If you are a devotee of time travel...

Friday, August 11, 2023

Outlander 7.8: Benedict Arnold and Time Travel

Outlander 7.8, the midseason finale, was superb on many levels.  And it amply continued what I said about 7.7: it provided a vivid example of the insanity of war.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

As a time-travel devotee, I especially liked two interactions that Claire and Jamie had with Benedict Arnold:

1. Jamie quotes Browning's "A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for," and Claire slightly winces.  That's because Browning doesn't publish this in a poem until 1855, and Jamie is about to fight the Second Battle of Saratoga in 1777.  I love "mistakes" like this in time travel.  Did Arnold at some point in the future tell someone that line -- he said he found it very impressive -- and it percolated forward in history to Browning?  If so, that's an example of the "where did it come from" paradox in time travel.  When a phrase from the future is set loose in the past, it's impossible to figure out where it originated, the future or the past?  It bounces back and forth from the future to the past then back to the future in a never-ending circle.   (I'll also note that I like what Marshall McLuhan made of this line, changing it to "A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a metaphor?" That's a pretty good definition of metaphor, as well as being a pun.)

2. Later, Claire tells a wounded Benedict Arnold that he's justified in feeling his accomplishments in the American army have not been recognized.  Arnold has been wounded psychologically as well as physically, and Claire's supporting his grievances may have been just the last straw that got him to leave the Americans and join the British, and therein have his name in future history become synonymous with "traitor".   Another mind-bending example of where did it come from.  Had Claire from the future not supported Arnold's anger, he might not have joined the British. (You can see by the expression on her face that she realizes a second too late that her answer might have stoaked Arnold's switching sides -- though, perhaps she did that deliberately, to avoid the risk of changing the history she knew.)

Other than time travelers in America during the Revolutionary War, there were lots of other excellent touches in this episode.  Jamie accidentally shooting the hat off William's head and his later giving his son a hat was a beautiful, powerful little piece of storytelling.  I also liked Ian and Rachel almost getting together, even if it ended with Ian on the boat to Scotland and Rachel accosted by that psycho creep, the well-named Arch Bug.

And back to time travel, as became clear at the end of episode 7.7, Roger going back in time through the Stones in Scotland promises to bring us all kinds of exciting encounters and likely more paradoxes in the second half of this excellent season next year.  And I'll be back here with more reviews.

See also Outlander 7.1-2: The Return of the Split ... Outlander 7.3: Time Travel, The Old-Fashioned Way ... Outlander 7.7: A Good Argument for the Insanity of War

And see also Outlander 6.1: Ether That Won't Put You to Sleep

And see also Outlander 5.1: Father of the Bride ... Outlander 5.2: Antibiotics and Time Travel ... Outlander 5.3: Misery ... Outlander 5.4: Accidental Information and the Future ... Outlander 5.5: Lessons in Penicillin and Locusts ... Outlander 5.6: Locusts, Jocasta, and Bonnet ... Outlander 5.7: The Paradoxical Spark ... Outlander 5.8: Breaking Out of the Silence ... Outlander 5.9: Buffalo, Snake, Tooth ... Outlander 5.10: Finally! ... Outlander 5.11: The Ballpoint Pen ... Outlander Season 5 Finale: The Cost of Stolen Time

And see also Outlander 4.1: The American Dream ... Outlander 4.2: Slavery ...Outlander 4.3: The Silver Filling ... Outlander 4.4: Bears and Worse and the Remedy ... Outlander 4.5: Chickens Coming Home to Roost ... Outlander 4.6: Jamie's Son ... Outlander 4.7: Brianna's Journey and Daddy ... Outlander 4.8: Ecstasy and Agony ... Outlander 4.9: Reunions ... Outlander 4.10: American Stone ... Outlander 4.11: Meets Pride and Prejudice ... Outlander 4.12: "Through Time and Space" ... Outlander Season 4 Finale:  Fair Trade

And see also Outlander Season 3 Debut: A Tale of Two Times and Places ...Outlander 3.2: Whole Lot of Loving, But ... Outlander 3.3: Free and Sad ... Outlander 3.4: Love Me Tender and Dylan ... Outlander 3.5: The 1960s and the Past ... Outlander 3.6: Reunion ... Outlander 3.7: The Other Wife ... Outlander 3.8: Pirates! ... Outlander 3.9: The Seas ...Outlander 3.10: Typhoid Story ... Outlander 3.11: Claire Crusoe ...Outlander 3.12: Geillis and Benjamin Button ... Outlander 3.13: Triple Ending

And see also Outlander 2.1: Split Hour ... Outlander 2.2: The King and the Forest ... Outlander 2.3: Mother and Dr. Dog ... Outlander 2.5: The Unappreciated Paradox ... Outlander 2.6: The Duel and the Offspring ...Outlander 2.7: Further into the Future ... Outlander 2.8: The Conversation ... Outlander 2.9: Flashbacks of the Future ... Outlander 2.10: One True Prediction and Counting ... Outlander 2.11: London Not Falling ... Outlander 2.12: Stubborn Fate and Scotland On and Off Screen ... Outlander Season 2 Finale: Decades

And see also Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel ... Outlander 1.6:  Outstanding ... Outlander 1.7: Tender Intertemporal Polygamy ...Outlander 1.8: The Other Side ... Outlander 1.9: Spanking Good ... Outlander 1.10: A Glimmer of Paradox ... Outlander 1.11: Vaccination and Time Travel ... Outlander 1.12: Black Jack's Progeny ...Outlander 1.13: Mother's Day ... Outlander 1.14: All That Jazz ... Outlander Season 1 Finale: Let's Change History


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