My chat with Carmen “Wonderfender” Moore! #Outlander AKA Wahkatiiosta

Carmen Moore is one of those actresses that you see a dozen times and think she is a dozen different people. She is like a chameleon, morphing for her roles, not only in appearance but her voice, those small mannerisms that most of us don’t even notice we have.  When I first saw her in Outlander’s Providence, giving Roger a hard time, I was drawn to her. I took note of her name and looked her up on IMDB.  My jaw hit my laptop. I have seen Carmen in many productions and not once did I put it together that she was the same person. (And it’s not just because I’m thick…it’s because she’s magical.)

Magical…talented…for those of you reading this who have only experienced Carmen’s work on Outlander – let me share something with you. She has been nominated and has won numerous awards in Canadian television and film. I’m not just blowing smoke. This isn’t small potato stuff – 9 Nominations and 6 Wins so far! You know, to be exact about it.

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It really is. Props. (source)

I would have been walking around the Outlander set saying “Hey everybody! I’ve won 4 Leo’s and I am a Woman OF Distinction, dontcha know?… Imma big damn deal in Canada eh?” but something I learned about Carmen is she is incredibly down to earth –  with a touch of sass. The girl loves herself some emoji’s and even her signature warns you that she might be up to something  – “sent with love and mischief”.  I’m excited to help you get to know her a little better, I think you are going to like her a lot.

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I know you will (source)

It is an interesting coincidence that Carmen Moore landed a role in this Ronald D. Moore production. She has starred in 2 other shows that Ron created. The Battlestar Galactic web series: The Resistance  and Battlestar Galactica Caprica. She also appeared in the Battlestar Galactica TV Movie: Blood and Chrome.    Worth noting, she has never met Ron Moore and nope, not related either. There, that was our fun fact.

Everyone asks that generic “How did you get started in acting” question, there is a reason for that, it usually is an interesting story.  I wanted to know Carmen’s.   I’ve been “performing” for most of my life, although not professionally. 😂  Mom says I used to stand on the living room footstool at two years old and pretend I was on stage. “Carmen-wonderfender!” was how I introduced myself…to no one in particular! I discovered drama in grade 9 and fell in love with it. I did local theatre in Vancouver for a few years before an agent sitting in the audience of one of my shows approached me and offered to represent me. She started sending me out for tv and film auditions, which hadn’t occurred to me because I was so in love with theatre. I started booking right away and was just in the right place at the right time. It was just after Dances with Wolves was released, and I was basically the only “Native” actress in the city at that time that looked like Disney’s Pocahontas (although, I’ve never considered myself a “Native” actor…I’m just an actor).

Carmen says “right place at the right time”. I think it has a helluva lot to do with talent, those nominations and awards do a lot to back me up.

I found it very interesting that you seemed to break out of that typecasting many Native actor/esses speak about being put into.  Was there something that you did or a conscious effort on your part to make that happen?  YES!! Like I said, I was booking mostly Native roles in the beginning, and I really didn’t want to get stuck in that box. It’s easy for casting directors, especially in Vancouver, to become limited in how they see you, so we need to be responsible to open their minds to us. At one point I thought I wasn’t going to get out of the “buckskin” period pieces so I did the dramatic thing and chopped off all my hair. I went with this cute little bob and started booking cop/detective, lawyer, professional roles. It was risky, but it worked. And, I think I had a bit of an advantage as well because I don’t just look “Native”…I can play just about anything, including Caucasian…just a little more tanned than some! 😁

Do you recall what your reaction was when you heard you landed the role and would be headed to Scotland?    Oh my gosh, I think my heart skipped a beat. 😁  I was sitting in a food court having a terrible meal when I got the call from my agent, so I couldn’t really let out the “whoop” that I was feeling. And I think it took a few days for it to sink in…and even then, it wasn’t really REAL until I landed in Glasgow! It was my first time working outside of Canada…I’ve worked on many American shows, but they were all shot within Canada, so this was a special experience. There is something magical about Scotland. It’s indescribable. It’s a very spiritual place. Best experience of my career thus far.

From the moment your character of Wahkatiiosta came on screen you gave her this essence that spoke ‘strong warrior’. Tell me about that. I fell in love with Wahkatiiosta right from the start…when I auditioned, they were looking for a woman in her 50’s that could tell the Otter Tooth story, and someone to lead the Warriors in to accost Jamie and Claire for the stone. When I booked it I thought, “well this is the oldest I’ve ever portrayed!” 😂

Then I got the scripts and she had been rewritten as “30’s”…and that helped a lot, especially once I saw what they were planning to dress me in….I embraced a more youthful energy and she just got more and more tomboy as I contemplated who this woman is…because she’s not in the books. She was created for the series, so I got to create her in my mind! She is two-spirited, she has very masculine tendencies, but she’s still a woman so much of her strength lies in her emotion. She loves deeply, LOVES her people and would do anything for them, but she wears this invisible armour. It’s all over her.

When I heard Carmen’s take on Wahkatiiosta, I watched both Providence and Man of Worth again, I urge you to do the same. Come back and let me know in the comments if it impacted how you saw her.  I ask you to do this because I am curious if your thoughts match mine. I appreciated Carmen’s portrayal the first few times I watched but after hearing her speak of her creation of the character – I ‘saw’ her and there was a depth I had missed.  It makes me wish we could have the artists who connect with their characters tell us what they feel is at the heart of their performances because I believe it brings us closer to them.

Can you tell me more about Wahkatiiosta? Your speaking voice for her was gravelly and set- it gave me chills- what was your influence for that? I had just spent a couple of days in Montreal before flying to Scotland meeting the director (Sonia Bonspille Boileau) and my co-stars for the Indy feature I shot last summer (Rustic Oracle). They are all Mohawk, and oddly enough I played a Mohawk woman in that film as well. I tried to listen to their accents out on Kanesatake and Kahnawake (First Nations reserves in Quebec) and mimic them as best I could, and Sonia explained how it’s similar to French in some aspects…the “ongh” sounds, like when you say no in French  “non”…it’s somewhat nasal and they speak from the back of the throat. That helped tremendously. My friend Kim from Tyendinaga had translated all my English dialogue for my audition into Mohawk for me. After spending weeks studying our Mohawk lines with our translators and cultural advisors, Wahkatiiosta’s voice just sort of came out that way. Sometimes the characters I portray surprise me as they emerge. It’s like they have a life of their own and Carmen is just the vessel.

