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Outlander 03×07 Crème de Menthe – by Lenny9987

My immediate reaction to Crème de Menthe upon finishing it was that it was a solid, functional episode. Having rewatched it, it’s come to encapsulate everything I love and hate about watching this show having read the books first. I spend so much of my first watches waiting and anticipating certain moves from the books that it can keep me from really appreciating some of the changes that the show has and is making as it adapts the material. The changes I want to see are obvious and appreciated right away, but others take that second viewing to remind myself that while something might be different from the book, it is consistent with how the show has handled something (or someone) or to grasp the full extent of how something altered plays out; when it’s a change, I might be able to guess at how it will unfold but I don’t know the way I do with the books at this point so there’s still chances to surprise me. Upon rewatching, there’s so much more that I liked and appreciated than just the fact they got rid of plots I find tedious and ridiculous or reworked problematic depictions of characters so they make me cringe less.
Crème de Menthe does a phenomenal job of streamlining the plots from a section of the book where they get thrown at the reader thick and fast. It takes most of the rest of the book to truly untangle them and understand the varying levels of deception and red herrings. I genuinely appreciated the way that the show cut out some of the unnecessary drama and confusion to make elements clearer and less cluttered. Shuffling elements a bit like the fire at the print shop and changing the death of the excise man help give some of these events greater weight and less the feeling of being distractions meant to emphasize the chaos of Claire’s journey back. While I love Voyager and Jamie and Claire’s reunion, most of my interest in it as a reader tends to fall a bit later after the explosive events at Lallybroch because that’s where and when they actually deal with the emotional baggage they each carry. It’s only in my latest reread and in watching the show’s adaptation that I realize just how much the novel relies on Claire telling the reader that she and Jamie had been changed by their 20 years apart rather than actually showing it (until that explosive fight at Lallybroch, anyway). Reading through the Edinburgh chapters, there’s so much else going on, it’s hard to feel that either of them have truly changed that much. Some of that is probably because readers are stuck in Claire’s perspective but I love the way that the show is giving a broader view of the cracks 20 years apart have made in their relationship. Their doubts and fears are much closer to the surface for us to see, in part because the plot distractions have been cleared away and/or bent to serve that tension.

Sir Percival and Jamie’s Smuggling Ring

This is probably the plot from Edinburgh that has been streamlined the best from the book so far. In the book, Sir Percival is much more like the Duke of Sandringham playing games with Jamie and getting other people to do his dirty work. It makes understanding even the basic nature of Jamie’s enterprise difficult until much later. It’s sort of presented as a mystery that’s unfolding but having it played straight for the show (where there isn’t the time to get into so many twists and turns) works infinitely better for me. The threat is more immediate to everything and every one because the connections between events is more direct. The altered death of the excise man and Claire’s attempts to save him also bend that plot towards serving the story of Jamie and Claire’s relationship. They’ve disagreed before on many occasions but this is the first real test since Claire’s return and it shows them both how much harder the reality of being together again while holding on to the selves they’ve become in each other’s absence is going to be. Claire was always a healer but now she has her oath as a doctor weighing on her conscience and driving her actions. She also has a much greater depth of knowledge and experience in terms of how to carry out her healing. She doesn’t hesitate or question herself, she acts on instinct and muscle memory. It’s a level of confidence Jamie hasn’t seen in her to this extent before and there’s a greater weight to it as well. She doesn’t just want to help someone who’s injured because she can or wants to, she is compelled to help them because she feels a responsibility to do so. It’s a change in Claire that throws Jamie at first but he does a relatively good job of adjusting to and when the man dies despite her efforts, he tries to comfort her even though he can’t completely empathize with what she’s feeling in that moment.
On Claire’s side, the failure to save the man carries with it the true limitations she has in the 18th century, not just because of her sex but because of what she has at hand. She’s overcome so much sexism to gain that medical education and earn her place in the operating room and here, even when she doesn’t face as much opposition in terms of being allowed to practice on a patient, she is limited severely by the materials at hand. As she tells Jamie, for fourteen years she’s dedicated her life to medicine and healing; it’s been the dominant part of her sense of self and where she’s drawn most of her strength. But here she is having finally found Jamie and she’s lost the first “patient” she’s tried to treat and she knows it’s not because of a lack of skill or knowledge. Through her visit and assessment of Margaret Campbell and then her suggestion to Jamie that she could open her own establishment or treat patients out of the print shop, it becomes clear that Claire is struggling to reconcile the way her coming back through the stones is impacting that part of herself that has become so important in the 20 years of separation. She doesn’t want to sacrifice an ounce of that capability into which she’s invested so much of her time and energy.

