web analytics

Episodes

Share

“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.

ol-s1-12-jc-walking-to-lallybroch1 ol-s1-12-jc-walking-to-lallybroch2 ol-s1-12-jc-walking-to-lallybroch3a

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

ol-s1-12-jamie-brian-fathers-day

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.

ol-s1-12-claire-frasers1 ol-s1-12-claire-frasers4ol-s1-12-claire-frasers2 ol-s1-12-claire-frasers3

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.

ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you1 ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you2 ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you3 ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you4ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you5 ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you6ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you7 ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you8ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you9 ol-s1-12-jc-i-loved-you10

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.

ol-s1-12-jenny-jamie-claire1 ol-s1-12-jenny-jamie-claire2ol-s1-12-jenny-jamie-claire3 ol-s1-12-jenny-jamie-claire4

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.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share
Read more

Share

Episode 111 is another great one for Jamie and Claire.  It has some major expositions, climaxes, and resolutions in the early plot structure.   These are a few of our favorite scenes from the episode.

The Confession

ol-s1-11-claires-confession-to-jamie1 ol-s1-11-claire-confesses-to-jamie2  ol-s1-11-claires-confession-to-jamie5 ol-s1-11-claires-confession-to-jamie6

In each episode we see reasons why Jamie is the King of Men.  Even though Claire’s story defies logic, Jamie believes her because he trusts her.  He trusts her to tell him the truth.  What is so heartwarming about this scene is that Jamie feels guilty for having beaten her for running when he told her to “stay put” because he understands she was trying to reach the stones and go back to Frank.  I think it was during the end of this scene that Jamie decided to take her back to the stones.  He always thinks of Claire’s feelings and is willing to put her feelings before his own.

A friend in need is a friend in deed.

ol-s1-11-ned-with-gun

Claire’s and Geillis’s lives are in jeopardy at the witch trial, but can we take just a moment to appreciate Ned Gowan?  He defied Colum’s wishes and tried to save both Claire and Geillis, but ultimately he realizes that Geillis is a lost cause.  Still, he’s willing to risk his life to save Claire.  Ned might be the last person one would think brave enough to take on a courtroom full of enemies, but here he is, brandishing a pistol to defend Claire.  He was willing to commit murder before dozens of witnesses, which is incongruent with what he had always told the highlanders.  He had encouraged them not to kill anyone when they went to rescue Claire from Black Jack, but now he appears ready to do whatever he can to protect Claire, regardless of the odds.  How cute is Ned Gowan here?

We hope Bill Patterson returns in Season 3, Voyager.  He has a few legal issues he needs to resolve for Jamie and Claire.  Like Mrs. Fitz, we believe Ned might be another Jamie/Claire shipper.

Ned, this is how it’s done.

ol-s1-11-jamie-in-courtroom1 ol-s1-11-jamie-courtroom2

At least Jamie brandishes two weapons, and if anyone can defy the odds in this courtroom, it is Jamie Fraser.

This isn’t the first time Jamie has shown up at the last minute to rescue Claire, and it won’t be the last.  He sees his beloved being whipped across her back, and he is so angry he practically spits… literally.  After issuing a warning that the first man forward would be the first man down, wisely no one doubts that he means exactly that.  With a sword in one hand and a dirk in the other, Jamie holds off the crowd until Geillis distracts them with a confession and declaration of Claire’s innocence.  Although Claire is willing to go down with Geillis, kudos to Geillis for saving Claire.

It is better to give than to receive. ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-camp-fire2

Jamie plans to take Claire to the stones the next morning, so rather than taking pleasure from what he believes is their last sexual encounter, he only wants to give it.  He just wants to look at her while he pleasures her so he can keep the memory of her face in his mind.  Again, the King of Men.

To the stones.

ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stones1 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stones2 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stones3 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stones4 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stones5ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stonesol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stones6ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-at-stones7

This is such a sad scene.  It breaks my heart the way Jamie watches Claire while she washes in the stream.  She is clueless about Jamie’s plan to take her to the stones and help her get back home to Frank.  Once at the stone circle, Claire is beckoned by the large stone and is pulled away at the last minute by Jamie.  He apologizes for the action, saying he just wasn’t ready yet.  He doesn’t beg her to stay, but instead encourages her to go back to a safe place, away from the danger and violence of his time.  He tells her he will remain at the camp below until dark and he is sure she has safely gone.

At the end of the scene, we see Jamie walk away and Claire in deep thought, staring at her hands where she wears the rings representing both marriages.  She approaches the stone and the screen goes black, leading viewers to believe that she has gone back… to Frank.

Take me to Lallybroch.

ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet1 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet2 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet3 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet4 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet5 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet6 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet7  ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet8 ol-s1-11-jamie-claire-on-your-feet9

The black screen transitions to night where Jamie is lying by the campfire, tears of sadness streaming down his cheeks.  This must have been a true shocker for non-readers, but suddenly we hear Claire’s voice say to Jamie, “On your feet, soldier.”  Jamie must have thought for a moment that he was dreaming when he rose to see Claire looking down at him.  “Take me home to Lallybroch” means Claire has chosen him over Frank, over her own time, and he realizes it.  His tears are no longer from sadness and loss, but tears of happiness, joy, and relief.

I’m embarrassed to share the number of times I’ve watched this episode, but I will say that I’ve never been able to watch the final two scenes with dry eyes.

 

Share
Read more

Share

Title: Useful Occupations and Deceptions

Written by: Anne Kenney

Directed by: Metin Huseyin

These season 2 Recaps on Steroids incorporate an OLA writer’s 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!

ol-s2-3-jamie-meets-fergus4

The podcast was hosted by Ronald D. Moore (RDM) with guest Anne Kenney who is both an executive producer of the show and the writer of this episode.  RDM noted that unlike their typical episode shooting of blocks of 2, this episode was shot as part of a super block of the first three episodes.

The title card for this episode was a game of chess which takes place both literally and figuratively in the episode (as reflected by the title itself).  RDM noted that they added more French language to the Skye Boat song and to the imagery in the opening sequence.

Before I get into the recap, I will note that it was interesting to me that both RDM and Anne Kenney seemed to find this episode difficult to write and edit.  Both commented that there is so much background information (exposition) in both what was going in historically and the fact that the book is told from Claire’s point of view.  In the book you don’t get to see as much of what Jamie has to do during the day, but here they had to show it.  I got the sense that they were frustrated with so much plot in this season.

The opening scene shows Jamie coming home very early in the morning only to have to change and do his “day job” at Jared’s winery.  This has become the rhythm of their new life with Jamie rarely home and Claire being a bit bored.  But she supports it as the scheme was essentially her idea and Jamie is the primary person to carry it out.  Anne pointed out that although she is bored, they did not want to make her come across as whiney.