And what a badass fighter!  The scenes where you were fighting your Mohawk family to get Roger and his family out of the village may have been visually dark but the fighting scenes were awesome. It really looked like it would be fun to do. Can you tell us about those sequences? I was super excited to do my own stunts for that! I did have a stunt double just in case (Cherie Shot Both Sides was on stand by), but we are quite different body types, so if I had felt uncomfortable doing stunts it would have been obvious it wasn’t me!  But, I was game! Our first take running from the “idiothut” as I’m leading the group was interesting. Our director Stephen (Woolfenden) said during rehearsal “make sure you’re looking back to make sure they’re behind you”…so, first take I did. I looked behind me as I was running, hit a tree stump, or root, or something and down I went! I bailed. I think Sam almost tripped over me! 😂🤣  I wish I had that moment actually…maybe they have it in a blooper reel somewhere…

Watch Carmen get some direction for her badassery with this exclusive BTS video.

The last we saw Wahkatiiosta, she was banished from the Mohawk. To me, this could be an open door for her return to the series.  Since she is a character created for the show with no storyline laid out for her that we are aware of. Would you be open to reprising the role at a later date? OF COURSE, I WOULD!!! I would absolutely LOVE to go back…yes, Scotland is amazing, and it’s always great to be working, blah, blah…but, I really miss everyone I worked with. And Wahkatiiosta is such a joy to portray…I’ve already mentioned she’s my favourite character I’ve ever taken on. So, yeah…I would jump at the chance…

Livin’ the dream. You were able to work with many of Outlanders main cast. Break it down in about a sentence for us what your thoughts were on them.call

I understand many of the actors/esses that joined you on set have worked together before or at least have knowledge of one another, what was it like to be all together across the ocean in this new place, doing what you love with people that you know? Yes…I had a number of friends there. Some I’d known for years, and some that I’d met briefly here and there. That was surreal. To be overseas on this incredible set with familiar faces. And, of course, we all became a little family…I still stay in touch on Facebook with a number of the background and stunt performers because we spent 4 weeks together…some of them had been there for much longer. Gregory Odjig  (who played Satehoronies) said at one point as we’re looking around our incredible Mohawk village, “We’re at work right now…in Scotland…that’s awesome!” 🤣

I have spoken to others that have said good things about Outlanders portrayal of the Native culture but I am interested in your take as you have appeared in many productions. How do you feel Outlander stacked up? I was uber impressed when I went for my wardrobe fitting and the costumers explained how long they had been researching the culture. Most everything was made by hand, and they showed me pictures of the stuff they tried to recreate. They went back as far as they could with what’s been documented, but of course, had to take some artistic liberties here and there for things that are too old to have any records of. They tried to be and were as respectful and accurate as they could be. Our translators/cultural advisors were from Akwesasne and were there to answer any questions we had. Of course, it IS television, it IS make-believe…it is a science-fiction show about TIME-TRAVEL! 😁 So, I had to let my guard down a little here and there and make some concessions. For example, I don’t believe a Mohawk woman would EVER abandon her child for a man 😉Also, Native people don’t speak that fast! I was constantly being told to speed up my dialogue (because they only have 42 minutes for each episode! 🤣) and I really struggled with that because Mohawk words (and, any Native language for that matter) take time to get out properly. So, I felt as though I was speaking in warp speed. I actually have a line that I speak to Tom and I feel like they sped up the tape! 🤣

All in all, they did a VERY good job 💖

Until I can create my own memories in Scotland *insert feel bad for Sherry here*, I live through other peoples adventures. What are some of your fondest memories from your time there? Hahaha…the fondest memory was throwing pillows out our hotel window to the boys below so we could have the most epic pillow fight in George Square! Running through the streets of Glasgow at night, pillows in hand, strange looks from everyone, cast versus background/stunts…there must have been about 40 of us. 🤣😂 It was beautiful. I did a live Facebook video of it all. That, and putting the cones on The Duke of Wellington statue.😉

OK, that looked like a crazy amount of fun. Those are some 3rd level pillow fights!  Click on those links so you can see for yourselves.  If you ask me…when Carmen is left to entertain herself, it seems she gathers up the boys and tells them what’s happening and how they are getting there. I need to mention, I really like her! You can also watch a lovely video she took while on an excursion to Loch Lomond with her friend and co-star Sera-Lys McArthur (Johiehon) by clicking HERE!

Carmen has an upcoming project, Rustic Oracle. MMIWG (Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls) has been a plague in our country that has largely gone ignored because of the systematic racism our First Nation population faces. I asked Carmen to share a little about her involvement in this movie.  Rustic Oracle was filmed last summer in Oka and Kanesatake. It’s finished and is being submitted to film festivals at the moment, with a theatrical release scheduled for later this year. I haven’t seen it yet but spoke to Sonia recently and she’s very excited to share it. 💕

It’s set in the mid-‘90’s, 6 years after the Oka crisis so there’s still a LOT of tension between Mohawk and non-native. Written and directed by Sonia Bonspille Boileau, it’s the story of a single mother (me)  searching for her missing teenage daughter, but told through the eyes of the 8-year-old sister (the amazing Lake Delisle). I jumped at the chance to shed a little more light on this epidemic in Canada and the US, that not enough has been done about. It’s not going to be an easy one to watch, that’s for sure…but, so SO important.

I think saying I am looking forward to seeing it would sound flippant. I certainly am intrigued.  Facing these truths is uncomfortable, especially for us not living in the communities affected. We stand on the outside, looking in. Very often, judging something or someone we know very little about. What do you feel, we as a society can do to improve our relationship with our first nations cousins? We assign ourselves proud when they perform in productions we love, yet we pay little attention to the troubles here on our doorstep. I believe listening to those who know is the first step. What can we do? That is a BIG, BIG question…that I don’t think anyone has an easy answer to. There is so much to be done in regards to reconciliation with the First Peoples of Turtle Island. It doesn’t help that this country’s racism is still so hidden and dismissed as non-existent…and further to that, we have a Prime Minister who used the mask of solidarity with First Nations to get elected but its now spitting in our faces. 

