Outlander "Faith" Review - AVClub

AVClub: In my review last week, I praised the level of restraint Outlander possessed in certain aspects of the story. It was an action-heavy episode with a lot of gore and intensity, and yet it left one of the most disturbing moments in subtext. There were plenty of visual and tonal cues to suggest Black Jack had raped Fergus in “Best Laid Schemes.” We didn’t need to see it to feel the full impact of the horror. But “Faith” goes ahead and shows exactly what happened at the brothel when Black Jack walked into the room to find Fergus. Restraint goes flying out the window. I always find it difficult to write about rape scenes, and Outlander is really challenging me this season on that front. I just think that the story would have been so affecting without those flashbacks. Sometimes the whole “showing instead of telling” rule backfires. My guess is the writers thought it would be best to show instead of tell here, providing visuals to support what Fergus dictates to Claire, especially since he doesn’t seem fully capable of going into detail about what happened with words, which is understandable giving the trauma he’s experiencing. But the more effective example of showing instead of telling happens earlier, when Fergus hesitates next to a bottle of perfume as he’s putting away Claire’s brush. It’s a trigger for him, and even without the full picture of what happened at the brothel, I could feel his pain in that moment so viscerally. Did Outlander need to show the abuse in order to achieve effective and moving storytelling? No, it didn’t—especially now, since we’ve already seen the horrors Black Jack is capable of.

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