as only a marauding scumbag could: with violence, arrogance, and terrible hygiene. Once again, the world is harsh mistress.

There’s some crossover between cynicism of Frank and the hatred of Black Jack. When presented with the possibility of Claire slipping through time, Frank shows us. . .something.
I admit– hearing the echo of Frank and Claire calling to each other across time was wrenching. The scene was filmed so beautifully, with the proximity of two worlds separated by a thin veil. But this episode is ultimately about move, counter move, and a crescendo that serves to push Black Jack Randall to the right hand of Stalin (and bucking for a promotion). It’s incredibly difficult to watch the violence Black Jack brings to Claire; her face collapses upon itself like the last leaves of fall as they lose to the bitter winter. 
And then, Jamie. The sonofabitch is heroic and has good timing!

And THEN, reality sets in. 

BUT, we’ll survive. I’ll still have some occasional funnies as I gather more images and such. It isn’t as if we’ll forget about the show, right?
So! Thanks for dropping by. Tomorrow is a big day for me– my fourth book is released, I announce two new series, and I plan on eating most of a blueberry pie. I won’t share the pie, but if you’d like to explore the world I’ve built in my books, drop by one of the links below, and as always, thanks.

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Cheers,
Terry

 

I Dun Been Kilted: Nothing New Happened Whatsoever

Oh, hi. What’s new? Nothing here, busy weekend reviewing some tax policies that have troubled me for quite a while. I just cannot fathom how to logically claim certain business–


So there was a wedding, eh?

And did it meet your exacting standards?

I surveyed one hundred ardent female fans of Outlander, and oddly enough, not one of them answered their phone. It was as if they were intentionally avoiding me!

I’m a huge fan of timelines that seamlessly transport the viewer (or reader) along a non-linear path. The episode begins at the end, so to speak, and reveals the intricacies of the day through vignettes. For me, that humanized the event. Due to the limitations of Black Jack’s request to *ahem* question Claire, there was no time for a long, dreamy montage of preparatory action and reaction. In short, you can blame that bastard Black Jack for robbing you, the audience, of the entire joy that planning such a wedding might bring to the viewer.

But, in a rare expression of kindness, it appears that Captain Randall heard the collective wishes of female Outlander fans, and actually accelerated the process of Claire and Jamie’s love story. Furthermore, he did it all of his own accord. Jack is really turning out to be a fine fellow.

But there’s so much more to be discussed! There’s a fantastic scene with our favorite asthmatic barrister Ned, who goes dress shopping for the blushing Mrs. Beauchamp and comes home with more than he bargained for. Who knew that Ned could be so randy at an advanced age? Who knew that Scottish prostitutes had such exquisite skin? Who knew that dresses could be traded for sexual favors?

Wait– that actually makes sense. No matter. Moving on.

This is, above all, the episode in which the duplicity of Claire’s life plays out over her face. If you didn’t think that the casting was perfect before. the interplay of Claire, Jamie, and the entire cast make a compelling case that this group of actors have fully inhabited their roles.

The flashbacks reveal that Claire was day-drunk, nervous, and adapting to Scottish traditions quite easily.

But enough chit-chat about “plot” and “acting” and such.
Three times. The consummation of the wedding is a play in three acts, described as follows:
One: Hey, give the guy a break.

Surely he can be forgiven for such a reaction to the mysteries of a woman. Plus, I sense there is more to Claire than meets the eye.

I’d be remiss if I said I didn’t hear the collective intake of breath from female Outlander fans when Jamie revealed his bum. Ok, it wasn’t a noise, it was more like a near-riot. Which brings us to the next iterations of the Wedding Night Love Train. This episode is a rarity in that is uses sex as a plot device to advance the relationship between two characters. These are people in turmoil. They’re nearly broken, but one can almost sense that something will happen to bind them together forever. The ring crafted from a key is one part of the equation, but there is something more, something drastic, that will cause Jamie to forever be linked to Claire. We’ve also got to mention the fact that Jamie, the virgin, thought that one made love a’la’ barnyard, via the back door. Och, lad.

But. . .heh. . .he gets the hang of it, and—
Let me stop here for a moment. While I can appreciate the passion that fans have for these characters and the actors portraying them, let’s never forget that they are, in fact, real people, and objectifying them can come across as crude or, in some cases, creepy. In fact–

What? I’m not weird. I’m just observant!

