In looking back on Outlander season 5 episode 2, many of the reviews have been somewhat mixed. There are those who have expressed concerns about the violence (even if it feels reflective of the era), and there are also question marks about the changes to the source material.
As someone who is not a book reader, we don’t have the ability to approach the series wondering why certain changes are made or even what some of those changes are. Yet, we can certainly say this — some of the scenes involving Marsali were a delight to us, as it gave the character so much more to do.
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While Lauren Lyle’s character and Fergus (Cesar Domboy) were a part of the fourth season, it felt like they were largely sidelined until there were a couple of moments that benefited their participation. In allowing Marsali to become an assistant-of-sorts to Claire in surgery, the writers have opted to use an existing character to create a deeper bond with Claire. This works well given Marsali’s stubborn nature, and also some of her own history of clashing with her. It means more of a legitimate push-and-pull, one where Claire will be challenged by someone even if she’s shown herself to be an effective surgeon.
Also, Lyle and Caitriona Balfe play off of one other very well — performance-wise, their scenes were some of our favorites from episode 2.
The question that we’re left with is simply this: Can you keep Marsali in this role forever, or is this something meant to be a short-term plot? The character does still have her own stories to focus on from the source material, so do you mix those with what is new and happening here? Whenever Outlander does substitute one character’s story for another’s, these are questions you are left to inevitably wonder about. It’s hard not to. We just think that if you’re going to spend the time you did investing in the Marsali arc on Sunday’s episode, you have to find a way to push it forward and bring it in some exciting directions. Otherwise, you’re left to wonder what the purpose was of setting it up in the first place.
Did you enjoy the Marsali story change on Outlander season 5 episode 2?
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