There have been many complaints about recent Outlander Season 3 episodes because of book changes, but as a show-first fan the changes have meant nothing.
Outlander Season 3 has been full of complaints about changes to the book. “A. Malcolm” to “First Wife” have been the most complained about episode, although “The Doldrums” has a couple of complains from book-first fans. However, as a show-first fan, the changes have meant nothing. The whole season has been enjoyable and made plenty of sense for the storylines created in Seasons 1 and 2.
Why is that?
Well, the show has been able to create suspense. Some of the small scenes have helped to develop characters more and add depth to certain scenes. They’ve made sense for the characters in the time they’re in.
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For example, adding Willie into the conversation about Brianna. That made a lot of sense for Jamie. He had never met Brianna and Faith was brought up into the conversation. Considering the time he spent with Willie, it only makes sense that he would have his son on his mind. He would want to be honest with Claire about this child that he would likely never see.
Why the drama with the excise man and Claire attempting to save his life? She’s just come from the 20th century and took an oath to save anyone. She never actually meant to kill this man, so she felt the need to save him afterwards. While it may not have been in the books, it was certainly poignant for the show.
Without the knowledge of the books, it’s somewhat easier to link to the characters the TV show has created. There are no preset ideas of what to expect, which makes it easier to just follow the flow of the world Ron Moore and Matthew B. Roberts have created.
This isn’t to say that the book-first fans are wrong. Waiting so long for Outlander to get the show treatment will have been hard. It’s easy to get an expectation in the head and then be disappointed with the decisions others have made. Nobody has the same opinions, which makes the world an interesting place. However, the show is made for both book-first fans and show-first fans. It’s hard to capture something that works for all, with the time and financial constraints in mind.
With a TV, developing side characters is important. Developing them can help with the development of the main characters. This is why the search for the Jonah in the last episode worked. It gave a chance to develop Mr. Willoughby, as well as further develop the 18th century world for Claire. For all fans know, this could all play a major part in the story moving forward.
As a show-first fan, this is why Outlander Season 3 is working. Sure, there have been scratch-the-head moments, but for the most part the changes book fans are complaining about don’t play a major problem for most show-first fans.
Outlander Season 3 continues on Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.