Anne misses Jamie in his kilt but notes he wears the French finery very well.  They sometimes pull bits and pieces from other books and so they brought back Sawny, the wooden snake carved for Jamie by his late brother William when they were children.

The scene of Louise, Mary, and Claire playing cards allows for both comic relief at Mary’s innocence and the necessary exposition for Claire to make the mental connection that when Frank showed her his family tree it showed Jack Randall marrying Mary Hawkins.  She can barely concentrate after that.

Anne wanted to show a Claire/Frank scene there, and RDM felt it was necessary to feel like a real love triangle.  This is where I strongly disagree with how RDM views the show.  Once Claire makes the decision to stay with Jamie in season 1, she never once has the desire to return to Frank.  She just always wants to make sure that Frank is never harmed in any way as she notes more than once that he is “innocent in all of this.”  I think RDM feeling this way explains some writing and editing choices.  It’s probably a debate that will continue into Season 3.

Magnus (butler) and Suzette (Lady’s maid) are shown more prominently in this episode (in more ways than one!).  I loved both characters and actors.  Magnus is so very French when he says zee search for zee little snake continues after Claire returns home.  You can tell that he thinks it is quite silly but is loyal to his household as well as his lord and lady.

Murtagh hooking up with Suzette was not initially the plan.  Anne thought it might be interesting to have him feel an unrequited love for Mary Hawkins, and although they didn’t play it that way, there is a bit of a reference to it in later episodes.  Having Murtagh be with Suzette also gives Claire an excuse to visit Master Raymond again to get birth control for her maid.

The writers discussed how to have Murtagh react when Claire tells him that BJR is alive but that she has not yet told Jamie.  They all felt that it was appropriate for him to agree that Jamie should not be told for fear of getting into more trouble.  RDM liked the chemistry that develops between Murtagh and Claire in this episode.  Originally he had edited the script for that scene to be done on a beautiful balcony that had been built by Jon Gary Steele’s team, but the director chose to keep them inside.  It is hard to tell in a podcast, but RDM seemed annoyed by this.

The title card takes center stage as Jamie is playing his afternoon chess game with Msr Duvorney.  The setting for these games was shot in a beautiful library in Prague.  RDM scouted that location in Prague, but was that there for the actual shoot.  (As an aside, I am surprised at how little the show runner is actually on set.)

chess

Anne doesn’t play chess, so the way writers create scripts in this case is she will write “Tech” in the areas where she doesn’t know the chess moves.  It is short hand for additions to be put in by those with technical expertise on any particular subject.    At work we called them SME or subject matter experts. RDM noted that when writing Battlestar Gallactica scenes, he had many scripts with Tech written everywhere.

Another interesting set notation is that the market outside of Master Raymond’s apothecary is actually the courtyard of the apartment set, just repurposed for these scenes.

Anne commented on Claire’s beautiful yellow dress.  She asked RDM where the clothes go after shooting, and he said Sony has an archive of the best or most iconic pieces.  Some of the secondary or extras clothing will get repurposed for season 3.

Master Raymond helps Claire and her daytime boredom by mentioning that they need volunteers at the L’Hopital.  RDM noted that the hospital exterior was Prague, but the interior is Glasgow Cathedral.  It just goes to show you how everyone has to work together to not let the viewer realize that walking into the hospital and actually being in the hospital are shot months apart in different cities. Kudos to the actors and crew.

I loved Claire’s plum suit in this scene; it reminded me almost of an 18th century business woman’s suit.   Here she meets Mother Hildegard, played to perfection by 3-time Olivier Award winner Frances de LaTour.  (For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, she played Madame Maxim.)  RDM noted they saw many French actresses before Frances was cast.  Really?  You made this icon audition?    Apparently they auditioned many pups for Bouton, the diagnosis dog, too.  I wonder if Frances had to do chemistry tests with them!

While Claire is emptying bed pans and tasting urine for diabetes diagnosis, Jamie is back at the brothel.  He is caught between a rock and a hard place as Msr Duverney and Bonnie Prince Charlie discuss financing the war, and Jamie learns that the prince has been working some side deals to get money.  Charles makes Duverney an offer he can’t refuse, and Jamie keeps a (barely) composed face as his plan falls apart before his eyes.

RDM noted that they spent a lot of time discussing the political process of the day because it was “wildly confusing.”  As I mentioned earlier, in the book from Claire’s POV all of this plot is exposed as Jamie tells her the story of his day, so they were creating this from nearly scratch.

The script had many, many revisions in this part.  In fact, when they were working in the next block of episodes 204 and 205, they had to go back to make more revisions in 203 so that everything lined up properly.  Anne noted that they struggled with how to tell enough without making it boring.  RDM said that it was like giving a history lesson without giving a history lesson.

(Side comment: Anne and RDM really conveyed the frustration and difficultly of adapting the Paris part of the book. I think we will find that Season 3 will feel more like Season 1 with the major exception that Jamie and Claire spend a lot of time apart in the first third of the book.)

Jamie returns to the house to tell Claire what he learned only to find her not there.  They wrote this scene a few ways.

First Cut: Claire discovers an annoyed Jamie. Anne felt it made Jamie look too much like a jerk.

Second Cut: They made sure to show the emotional journey Jamie went through as he waited for Claire so the audience would share Jamie’s stress.

The book version is more 18th century man/20th century woman (i.e. cut 1), but they wanted to show more of Jamie’s side.  They also had to get  more exposition in there of Mother Hildegard being a musical prodigy and the Goddaughter of the Sun King.

Anne noted that this scene was important because they had to come apart only to come back together.  They had extensive conversations with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as the two had concerns about how to move forward with the plot.  (An aside about Sam and the script, whenever the  word baby was written, he changed it to bairn.)

It is important to show that Jamie and Claire are a team but they need conflict and drama too.  There were a lot of writer’s room discussions about their “fight” as it gave Claire a sense of what a real 18th century wife would have to deal with.  Interestingly, RDM felt that Claire would have been unhappy as a 20th century wife after the war as she would have had to go back to a more traditional role.  (I think this is always one of the interesting things about Outlander in that the 18th century husband was often more progressive than the 20th century one.)

Jamie leaves angry after they have their disagreement, and Suzette clues Murtagh in on their problems in the bedroom.  Murtagh knows how these two usually are in that regard (he even comments about it when Claire finds him with Suzette) and he is concerned.

RDM made a comment here in that he didn’t want the show to be about when Jamie and Claire were going to have sex again.  But I kind of think they set it up that way by having two BlackJackus Interruptus scenes in the first two episodes.

