Outlander 3.7: Crème de What the What?

Spoiler, spoiler, spoiler. We’re talking about Outlander episode 3.7 and the book “Voyager” here, so heads up.

Okay, friends, so what have we learned from this episode? (Other than the fact that you shouldn’t leave a fire burning in a vat of hot ink in a wooden building while you’re not at home?)


This episode, Crème de Menthe, was the first penned by new staff writer Karen Campbell, and I must say, they didn’t exactly lob her an easy one, did they? The action here pretty much corresponds to my MOCK EPISODE THREE, which I called “Smuggler’s Moon,” based on a part of the book which they seem to be skipping. I thought she did a great job, although someone should probably tell her that Jamie doesn’t call Claire “Sassenach” every time he speaks to her.

Now we’ve known for a while, based on the slower pace of the first half of this season, that Ron Moore and Co were going to have skip something at some point, and this was the first big excision we’ve seen. (See what I did there? “Exciseman,” “excision.” I know, I know, I’m very smart. Let’s move on.)


Personally, I don’t blame them at all for skipping the Smuggler’s Moon shenanigans, which you may recall from the book was a rather long-winded, and, let’s be honest, kind of confusing, sequence in which the gang head out at night to smuggle the booze, but the plan goes awry and Jamie is framed for hanging a man, but then Ian, Jr., gets lost and…

Oh, who cares? We’re not doing that here.

Here’s what we did keep: Ian Jr. losing his virginity:


The exciseman being killed and dumped in a barrel of Crème de Menthe:


The printshop burning down (insert emoticon of sad face here):


Oh, and of course, we did meet Reverend Campbell and his crazy sister Margaret. We didn’t get a slice of her backstory, as we had in the novel at this point, but we did get the rather ominous “Abandawe” utterance from her that will, rest assured, come up again later.

(PS: Anyone else like the introduction of the Campbells as “soothsayers” this early? I thought it was a nice touch.)

Here’s what they changed:


OMG, where to begin with the changes? Claire accidentally wounds the exciseman and then freaks out about and tries to save his life but fails (a change that I actually liked–it doesn’t happen that way in the book– as it gave her A MUCH more compelling and urgent action here than in the book); Ian, Sr. heads back to Lallybroch without ever discovering that his son is, in fact, there; “the Edinburgh Fiend”—apparently not happening; the whole Smuggler’s Moon thing is out, as well as the rather convoluted sequence in which Jamie tries to determine a safe port for shipping off the booze.

Oh, and lest we forget, Fergus lets this little bomb drop:


Holy spoiler alert, Batman. It’s like they took the plot points of the book, wrote them down on small pieces of paper, dropped them in a hat, and then plucked them out in no particular order.

Did I like this episode? Yes. Did I miss the Smuggler’s Moon stuff? Honestly, no. They established what they needed to (Jamie’s life as a printer/booze smuggler has reached the end of its rope, and if he wants a future with Claire, he’s going to have to start over) without confusing the hell out of us and without spending the money that shooting that night escapade would have cost.

So maybe not every change worked perfectly (the segue from Jamie defending his choice to lie to Ian, Sr., to Jamie being angry about Brianna’s bikini felt a little forced) but, hey, we’re working things out, right?


Perhaps most importantly, the writers have set the scene for Claire and Jamie being at odds over who they’ve become, and what kind of life they consider “normal.”

Claire, who is frustrated here at having lost a “patient,” frustrated with the constraints of treating people without modern medicine, frustrated by the lifestyle Jamie has chosen (and extremely frustrated—rightly so—at his having lied to his brother-in-law), now has a pretty substantial reason to doubt whether or not they still belong together.

In the next episode, when we return to Lallybroch, this tension will be very important.

And let’s be honest, shall we? Can’t wait to meet wifey #2.

Till next week, my friends.

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


10 thoughts on “Outlander 3.7: Crème de What the What?

  1. I liked most of the changes but can’t get over Claire trying so hard to save a man who tried to rape and murder her. I guess they had to have a reason for her to get to the apothecary and meet the Campbells but I wish it had been something else. While I was dismayed at Jamie and Claire’s first fight, it showed how much they will have to overcome if they are truly to become a couple.


    1. I agree about her trying to save the man in the room. It irritated. I’m looking forward to the rest though! Wifey #2 for one!


  2. This was a “housekeeping” episode. They had to establish a lot of plot points, some which are laid out in the books and others which they have had to include to stitch the story together after excluding the Fiend and Smuggler’s Moon events. Overall, I liked it. Not my favorite episode, but a necessary one. .


  3. While I realize that 1700’s Edinburgh probably was dark, dirty and gloomy, I wish the episode could have been lighted a bit better. Usually the cinematography is brilliant but I found it somewhat difficult to see everything that was happening.


  4. Not the bedroom action I’ve come to love-watching Claire drill that degenerate’s head in an effort to save him. Seriously? Also watching young Ian lose his virginity, TMI! However, I continue to love the series and books.


  5. Might just be me, but I enjoyed the added tensions that the writers introduced between Jaime and Claire. Jaime would have processed that Frank got to raise his child and resented it, he rescued young Ian and the picture of little Willie. Again different/not different. Didn’t like that he lied to Ian senior, all he had to tell him was that young Ian was there and that he was taking care of things. Especially because he takes fatherhood do seriously and he doesn’t get to raise his own.


  6. I understand having to leave things out, and agree about the moon smuggling – don’t miss it. What really bothers me is the HUGE omissions and changes. The Reverand Campbell now a fortune teller? His sister “soft in the head” since childhood? What about Culloden? Jamie lying to Ian? Jamie’s distress over his press – which is huge if they plan on pursuing all of the books. I don’t like the clear, and drastic digressions from the books – so drastic that the show very nearly has a different story line. We love Outlander for Diana’s excellent work. The writers should remember and respect that by sticking as close to the original as possible.


  7. To me, the opening sequence of this episode made Claire seem unnecessarily stupid. There’s nothing in the Hippocratic oath about trying to revive your would-be murderer, endangering yourself, your lover and others. The skull surgery was a complete time-wasting fabrication and Gabaldon has written better material later in Voyager to demonstrate Claire’s devotion to healing seen in previews. This was a laughable overdose “Hey you, Nurse Whore, go to the nearest sawbones and borrow his trephine for me while I run to get anaesthetic/laudanum for an unconscious man whose brain pressure will kill him while I’m gone”. The show is NOT “Dr. Claire, Medicine Woman”.

    As for her anger with Jamie and depression that she lost a patient when she “rarely loses a patient”, really Claire? All surgeons lose patients under the best of conditions. If you thought you were going to have nearly the success rate you had in 1968 Boston operating rooms in an 18th century you’d visited before, then you need your own head examined. Let’s bore into it in search of a little common sense, shall we? And if your calling is what’s all fired important to you over Jamie’s well being, why on earth did you trade your first world working conditions for what you knew were worse than 3rd world conditions?


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