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November 2016

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Episode 201 is the first episode of Season 2, and for non book-readers it was a WTH moment.  About the first 35 or 40 minutes are spent showing Claire’s not-so-happy reunion with Frank after she goes back through the stones.  The remainder of the episode up until the last half of the season finale is told in flashback.

“I made a promise, and I must keep it.”

The opening scene has Claire having just gone through the stones at Craig Na Dun.  She didn’t want to leave Jamie and return to her life with Frank, but she made Jamie a promise and was bound to keep it.  This isn’t a favorite scene, but it is a very important one, and gives us an idea of Claire’s emotional state and what we might expect from future scenes depicting the struggles in the Randall marriage.

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Again, this isn’t a favorite scene, but it does illustrate the differences between the attitudes of Jamie and Frank.  Initially Frank is upset to learn of Claire’s pregnancy, but since he is sterile he agrees to raise Jamie’s baby.  He does have conditions, though, and this is where we see the contrast between Jamie and Frank.  Frank as conditions attached to his reunion with Claire:  1) they will raise the child as their own, withholding the true paternity from the child; and 2) Claire must let Jamie go.

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Jamie never made that demand of Claire during their marriage.  He never told Claire she had to forget about Frank.  However, Claire agrees with Frank’s conditions.  She agrees to let Jamie go, not because Frank, in his selfishness demands it, but because she had promised Jamie she would.  She did it for Jamie, not Frank.

I’m not a huge Frank fan (no offense, Tobias), but I must give him his due.  He is at least willing to raise Jamie’s child as his own, and from all accounts in the book (Voyager, primarily), he was a good father, if not a stellar husband.

Back in time

To escape the rumors, gossip, and criticisms of of their situation, Frank and Claire move to Boston where he has accepted a professorship at Harvard.  The transition back in time to Jamie two hundred years earlier in France occurs when Claire steps off the plane in Boston.

It was very hard for Claire and us to watch Frank burn her clothes.  They were a symbol of his life with Jamie, and Frank would not have allowed her to keep them.

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Secrets, Lies, and Deceptions

For the remainder of the season until the finale, Jamie and Claire embark on a mission of secrets, lies, and deceptions in an effort to thwart the Jacobite rising and avoid the tragedy of Culloden.

Unfortunately, and much to Murtagh’s chagrin, Jamie and Claire must keep their secret from him as well.  That must have been especially hard for them because of their close relationship with him.  It must also have been difficult when it was necessary to deceive Jared, Jamie’s wine merchant cousin. However, the deception was necessary for the requisite introductions to the Jacobite leaders in France.

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“I’m sorry I doubted ye, brother.”

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“I wouldn’t change you to save the world.”

This is absolutely a favorite scene.  It doesn’t take Claire long to get them into trouble when they arrive at Le Havre, France.  Because she diagnosed smallpox on Comte St. Germain’s ship, the ship and its cargo are burned.  He is furious and vows revenge.

Instead of being angry with Claire, Jamie simply comments that life with her is never dull, but that he wouldn’t change her to save the world.

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Perhaps Jamie wouldn’t change a thing about Claire, but they have made a dangerous enemy, and surely there is plenty about Claire that the Comte will want to change.

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Title: Untimely Resurrection

Written by: Richard Kahan

Directed by: Douglas Mackinnon

It’s  Episode 205 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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The podcast for this episode was narrated by showrunner Ronald D. Moore (RDM) and costume designer Terry Dresbach.

The title card for the episode was inside the King’s stables with the white horses being brushed and a blanket with the King’s emblem laid over their backs.  This was Richard Kahan’s first script and he did a great job.  You can tell he is a fan of the books as he writes Jamie and Claire very well.

One thing that came into my mind while researching the episode, podcast and script for this episode is that it would be really cool to have one of the actors do the podcast with RDM.    This episode was definitely one of those that would have benefited from that.  I would imagine the logistics of this would be difficult.

The episode begins after the dinner party and the post-dinner fight with some having been hauled away to the Bastille.  RDM mentioned that this show actually ran shorter, but they made cuts as feedback from the studio and network was that it was running long.  (Editorial comment: This is why a bunch of middle-aged white guys should not make decisions about what women want out of a character-driven story of a strong, married couple!)

The previous episode was going to end with a scene with King James as he was going to be invited to the dinner party in an early version of the script.  So much changed for the end of 204 and the start of 205.