Sacrifices

In last week’s episode and this week’s, both Jamie and Claire have talked about how much they are willing to risk, have risked, or are willing to sacrifice in order to be together. Claire’s brush with the reality that some of her effectiveness as a doctor will have to be sacrificed if she’s to stay in the 18th century is one of several tests to those declarations both have made.
We only got brief glimpses of Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh during last week’s episode –– Madam Jeanne, Jamie paying off Sir Percival, his conversation with Fergus, the appearance of Young Ian –– but in this week’s episode we see just how tenuous that enterprise actually is, how close it all is to crumbling… and then we watch it slowly crumble as Jamie tries desperately to hold it all together. While Claire let’s her opinion on them continuing to live in a brothel (even if it would save them money on rent) be known, she doesn’t express too much surprise or dismay over the rest of Jamie’s illicit activities… until he lies to Ian about having seen Young Ian. Similarly, the allusions to Jamie’s other wife are heavily present in this episode and his conversation with Ian following his brother-in-law’s disbelief over Claire’s return show how far Jamie’s willing to go to try and hold things together. Lying to corrupt agents of the crown is one thing but lying to the people who mean the most to him is another. Of course with Sir Percival’s suspicions and pressure, Jamie’s smuggling is becoming more dangerous and then with the fire destroying the print shop, Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh are pretty thoroughly demolished by the end of the episode. But it doesn’t feel like the willing sacrifice he told Claire he would make to be with her; it feels like bitter disappointment and failure.
The sacrifice Jamie made in sending Claire through the stones –– the opportunity to help raise their child –– is another one that comes up during the fight that begins (but is interrupted) in this episode. That was another sacrifice that was both willing and unwilling. He would lay down his life to protect Claire and their child and that’s the sacrifice he thought he was making when he sent her through the stones. But what he instead sacrificed was the chance to know and raise his child. Claire’s scolding over lying to Ian and her bringing up his practical inexperience as a parent poke at a wound that will never heal. Though Jamie says he’d sacrifice everything to be with Claire again, he’s made sacrifices before that twisted into something he wasn’t prepared for.
They are both struggling to reconcile their expectations with reality. They’ve found ways to suppress the pain they felt during those 20 years and seem to hope that simply being together again will make it go away, but all it’s doing is releasing the hold they have on that pain and letting it reach the surface. It’s something they both long to lay at someone else’s feet and the only person who they can do that with is the other while at the same time, the last person they want to blame is the other, especially when they’ve spent so long clinging to the love they shared and building up their memories of each other. The tension between dismissing the pain of the past 20 years and remaining the people they are because of it is making them both act defensively when what they need is to work together to air and acknowledge their pain so they can move past it (and here’s hoping a healthy chunk of that gets properly dealt with next week and that the show doesn’t decide to really drag this out).

The Best Brother I Never Had: Fergus and Young Ian

While I enjoy the angst of Jamie and Claire being forced to face and navigate their new reality, what I enjoyed most in the episode on the lighter side of things was the relationship between Fergus and Young Ian. I was again completely bowled over by Domboy’s portrayal of adult Fergus and the way he and Young Ian interact with each other that put a dopey grin on my face. I’m not entirely sure what the show is going to do about Young Jamie and Michael Murray, but in book canon, both are a bit more straight-laced and proper while Young Ian is the troublesome Murray lad, always getting into trouble. In the show I get the feeling that Young Ian looked up to Fergus and related to him more than he did his older brothers. Fergus doesn’t have the same background or stake in doing things according to the letter and/or spirit of the law. And of course Fergus learned some of what he knows from Jamie. They’re simultaneously the Three Musketeers and the Three Stooges. I loved Young Ian turning to Fergus for an assessment of Auntie Claire –– and then refusing to believe the rumors Fergus tells him insisting (after only barely having met her) that Auntie Claire wouldn’t kill a man without good reason. It’s like Fergus is giving Young Ian lessons in how to ship Jamie and Claire. Fergus’ advice to Young Ian concerning lasses –– and Young Ian’s earnest and blunt execution of that advice –– was hilarious and soooo sweet. I want to see so much more of this relationship, especially how Fergus reacts to Ian being kidnapped (and then later, how Ian reacts to Fergus’ marriage).