Jamie returns to the brothel, tired and miserable in both his personal life and his political one.  There is a weird body painting scene of one of the prostitutes (which took up too much time, in my opinion) that was RDM’s idea.  The one good thing out of this scene is that Jamie notices what our friend young (soon to be) Fergus is up to as the boy deftly cleans tables and pockets.  Jamie is at first amused, and then a lightbulb goes off over his head about the value Fergus could bring to their cause.

The book scene of Jamie meeting Fergus is very different with Jamie followed to the dock by a bunch of men and Fergus helping him.  Anne felt it was too complicated.  I liked the revised scene better but it did mean we lost one of the more iconic lines about entering a brothel with a very big sausage.

The chase scene happened in Scotland.  I noticed Sam was slipping and sliding in this scene.  I think perhaps those very awesome boots were a little too slick on the bottom.

ol-s2-3-jamie-meets-fergus5

Romann Berrux as Fergus is perfection in casting.  RDM said they wanted someone who was French but could speak English.  He commented on the child labor laws that they must follow.  I think you have it easier than the showrunner of Stranger Things, Ron.

The funniest part of the podcast was when they said they refer to Jamie’s sporran as his Mary Poppins bag as he keeps so much in there it seems to be bottomless.

Jamie and Fergus make a deal and Jamie finds that Fergus had lifted Sawny in his nightly pick pocketing.  They both return to the house where Claire wakes up to the noise and finds Fergus munching away in the dining room.  An amusing set commentary here is that the bedroom and the dining room were the same set, so these were obviously filmed at different times.

The distance between Jamie and Claire is literal and figurative as they walk down the hallway, separated by walls in their apartment and in their relationship.  This scene was well directed and acted; it made me really feel for both of them.  They need each other but have so many things pulling them apart.  Jamie explains his plan for using young Fergus (formerly Claudel, which “wasna very manly”).

Fergus begins stealing letters for Jamie and Murtagh who copy them and try to decode them while Fergus returns them.  RDM really wanted to show some actual pickpocketing but production felt they couldn’t pull it off.  Jamie and Murtagh find some letters that are actually music, and Murtagh remembers that Mother Hildegard knows both German and music.

murtagh-jamie-decoding-letters

RDM noted that in the book this scene went on for a very long time (as some scenes do in this book series), and one scene was between Jamie and Claire talking about trust.  They were talking about the letters but were really talking about themselves. There was a hint of using it later, but that would be impossible given that it takes place in France.

 

Back at the hospital, Bouton is diagnosing an infection.  The actual pulling of the wood from the man’s leg was filmed later, and those aren’t even Cait’s hands in the scene.

The hospital scene is a turning point for Jamie and Claire.  Jamie makes the gesture to come to her this time. Claire backs him up when Mother Hildegard is a little suspicious of the motive for his request.  Both appreciate that in each other and once again they realize they are better together.

A little comic relief in the form of Claire knowing a little something about Mother Hildegard’s friend Johann Sebastian Bach.  Jamie looked quite proudly at Claire there, as he is reminded at how much more she knows.  That was not in the script, but a nice touch there by Sam Heughan.

mother-h-j-c-piano

RDM noted that it is rare for Diana Gabaldon to give a nod to the time travel within the regular plot, and so when she does it is effective.

The music helps Jamie decode the message and discover that the other snake in this episode, the Duke of Sandringham, is involved.  Jamie is happy for the progress and grateful for his wife’s support so, as with Episode 202, we end with Claire wondering if/when to tell Jamie that Black Jack is still alive.  I felt that for the entire hour, we barely moved forward with the exception of finding out that Sandringham is playing both sides and of course, meeting Fergus.  The majority of the episode seemed there for exposition, which we will see play out in the next two episodes.  Stay tuned in two weeks for the Recap on Steroids of episode 204.

THE OUTLANDER SEASON 2 DVD AND BLU RAY SETS HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED WITH A NOVEMBER 1ST DATE.  PLEASE USE OUR AMAZON SHOP HERE TO PRE-ORDER.  YOUR COSTS DO NOT CHANGE.  THERE ARE MANY DELETED SCENES PROMISED! 

If you can’t find the Season 2 DVD that you want, just click on the Powered by Amazon logo and it will take you to order.

 

 

Picture sources: Starz

 

 

 

 

Share
Read more

Share

Episode 110 is another great one in Season 1, and we’re glad to share some of our favorite scenes.

The Smackdown.

ol-s1-10-claire-slaps-leghair3

Could you swear you didn’t cheer aloud when Claire slapped Leghair?  You know she had it coming.

The Edict

ol-s1-10-colum-angry1 ol-s1-10-colum-angry2

This is great because it shows that Colum, though feeble and smaller in stature commands the room.   He is The MacKenzie.  There is no doubt about that.

Goodbye Kiss

ol-s1-10-jamie-claire-kiss1 ol-s1-10-jamie-claire-kiss2

*sigh*  Here is the point in which Claire chooses.  “Come back to me, James Fraser.”  She has done all she can to take care of him, she has made sure he has more than what he needs, but she needs him to come back.  She loves him, and Jamie knows it.  That is why he is on the verge of tears at this parting.  He will miss her, yes, but he is touched that she will miss him as well.

And the kiss.

Mrs. Fitz

ol-mrs-fitz7 ol-mrs-fitz8 ol-mrs-fitz9a ol-mrs-fitz9

We love Mrs. Fitz.  If her reaction is any indication of the majority at Castle Leoch, Colum may have underestimated the acceptance of Jamie as Laird and Claire as his Lady.  Regardless, Mrs. Fitz has always supported Claire and has a genuine affection for both of them.  We hope she and her family survive the aftermath of Culloden.

The Changeling

ol-s1-10-jamie-claire-at-fairy-mound1 ol-s1-10-jamie-claire-on-fairy-hill2

This isn’t necessarily a favorite scene, but it is one that makes us wonder.  Claire is catapulted back through time 200 years, yet she completely dismisses any notion of fairies, changelings, or anything else from the mythological or supernatural realms.  After having an experience that defies explanation, one would think she would be a little more open minded.

 

Share
Read more

Share

Episode 109, “The Reckoning,” is aptly named.  Throughout the episode we see many characters having to answer for and deal with the consequences of their behavior.  It is one of my favorite episodes and is the beginning of the second half of Season 1.  These are a few of our favorite scenes.

Forgiven

ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-540-1ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-540-2ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fighta ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-bol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-c ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-dol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-e ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-fol-s1-9-jamie-claire-fight-g

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan said this is one of their favorite scenes.  In fact, it was one of Caitriona’s audition scenes.

