Are we the villain in someone’s story? A self-examination after ‘Between Two Fires’ S05E02

Between Two Fires, has brought us a very different look than the first of the season. Basically, shit is getting real.  Once the final scene cut to black I said out loud “What? That was an hour?”  You know by now, I don’t do recaps but I do take something I noticed in the episode and dissect it.

Speaking of dissection – yes, I will be talking about Claire and her being elbows deep in Mr. F but I really think we need to start with Murtagh.

There were a lot of people talking about how they hated seeing Murtagh involved in the tar and feathering of political figures in Hillsborough. I was one, then I thought about it. Murtagh is the same man he always was. He decapitated Sandringham, ffs (we cheered), he cracked the skulls of MANY (also, cue us, cheering) and he has killed all manner of men.  We as viewers always saw the other people as the ‘bad guy’.  The villains.  We justified Murtagh’s actions and that was the difference.

This time, we didn’t know these men being tortured. The townspeople and the Regulators did. They know them as the political figureheads that took away their homes and overtaxed them. They are the elitists that live in luxury while they struggle to feed their families.  We sat back horrified that these men were maimed. The reason being, we had empathy for them. Whereas the Regulators, with Murtagh at the lead, were exacting revenge for themselves and those families. To them, completely justifiable.

This can open our eyes to our own worlds. How many times have we gotten into situations where people have thought of us as the ‘bad guy’ when we were only doing what we thought was right and/or the best for our family? We weren’t doing it against anyone but we were doing it for ourselves.  Some have a very hard time separating themselves from other people’s lives and understanding other’s decisions aren’t about them.

Jamie, for instance. The Regulator’s that were imprisoned, he freed them, they still questioned his motives.  They did so because they couldn’t wrap their brains around the fact he let them go because of his own conscience. His need to do something for what in his heart he knew was right.  Ultimately, he doesn’t care what these men think of him. What he thinks of himself is his paramount concern. He is mindful that he is a villain to these men. His willingness to be seen as less than, in their eyes, is what he is ready to do. For Jamie, the end justifies the means. I believe that particular phrase will play very heavily in Jamie’s story this season.

It has been my experience, “There are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle, lays the truth.”  This isn’t because everyone is a liar, it is because people naturally put their lens on and tell their story through it. It is what makes us…us. The story is our truth.

It does give me a chuckle when it is said, “They only told you their side of things”  Well, of course, they did, whose side are they going tell?  There will be instances in everyone’s life where relationships were ended because of horrible circumstances where someone was CLEARLY at fault. The interesting bit, I assure you, is both sides will claim the other to be the bad guy and the clincher will be convincing arguments from both sides. Will one be very skewed?  Unquestionably.

When we think of these instances, we would like to think we would be unbiased when it comes to seeing who is culpable.  Being completely truthful, we often side with the person we care about the most. This will be the one we feel the most empathy for. No matter what the argument is, the story they tell, how convincing the tale told, we will choose to trust the person we want to, not always the person that is right. That is one of those horse-pills to swallow.

A very small moment in ‘Between Two Fires’ gave us a situation in which we can see this clearly.

A man, with his family, taking a break from travelling and stretching their legs. On the road comes a huge group of mostly red-coated soldiers. Not a word is exchanged but the soldier near the head of the pack throws coins at a child’s feet. Insulted by this action, the man spat in the direction of the soldier.

From the man’s perspective. This soldier does not know him or his family’s circumstances,  the assumption he needs or wants the soldier’s coin is insulting. To throw it at his child’s feet takes it a step further to be degrading. This is why the man spits in his direction. It tells the soldier what he thinks of his ‘charity’.

  • Others in this man’s shoes (even Jamie) would feel this insult and understand why this man would be upset by Lt. Knox’s actions. Some may even say they would have done worse than spit at him.  We know the bravado society puts after the fact.

From Lt. Knox’s perspective, a poor helpless family is needing assistance so he tossed them some coin he had on hand. It obviously wasn’t enough for them and the father spat at him. It was ungracious and disrespectful.  His obvious generosity was a caring act to be commended, the man and his family should have thanked him for this good deed.

  • The soldier’s and elitists in Lt. Knox’s company would see the situation exactly as he does. The reason? a) the soldiers because going against what their commanding officer says can pose a problem, so follow and agree. b) seeing themselves doing the same thing Knox has done, would feel exactly the same privilege.

The truth…

Lt. Knox is as thick as a brick so he is offended that this man couldn’t see his generosity. He was literally so high on his horse, he missed the fact this family was asking for nothing. He saw himself as superior to them and he chose to give them money.  Not just ‘give’ it to them but throw it at their feet. This was not an act of kindness but more an act of power.  Expecting thanks and accolades for such a deed is pure arrogance.

There are small instances such as theses in our everyday. Telling someone to smile, not saying excuse me when we bump into somebody, moralizing and proclaiming to others “I don’t see colour”. Sure, using the word “villain” does seem extreme, however, things like those mentioned can really mess up ours, or someone else’s day. The examples were more along the lines of being the type of person that makes others feel better when we aren’t around. Micro-villains, I prefer that.

My mother used to say “If it quacks…it’s a DUCK!” She didn’t waste her didn’t time with “if it walks like a …” stuff.  We know on Outlander, the whole “People show you who they are,” adage can be tricky.

Take Claire, she is working very hard to bring her knowledge of modern medicine into the past. Whipping up concoctions of this weird sounding ‘peniwhosiwhatsit’ that is supposed to cure all sorts of sickness. (I know what it is, I’m pretending to be from the 1700s and hearing the word…work with me)  You can imagine what prying ears might hear. Or, lawd-have-mercy, what they might see. Like the body of a man that apparently was buried, now with his chest cracked open and his giblets laying all over the place.

Claire’s acutely aware that what she is doing would be seen as sacrilegious, macabre and downright inconceivable. Which means, Claire, our heroine, the matriarch of Outlander if standing in the middle of her community being 100% herself would be 100% a villain in the eyes of those around her.  Given the people, the times, their education and knowledge of things that are – their perception would be altogether accurate.

Mrs. Bug thinks the woman is mad, hoarding all this bread to make some magic medicine! Imagine if she saw this poor chopped up man in Claire’s surgery.  What we have to admit, unless you truly love Claire, understand what she does, how legitimately intelligent and medically knowledgable she is, the things she does in the world she lives in would never be perceived as anything BUT evil.

Hard to wrap your mind around it isn’t it? Thinking of Claire as a villain.  While you are giving a go at those mental gymnastics, I want you to think of this – Stephen Bonnet as the hero.

WHAT THE ACTUAL F??? Yeah, me…I said that. I know…I know.  We all know how deplorable the man is and of course, he is a villain. The worst kind. THE villain.

The truth of the matter is, Bonnet doesn’t think so.  Get what I am saying?  Most people who we see as villains have no problem at all seeing themselves as heroes. They have zero qualms with excusing their behaviour as justified and often blame others for forcing their hand.

This describes Bonnet. Seeing him in Between Two Fires sent shivers down my spine. Yup, he has still got IT. That thing that makes your skin want to crawl off of your bones and run away from home. Every nasty thing that SunnuvaBonnet does, he justifies.

