Outlander 3.5: “Freedom and (Lots of) Whiskey”

Spoiler, spoiler, spoiler.

Welcome back, folks. Today we tackle “Freedom and Whiskey,” episode five of season three of Outlander. We’ll be discussing the series and the book here, so don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Now I’m guessing there’s going to be some mixed reactions to this episode, and I’ll admit, I’m a bit mixed on it myself.

First, let’s acknowledge some lovely acting and writing here, especially on the part of Caitriona Balfe. The Claire storyline has taken a bit of a backseat to Jamie so far this season, just as it does in the book Voyager, so I appreciate that the writers decided to give her a chance to shine.


The weight of Claire’s decision to go back to Jamie is really given its full due here, more so than in the novel.  The fact that she may very well never see Brianna again, that she’ll be leaving her medical practice of which she is justifiably proud, her fears that perhaps Jamie might not even remember her or still love her—all of this is beautifully fleshed out and portrayed.

Now in the novel, Claire has already decided to go back to Jamie by the time she leaves Edinburgh, so there’s quite a bit of momentum built in to this sequence. In fact, the only reason she returns to Boston in the novel at all is to settle her affairs. So why did Ron Moore and the writers decide to stretch this section out so much, especially given how much Voyager plot they still have to cover in the remaining eight episodes of this season? I mean, did we really need Boston cream pie?


Honestly, as I’m sure my long-time readers know, it’s not how I would have gone with it. After all, in my mock episodes, I bring Claire back to Jamie in episode two! So clearly, we have different approaches. And while I appreciate that this episode allowed Roger to have a more active role, and gave Brianna a chance to also be more proactive in her mother’s decision, I couldn’t help but be frustrated watching it.

I felt like they were reaching a bit to fill the whole hour with just Claire’s decision. Maybe it was Sophie Skelton’s awkward American accent, or the overuse of people staring at objects and looking sad while holding a whiskey tumbler, but by the time we got to the Batman-themed sewing montage, I couldn’t help but wish we could just get on with it a bit.


A little review here: now that Claire has finally gone through those stones, we are officially in the “Edinburgh” part of the book. Now in Voyager, “Edinburgh” begins at the 27% point and lasts to the 43% point, making it roughly 144 pages long. And in those pages, a LOT of plotlines are established and fleshed out (hello, print shop, rum smuggling, Mr. Willoughby, Ian Jr, the Edinburgh Fiend, Reverend Campbell and his crazy sister Margaret, oh, and don’t forget the Smuggers’ Moon shenanigans… I could go on, but I’m exhausting myself).

It’s the kind of stuff that would be pretty hard to simply skip over, because it all comes up again later.

It took me two mock episodes to cover this section (MOCK TWO and MOCK THREE, to be exact), and even that was tight. Yet, I suppose the writers of Outlander might try to condense it to one episode.

So then we head back to Lallybroch, and book readers, you KNOW we ain’t skippin’ Lallybroch, not only because a very significant revelation is made there…

Outlander 2014

Exactly… but also because it contains one of everybody’s favorite sex scenes, and man, we could use some more of those right now.

So Lallybroch is another long section in the book, and it needs to be so because a lot of plot is put into action here as well (hello, penicillin). This section also took me two mock episodes to cover—MOCK FOUR and MOCK FIVE—because the whole second half of it is the Silkies’ Island escapade, where the gang heads to retrieve the money to pay Laoghaire off, and where—SPOILER ALERT—Ian Jr goes and gets himself kidnapped. Good going, Ian.


This event, which is really the inciting incident of the plot of this book, believe it or not, doesn’t happen until the 50% mark.

Now you could argue that, due to my decision to tell Jamie’s backstory in flashback, which elongated Mock Four, Ron Moore and staff could manage to smoosh these two episodes down to just one.

In my version of events, I got our fearless leaders onto the boat to the East Indies in mock EPISODE SIX, thus giving us over half a season to cover the second half of the book, which ALSO has a lot of plot that I won’t try to cover here. But trust me, it’s a lot. (Feel free to read the rest of the mock episodes to remind yourself.)