The episode begins with Jamie’s rescue of Claire where the mid-season finale left us.  Once Claire and the rescue party are safely away, Jamie confronts Claire.  They engage in a fierce argument where each says things that will soon be regretted.  The root of their anger is fear.  Jamie is afraid of losing Claire and Claire is afraid for her own safety.  When she was captured by the Red Coats, she was still shaken by the attack in the glade.  No only had she been nearly raped, but she was within seconds of a second attempted rape and mutilation by Black Jack Randall.

It is difficult to argue against Jamie’s point that her capture wouldn’t have happened if she had stayed “put,” but neither of them sees the situation with a clear head.  Harsh words are exchanged, but when Jamie explains his feelings of helplessness when he heard her screams and reminds her that he was practically unarmed when he rescued her, the situation begins to calm.  He finally drives home his point when he tells her that she is “tearing his guts out.”  Despite the fact that she attempts to return through the stones, she loves Jamie, and seeing his grief brings them back to a good place… for about five minutes.

Duty

ol-s1-9-punishment1 ol-s1-9-punishment2ol-s1-9-punishment3 ol-s1-9-punishment4

This was a highly anticipated scene when the episode premiered, and fans wondered if Ron Moore would really take it there.  He did.  Although parts of the so-called “spanking” were funny to fans, Claire failed to see one bit of humor.   A husband spanking a wife for disobedience is taboo in Claire’s time and ours.

However, I disagree that Jamie performed his “duty” because it was the societal norm of his time.  When Jamie, Claire, and the Highlanders first arrived at the inn, Jamie doesn’t seem to have any intentions of exercising his duty.  It isn’t until he notices, to his surprise, the highlanders ignoring Claire that he begins to consider it.  He even tells her upstairs that if what she had done had hurt only him, he would never say more about it.

When Duncan points out that Claire doesn’t “understand” what she has caused, that is the game changer.  Jamie knows he must take action.  In my opinion, he doesn’t punish Claire because it is customary, but rather because the Highlanders expect it.  That in itself I don’t believe would even be enough to persuade him to take action, but he knew if he didn’t do something he could never depend on their help again.  Claire would be ostracized from the group.

Hail to the Chief

ol-s1-9-you-marry-a-sassenach1 ol-s1-9-you-marry-a-sassenach2

First, Colum summons the “three weasels” and holds them accountable for collecting funds for a Jacobite rising.  We can’t fault Colum for being agry that Dougal and Ned did this without his prior knowledge or approval.  He may have physical limitations, but Colum commands the room.

After dismissing Dougal and Ned, Colum shares his displeasure with Jamie on his marrying a sassenach.  I especially like this scene for the show-only fans who haven’t read the books.  This is the first time we realize that Dougal does in fact want Jamie to be his successor instead of Dougal, but he fears that having a sassenach wife will prevent the clan from supporting Jamie over Dougal. Subsequently, we learn that Colum’s judgment is sound when Jamie advises him on resolving the issues that threaten to induce a civil war within the clan.  Jamie, our King of Men, is showing us great leadership potential.

Beauty and the Beast

ol-s1-9-jamie-leghair1-400 ol-s1-9-jamie-and-leghair2-400

This is one of my favorite scenes simply because of Jamie and Sam Heughan.  He’s so unbelievably handsome.  It is understandable that Laoghaire (aka Leghair) wants Jamie to be the one to take her virginity (assuming she still has it), but… NO.  Back off sister.  He’s off the market.

Jamie, being the King of Men, rejects her in as kindly a manner as can be done.  However, in a Podcast, Ron Moore claimed he really wanted Jamie to actually be tempted enough by Laoghaire to kiss her.  He said Maril argued with him about it and he finally acquiesced.  We owe Maril a debt of gratitude.

You are my home now.

ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-make-up1 ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-make-up2ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-make-4 ol-s1-9-jamie-claire-make-up5

Let’s just be honest here.  Who doesn’t love good make up sex?  Jamie and Claire certainly do, but she made Jamie earn it.  She withheld affection, but after seeing that Colum was capable of bending for the greater good, Jamie followed suit.  And thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus, that he did.  Jamie swears an oath to never lay a hand on her again, and Claire forgives and “has” him.  (Who wouldn’t?)  But when she has him where she truly wants him, she makes him a deal he can’t refuse.  With a knife to his throat, Claire makes her own vow:

“Jamie, if you ever raise a hand to me again, James Fraser, I will cut your heart out and have it for         breakfast.  Do you understand me?  Do you?”

“You have my word.”

Girl power in action.

Share
Read more

Share

Episode 108 is the mid-season finale.  We see what Frank has been doing since Claire went through the stones and we also see how Jamie and Claire’s relationship continues to grow.  She has become one of the clan.  She forgets about her plans to return to Craigh na Dun until she suffers an attempted rape and happens upon the stones while awaiting Jamie’s return from meeting Horrocks.  Before she can touch the stone, she is captured by British soldiers and taken to Black Jack Randall.  Jamie rescues her just in the nick of time.

It’s different.

OL-S1.8-Jamie-and-Claire1 OL-S1.8-Jamie-and-Claire2 OL-S1.8-Jamie-and-Claire3 OL-S1.8-Jamie-and-Claire4 OL-S1.8-Jamie-and-Claire5 OL-S1.8-Jamie-and-Claire6OL-S1.8-Jamie-and-Claire7

Jamie and Claire are married two days when they picnic at the top of the cliff and meet the beggar, Hugh Monroe.  Hugh gifts Claire with a unique fossil, which appears to be a dragonfly trapped in a chunk of amber.  We will see this fossil twice more in Episode 213.  However, my favorite part of this scene is illustrated in these gifs.

Jamie, as inexperienced as he is, recognizes that their relationship is special and wonders if what they have is typical of married couples.  Out of guilt, Claire fights her feelings for Jamie but ultimately does not lie to him.  She confesses that what they share is not usual, it is different.  This may be the first time Claire admits to herself, as well as Jamie, that they share a unique and special love and a unique and special physical relationship.

May I just add here that the hand sex in the last gif is super sensual?

The Sgian Dubh.

OL-S1.8-Sgian-Dubh1 OL-S1.8-Sgian-Dubh2

“Every man and woman must know how to defend themselves, Sassenach, especially those married to a Fraser.”

After the attack by the Grants, the Highlanders decide Claire should learn to defend herself from an assailant.  Poison is often seen as the weapon of choice for women, but as Dougal points out, “it has certain deficiencies in combat.  The lass needs a sgian dubh.”  Angus trains Claire in the proper use of the sgian dubh (hidden dagger), and we later realize that this scene is foreshadowing an imminent future event.

 

The Sgian Dubh Again.