Rationalizing behaviour like this gives us permission to a) repeat it b) excuse it.  My point is, frequently those who so many of us see as the villain – will never see it themselves.  That is why they exist in the first place.  Those that have a measure of empathy and compassion – have the capacity to change.

As I sat with my own thoughts on this whole villain concept, I’m conscious of being the villain in other people’s stories. For some, I have made peace with that. It isn’t possible to alter their perceptions of me and for another, I don’t want that responsibility. I would rather be the perceived villain in our story than open the door to the chaos that created the situation.  For others, it makes me sad and embarrassed that I know I could have behaved in a different way. As a consequence, the story may have had a happier ending.

How many times have we justified our actions? Whether they were out of anger, self-preservation or ego?  I don’t know about you but my honest self says more times than I like to admit. Justifying something doesn’t mean we were right to do it, it only means we excused our actions at the time and painted ourselves on the “right” side.

The most interesting things cause us to sit back and look at the world, others and our own actions. This week it was this nugget of how we are seen through other’s eyes.  We can say we don’t care, some don’t. Some, care too much. Maybe if we were all just a little more aware, it would make us a little kinder to one another.

Boy, I hope I find something FUN to talk about in next week’s episode.  I am sure you do too.

Sher XO

PS – Don’t forget to join us as we livetweet to the W Network airing in Canada at 7 pm MST, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

Call him Kikki. #Outlander’s Lesley, gone but not forgotten.

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the Keith Fleming, who prefers to be called Kikki by those around him, at the Outlandish Vancouver event this past October. I told you all about it here. Each interaction with Kikki left me knowing that I had met someone who a) had a very similar sense of humour (that can be scary) b) could be one of the most genuine people I had ever met.

We throw around that word, genuine, quite a bit and use all sorts of bright and shiny adjectives. Kikki is genuine in all regards. He gives you the bright and shiny and he makes no excuses for the humour, his belief systems or his sharper edges. That adage, what you see is what you get. Is Kikki Fleming. It is my hope that you get to know this man that brought us the loyal and jovial character of Lesley on Outlander a bit better through this interview. Grab a cuppa something hot, cold or wet or dry just make it last, this isn’t going to be quick.

Why the moniker, Kikki?

Kikki came from one of my stage heroes, and most wonderful actors, Jimmy Chisholm. He was basically repeating and elongating Keith, to Keithy, then to Kikki Dee lives in Dundee, as I was about to work there and Kikki stuck. Most people, certainly in the acting world, seem to know me first as Kikki. My mum…not so much. Cait, with her Irish lilt, and David Ganly, a wonderful actor, have the most becoming delivery of my name.

How about that handle of yours, @dundlejuice? These are the things that keep me up at night…

Dundlejuice…well that’s a tale. Basically what I can tell you…dundle – go for an aimless, explorative ramble or walk. I used to go for such adventures with one of my best friends, Dave, when I lived in London..we would seek out secrets of the Rye, hug trees, satsuma spotting, get trapped in Mexican Cantinas, commentate on elderly people bowling whilst discussing the merits of custard creams. There was even a cowgirl dancing on top of a mobile phone, one particular dundle…you never quite know what to expect on a dundle!

This was entertaining enough for me, I don’t think I will ask for clarification of the juice add on because my imagination is nailing it … so Keith?

Keith, is used to berate, when someone is annoyed, or whenever someone meets me for the first time usually….and my mum!

Now, just because I met you, I won’t claim to know you. One thing that I could not help but notice is how at ease your co-stars were with you, and how they looked to you for support.

You talked about your mates as if they were your family, about your partner with an abundance of love. It seems to me when you form bonds with people, they aren’t surface level.

I think when I invest in something or someone I go all in. If I trust you, like you and open to you then I’m vulnerable. I will take the same care of your heart as I expect you to do with mine. I don’t have a big family at all so my friends are my family really. They are special people and they stick around for the long term. We meet so many people in the business, fleetingly, I think when you have that certain spark, shared sense of humour or experience, it is important to make an effort to let that person know they have made an impression on your life. What are we here for at the end of the day…not to sit in isolation with our own thoughts and loneliness tormenting us! When I was at school, most of my best pals were girls…we are still in touch today!! Likewise, my best mate Kev, we make an effort by not making it an effort to just know we are only a phone/mail away. My partner is the same…she is open, trusting and so giving in the most loving way. But we started out as friends and I think that is where our strength comes from.

How have you continued to become this kind of man in a world that doesn’t naturally emulate that?

I can be quite blokey. I like football, music, comedy and having a drink, that doesn’t make me a bad person. I also love tea, biscuits, nights in, wildlife – mad about primates, conservation. I am surprisingly sensitive.  I am very caring, empathetic and open to other people. I am impatient with a lot of the offended culture that is appearing today, but I am also aware why it is there and needs to be addressed. I know that yes, there are people – men, out there who are arseholes and who spoil it for whatever reason by their behaviour. But I do believe we are not all the same person as those, and most people are decent and desire to achieve the same respect, love and compassion as the next. To those who ruin for us, I say, go fuck yourself…also don’t tar me with the same brush as those who do.

And there you have why I slid into your DMs! (Not in an icky way) Like attracts like and I think there are more people who think that way than don’t. It is why I wanted those in the Outlander world to know this part of who you are. Mostly because it’s enjoyable to get to know someone that you have admired on screen.

It’s the truth and passion you have shared that leads to my being able to ask and handle the answers to the next question. What are three things you are most passionate about right now and what do you think we are responsible to do about them?

  1. Nature. We share this planet…we do not have some divine right over anything, be it animal, plant or mineral, to impose ourselves on its development and existence. We need to respect the natural world and resources around us, look outward and inward and see what we are going to lose. Things have evolved over millions and billions of years…we are destroying all of it in a matter of what …150 years? It makes me sick.

  2. Greed…power…government and their lack of transparency and accountability. There’s a lot of fear, lies, bullshit, propagated by the media and the Government both here and the US, and increasingly more countries around the world. All of it for self-gain. Power-hungry leaders and corporations with no care for anyone else. It’s a time to stand up and demand that they govern for the good of the people, the country, the environment and for stronger bonds between other countries. The world is a smaller place with technology advancing rapidly, but we are in danger of losing it all by destroying ourselves with hatred and greed.

  3. People getting offended on behalf of other people, even though they weren’t there at the event or gig or saw something in a newspaper and start getting offended. Just FUCK RIGHT OFF. You’re offended…doesn’t make you right! Go be offended, but understand that is the worst it will get…that’s all!

Obviously, I don’t mean those that stand up for the voiceless, powerless or marginalized…you know the types I mean. They see something about something a comedian said in their act and suddenly from 1 tweet, 47,000 people were ‘at the gig’!

Social media mourners too…those that need to be seen to mourn after a tragic event, as if they ‘feel’ more because they put it out there…jeez, give me strength.

I hear this loud. I feel this deeply.  One thing I have learned in my many years is those with the biggest hearts and the heartiest humour is they are the truth-tellers.