They love the celebrities, but shoot the troubled  Native youths in the head and call it “defending my property”, they claim that the culture is so beautiful, but let our dead sisters murderer go free…they steal our babies because Native children are worth more in the foster care system…they talk about sustainable energy, and let’s get rid of plastic straws because that will make such a difference, but they judge our people for blocking the pipelines trying to go through Native land, because…you know…economy…why is it always NATIVE land the pipelines are crossing? Because they wouldn’t DARE put non-natives at risk like that…

Wow…I just went on a rant…what’s the answer to all of this? Maybe acknowledgment is the first step.

When we read a message like the one Carmen shared with us here and feel shame, sadness, anger or yes, maybe even offence, that should be a sign to us. A sign that says we need to get on the right side of this.  I am grateful that she spoke the hard truth. This isn’t a simple political issue, it is a human one.

That is why I will continue to listen as long as those like Carmen, continue to talk. We need to learn because it is the only way we will grow. Be an ally.

That got pretty deep so – from one extreme to another. I end my interviews with pure silliness. Why? Because I’m a bit of a goober and after heavy stuff, I think levity is a good thing.

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It’s called balance (source)

Carmen, as a Canadian you get the upper hand because you probably know what these Alberta goodies are but here we go anyway.

We, the ABOotlanders, have invited you to dinner and being the guest of honour, you get to choose the main course, tell us which one catches your fancy?

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

What the heck???! 🤣😂  I’m going to McDonald’s… I LOVE THIS, the first time anyone has ever demanded an early checkout. This woman is my kinda people.  Definitely not prairie oysters…I’m not a big beaver tail fan…moose droppings I could probably indulge in…I’ve never had Taber corn, and I love corn…so, I’d probably go with that 😉

It was so great getting to know Carmen. She is one of those people you want to sit down, have a great meal with but know your food is going to get cold because you are too busy talking and laughing.

I am very much looking forward to seeing her upcoming projects and am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we see her again on Outlander. #BringBackWahkatiiosta, that could be a thing right?

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More Carmen? Yes, Please. (source)

Until next time,

Sherry (ABOotlander founder)

 

It’s Not About You. My take away from the #OutlanderFinale #ManofWorth.

Funny, the way things happen.  All season I have been happily live-tweeting our #OutlanderCAN hashtag each episode as they air on W Network, here in Canada. I then ponder over each episode to try and pull something not so obvious from it.  I have gotten decent feedback most of the time and am pretty proud of what I have done in both departments.

It so happens that during the airing of season 4’s finale, I ended up in the emergency department of my local health center and then whisked to the hospital for testing. What was I thinking about? Well…my imminent death or loss of a limb was first in my mind but I was also thinking about not being there to live tweet.  I’m not even shitting you. I was thinking about that. So I tweeted to apologize and explain why I wouldn’t be there. Like people cared like I did. I mean, come on.

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Really, not. (source)

There is where the “not so obvious” for the season finale popped up for me.  It’s not about you. The season finale wasn’t about me being there to live tweet or not, how important do I think I am anyway? 🙄 There were many instances  I could easily say that to a character during the episode.  I also find it amazing how often this happens in our every day.  We tend to personalize other peoples behaviour, internalize it and make it about ourselves.  We will get it in our heads that other people get up in the morning just to make ‘our‘ day more difficult.  A little FYI, that usually isn’t a thing. Most peoples objective is to do things “for” themselves, not “against” someone else.  This is not to say there is not collateral damage, there always is. That usually isn’t their intent.

The opening title card scene we see two young boys running around playing what they are taught to believe is an innocent child’s game of “Cowboys and Indians.” Watching is a proud Native American man that we later realize is Otter-Tooth because of the gemstone around his neck.  This is not about the children, this is not about the ignorance of the systematic racism that caused us to believe this game wasn’t hurting anyone. This is about the man on the bench, the history of his people being changed and being replaced by society.

Claire, Ian and Jamie make their way into the Mohawk village looking for Roger. They know he is there. All three are trying to wheel and deal to get him back.  Claire ends up with her scarf off and Otter-tooths gemstone exposed.  This causes many in the tribe to gasp in fright and move away. Claire and Jamie’s first reaction is to calm them down, say they mean no harm, they want to help, to trade.  Their immediate first thoughts are about what they can do for them. This isn’t about you Claire. This isn’t even about the tribe. This is about the gemstone. It is about the fear the tribe has for what that gemstone represents.

Murtagh has more than a few “this ain’t about you” buddy moments.  What I found very interesting was it was Ulysses that silently gave him a lesson. Murtagh and Jocasta are discussing Brianna’s impending marriage to LJG. Which, Murtagh is taking very personally.  There was one point when the discussion between Jocasta and Murtagh went from curt to argumentative. We could only see Ulysses’s hands- he went from gently holding them in front of him to loose fists at his side. Signalling protection. When Jocasta decides to leave Murtagh to his food, Ulysses takes her arm and offers Murtagh his assistance but with a very curt manner, the extra eyebrow added all we needed to know in this scene.  Jocasta and Ulysses were letting Murtagh know Brianna’s future…not about you dude.  Little did they know…it wasn’t about them either.

Going back to Otter-tooth for a little bit.  I know people get upset about the story here, about his message of killing all the white people, of the war he wanted to lead in order to save his people. It upsets me too but maybe for different reasons. It upsets me because it would seem like the logical thing to do if I were in his place.  If I were to be 100% honest with myself, which is not an easy task in any event, what he was saying would be the most effective way to save his people.  It’s brutal and it is ugly, so is what the Native Americans and First Nations people of North America went through because of colonization. So, for this one. It’s not about you. Or me. Or any of the people Otter-tooth wanted to save his people and his history from. It was about the Mohawk and what they ultimately went through.

We finally get to Roger. Finally. Naturally, there is this crazy “no take-backsies” going on but since trading seems to be the currency in all things, even peopley things, Jamie offers himself up.  Young Ian goes to work something out, in this, he thinks he is a better deal than the old gingersnap.  Jamie is caught off guard, assumes he will rescue Ian away or Young Ian will escape when Ian shuts him down.  This isn’t about you Uncle Jamie.  Young Ian swore to the Mohawk, he gave them his word.  He would stay with them, in return, Roger could go with Jamie and Claire, back to Brianna. Sweet Young Ian was taking responsibility for his actions as well as making a choice for his future. One that didn’t have anything to do with anyone else.  Sometimes the choices others make can hurt us but they aren’t making them ‘to‘ hurt us.  We have to be aware of that.

