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October 2016

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When we first began thinking about favorite scenes for this episode (and the next), we wondered how we could pick “favorite” scenes from an episode replete with tragedy and torture.  Upon careful consideration, however, we realized there are some things we enjoyed, apart from the brilliant performances by Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, and Tobias Menzies.  Regardless, we will not address the most brutal scenes.  It is simply too hurtful.

Let us first address the obvious.  Sam Heughan proved in this episode that he is worthy of any and all accolades and awards for his brilliant and heart-wrenching performance.  Much of his acting was done without dialogue.  Sam has mastered the art of communicating with his eyes and face to give us a wide range of emotions.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Black Jack Randall burns Jamie’s Petition of Complaint, yet he gets no reaction from Jamie.  That must have been a disappoint, since we know how BJR likes to evoke strong emotions from his victims.

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BJR’s attempts at intimidation fail.  He asks Jamie how he would prefer to die, and wants him to admit that he is terrified.  If he admits to being terrified, BJR promises to give him an honorable death of his own choosing.  (What a deal.)  Still, Jamie doesn’t beg or surrender.  He remains calm.

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No matter what form of intimidation BJR employes, Jamie remains cool.

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This is one of our favorite scenes because it illustrates the amazing acting talents of Sam Heughan. The tear rolling down his cheek breaks our hearts.  Finally, after BJR threatens Claire’s life, Jamie surrenders himself.  Claire is his Achilles Heel.  The only weapon BJR has against Jamie.

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Brave Hearts

Claire and Jamie sometimes make foolish decisions, but their bravery cannot be questioned.  Jamie isn’t the only man to find Claire’s courage and bravery attractive.

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Claire Fraser, “a most singular woman” (Dougal Mackenzie), “no coward,” and a “fit match for [her] husband” (Black Jack Randall).  Yes, she is a quite extraordinary and “rare” (Jamie Fraser) woman, and we love her well.

One of the most satisfying scenes of the episode is when Claire tells BJR she curses him.  She is no physical match for him.  The only weapon she has in her arsenal is knowledge, and she wields it expertly.  What a brilliant mind f**k.

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We love it when Claire plays the witch card.

 

 

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Title: LaDame Blanche

Written by: Toni Graphia

Directed by: Douglas Mackinnon

It’s  Episode 204 of  OLA’s  continuing series of Recaps on Steroids (ROS) for Season 2.  These ROS will incorporate an OLA writers’ opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts hosted by Showrunner Ronald D. Moore along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television. OLA editorial comments in the ROS recognize and respect the experience of those associated with the show even though we may respectfully disagree at times with their thought process or assumptions.  We hope you enjoy these recaps!

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If you want to see some very funny deleted scenes from this episode and others, then pre-order the Season 2 DVD or Blu Ray from our Shop Outlander Amazon page here.  It is targeted to be in-homes on November 1st.

The podcast for this episode was narrated by showrunner Ronald D. Moore (RDM) and executive producer Toni Graphia who also write the script.

The title card for the episode was a broken wagon wheel and the episode was referred to in the writer’s room as the dinner party episode.

The opening credits include shots of Versailles.  RDM noted that this was mostly done with visual effects that incorporated actual historical shots of Versailles.

The opening scene is of Jamie playing chess with Duvernay but this time, Claire is there.  She is distracting Jamie with baby names, causing him to lose a game.  Initially, the baby naming discussion took place in a more intimate setting but the writers wanted to underscore how little they have spoken about the baby given the logistical challenge of their quest and the emotional wall created by Jamie dealing with the Wentworth aftermath.

The Comte interrupts them and spoils the game.

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Claire leaves the table to get a drink.  A sequence cut from this scene includes her overhearing many French women talking about how bored they are and then a few say

I shouldn’t mind making that tall red-headed Scot growl and show his teeth. 

Yes, he can castle my queenside any time.

How do you say I know the feeling in French?

Claire normally would be used to other women admiring Jamie but this time it cuts to the quick as  they have not been intimate in months.  She takes a drink and realizes something isn’t right.  Jamie notices that she is in distress and runs to her side.   They choreographed this scene to make you suspect the Comte St. Germaine but we don’t know for sure if he was the mastermind at this point. The sequence where the royal physician wants to bleed her is cut for time.