Round three in the wedding night is one of those events that caused unilateral jealousy among men and women. Well done, Outlander. Well done indeed. Women can both admire Claire’s beauty and relationship while simultaneously wishing she was sent to the great beyond, to be replaced by them, of course.

And from a male perspective, allow me to tell you what every single dude with a pulse was thinking at one point when Claire introduces Jamie to the greatest invention since the television remote. Jamie is, of course, powerless to resist. Heh.

 
There’s something to be said about sexual power, isn’t there? And remember, in the world of Outlander, apparently everyone gets their cookie, so to speak.

So, a rousing success. Dougal is still an asshole, the wedding is now complete, Claire and Jamie can get down to the business of navigating a vicious world, but they’ll do it together. Let’s close with a prayer, in honor of all the women who waited so patiently for this event to unfold on the screen.

Until Next Week!
Cheers!
Terry
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I Dun Been Kilted: To Dance With the Devil

We’re going to want to stretch a bit for this one. Perhaps some deep knee bends. A few jumping jacks. Then, we can all settle in and let our feeling for Black Jack flow. Even from the preview, I knew that something like this was likely:

Wow, the smugness and entitlement of the Redcoats is rather hard to take, isn’t it? Less than four minutes into the episode, I found myself wanting to kick things. Like, many things. The introductory scene of the British commander certainly didn’t seem to help my mood, either. He’s priggish, oily, vaguely pervy, and dismissive. That’s quite an achievement for such a small scene, but John Heffernan pulls it off with ease.

And then Black Jack showed up.

The claustrophobic feel of an English officer’s dinner went from awkward, to convivial, to toxic. The only new ingredient was Captain Randall, whose malignant presence made every measured gesture into something dangerous. Tobias is growing into his role, just as Black Jack is swiftly morphing into much more than a sadist. He’s a psychopath. The ensuing– and I use this term loosely —medical scene is yet another of those moments where the collected prayer Thank God I Don’t Live In The 18th Century was lofted heavenward by millions of people. Let’s just say it was an uncomfortable scene and leave it at that, because how much more violent can this episode get, right? Surely our level of discomfort can’t get any greater, because that simply doesn’t add up.


 So. . . .things go from bad to worse. Claire learns, too late, that everything she says is being examined for an advantage to the Crown, and by Crown I mean Black Jack and his toybox full of crazy. His retelling of scourging Jamie is like watching a wine tasting. He rolls each syllable on his tongue, and yes, it’s worse than we could have imagined. Therefore, may I present:

 Umm. . . kudos to the show, I guess? What a ghastly scene. But, hey, Captain Randall reveals, at last, a core of humanity within his shriveled heart. Claire has reached him! There is hope! 
And then– Oh. So Captain Randall isn’t the devil. He’s worse. To quote Claire, “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!”

Dougal then hits warp drive to Jamie town for you ladies. His simple solution– a wedding– is delivered on the banks of a Liar’s Spring, which science reveals to be sulfur,not the fumes of hell. If that were true, then every other home in Central New York would be sitting atop the gates of hell. (Trust me, my neighbors washed their hair in that water. It was. . .aromatic, but fortunately, the Aquanet drowned out the sulfur). Nonetheless, the die is cast, and Claire is in need of a wedding. Well, well, well.*


 During the brief encounter between Claire and Jamie, the collective gasp of women the world o’er collapsed thousands of draperies, caused several car accidents, and altered the orbit of the moon. Slightly. Claire’s thoughts were transparent.

But wait! Claire grabs the bottle of hooch, strides purposefully into camera, and everyone girds their loins for THE WEDDING. Now, I hate to name drop, but I called Diana and asked her if she could confirm something I suspected about the incipient in flagrante delicto between Jamie and Claire.
She mentioned a restraining order, so I was forced to turn to other sources, but let me just say, for the benefit of all the women who have wondered for so long. . . .