Speaking of truth-telling, the humour behind it is bound to get you in ‘situations’…

Yeah for sure, there’s been times aplenty when the urge to say something in an awkward moment has been too much…I could get in a lot of trouble for repeating them.

One that springs to mind though was upon hearing news about a friend suffering the death of a parent. The phrase used was “I lost my dad at the weekend” to which I replied “Careless”. It’s a wee play on words, and in such heightened emotions we are in danger of hurting feelings but comedy can be used as a comfort to lighten the mood. I try never to offend anyone, but that is impossible. If I do go out my way to offend you then you must have done something real shit towards me or my closest.

Oh man, that is going to be stuck in my head. I’m going to blame that one, when it happens (because it will) on you.

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It’s good for me to be honest with myself.

There will always be misconceptions about people, especially actors, what are some you want to clear up right now?

That it is a hobby, that it is easy, that anyone can do it, that because a relationship is working onscreen it must be true in real life, that we will just do a performance of anything there on the spot for your entertainment, that we are super confident.

A teacher once mentioned you would make a good actor, it does seem you’re a born entertainer, what do you think they saw in you?

I’m not sure exactly. I think there was a clownish, jokey part to me that liked to entertain. I was always quite expressive when telling stories, and loved making people laugh, so I guess there was that. I’d like to think passion, you need to be passionate about acting to stick with it. The whole setup can be so rewarding, but devastatingly cruel the next day. I used to mimic a lot of teachers at school. Perhaps there is an interest in being in someone else’s shoes, and not having to live with the consequences of their actions that draws me. At the end of the day, we are telling stories. It’s a beautiful thing.

I think from an early age I was fascinated with film/acting…wanted to be Han Solo, then a vet, then an artist. I went to art school for 1 year in London, but I still had the passion for drama school, and when the prospect of staring at a blank canvas in a studio didn’t dampen that fire, I decided it was something to pursue. Both of them are really reliable safe occupations!

Speaking of occupations, what others have you had?

I have been bartender…bloody good one; worked in a deli; a labourer; waiter; worked as an instructor/race director for a motor racing team who ran corporate go-karting events in London and Europe-loved it!      I also do some work just now for a sash window restoration company, which is great fun learning a new skill and getting paid to do so.

Theatre has been a big part of your career, can you share with us those experiences and how they compare to film and TV work?

It has been circumstance rather than choice. Jobs, when they came, were taken. I was fortunate to get offered a lot of theatre and accepted it. The acting profession is filled with uncertainty, not knowing the next job etc…so I would often take it rather than delving into the abyss by choice. In saying that, I was lucky to get offered such fascinating parts.

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Kikki in the role of Cyrano De Bergerac.

I adore theatre, the collaboration, creation, sharing of ideas, being part of something from the beginning and immersing yourself in a world. It is immediate, and you enter a contract with an audience every night, things can happen by brilliant accident along the way…but my experience of TV and film has certainly left me wanting more. Financially it is beneficial, a lot less work for a lot more money or perhaps a lot more sitting around waiting! I would love to do more TV/Film. It’s another part of the profession to embrace, refine and explore. Direct, write, produce. Bring it on! Why did you kill Lesley off?! Gggrrrrrrrrr!!

With film and TV, unless you are a lead, supporting lead role, or involved in something that involves a lot of choreography ie fight scene, horse chase, you can feel kinda left to your own initiative. You are perhaps not always party to creative discussions and input. Know your lines, hit your mark and Go! It can feel a lot more technical in TV, as there are eyelines, cameras etc to consider…you are mic’d, so no need to project to the back row daaaahhhling! But it is essentially the same craft…it starts with knowing what you’re saying, why you’re saying it and saying it from a place of truth. TV and Film require more stillness. I pace a lot when I’m acting. I have to internalise that panther for the screen!

What are some of your fondest memories of your theatre roles?

I would say Peer Gynt has to be up there, along with Macbeth. Two parts I was so proud of and excited every night I went out to perform.

Also, I did a play called Squash, which was directed by Finn Den Hertog from S1 Outlander…I loved doing that show. Everything about it was just that wee bit warped, like the Coen Brothers. All of the above are extremely dark pieces, and I seem to thrive in that kind of world, maybe another side of Lesley could have been explored!

Explore a little, what would you like to play down the road?

Parts I’d love to play; Lesley’s twin fucked up mental brother, Richard III.  I’ve always wanted to do a version of the King of Comedy onstage.

If the work is interesting and challenging, then I’m up for it. It’s often about the people you get to work with that is enticing, the ambition of a project, the fun. I’ve been lucky to work with some brilliant and inspiring actors and directors, writers…long may it continue.

What performances or actors do you enjoy?

I’d love to have been Phil Dunphy from Modern Family, one of the greatest comedy creations, along with Alan Partridge and David Brent!

In that same vein, are there film actors (no gender preference) you would love to work with?

I’m a big De Niro fan, some of the greatest performances ever on our screens. Philip Seymour Hoffman was and will be one of the industries greatest ever actors. Joaquin Phoenix is the greatest actor today…so him, just anything. Paddy Considine, Jeff Bridges Bryan Cranston, Paul Giamatti, Jack Lowden- a fellow Scot and an actor who I have worked with- unbelievable talent and beautiful human, likewise David Ganly, and my mucker Jamie Sives. Jennifer Lawrence – she sparks in most scenes she enters; Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Kathy Burke, Margot Robbie! I would love to have worked with Madeline Khan and Gene Wilder!  I’d work with my missus of course…she’s great to work with. Sometimes it’s hard to work with a partner, things can get a bit sensitive with criticism but, not her. Plus, I just noticed Margot, J-Law and Scarlett on my list so, she is up there with them, obviously!

How about actors that have taught you something personally about the craft?

Jimmy Chisholm has an unbelievable talent to entertain, hold an audience in the palm of his hand, and ‘play’ with them. A sense of devilment and mischief is good to hold onto, as long as it’s not to the detriment of the work. David Ganly and Jimmy possess that in abundance. Trusting your instinct also, be brave to make mistakes.

I love that, making mistakes can be the best way to learn, what guidance did you received early on in your career that you still use?

Know what you’re saying, know why you’re saying it, and get on with it. Stop acting!!!

There are always people cutting their teeth in the industry, what is your best advice?

Get used to rejection…doesn’t mean you were wrong, you just weren’t their ‘right’! Once an audition is done, leave it, it’s out of your hands now, you cannot influence things any further unless asked.  The audition is your chance to ACT…not just an interview for the job…be bold, commit, don’t second guess, make choices and stick by them. They’ll direct you differently in time…they want to see what you bring to the table.

Keeping with the acting part of this interrogation, what is your process of getting to know the characters you play, Kikki?

I like to ‘feel them out’, explore, see what works, what doesn’t. What do they do, say, what are we told about them, how do they react, how are they similar to me and how are they different? What can I change about me, how do they move, speak? Trial and error, putting those things together and seeing what works, with the help of your director. And bloody hell, do not bore the audience!

…and Lesley in particular?