Other Random Thoughts and Squees:

–– I love how they’re adapting Mr. Willoughby for the show. The level of respect between him and Claire already is downright heartwarming. He may not understand all of what she does as a healer or why, but he does understand the how and why of her personal investment in her patients, whomever they may be.
–– Ian meeting Claire again and talking about how he and Jenny grieved for her was the most moving scene in the episode. The disbelief on his face and Jamie’s nod to assure him it is real, then the way he closes his eyes and hugs her back. That single fucking tear! It brought me all the way back to Lallybroch and the way he and Claire commiserated over having to deal with the Fraser stubbornness. I want so much more of this relationship!
–– Seriously, Young Ian’s “tell me what you like/want and I’ll do it” attitude was just the sweetest and cutest thing ever. I also adored his attempts to stomp the fire out before realizing, oh shit this is way out of hand.
–– While I greatly appreciate that they got rid of the serial killer aspect of the Campbell storyline, I still think too much time has been spent on it for whatever the new payoff ends up being down the line. Does nothing for me in the book and was bored through those scenes in this episode.
Speculation/Wishlist:

–– I definitely want Claire to tell Jenny the whole truth in next week’s episode. There have been enough changes from the book so far that I’m not as convinced it won’t happen as I might have been before. I want both Jenny and Ian to know the truth about the stones and Claire (and probably Bree too).
–– Also you can’t name-drop Ned Gowan twice in two episodes if you don’t have Bill Patterson in 3×08. That would just be cruel.
–– I can see us maybe getting a parallel to Claire’s speech in 1×16 but from Jamie sometime soon. If/when Claire expresses doubt, Jamie coming out with something similar to “I’ll have you any way I can, always” or “it’s the only way I can explain how this is possible, why you’re here.” It’ll depend on how they handle the revelation, fight, and reconciliation.

_____________________

Thanks to Lenny for allowing us to post her wonderful review.

https://lenny9987.tumblr.com/post/166944220621/outlander-03×07-cr%C3%A8me-de-menthe

 

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http://emertainmentmonthly.com/2016/07/11/outlander-review-dragonfly-amber/

‘Outlander’ Review: “Dragonfly in Amber”

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode "Dragonfly in Amber." Photo Credit: Starz
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode “Dragonfly in Amber.” Photo Credit: Starz

From the upscale halls of Parisian royalty to the blood stained battlefield on Culloden Moor, Outlanderbrings fans on a life-altering journey with season two. The monumental season two finale, “Dragonfly in Amber” effortlessly weaves together the 1745 and 1968 storylines, introduces two, fan favorite book characters and leaves fans with an emotional pit in their stomachs.

When season two of Outlander began, fans learned that Claire (Caitriona Balfe) had been sent back through the stones to 1948 leaving Jamie (Sam Heughan) behind. Not only had Claire returned to Frank (Tobias Menzies), but she was also pregnant with Jamie’s child. Now after twelve, emotionally charged episodes, fans return to the future storyline, this time in 1968. Writers Toni Graphia and Matthew B. Roberts do a beautiful job at bringing Diana Gabaldon’s book to life as they effortlessly intertwine the 1745 Battle of Culloden with Claire’s 1968 storyline. With the 1745 storyline feeling claustrophobic and rushed, the 1968 storyline breathes and lets the weight of Claire’s decisions fully sink in. More than any other episode the repercussions of time travel are at the forefront. Outlander is about time traveling and dealing with those consequences and the season two finale gets back to that basic theme.

Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton in the Outlander episode "Dragonfly in Amber." Photo Credit: Starz
Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton in the Outlander episode “Dragonfly in Amber.” Photo Credit: Starz

After an entire season of waiting, fans were finally introduced to Roger Wakefield MacKenzie and Brianna Randall Fraser in an epic 90-minute finale. Following so much secrecy surrounding Brianna and Roger’s introduction into Outlander, Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin were formally ushered into theOutlander family. Rankin brings his A-game and brings Roger to life with as much heart and charisma as his character has on the page. One of his first outstanding scenes in finale comes between him and Balfe. After Claire and Brianna arrive in Inverness after the passing of Roger’s adoptive father, Reverend Wakefield, Claire begins to relive the mistakes of the past. One night when she can’t sleep, Roger and Claire have a heart to heart about saying goodbye to those you love. It’s a small scene in the grand scheme of the episode, however it introduces Rankin as a formidable scene partner for Balfe. Rankin’s ability to be the calming voice amongst a sea of chaos in this episode of Outlander proves he’s the right man to bring Roger to life.