OL-S1.8-Deserters-Attack2

While frolicking in the meadow (because the wanting never stops), Jamie and Claire are attacked by two British soldier deserters.  The situation looks grim, as one soldier holds a gun to Jamie’s head while the other attempts to rape Claire.  Claire takes a brief moment to gather her wits and recalls her sgian dubh training.  Because she has the weapon and knows how to use it, she is able to save both their lives.  During the instant the gun wielding soldier is distracted by the screams of his dying partner in crime, Jamie is able to slit his throat.

I love badass Claire.

The Cliffhanger.

OL-S1.8-take-yer-hands-off-my-wife1 OL-S1.8-take-yer-hands-off-my-wife2

Jamie rescues Claire before BJR can harm her, but Jack’s reaction is priceless.  “Good God.”  Then he laughs like he is happy to see Jamie, which is probably true given his obsession, but Jamie is the last person he expected to see in his window.  This is a great cliffhanger because we know we’re going to see a confrontation, a battle between good and evil.  We even suspect Claire will have some explaining to do since she promised Jamie she would “stay put.”

Then begins our first Droughtlander.

 

Share
Read more

Share

OL-S1.1-Druids1 OL-S1.1-Druids2

OL-S1.1-Druids3 OL-S1.1-Druids4

OL-S1.1-Druids5 Ol-S1.1-Druids6

OL-S1.1-Druids7 OL-S1.1-Druids8

OL-S1.1-Druids9 OL-S1.1-Druids10

The Druids at Craigh Na Dun (Outlander, S1.1, “Sassenach”)

In Druidry, the days of Samhuinn (October 31 to November 2) represent a time where the veil between our world and the World of the Ancestors is lifted, allowing those individuals who are prepared to journey safely to the other side. Druid rites facilitate contact with the spirits of the departed, who serve as guides and sources of inspiration.  Some of these rites include the use of fire and circle dancing around stone circles oriented to their points of sunrise and sunset.  (x)

In terms of Outlander, this could explain the presence of Ghost Jamie, to see Claire safely on her journey to the other side and through time.  Claire’s ability to travel through the stones implies a Druid ancestry, and perhaps the same applies to Geillis Duncan.  The abilities seem to be hereditary.

Share
Read more

Share

Title: Not in Scotland Anymore

Written by: Ira Steven Behr

Directed by: Metin Huseyin

Approximately, every two weeks, OLA will be publishing an episode-based Recap 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 as they take many hours to prepare and create!

Red Dress (source: Starz)

The podcast was hosted by Showrunner Ronald D. Moore (RDM) with guest Terry Dresbach, who is currently nominated for an Emmy for Outlander Season 2 costume design.

The title card for this episode showed the dressing of French noblewoman, Louise De Rohan.  Terry noted that this dress was the most complicated dress of the entire series.

Before I get into the recap, I will note that this episode was one of my least favorite of the season.  It was interesting to go through the podcast and script with that in mind as certain comments or notations helped me to understand why I didn’t like it as much as so many of the other episodes.  Then again, even a less than satisfying episode of Outlander is still better than most anything on TV.

The episode opens with Jamie and Claire making love.  Immediately you notice a few things; Jamie’s back has no scars, his hand is not mangled and he and Claire are happy.  However, all of that becomes an actual nightmare when Claire’s face morphs into Black Jack Randall’s and Jamie repeatedly stabs him with his dirk until they are both covered in thick, dark red blood.  Jamie wakes up in full sweat from the nightmare.

I really liked the notation in the script that said “in the 3AM of Jamie Fraser’s soul, Black Jack Randall lives on.”  It described the entire scene perfectly.

RDM noted that this was an unusual opening for two reasons.  First, they almost always open with exterior shots and in this case you went from Jamie’s head to their bedroom to the exterior shot.  In addition, writer Ira Steven Behr felt it was important to remind the audience that Jamie was still dealing with his Wentworth rape.  (It’s interesting to hear more about this opening as the writer took credit for it in the writer’s notes as did RDM but Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe said they felt it was important for Jamie and Claire not to resume their sex life as if nothing had happened.)

The second difference for this scene as a show opener is that the original opening for the script called for Claire to be massaging oil into Jamie’s hand to help heal it then ask if Jamie can make love to her finally.  The lovemaking turned violent nightmare happened after that.  I am glad they made the change as the original opening had weak dialogue and did not seem at all to be things Claire would say.

<As a side note, this makes me once again wish for one of the extras on the Season 2 DVD to be a camera in the writer’s room.  I’d love to see the creative process.>

RDM asked Terry Dresbach if the outfits would have been Jared’s to loan to Jamie and she said no, he would have had them made.  She also noted that Sam is 3 sizes bigger than the actor who played Jared.    She said Claire would have gone to a dressmaker as there was no such thing as clothes off the rack in those days.  She discussed her inspiration for dressing Claire as 1940’s Christian Dior (who used the 18th century as inspiration) and the fact that as a modern woman of the 1940’s, Claire would have dressed a bit like a fish out of water.  This is the first time in her 18th century life that she is in charge of her own clothes so she would have dressed in an acceptable yet different way.  The first outfit, is the famous CD Bar suit.  I recommend visiting the YouTube video of Terry giving a summary of the Season 2 costume strategy (note it also contains a great discussion of set design as well).

What I found most interesting is that Terry always has a strategy in both her overall approach and almost a running dialogue in her head as to why an outfit was chosen by the character.  It is clear to me that costume design is a whole lot more than fabrics and buttons.   Every 18th century costume you see from people walking the streets of Paris to the dozens at the party for King Louis were dressed by her team.  They have to get on set at 3 AM on days where there are a lot of extras to dress.

The exterior Paris shots in this episode were filmed in Prague months after the interior shots were done in Scotland so kudos to the cast for making it feel seamless.

Claire sets out to visit an apothecary to help Jamie sleep better and avoid nightmares.  Master Raymond’s apothecary shop was something that Terry and set designer Jon Gary Steele were most excited about.  It was typical for an apothecary of its day including the stuffed crocodile.  The script notes that the sign outside says Raymond, the Herb Seller.  Raymond’s coat is Terry’s favorite and is worth a closer look.  It is embroidered with alchemy and diseases/cures.  For example, look for the large yellow eye on the front that is meant to represent yellow fever.   Terry notes that it was also important that Master Raymond’s assistant (Delphine) was dressed as a middle class person and not a servant.  In the script, Raymond and Claire discuss Louise and both agree that she is outgoing and interesting, yet very shallow

.Raymond and Claire (Source: Starz)

Costume choices for Jamie and Murtagh were meant to be simple yet represent their status.  Terry notes Sam was dedicated to wearing the kilt during parts of Paris so when they did dress him in pants, he still had to maintain the heroic look.   There were many discussions about the bandage for his left hand.  Terry calls it the “sexiest bandage ever made” and the writers discussed its importance and Sam gave input on flexibility.  It was felt that it served multiple purposes; some practical and some emotional.  Terry said Jamie might be embarrassed at his mangled hand so the bandage hid it to avoid questions yet was flesh colored as well.  The writers felt it would also mean Sam would not have to remember to hold his fingers stiff if the bandage was on, yet if you look at scenes throughout Season 2, Sam always remembers.