Lesley – well, I had no reference other than the script. I knew from the audition/casting sides that there was a slightly comic element, but also keeping in mind that he had been in prison and was devoted to Jamie’s safety and well-being. Clearly, Lesley and Jamie were identical twins separated at birth. Lesley abandoned on a rocky shore, raised by seals, on a diet of mackerel, gulls, and seaweed. So I slept rough and stayed out the gym for 6 weeks before filming started and let my imagination go to work!

What kind of traits do you find admirable about people in the industry?

Anyone that is still doing it, that has decency, manners and compassion for fellow actors and human beings. Folk that don’t forget where they come from. Too many self-important up-their-own-arse stars around…we don’t need any more. Folk who have overcome great diversity and hardship and still believe in this. There are a lot of privileged people in the industry who have managed to sustain being in it by family money etc. I’m not saying they are shit actors, but they had a better chance by not having to work 3 different jobs a week to pay bills then try to cram those lines at 3am for that 9am audition. I admire actors who challenge themselves and don’t just pick parts because they get to look good and pout so that they get another modelling endorsement perhaps…get mucky, get ugly and get in there. Mums who are busting their humps to manage an acting career and family, dads also. It’s tough.

I can see that. With the good comes the frustrating…

That we are still having to highlight female success- or lack of it- in the industry. Surely we have evolved as the human race to be better than where we are at! Likewise, artists of colour. It’s shameful that we are still having these conversations. The majority of people that I meet day to day in the industry are all like-minded, inclusive, diverse and talented individuals who share a commonality of ambition and love for our work. There is much more to be done and that needs to come from the source. Those who commission, green light and fund projects. Who back training, scholarships and education. There need to be more examples to inspire those who don’t think it might be for them. Or that there are not enough roles for someone like them. A lot of the damage has been done by entitled powerful – hate to say it – MEN, obsessed only about enhancing their own reputation. But times are changing, not as rapidly astray should be, but awareness has certainly been heightened.

It should also be said that not all men in the business are potential Harvey Weinstein-like predators…but are caring, respectful, professional artists.

There’s never enough work and it’s a lot of the same faces that get the work. I get it though, if I were making stuff and had seen or worked with someone before, I’d approach them and suggest this great new project. It’s not a fair industry. It’s competitive, but that’s not news to anyone. Why would a director take a chance on an unknown when you know you’re going to get quality with say, Joaquin? That’s not saying the other person would not be better, but it’s a business, and more often it is the producers who have the final say – they fund the projects.

The obsession with looks…you’re born with the face you have. I would love to look like Brad, or Johnny, Leo, but I don’t.  These guys have talent to back it up however and they work hard to look good and keep in shape, just look at our Sam! A bloody machine…where does he find the time? But that’s it…people do moan about how easy it is for the better-looking people to be successful, but getting fat is a lot fucking easier. You get up at 4:30 am and do a gym session then a 13-hour shoot in pissing rain, then yoga in the evening, knowing you’ve got a sex scene in 3 days!

But the business has always had an aesthetic obsession but these people are stars because they don’t look like the everyday guy you pass in the street. Just wish I was one of them! It’s annoying when they don’t have the substance or talent to back it up that irks.

Oh, and whiners. Whine about everything all the time. Can you not do that, can you be more careful there, why are we working late, this coat is heavy, my character wouldn’t say that!

But each to their own. It’s all about being diplomatic and discussion. But let’s not waste time every 5 minutes because your coffee is cold, or water is going in your ear, or you think you should be playing the lead!

I tend to be someone who throws themselves in…get dirty, attack it full on… then rewind and learn what worked and what didn’t. Everyone has their own approach, and you have to respect theirs, but likewise so must they mine.

I am sure a lot of readers are thinking about what I am. Acting as a profession isn’t much different than a lot of workplaces. It takes all kinds, everywhere to make or break the experiences we end up having. Those top 2%, in any industry, job, corporation is what we compare ourselves to yet, the 98% are all of us. Reality.   I love that you are speaking about the changes that need to be made in the industry. Whether they be on behalf of women or people of colour, it takes all of the voices to make a difference. I applaud you calling out arseholes for being arseholes because that is the proof that there are allies that care about what is happening more than some random guy’s ego.  So, thank you. 

Sorry, I left you there for a moment, have you had  “Nope!” not gonna do that, moments?

  • Hmmm…good question…Lie on the floor covered in tarantulas like Indiana Jones? That is a no-no!

  • Throw one of the famous hissy fits and berate crew or fellow cast members. No-no, team effort. Never forget where you came from!

  • Or deem yourself above the project, job, or others involved – those folk can go gettaefu!

  • Or go on an interview/chat show and come across like Tom Hiddleston. What a bellend!

    *catching my breath from laughing…bellend…new favourite way to say dickhead*

For us, who are clueless, please take us through the “audition to getting the role” scenario.

Get the appointment, wait for script or sides/scenes to read/learn. Work on them, make choices about what you are doing, how you are going to attack the scene, accents, look, basically be prepared. If you have the whole script, read it all…you might get asked what your thoughts are on it. Then you go, meet director, writer, producer, casting director…audition well hopefully. You wait, you may get a callback or if you were sooooo good, then a straight offer – that is a great feeling. The waiting is the hard part, frustrating but when you leave the room, it’s over to them – you are powerless and cannot influence them anymore – you try to forget about it.

Then you see that Sam Heughan or Johnny Depp is now playing Bond. “They went another way” –  stock industry phrase to let you down!

If you’re lucky, you get it, and are delighted. Then starts the anxiety of being good enough, who else is in it…etc.

We know one role that was earned- Lesley.

kikki blog

Let’s talk about your time on Outlander. You were one of the cast members that went to South Africa to film, what was the difference in filming from between Scotland and South Africa? 

The general layout of the day was the same. Pick up, arrive on set, breakfast, make-up and wardrobe, head to set for rehearsal/ line run, back for checks than on set to shoot. The main difference was obviously the weather, the scenery, and also the dressing rooms. They are major movie studios in SA. Dressing rooms were luxurious, bigger than my apartment! I think we hung out a lot more in SA as we’re in a new place, and on days off myself, Lauren (Marsali), Cesar (Fergus), would go explore new places to eat for Breakfast, brunch etc. James(Hayes), Gary (Mr.Willoghby) and Nigel Betts (Murphy) would hook up later. Myself and Nigel Betts would often go sample the region’s wines with a spot of lunch!! Always wine o’clock with Sir Betts! Ideal touring partner.

The scene with Lesley’s death was pretty traumatic, more so for you, I am sure. The “America the Beautiful” track played over the scene in the final edit but what I am curious about is what filming a scene like that involves?