So, off goes Roger with Claire and Jamie.  The first opportunity he gets to put a beating on Jamie, he takes it.  I don’t blame him in the least. Apparently, neither does Jamie.  Claire tries to stop him but Jamie knows, this is what Roger needs right now.  I believe Jamie also wants Roger to let loose on him.  His form of penance so to speak.  In a way, Jamie is making Roger’s rage about him in order to rid himself of some of the guilt he feels over what he has done. Error in judgement or not, he owns it, as he should.

When Roger doesn’t go back with them to River Run right away, I don’t think it about the news that Brianna’s baby is possibly Bonnet’s.  I think it is more about staying in the past. This has never been the plan.  This is a new thing.  It not just about Roger and Bree and their future anymore. It is about being a family in a completely different time. It is about living in a family with a man that damn near beat you to death and sold you to the Mohawk.  It’s about living in a time when your wife was raped.  This is a dangerous world and making the choice to live there.  Making a choice like that without taking a moment to think would be doing a disservice to yourself and to the one you love. Not to mention all the people that will end up in your life as you move forward. This is a case of it’s not just about you.

Brianna was the one that was the victim of so much “It’s not about you” that it was painful to watch.  Only because she did personalize so much of it.  I was thankful that the birthing scene was Bree focused. It showed her strength, tenacity, ability and her dedication to doing this thing on her own when everything came down to it.  Yes, she had her aunt there, her friends but ultimately, giving birth is about a mother and her child. There is no need a secondary narrative to focus on there. When Bree held her son for the first time, this story became about him now. That was her choice. Her love for him shone through.

When Claire and Jamie arrived back at River Run without Roger, the look that came over Bree’s face when she realized he wasn’t with them was pure heartache. It wasn’t about her but we all do what Bree did. She was personalizing Roger not coming back. Very likely creating a story in her head to match the pain she was feeling. It is such a common mechanism for us humans and so often our imaginations don’t match the reality. We replay other peoples choices like we have control over them. It is this weird dance we do. If I had done a, b or c.  Only, it doesn’t work like that because they will always make the choices they want to no matter what we do. Roger does return to her though, as I knew he would. He returns to claim her as his wife and the baby as his son.  It isn’t about any one person, it becomes about them as a family.

As Red Coats come riding up to River Run everyone assumes they are after Murtagh because he is, after all, the local fugitive in hiding. Jocasta and Murtagh share a little tête-à-tête that both Claire and Jamie witness and share their WTF faces. It’s ok guys, THIS little love affair…isn’t about you, so step off.  Aunty Jo is getting herself some Silver Foxtail on the side and won’t be listening to any of your nonsense about it.

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Daactualfuq?

Last and certainly not least is the not so love letter from Governor Tryon. Jamie is expected to follow his beck and call.  In this case, that means whippin’ up a militia and hunting down and killing Murtagh.

Well, Tryon, I know he likes to think everyone is just clamouring to serve him and his brilliant red coat wearing English army but here is the thing, they aren’t. No matter what Jamie’s obligation is to him we know that Jamie’s first obligation is to his family. It always has been and will be. Gov. Tryon happens to think this whole Regulator thing is me against them. That is where he is wrong. The Regulators have said from the start, they are more than willing to pay taxes, they are not willing to pay for the elites shitty castles and corruption. Plain as day, Gov. Tryon. Not. About. You. It’s about the people he is supposed to be helping.  If he were to take the same amount of time he takes to fight them and listen to them instead, he might learn from them.  Even this shows us we often make up our minds because we feel attacked when someone disagrees with us.  Instead of listening we react. So much can be lost when all of that noise is happening.

Imagine. 13 weeks of Outlander is already gone. POOF!  I absolutely loved this season.  Every episode I enjoyed for different reasons and I was able to learn a little something in the hidden corners that helped me realize the writers, directors, cast and crew give so much to it.  Still, Outlander isn’t about me.

It’s about so many people.  Too many people to ever keep track of or make happy and that’s o.k. too. Want to know why? That is what makes life interesting. We can have animated conversations. We can discuss what we love, what we don’t and the things we missed and maybe why we think things were done the way they were.  What I think the secret might be is respecting one another’s views and opinions as just that. Personal opinions based on personal experiences. They don’t have to assume someone else’s intent or be presented as facts. We can have fun with it because when it comes down to it, this thing called Outlander is a TV show that is created for our entertainment. It is supposed to bring up emotions. All of them. That is what makes great TV.

I’m not going to stop blogging over #Droughtlander, granted, I probably won’t do one once a week. I hope that we can keep each other company, stay engaged and not lose focus of what brought us together in the first place. A great story.

Sher (Founder of the #ABOotlanders)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than meets the eye. My takeaway from Ep4 of Outlander, Common Ground.

Here I am again, trying to not just pick through the obvious or delve into the dramedy of the week for each episode of Outlander.

Truth be told,  I am doing it more to challenge myself, tear off a couple of layers and see something a bit different. It helps me stretch my brain basket out.

 

The plentiful nuggets of common ground between characters and the land are both unmistakable and subtlely scattered throughout the episode. It gives the title of the episode a lot of meaning.  I am going to nudge that aside so we can experience the remnants of all the things that aren’t and how they showed up numerous times in Common Ground.

We all do it.  Take one glance at someone or thing, get our first impression, assume we know the story and continue on with that notion in our head. We may tend to block all the other stuff out because it doesn’t suit what we have already convinced ourselves is real.

Starting instantly with the Governor Tryon scene. This guy. Him and his “I want the best people to settle the land” and “I’m noble and wonderful and everything good about the British.”

We know that there is a dash of dastardly tucked underneath that powdered wig and tighty whities (stockings) of his.  Certainly not all noble nor wonderful. In fact, here we have a couple of duplicitous characters.  Jamie has been a traitor before. That is where I was going with the “not everything is what it seems” with this particular scene. I believe Jamie eluded to this in his comments to Claire about making this a great country for Brianna earlier in the season.  It certainly isn’t just in building Fraser’s Ridge but the impact he might have in the coming revolution.

Oh, then we have Marsali.  Remember when we first met her? Our initial impression? Wow. What a snide wee thing she was.