Jamie and Claire return to the house.  The interesting this is this scene was shot before the Prague chess room scenes.  Toni commented that they often shot out of sequence in Season 2, even months apart and she noted how the crew and especially the actors, were brilliant in keeping the continuity of the scene and especially the emotion.  RDM said shooting that way is called cross-boarding.

Claire is forced to tell Jamie that Black Jack is alive.  There were many discussions in the writers’ room about how and when she should tell him.  The reveal comes to a head when Jamie wants to throw a dinner party to show Sandringham how weak Charles is so that he will see him as a bad investment.  With Sandringham will come Alex Randall and Claire knows she has no choice to tell Jamie.  They also played around with Jamie’s reaction and decided he would be overjoyed.  Sam Heughan  played this well as the script simply says “this is wonderful news” but he read it as “this is…wonderful news” with a dramatic pause and a look to the heavens as if saying Thank GOD.

Side note:  RDM noted they were well into story boarding for Season 3 at the point of this episode airing.  The episode aired on April 30th in the US so that must mean they had known about Season 3 as early as March, if not before.

Murtagh observes that Jamie seems in a good mood and Claire admits that she was forced to tell Jamie that BJR is alive.  She takes a playful poke by saying “I don’t know what you were so worried about.”  RDM said he fought to keep this scene in.   Unfortunately, it required that the next sequence had to be cut where Claire comes upo Jamie and Fergus discussing which of the women at the brothel likes to talk.  Jamie wanted to know which one he could talk with but not have to partake.  I think it was a mistake to cut this because it would have put an important upcoming scene with Jamie and Claire in better context.  Many non-book readers were disappointed in Jamie for the later scene but if they had seen this exchange, they would have realized his motivation.

I think this is another editing decision that was chosen because of favorite scenes by a writer or producer without thought as to how the audience would interpret or prefer.  While I admire how they tackled a long, complicated book in only 13 episodes, the editing decisions were often head scratchers.  This will become extremely apparent  in episode 207 but you’ll have to wait a bit for that recap!

Claire returns to Master Raymond’s shop.  Both RDM and Toni noted this is their favorite set with so many details that the viewer barely has time to notice.  Toni pointed out something that I hadn’t noticed in the episode.  When Claire is holding up a prehistoric skull, Raymond tells her he is fascinated by things not of this time.  And he is looking at Claire, not the skull.  He knows or at least suspects.  They really wanted to create a sense of mystery about Raymond.

Claire is worried about Frank.  She loved him once and given that she now has met Mary Hawkins, she wants to understand what that means for Frank.  RDM had the idea of throwing the bones on an animal hide, something Claire would remember given her travels with her archeologist uncle.   When Raymond says “you will see him again”, Claire is perplexed but the audience knows this to be true from episode 201.  She receives her magic stone necklace.  This piece is important to later episodes and so they let Terry Dresbach select the stone.

Claire then visits Louise who shows off her new cuckoo clock.  The original script had Louise sitting for a portrait with her monkey and the monkey would escape.  But the production manager said “The monkey stays in the cage!” so the changed the script.  Louise confides in Claire that she is pregnant by her lover.  In a large piece of foreshadowing, Claire tells her that it is possible to raise a child with love even if her husband is not the father.  One version of the script had Louise reveal that Charles is her lover but they decided to have Jamie and Claire figure that out later.

Jamie returns home that evening very much in the mood.  He straddles Claire on the bed and as he lifts his shirt (even Toni gave an impressed woo! during the podcast at Sam’s, um,  assets), Claire notices bite marks on his thighs. Toni wanted to make sure that the audience knows that Jamie would never be untrue to Claire but this was more complicated than that.    The script note says it all “in the long, clueless tradition of husbands throughout time”,  Jamie begins to explain to Claire that nothing happened but he was trying to reconnect with himself so that he could reconnect with her.  Using a whore from the brothel who liked to talk a lot (see cut scene with Fergus), meant he could test that while being true to her.   This leads to a very vulnerable discussion on both their parts; Claire about how she’s tried so hard but this should be a happy time for them and Jamie finally revealing just how deeply Wentworth has impacted his psyche.  This included the infamous blade of grass speech originally from Book 1 that Maril Davis had remembered (thank you, Maril!)  RDM praised Diana Gabaldon’s writing of the speech and as Toni pointed out, words are only as good as the actors who deliver them.

