Diana Gabaldon is responsible for creating one of the best-written and best-selling sagas in the world: “The Time Traveler”. The novelist’s narrative blends elements from many strands, including adventure fiction, historical fiction, and the supernatural, creating a cosmos that has an incredibly well-documented truthfulness and at the same time functions as a whimsical and highly engaging new perspective. . So, in choosing to adapt the book series, Ronald D. Moore had a great responsibility on his hands to capture an indescribable wealth of detail for a medium known, of course, for image bombardment. Fortunately, the result is, without a shadow of a doubt, applauded: “Outlander”, as the series is now known, is not only a memorable interpretation of an immortalized civilization, but also a tribute to the novelist.
The plot begins in a very poetic way at the end of World War II – a familiar setting for period stories and which, depending on the treatment it receives, works in all aspects. Such a feat is repeated here, focusing on the very charismatic and beautiful Claire Beauchamp (Caitriona Balfe), a botanical nurse who, in the period following the end of the battle and the defeat of the Nazis, decides to celebrate her dream moon. . honey, whose celebrations never found the light of day, alongside her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) in the mystical lands of Scotland.
At first glance, we seem to be embarking on another romantic journey with Nordic airs, but all is not what it seems, starting with the insertion of a narration carried out by the protagonist herself. Claire is a strong, determined and very sagacious woman, with many skills that make her no longer a female stereotype of the era in which the story takes place, but an incredible archetype to serve as an inspiration for other companies. audiovisual and literary. . His thoughts and digressions do not remain at an ambiguous level, serving as a reading of what is happening on the stage, but rather conveying the most intimate feelings of the main character and which definitely cannot be transposed only to the foreground. This does not detract from the merit of Balfe in his magnificent interpretation – quite the contrary: such a choice reflects the complexity of his personality and how each of the fragments is extremely necessary for the understanding of the series by the public.
Everything changes when the couple arrive in the mysterious city of Inverness and soon venture out to explore the historic sites and Celtic mythology that still breathes through the humble community and its people. It even goes very well with the profession of the duo, one with a great affinity for the medicinal arts and the other historian. It is no wonder that monologues about the history of their families and even the buildings around them exist all the time and do not fall into the same, incredible as it may seem. The show breathes history, whether in a nostalgic and nostalgic way, or as an experience in one’s own skin.
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At some point, the couple decides to witness a memorable Wiccan ritual scene, which saves the roots of the British natives. The whole sequence is accompanied by soft, enveloping Celtic music, guided in the purest silence even by Claire’s frenetic spirit – and one cannot help but feel all the mysticism that resides in the atmosphere when the dance ends and the witches disperse. Now, if even the protagonist can’t let go all the way to the stone circle, who’s to say? And it is perhaps this impulsiveness to know the supernatural that begins an almost science-fiction journey for her: after all, by touching one of the stones cut in pure “magic”, so to speak, she mysteriously returns to the year 1743.
Time travel is always welcome, even more so when told well. And perhaps the saga of Claire in a completely different society – and on the brink of political collapse – is one of the most successful, not only for putting an outsider (a situation that gives the series title) , but for having forced her to adapt to a new way of seeing life: more classic, more humble and more dangerous. And these sensations have already been felt during the war, but not in such a dangerous time as the one presented to us – after all, it is enough to remember the rudimentary technology and the almost animal primitivism into which these people were inserted. These archetypal incarnations, which follow the same pattern as Claire, come mostly in the figure of the rugged Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), who shares spotlight honors with the English protagonist.
His character is above all altruistic and understanding, even if he is naive on certain questions of a more general sphere, such as politics and the economy. However, it’s interesting to see the paradox of ‘Outlander’ as the narrative follows and chooses to play between the personal and intimate relationships between Jamie and Claire in a very balanced whole with a social scope based on different intentions – which introduces us even to other characters as striking as those already presented: Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) and Murtagh Fraser (Duncan Lacroix), both servants of the same king and the same united clan and who function as an extension of the ‘other.
