Archives for the Month of December, 2018

themusicsweetly:Caitriona Balfe | Harper’s Bazaar


Caitriona Balfe | Harper’s Bazaar

‘Outlander’ Season 4, Episode 9: Fraser Hospitality

‘Outlander’ Season 4, Episode 9: Fraser Hospitality:


The aftermath of Brianna’s rape was always going to be a tough needle to thread.

In narratives about sexual violence (particularly against women), each bears a burden of universality: Every story about rape is, in some way, a story about all rapes. It doesn’t help Brianna’s story that two seemingly-contradictory things are true: Sexual assault is depressingly frequent in real life, and yet “Outlander” overuses it as a plot device. But the real-world stories are the reasons stories of assault should be carefully told, not justifications for scooting a story forward.

Watching Brianna struggle at Fraser’s Ridge, then, was a cognitive-dissonance affair.

It is deeply uncomfortable that Brianna’s rape was apparently a defining moment for her character. We didn’t see enough of Brianna before this to know her as a person, so her character is being formed in front of us primarily as a reaction to her assault. This gets even more complicated given that she’s pregnant, likely by Bonnet. This is the sort of story moment that needs as much character specificity behind it as possible to avoid being exploitative, and we just don’t have that background for Brianna.

At least Brianna gets a full episode in which to process what happened. “Outlander” tends to be myopic about sexual-assault recovery. (Jamie’s healing after his rape took several episodes, while Claire — on the receiving end of countless sexual threats — hasn’t been given time to process any.) But Brianna gets the narrative space to be affected by her rape. We see her struggling in the wake of her reunion with her birth parents: shying away from touch, flinching at the sight of Claire’s new wedding ring, disconnected from life at Fraser’s Ridge.

And she doesn’t immediately move past what happened. We see her struggling with her memories and second-guessing her experience, including her confusion and self-recrimination as she finally tells Claire that night: “I didn’t fight him hard enough. Why the hell didn’t I fight him?”

It’s just as well that the rape in last week’s episode played out behind closed doors so that we weren’t invited to relive the specifics of it this week. (Knowing it happened is enough.) That said, the episode manages more visceral horror when Claire finds her old wedding ring than it finds for Brianna after she experienced such violence.

There’s no easy gauge for whether “The Birds and the Bees” succeeds — or if it can. The episode tries to show sympathetically the process of someone dealing with rape. But the situation is so fundamentally frustrating that it’s hard to imagine a version of this arc that would be satisfying. The episode gives Brianna space to develop after what happened, but developing someone largely in the aftermath of sexual assault is a storytelling tactic that wore thin long before this. Showing the emotional impact of assault is important, but “Outlander” has leaned on rape so many times that this feels like trauma-as-usual.

It doesn’t help that the episode ends with Jamie and Ian beating up Roger in a case of mistaken identity — men defending the honor of a woman who wasn’t even alerted to, much less consulted about, the return of someone who ostensibly hurt her. Maybe next episode, the way “Outlander” views Brianna’s agency will change. It just hasn’t yet.





Finally, we come to this – the most important part of this review, if you ask me. Now, if you’ve read the books, or if you’ve been watching this show for a while, you can’t exactly be surprised that we are here. I’m not, not really. But I am supremely disappointed, not just that they decided it had to happen, but that they decided to shoot it the way they did.

This problematic storyline – the whole idea that because we are in a moment in time where sexual assault wasn’t an exception but a norm, we should be exposed to it as much as we have – is not on the show, but the books. And credit where credit is due, the show has, like last year, tried at times to dilute some of the sexual violence, with mixed results. They have also, in general, done a really good job of centering male victims of sexual assault, and even, in one particular case, of showing the repercussions of such a violation.

But just the fact that I can say this is what makes what happens to Brianna problematic. They have done this before. Not once, not twice, not three times. We know they can handle this storyline. We know they’ll do it with care. We know they’ll show that this is something that sticks with you, and not just brush off the mental health effects. We know all those things because we’ve seen the show do it before. Again and again.

And we’re only in Season 4.

