April 4th and Outlander is back, everyone. Say goodbye to your Saturday nights. They belong to Starz like Jamie’s balls belong to Claire.
Those of us who live and breathe Outlander news have known for quite some time that episode 9, The Reckoning, was going to showcase some of the most controversial and intense scenes that the series has to offer. We’ve been waiting for more than just the six months too long hellatus to see Jamie rescue Claire from Black Jack Randall. But that’s only the beginning. For those of you who have been waiting to give Outlander a try, THIS is the episode that will keep you watching. Bravo to Matt Roberts for writing and Richard Clark for directing, what is, in my opinion, the BEST episode of Outlander to date. Here’s why.
My Top Ten Moments from Outlander, ep 109
1. Jamie’s Midnight Sun
Remember that cold day in September when someone (probably RPattz) leaked 12 chapters of Stephenie Meyers’ work-in-progress, Midnight Sun? The floodgates of Twi-Nerds brains exploded as we got what we always wanted: EDWARD’s POINT-OF-VIEW. The Reckoning? Even better than that.
This episode opened as no other has before: with the gentle, dulcent tones of Sam Heughan talking Jamie to us. Remember when Diana leaked this news to everyone on the SuperComputer and WE ALL FREAKED OUT? We were right too. It was everything.
Beyond the sensory feast that is listening to be-kilted Jamie while watching him skip stones by a gorgeous Scottish brook, is the first hand account we get of who Jamie really is, what he cares about, how he thinks and whom he loves. Book readers aren’t privy to Jamie POV until Voyager… this premature pov is more than welcome.
Sidenote: Yes, we’ve loved and hated the voiceover device in the first half of season one. Claire’s opening monologue in episode one was a gorgeous narrative, but more often than not, it slipped into the redundant: giving us information we could intuit from the scene itself, boring us sometimes. And to be fair, maybe that was necessary to set the story in motion in the first several episodes. But it seems that the writers have now found a perfect balance.
Jamie’s POV brought us what we’ve felt has been lacking with his character development: wisdom, maturity and steadfastness. At the end of Both Sides Now, fans were APOPLECTIC that Jamie was seemingly under-developed. No longer. This episode was Midnight Sun Accidental Release Day all.over.again.
2. Jamie Gets Killttt
We’ve seen Claire go from bare to bum-roll and back again, but this episode’s opener of Jamie be-kilting himself? Somehow hotter than watching the kilt drop, not gonna lie. Keep pushing that dirk into place. Push it real good.
3. Duncan Lacroix for the win
Maybe it’s the fine shiny beard. Maybe it’s that somehow Duncan has made Murtagh seem all at once to be the drunkest of the Highlanders and the most sensible one. But it’s definitely moments like in the opener when he sing-songs “Thank you” before braining a redcoat into a coma that have made Murtagh come to life. On the page, Murtagh is dour and defensive, a shadow that has Jamie’s back but rarely intrudes on a scene. On screen, Duncan has made him so much more.
4. Top Line on each of their CSVs: EMOTES LIKE A BOSS
THIS SCENE. THESE ACTORS. This little triangle of pain is going to keep tightening and getting even more intense as the rest of the season goes on if this scene is any indication. Caitriona’s face is amazing … whether she’s whimpering, screaming or threatening, it’s all there in her face, her breathing.
And Tobias as Black Jack? Has anything ever been more compelling to watch? Trying to suss out every emotion, every cover-up of emotion and every sadistic train of thought he’s emoting will keep me busy til … I don’t know … Outlander season 2 finally airs in 2018. His unexpected, “DO IT!” was fierce and fatal. I was riveted.
AND SAM! Holy lord. For having few lines in this scene, he is a BRICK HOUSE OF EMOTE. You can see him battling abject rage with paralyizing fear and fierce protectiveness with shrewd calculation. This scene was a perfect example of the television show surpassing the book in terms of raising the stakes. And since it’s almost directly quoted from the book, it’s all down to these three guys’ kickass skillz.
5. Full Throttle Claire
There are times when I want … nay, NEED … the show to follow the book VERBATIM (AHEM waterweed AHEM). The Jamie and Claire post-Fort-William scuffle is one of those times. And boy howdy, spot on doesn’t even begin to describe. We could talk about Jamie’s spittle, his splotchy-faced man rage, or his honest and heart-wrenching break down. But what we SHOULD be talking about is Claire 6.0: Full Throttle Fraser.
This is Righeous Lady Rage. This is a woman taking no shit from an angry dude … even one who just heroically saved her life. In the books, I kind of want to scream at Claire for being so shrill, such a harpy. Not so here. Caitriona’s Claire is righteously indignant, and despite letting the marital scrap get a leeeeettle too personal and cutting, she holds her own until the end.