Of course, Dougal, being his commander’s right-hand man and being an uncle out of consideration for Jamie, is more dour and outspoken when it comes to punishment, submission, and laws, especially those that help counter the ruthless onslaught. enemy, English army in front of their lands. Murtagh, in turn, is far more irreverent and even comes across as the comedic escapism of the narrative, though he brings some traces of pure machismo that speak to mid-18th century patriarchal ideals. The most interesting thing is that, in Claire’s journey, each of these presences is of paramount importance for her maturation and for the acceptance of her new day, whether for better or for worse.
The series hits the mark when it allows itself to explore the plot’s flaws, especially in terms of the protagonist’s unique perspective. Unlike other shows that also feature narrators, such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives,” as the protagonist comes to terms with her fate and realizes she won’t be able to return to the life she once had, she merges almost completely with customs. .of the community of which he became “hostage” then “aggregate”, allowing his entourage to analyze the transformations that accompanied the appearance of Sassenach (Gaelic word meaning “foreigner”). So it’s no surprise that one of the episodes is entirely from Jamie’s innocent point of view and adds elements that allow for more involvement.
Without a doubt, one of the loveliest figures and one of the most tragic and impressive arcs of the first season is the inexplicable face of healer Geillis Duncan (played by Lotte Verbeek). From the first moment he appears, the candor of his voice and even his affinity with the mystical arts, especially with regard to one of the religions that underpin the mythology of the series (Wiccanism), is intoxicating. All the scenes in which she plays are bathed in a soft light that transforms her into a translucent and intangible being, almost from another world – and this aesthetic accompanies her trajectory until she is condemned to the stake for witchcraft. and for murdering her husband and carrying her “devil’s son”, all in the name of saving Claire from the same fate. And that’s when we realize that our heroine was not the only one to have fallen for a temporal spell, since Geillis reveals that she came from a time a little more distant than She: 1968 (“The Devil’s Mark”).
As we already know, the whole story takes place in Scottish lands. The carefully thought-out photography moves away from the pamphlet representation seen in so many similar audiovisual works, preferring to merge with the fauna, flora and even the beautiful millennial constructions that occupy the Nordic soil. Expect almost heavenly landscapes, confronted with the heavy and abrupt content of the sequences developed in a more claustrophobic environment and guided by harsh light, allowing the delimitation of silhouettes and even the ambiguity of what is being watched. And if Claire, at the beginning of the story, remains as someone apart from the main clan, she soon allows herself, as mentioned above, to merge with those who welcomed her, even acquiring the same self-effacement as her companions.
This neat imagery also extends to one of contemporary television’s cruelest antagonists, Frank’s ancestor alter-ego Jack Randall (also played by Menzies). His first encounter with Claire leaves him with doubt and even fear as to what he might do to those he deems inferior – namely the Scots – and this twisted insult and meanness is fully exploited by the warped creative minds of Gabaldon and Moore. . . The season is steeped in flashbacks that show his anger towards the rebels and how he doesn’t accept being challenged by anyone – until his true intentions are revealed in one of the cruelest episodes of this iteration, titled “Wentworth Jail”. At this point, Claire and Jamie have already oscillated between numerous rescues and rescue missions, but none are as complex as this one: it turns out that Jack also represents a gigantic taboo break and actually harbors a desire psychotic for the character of Heughan, using the idea of domination and submission to subjugate him in the most terrible way possible.
The editing of such sequences is not lacking: it is essentially explicit, scrutinized by more symmetrical frames and angles which follow the line of the gaze or which slip between the high and the low angle, according to the cathartic reaction one wishes. have. And these techniques also make it possible to separate the two periods depicted; in a chronological parallelism, choosing to place the two plots in the same dialogic cycle, mainly differentiating them with a sepia filter for 1945 and a more naturalistic approach for 1743.
‘Outlander’ is superb. Not just because it’s an amazing adaptation, but because it works at different levels of satisfaction: the iteration is a novel, a very believable historical depiction of Scottish history, a biblical epic, an epic journey through the mystical highlands – and, above all, a delightful story of romance, drama and sacrifice.
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