What a rollercoaster of emotion this episode was! And while I’m not fond of most rollercoasters, I really loved this one. I want to talk about a couple of the moments that hit me the hardest.
Moment #1: A Cage is Still a Cage
Yes, Lady Isobel said this about Helwater’s horses, but the person in the cage is really Geneva. Headstrong, beautiful, spoiled, she’s a victim of her time and station. Isobel seems to manage it better – plainer (so not as much of a prize to be traded), gentler, she recognizes the cage but doesn’t seem quite so confined. Yes, Geneva’s methods are reprehensible, but it seems that she recognized pretty quickly that Jamie wouldn’t be charmed or seduced, and she’d have to bring some heavy artillery to get what she wants. Unlike Mary Hawkins, who would have been raised similarly, she understood that sex was something that could be shared and enjoyed – except she would be given no chance to do that. Hannah James (no relation to Theo or Lily) was absolutely terrific. The LOOK she gave Lord Ellesmere out on the front lawn! I was waiting for his head to explode from the laser darts she was throwing!
She and Jamie were actually a good match, and had Jamie not been a prisoner and caught up in his once-in-a-lifetime love, I could almost see him admiring Geneva. She certainly has spirit, and as evidenced by the way she handled being dumped in the mud, a playful and self-aware personality (she could tell that what she did was ridiculous, and appreciated Jamie’s response to it). Of course, not that we’d ever want them to, there was no chance of any romance between them. But out of all of the women other than Claire that Diana wrote in all of those big books, only Geneva (at least show-Geneva) comes close to being a match for Jamie.
With all of the controversy surrounding the intimate scene between them, as it was written in the books, I’m very glad that the show’s writers bypassed any suggestion of hesitation on Geneva’s end and consent/stoppage on Jamie’s. It just didn’t need to be there. I understand why it was in the book – there’s more luxury of time in the books to spell things out, to see the little details. But with as much ground as this episode had to cover, and as difficult as that scene was to handle for many readers, this was a good way to portray it.
Poor Geneva, heading off for what must seem like a lifetime (although if she’s lucky, he’ll drop dead soon) of being chained to “a man old enough to be my grandsire” in what she calls a “vile agreement,” she wants to experience, at least once, the joy of what she knows her body is capable of. “I’m doing this for myself,” she tells Jamie, “I want my first time to be with someone like you.” And who can blame her for that sentiment, except that we can – she’s going about it in a dangerous, blackmaily way, with someone who has an awful lot to lose whether he does or doesn’t go along with her.
The Helwater costumes were absolutely stunning! Geneva’s beautiful fitted suits, her little tricorn hats, and even Isobel’s gorgeous lace gloves were amazing. And while you may like your Jamie a little more rough and tumble, he certainly looked better in his livery than any of the other grooms.
Moment #2 – Goodbye to Willie
The result of that one night is the worst thing – and the best – that could have come out of it. Geneva’s death was terrible, but a frequent happening those days. But what joy, even if it must be hidden, Willie gives Jamie! His heart was missing, gone for years – and suddenly, unexpectedly, there it is again. From the first time he heard that Geneva had had a “fine, healthy boy,” Jamie seems to come back alive.
And Sam Heughan was exquisite – Jamie is working so hard to keep his love for this small, spoiled boy off of his face when anyone else is around! Little sparks of love, fear, longing – from the second he rushes to pick the bundled up baby off the floor after he shoots Lord Ellesmere, all you have to do is watch that muscle twitch in his cheek to see that he’s rediscovered something that had been missing. Foreshadowed by his first conversation with Lord Dunsany – “I have lost two children, milord” – we know he can’t claim Willie as his own, so how sad is it that we know he’ll lose a third?
Were you bawling yet when Willie came to Jamie’s room and became a stinking Papist? Young Willie, played by Clark Butler, was terrific. The chemistry between him and Sam was visible – Sam does a great job working with young people, as we saw last season with Romann Berruxx. Why a little wooden Sawny instead of the book’s rosary? Matt Roberts, Toni Graphia and Ron Moore explained that in this week’s “Inside Outlander” – they felt that any possessions Jamie had would have been taken away at Ardsmuir (if he even brought them with him, since he planned his own capture), especially a Catholic rosary, so they didn’t think he would have actually had that to give to his son.
But he has an attachment to his own little wooden snake, given to him by his other Willie, his deceased older brother. “But I haven’t anything for you to remember me,” Willie says, the sweet little soul. “Dinna fash, lad, I’ll remember you.”
And if you weren’t bawling then, I bet you were when Jamie finally had to leave. The newly engaged couple, Isobel and Lord John, with Willie, are the only ones to see him off. I really like it when Isobel, who knows Jamie’s secret, hugs him and whispers that she’ll look after his son. And when Willie broke away from them and goes running after Mac, and Jamie can’t bring himself to turn around – heartbreaking! Again, Sam was amazing, saying more without words than if the writers had given him some to say.
David Berry was great as well, absolutely devastated to see his friend leave (a couple of comments about the scene between them in a minute), and I loved how he goes running after his adopted son.
Here’s the version of A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall (written by Bob Dylan!) that they used in the episode, recorded by Walk Off the Earth (thanks, Lynette!)
Really, Roger? Unexpected? After all the cow eyes you’ve aimed Brianna’s way, after the white knight you’ve been to help her momma in her incredible quest, you’re surprised the girl kisses you? Rik Rankin is cute when he’s confuddled (and when he’s professory, and even when he whacks his head on the bonnet of his car).
Did you catch the reappearance of the little tin airplane from season 2?
Lord John truly is an honorable man – “checking” to make sure he’ll be able to serve his new wife in their marriage bed; bowled over and somewhat insulted by Jamie’s offer of his body in return for caring for Willie. “Are you actually offering your body to me in payment for a promise to look after Willie?” he asks. “Dear God, that I should live to hear such an offer. I should probably want you til the day I die, But tempted as I am, do you really think I’d accept?” How relieved do you think Jamie was in that moment? Good for you, LJG.
And Claire – we didn’t see much of her this episode (don’t worry, you will). But how elated she was to see proof of Jamie alive (at least 200 years ago), and how far down she goes when they seem to reach a Wentworth-thick wall in their search.
And (even though we know this isn’t the end), she comes to some acceptance that she has to continue on with the life she’s built – her medical practice, her daughter. “This is what Mrs. Graham warned me about, spending my life chasing a ghost. To all those we have lost! It’s time to go home.” Caitriona portrays the depth of that loss so well! Sure, with the foresight and knowledge that us readers and viewers have, she will find her heart again, but in this moment? She once again has to stuff her heart in the box and lock it up.
Follow me on Twitter: @OutlanderTIBS, @ErinConrad2 and @threeifbyspace
Like us on Facebook or Subscribe to get instant notice of new posts
Share this article using our Social Share buttons above!