So, at this point, why does it need to happen to another character? The lesson has been learned (one that, arguably, we didn’t need to learn in this way at all), and to suggest Brianna’s growth as a person depends on being assaulted is to suggest characters cannot grow without being subjected to violence, which is insulting at best, disgusting at worst. Her relationship issues with Roger, her personal issues with her parents, all of those could have been explored without this ever happening.

Rape should not be used as a tool to make characters stronger. Rape shouldn’t be used as a narrative tool to get characters, ANY CHARACTERS, to do shit. Period.

You want to hear the worst part? This isn’t even my only issue with the scene.

Now, I know the Outlander team was probably thinking shooting it the way they did, removing the actual violence and making it so we can only hear it and see other people’s reactions to it would be better. Except, it’s not. It reduces someone’s pain, depersonalizes it, makes it about someone else. When Jamie got raped, we got treated to two of the hardest episodes to watch in the history of TV, but we got to see it through his eyes, because he was the one suffering, and as horrible as that was, as much as I can never re-watch those episodes, I understood that choice.

I don’t understand this one. It reminds me, eerily, of Game of Thrones Season 5 and how they shot Sansa’s rape scene and spent the whole time focused on Theon’s reaction, as if HIS pain at seeing what was being done to Sansa was more important than the victim’s.

Fuck that.

Storylines like this are overdone. I hope Outlander realizes that, because the show, as good as it can be at times, is awfully triggering and at times, it even comes close to glorying abuse, and I’ve shied away from recommending it to people because of this very topic I just discussed. But I also hope they realize this for the sake of their characters, because I want to see them grow and evolve for other reasons than because violence was inflicted upon them.

However, if, and when you decide to tackle a storyline like this, you owe it to the victim to at least make it about them, to not hide being storytelling techniques to make what happened more palatable for your viewers. Anything other than that is disrespectful to the pain so many people have suffered through.

Either you don’t do it, or you have the balls to show it. For your sake, I hope you pick the first lane. Because I’m really, really tired of pretending this show is good enough to constantly “forgive” this shit.

jemscorner: She’s a gift … From me to you … And you to me.


She’s a gift …

From me to you …

And you to me.

owlnguava: ladyviolethummingbird: scotsmanandsassenach: I…




I never expected…

Gawd I’m tearing up just watching the gifs. 😭

I’m trembling…

Loss (Act II), Party Twenty


I’m not sure what I did to deserve @sassenachwaffles and @kkruml in my life in 2018, and yet here we are.  Thanks to them for helping me smooth out the bumps, as always.

This is likely the last of Loss in 2018.  I hope it’s a good send off to the version of Jamie and Claire who are the most fun for me to write until we return to them in 2019 with the rest of Act II, more ficlets, and Act III. 

I need to thank every single person who has liked, reblogged, DM’ed, tweeted, AO3′ed, texted, or commented on any part of this. Thanks to the anon squad (Waiting Room Anon, Birthday Anon, Jury Duty Anon, and others). Even to those of you who lurk (hi! I don’t bite…), thanks. Writing this since February has been a total whirlwind, and I hope that this is the kind of Hopeful New Year, New Slate kind of moment to close out almost a year of Loss. 💜

;nsfw beneath the cut.

Loss: Act I and ficlets

Loss: Act II: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight| Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen |  Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen |  Part Nineteen

Loss (Act II)
Part Twenty

We toasted to six more nights, eyes holding onto one another over the table.

Between the bottom of our first glass of wine and our dessert, I slipped one foot out of my sandal and quested for his uninjured leg.  

“What’re ye doin’?” he asked, voice darkening to opaque black with eyes settled on me.

“Truth or dare?”

He snorted, an index finger running lazily up and down the stem of his wine glass.  “Really?”

Really.”  His gaze shifted just slightly to incredulity.  “You started it, and I’m merely resurrecting it.”

Truth, then.”

“How many girls have you kissed?”

Lame,” he snorted.  

Eyebrows raised, I gave a small shrug and indicated with my hand for him to get on with it.  

“Och, weel… I was an athlete, Claire––”

“Oh good.  I’m in for some male self-aggrandizement.”  I smirked, emptying the wine bottle between our glasses.  

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