The camera pans from the clearing of the dinner table to the chaos of broken items and overturned furniture to a worried Claire.  A deleted scene had Claire stressing by the fire with Fergus joining her to brush her hair.  He explains the story of LaDame Blanche, and through Claire’s questioning, we also learn the story of Fergus.  I thought this was a lovely scene, and one where it showed Claire really coming to care for Fergus as her adopted son and not just Jamie’s.  This was one of three deleted scenes in this episode that I felt added both depth and insights into the characters.

Jamie returns to find Claire still up and Fergus fast asleep.  He picks up their sleeping son and meets Claire in their bedroom.  (Side note:  I like that the script had Jamie kiss Claire on the forehead but in the episode Jamie kisses her hand.  It was sweeter.)

Jamie tells Claire that Duverney vouched for them, but that the Duke of Sandringham fired Alex Randall, since he was still in prison.  They discuss how Claire got away from the attackers (hard to believe that half of 204 and the start of 205 is all the same day!) and she mentioned they called her LaDame Blanche.   Jamie confesses to having called her that at Maison Elise to be able turn away prostitutes without looking unmanly.  At first Claire is incredulous that he could risk her being seen as a witch again, but then realizes that this probably means the attackers frequent the brothel-and that narrows down the suspects.  Jamie makes a mental note to assign Murtagh to watch the Comte, just in case St. Germain still has revenge on his mind.

Jamie sits down, exhausted, on the bedroom couch next to Claire in the script, but I like the choice (by Sam? the director?) of him standing and snuggling Claire from behind while he seems to inhale her.  It reminded me of the snuggle from behind scene in Lallybroch from Season 1, where they express their love to each other for the first time.

The next morning, a kilted Jamie is in his office at the winery talking with Murtagh.  (RDM provided an interesting tidbit that the office was a redress of the set that was the Inn from Episode 201.)  Murtagh confesses that he feels guilty that he failed Jamie by allowing his wife to be attacked.  Jamie reassures him that he was outnumbered, but nonetheless Murtagh vows to lay vengeance at his feet.  Jamie charges him with this vow as he knows a proud Highlander would want it.

Richard Kahan noted something interesting in the script notes.  He said Sam added a subtle subtext to this scene by showing that Jamie, for a split second, also wonders if Murtagh could have done more.  Kahan noted that “Sam brought an awesome subtle flavor” to the scene.

Meanwhile, Claire sneaks in a visit to Mary to see how she is doing.  (Mary’s room is another redress of a set-Louise’s apartment.)  I liked Claire’s purple suit here, it felt very 18th century yet very modern, too.  Mary is writing a note explaining the details of the attack in order to free Alex.  She then confesses to Claire that she and Alex intend to be married.  Claire hides the fact that this terrifies her as it may prevent Frank’s ancestor (the offspring of Mary and Jack Randall) to be born.  She considers not delivering the letter to leave Alex in the Bastille but decides against it.  Richard Kahan was very complimentary of Caitriona Balfe in the notes, saying she is a writer’s dream.  I have read that sentiment from other writer’s as well.

Terry Dresbach explained that Mary was wearing a cute cap here but they get pressure not to put caps on leads.  This might explain why Jamie rarely wears the Highlander cap but Murtagh and Dougal often are seen with one.

Back at the winery, Murtagh has left on his quest and Bonnie Prince Charlie shows up.  He tells Jamie he is rid of the female haze and can focus on their quest. (It got me thinking that if he had been more focused on Louise and their baby, would he have given up or delayed the plan? )  He explains that there is a shipment of wine that is coming in, and he needs Jamie to help the Comte St. Germain to procure it so they can make some money for the cause.  Jamie is naturally not keen on this idea, but has to agree.  The look on his face is one step forward, two steps back in their plan to prevent Culloden.

Alex Randall is released from the Bastille and takes a walk with Claire.  Claire notices he is ill (who couldn’t, the constant coughing is like an anvil saying ALEX RANDALL IS SICK).  She makes a decision to talk Alex out of marrying Mary, given his lack of position and ill health.  Was I the only one thinking that if a man is coughing and obviously has something potentially contagious that the pregnant nurse walking with him should protect herself better?

Jamie meets up with Le Comte at the brothel.  jamie-and-comteIn a great writing/acting decision, the pride of both men intervene as Jamie will only speak English and Comte will only speak French. Jamie gets his point across that he will kill the man responsible for attacking Claire.   The mutual disdain at the table is palpable.

Jamie returns home to tell Claire about the Prince’s plan, and they realize that they must try to stop him.  Claire gets an idea about simulating smallpox, but tucks it in the back of her mind for later.  Jamie presents her with a wooden case containing 12 Apostle spoons that are a family heirloom.  He had Jenny send them so he could present them to Claire as a christening gift for their baby.  Producer Toni Graphia came up with this idea after research.