The sword practice between Murtagh and Jamie shows that Murtagh will give Jamie no sympathy just as Jamie would expect.  It also slips in the little fact that dueling is outlawed in Paris, something we will sadly find out in greater detail later in the season.

The beautiful gray dress Claire wears back at the house when Jamie receives word from Jared that Prince Charles will receive him is one of my favorites and I believe we see it again in 207.  The sash/chain she wears was one often worn by women of the house and contained anything from a sewing kit to smelling salts.

Jamie informs Claire that they will meet the prince at a brothel and that gets an eyebrow raise from Claire as it would from most wives.  Many fans noted that Sam’s hair looked different throughout this scene and it was clear that some of it was filmed at the end of the season when they go back in and do “pick-ups” or retakes.

Jamie and Murtagh meet up at the brothel where Prince Charles holds court.  RDM and Terry discussed how brothels in 18th century Paris are not the bawdy whorehouses that you typically see portrayed in American westerns.  Women working in these brothels were often well bred and were expected to be able to have an intelligent conversation in addition to their other “talents”.    The scene with the women waving/selling dildos was originally discussed as just more bawdy stage act.  RDM loved that scene while Terry did not and I would agree with her.  I think that’s one of the times you can tell both the writer and editor were guys.

It is in this scene that we first meet Bonnie Prince Charlie (BPC).  Terry discussed his costume versus the others and since he is of English birth but brought up in Italy, so she felt he had a little Versace in him.  This meant he got the salmon colored coat, one that would not look good on a very tall redhead.   Andrew Gower (BPC) did a very good job in this role throughout season 2 and I would agree with RDM that he played it so that you could believe he was inspiring to men yet at the same time very annoying and not quite up to the task.  Terry said she loves Andrew and that he is really very good looking but managed to make you believe he was this big goof.   <As an aside, Andrew sings and you can find some short videos of him out there as well.>

Ira wrote the first “Mark me” as a way for BPC to note when he was saying something important.  Andrew picked up on that and would often insert his own Mark Me into his scripts.  This, of course, became the Outlander Season 2 drinking game on Saturday nights.

I loved the non-verbals in the first scene with Jamie, Murtagh and BPC.  It’s quite amazing to think that this man who was the cause of the wiping out of Scottish culture had actually never stepped foot in Scotland.  Murtagh’s expression was that he wasna buying what BPC was selling and Jamie had an oh crap look on his face.  The important part of this scene was that Jamie was honest with him about what was really going on in Scotland in order to try to dissuade him from the rebellion.  Jamie felt that he had to try the honorable way first, before he started working to betray the prince’s trust.  Just diving into the betrayal would have gone against JAMMF character.Jamie Murtagh BPC Brothel

(Source: Starz)

Meanwhile, Claire is having an interesting time of her own.  She is at the home of her new friend Louise de Rohan, a free-spirited yet simple minded French noblewoman.  Louise is going through the new fad of waxing.  RDM noted that they did not want her naked in this scene so Terry made a robe that covered her up yet gave glimpses of sexiness.  (I thought the actress, Claire Sermonne,  used the robe beautifully as a prop.)  Claire’s dress was again 1940’s inspired and somewhat like a masculine suit.  Women of that era took over many men’s jobs while they were fighting the Second World War and so a more masculine style of dress influenced fashion.)

Louise has a bikini wax and tells Claire it is a new way of turning men on.  Claire is desperate to help Jamie through his difficulties in bed and decides to give it a try.   Later that night in their bedroom, she shows him what she’s done.   Jamie almost gets there but not quite.  Sam and Cait play this very sensual  and the “you’re honeypot is bare” brings a smile as Jamie is both intrigued and aroused.   For a while, Claire thought her plan succeeded until BJR breaks through.

A discussion in the writer’s room changed this from the sensual time in the book to one that would be a problem.   They felt it was important to keep that intimacy separate for a little longer since intimacy is so important to Jamie and Claire, but Jamie is not ready.  Terry asked RDM how he deals with people (i.e. book readers) who are upset about changes like that.  He explained that in a book, the author can talk directly to you but that’s not possible in TV.  (I don’t think that quite answered the question!)   I think RDM can get a little defensive when fans push back but at the same time he must get that a lot and it is a big, unenviable challenge to adapt a very popular piece of literature.  For the most part, I liked some of the small changes made this year to the story itself.

Probably the most anticipated scene of episode 202 has to do with the red dress with the neckline down to there that Claire has made to attend King Louis’ party (thanks to Louise’s connections).   I loved the shade of red and especially the killer shoes Terry designed but I found it to be so wide as to look silly. She looked like she had a 2 x 4 in the back.  Terry noted that the red earrings (and all her earrings in fact) came from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Sam and Cait (and Duncan) played this scene very well with probably my favorite line being “Christ Sassenach, first your honeypot, now this” in sotto voice to show Jamie’s great sense of humor.   The brilliant shade of red stands out in the crowd as the Frasers make their entrance.  Jamie runs into his former love interest (Annalise) and once again the non verbals in the scene are the best.  Jamie looks like he wants to crawl under the table, Claire is playing both the slightly threatened wife and yet the confident wife teasing Jamie while Murtagh looks on in pure bemusement.  That part of the scene was great.  However, I hated Claire’s hair-styling here.  I thought it made her look old, which is crazy since Caitriona looks younger than her actual years.  The contrast was even starker as a clean-shaven Sam with his hair pulled back looks like the mid-20’s Jamie that he is as did the actress playing Annalise.  It left me with a love/hate feeling for that scene.

The party was filmed in Wilton Palace in England and the bridge outside of the palace has been used in a previous filming of Pride and Prejudice.  (Unfortunately, they did not note which version!)

Annalise’s connections get Jamie (and at Claire’s insistence, Murtagh) to meet the king.  Unfortunately, meet the King means attending his bathroom duties.  Executive Producer Anne Kenney loved this scene but I did not (and neither did Terry).  It was only 2.5 minutes but felt like 10.  Both RDM and Terry loved Lionel Lingeler as King Louis and I thought he did a great job throughout the season as well.  But this scene was quite unnecessary, IMO.