Jamie leaves to sleep by himself in the daybed.  They always wanted to use this for a sex scene and it ended up being right that it be the first time for Jamie and Claire since arriving in Paris.  The blue lighting emphasized that it was just Jamie and Claire finding each other again in the darkness.  RDM ‘s line of Come find me fit perfectly.   Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe both commented in a number of interviews that they fought for a pregnant sex scene and they did it beautifully.  There is a brief moment of shock in Jamie’s eyes where BJR  may have started to creep his way back in but Claire grabs his face and secures her to him.  They are as one in every sense of the word once again.

Jamie tells Claire later that she has helped him start the healing process back to himself.  She has built him a roof with a lean to.    The sounds of banging on the roof brings him face to face with Charles in the window.  Andrew Gower did all his own stunts here from letting them pour water on him to show it had been raining, to jumping through the window and letting Sam tackle him.  An interesting point is that in the book, this is actually the first time the reader meets Prince Charles.  The book is told from Claire’s point of view so it was always her hearing Jamie describe his meetings with Charles.

Charles is injured and through conversation, Jamie and Claire put 2 and 2 together to realize that he is Louise’s lover and the father of her child.  They later plan how they will use this information at dinner.  A pang of conscience over hurting Louise for the greater good is part of it but they close the plan with a kiss as the scene fades to the setting of an elaborate dinner table.  The Jamie and Claire theme plays in the background as we are left to presume that the blade of grass is about to be a 3 room cottage.

Toni and RDM noted how very complicated this dinner party scene was for the director.  They had 16 seats but because the women’s clothing is so wide, they had to limit females.  They have to get Claire out of the house by sending her to Le H’opital to assist Mother Hildegarde.  Toni noted that this scene was almost cut a number of times but she really wanted to work with Frances De LaTour.  (Another time when a writer’s favorite scene takes up time that might have been better served elsewhere?)  A cut scene from here is when Mother Hildegarde tells Claire that she should be a doctor and that she could arrange for her to do an apprenticeship.  Production note: this scene was filmed on day 1.

A fun knife throwing scene takes place outside between Murtagh and Fergus where it seems brothel born and raised Fergus knows more about women than Murtagh.  I always love these two as it reminds me of gruff old uncle scenes.  fergus-and-murtaghToni noted that this scene didn’t move the plot forward as it was pure character and those scenes often suffered in the cutting room during season 2 but she was glad it made it.  (Note, this was the most common criticism of season 2 but part of that is due to the structure of book 2, in my opinion.)

Claire, Murtagh, Mary and Fergus leave to head back home when Murtagh discovers the carriage wheel is broken.  They decide to walk back with Fergus being instructed to go ahead to tell Jamie that they will be delayed.  RDM noted this was complicated with regards to timing of how long they were there, how long would it take to sabotage the carriage, how long of a walk is it, when is dinner served, etc.

Back at the ranch, Jamie beings to greet guests with the first to arrive being the Duke of Sleezingham and his secretary, Alex Randall.  Jamie is aware they were coming but still, as Toni notes, a great shiver runs through him when he sees the resemblance.   The actor who played Alex showed up to the first table read wearing the same glasses as Tobias Menzies.  Too bad they couldn’t have taken a picture of that.

Louise arrives with her husband and comes face to face with Charles who wears his heart on his sleeve.  Awkward!  Murtagh, Mary and Claire walk through the alley when Murtagh is knocked unconscious and a group of thugs attack and rape Mary.  This scene was shot many times and Toni noted it is difficult for the crew to watch.  (Note: If it is difficult to watch film, perhaps extrapolate that might be just as hard or harder for your audience?)  All of the attackers were stuntmen and not actors so they dubbed their lines.  Claire is recognized as LaDame Blanche (the title of the episode that is never explained until 205) and they run off.