When it was first announced that Outlander would come to life on TV, the first thing fans did was dream cast their favorite characters. Of course, Jamie and Claire were at the top of the list, but next came their daughter, Brianna. The actress stepping into the role had to embody characteristics from Heughan and Balfe and be able to bring this eloquently crafted character to life. Seeing British actress Sophie Skelton bring the role to life in the finale is something truly special to witness. From the moment she walks the halls of Roger’s house, Brianna Randall Fraser has leapt off the page in the most perfect way. Skelton has several key moments in the season two finale. Between her chemistry with Rankin to going toe-to-toe with Balfe, Skelton proves herself in this episode.

Caitriona Balfe in the Outlander episode "Dragonfly in Amber." Photo Credit: Starz
Caitriona Balfe in the Outlander episode “Dragonfly in Amber.” Photo Credit: Starz

With more storylines going on than ever before, each actor on Outlander steps up their game and delivers truly remarkable performances. First off, Caitriona Balfe leads the cast with such fierceness and heart that it’s hard to separate Balfe from her character. Only leaving the screen a few times in the finale, Balfe gives her second best performance this season. Between Claire’s life in 1745 to her new world in 1968, Balfe effortlessly separates the two versions of Claire, while still maintaining a common thread: a constant love for Jamie. Balfe has several Emmy award worthy moments in the finale and for some of them she doesn’t even have a scene partner.

With Roger showing Brianna around Scotland, Claire decides to visit a very special place: Lallybroch. In one of the most emotional moments, Claire pulls into the abandoned estate and it’s hard not to shed a tear for the place that housed so much life and promise in the 18th century. As Claire exits her car, voice overs from past episodes come flooding back reminding her of everyone and everything she left behind. With no dialogue uttered, Balfe delivers a remarkable performance. With a beautiful score byBear McCreary, coupled with a silent, sobbing Balfe, Outlander proves it can thrive in the quiet moments as much as the big ones. What really brings this scene home is when Claire is seated on the steps of Lallybroch and envisions a strapping Jamie standing in the entrance. As Heughan voiceovers a beautiful poem, Balfe weeps. Any fan will surely remember this scene and it’s all thanks to an utterly speechless performance by Balfe.

The next cry-inducing moment for Claire comes in 1968 when she visits the Clan Fraser memorial on Culloden Moor. Again, a scene that only consists of the beautiful Scottish scenery and a perfectly executed monologue by Balfe. “Here I am,” Claire utters to Jamie’s grave. Claire says she isn’t going to cry, but I never promised anything. In a heartfelt moment, Claire tells Jamie all about Brianna. How she is named after his father, how she was raised and every detail she can possibly remember. This small moment is where Balfe truly shines and proves she can own a scene even when her scene partner is a rock.

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode "Dragonfly in Amber." Photo Credit: Starz
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode “Dragonfly in Amber.” Photo Credit: Starz

Although the actual Battle of Culloden doesn’t take place in this episode, tensions are high as the Clans prepare to march into battle. Tensions seem to be the highest between Claire and Jamie as the duo decide whether or not to kill Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Andrew Gower) before the battle commences. Of course, nothing can go as planned for the duo as Dougal (Graham McTavish) overhears their entire plan. In one of the most intense scenes in the episode, Jamie and Dougal fight in closed quarters. Heughan and McTavish bring a monumental book scene to life as Dougal’s world comes crashing down in front of him. With one last struggle, Jamie turns Dougal’s knife on him. A great addition to the TV show from the books, Claire assists Jamie as the great Dougal MacKenzie takes his last breath. Between seasons one and two, McTavish brought Dougal to life with equal parts intensity and heart. Dougal’s death and McTavish’s absence will loom large on Outlander going forward.