One of their favorite secondary characters was the Monsieur Duverney, the Minister of Finance.  RDM loved the actor (Marc Duret) and said he brought a lot of small interesting things to the part.  Terry notes the contrast between the rather plainly dressed men of Scotland to the French nobleman.  They gave him an extended part by attempting to seduce Claire on the bridge to be able to tie him back to later plots.  RDM felt it was better television to hear the splash after Jamie tosses him over the bridge than to see it.  Marc Duret came up with the idea of trying to dry his long wig by the fire and then putting on the silly thing when the King arrived.  A nice comedic choice, I agree.

The arrival of King Louis in all his splendor along with his mistress in her Janet Jackson-esque swan nipple rings was an important scene (he makes note of Claire) and unnecessary in that we had to see these nipple rings at least three times as Murtagh drools.  RDM loved the multiple side shots of this and Terry did not.   (Editorial comment: Maybe Ron should stop thinking like a guy and start thinking about what his mostly female audience would like.)  Terry cracked me up in her discussion of designing the swan nipple rings at her table while her kids asked her what she was doing and she casually answered “designing nipple rings”.

The initial script had one of the French women asking Murtagh what a Scotsman wears under his kilt and Murtagh obliges to show her.  This was cut but I wonder if it will make the DVD.  It was not in the final script so they may not have filmed it.

Claire has the shock of the night times two when she first runs into the smarmy Duke of Sandringham.  Murtagh is NOT happy but Jamie must remind him that to draw your sword when the king is present means death.  Sandringham takes great pleasure in introducing Claire to his secretary, the younger brother of Jack Randall.  Alex Randall not only looks like BJR but he proceeds to tell Claire that his brother is very much alive.   Claire does not know how Jamie will take this news as he has already been struggling mightily with the aftermath of Wentworth.   The fireworks over the palace resemble the fireworks in her head as she struggles to decide her next steps. In the meantime, Sandringham slithers away but not before giving her a “gotcha” smirk.

RDM notes that Simon Galloway has such fun playing Sandringham (and it shows).  Terry commented that although his dress was fancier than the Scots, it was still subdued compared to the French. They also discussed the resemblance of the actor playing Alex Randall to Tobias Menzies.  RDM said that there had been some discussion as to whether Tobias should play Alex but he felt that was too much.  It also did not make as much sense as they changed the story in the book from Claire actually thinking Alex was Jack to one of more straightforward introduction.  (Personally, casting Tobias would have been a small shark jump moment.)

The episode ends with the audience wondering if/how/when Claire should tell Jamie that Black Jack is alive and if this will put Jamie over the edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share
Read more

Share

There isn’t a single aspect of this episode that is not wonderful.  In fact, for many fans it is the most highly anticipated and memorable event in the Outlander universe.

Conditions

OL-S1.7-Jamie-3-conditions1 OL-S1.7-Jamie-3-conditions2 OL-S1.7-Jamie-3-conditions3 OL-S1.7-Jamie-3-conditions4 OL-S1.7-Jamie-3-conditions5 OL-S1.7-Jamie-3-conditions6

This is a favorite scene because we see how serious Jamie is about the marriage contract.  Before he agrees, he consults Murtagh, saying he intends to be wed but once and asking him what he thinks about Claire and whether his mother would approve.  Murtagh assures Jamie that she “will do,” and that her smile is as sweet as Jamie’s mother’s smile.  (”Still waters run deep, ye ken?)

After having received Murtagh’s approval, he agrees to marry Claire in order to keep her out of the clutches of Black Jack Randall.  However, the fact that he takes it so seriously and gives Dougal conditions for the marriage tells us that there is more to his decision.  Jamie’s conditions will insure that the ceremony will be as special as possible for both of them under the current circumstances.  He demands the ceremony be held in a church before a priest and that Claire have a ring and a proper wedding dress.  Jamie is always thinking about Claire.  This is why he is the King of Men.  Every woman needs a Jamie.

A Blood Oath is Made

OL-S1.7-the-wedding-pt.-2-5 OL-S1.7-the-wedding-pt.-2-6 OL-S1.7-the-wedding-pt.-2-7 OL-S1.7-the-wedding-pt.-2-8 OL-S1.7-the-wedding-pt.-2-9 OL-S1.7-the-wedding-pt.-2-10 Gaelis Wedding vow

The visuals in this episode are most pleasing (ahem..), but the the significance of the Gaelic Wedding Vow should not be diminished. If Claire had been aware of its significance, she may have refused to do it at the time because she saw the marriage as a temporary resolution of her problem and had every intention of getting back to the stones.

The magic in this story (especially the books) is sometimes subtle, but it is potent, and the Gaelic Wedding Vow that Claire and Jamie take is essentially a blood oath.  Blood is a powerful symbolism, and sometimes even has mystical powers.  The blood oath makes use of this to make a commitment that can’t be broken.

Blood spilling is a potent force in the working of magic, and in some mythologies certain types of blood are deemed more powerful than others.  Some consider the blood of royalty, the blood of a special line (Fraser, the Fraser Prophesy), the caster’s own blood (Jamie and Claire), and virgin’s blood (Jamie) to be most powerful.

In many ways their wedding ceremony represents the traditions of their time, but their blood vow may be described as something between a binding handfasting and an initiation.  It is a spiritual blending, a binding of their souls, not just to God but to one another, and not just for this lifetime but forevermore. Not until death-do-us-part but for all lifetimes to come.  Jamie knew what he was doing and knew it’s significance, but Claire did not.  Claire viewed the wedding as a temporary solution until she could return to her time, but Jamie took the ceremony and it accompanying oath very seriously. As he tells Murtagh, he intends to marry only once, and he wanted to do it right.  He insists that they wed in a church, before a priest, with a ring for Claire and a proper dress.  He wanted to make it special for her as well.  Claire’s heart may not have been in it initially, but, as we know, looking back she wouldn’t have changed a thing.  That, my friends, is a commitment.

I Said I Was a Virgin, Not a Monk

OL-S1.7-I-said-I-was-a-virgin1OL-S1.7-I-said-I-was-a-virgin2 OL-S1.7-I-said-I-was-a-virgin3

Nothing else need be said about this scene other than it is perhaps one of the most beloved and anticipated lines from the Outlander novel.

“I did like it, Jamie.”

OL-S1.7-I-did-like-it-Jamie-0OL-S1.7-I-did-like-it-Jamie1 OL-S1.7-I-did-like-it-Jamie4

After the first round of obligatory sex to consummate their marriage, Jamie asks Claire if she liked “it.”  The highlanders had given him advice, and Murtagh had said that women don’t usually enjoy “it.” Poor Jamie is crushed when Claire fails to respond immediately and he assumes she had not liked “it,” as Murtagh had warned.