When they return home, Mary is taken upstairs and Jamie wants to cancel the dinner party but Claire notes the show must go on, there is too much at stake.  She sedates Mary and leaves Alex to watch her, warning him that she may wake up disoriented.  Uh oh, you know that ain’t gonna be good.

The seating arrangements are strategic.  dinner-partyCharles must sit across from Louise, Duke sits across from Charles and the Comte next to Claire who suspects he is behind the attacks.  We do too as he seems surprised to see her there.

Jamie and Claire’s plan takes shape exactly as they had hoped in that Charles is upset with Jamie’s “accidental” announcement that Louise and her husband are expecting child.  Sandringham takes shots at the pope and Comte makes it quite clear he knows what kind of necklace Claire is wearing. (This is actually extremely important in another few episodes.)

Unfortunately, Mary wakes up and mistakes Alex for another attacker and runs into the parlor.  He tries to tackle her to quiet her and the men from the dinner party mistake it for an attempted rape.  A brawl ensues.  RDM noted that they wanted to make it a lighthearted brawl because a serious one would be over in seconds with Murtagh and Jamie killing everyone.  So, they tried to make it like the 3 Musketeers.  I felt it went on for too long and seemed out of character for them.  The humor is saved when the camera pans over to Fergus in the now empty dining room, enjoying the “spoils of war”.

Don’t forget!  Pre-order the Season 2 DVD or Blu Ray from our Shop Outlander Amazon page here.

 

All pictures sourced from Starz

 

 

 

 

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‘Outlander’ a great fit for TV writer Anne Kenney

 

sam-heughan-anne-kenney-out-thumb-640x427-28882 Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser on “Outlander,” with writer Anne Kenney on location in Scotland. Courtesy of Anne Kenney.

“Outlander” writer Anne Kenney’s cozy home office on the Westside is a world away from the fan-intense Writers Bloc event (Inside the eye of the Outlander storm) where we first met last month. As part of the press tour for the show’s second season, Kenney joined her fellow writers and lead actors Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, and Sam Heughan for a panel to discuss the challenges of adapting for television Diana Gabaldon’s much loved and complex series of books about a World War II combat nurse who accidentally time travels back to 18th century Scotland. It was a rare on-stage appearance for the writers. The shows actors are usually the stars of such occasions, but on this night they seemed happy to let the writers have the spotlight. Members of the always passionate Outlander fandom filled the audience at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, many possibly realizing, for the first time, just how vital a role the writers play in bringing their favorite piece of literature to the small screen.

I visited Kenney a couple of weeks later to find out what life has been like for her since starting on the Starz show in 2013. “I’ve never done anything like this,” the veteran writer/producer said of working on a project with such a huge built-in fan base. “I went from having four Twitter followers — my family — to almost 10,000 and it’s all about “Outlander.” I usually don’t tweet about anything else.” Kenney still finds it strange when fans come up to her at events and want to have their picture taken or have her sign things. “But actually,” she says, “that’s been kind of fun and mostly people have been positive.”

Known for her work on “L.A. Law”, “The Big Easy”, “Greek, and “Switched at Birth,” Kenney had read (and loved) Gabaldon’s books and jumped at the chance to write for a show that combines so many genres. There is historical fiction, adventure, fantasy, romance, and refreshingly, a strong female lead character in Claire Randall (played by Balfe.) “This show is great for women. It’s from a woman’s point of view,” says Kenney. She earned high praise from critics and fans last season for writing episode 7, “The Wedding,” in which Claire is forced to marry the young, virginal Highlander Jamie Fraser (the show’s other lead character played by Heughan) in order to protect her from the British army. Much was written (see How Many Women Does It Take to Make the Perfect Sex Scene?) about the episode’s groundbreaking female-centric depiction of intimacy between lovers who start off the night as awkward near-strangers.

Originally from Oregon and Ohio, Kenney always knew she wanted to be a writer. After earning a journalism degree from Ohio University, she worked on small newspapers until classes in playwriting and television writing led to a move to Los Angeles in 1987. She met her husband, writer/producer Fred Golan, the same year. A voracious reader, particularly of historical fiction, Kenney enjoys the process of adaptation but acknowledges that Outlander can be problematic. While the first season was fairly straightforward, with Claire mostly trying to find her way back home to the 20th century, the second season, now well under way, was far more complicated to adapt. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet watched, but as Kenney says, “there was so much exposition, so much more explaining to do.” Things won’t get easier for the writers if the show continues on to season three. Gabaldon’s books are famous for their geographical reach and huge jumps in time.