Claire opens up to Jamie about her fears of being a good mother.  Not only is this a natural way to feel, but Claire lost her own mother when she was five and so has no real maternal role model other than Jenny.  Jamie reassures her that they will learn together.  jamie-reassuring-claire-about-baby A longer version of this scene is part of the DVD deleted scenes.  It’s too bad it wasn’t kept in, especially if the show was running short as RDM noted.

Richard Kahan said that this part of the script went through many revisions.  There was even an intense sex scene at the end of one of them.  But as a new father himself, he felt the more emotional connection was the better way to go.  There must have been some editing on set, as the scene ending with Claire saying “I do love you” and Jamie’s reply of “I love you too, mo nighaen donn” were not in the published script.

Jamie and Claire meet the Duke of Sandringham at Versailles to assist him at a horse sale.  This was originally scripted as  dressage, but the production people thought it would take days to film correctly.  Jamie looks at horses with the Duke while poor Claire must take a ladies’ walk with Jamie’s former girlfriend, Annalise.  Claire’s dress here was an unusual print which I claire-analisedidn’t like when I first saw pictures, but it actually matches very well with the garden surroundings.  Terry commented that there was a lot of criticism when pictures were released during the “Droughtlander,” but that the dress was seen out of context.  I would agree.  She also commented that many said the long yellow gloves looked like dish washing gloves, and to my surprise, RDM said “that’s because people are idiots.”  No, Ron.  I am no idiot, and that was my first thought, too. I love yellow, but that was too much yellow, and since yellow dish washing gloves are kind of an iconic symbol of women 40 years ago, it’s not a stretch.

Annalise comments to Claire that she knew him as a boy, but Claire has made him into a man.  She then notices a man staring at Claire, and to Claire’s horror, it is Black Jack Randall standing in full uniform.  Annalise runs off to find Jamie before Claire can stop her.

RDM said that he and Tobias Menzies talked about how Jack should behave in this sequence.  RDM said that Jack had taken all he wanted from Jamie at Wentworth and so his demeanor should be a bit lighter.  Richard Kahan noted it made him even creepier.  Jack is  thrilled to see Claire and even more so with the fact that Jamie was there.  Claire, whose heart is probably pounding out of her chest at this point, cannot control her contempt; but the King is on a stroll with his entourage and protocol beckons.

Jamie arrives but cannot draw his sword in the presence of the King.  Louis picks up on the fact that black-jack-bowsClaire and Jamie don’t seem to like BJR and he mocks and humiliates him.  Jamie enjoys this very much. Jack notes that he is there to try to help his brother Alex get his position back.  We know that Jack and the Duke have had dealings together in the past.  Two peas in a rotten pod.

Claire pretends to be unwell to be excused by the King.  Once Jamie confirms that she’s OK, he turns back to speak to Jack.  RDM wanted the scene to be from Claire’s POV as she watches in horror wondering what they are saying.  I thought that was an effective choice on the part of RDM.  Jamie returns to her side with a look of utter joy on his face as BJR agrees to a duel, and Jamie can taste his blood at that moment.  On the carriage ride home, Jamie looks like a kid headed to Disney World while Claire’s mind races as to how she can stop this.  Jamie jumps out of the carriage at home to start planning the duel with Murtagh while Claire takes the carriage to the Bastille.

Murtagh and Jamie are discussing duel logistics when Claire walks in looking upset.  She tells them that she signed a petition saying BJR was part of the attack.  She knows he will have an alibi, but it buys a few days for her to talk Jamie out of it.  She even asks Murtagh to leave.

What follows is some of the best acting seen on television, in this or any other 2016 program.

As RDM notes, when Sam and Cait have to fight as Jamie and Claire, they dig deep.  He said that “these two actors can take you places.”  And “Jamie and Claire are the show, and these two characters are brought to life by these two actors.”  (I am biting my tongue about how this doesn’t reconcile well with all the Jamie and Claire cut scenes on the DVD…)

jamie-claire-dirk-205Claire begs Jamie to wait a year because if he kills BJR; otherwise Mary will not conceive the child that will become Frank’s ancestor.  As the script notes, Jamie looks at Claire as if she is insane.  He cannot believe she is asking this of him after knowing all he went through physically and emotionally and how it impacted the most intimate parts of their relationship.  He asks her to kill him instead.  She throws the dirk away and seconds later she pours salt in an open wound by saying “you owe me a life.”

Jamie is a man of honor and agrees to one year.  He kisses his sword in “goodbye for now” (great move by Sam Heughan here as this was not in the script).  She goes to hug him, but he says quietly and coldly…Dinna.TOUCH.me

The scene ends with them being far apart in the room and even farther apart emotionally.