Annnd, we’re done for this week!
*That’s really me. Personal ad pic from 2001. True story.
Thanks for the following: your visits to my page, you emails, your voodoo fetishes (New Orleans, heh) and your continued support of my books. Two notes: we’re less than two weeks away from my next release date, links are below. Also, if you drop by my site, sign up for our newsletter– I don’t spam, and never will. It’s strictly cool book related items once in a while.
Cheers,
Terry
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I Dun Been Kilted:A Squirt of Rent Edition

I apologize for the blog running later, I’m recovering from a pie and cake induced birthday coma. I emerged from said coma to watch Outlander, thank the stars I live in the modern world, and eat some blissfully urine-free cake, all within the span of an hour. But first, a word about Dougal:

And while we’re at it, let’s address the growing conflict between Claire and the other bastion of cosmopolitan manners that is giving her a serious case of travel remorse, as well as the truly jarring moment when Claire learns how the ladies of the Highlands keep their colors from fading:


“I see. So, I’ve fallen through time to a place of wanton savagery, ruthless competition, and people who are willing to do anything to rise to the top.” Claire might think. You know what I thought? I’d seen this type of behavior before.


 Rent is the first long, slow descent into a culture of pandering, violence, extortion, unwilling taxation, poverty and social practices that one might find unusual and repellent despite their apparent necessity. Cait’s performance is excellent. Raise your hand is you were hoping she hauled back and kicked someone in the balls after being treated like a glorified pack animal. I know I winced on three or four occasions, thinking that Claire’s character was being revealed by what she didn’t do, rather than what she did. Although, there were some fantastic moments where Cait’s facial expression and mine were nearly identical.

But everything in “Rent” is not lighthearted. There are violent deaths, subterfuge, and the use of Jamie’s scars as a rallying point to fight against the tyranny of a distant king. It’s  sad and beautiful, just like much of history. Let’s give Sam credit (and Cait) for an elegant, coy scene where he concerns himself with her honor.  In the shadows and light of the tavern’s hall, it’s easy to see the luminous quality of Claire that will come to possess Jamie. She’s radiant, and he’s the perfect mirror for her beauty. Once again, a hearty well done! to the casting team.

By far, my favorite reveal of “Rent” is the complex nature of rebellion and honor. I love a good bar fight, and the revelation that the donnybrook we see is caused in defense of Claire’s honor explains a great deal of the backstory. The Highlanders are engaged in a complex dance of manners, crudity, and the perception that, despite being English, Claire is worthy of their blood. She also unleashes a well-placed joke about Rupert’s, ah, lack of companionship.

The flashback to Culloden Moor is a sobering moment. Claire is carrying the burden of history, and it’s hard to watch. The raw beauty of a battlefield is always such a contradiction, isn’t it? I teach Military History, and I visit these places, the swaths of holy ground, and I’m always stunned into silence by the feeling of ghosts, and peace, and beauty. Isn’t that what we are seeing in each and every scene of this grand cinematography? A story to break your heart, but a vision to lift you up?

Now, on to our ending. The tension. The drama. The:

As always, thanks for dropping by. If you feel like stalking me online, I wholly encourage that kind of behavior. I hope your week is free of, uh, setting dye in tartan.

Cheers!
Terry

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I Dun Been Kilted: Scottish Rave Edition

Good Sunday to All. Or Perhaps Tuesday.

I don’t really understand the International Meridian, but whenever you are, welcome.

Let’s revisit one tiny little issue from last week. As it turns out, Father Bain was supposed to have an assistant priest for his scene, but the producers could not reach terms with the actor they most wanted for the role.

Moving on to this week!
Almost immediately in the episode, we’re treated to a contrasting view (and commentary) on women and how they operate in two different cultures. Claire reveals an organized, methodical cleverness that is focused and sly.

 In a departure from such concepts as “the rule of law” and “don’t commit a felony every day just so your hubby doesn’t smush on you”, we have the confession of Geillis Duncan, who has no compunction using whatever works to achieve her position in life.

THANK GOD Claire is different from the underhanded cunning of–what’s that?

This is an excellent commentary on the end justifying the means, and all that. Two women, two different situations, one solution. Next time you complain about a mean spirited Facebook post directed at you, imagine having dinner at your enemies’ home and being forced to wonder, “Is this the drink that makes me wake up with my pants unbuttoned?”

Claire enacts her plan, which is, all things considered, as solid as can be given her limitations. She isn’t suspicious enough, despite having just left a world that was riven by massive war. We’re also treated to a brief shot of a plush, lovely woman (played by Victoria Taggart) stirring a steaming pot of something. Apparently, this is irresistible to Claire’s shadows, and the byplay that comes next says quite a bit about sexual attitudes in 1743. As in, everybody was doing it. A lot. And they drew straws for the attentions of said plush maiden, and then compared her to pie. Now, if you know anything about me, you know I love pie. I think Scottish pie may be slightly different, and the pie being referenced even more different.


