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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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

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Episode 104, “Rent”

Claire has already begun to establish a friendship and mutual attraction with Jamie, but after a rocky start, in “Rent” she finally solidifies her relationship with the Highlanders.

OL-S1.5-Jamie-and-Claire2-8-13OL-S1.5-Jamie-and-Claire-8-13  Once on their journey to collect rents, it isn’t long before Claire begins to feel isolated from the Highlanders.  She is concerned that their use of Gaelic represents an effort to exclude her, and she reminds herself that being on the road would be her opportunity to escape.  Jamie notices her unease and comes to her.  She asks him if the Highlanders hate her.  Jamie reassures her but admits that they don’t trust her.  Then she asks him if he thinks she is a spy for the British.  He tells her,  “No, but I do think there are things ye’re not telling us, and I know you tried to run during the Gathering.  It’s on your mind still, plain and clear.”

What is interesting about Jamie’s observation in that in the books, Claire is frequently puzzled by Jamie’s seeming ability to read her mind.

OL-S1.5-Claire-and-Angus-8-13 OL-S1.5-Jamie-ripped-shirt-8-13  Once again, Claire’s righteous indignation causes conflict, and Jamie comes to her rescue when Angus does not take kindly to being called a thief.  Claire believes Dougal is not only collecting rent from clan members, but is using Jamie’s scars to garner sympathy from them in order to line his own pockets.

OL-S1.5-Claire-and-Ned-8-13  Claire’s healing skills had begun to give her some credibility and help build a measure of trust with Dougal and Colum.  However, when she confronts Ned about her suspicions, that trust quickly dissolves.  It isn’t until another collection night that Claire realizes Dougal is raises the extra money to finance a Jacobite rebellion.

OL-S1.5-Jamie-and-Claire3-8-13  This is my single most favorite scene from the episode.  The collection party stops at an inn for the night.  While the men drink downstairs in the tap room, Claire retires to her room upstairs.  A noise outside her door leads her to investigate the source of the disturbance.  She finds Jamie just outside the door after she steps on him.  For fear that the drunken men might wonder upstairs, he again intends to protect her by sleeping at her door.  She offers to let him come inside, but he fears it “would ruin [her] reputation.”  Amused, Claire instead offers him her blanket, “If it isn’t too scandalous,” and he bashfully accepts.  The sexual tension in this scene can be cut with Jamie’s dirk.  (Yes, pun intended.)

OL-S1.5-fight-8-13  The next morning during breakfast when Claire tries to convince Ned that history will never again record the name of a Stuart king, a group of rowdy locals are heard referring to Claire as a “Hoor.”  Ironically, Angus, who had previously drawn his knife on her, is the first to throw a punch in defense of her honor.  After the fight, Murtagh explains to Claire that as she is a guest of the Mackenzie, “We can insult ye, but God help any other man that does.”  Even Dougal joins in the fight.  This represents a turning point in Claire’s relationship with the Mackenzies.  A bond is strengthened and she is defended as one of their own.

OL-S1.5-Claire-tells-joke-8-13  Rupert regales the group with a story about his experience with two women in bed, where they become jealous and begin arguing over who he will “swipe” first.  “Can you believe it?” he jokes.  Claire replies, “I believe your left hand gets jealous of your right.  That’s about all I believe.”  After a brief silent pause, Rupert breaks into a hardy laugh, the Highlanders following suit.  “Ah, you’re a witty one,” Jamie says.  Amazed at what he has heard from Claire, Rupert says, “I’ve never heard the woman make a joke!”  Claire responds, “There’s a first time for everything.” Clearly the entire groups appreciates the moment, and the bond with the Highlanders is now solidified.

Now Claire needs only to convince Dougal that she is not a spy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This.  This is my favourite scene in The Gathering.  No question about it.

We see witty Jamie

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We see protective Jamie

 

 

 

 

We see Jamie who is willing to put himself on the line for Claire.

OL-S1.4-Jamie-Claire-in-stables3OL-S1.4-Jamie-Claire-in-stables5OL-S1.4-Jamie-Claire-in-stables6   He never tells her why he wasn’t at the Gathering.  He doesn’t need her to know that.  He isn’t doing it so she will love him.  He just wants her safe.

He also never makes her feel like he will tell Dougal that she tried to escape.  His concern isn’t that she wanted to leave, but that she wouldn’t be successful and things would only be worse for her.

***sigh***

Claire knows she can trust him.  She takes his hand and together they go back to the castle.  This is the first time they act as a team.  That is important, and it so often goes unnoticed.

 

What do you think?  Is this your favourite scene as well?  We love to hear your comments.

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Episode 103, “The Way Out,” gives us so many good Jamie and Claire moments.  Their attraction builds, though Claire would prefer to deny it, at least to herself.  Claire also builds her friendship with Geillis, but draws upon herself the wrath of Father Bain after healing Mrs. Fitz’s nephew.  Finally, at the end of the episode, Gwyllyn’s song gives Claire hope of returning to her home.