The Outlander writers are based in Los Angeles (the writers’ room is in the Valley and Kenney crafts her scripts at home) but all are producers as well, which means periodic stints in Scotland to supervise production of episodes. The show is shot at a studio in Cumbernauld, just outside of Glasgow. The cast and crew also spend a huge amount of time on location. As a supervising producer “you’re there at the beginning and during prep when we’re deciding what the locations will be and what scenes stay or go for production reasons,” says Kenney. “We work with the actors and directors and there’s a give and take. Sometimes there’s something I’ve heard in my head and one of the actors will come up and say ‘this sounds really weird to me’. There’s a negotiation that goes on.”

For example, she points out that it’s “very interesting” working with Menzies, who plays a dual role: Claire’s twentieth century husband Frank and his 18th century ancestor, the villainous Black Jack Randall. “I think the assumption is that actors want more to say, rather than less,” she says. “I’ve found that’s generally not the case…especially with Tobias. He often feels he can tell the story more effectively with fewer words, and frequently he’s right.”

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Kenney was in Scotland for two months last fall, overseeing one of her own episodes for season two as well as one written by Gabaldon. It was the Outlander author’s first attempt at adapting her work into a script. Kenney says working with Gabaldon was “really fun…we had a good time. My experience was she really put her student hat on. She was there to see how it goes and she was such a trooper. It rains a lot and we were out in the cold and wet. She was fun and funny and didn’t complain once. Like all of us, she got notes and certain things would get re-written and she was very cool about all of it.”

Outlander production has been a boon to the economy in the areas where the show shoots, as Kenney saw one day on location with Gabaldon. “Diana and I were in a coffee shop in a place called Culross. We had our headsets around our necks…our names were on the back. After picking out some stuff, the guy followed us out, went up to Diana and said, ‘oh my god, are you Diana Gabaldon? You’ve brought us so much business..everything’s on the house for you.’ After that the joke was that we all should write her name on our headsets to get free food.”

In addition to dealing with inclement weather, Kenney has found some differences in the way Scottish sets are run. The typical working day is 10 hours (unless the crew agrees to go over) unlike the usual 12-14 hour day in the U.S. There is also a “right to walk” rule that allows the public to legally access any location where the crew is shooting. But so far “people have been very respectful and the actors have been extremely gracious with fans who show up and want to talk and have pictures taken,” Kenney says. She admits that one of her (and fellow writer Toni Graphia’s) biggest problems is understanding some of the Scottish accents. The desk clerk at their hotel was one of the toughest to decipher. “He could have said ‘there’s a serial killer on the third floor’ and we’d be like, great!”

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This was the first episode of the series that didn’t give us some great Jamie and Claire scenes.  In fact, we saw no Jamie and Claire the entire episode, and that was a tough pill to swallow.  However, some good things did happen.  Claire established and cemented some relationships independent of Jamie.

Claire and Jenny

Claire and Jenny got off to a rocky start in Episode 111, but when you deliver someone’s child and share a common purpose with that person, bonds will surely be made.  The bond seems tenuous, however, when tensions arise during their search for Jamie.  Jenny has a little inner warrior who doesn’t appreciate Claire’s seeming judgement and hesitation at killing the English soldier.  The issue seems resolved after Murtagh kills the soldier and Claire professes that she would have done it herself if Murtagh hadn’t shown up when he did.  Satisfied that Claire will do all she can to bring Jamie back to Lallybroch, Jenny leaves Claire and Murtagh to the task.

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Claire and Murtagh

Claire and Murtagh continue the search for Jamie and strengthen the bond they had through Jamie.  Together they build a mutual respect and friendship outside of their connection to Jamie.  This relationship isn’t without its challenges as well, and they don’t always agree on the best strategies to incorporate in their search.

One of our favorite scenes is when Murtagh encourages Claire to sing.  Her first on-stage attempt was funny.  Luckily the highlanders don’t know the word, but it may not have made a difference even if they had.