 Finally, in the midst of the intrigue, and the Gathering, and all of the myriad paths of Highlander politics, Jamie takes his shirt off. He tells Claire that the words of his clan are different than that of the MacKenzies. What was the phrase Jamie used? Something French. Hmm. . . .

On to the hunting. What a shift to the reality of a dangerous time.
Another cultural adjustment for Claire? Hunting dinner that can hunt you back. Beautifully filmed, brutal, and hectic. Death is always close to the surface, no matter how beautiful the land and the people. There’s a joke about a superpig, but in the face of the emotion and performance, let’s pass that one by.

There are two more thoughts I’m betting we all had. One is this:

And the second was that moment when you pumped your fist and said:

What an episode. So, as always, thanks for dropping by. Thanks for the fun emails, the mild threats, the lewd pictures, and the coupons. Dear Lord, thank you for the coupons.
Until next week!

Cheers,
Terry

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I Dun Been Kilted: We’re Not In Kansas, Toto

                                          Welcome back, Heughligans and Caitriots!!

I said it last week, and the week before. The world of 1743 is less forgiving than a scorned wife. Let’s put that in perspective before we move on and discuss the episode, shall we?

The concept of  “A Bad Day”has a radically different meaning in 18th century Scotland, but in the spirit of proper context, imagine that the smallest crime can be met with overwhelming brutality. Example:

It’s a hard way to make it through the day. Life was. . . .different. But, was it always worse? Was there no pleasure to be had in that land of morning mists and stunning vistas?

Of course there was. I want you to close your eyes, and imagine a world so free, so boundless–

 
This episode has beautifully rich scenery that brings 1743 to life. Right down to the grimy, drunken, parasite laden truth of it all, which is– much as modern travelers still know– when you visit, don’t drink the water. Wine was a blissful necessity, since the water sources were. . . let’s call them dodgy and leave it that *cough* cholera *cough*. Claire’s surgery is a wonder. “Hold the sheep dung, and get me more powdered skull!” Ah yes. Medicine. It’s so. . . sciencey.

The village is a filthy, wonderful wreck, and I loved it. I loved the cloistered feel of the room where we get to meet the newest applicant for the position of Evil Overlord and Killer of Babies, or as he is known to everyone else, Father Bain.
Casting note: Well done. You’ll be paying for therapy for everyone in a scene with him, but bloody well done indeed.
Father Bain’s intransigence isn’t unusual; in fact, it’s probably fairly common. Claire becomes something dangerous– a woman with a mind– and her breakthrough to save Thomas is a thing of beauty. Along the way, we get to see Father Bain as a sort of– well, I leave that to you to decide. Here he is on duty:

 
And here he is enjoying some “me time”:

 

But the crazy train wasn’t done chugging yet. We get to see the necessity of a woman’s wiles when used to prevent what could have been a far more savage punishment for a simple act of theft. The scene also let us glimpse the cunning of Geillis Duncan, who isn’t above using her milky skin, lush bosom, and long, red hai– excuse me. My apologies. Now then, where was I? Ahh, of course.

The atmosphere at Castle Leoch is both alien and beautiful. Claire’s fearless bumrubbing helped ingratiate her with Himself. DUH. Rub any man’s bum for “medical” purposes, and you’ll either have a friend for life or a serious marriage proposal. We get to see the haunting effects of music in that drafty, noble pile of stones, as well as how people interact with each other under the roof. In short, life. 
There was some tension, as expected, between Jamie and Claire. I was relieved to see that some things in our modern world remain solidly in line with our past. Case in point, Jamie uses subterfuge to be alone with Claire. What brought her boldness on once they were alone?

Faster than Jamie could say, “Do you want to get in the backseat?“, Claire lets her cups get the best of her. A little bit. Frankly, I think they did a great job of building tension in an episode that incorporated a lot of new material. Note to self: BUY RHENISH WINE FOR WIFE.

This episode was part culture clash, part commentary on superstition, and a further stoking of the relationship between Claire and Jamie. And on an author’s note, where did they find a woman like Caitriona Balfe? She must have been first in a line the day that English Roses With Swan-like Necks were made. She’s luminous, and it makes it even more believable that a person like Jamie can be entranced with her. Finally, a casting agent says, “Let’s find people with chemistry and looks.” Yeah, I’m looking at you, Hollywood. 