Richard Kahan noted that in one of the versions of the script, Jamie walks from room to room  yelling with Claire running after him yelling back.  (Hey Richard, how did he know that is what goes on in my house during an argument!)  Kahan also said he loved writing the scene and that Sam and Caitriona “elevated it beyond measure.”

The deleted scenes from this episode are great. You can find them on the DVD and BluRay, which can be purchased at our Shop Outlander Amazon shop.   You can also see them on the Outlander America YouTube Channel.

 

All pictures sourced from Starz/Sony, OutlanderAmerica Pinterest.  Last gif sourced from varietyofwords via Tumblr

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These last two episodes of Season 1 are difficult to watch.  It does not seem fitting to call all of them “favorite,” so some scenes, particularly those that highlight Sam Heughan’s incredible acting talents,” will be considered “memorable.”

“You owe me a debt.”

This is one of those “memorable” scenes.  Assuming his impending death and loss of Claire, Jamie begs BJR to fulfill his part of their bargain.  Jamie had agreed to give himself to BJR in exchange for Claire’s safety and he would receive a death by his method of choice.  Jamie has nothing left to live for, and when Black Jack is distracted by the invasion of highland coos, he begs him to fulfill their agreement.  Again, another example of Sam Heughan’s superb acting skills.

A “Highland Coos” Drive-By

This is truly a favorite scene, at least in the sense that we are glad BJR is incapacitated for a while and won’t pose a threat to Jamie in the immediate future.  We could not help cheering when Black Jack Randall was run over by a stampede of highland coos.

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Thanks to Murtagh’s brilliant idea of using wayward cattle in the rescue mission, he, Rupert and Angus were able to not only rescue Jamie, but put BJR out of commission for a while as well without having to risk their lives in battle with him and/or other British soldiers.  As we know, they incorrectly assume Black Jack is dead.  If only they had taken an extra few seconds to ensure it.

“You are a magnificent creature.”

This is a memorable scene because it is the one thing on which we can agree with Black Jack.  Jamie is indeed a magnificent creature.  Even Jack’s sadistic nature and the darkness in which he lives cannot blind him to this fact.  Perhaps that is what draws him to Jamie… a need to destroy that which is good and beautiful.

“No more Claire.”

Part of what makes this plot line so tragic is that Jamie believes he will never see his beloved Claire again.  She is lost to him, and Jack uses her and Jamie’s love of her against him.  Jamie hallucinates Claire’s face on Jack, and when her faces disappears he realizes she is gone.  We cry with Jamie, and it is a tribute, again, to the talent of Sam Heughan.

Out of the darkness and into the light

Many of the scenes in this episode are shown in flashback after Jamie is rescued and taken to the abbey.  He recounts some of his experiences to Claire, who is desperate to heal him in body, mind, and spirit.  Jamie is equally desperate to resist her healing.  Murtagh again shares his wisdom with the suggestion that in order for Jamie to be healed, someone will be required to enter into the darkness in which he exists right now and force him back into the light.

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That is exactly what Claire does.  After a a visit with Fr. Anselm and a little roughhousing to get his attention, she finally tells him that if he insists on dying, she will die with him, right there, right then.  Again, Claire is shown to be Jamie’s Achilles Heel.  This time Claire turns that weakness into a strength because he will not let her die with him.

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“Whatever your sins might be, have faith that they will be forgiven.”

Fr. Anselm find Claire alone in the sanctuary and offers to hear her confession.  Claire hasn’t shown a great appreciation for organized religion and its dogma, but she accepts the Father’s invitation to confession.  And, man, does she confess.

He is the only person outside of her immediate family with whom she has shared her amazing story.  She tells Fr. Anselm that the situation is her fault, and her confession empowers her with the spiritual strength she needs to bring Jamie out of his darkness and back into the light.  In a sense, she ransoms her own soul as well as Jamie’s.

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Claire is shocked to see that Fr. Anselm doesn’t judge her.  He declares her story as marvelous, extraordinary, and perhaps even a miracle.  He believes her and assures her that whatever her sins might be, she will be given.  Claire must recognize that the Father is a good, holy man, the antithesis to Fr. Bain.

“I was wrong.”

Jamie’s road to recovery will be a long one, but at least it has begun, and they set sail to France.  The good news is that Claire has a wonderful surprise for Jamie.  Their lives have been forever changed, and under the circumstances it it hard for Jamie to believe he could ever be himself again or feel happiness, aside for having Claire with him.

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Neither thought it could ever happen.  Jamie thought he would never feel happiness again.  Never say never.

 

 

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