But why? Outwardly, she most certainly hated Claire and wasn’t afraid to show it. In return, many instantly thought her a mean-spirited brat.  Marsali, let us not forget, is a teenager. Her only knowledge of this Claire woman is the image she had painted by her very bitter mother (whom she loves dearly, she should, she IS her mom).  Any daughter would take her mother’s side and react accordingly. Claire, being the adult, totally understood this and didn’t take it personally. She let it ride.

What we saw at the beginning of the episode is the growth of both of these characters. How many stepdaughter/mother relationships never heal?  You can have two fantastic human beings who will hate one another forever because of the completely separate relationship of two other people they both love. It is a real head-scratcher. ( Yes I know…some people ARE just horrible, I’m not talking about them😉) Marsali and Claire have chosen to look at one another as individuals. Apart from those relationships and are better for it. Imagine both of them taking their first impressions and holding onto them?  How ugly would that be to watch, week after week?

Leaving Marsali and Fergus, of course, reminds Claire of leaving Brianna. Jamie opens his mouth and the word version of cotton candy, unicorns, rainbows and butterflies escape his lips. It seems such a special moment, between Jamie and Claire.  If we were to step upon that moment we would see the love and the connection.

What we wouldn’t see is the pain. Claire being torn up on the inside. How many times has this happened to us? In public, surrounded by people and able to look to the person in front of us and manage a grin – all the while, inside, we’re screaming in pain?  Yet, there we were, fooling nearly every person in the room because they only see what we allow them to.

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My own socks tell us this story. 

It doesn’t always have to be people, it can be nature.  It was present throughout this episode.  Frasers Ridge itself, visually captivating, has a dream-like quality to it.  When that happens, the brain does funny things. When we think something is beautiful, we tend to feel better when we are around it, when we feel better, we feel safer, when we feel safer, we may let our guard down.  Letting our guard down isn’t always a horrible thing but when there is something else out there that is looking to harm us, it uses that vulnerability to its advantage.  Nature itself is like this, whether it be the creatures that make it their home or the weather itself.  Both of these can dispell the wonderful first impression of beauty such places give. It reminds us just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it’s kind.

Let’s get comfy and talk about Roger and Bree. After last weeks dumpster fire of miscommunication, what do we have to look forward to? By all appearances, not a fricken thing.  After Brianna left Roger at the festival to find a TapCar back to Boston we don’t have much hope.

Roger has returned to his various shades of brown existence at Oxford.  He seems to be going by exactly what Brianna has given him during his call to her and vice-versa.  There are no questioning things deeper on either part and yet, if one of them had, so much of the miscommunication could have been remedied at least a little bit.  Settling for what is on the surface can sometimes be our way of taking the easy way out. Let’s face it if we simply take the generic “I have to go grade papers”, it excuses us from taking a chance and asking “Do you miss me?” Sure, we avoid the possibility of them saying the very thing we fear but it also prevents them from saying the one thing we hope they would.

Fiona looks quiet and innocent but that girl has got all the people figured out and just so happens, she serves it with grace.  Everyone should have a girlfriend like her.  The kind that people sadly mistake for a piece of the furniture. She sees and hears everything. They are the ones that will be able to tell you what’s what and where you can find it.  We would be better humans if we paid more attention to what women like Fiona have to say instead of keeping them a silent witness to everything around us. I bet if we all thought about it, we could think of a few of those women throughout our lives and be surprised at how we allowed them to stay in the shadows. How we still utilized their gifts and input when they shared them but rarely asked them for it. Hell, you may be one of those people yourself.  So let me just say…you are valued…in case you haven’t heard it lately.

Now, to the glaringly obvious “it is not what it appears to be” is our bear.  First, the menace and destruction were thought to be the Cherokee neighbours. Then, the monster bear. There were pretty clear signs pointing toward that. It likes meat, pooped like nobodies business, left a pretty serious claw slashing down the shoulder of Findlay, Fraser’s trusty steed. Had the Fraser’s been aware of the Cherokee’s dealings with the cracked but not broken bear-man, they would have known what they were truly dealing with, rather than go by what their eyes were telling them.  This just proves the whole “working together” gets better results theory. Pretty simple stuff, this one.

I must mention the fact that Brianna went to Scotland WEEKS ago to visit her MOTHER! I don’t think this was a simple case of Brianna just missing her Momma.  Roger thinking Brianna would only know the information he was giving her, seems to have been a case of underestimation. This is something many of us do as well, which is why I love how these characters are written. They are relatable.  We often predict what others will do based on what we would do. We interpret others actions as a reflection of our own intent. Sometimes we are accurate but not always and it is the ‘not always’ that tends to cause us to stumble.  It pays to look deeper, or step back to see the big picture. It may be uncomfortable but the outcome will often be a positive one.

First impressions should be just that. An impression. They are developed in an instant but given time, they can be remoulded, reshaped and in some cases, shattered and recreated. The more we discuss, observe and listen, the better we get at understanding the whole picture.  The whole picture tells a story one word never could.

RTs would be cool if you feel others might enjoy a piece of this. Come live tweet with us Canadian folk, we watch Outlander on W Network  at 8 PM MST Sundays. We use the hashtag #OutlanderCAN to keep track of one another and help others gauge where the commercials are. Yeah…we have phones with cords AND commercials.  It’s ok though. We are a hearty people.

Until next time…and I already CAN. NOT. WAIT!

Sher (ABOotlander founder)

 

 

 

 

Outlander. Season Four. Episode 1. So many things being talked about – but not this…

Friendship. The power it holds in our lives. Trust within those friendships and the consequences we might suffer if we put our trust in the hands of the wrong ones.

America the Beautiful was our opening episode of the season and wow…as per Outlander style it was something! Now, because I know all of the drama and debates happening out there in this fabulously fickle fandom – I will let that keep playing out – out there – and in my bubble, here, I am going to ask you to gather around as I talk about the NUMEROUS ways America the Beautiful gave us friendship – in its entirety. From all angles. Even the one-sided angle. We have ALL experienced THOSE friendships.

