As a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander*, I (like everyone else) have been looking forward to the end of Droughtlander with the streaming of Season 6.
How big of a fan am I? I often refer to my Ravages of Honor series as an “Outlander in space.” We share a heroine who is pulled through time, the fish-out-of-water trope, as well as the focus on relationships. We are not pure Romance because while there is a deep, driving, and defining love story, the story itself does not end with the couple getting together and going on to their HEA (happily ever after). The story continues past that and their love story (rather than Romance) continues as they get older, have children, and go on other adventures.
I know that the pandemic gave us Droughtlander and I knew that we were going to get a shorter season, only eight episodes. But what I did not expect was the cliffhanger ending and the shortened story lines which were just dropped and then summarized with a few trite lines of dialogue.
With no announcement of when season 7 will come, I felt more than a little cheated by the ending, especially since the storylines were (mostly) well done. There was tension and emotional investment, something that Gabaldon and the show-runners do very well, and they certainly kept me guessing.
It’s like deja vu all over again:
I did have deja vu several times, to the point where I went to check the release dates on the off-chance that I was watching the wrong season. At first I thought it might be the disparity between the books and the show. But that wasn’t as much of an issue as what they did: cut off two rather important storylines and then leave us hanging.
The good things:
There was a cute little subplot involving the Beardsley twins, and an even more interesting one between Claire and Tom Christie, an old compatriot of Jamie’s. I found Claire and Christie’s developing and reluctant friendship to be very interesting and its platonic nature is much needed as we rarely see such things develop between male and female characters without at least some hint of sexual tension.
I don’t know how realistic the polyamorous subplot between the Beardsley twins and Lizzie would be given the time period and attitudes, but it was well done and I know that Gabaldon often throws out historical accuracy for the sake of story, a trait that I do admire. It however, felt short or at least not as well-developed as it could be. So maybe the shortened season is to blame for this as well.
They did a great job with the Malva character. There was something about the look on her face from the moment we met her that said, this person isn’t all that she seems, but only barely. She kept setting off the hairs on the back of my neck and I was wondering, once again, where I had seen her. Well, her name does start with “Mal” and I kept telling myself, “Nope, it can’t be that. Nope, nope, nope.” But it was. Throughout the scenes of her father punishing her, you get this sense that she’s not quite the victim she is being portrayed as. With how the storylines were shortened and abandoned, it’s hard to tell if this was intentional or merely coincidental.
Another well-done aspect is the unwavering faith that Claire and Jaime have in each other. A lot of drama over his alleged infidelity would have ruined their characters and I was really glad to see that the show didn’t go there, no matter how tempting it might have been.
And if this post has that ending abruptly feel to it, well, yes. Because I honestly have nowhere else to take it. I’m thinking they did the best they could with what they had.
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