The Outlander slave-auction scene was by far one of the most difficult parts of Sunday night’s “The Bakra,” but it was also necessary. This sequence of events showed Claire lashing out against the horrors of slavery in a visceral way; unfortunately, it also reflected on just how little she could do to end the blight that was still going on. While she and Jamie ended up purchasing a slave with the intention to free him, it was still an uncomfortable situation at best as they were forced to ask for some of his help prior to the Governor’s Ball.
While there have been a number of scenes on Outlander this season that have been changed our augmented slightly from the source material, this is one that was very important for the show to put on screen. It is emotional, it is painful, and it demonstrates just how terrible this part of history is. This is something that executive producer Toni Graphia describes further in a new interview on Entertainment Weekly Radio:
“We never considered not including it … Our only parameter for it was to show it as brutal as it was, and not try to whitewash it, not try to soften everything to be politically correct, because we believe very strongly that would be a disservice to tone it down or make it TV friendly. It’s in the book. We wanted to do justice to that part of the book. It’s something Claire encounters. It’s something that any time traveler would encounter. All of us in the writers room and audience, that’s why we like the books. We’re fantasizing about going to a different time, and we think about all the fun things but we don’t think about the negatives, that we are in a different time, laws are different. There are abominations back in those times.”
From the beginning of the series Outlander has shown time and time again that it doesn’t have any problem tackling subjects that are difficult. It’s a show that has taken on rape, post-traumatic stress, miscarriages, torture, and a number of other tough topics. While there are many elements of the series that are romantic and hopeful, it’s a show that tells the story of Jamie and Claire through the various trials and tribulations of their lives. Not all of them are pretty. They may try to make the world around them better, but there are many bumps in road. They tried to do the best thing they could in the aftermath of the slave auction; for now, it will be interesting to see if this storyline ends up playing a role in the upcoming Outlander season 3 finale.
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