The first brush with the good ship, friend, was Jamie paying a visit to a condemned Hayes.  He had a plan to help him escape – yet Hayes, wouldn’t let his friends take the chance of also being in his position, so he accepted his fate. In turn, Jamie makes a promise to him that is kind of like a punch in the gut.  Offering to be the smiling face of the friend he looks upon as he dies.  Only the best of us can do something like that. Put our own feelings of anger, grief and despair aside to bring loving comfort to someone else.  Jamie did it for Hayes – his smile – forced and not easy to look at, yet you could see Hayes used it as an anchor.

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There are teeth showing…and compared to everyone else, that is as close to a smile as anyone could manage. That’s a good friend.

When we lose a friend, especially a friend who has been there to support us through really trying times, the grief can be overwhelming. We saw that with Lesley as he rushed the gallows after Hayes was hung.  We also felt the breadth of his mourning when he started singing in the pub.  Those with him, also feeling the pain of the loss, chose to join in both for their own solace and to show him he wasn’t alone. It is what we do, isn’t it? Or at least, it is what we should do.

How about those who use our friendships to manipulate us? Yeah, that happens. That rotten sunnuvabitch Stephen Bonnet does just that.  He used the pseudo-friendship he had with Hayes to manipulate the mans truly grieving friends. Having listened to their conversations, knowing their soft spots and understanding that Jamie was a man of honour- he knew damn well what he could get away with. He knew that this fresh wound of a friendship lost would get him exactly what he wanted. That’s what sociopaths do though, isn’t it?

As we know, their choice in trusting this man, in the name of friendship, turned out to have very dire consequences indeed.

Sometimes we forget that familial relationships need friendship to thrive.  Sharing blood isn’t enough to form a friendship. Finally, when we are very lucky, a meaningful friendship can create a familial bond.

Young Ian and Jamie share a moment while digging Hayes’ grave.  It’s intense, it’s heartbreaking yet, it solidifies a friendship. Sharing a secret will do that.  We can share a bloodline all our life and never truly be a friend to one another.  When we are vulnerable and dig into the deepest recess of our soul to help, validate and support someone we care about – that is when friendship is formed.

Lesley, Fergus and Marsali (and sure, Rollo too) are all examples of friends that became family.  These bonds were created in trust. Lesley with Jamie at Ardsmuir and continued to grow through the years, shown clearly at the pub where he didn’t want to venture on his own but to stay with the family of his heart.  Fergus, in every sense but blood, is Jamie and Claire’s son. Marsali…yes is Jamie’s stepdaughter but you can see the bond forming between her and Claire. What started out as a troubled and even vicious relationship, has softened. This friendship becomes a tender, loving and it’s not a stretch to say maternal influence on Marsali’s life.

I would be amiss to not mention Claire and Jamie in all this talk about friendship.  There is no way to have the trust, passion, deep respect and love that this couple has…without the bond of friendship.  We must like one another in order to love one another.  This episode had that friendship shine through and yet, we may have missed it.  Subtle support.  They reach for one another’s hand numerous times throughout the episode, those glances of “I’m right here. Supporting you.”  Jamie knowing, without words, that Claire is bothered or thinking something that she is struggling to put into words.

We also had those attempting new friendships. Governor Tryon, his friendship, of course, comes with a price. As many do.  The dinner party scene was full of those “facade friendships”. Really not friendships at all, I know, but you get my meaning.

How about the unexpected friendship?  Riverboat Captain Freeman and waterman, Eutroclus. A very unlikely friendship. One born from gratitude.  Eutroclus could have let Captain Freeman die in a fire, he saved his life. Captain Freeman, freed Eutroclus from slavery and then, hired him. I am sure knowing, freeing a man wouldn’t be enough. Many freed slaves were then recaptured and put back into servitude. This friendship certainly isn’t without its faults, however, it does have it’s merits. I would be damned remiss if I didn’t include the fact that Leon Herbert has the deepest, richest and sexiest voice I have EVER heard and I would feel honoured to hear him read all the things for all the days. That is what I imagine heaven would sound like.

In the end, friendship also can mean sacrifice. Hopefully not the sacrifice that Lesley ultimately made to protect his friend, Claire. That was devastating.  Though we do this in small doses on the regular.  Defend our friends from bullies, defend our friends from those who have hurt them. Step in and step up to show them the solidarity we feel with them.  That, my friends, is powerful.

That is what we need to do.  See something, say something, do something. Your friends need you. Be a superhero.

Join us as we LiveTweet with W Networks airing of Outlander in Canada, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN.  If you like what you have read, please share, RT or leave a comment, engaging with like-minded fans is my jam.

Much Love,

Sher (Founder of the ABOotlanders)

 

 

 

A. Malcolm – How we saw it.

I am just one of 340 local ABOotlanders.  The brilliant thing about that is being able to hear, feel, see & understand how others interpret, percieve & process each episode of Outlander.

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No surprise that A. Malcolm is one of those episodes that has a great divide in the interpretation.  Why?  Likely because it also had the most expectation.  When we imagine things, we detail them, connect emotion to them to make them real.  It is a natural way to process.  Many of us have not only read the “reuinon” of  Jamie & Claire an insane amount of times, we have layered it with our emotions which ultimately solidifies our images so we can “feel” what we are imagining.   Visions of each moment were exeedingly clear.

There is no right, there is no wrong. There is no reason to change someones mind about what they saw but perhaps there is a reason to understand they are as entitled to seeing something their way as we are, ours.

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We should never feel the need to defend our feelings nor feel sorry we have them. Just as we shouldn’t assume others are missing something or blind to disappointment.  The most important thing to remember is opinion & fact are 2 different beasts. Where personal interpretation exists, just like jello, fact isn’t something that is “nail downable”.

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On our local FB group we have episode discussions – we have this thing about saying what we mean, without being mean & respecting one anothers view points.  It makes having discussions so much more enjoyable when coming from a place of assuming positive intent.

It’s a study of personalities & experiences when we truly listen to how others digest visuals.  It can be facinating –  if we let it engage us & not separate us.