In truth, Claire does not respond immediately because of her own internal conflict.  She is ashamed that she had indeed enjoyed their sexual act and feels like a “bigamist” and an “adulterer.”  Upon realizing his disappointment she admits that she had enjoyed the sex, which immediately improves Jamie’s outlook.  It is written all over his face.

Don’t worry, Jamie.  You and Claire will enjoy a fabulous, “not usual” sex life together.

Duty, Pleasure, Love

Jamie and Claire’s lives will never be the same now.  At the beginning of the episode they have already formed an attraction and at least a friendship.  Jamie’s feelings are stronger than Claire’s, but they begin their marriage as equals.

With an act of sexual duty they establish consummation and fulfill a contract.  As noted before, Jamie still hoped Claire would find it pleasing, and was gratified (and a little smug) to learn that she did.

Their next sexual act is for pure pleasure.  They take their time, engage in verbal foreplay, and are playful in bed.

Finally, they make love.  He shows her how much he values her by giving her the last remaining memory of his mother.  He has brought her into his family by this gift and she recognizes the value of that.

I think it is important to realize that in each of these encounters, Claire initiated the sexual act.

“Perhaps we should go to bed”

“Take off your clothes.  I want to look at you”  (thank you Claire!)

And finally by reaching out to him and making love with him, maintaining eye contact the entire time.

Jamie never once forced the issue with her.  She had been forced into too many things already.  In this instance, the choice was always hers.  The agency was always hers.  The power was always hers.

He is “under [her] power and happy to be there.”  It is a beautiful thing.

Share
Read more

Share

Episode 106, “The Garrison Commander,” is not one for the feint of heart.  Claire’s meeting with Black Jack Randall is expanded from the book version to take up most of the episode.  Ron D. Moore’s expanded adaptation was intended to help shed light on the diabolical behavior and nature of the infamous Captain of Dragoons.  The flashbacks to Jamie’s flogging as Black Jack Randal recounts the events to Claire are disturbing and difficult to watch.  Two of our favorite scenes occur at the end of the episode and offer some much needed levity from the brutality of most of the subsequent scenes.  Therefore, rather than focusing on the darkness in which BJR tells Claire he belongs, we will focus on a scene that illustrates Jamie’s strength and defiance of his tormentor.

“The boy would not beg.”

OL-S1.6-the-boy-would-not-beg1

OL-S1.6-boy-did-not-beg4OL-S1.6-boy-would-not-beg5OL-S1.6-boy-would-not-beg6OL-S1.6-boy-would-not-beg6

UGH!  This scene was both the best and the worst for me.  It was awful to watch, yet so masterfully played.  From an acting standpoint it is exceptional.  We have not just the voice over from Tobias (as BJR) in that flat affect, but Sam really sells so convincingly the pain of the flogging and Jamie’s stubborn determination not to acknowledge it.

From a narrative POV, THIS small but effective scene is the crux of the relationship between Black Jack Randall James Fraser.  This moment is what precipitated BJR’s fascination/obsession.  Jamie’s strength of will became Jack’s white whale.  And we know how THAT turns out.  Grrr.

This scene, this horrible, awful, beautiful scene so perfectly showcases and explains everything that comes after it.  Everything.  All of Black Jack’s subsequent actions (and words) to both Jamie and Claire are predicated by what he says here.  We see that he likes to hurt.  He likes to break.  He attempts it with Jamie in the actual flogging.  He attempts (and perhaps succeeds) in the recounting of it to Claire.  I don’t believe that it was a moment of self-reflection for him.  It was a moment of pride.  He was gloating to Claire, and thereby breaking her trust that somewhere inside him was a decent human being.  He set her up perfectly for the literal/metaphorical gut punch that comes next.  BJR is literally the worst.

Even though this passage is less than a page in the book, I love that they devoted an entire episode to it in the series.  It was important not just to learn the lengths that BJR will go to, but we learned a lot about Jamie and Claire as well.  We actually learned a great deal about Jamie, more so than we have probably learned up to this point.  Yes, we were told of the flogging, but Jamie brushes it off.  He does not want people (Claire, Alec) to be uncomfortable or pity him for it.  But we never see the strength of character or stoic nature that Jamie has until we see the moment.  We see EXACTLY what Jamie is willing to put himself through for the people he loves.  We see the pride that Jamie has.  This pride is not a character flaw.  It is a pride of WHO he is… not just as a man, but as a Scot.  He is a symbol of the Scottish people.  They are beaten, shackled, and abused, but they are not broken.  They will not beg.    -S

“Well, I must admit, the idea of grinding your corn does tickle me.”

OL-S1.6-Claire-Dougal-grind-your-corn1AOL-S1.6-Claire-Dougal-grind-your-corn2OL-S1.6-Claire-Dougal-grinding-your-corn3

OL-S1.6-Claire-Dougal-grinding-your-corn4OL-S1.6-Claire-Dougal-grinding-your-corn5OL-S1.6-Claire-Dougal-grinding-corn6

I love Graham McTavish, but his character, Dougal, is not a favorite of mine.  That said, in Episode 106, Dougal has a line of dialogue that has become iconic in the Outlander fandom.  “Well, I must admit, the idea of grinding your corn does tickle me…”   Truthfully, with the possible exceptions of Father Bain and the Duke of Sandringham, who among the male characters wouldn’t like to grind Claire’s corn?

People who had not read the Outlander books before seeing this episode must have been anxious to learn exactly who Dougal had nominated for the position of Claire’s husband.  They must have breathed a sigh of relief to learn that it was not Angus, Rupert, or even Murtagh, but Jamie.  Don’t worry, Claire.  Everything is going to work out just fine.

“I reckon one of us should ken what they’re doing.”

OL-S1.6-not-a-virgin1OL-S1.6-Jamie-virgin2OL-S1.6-Jamie-virgin3OL-S1.6-Jamie-virgin4OL-S1.6-Jamie-virgin5OL-S1.6-Jamie-virgin6

Claire, you are a lucky woman.  Dougal nominated Jamie for the job.  (Though I must add that Jamie is also lucky because God is giving him a “rare woman.”)  This is one of my all time favorite scenes. Claire isn’t pleased about the forced marriage, but with the aid of a bottle of whisky she reconciles herself to it.  Jamie isn’t nearly as bothered about it.  Their mutual attraction is strong, but he is willing to do anything to protect Claire from Black Jack Randall.  The look on Claire’s face when Jamie informs her that he is a virgin is simply priceless.  The thought of de-flowering the young highlander clearly makes her anxious, but as we will see in the next episode, “The Wedding,” Jamie is a quick learner.  In fact, in the book, Claire reflects that “Virgins are highly underrated.”   -D

Share
Read more