Obviously, I’m not aware of that track at the time…odd choice, some loved it, some not so much. When filming the scene, it is all very technical. You’ve got stunt guys and camera, sound crew all in that small space. It’s all choreographed to find angles, impact, effective storytelling and safety. It’s not comfortable for many reasons, but the crew are there always looking out for you. Basically, I get my heroic moment after a calamitous start. We are ambushed. I get knocked out after a pirate kicks door open as I try to lead Claire to safety, that door was inches away from my nose-sometimes you gotta go over the edge to find out where the edge is! I come round, see Claire being threatened, jump up and kill the pirate, grab her to see she is ok – distracted by her safety- Cue Bonnet! With knife! Great…where was her intervention at that point?! Throat cut then die on floor, towards camera. Me in foreground bleeding, Claire shocked and crying, Jamie enters, clearly she’s traumatized because Lesley, protector of Fraser mob for over 20 years is gone…but…no….her ring, her fucking ring! I did make a few funny quips whilst dying, about the next line, and Cait did point out the ridiculousness of such cold behaviour, but the director and creatives are like, “he’s gone, you move on”- as I lay in position on floor for next shot -“I am still here ye know”!

Yeah, it was gutting being killed off before you really have the chance to develop the character, but that’s the business, not in the books, so they don’t need to stay loyal to anything there.

Bonnet did drop his pistol the first take when he came up behind me. I picked it up and thought, “Here is my chance to rewrite the story!”

You know what? Go ahead, Kikki… re-write it. It’s your turn, Bonnet’s aim sucked, he missed your throat, Claire used her doctoring and saves his life. Give it to us. Give us Lesley’s next chapter.

Well, I love the idea! First, can I ask why she didn’t actually run and get her surgical box in the first place, instead of weeping about her ring!

I think myself, Jamie and Kaheroton (Braeden Clarke) form an elite fighting force. Hell-bent on revenge. I’m determined to get that ring back, to thank her for saving me, but also for most likely creating one of the first-ever DC villains, before it’s time.

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You dream it, I make it happen.

I take some mushrooms in the forest, and whilst everyone is sleeping I slip off the boat. I stalk and find Bonnet, it’s like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, I get captured, tortured, but when he drops his guard or pistol – I seize the moment, I cut off his head. I invent football or soccer, using his head as the first-ever ball, and introduce it to the First Nations and it goes on to be their national sport. Then I return to Frasers Ridge, marry Wahkatiiosta. Jamie, Kaheroton and I then head off to fight the Red Coats. They underestimate our small number. They get what they deserve, they are slaughtered through the night and by morning there are none left. The invaders flee this new land they have landed in, and it remains in harmony and populated by the rightful original inhabitants. The First Nations flourish, and the white man is eventually welcomed in, but only on the local’s terms.

I explain to Claire that although I cut Bonnets head off, I found no ring but I had honoured her by carving her sculpted face alongside mine, Jamie and Kaherotons on a sheer face of rock that would later be named Mount Rushmore.

It’s a harmonious life from there on. Babies, babysitting, days on the lake in the kayaks. Me and Young Ian invent Irn Bru, whilst myself and Kaheroton produce a malt whisky that has hallucinogenic mushrooms at the bottom, like the grub in mescal, and it’s a real earner. Business is good. It’s all sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Oh, girlfriend needs some of that ‘shroomwhisky, jussayin’. It sounds like it would be great for my old bones.

I’m digging that alternate ending. I’m sure it would have been much more rewarding than in the actual final scene…it probably was pretty heavy?

Everybody has their own process. Ed has his own way of preparing and getting in the zone, as does Cait. Some people go internal, have few minutes to psyche themselves up, focus, some will listen to music. When it’s heightened emotionally, then you have to be aware and respect each other’s process, and space. My main thought from that last day was, yeah emotional for you, how about me, I’m dead, meaning I no longer get paid!  Hahaha!

There seems to be some overlap with many actors in the UK and on Outlander, did you know many onset before you started?

I knew Sam from around the Scottish theatre scene. We have a lot of mutual friends. James Allenby- Kirk (Hayes) and I had met several times, and we share a love for the same football team. There’s not actually a huge amount of genuine Scots in it, to be honest, so a lot of people are new to me. I know some of the other folk from the previous series, Grant, Gary, and many of the guest actors.

There is a benefit of knowing and working with people again and again. You develop a shorthand, you get into things much quicker and don’t have that awkward is it ok if I do this, do you mind if I try this, I’m not sure I understand you etc. All of which is part of the process, and is wonderful, but when time is against you!

Will you watch Outlander now that you are no longer on the show?

I’ll get round to it. I’m a fan of the show for reasons different to the fans. I loved working on it. I don’t actually like seeing myself, perhaps why I love theatre, but I’m getting better.

I know you are a music lover so I thought it would be interesting if you were to match your cast members with a song that you think represents them as people. For some reason, I think coming from you this will say much more than word association or asking straight up your impression of them. 

Lauren Lyle (Marsali)- Sunrise by Pulp 

César Domboy (Fergus) – Blue Monday by New Order or Sound and Vision by Bowie

James Kirk (Hayes) – Everything is Going Green by New Order    

Sam Heughan (Jamie) – Male Stripper by Man 2 Man

Ed Speleers (Stephen Bonnet) – Dance Little Sister by Rolling Stones

Leon Herbert (Eutroclus) – Dedicated Follower of Fashion The Kinks

John Bell (Young Ian)  – Rinse and Repeat by Riton

Caitriona Balfe ( Claire) – Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin

Grant Stott (Captain Freeman)- Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers

Listening to these songs and thinking about the people that you associate to them makes me smile pretty big and the Sam Heughan one, made me snort so thank you for that. 

A song that you believe represents you?

Kikki Fleming – Walk on the Wildside by Lou Reed

Nicely played. Peering into the things that hold your attention, what tv shows do you watch?

The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Killing (Scandi version), The Bridge, Fargo series, The Office – these are some of the best things ever to appear on TV. Love them all. Recently saw a series called Guilt, which was set in Scotland but had a Scandi noir drama type feel to it, fabulous. The Victim, also a stunning performance from James Harkness.  The Virtues with Stephen Graham. I love wildlife documentaries and good comedy. Cheers, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Mighty Boosh, Modern Family, Alan Partridge, The League of Gentlemen!

Must check out Guilt, sounds right up my alley. Seen any good movies lately?

The Joker. That performance – how brilliant, unbelievable. The Irishman, I loved Pacino and Pesci. Uncut Gems, angst filled viewing. I was holding my breath throughout. Sandler was superb.

You have done a lot of travelling, care to share some of your experiences with us…

Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Lisbon have all been fantastic in past years. I’ve been to Amsterdam 6 or 7 times and it has never let me down.

New York, what can you say,love it, but Chicago was a special place. I was working there, and had lovely apartment and time to explore, but I really got great vibe from that city.

Italy, particularly Tuscany has always been I place I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to…fell in love with Florence when I first went at 17, and have been back 3 times.

Borneo was emotional for me, as I saw at firsthand the deforestation that is going on, and worked with orphaned orangutans who were being prepared for reintroduction to the wild. The rainforest was just incredible. We have to save it or we all suffer.

Thailand, I want to go to. My partner loves it. Budapest likewise – Sam recommended it highly to me. And I’d love to go see the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda.

And in Scotland? Where would you recommend I go when I FINALLY get there?