Until next week, friends. And kind thanks to those of you who have promoted my books. I appreciate your time and efforts. I REALLY appreciate those of you who left nice reviews on Amazon. I wish you Scotch Eggs and Whiskey and Naked Highlanders, but not in that order.

Cheers!
Terry

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I Dun Been Kilted: When Bears Play The Lute

Welcome back, Heughligans and Caitriots alike! After my initial blog post, I realized I’d been remiss in addressing the stellar musical score. It was poignant, and haunting, and—

For the LAST time, woodwinds— MORE VERVE!”  

1) The music, when done well, effectively becomes another character and augments the setting. Bear McCreary’s theme is superior, and captures an emotional quality that makes me, a male, uncomfortably emotional. If I’d wanted to experience surging feelings, I wouldn’t have married a polite Norwegian Lutheran.*

2) I’d like to thank the wonderful participants in last week’s blog. I received a great deal of funny, charming, witty input. I also managed to wrangle three marriage proposals and one restraining order. Otis– you’ve been warned. No means no.

3) An additional point I failed to mention was the ethereal scene in the stone circle. Look, I’m a four decade geek veteran. I know the entirety of Druidic culture through years of celibacy and playing Dungeons & Dragons. The notion of a group of druids in a modern setting was one of those scenes that could have been wildly successful or sadly tacky. What we saw onscreen was exactly what I envisioned. A blend of whirling shapes, music, natural beauty and mystery all braided together. It was a rousing success, due in part to– once again– the music. Let’s face it, thumping tympani just seem right, primal, and natural. I think the specific music for that scene was a nice hybrid between the old and new. Think “Loreena McKennitt meets Clannad”. I know that had Stevie Nicks been present, she would have been overcome by the driving beat and atmospheric quality of the scene.

“I JUST WANNA SPIN!”

4) In continuation from last week, the hub of Castle Leoch is introduced as a de facto character. It’s big, ominous, and most importantly, it’s not the relatively civilized atmosphere of, say, a home in the Cotswolds. Or a pit full of dragons, for that matter. 

“Plumbing? Never heard of her.”


5) The Highlands breed tough, hard people, and Claire begins to understand that the definitions of man and woman have changed during her fall down the rabbit hole. Men are– well, for the viewer, they’re wholly alien. They don’t wear Axe body spray, and they don’t concern themselves with things like manscaping.

6) Claire is incredibly resilient, but the men leading the culture she is immersed within are simply. . . different. The disconnect goes beyond anything superficial. Even things like diet are– let’s say– more direct.

7) As a nurse, and a modern human, Claire understands that within this life, there is a great deal of risk. And for anyone who has ever made the mistake of saying, “Yeah, I know how to do that!”, the lesson is clear: Don’t make yourself indispensable, because then, you become a prisoner who has to casually inform a group of suspicious warriors that their previous medicinal regimen of powdered dung and dandelions may not have been in their best interest. Claire is no shrinking violet, but even the brutality of Scotland is shocking. Jamie’s flogging isn’t the most ghastly moment; it’s the casual nature of violence. But, let’s move on to happier topics for now. As in, the fact that Jamie is being. . .rolled out, incrementally, like a rare car at an auction. And yes, ladies, I know what you’re thinking. Claire knows botany, and you’re willing to learn.


8) The firelight scene is what the audience wanted. Intense, wrenching, and filled with the whole gamut of emotion between Claire and Jamie, the undercurrent is powerful. Don’t look at the mud, and the pain. In our world of immediate gratification, Jamie and Claire are not meant to find each other on Tinder or OkCupid ( THANK GOD).  Yes, there is attraction, but it’s more of a flash followed by the kind of simmer that will linger.

9) As a male, let thank whoever cast Caitriona one more time. Two words: Plunging Decolletage. That is all I am currently allowed to say under existing American marital law.

10) Oh, Claire. You’re a seasoned combat nurse. Why did ye imply ye knew anything?

“You need more air in yer bodily humour plumbing!”


11) After seeing that “Kitchen”, you have my permission to scissor kick me the next time I complain about peeling potatoes.

12) So, we get to meet Geillis Duncan. The term “Dipped in Crazy” comes to mind, but let us recall that Outlander is set in a time mere decades after a woman was accused of witchcraft for making an apple dumpling. Seriously.