Before I discuss the gut-wrenching final Jamie and Claire scenes, let’s go back to 1968 for a second. After exploring Scotland with Roger, Brianna begins to piece together her parents past. When she discovers the news article about Claire’s disappearance and realizes Frank couldn’t possibly be her real father, Brianna confronts her mother. Skelton does a great job and combining characteristics of both Jamie and Claire to create Brianna. She has Jamie’s heart and Claire’s scientific mind. So, when Claire begins spewing some “nonsense” about time travel and her real father dying during the Battle of Culloden, Brianna doesn’t believe her at all. This is a scene book fans have been waiting for and both Skelton and Balfe did it justice. It was a rare sight to see Claire step back and be a lesser presence in a scene with another character. If anyone was going to loom larger in a scene, it would be her daughter. Skelton and Balfe do an incredible job at establishing their mother/daughter bond from the beginning. It will be wonderful to see Balfe and Skelton grow that bond going into future seasons.

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode "Dragonfly in Amber." Photo Credit: Starz
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode “Dragonfly in Amber.” Photo Credit: Starz

Outlander may thrive on time travel, war and perilous historical situation, but at its core it’s a story about love. No matter where you place Jamie and Claire, their love story will come bubbling to the surface. Jamie makes the harrowing decision to send Clan Fraser back home to minimize casualties. Before the battle begins, Jamie first must get Claire to safety and then he will come back and die in the battle alongside Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix). With this decision, Outlander delivers a gut-wrenching farewell that should earn the two stars Emmy nominations.

There are two major parts to the Jamie and Claire farewell. Both scenes fans have been dreading since season two began. The first part comes when Jamie tells Claire he has decided to send her back through the stones at Craigh Na Dun. If this scene was a test before the final goodbye, I failed miserably. From the moment the camera pans and you see Claire’s face as she realizes Jamie’s plan, I was a goner. On top of Jamie telling his plan to Claire, he also reveals that he knows Claire is pregnant. In order to save Claire, their child, and to keep his legacy alive long after the sun sets on the Battle of Culloden, Jamie must say goodbye to his love. Heughan and Balfe nail this scene. Heughan brings Jamie’s conflicting emotions to life while Balfe perfectly encapsulates Claire’s grief. The duo continue to amaze audiences and critics alike and it has been an honor and pleasure to watch them work.

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode "Dragonfly in Amber." Photo Credit: Starz
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in the Outlander episode “Dragonfly in Amber.” Photo Credit: Starz

Like I said, there are really two major parts to this goodbye. The second part probably qualifies as the scene that fans used the most tissues on all TV season. I should’ve bought stock in Kleenex before this scene because an entire box of tissue met its demise. Claire and Jamie ride to Craig Na Dun and it’s there that Heughan and Balfe deliver one of their best scenes this season. From Balfe’s gut wrenching pleading to Heughan’s stoic moments, Outlander shines the brightest during this scene of total defeat. Balfe and Heughan exceed every expectation and bring this pivotal scene from Dragonfly in Amber to life.

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.” Heughan delivers this iconic line from the novel perfectly. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, Heughan is the breakout star of Outlander. He has grown so much as an actor during the first two seasons. Heughan, alongside Balfe, have brought two iconic fictional characters to life with grace, heart and tenacity. This final goodbye between Jamie and Claire showcases Heughan and Balfe at their strongest. With one final kiss, Jamie steadies Claire and walks her towards the stones. A beautiful moment perfectly executed by every department onOutlander. From the synchronized choreography executed by Heughan and Balfe to the incredible location to the writing, Outlander proves it’s a heavy hitter. With one final tear down Jamie and Claire’s cheeks, Claire passes through the stones leaving fans and Jamie utterly heartbroken.

Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin and Caitriona Balfe in the Outlander episode "Dragonfly in Amber." Photo Credit: Starz
Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin and Caitriona Balfe in the Outlander episode “Dragonfly in Amber.” Photo Credit: Starz

Back to 1968, Roger, Brianna and Claire come across Gillian Edwards (Lotte Verbeek), Geillis Duncan before she travelled back in time through the stones. In the last five minutes of the episode, Claire, Roger and Brianna rush to the stones to stop Geillis from going back in time and ultimately dying. In an unforgettable moment, Roger, Brianna and Claire witness Geillis travel through the stones and in that exact moment a number of things happen. One, Brianna now believes Claire’s journey into the past. Second, if fans pay close attention they can hear Roger and Brianna mention the buzzing near the stones. Only time travelers can hear the buzzing near Craigh Na Dun, which means Roger and Brianna can travel back in time. An important plot point book fans will know a lot about.

