How to Say “I Love You” in Outlander

CAU: 4

Okay, I’ve got Outlander beef. Dammit, I don’t want it, but I’ve got it.

I’m going to preface this by saying that it comes from a place of love for Outlander on Starz, that’s how I got to the books. I love Outlander (books and show) enough to fly 1500 miles to go to PaleyFest, so know (to the four people who read this) that it comes from love…love that today is tinged with a tiny hint of easily-forgivable disappointment.

It’s the disparity between what happens in the book and what happens onscreen at the end of “The Devil’s Mark” and beginning of “Lallybroch,” or better, what goes unsaid.

***SPOILERS AHEAD, BLAH BLAH BLAH. If you have Starz access and are not up to date on the current episodes, I don’t understand you, and you’ll probably not care about the rest of this post anyway.***

I’m gonna save you the regular blog bullsheeze about why I’m writing this because I realize that blog readers, like myself, have the attention span of a methed-out ferret. So to the point…

Claire at Craigh na Dun watching Jamie leave
Douleur exquise! Look at the pain this woman is facing with this monumental decision! via Starz

I get it, Toni Graphia, writer of “The Devil’s Mark,” had a marathon of ground to cover in that episode, and I’m honestly surprised that the end wasn’t allotted more screen time, but at that end, when Claire makes the pivotal, life-changing, danger-be-damned, I’m-staying-with-my-ginger-king-of-men decision to remain with Jamie in 1743, all we get is, “On your feet, Soldier,” and “Take me home to Lallybroch,” and not a word from Jamie.

Are you shitting me!? Thanks for the call-back to Episode 1 (truly), but there was a line in the book that perfectly stated exactly what Claire was thinking and it goes a little something like,

“I bloody well can’t do without you, Jamie Fraser, and that’s all about it.”

BOOM! There it is, the “I love you” that we wouldn’t even need to hear. A killer line cutting to the core of the depth of the decision that was just made. It’s the moment for Claire, who has had to be so strong and so guarded, to finally be vulnerable which is really what love is, unabashedly showing your weakness to someone else. Jamie is now her soft spot–the thing she can’t do without. Fuck! How was that line not in there? And that’s not the end of it…

Ever attempting to not judge too quickly, and hoping the situation would be rectified in the beginning of the next episode–as that line in the book is not actually delivered until the morning after Craigh na Dun–I waited for “Lallybroch,” and his response to her words [in the book], which is equally knee-quaking.

(CAU: 5, no 6 [Macallan is easy-drinkin])

But, alas, that came neither. Anne Kenney, writer of “Lallybroch,” had a lot of backstory to cover and the ever-tricky task of telling the story of a near-rape situation which demands a modern audience’s (and writer’s) full and careful consideration. But in the opening, I was as disappointed to not see the, “can’t do without you” line as I was to see the absence of Jamie’s ultimate profession of love in response.

Claire Jamie Craigh na Dun Devils Mark
They can’t bloody well live without each other!! The desperation is palpable! via Starz

In the book, Jamie’s “I love you too,” came in the form of a heart-wrenching admission,

“I prayed all the way up that hill [to Craigh na Dun]…Not for you to stay; I didna think that would be right. I prayed I’d be strong enough to send ye away…I said, ‘Lord, if I’ve never had courage in my life before, let me have it now. Let me be brave enough not to fall on my knees and beg her to stay.'”

Gaaaahhhhh! RIGHT IN THE BLOODY FEELS!!! This line literally makes makes my insides clench up. I’m queasy with biophysical emotion just rereading it. How was this not in the show!?

I love you, Outlander. So much. And I get that not everything can be included and perfectly translated to screen, and that some things end up on the cutting room floor because they don’t fit in, or slow down the pace, but these lines…these lines were the turning point for both characters.

I can’t believe that a moment so pregnant with emotion was allowed to just fade to black. That exchange was the traditional “I love you” without limping into it with those words we’ve all heard before. It could’ve been full-on, flat-out, I-can’t-imagine-a-life-without-you, falling-on-my-knees, praying-to-God, swiving MAGIC!

But it wasn’t.

And what we got in “Lallybroch” was an exchange of “I love you” that felt…gawd I hate to even say it…but it felt…(shit)…pedestrian. Expected and usual. Which was a disappointment for such an unexpected and unusual show.

Claire and Jamie at Quarterday Laird Broch Tuarach
“Is it usual, what it is between us, when I touch you . . . when I lie with you? Is it always so between a man and a woman” No. It’s not. And that’s why our expectations are so high, Jamie and Claire.

I guess that my beef is that the screen adaptation has been so faithful to the source material but in this case breezed over this part of the book that I saw as so crucial for both lead characters. But that’s the thing with art. It’s subjective. It would seem that what I saw as a pivotal exchange of words was not so pivotal to the screenwriters, and they’re the professionals.

I’m personally gonna go ahead and count this as a hiccup and look forward to many more episodes to fawn over and care about.

Rant complete. Now, what about this “Watch” business…because, Outlander, I’m with you, and I bloody well can’t do without you, and that’s all about it (see how amazing that sounds!)…

P.S. I’m just gonna leave this here, because it’s hilarious. And a bonny Beltane to ye!

staler Waldorf Outlander Starz Devil's Mark
Muppets Statler and Waldorf as the Outlander inquisitors. via OzgeB at




12 thoughts on “How to Say “I Love You” in Outlander

Add yours

  1. Agree with you about the scene where they finally declared themselves verbally. That just fell sort of flat. I kind of wonder if the scene was actually written that way or some of the best lines just didn’t make the cut. Maybe at some point we’ll get to see an extended version of that scene, the way we finally got a “respect has room for secrets, but not for lies; do you agree?” scene from the wedding night.

    I loved the “On your feet, Soldier,” reunion scene, though. Their tears — hers and Jamie’s — said everything, IMO.

  2. I too waited in vain for those amazing lines. Sad that so many will not understand the dept of those scenes because the language was not there to convey it.
    I guess I can always pull other book and read that part again. 😊

  3. Tailor, Very well said. I love the series, but have not felt the depth of emotions from the series as I did in the books.
    Thank you for speaking out!

  4. Hee hee ( or ha ha) depending on how “old” you are… Loved the Statler and Waldorf reference. I thought the same thing ( better than Mutt and Jeff) — sorry Diana!

  5. I agree with you. The “I love you” s fell flat compared to the book words. Jamie declaring he wanted to fall on his knees was pivotal. Better be in the deleted scenes. Can’t believe it would have been deleted. But I also agree that their tears said a lot also. But we readers wanted the words.

  6. Well said, I also felt let down when those lines were not included on that episode (& the next)

  7. Absolutely on point! Those lines were essential. Such a clear declaration of the strongest love. Missed those lines terribly. 😢

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