13) Betcha won’t use the term “hero” for a sandwich again after the asswhipping Jamie took as a proxy. Jamie shines here, taking the kind of beating that made me wonder if blood loss doesn’t lead to undue valor. Note to Jamie: just because you can withstand something doesn’t mean you should do it, unless there is pie involved. And to my horror, I saw no pie exchange hands.

More to come, this was, as expected, a LOT to take in for one evening.

Love Paranormal. Get my newest book here: Take a bite out of evil. Halfway Bitten.



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Cheers!


Terry

I Dun Been Kilted. Notes on “Outlander”, Episode One.

I’m a writer, which means I’m a reader. When I’m not writing, I like mental vacations, and Outlander delivers.  I’ve looked forward to this program for several reasons. Let’s list them, in an apparently random order, with all nudity being held in reserve for later. Maybe.

1) I teach history, have an explosive temper, and a fondness for whiskey. Thus, the books called to the very essence of my soul.
 

“STEREOTYPES ARE UNFAIR, YE BASTARDS!”

Me.

2) My wife is Northern European, thus, I am encoded to find pale, mannerly women attractive. Therefore, as a man,  Claire appeals to me for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that she a) has a pulse, b) takes falling through time with relative aplomb and c) is clearly willing to date a man with bad teeth.

Caitriona Balfe

3) It’s always touch and go when someone announces that bone chilling news, “We’re taking something you love and making it into a film/television/interpretive dance.” Let’s face it, many of the most beloved books have been rendered into steaming globs of sheep dung.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin.

 4) Budget and cinematography. This really goes to the quality of the creative team. “Gritty” does not mean “Fake torn pleather pants”.  For those of us acquainted with reality, let’s be honest: the good old days were a morass of suckitude. See again, things like dentistry and antibiotics, also such notions as diet, the Rule of Law, and just for good measure, indoor plumbing*. Outlander struck me as being filmed in an authentic manner. Also, there were the colors and vistas I associate with a world that is on the cusp of civilization. Life was hard, and the English made certain that it was harder. With that in mind, the brutality and callous nature of violence rang true for me. Kudos to the team for their commitment to a world free of the sanitary tendencies that ruin so much historical drama. 

5) Let’s give credit to the career Hari-kiri we witnessed in the transformation of Tobias Menzies. Yes, he was already known and reviled by every Game of Thrones viewer, but his transformation from mannerly husband rediscovering his bride into a sadistic, rump-loving British officer (there’s a unique role**) was more than just physical, it was complete. His narrowed gaze, perfected officer’s sneer and looming sense of violence made me hate him instantly. You’ve got to commend the actor who embraces a role that will cause him to be reviled by more women than the inventor of body waxing.

This Brazilian is for your own good, Claire!

 6) Let us not overlook the sauciness. First, on behalf of the 23% male viewers, kind thanks to whomever looked at the script and said, “Yeahhh….I’m gonna need to see some more of Catriona’s ass.” Secondly, we can infer with ease that there is a French member of the crew with some creative control, because the act of Frank– ahh, how to put this delicately– ‘pearl diving’– was the least British part of the entire episode.
7) Jamie. He’s legit. I like his early vulnerability. It prevents him from being cartoonish in any way, and lends a credible element to what we all know will be a complex, layered relationship. Plus, women–well, here’s Jamie:

“Has anyone spoken to you about seeing Jesus today?”


 And this is the general reaction:

Also, THANK THE HEAVENS that someone had the moral courage to select an actor who is the actual height of the character. I find it nearly impossible to buy in to a petite, coiffed actor strutting about like a bantam rooster while purporting to be a total badass. There’s a place for tiny creatures with an attitude– the Crockpot.

“I totally look 6′ 5″. . . at an IMAX.”

 8) Scotch Eggs. This isn’t necessarily related to Outlander, but it’s an important part of my life. Scotch Eggs are so good, I included them in a book. Why? Because I’m spreading the gospel of an egg that is rolled in sausage, then breadcrumbs, and then fried. I’m not saying you have to love them to be my friend; I’m just saying it wouldn’t hurt. 

I love ye. Right properly, Ah do.

Until next week, Sassenachs!

* I’m not Anti-Outhouse. I’m just pro-showers.
** Not all British officers are “whinging ponces”, to quote my Aussie friend. They just dress that way. 

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