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Here are moments the ABOotlanders pointed out as group favourites:

  1.  Jamies view of the day.  Being reminded that Claire had a lot of planning, thinking, hoping going on and this… it was all a true smack upside the head.  Never in a million years…ok…200 years did he see this coming. Watching that shock play out from the place he was living was pretty cool.
  2.   Jello. Bicycles. Zippers. Photos. There was an excitement about the mention of things Jamie has no idea about. That connection from past to future. It almost is a full circle kind of feeling that was a unified “loved it”.
  3.  Grown up Fergus.  I admit, this tiny little scene made me sobgasp.  That took me by complete surprise.  The ABOotlanders were unanamous of their Fergus love and the gravity of that moment.
  4.  Wee Ian.  For book readers, we know what this young man is up against, and how he was written by Diana.  John Bell is perfectly gawkward.  He too had just a moment on screen – and it seemed he universally struck the mark.
  5.  Brothel Breakfast of champions.  It was a great part of the book & we were all pretty happy that it made its way into the show.  Thanks for the tip.  That might be my favourite line.

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Another common thread

  1. Pure joy with all the things. There are definitely those in our group who love…all…the…things.  The joy of watching it come to life overwhelm their senses and the gushing goes forth.

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2.  Being underwhelmed.  Absolutely there were those that felt this way.  They       expected more & didn’t get that. The emotion simply wasn’t at the level they envisioned.                                                                                                                                      https://zenscribbles.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/bored-gif.gif

Both of these views, completely valid & easily understood.  We might not agree with the opposite perception of the scenes but it sure doesn’t make anyone mistaken.

Our group, as a whole, are pretty good with the separation of book & show.  Knowing that things change because of the need for translation, dropping things in now where their might be no time for the set up later.  The written word is rich and full whereas seeing something on screen becomes a little less dimensional. Do we miss things? Sure. Do we wish things were included? Sure. Do we find it ruins our overall enjoyment?  It sure doesnt seem like it.

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One thing we certainly all agree on.  It sure is nice to have J&C back together again.

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Don’t forget to play along with us as we Live Tweet with the Canadian airing of Outlander on W Network. Use #OutlanderCAN to keep up with us.

Sher.  Founder of the ABOotlanders

 

 

 

Plan B. Freedom & Whisky in the memes.

I had a delightful blog outlined and ready to roll when my face fell off.  Ok… not the whole thing but half of it.   I have the lovely facial paralysis called Bells Palsy.  The week leading up to the final bell ringer was poop…serious poop…so I’m taking the easy way out.

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I decided to simply go back into my Live Tweet Feed and give you time in my brain.  No worries, its short, silly and all round ridiculous.  You aren’t supposed to think or feel.  Just mind numbingly come along on the silly ride train I have loaded up.

aaaaaac

Our opening scene is Claire being her badass self. As per. 

aaaaaad

This group could not look anymore bored if they tried.  Which I enjoy cuz…me+school = THAT

aaaaaae

That moment of a lecture you know you still dont give one shit…or two.

aaaaaaf

They had ALMOST as much garland in that house as mine did when I was a kid.  It was like a sparkly tinfoil monster had its way with everything!

aaaaaag

Mmmmmmm….resin.

aaaaaaho

Some of the best advice uttered.  Make your own fate people. #JoeFresh #theMan

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Drink together, share secrets, rinse, repeat. 

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Gotta love it when your friends see the drape fall. 

aaaaaai

Claire knows a lot of the things…drinking…definitely top 5.

aaaaaaj

Its always better with friends. 

aaaaaaja

It’s all the same. Girls with spirit. 

aaaaaak

It really is a skill she has. 

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Dem bonz…dem bonz 

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Our Roger is just too perfect for words.  Beardiful is a good one though. 

aaaaaan

So many choices….good thing we have YEARS to play them out. 

aaaaaao

Ok, maybe Candy’s practical joke game was off.  Oh…Sandy…aheam

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Its such a shame when people can own their own shit. 

aaaaaaq

Let’s be fair…every forecast…every day.

aaaaaar

Of course she can sew….don’t be silly

aaaaaas

The 80s floating head picture…thats what I saw…touching still. 

aaaaaau

BOOM! There she is.  Loved this transition SO SO SO much

aaaaaav

If you did not turn into a big pile of goo…you are dead inside.

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All the feels…allofthemall

aaaaaax

That’s ok Claire.  You are a doctor…you can put him together again.

Thanks for playing folks.

Take care of you and BE KIND!  Join us on twitter #OutlanderCAN – watching each week on W Network.

Sher

AKA ABOtlanders Founder

Doctor Joe is now taking patients. ABOotlander Sher, chats with Wil Johnson.

Outlander fans have welcomed Wil Johnson into the family as he stepped into the role of loyal friend and confidant, Dr. Joe Abernathy.

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In the books, I loved Joe’s smooth and confident character. He was an equal to Claire that is rarely portrayed in the era they met.  In my mind, he was a butter voiced Sydney Poitier.  Without sounding too sucky-uppy – Wil Johnson fit the mold perfectly.   I anticipated seeing him on-screen more than other supporting characters because of my perception of him as Claire’s partner in crime in the 20th century.   We all need our “person”.  The one we can lean on, hold up, share the tough stuff with and Joe, was Claire’s person.

When I started following Wil Johnson on twitter I noticed his genuine humour and positive outlook about being enveloped into the Outlander Universe.  I am sure it can be daunting to all of a sudden be “loved” by so many random strangers – however, he handled it with grace.  Sharing his kindness with no strings attached.

I wanted to know more about this man who earned the role as Dr. Joe so I asked if he would do a Q&A…he graciously agreed.  We tweeted ridiculously funny GIFs at each other – this is a contract in the world of social media.

Sit back and enjoy “THE” Wil Johnson brought to you by “THE” ABOotlanders

You don’t even have to look closely to see that Wil is not a one trick pony.  I am not sure how this man finds the time but his list of awesome is a long one.

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See…there’s lots there

He sings, dances, acts and DJs – I mean I am tired thinking about it all.  When you present it all together for him, Wil sounds surprised he does so much.

WIL: WOW! That is a lot! lol…To be honest, I get enjoyment from all of them in equal measure. They all require a different skill set and each area has to be mastered with time, consistently and discipline. When you get it right, that feeling of satisfaction is unfathomable. But if I was to pick one that slightly edges the others out…it would have to be DJing! I say DJing because it’s the only discipline in which it’s all about you..two decks and a mixer. What you do directly in terms of manipulating the music, how you mix the tracks, directly affects how people will respond immediately. INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!! LOOOOL!!!

Want to hear some of 1LWil’s mixes?  CLICK HERE FOR THE SICK BEATS I’m trying to be cool obviously, Wil on the other hand just is. Where Dr. Joe is calm and cool, Wil…just cool.