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Though some parts of the search dragged, we were given an opportunity to enjoy some of the beautiful Scottish Highlands scenery.

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One of the most satisfying scenes in the episode occurred when Claire and Murtagh are camped in a cave.  Their search has yet to yield success and tempers run short.  When Claire says Murtagh had never lost anyone he loved, Murtagh shares the story of his unrequited love for Jamie’s mother and how he gave her the carved bracelets.  They share an embrace and Murtagh confesses that he loves Jamie like a son.

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The next morning, with renewed strength and determination, they set off to continue their search.  Murtagh tries to assures Claire that they will find a way to make more money to continue their search for Jamie.

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Claire and Dougal

Claire and Murtagh receive word they are to meet Jamie, but once they arrive they are devastated to learn that it is Dougal who sent the message.  He gives them the news that Jamie has been captured, tried, and sentenced to be hanged.  Dougal is such a rascal, and Claire learns that Dougal had wanted Lallybroch and the Fraser lands all along, and he intends to get it by marrying Claire and “protecting” her.  Obviously she sees it as an indecent proposal but agrees to marry him only if Jamie is already dead or she can’t rescue him.

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Dougal refuses to order his men to help in the rescue mission but says he won’t stop them should they volunteer.  More determined than ever, Claire sets out to enlist the help of the highlanders.

Herself and the Highlanders

This is one of the best scenes in the episode.  Claire and Murtagh meet with a very reluctant group of Highlanders, except for Willie, who eventually shames the rest into agreeing to help rescue Jamie.  That they do ultimately agree to help indicates the level of respect they have for her.  Remember that this is eighteenth century Scotland, where a group of rowdy Highlanders are willing to follow the lead of not just a woman, but an English woman.  She has earned their respect as Lady Broch Tuarach, as Herself.

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We love Badass Claire.

 

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Episode 113 represents a turning point in Jamie and Claire’s lives.  For what seems like only a brief moment, they live in peace and happiness at Lallybroch until the Watch arrives.  When Jamie is coerced into riding with McQuarry and his men, it triggers a journey of which will impact him and Claire for a lifetime.

Never let them see you sweat.

One of the best things about this episode (aside from the wonderful Jamie and Claire moments) is the way Jamie stands up to the Watch.  He will not be intimidated by them, and it’s sexy as hell.  If there was ever a doubt about Sam Heughan’s ability to play a role like James Bond, then this episode should help settle the issue.  We see the beginnings of Jamie as leader and fearless protector of what and who are dear to him.

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“He needed killing.”

McQuarry was right.  After Harrocks set up The Watch, along with Jamie and Ian, to be ambushed by British soldiers and extorting money from Jamie, Harrocks had to die.

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“I ran him through.”

After their initial meeting, McQuarry understands that Jamie is no coward and begins to appreciate him as a fellow warrior.  Still, tensions run high when Jamie tells McQuarry that he killed Harrocks when he threatened his family.  Even though McQuarry agrees that Harrocks needed killing, he forces Jamie to join the Watch in a raid, which leads to their capture.  Ian wants to join them and Jamie’s initial reaction is a stern, “No, yer not.”  Ian wins the debate and joins Jamie and the Watch.

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“It would take more strength than I have.”

This is one of the iconic book scenes, and it is a real tear-jerker, not only for Jamie and Claire for but viewers as well.  Jamie is so sweet when Claire confesses that she may not be able to give him children.  Having lost his own mother in childbirth, the thought of losing Claire in that way truly scares him.  However, he can’t hide all of his disappointment at the news.

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“Haste ye back.”

This scene is another sad one.  Jamie won’t be hasting back to Claire, and soon his life (and hers) will be forever changed.  It is the last time Jamie and Claire will be together for some time.  Jamie leaves to fulfill his promise to McQuarry that he will go with the Watch on just one raid.  After their capture, Jamie ends up in the hands of Black Jack Randall.  To emphasize the importance of this goodbye, Jamie’s departure is filmed in slow motion.

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It will be a while before Jamie and Claire have some peace.