Now that Brianna believes Claire about Jamie living in the past, she asks Roger to reveal some pertinent information. In a heart warming moment, Roger tells Claire that five Fraser’s made it out of Culloden and were taken to be executed. One Fraser escaped and survived: James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. With tears in her eyes and her daughter by her side, Claire looks to the stones and decides she needs to go back and find Jamie. A beautiful full-circle moment perfectly executed by Balfe, Skelton, Rankin and the entire crew of Outlander. With this final moment, Outlander season two comes to a heart-breaking, but hopeful conclusion. From high-society Paris to the Battle of Culloden to 1968 Inverness, Outlander accomplished a lot this season and gave fans a hell of a ride.

Looking ahead, for fans that aren’t prepared to go into “Droughtlander” pick up Gabaldon’s third novelVoyager. Start preparing for a season of learning more about Brianna and Roger as well as Claire’s tireless efforts to reunite with Jamie. Until then, this reviewer (and sassenach) raises a glass of whisky to a heart pounding, Emmy-Award worthy season two of Outlander.

Outlander returns with season three next year on Starz

Overall Grade: A

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The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou, among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

While I know the term Hail Mary is applied to any and all last-ditch efforts, I couldn’t help thinking about the prayer itself and how it applied in this episode. Who, exactly, is full of grace? Because grace can mean any number of things. It can mean an act of goodwill. It can mean forgiveness and mercy. It can mean the way someone moves, with elegance. It can mean an attractive quality or good manners. It can mean an act of charity or leniency. Almost every character, at some point in this episode, shows a measure of grace.

Mary. Her voice has changed. It’s deeper. Measured. Gone are the hysterics and the stutter. Finally, she’s grown up. And as she talks with Claire we see how she is full of grace. She shows forgiveness, charity, and leniency all in one exchange at the apothecary’s. And I got a sense that she’s not so much naive as she is in denial about her situation. And when Mary agrees to marry BJR, they both do an act of goodwill for Alex. It eases his mind. And unbeknownst to them, it is an act of goodwill for Clair as it assures Frank’s life. (And say what you want, but this is necessary for Jamie’s child. Get over yourselves). She’s also pregnant, so it benefits her unborn child. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Jamie. He can see the hour of all their deaths. And it weighs on him so heavily. He looks so gaunt in the face. It echoes what Dougal says, that their strength is dwindling on one bannock a day. But the entire episode his mind is always turning, always thinking of how to get out of this mess. Jamie’s Hail Mary is 100% trying to think of his own last-ditch plan. When O’Sullivan accuses him of ‘coward’s talk’, Jamie’s about ready to take his head off a la Sandringham. I had to wonder, did Claire tell Jamie the gold doesn’t arrive? To stall might be one of his plans. Any information that he receives is turned into another plan. Cumberland’s birthday? Trap the British. Colum handing him the reins? Bring fresh men to the battle. Now, and at the hour of our death.

Prince Charles thinks that their cause is full of grace and cannot fail. That God is with them. The Lord is with thee.

Claire. She is so resigned to history repeating itself. I keep remembering a hopeful Claire on the boat and early in Paris, telling Jamie, “when were you never up for a challenge?” But now, she’s the one who’s essentially given up and Jamie has to rouse her to the challenge. They lift each other up when they need to. She, too, is full of grace, in certain circumstances. With Alex. And in realizing the Mary needs BJR in case history does go according to plan. She is very logical and kind in her explanation to Murtagh as to why he can’t help Mary. Claire’s grace comes in the form of goodwill and wanting to make reparation for her meddling in Mary’s business. And with Colum. You could tell she wrestled with that one, but in the end she decided to forgive anything between her and Colum. And give him what he wanted. Which was to be in control of his life to the very end. Claire is a rare woman in this time. Intelligent. Compassionate. Gifted. Strong. Blessed art thou, among women.