I love Glencoe. I’d go with you, just to visit it. It’s surprisingly easy to get to from Glasgow. The West Highland Way, beautiful dramatic scenery. Take in an Island, Skye or Arran or Lewis. Inverness and the Highlands are joyous. I’m from Edinburgh but live in Glasgow so, see both of them for how different they are. Edinburgh is more beautiful architecturally and historically around the castle/old town. The New Town is rather splendid too. Glasgow is more gritty…sort of Gotham-esque! People make Glasgow, is the city motto that’s not always a good thing I often think, but folk from either city have digs at each other where is better. Both have their pluses and downsides. Bars/pubs are often a good gauge of a city. I could list my faves someday.

I am sure fans would love that. It is one thing most have in common, love of the drink. I may have to do a blog and come to you as a reference. It could be a tough job…

Our closing question for all ABOotlander guests is this, we have invited you to dinner and being the guest of honour, you get to choose the main course (all of these are Alberta yums), tell us which one catches your fancy?

         Moose Droppings B) Beaver Tails C) Prairie Oysters D) Taber Corn

Moose Droppings. I’m doing a play later this year that has a huge connection to the Elk, so I’ll take that.

Brilliant! Moose droppings are DELISH! 

Make sure to keep up with Kikki on twitter and IG. Since you stuck around to the very end, I have a special treat for you.

I know fans were sad they didn’t get a taste of Lesley’s lament to his friend, Gavin Hayes on the season 4 soundtrack.

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Enjoy, from Kikki – to all of you.

And because I can’t help myself and I love digging in Kikki’s imagination station, here is a bonus question.

Since your imagination delights me, I invite you to create a panel/game show. 

Politically speaking, I think I’d love to do a show along the lines of the Hunger Games…members of Government, parliament and congress are selected and thrown into a gladiator arena, armed only with the paper documents of the Bills and legislation they were responsible for passing through into Law. Those people who suffered the worst as a result of such legislation are then released into the arena…once they work out who the suits are, it’s fair game. Let’s hunt n kill the corporate leeches…as the credits roll, Spanish Fly plays as the closing tune, we see fat entitled white corporate men screaming for mercy at the camera, but it doesn’t come!

My dream panel for the show would Frankie Boyle, Bill Hicks, Bill Burr, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kathy Burke, Billy Connolly, Greta Thunberg.

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BAM! 

Thank you so much, Kikki. I am grateful for your honesty and openness. Once again, it’s been a blast.

 

Sher xo 

Silence can be so loud. What I ‘heard’ during The Fiery Cross. S05E01.

Wow.

That was worth the wait, wasn’t it?  Wedding, weeping and wtf’s. Outlander is back and it means business.

Even though many watched the opening scene over and over again in previews, it took on new meaning once we viewed the final moments of the show. (Yet another reason we fans should reserve judgement until we see all the things in context.)

We can appreciate the deeper meaning when the episode is complete. In the opening we see Murtagh, (beautifully played by Duncan Lacroix) upon his knee, giving his oath, taking the weight of the world from this young boy.jamiemurtagh

 

The episode ending with that boy, now a man, on his own knee, with the weight of the world back upon him.

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Young Jamie said nothing to Murtagh as a child, yet, we knew the gratitude and the love he felt for this man.  When Murtagh and Jamie finally parted, there were no “I love you’s, I will miss you’s, I shall never forget you’s and all you have done for me’s.”  All of these, simply were. The silence between them was loud and busy with all of these things. With no end to the words needed said, best to say none. My poor heart came out of my chest and rolled around on the floor.

We can internalize the gravity of that particular parting. What makes me feel the greatest amount of empathy for Jamie is his loss of his protector.  Of course, Jamie is a capable, responsible and grown-ass man but don’t we all hold onto a part of the child inside of us? Especially those who have trauma in our past?  Young Jamie lost his mother and brother (not to mention the baby his mother lost during childbirth), this is when Murtagh stepped up and into that guardian role to Jamie. This is why the pain of having to release him of his oath was so painful.  Jamie didn’t want to. The child in Jamie still needs Murtagh whereas the man Jamie has become, can’t have him. Once again, proving LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

No matter how old we get, the protectors of our youth are chained to a piece of our very being.  I believe that child remains inside of us, never growing up or having the feelings/logic our adult mind possesses. As a consequence when faced with that loss, it is with our child’s heart, we grieve.  It explains why it is so incredibly painful when we lose those we loved dearly when we were children.

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The perfect visual.      Click for Source

Sam Heughan’s performance in this episode, as a whole was impressive. The last scene chewed me up and spit me out.

Murtagh and Jocasta – the fans lovingly call them #Murcosta. Didn’t we just get these two hot seniors?  They’re perhaps an unlikely pair but I do love them together. They offered one another a soft place to land.  Murtagh, after a lifetime of fighting, his guts/heart and mind are called to it again, this time he is in the driver’s seat. He doesn’t have time to be banging boots with Ms. Jo.  We know, they both get this. 

Jocasta broke the news, rather deliberately, that Duncan Innes proposed marriage to her. Murtagh seemed to be thinking ‘Good time to let her go without too much pain involved’, told her straight up he wouldn’t stand in the way of her happiness. This is where we can give Maria Doyle-Kennedy all the awards. The look on Jocasta’s face only altered in the slightest of ways, the slip of her fingers from his, without a word we knew that Murtagh was her happiness. She would have held on to him had he asked or given any indication that was possible. He didn’t and we felt that because of Jocasta’s silent but instinctual reaction. Maria Doyle Kennedy is so. damn. good.

Lord Yumm Gorgeous. Ummm, John Grey. Excuse me. I get confused, my LAWD that man is beautiful! David Berry is my favourite produce.

We didn’t get to hear too much from him in the episode. That is the whole point of this blog though, isn’t it? Those silent moments that were captured throughout the wedding are what touched us. Unrequited love is something most humans can relate to.  We know that LJG loves Jamie ergo whenever we see him alone and silently observing it can be painful. We know even if he did find love with someone, he would never be able to openly express it. Thanks, backwards 18th-century small-mindedness! 🙄 LJG is intelligent, pragmatic and above all, he knows where he stands with the Fraser’s. He is quite the extraordinary man who allows his own feelings to take a back seat to be the best BFF to them all. 😍

Our last moment had LJG next to John Quincy Myers,  with the latter passing out cold beside him – which was hilarious. The juxtaposition was Lord John, sitting alone in the dark, drink in hand. This wasn’t funny or fun anymore. I felt the urge to cuddle him. Not just because he is a scrumptious yummy bite of sweetness. It was a sad silence that I think many of us want to fill for him.

Even though there are other moments, I want to focus the rest of my attention on Brianna.  Her quiet demeanour, in the beginning, was beautiful and what so many brides go through on their wedding day.  Her silent moments built her strength in this episode. Oh, I know, people may want to slap me for saying that.

Here is a woman, carrying her pain in silence. The question is why?  Is she carrying it in silence because she doesn’t want to burden others with it? Is she carrying it in silence because she has already done a lot of the work and now, she is continuing to process? Is she learning how to function with these emotions? Is this yet another step in the healing of PTSD that comes from being a victim of sexual violence?

We or Brianna can feel safe in answering yes to all of those and would be 100% accurate.  Some may argue, “That is what family is for”, “You need to share with your partner”.  Those arguments can both be defended with  “We do and we don’t”.