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“Lallybroch” is another great episode for Jamie and Claire.  Finally, after many trials and tribulations they return to Lallybroch.  Their arrival is met with some challenges in the form of Jamie’s sister, Jenny, and Jamie’s somewhat difficult initial adjustment to his responsibilities as Laird of Lallybroch.

 

Ahead and behind.

The gifs below represent another favorite scene in this episode.  There isn’t much happening, just Jamie and Claire on their final approach to Lallybroch, but the beautiful scenery (ahem) warranted it’s inclusion in our favorite scenes.

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We learn that Jamie has been intentionally misled by Dougal as to Jenny’s fate subsequent to their initial encounter with Black Jack Randall.  When Ian’s appearance confirms that Jenny’s son and her unborn child are fathered by him, Jamie tries to apologize to Jenny for his incorrect assessment of the immediate situation.

While we applaud Laura Donnelly’s performance as Jenny, the character does little to endear fans with her abrasive and sarcastic behavior towards Jamie and Claire.  She was rightfully angry at Jamie’s unjust accusations, but her attitude didn’t improve much until the saw Jamie’s scars.

Jenny is not an easy character to love, but we are glad that Jamie, Claire, and Jenny eventually resolve most of their issues and come to understand each other.  Ian Murray, played by the very talented Steven Cree, is an absolute joy.  Jenny is lucky to be married to such a patient and loving man.

“I have a much better throwing arm than the fair Latitia.”

Jamie isn’t the only one experiencing a learning curve.  Claire must navigate her way through her new role as well.  Unaware of the cultural expectations for a Laird’s wife, it doesn’t take her long to step on toes, Jamie’s in particular, and they confer in private to establish the boundaries for the appropriate behavior and demeanor for the Laird’s wife.  Once she understands what is expected of her, she reminds Jamie that she is not the meek and obedient type.  They reach an understanding, or should we say Jamie reaches the understanding that while Claire will not defy him publicly, those rules don’t apply behind closed doors.  We like this scene, and wouldn’t expect any less of Jamie and Claire.

Brian Fraser

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One of our favorite scenes of this episode occurs when Jamie and Claire are in the Laird’s bedroom for the first time.  Jamie talks about his father and about the last time he saw Brian Fraser alive.  It was heartbreaking to hear and see, but for the first time we get a glimpse of the handsome highlander, the first Lord Broch Tuaroch, in the form of a flashback.

I love you

The Laird’s quarters again gives us another great Jamie-Claire moment.  For the first time in what seems like an eternity we see the Lord and Lady happy, relaxed, and worry-free, at least for the night.

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Shortly after, in the same scene, we have another iconic Jamie/Claire scene.  He tells Claire that he has loved her since she wept in his arms that first day at Castle Leoch.  We aren’t too surprised about that, but Claire probably is, even though she doesn’t doubt his love now.  Then for the first time, Claire confesses her love to Jamie.  He shouldn’t be surprised to hear it.  After all, in the last episode she did choose to stay with him instead of going through the stones back to Frank.  Still, he is delighted with the confirmation, and so are we.

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If looks could kill…

We can’t help appreciating the looks on the faces of Jamie and Claire when, once again, Jenny reminds us why she isn’t yet one of our favorite characters.  Jamie tells Jenny and Ian that he and Claire plan to stay at Lallybroch.  Jenny is concerned that there is a price on Jamie’s head and what implications that might have for him and everyone at Lallybroch.  Jamie assures her that the Duke of Sandringham is having a pardon issued on his behalf.  Though no words are spoken, Jamie and Claire’s reaction is written all over their faces when Jenny replies in a snarky manner that she never thought Jamie would be so trusting of the English, referencing the Duke and Claire.  Her meaning isn’t lost on Jamie, Claire, and Ian.  Ian laughs in a combination of what might be seen as nervous tolerance or apology on Jenny’s behalf.  We assume Ian is accustomed to playing peacemaker when Jenny steps in it, which is likely often.  He must have the patience of Jobe.

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By the conclusion of the episode we find that all of the residents of Lallybroch are on their way to mending old relationships and bonds as well as forging new ones.

(Note:  We did not forget about the windy day and the cold water at the mill when Jamie intended to make repairs.  Please see our tumblr post for those gifs.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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