As Droughtlander labors on, super fans like me pre-ordered the Season 3 Collector’s Edition and when it arrived, gleefully unwrapped the package with a smirk not unlike that of the Amazon’s logo. The first thing I noticed was how light it was compared to the hulking Season One Collector’s Edition but on second thought there were two versions of it. You could either splurge and receive The Ultimate Collection consisting of a flask, picture cards, a pretty book of photographs, and soundtrack along with the Season 1 episodes all nicely kept in a tidy box or keep it simple (and cheaper) with a purchase of The Collector’s Edition Volume One and Two which split Season 1 between two boxes. Ay yay yay so many choices for fans! Season 2 was more streamlined with one box, bonus material, and included a book of photographs.
Again, the Season 3 Collector’s Edition keeps it tidy with the episodes spread out over five discs that include extended and deleted scenes, a booklet with behind the scenes photos, and a foreword by Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore. These are the usual run-of-the-mill exclusives that the all the seasons have included but this time there are a few shiny new gems: An additional scene with Lord John Grey & Lady Isobel Dunsany (my favorite of the additional scenes), the Chemistry Test with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe (witness where the chemistry began!), and Saying Goodbye to Frank & Jonathan Randall (a lovely tribute) plus others.
Here are a few highlights and unsolicited opinions. Please note that I do not include commentary on every exclusive featurette or extended or deleted scene – only ones that struck my fancy the most (or least).
“Saying Goodbye to Frank & Jonathan Randall”
I am a big Tobias Menzies fan (and therefore unabashedly #Tobiased) so of course I was eating up this segment with a large spoon punctuated with squees of delight. They really honor his work as both Frank and Black Jack over the course of three seasons. Author Diana Gabaldon said it perfectly when commenting on his ability to “get sparks” out of his fellow actors. Executive Producer Maril Davis comments on what a “truly tragic figure” Frank was and his love for Claire was just as strong as her love for Jamie. I have to think on that last statement more. Isn’t Jamie and Claire’s love so unique that it goes beyond an ordinary one? Even Frank’s?
This segment is really lovely as they also include BTS footage of his last day. Caitriona Balfe’s great affection for him is evident and dare I say she and many others are clearly #Tobiased too.
“Jamie’s Revolution” & “Claire: Through Time”
Where would we be in Season 3 without the twenty year span that separates Jamie and Claire? These two featurettes explore how Claire and Jamie each evolve in the beginning of Season 3. In the first four episodes, Sam Heughan gets to shine as we see Jamie journey from Culloden battlefield (James Fraser the Clan Leader), to Lallybroch (Red Jamie rockin’ a hair style that he stole from Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall), to Ardsmuir (Mac Dubh the prison leader in frayed pants while dining on nice white china), to Helwater (Alex “life is hard when everyone wants to bed you” Mackenzie), and finally Edinburgh (A. Malcolm Bootlegger by Night and Printer by Day). “Jamie’s Revolution” highlights these identities and how he changes throughout the twenty years. Sam does some of his finest acting in these episodes.
Meanwhile, in the 20th century, “Claire: Through Time” highlights how Claire must let go of Jamie as she transitions to a modern life, a different man, and becoming a doctor. I particularly liked Caitriona’s comment that in playing such a confident character, she herself gained more confidence in her own life. Also, “Selfish Claire” pops up in this segment as it revisits the moment when Sandy confronts Claire in Episode Four. Toni Graphia loves the way Caitriona played the moment when Claire acknowledges how she held onto Frank all those years to the detriment of others. That scene is one of my favorites of Season Three.
“Original Caitriona & Sam Chemistry Test”
Feast your eyes on how it all began! This shiny new gem is long. I guess they really wanted to make sure they had chemistry. For me, it’s interesting to see the evolution of this scene from “The Reckoning” episode in Season One. During their test, they sit next to each other and it stilts the scene’s action a bit but you can see the kernels of their chemistry pop. Also, I love watching it and thinking “these kids had no idea what they were getting into!” The scene ends and Sam and Caitriona awkwardly stand together as the camera keeps rolling. It’s a strange situation to be essentially judged on how well you act and, frankly, look with a fellow actor that you only just met. Glad it worked out!
“A Traveling Show Takes Sail”
Since I work in film and television production, this segment is of particular interest to me. The “Voyage” theme in the third book is real. Moving an entire production from one continent to another must be a beast! It’s an enormous undertaking that this segment suggests. Using the ships from Black Sails was a boon for the show and it’s clear that the change in location adds to the story by bringing a more authentic tropical element that Scotland couldn’t provide (sorry Scotland). Also, Caitriona Balfe is one brave woman with that snake.
Most Worthy Deleted Scene to be left on the Cutting Room Floor
“The Bakra” – Good riddance! This segment is so long and unnecessary that I was tweeting during it and when I looked up, it was still going!
Notable Deleted Scenes that Would’ve Been Nice to See in the Final Cut
“Heaven and Earth” – Claire bargains for a spot in the cook’s kitchen where women aren’t allowed. It is charming as Ron D. Moore explains at the start and a glaring reminder of 18th century sexism. Excuse Claire while she gets her girl coodies all over the knives!
“All Debts Paid” – Jamie sacrifices himself for Murtagh’s crime of harboring tartan and the punishment is sixty lashes. It’s a nice scene but I agree with Ron D. Moore that Lord John Grey’s reaction is not motivated enough and ultimately had to be cut. Regardless, I like the overall tension and moments in the cell between Murtagh and Jamie. Of course David Berry is great in every LJG scene he plays.
Favorite Additional Scene in Season 3
The Additional Scene with Lord John Grey and Lady Isobel Dunsany was shot for the “Helwater” ep but ultimately cut. Jamie is all on Lord John Grey’s mind in the beginning of this scene. So many Jamie innuendos! What follows is really sweet between Grey and Lady Isobel. We begin in one place at the top of the scene and end somewhere else but the two actors deftly transition from moment to moment making it a lovely gem in the Season 3 Collector’s Edition.
Always a fun bonus! Favorite moment: All the Tobias gaffs. Particularly the Thomas Deweyyyy….
But seriously, it’s all funny stuff.
Is it worth getting?
If you’re a super fan like me – aye! Personally, I like getting a box filled with shiny pretty photographs in a nice treasure box. Yes I like to covet material things.
For the lesser fans (and by “lesser” I of course mean less enthusiastic) — och no! Purchasing the collector’s edition may not be worth it if you’re happy with watching the episodes and scouring youtube for pirated bonuses. But on second thought—what kind of Outlander fan are you? 😜
To see the unveiling in real time check out my FB post