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WIL: Right now I’m putting together a playlist for a new Mix I’ll be bringing out on MIXCLOUD which will be Deep House & Soulful House combined…Two of my favourite genres of music!

We all have that favourite band – Wil’s is Earth, Wind & Fire – you know,  in case you didn’t think he was cool already.

As if all of the previously mentioned talents weren’t good enough for you, the man cooks as well.  His favourite meal to put on the table?

WIL: As the Son of Jamaican parents, my favourite signature dish is ‘Stew Chicken with Rice & Peas!!!’

We can’t give away his recipe but if you thought to yourself…damn…that sounds good.  HERE you go. Gotta love the YouTube.

I think it is a prerequisite for any friend of Claire to be good behind the bar.  Dr. Joe makes a mean martini Wil on the other hand…

WIL:I serve a mean Rum & Coke on the rocks!!!! LOOOOOL!!!!

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…because Wil made me a drink…

Wil is a dad. That might not seem too unusual – however, he is the dad of 7…count ’em…7 children.  I see a recurring theme in Wil’s life. If you are going to do something – you might as well knock it outta the park!

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Just. Like. That.

WIL: The most important aspect of being a Father for me is ‘being there’ for your children and encouraging them in all their endeavours. Always telling them you love them and as much as you can, do things with them. Children must feel that you are their ‘ROCK’ that safe place of peace, truth and balance…

We either parent how we were parented or go rogue.  Considering what he is most proud of overcoming, I will say, Wil’s mom was his role model.

WIL:Living without my Mother who died 26 years ago. We were extremely close and she was my biggest fan and supporter of my work.

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A mothers love.

Wil is quite popular in the UK, having worked on many TV shows. Waking the Dead, Babyfather and Emmerdale–  to name a few. Joe Abernathy is Wil’s first american role. I was curious just how long he had to wait before hearing that he earned his role.

WIL:It was around a month before I heard I’d been booked to play Joe Abernathy….A LOOOOONG MONTH!!! LOOOOL!!!!

I wasn’t surprised to learn  Wil hadn’t read the Outlander books.  I mean, come on, you saw a glimpse in the day of Wil Johnsons life…I would say there wasn’t time to read the tomes.  “I work off the script and what eventually ends up there.”  This shows us how dedicated the writers are to keeping the soul of the book alive in the characters being portrayed on-screen.  Oh, and how well the casting department has done their homework.

We know Joe Abernathy wasn’t the most popular guy in medical school – like Claire, he was pushing through preconceived notions and boundaries that had been placed in his way.  The era itself was well represented, even if it was uncomfortable for us to watch.   Wil lets us know how important it is to break down those boundaries.

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It might not be that easy…but it IS that impactful

WIL: It was an honour. When one has the opportunity to play such a role as Joe Abernathy, you feel like an Ambassador…meaning, this role portrays positive aspects of our human nature and can be looked upon as a beacon or symbol of what is good, fair and decent in human beings. Joe for me ticks all those boxes and I felt a duty to live up to that.

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And so you did

Wil is a very dedicated actor, you can tell, his favourite book being Year of the King by Antony Sher. It is a glimpse into the world of an actor honing his craft.

Outlander is a huge production. Fans are constantly in awe of the what is put in front of them on-screen.  I have always wondered how the actors respond to this “world”.

WIL: The attention to detail in every aspect of production. When I was on set, I felt I WAS in the world of Outlander… for real…..

Joe Abernathy isn’t seen regularly in the books, however he is one of the characters that has a regular presence. Popping up throughout the books as a touch stone for Claire’s life in Boston.  I was curious if we will be seeing Joe again, once Claire heads back into the past.

WIL: I don’t know what the future holds in store for Joe. If they continue with this character in some shape or form I would be very happy about that.

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Joe is one of the very few people who knows Claire well. What do you think Joe thinks of this woman he befriended?

WIL: Joe truly admires Claire and is in awe of her strength. Joe draws inspiration from Claire in that respect.

I envision Caitriona Balfe having some of Claire’s traits.  I have a hard time imagining actors can play roles with such conviction and believability unless they have some sort of relationship with the character they are portraying. I asked Wil what he saw in both of these incredible women? (one real, one fictional)

WIL: Drive..Passion..Tenacity…

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Who me???

Speaking of relating to the character,  what does Wil say he and Joe might have in common?

WIL: Joe Abernathy and Wil Johnson are TRAIL BLAZERS!!! We both strive to change perception by our actions….

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We all have shows we love, our readers wouldn’t be here if they didn’t.  I am always curious as to what others are watching. I love shows from the UK and feel us Canadians miss out on some great ones because of that silly Atlantic thing.

WIL: G.O.T!!!! GAME OF THRONES!!!!!!!!! THAT IS MY SHOW!!!! Not sure what you might have missed out on….hmmmmm…Emmerdale???????

The following video was made during Wils 2 year stint as Dom Andrews on long running British soap opera,  Emmerdale. (This may or may not be the video I watched to see if he had the “Joe” voice I imagined. It was and he did)

Us ABOotlanders always love to know of Canadian connections. So, I asked.

WIL:Canada is on the list of places to visit for my Wife and I. Also I have family who live there so it would be nice to see them.

Let me suggest Alberta to the Johnsons.  They now know they have a tour guide if needed.

If you have read any of the chats here on the ABOotlander Blog, you know our Signature question.   Wil was not left out.

“If you were to visit us ABOotlanders in Alberta, Canada and someone offered you the following:

  • Moose droppings

  • Beaver tails

  • Prairie oysters

  • Taber corn

Which would you choose…and why?”

WIL:   I don’t know any of them but I would say Moose Droppings!!!! Sounds the most interesting…..Loooooool!!!!!!!!!

Interesting is right Wil.  Moose Droppings are delicious!

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They look like the real thing(ish) but don’t taste like them. I think…    I have never eaten the real thing.  Really.

The exciting Wil Johnson/ Joe Abernathy news is we’ll get to see  more of Dr. Joe Abernathy is Episode 5 “Freedom & Whisky”  HERE is a sneak peek of Joe…showing you exactly why I think Joe is kick ass.

SherryLynn aka Sher (ABOotlander Founder)

Share your thoughts on Wil’s portrayal in our comments.

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