I hate to keep going on an on about Caitriona’s face, but I fully understand when Diana said she had the most expressive chin. It is SHUDDERING. I don’t even think those particular facial muscles move voluntarily, so obviously Caitriona has performed some sort of ancient sorcery to get that.freaking.good at being pissed.
6. Mr. Fraser Will See You Now
In our last Hangoutlander, we talked about how after this episode aired there will be inevitable think pieces comparing the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon (‘scuse me while I purge after using that word) and the spanking scene between Jamie and Claire. And I gotta say: maybe I was wrong about that. Because this scene? Wasn’t nothing like that sub standard, unimaginative dreck. And sure, book readers know this; it’s not a new observation. But I truly think seeing it play out on screen dredges up NO THOUGHTS of Fifty Shades comparisons; they are that fundamentally different.
Sure, there’s a strap and a bare bottom and a guy getting his jollies on, but there was also context and circumstance and conversating and clear thinking and conflict and all the things Christian Grey and Ana Steele lack. Watching Claire go at Jamie was enormously satisfying, and honestly, if I ever had a problem with the arse-whooping scene before I don’t now. Claire: I love ya, girl. But you deserved it.
7. Shot Down
Oh, Claire you perfect feminist creature. I love this shoot down. Who hasn’t been in this EXACT.SCENARIO? Ok, maybe you aren’t sending your significant other to the couch because he whipped your backside with a leather belt because you almost got him, yourself and all his cousins killed because you don’t like to listen to 14 year old guys named Willie take poops in the woods, but you get the gist.
8. It’s Time to Play the Feud
It may seem like the most boring part of the episode (although I thought the whole hour was really well-paced) but Colum and Dougal going at each other like Kardashians was a great chance to not only showcase Gary Lewis and Graham MacTavish’s perfect chemistry (yeah, I said chemistry … it ain’t just for shippers, mmkay?), but it gives a ton of context to what’s coming up in seasons 2 and 3, and shows us Jamie’s leadership abilities. Going between those two when he already doesn’t have a secure footing in the clan takes cajones. And Jamie’s got ’em. As is evidenced by my next top moment.
9. Laoghaire is Every One of Us
The first of Laoghaire’s scenes was released last week, and I saw rumblings online about how it made Jamie look weak, easily moved or flat out philandering. Well, it’s a good thing they didn’t release the scene by the brook or you beechezz would’ve been SRSLY BUTTHURT.
Laoghaire is putting it ALL out there, and I gotta say: YOU GO, GIRL. Sure, you are Satan’s handmaiden in one 16 year old package. Yeah, you’re a conniving twat. But this entire fandom is a Legion of Laoghaire’s. We ALL love Jamie an inordinate amount. We ALL would do just about anything to gain his attention (were he real). Difference is? He’s never led US on … but he DID do that to her. Throwing herself at him when he looks depressed, unimpressed with married life and when he hasn’t verbally shot her down even the slightest? That took ovaries. SOLID BRASS OVES. Good on ya, Laoghaire. I’d’ve done the same thing. Also, nice tatas.
Remember when we called The Wedding, the “Sexpisode?” Well, we might have shot our wad a little early on that one, because THIS was some serious smex. I wanted to wait for the midseason premiere in NYC to get to watch this episode with Bekah, and I think I may have made a mistake, because watching it in a room with … oh 1500 horny moms AND the people acting out the sex was kind of … awkward. So the first time I saw it, I thought it was too much. Too much skin, too much sex, too much intimate talking. I realized it was very true to the books, and maybe, just maybe that was too much for the screen.
But then I watched it again by myself (the whole episode, not just that scene, pervs and it was for SCIENCE ie this recap post). And it wasn’t too much (I’m blaming Bekah for making me feel awkward the first time with her giggles and her popcorn consumption). It was intimate and real and hot and empowering and romantic and just … SO Jamie and Claire. Again, huge props to both Sam and Caitriona for being no-holds barred. Talk about full throttle Claire.
Plus it gave us these gems that need to be giffed IMMEDIATELY:
You are my home now.
What does fucking mean?
Bite me some more.
I’m ravenous. … So am I. Oh, you mean food.
You are mine. Now and forever.
So that’s it! The hellatus is over, and Outlander is back! Don’t miss our LIVE HANGOUT recap show with Hypable tomorrow night at 10EST/7PST. In the meantime, tweet us your thoughts or questions you want us to talk about with the hashtag #Hangoutlander. And tell us what you thought of the episode in the comments.