At the rate this show is going, Claire and Jamie won’t get on that boat until episode eight, minimum, and it might even be nine. As a writer, I am FASCINATED by how they’ll pull this off.

But just like everyone else, I also canna’ wait.

I’ll leave you with this look on Jamie’s face, just so we can remember what’ll happen in two weeks when he wakes up 🙂 (Yeah, sorry, there is no episode next Sunday. Don’t ask me why. I’m not STARZ.)


To keep up with season three of “Outlander” on STARZ, follow Rebecca Phelps on Twitter @DownWorldNovel, “like” us on Facebook at Novel2Screen, or just follow this blog.

To read my Voyager series in its entirety, click here. Also, be sure to check out my writing on TV Topik.

And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link:  Sassenach Jewelry



8 thoughts on “Outlander 3.5: “Freedom and (Lots of) Whiskey”

  1. This was my least favorite episode this season. For me, it moved too slowly when other episodes were on speed dial. I wish they had spent more time at Helwater or even at Ardsmuir. I understand they had to show Claire’s momentous decision and the impact on Bree but I wish they had moved it along a bit faster. However, Bree is growing on me. I really didn’t like Bree in the book and I find series Bree a bit less annoying. Sophie Skelton’s acting is better and I loved her scenes with Roger.

    Thanks for writing and giving another perspective.


  2. Also my least favourite episode although I could appreciate the “whys” behind it.
    I’m not a huge fan of Sophie Skelton’s acting but she slowly starting to grow on me. I agree that Bree can get rather annoying in the book. Curious to see if it’ll be the case through the TV series. I am soooooo ready to get on with this story!!!


    1. Here is my take on just how annoying Bree is : she’s been raised in a very elite American bubble- an only child of 2 highly accomplished Brits,particularly a Mother graduating medical school in the fifties. The scene where she is graduating high school is obviously from a ‘girls’ prep, so layer on the snobbery and sense of entitlement. I think Sophie Skelton has got the accent and the impulsive body language of an American down pretty well and yeah it comes across as a tad crass, which is why Rogers besotted gaze on the sofa speaks volumes – this laddie is hook line and sinker for this very different young american woman – she isn’t like the lassie’s back home!!


  3. So far I have been disappointed this season. Don’t get me wrong, I love the series. In the past Claire has had such passion and emotion. This season she seems dull. Also, Jamie fainting – REALLY!!!(yes I have read the book). With all the horrible things that have happened to Jamie and all he does is faint. The one good thing that has come our to this season is my husband has also become hooked on the show.


    1. What makes the “fainting” so great is that here is this King of Men who has been through everything but the sight of the woman he thought lost is there…ah! The emotion was too much. Loved it watched the last 10 minutes 5 times


  4. I’ve already watched this episode (#5) six times. I feel there was a need to show Claire making the choice to go. There’s a whole lot for her to give up (Brianna, her career, indoor plumbing…wait..that one is me) and also so much to gain (Jamie). Someone on another thread mentioned they didn’t like the mistress scene. I thought that was also important but not only for Claire but for Brianna. (Note to mistress..you really weren’t that important to him. He was given the option of divorce the day of Claire’s graduation. He didn’t stay for Brianna’s sake, he stayed for his own sake.) I find the chemistry between Sophie and Richard (Brianna and Roger) endearing. The look on his face as she was opening her present was wonderful. Sophie will grow into being Brianna or we will start to see her as Brianna more naturally. As for Jamie fainting. He was always strong when he had some control over what was or could happen but having Claire, the woman who makes his heart beat, be there in person, might just make it stop beating just for a second or two. FYI..love Dr. Joe Abernathy. Dinna fash two weeks until Jamie and Claire are truly united will seem like a brief moment in time. Be well.


    1. Love this perspective. While I initially found this episode boring, reading the different perspectives has made me see how necessary it was.
      Thank you!!


  5. glad someone else felt this was a BIG waste of time as were the first two parts….last week Helwater was good and Sam did a good job but this week the last two minutes when Claire walks in and Jamie faints I had a fit. In the book Jamie saw Claire all the time and not until she actually touched him did he faint…..did anyone read doing this “adaptation” actually read the book……(PS Claire has been a bitch this whole season hope that changes)


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