You may not have cooled down yet; you may still be out of breath… you may have (as I have) watched and rewatched… AND REWATCHED (well, I did it for work… what’s your excuse?). I don’t think anyone will now disagree with Diana Gabaldon when she said that Sam has one fine ass, and yes, the rest of him is pretty darn good too. But rein yourselves in for a minute, ladies, and let’s talk about – well, Jamie, and Claire, and the things from the episode that better darn well show up in the Outlander store.
Yes, Claire is marrying Jamie to avoid being sent back to Randall. Her motivation is fairly clear and straightforward. But Jamie’s reasons for marrying her are much more complicated, by chivalry, family pressure, and his already-evident interest in Claire herself. As he sees it, he’s been given a precious gift – this lovely woman that he was nearly instantly smitten with has now, through the most terrible of circumstances, been put into his hands for protection. Uncle Dougal wants her married off not only for her protection, but for his as well – she knows too much of their treasonous Jacobite activities, and if Randall is given another chance at pounding the information out of her, he knows she’ll have no choice but to tell his secrets. And by getting Jamie to marry this Sassenach, he hopes to remove an obstacle to becoming the head of Clan Mackenzie. And Jamie knows what will happen to her, first-hand, if she is compelled to return to Randall, and care for her or not, he wouldn’t let that happen to another human being.
To a lady of grace, a woman of strength, and a bride of astonishing beauty. My wife, Claire Fraser.
I loved watching Jamie in this episode – no, not just for that, you lechers – his puppy eagerness, his control, his tenderness were all on his face at one time. He wants this woman – and not just to lay with, but to love, and have love him in return. He, more than he should at this age, knows how fleeting life can be, how love can transform, how pain can either burn your soul or expand it. He can see Claire’s reluctance, but believes it to be mixed with some portion of returned interest – and this gives him hope that, since he only intends to marry once, this can be the love story his romantic personality desires. And so he is willing to take the time to calm her, to get to know her, to allow her to know him – all the while fighting the need to do what any red-blooded, young man wants to do to the closest female.
You have my name … my clan … my family. And if necessary, the protection of my body as well.
At first, I found the non-linear storytelling a bit difficult – since I know the story already, there were bits and pieces that just had to be included (and in the end, some were and some weren’t, and I know we’ll hear about the bits that were left out – as small as some of them were – hedgehogs, the Fraser tartan as described in the books). But I decided to Trust in Ron. And Anne Kenney, the episode’s writer. And for the most part, my waiting was hugely rewarded with a beautiful telling of Diana’s story, even if it differed in several ways from the book.
There it was. Not only was I a bigamist, and an adulteress… but I had enjoyed it as well.
Claire’s guilt is evident – she still desperately wants to get back to the stones to return to Frank. (I will say, though, that the scene of Claire and Frank before their wedding bothered me – yes, in the immediate pre-war period, people got married quickly; but in the book – and I try not to make too many book-to-series comparisons, but unfortunately there will be a few today – they were married in the same church in which she married Jamie, which only added to her guilt and confusion). But she is attracted to Jamie – and the spark has been there since, if not their first meeting, certainly since she began dressing his wounds at Castle Leoch. A return to the 1940s is looking farther and farther away – might she not be best, at least in the meantime, taking Geillis’ advice that this is not a time to be without a man? Jamie is a good man, strong, handsome and respected, even if he is an outlaw and has a price on his head.
The wedding itself was astonishing, even if we didn’t get a long enough glimpse of Jamie in his borrowed finery. And even if he wasn’t in, as Diana described it, a tartan of crimson and black, he was very striking. In her words, “A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight – any Highlander, no matter how old, ill favored, or crabbed in appearance. A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breathtaking.”
And the dress! Starz was very careful not to release images of the dress early (and I understand that there were still some leaks), and Terry Dresbach confirmed this week that the white clothing we saw Claire in was not the wedding dress, but her undergarments, still amazingly beautiful with the corset embroidery. But the dress itself, purchased from a madam at the local brothel by a not-unwilling Ned Gowan, was amazingly beautiful. Silver-gray silk, silver leaf embroidery, lace sleeves – yes, women will want that dress.
From our first glimpse of the run-down, ruined church, you would not have believed that the addition of hundreds of candles (and Starz, here’s an opportunity not to be missed – those heart-shaped candelabra were amazing) and a beautiful couple would transform it into a dream wedding chapel.
Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, ’til our Life shall be Done.
Another departure from the books that’s sure to be discussed by fans is the ring that Jamie gives her. Though this may be still come in a future episode, the ring itself is an important piece of Outlander, currently copied, purchased, and loved by thousands of fans. This ring given tonight, made out of a key (and I’m assuming the key is actually significant, not just “something I had in my sporran”) is not in any way the ring Claire accepts from Jamie in the book – not given at the same time, and not matching in description. But it is possible that there could still be something happening with Claire’s wedding ring. It was a cute addition, though, to have Rupert and Angus go to commission the ring – Rupert’s revealed to be a bit of a romantic himself, while Angus is still a pig. I loved the interaction between them, when Angus repeats the blacksmith, “The blade and the bow!” and Rupert, astonished, replies, “You didna ken that!”
I was worried, for quite a while – as I’m sure many of you were – that Jamie’s mother’s pearls wouldn’t make it into the episode. But again, Trust Ron. One thing I’m sorry wasn’t included, though, was Jamie’s request to Claire for honesty. “I know there are things ye’d not wish to tell me, Claire. Perhaps things that you can’t tell me,” he says. “There are things that I canna tell you, at least not yet. And I’ll ask nothing of ye that ye canna give me. But what I would ask of ye – when you do tell me something, let it be the truth.” Of course, Claire can’t tell him about her time-travel, or her real background – remember her daydream of telling Mrs. Fitz? This would have been easy to include, and would have made a great deal of sense.
One thing that did strike an odd note, though, was actually from the book, but it was only odd because of a bit from last week’s episode. “I can’t marry you!” Claire says to Jamie as they meet in the courtyard. “I don’t even know your name!” And I’m waiting for the gif of “James… Alexander… Malcolm…Mackenzie… Fraser,” because you know someone will make one – but didn’t she see the name right there at the top of the marriage contract she was given at the end of last week’s episode? We could see it – and I assume Claire knows how to read.
Just for a quick minute, I want to say how much I loved Murtagh in this episode. Gruff, no-nonsense Murtagh. But for Jamie, he’d do anything. Jamie asks if Murtagh thinks his mother would have approved of Claire, and Murtagh at first answers, “Do I look like a gypsy, able to commune with the spirits?” But he realizes the seriousness of Jamie’s question, the motherless child asking about a long-gone part of his life – and Murtagh knew Ellen longer than Jamie did. “Do you have your brooch?” Murtagh asks.
Your mother had the sweetest smile. Warmed a man to the backbone just to see it. Claire’s smile is just as sweet.
As Claire and Jamie talk through the night, Claire’s reluctance turns to acceptance, and yes, more than a little interest in this charming, lovely man, and – ok, SPARKS. Not just sparks – but the beginning of a flame – are created. We’ve seen relatively little of Jamie until this point in the series – he hasn’t been that important to Claire, and so far, this has all been from her point of view, but now, he moves into the forefront of the story. You can see the relationship between them build – a love built on mutual admiration and trust, certainly, but they have a huge base of physical attraction that builds. Compared to other Starz series, this episode was fairly tame sexually – will it change? The books are not Game of Thrones explicit, but Diana is a master (mistress?) of writing sex scenes, and doesn’t shy away. Will we see more, literally and figuratively? I liked the decidedly hot yet fairly (for premium cable) modest scenes – as their relationship grows, I expect that the show’s depiction of their sex life will too.
And how will Claire reconcile her grief for Frank and her growing love for Jamie? Will she continue to try to get back to her own time, meaning that she would abandon Jamie? That will be on her mind for a long time to come.
Once again, the cinematography of this series is astoundingly beautiful. Many of the scenes, not only in this episode, have the look of a Vermeer painting – muted colors, beautiful composition. Nothing is rushed – you’re able to take in the beauty of the countryside, the nuances of glances and emotions. Ron Moore has said that he manipulates colors for greater impact, and impact we get. The natural lighting used throughout the series has been stunning – the wedding by candlelight was particularly striking. And the scene blends used tonight were a departure, but completely fitting – softer, more emotional than we have seen in the past. In pulling screen caps for this episode, I wasn’t trying for any effects, but got some wonderfully interesting ones that I’ll share:
So let’s wish the new couple a happy life. This is a highly anticipated episode, and I hope it met everyone’s expectations. Tell me what you thought! In the next couple of days, I’ll have a new survey up for your opinions – be sure to watch for it!
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