We try to do what is best for our own healing. Taking a moment to catch our breath when we have an instance of recall or a panic attack when we need to get back to things, that’s exactly what we should do. That is what Brianna did, she found something/someone that was going to center her. Jemmy. She picked him up and held him close. If his little hand patting her back didn’t clench your heart, I would double-check to make sure yours is workin’, just saying!

I was privy to conversations saying Brianna didn’t get to enjoy her wedding night but I would like to give another perspective on this.

Bree had a moment during her wedding evening when she was facing an instance of recall aka flashback, of her rape. It caused her panic, anxiety and fear. Like a tower of blocks, she was knocked down – just as quickly, she put herself back together. Hastily, maybe not completely steady.  The rest of the evening, she might have been a bit unbalanced nevertheless she allowed those she was with, to hold her up. First, Jemmy.  Next, Roger. There’s no denying the love in her eyes when Roger serenades her, the joy in her face when they dance and the passion when they make love. She wraps around him pulling him as close as she can get him. Brianna did take solace, comfort and love from her family. They held her together and she let them while they could.

When the silence became deafening, Bree lay there with only her thoughts.  On the outside there wasn’t a sound but we know damn well, inside that woman’s head there was noise. A lot of it.  We can only imagine how much.

There, in that noise,  is where I believe she is gathering her strength, not losing it. Is she in pain? Yes. This kind of healing hurts. Scars like this don’t show on the outside so it makes sense we rarely speak of how they feel while they are healing.  These moments are easier to open up and talk about after we have processed some of them ourselves.  Giving these thoughts to others isn’t an easy task, mostly because it is difficult to express things you are only beginning to understand yourself.

To assume that Brianna wasn’t capable of feeling love and joy in the same evening as she experienced pain and healing is to accept Brianna is a one-dimensional person. This implies she is incapable of complex emotions and that theory goes against almost everything we know about this character.

We have to keep in mind, this isn’t the beginning of Brianna’s healing journey. We are walking through it with her.

I applaud Sophie Skelton and her attention to Brianna’s thoughts, subtleties and mannerisms during this process. Her character’s life is always moving forward while she is still healing and dealing. It is a balance and Sophie’s interpretation is en pointe!

What I am going to say now isn’t about Bree but about us humans overall. Many people keep their secrets locked inside because they are aware of how the people in their lives will react.

Common reactions when difficult news is shared;

  • feel sorry for them and pop them on the “I’m worried about you” track
    • this causes them more anxiety because they now worry about someone else worrying about them. The fear of becoming a burden comes true
  • take what they have said personally, get upset or angry (with or for them)
    • this causes more hurt because they will now feel they have to defuse this situation or make things better for others
  • to get involved, try and fix it
    • if they wanted someone to interfere that would have been their first request. Also takes the power away from the person with the problem, they may fear losing control and why they were hesitant to share

We should always let those we love know we are there. No judgements, no advice, just a hand to hold or lots of chocolate to give. “I know something is bothering you. I don’t need to know the details. I only need you to know I have chocolate and hugs. You can choose to tell me what is going on or you can tell me what you need me to say to you, I am here.”

And if they just want to be silent. Trust them but still listen. As we learned by watching The Fiery Cross, that silence still can speak to you.

Sher xo

I would love to hear how much you enjoyed the first episode of season 5! See our live tweet stream by following #OutlanderCAN  on twitter.

**Watch this space for a very special blog with a lament worthy cast member. COMING SOON.**

endjamiemurtagh

 

 

 

The Women of #Outlander.

I have been trying to find a graceful way to open up this blog.  Should I be eloquent and flowery or hard-hitting and humorous?  I settled on being a bit all over the place – it suits my mood and my nature.

I have wanted to write about the women on Outlander for a while, I chose now because it is helping me pass the time until Season 5 airs.  I figure like attracts like making this mutually beneficial.

Those who watch Outlander are exposed to women who are brave, strong, stubborn and determined.  They grapple with heartbreak and persevere.  They love fiercely and protect one another.  Do they have flaws and imperfections?  Ummmm, yeah! We all do. It’s another reason they are believable and relatable. That is what this blog is really about. How is it that we, as women in 2020 relate to these fictional women set so far in the past (mostly)?

I knew I wasn’t the only person that saw myself in these women on the screen. I was aware that this is how we stay involved and connected, or not. This made me ask those in my twitter bubble, what woman in Outlander did they relate to the most and why? The question wasn’t specifically for women to answer but no men jumped in to tell me which woman they related to, hopefully in the comments, some will. (Not who they like the most, who they relate to – just making it clear).

Gender stereotypes on television have been played to death and it’s intriguing that we have gone back to the 1700s to see them getting knocked around.  Of course, we still see them in characters like Mrs. Fitz, from season 1. She was a dutiful head housekeeper to Colum. She warned Claire, if she did as told, she would gain favour with The MacKenzie. She caused no stir when her grand-daughter was about to be beaten in the great hall. Yet, she stood up to the likes of Father Bain. She ran that kitchen at Leoch like a boss and she smacked around the highlanders if they messed around in her domain. She was granted authority and demanded respect even still abiding by some of the patriarchal rules. I mean, historical accuracy is always a thing in a period drama.

That bit about Mrs. Fitz wasn’t mentioned as a part of who she was when people replied to my query on Twitter. I do love the hashtaggery.

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All of these women are aware of Mrs. Fitz’s place in the Outlander universe. It is with their 21st-century lens they are able to pull her strength and fortitude forward. I don’t think they are ignoring Mrs. Fitz’s place in her 18th-century life, I believe they accept and see that Mrs. Fitz was bucking her place where and when she could without putting her life in danger. Something a great majority of women have done – for centuries.  Those women hold shit together while making a difference behind the scenes, subtle changes that help push society forward. It may not be as loud and in your face as some but it still has an impact.

Jenny was a younger, stronger and higher ‘ranked’ version of Mrs. Fitz. For an 18th century woman, Jenny really did have and do it all. Career (Lady of Lallybroch for all intents and purposes), children and adoring husband. This maverick of woman could express milk and torture a dude all in the same day. Her strong personality and capabilities help today’s women feel empowered by their own image of “doing it all”.

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As we read these tweets we see that these women not only relate to the character of Jenny, they can see themselves as her and she as them.  Being Jenny is exhausting work.  Besides taking care of everything and everyone – there were plenty of shite pots that needed stirring. 😜

Joking aside, this is why seeing representation on the screen is important. If it is powerful for someone like @ChaoticOctopus who has 6 children, imagine what it is like for women who understand what being abused and manipulated is like.

We might be surprised to know that there are women that feel a kinship with (the often slammed) Laoghaire. If we take a moment to open our hearts, minds and gather some empathy, it shouldn’t be surprised.  My friends express it very well below.

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Sure, some people are pure evil. I don’t think Laoghaire is one of them. She is a product of her environment and eventually, her bitterness clouds a lot of her story. This is not a Laoghaire trait. It is a human one. It isn’t a flaw that is singular to her, it is one that many of us live in. We tend to judge others for doing it instead of recognizing it in ourselves.  I was humbled to see women confident enough in their own character to say they related to Laoghaire. I think many of us, whether we like to admit it or not have had the same feelings of jealousy and bitterness in our lives. Sure, we probably wouldn’t have sent someone to burn – but who knows, it’s not really an option these days either, so there is that.