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This exchange between Jamie and Claire is so precious.  Jamie seems impressed that Claire isn’t fully intoxicated yet, and Claire seems proud of herself that he recognizes her ability to hold her (or Colum’s) rhenish.  This leads us to the next great scene.

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The sexual tension in this scene could be cut with a knife.  Out of feat that Claire will soon be too drunk to find her way safely back to the surgery, Jamie asks Claire to check his bandages.  When he confesses his true intent, Claire decides she may as well check him anyway.  The looks they exchange speak volumes about what they’re feeling.  Jamie looks pleased that Claire is taking such an interest. Had Jamie not been the gentleman he is, he probably could have had her right there in the surgery.

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I am no fan of Laoghaire, but this scene is important because it triggers some unexpected reactions in Claire.  Laoghaire lassos Jamie for a kiss, but Jamie especially enjoys it when he realizes Claire is watching.  Is he trying to make her jealous?

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After seeing Jamie and Laoghaire kissing, Claire teases Jamie in the dining hall.  Clearly it was a dangerous thing to do, and Murtagh chastises her for it.  Murtagh seems to share our sentiments regarding Laoghaire’s suitability as a mate for Jamie.

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Immediately after the dining hall scene, Claire goes outside to be alone and cries.  Claire’s voiceover tells us that she feels guilty for teasing Jamie and that she did it because she was jealous… not jealous of Laoghaire but of their “intimacy.”  Then she has thoughts of Frank.  However, I believe in this scene Claire is an unreliable narrator.  She will not admit to herself that there was indeed some jealousy of Jamie and Laoghaire.  She is fighting the attraction she has for Jamie.

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As Dougal promised, he takes Claire to visit Geillis so we can replenish her herb supply, but Jamie is sent to “fetch” her after Dougal is called by to Leoch.  This scene illustrates Jamie and Claire’s ability to communicate with each other non-verbally.  The expressions on their faces tell us everything.

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This is the first of many times we see Jamie and Claire working together as a team.  With a hefty price on his head, it is quite a risk for Jamie to be seen in public.  This also makes me suspicious about Jamie being sent there to “fetch” her in the first place.  Did Dougal intend to put Jamie at risk of being caught?

 

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There are so many great scenes in Episode 102, but we have picked some favorites to share.  In this episode we begin to see the attraction and trust develop between Jamie and Claire.  We also are introduced to the fabulous Mrs. Fitz.

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When the group arrives at Castle Leoch, Jamie introduces Claire to Mrs. Fitz.  I love our Jamie gives Claire the once over.  Though Claire’s dress is appropriate for her modern times, it arouses suspicion in Jamie’s time.

-D

There really is so much to love about Episode 2 – Castle Leoch.  We discover this world right along with Claire and it is beautiful, and more than a little dangerous.   Picking a favourite scene was difficult and it changes the more I watch it.  Today, I think my favourite scene is when we are introduced to Mrs. Fitz.

 

It is perfect that Mrs. Fitz is the first woman that Claire encounters in this new and strange world.  Mrs. Fitz show herself to be loving, and welcoming, but also entirely capable of handling a herd of warrior highlanders.  She commands their respect and obedience, but it is not out of fear.  They adore her as we will come to.  In this one small scene we learn that Mrs. Fitz is the heart of Castle Leoch.  She is very much like Claire, and Claire recognizes that kindred spirit.  She feels more at ease by Mrs. Fitz’s presence, and we see her regain her confidence and poise.

Probably my next favourite scene would be where Claire tends Jamie’s wounds and reveals his scars.

Jamie is obviously nervous and uncomfortable.  He doesn’t know how Claire will react and you can see his vulnerability.  Claire responds not with pity, but with compassion and empathy.  It is her heart and her healing spirit that come through in this moment.  She is being Nurse Beauchamp and it is the start of her finding her place, with Jamie, and in this world.

 

These are relationships that help shape her, help give her a sense of security, and help her to grow into the woman she is meant to be.

-S

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Temptation!  Being suddenly thrust back two hundred years in time has to be stressful on a girl, but Claire is tempted here.  Who wouldn’t be?  For a few seconds she forgets about the husband she left behind two hundred years in the future.  Being the gentleman and King of Men that he is, Jamie doesn’t take advantage of Claire’s emotional state, but rather comforts her when she breaks away in tears.  As for sexy scenes, this is about as HAWT as it gets with clothes on.

-D

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Mrs. Fitz is a wonderful character, and it was fun watching her and Claire build a mutual respect for each other that eventually evolves into a true friendship.

-D

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Another favorite scene is when Claire visits Jamie in the stables, presumably to check his wounds and take him lunch.  In the book we learn that Claire finds herself making excuses to visit Jamie around the castle grounds.  We know what you’re up to, Claire.  You, too, Jamie.  The mutual attraction is undeniable.

-D

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