Murtagh. He shows grace by offering to marry Mary Hawkins. An act of goodwill and charity. Unselfish. Gallant. Chivalrous. No wonder Jamie turned out the way he did. Murtagh has always had an easier relationship with Claire than the other highlanders. Like Jamie, he treats Claire as an equal. I believe he recognized Jamie’s love for her right away, when he told her Jamie needed a woman, not a lassie. And he’s always believed Claire to be different. From the beginning he had a gut intuition that Claire was someone special. Right when he found her in the woods and said, “I’ll stake my best shirt she’s not a whore”. And he’s grown to love, respect and trust her. It’s so nice to see that come to fruition. He’s always allowed Jamie to make his decisions and backed him up. So be it. He’s also bothered by what he knows of history. Jamie’s and Claire’s burden is his burden. Pray for us sinners.

Brief moment….can I ask why they made Alex look like the Vampire Lestat after a feeding frenzy?? …moving on.

Colum. Still The Mackenzie, even if he is on “rickety sticks”. In his own way, he asks for forgiveness in the way he compliments Claire. And Jamie. And admits he was wrong about their marriage. And they extend that grace to him. Gary Lewis is a master. His scene in asking Claire for the mercy of a death of his own choosing is heartbreaking. And Claire, not wanting to hear an ill word about her friend. Still showing mercy to Geillis after all these years. Because without Geillis, Claire most likely would not be alive. Is it just me or did anyone else feel like Colum gives Jamie the idea of saving the Lallybroch men from Culloden? I got a sense that a light bulb went off over Jamie’s head in that scene. At the hour of our death.

I absolutely loved watching BJR and Claire square off. They hate each other. They really do. And the fact that they extend no mercy towards each other, EVER, makes all the other relationships in the show that much more tender. Her face at seeing Jack Randall again for the first time encapsulated all the feelings from her miscarriage. She was literally Claire in the hospital, all over again. Her grace most definitely does not extend to Jack Randall. There is no charity or goodwill for him. Only bargaining. Something for something. And the Claire now is so different from the Claire we first met. She’s harder. Bitter. Angry. And when he baits her talking about Jamie, she pulls herself together, musters her hate and hands him guilt. Not grace. Finally, did anyone else think Jamie found his wife hot af when she reminded him she’d help him kill BJR?

You get a sense from Alex that Jack, in a former life, a life before the war, was a different person. Hell, even his name is different. Johnny. A name that is softer, that makes you think of a childhood friend. At one time Johnny was probably full of grace, for his little brother. What changed? Why? And how did BJR come to feed only his darker self? Try as I might to understand why a man might pummel the body of his dead brother, I cannot. Perhaps in order NOT to feel, BJR has to stay in the darkest place he can. Anger. Always anger. There can be no other emotion for this man. Because maybe if he starts to cry he will never stop. Maybe it’s the opposite of Dougal, who was upset that Colum never healed. Perhaps BJR is upset that he couldn’t heal Alex. Whatever, it was the most disturbing of reactions. There is no prayer of comfort for an act like that.

Dougal. The most powerful scene for me was between Dougal and Colum. In his rough and ungraceful way, Dougal is essentially telling Colum that he’s mourned for his brother all these years. Everything he expected his big brother to be changed in an instant. And all of Dougal’s prayers, wishes, and hopes for a recovery were dashed. Forever. In Dougal’s mind, he did all that was asked of him. For Colum. I got a sense he felt like he had to live his life, AND a measure of Colum’s life. Because Colum couldn’t. And when he comes to make peace with his brother, Colum dies. And Dougal can’t have the conversation because he’ll never get the answers he so desperately wants. He loved his brother. He truly did. He never forgave his brother for not getting better. And he weeps for THEM. Not just Colum, but for them…and who and what they could have been. Together. And at the end he runs out of time to repair it. Amen.

Final thought: War. When Claire is at war the first time she leaves Frank for 5 years. When Claire is at war the second time with Jamie she rides beside him. And as we see in the trailer for next week, she doesn’t want to leave him. Even knowing the outcome. She was committed to the War as a nurse the first time, independent of Frank. She is committed to the Jacobite Rising as a wife the second time, in union with Jamie.

Also, Things the writers fixed for me this Season: Claire’s habit of laughing hysterically when she’s stressed.

Having Murtagh accompany Claire to Alex’s boarding house, instead of Jamie.

Fergus as both Claire and Jamie’s and not just Jamie’s.

All of Murtagh. And fleshing out his relationship with Claire, the wife of his godson.

Colum and Dougal’s absolutely true to form brother rivalry.

June 25, 2016

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