There is also the fact that I don’t believe that someone truly evil would be able to raise a daughter like Marsali. She is quickly becoming one of the women on Outlander that we are falling in love with.  Her character started out prickly against Claire, not shocking given the circumstances from her viewpoint. Marsali is no dummy, she feels deeply and goes by the information she has. Once she had more information, her disposition changed.

Marsali is seen as someone who is clever and uses her observations shrewdly.  She doesn’t strike anyone as a wallflower. Many fans note her loyalty as one of her most relatable qualities.  I believe that the way she was introduced to us showed her loyalty first and foremost but because of the way so many feel about Laoghaire, I suppose some felt it was misplaced.  When we step out of our own perceptions and step into Marsali’s I think we can have empathy for her. She loves her mother. She sees her hurting and the source of her pain is caused by this woman who dropped out of the clear blue sky. Any of us thinking we would react calmly and love Claire, probably doesn’t remember being a teenage girl.

Thank goodness Marsali’s loyalties didn’t disappear, they only grew.

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Season 4 brought us Marsali’s fierce loyalty to a fever pitch, do anything for family and not just along for the ride but literally in the driver’s seat on the excitement side of things. Her courage was not only entertaining to watch it was plainly setting the tone for what we have to look forward to. There is no doubt that we will have many relating to her character in season 5.

My friend Cat of @CatsandKilts was the one person who mentioned relating to Lizzie.  You know the one, Lizzie, who went by exactly the information she had seen, processed what made sense and drew conclusions based on said information. Like every single person does every single day.  In the Outlander universe, this always has crazy consequences. Cat is a brave fan by admitting she feels a kinship to her since Lizzie took a lot of heat last season.  Which was kind of a bummer because Lizzie is so many of us, fallible and doing the best she can. lonelizzie

“Tries to do right tho she often fails.”  I mean, how vulnerable and human is that statement?  We all know how this feels but we rarely say it out loud.  We all make assumptions about someone or a situation just by catching a glimpse yet we don’t always admit if we were wrong.  Though if someone does this to us or someone we care about – the hell to pay – hot AF.

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Another woman who made her Outlander debut was Aunt Jocasta Cameron. She was mentioned in season 1, during the Wedding when Jamie was weaving his family tree together for Claire. We finally met this formidable woman for ourselves. She made quite the impression.  Some say she was a mix of Colum and Dougal, I prefer to say Colum/Dougal and Brian all borrowed pieces of HER. Cunning, determined and affectionate is the perfect Jocasta blend. There is definitely more to her than what she shows us.  She is the blind one but that seems to be a subtle nod to “You can’t see me either”.

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The two studies of Jo above, show us how detailed our personal lens can be when viewing characters on screen. They both relate to her for very different reasons, yet both are powerful and full of meaning.  Both are also 100% accurate.

I am endlessly fascinated by women. How we relate to one another, how we lift each other up or tear one another down, the mechanics of our pasts and the trajectories of our futures.  The layers/levels/shades and intricacies can’t be explained easily.  Though we can see some of these dynamics when we pay attention to how we relate to one another, how we respond to one another’s personalities and the things that make us…well…us.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many identified with Brianna.  I have seen some interesting assessments of Bree on social media over the years.  It is my belief, the wonderful people in the tweets below…get her.  They see her for who she is, why she is that way and how that makes her special. They know those traits aren’t always perfect. In truth, none of us are and nor should we be.

Perhaps some of Brianna’s qualities go unnoticed so people downplay her. I hope with these women pointing out why they relate to her, others may start to see some things they may have missed before.  For instance, her creativity (not everyone can draw the way she can draw) and intelligence (engineering, need I say more?).

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Bree, like her mother, chose a career that was male-dominated.  Even by today’s standards, women are still underrepresented in the Engineering field.  Have things gotten better since the 1960s? Of course. Are they where they should be? No. That is why we have women like Claire and Brianna to represent these themes. Hopefully, it inspires other shows to focus on POC and LGBTQ+ in these types of storylines in shows with target markets like Outlander has.

The matriarch of Outlander, as we all know is Claire.  She can’t be described in a few words for the reason that she is notably complex. We have seen her as a nurse from WW2 to a stranger who was dropped into Jacobite era Scotland. She bounced through time, lovers, became a mother and eventually a grandmother. There is a dizzying amount of person there as you will see when we head to this twitter breakdown.

I don’t think I was surprised when it was she who had the largest number of people feeling they related to her.  I mean, many of us really take a shine to some of those classic Claire lines.claire comp

I’m right there with Julia. The first second someone wants to control my decision making – the hackles engage. Oppositional defiance. Whatever you want to call it, I feel it in my bones. That is one of those things that will connect some of us to Claire.  I mean, someone tells her “Stay here.” She hears “Runaway at the first opportunity”.

claire comp02See what I mean?  She does what she damn well pleases when she damn well pleases.  The housework thing is mostly from the book but same – same.  It wasn’t heavy-handed while reading. It was subtle and if it was something you personally identified with you would pick up on it. Which obviously, a few of us did. Imagine it was laundry day on the ridge, everyone is heaving heavy yards of linen and scrubbing in washbasins, Claire would run out of a herb and have to go traipsing through the woods. “OH NO! I ran out of cameltoes guys! George from the pond down the road needs some for his glaucoma! Biiyeeeee!”

Yes, depending on how we live our lives and the focus of our lens – we will get 2 reactions “OMG, ME TOO!” or “UGH! So selfish!”  Both can be right.  It comes down to empathy, understanding and kindness. It is never that black and white.  We can pretend it is, so our point can be simplified and easily argued however, life and relationships rarely are that simple.  That is why when those simple things are explained by a point of view, it helps us ‘get it’.

claire comp01

Now, we might think “I’m not the meek and obedient type” is what makes us relate to Claire. When Karen explains the WHY, she peeled back the layers and showed us. It reveals it’s not only surface ‘stuff’. The connections we have to these characters are strong and often personal. We, as fans, could be kinder to one another sometimes if we took a mental note of this.

Relating to them also brings out a desire to develop characteristics we admire. Sorcha mentions this in her tweet about Claire. It makes me grateful that we are exposed to these personalities and qualities on screen. We may see aspects of their spirit we would like to emulate, this supports our purpose to grow as individuals as we move forward and upward in our lives.

It is obvious to me that even though the men on Outlander get a lot of attention, the WOMEN OF OUTLANDER have developed profound connections with those watching.  We may draw comfort from them or they may infuriate us but one thing is certain, these women are like us. They love passionately, struggle with heartbreak, lash out and experience joy.

Here is to seeing our favourites still with us (and a few more new ones) #RockTheRidge in season 5!

Sher xo

PS- if you didn’t get to weigh in on what women you relate to in the Outlander universe and why, please leave a comment. I would love to hear more.

PSS-Don’t forget we will be live-tweeting while watching on W Network here in Canada, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN!

WOO