After last week’s explosive and emotional reunion (and emotional explosion in the fandom), fans are no doubt chomping at the bit to see if Jamie and Claire will hem too tightly to the book or venture off page, so to speak, and find themselves in new and untested emotional waters. We are all expecting upheaval, after all Jamie is harboring a deep and apparently destructive secret, and Claire has yet to be fully forthcoming. The two have twenty years of life (and loves?) between them. But will that upheaval be what readers and long-time fans expect to see? The upheaval that ensues any time Claire goes anywhere in the past – an untenable situation that explodes because Jamie’s life is on tenterhooks? A tentative, unsure reaffirmation of true love? Or something else?
Top Ten Moments from Outlander 307, Crème de menthe
1. Claire Ain’t No Hollaback Girl
They left us off last episode with Claire being physically assaulted by a dude in Jamie’s room. Pardon me while I allude back to 2004 and remind us all that this shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. We talked about it on last week’s Hangoutlander, but allow me to reiterate for those of you who only read – not watch – what we think about this show. This.Rape.Threat.Is.Not.Necessary.
In the book (groan with me, I hear you in the back, groaning), the exciseman who comes to find out if Jamie is keeping things from Sir Percival meets Claire on the stairs, mistakes her for a prostitute, and offers to split the money with her if she helps him find what he’s looking for. Then Willoughby appears and shoots him dead. Instead, here we have the guy assaulting Claire because she’s mouthy and trying to keep him from going through Jamie’s lodgings, then when she defends herself with a knife, intent on killing her. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Thankfully, even if the writers haven’t caught on to how beleaguered the audience is with this contrivance (especially when the source material doesn’t call for it), they at least understand that for Claire … this ain’t her shit. She is not taking this lying down, and she’s not waiting for Jamie or Willoughby or Fergus or anyone else to come bursting into the room to save her. Claire grabs a knife and swipes at her attacker, causing him to trip and hit his head, seeming fatally.
Claire, since episode one of season one, has never really waited around for some man to come save her, but at many turns, it has been a man who does so. Whether through her own ingenuity or simple convenience, she doesn’t need it this time, and we can at least be thankful for that much.
2. Callous Jamie
Jamie returns to their room to find Claire in a bit of a shock with an unconscious man on the hearth. He doesn’t immediately sense what has happened, and he doesn’t move immediately to comfort his wife. It’s been a long, long time since Jamie had a mitigating female influence keeping his softer side exercised, and his first instincts are very … male. He needs to figure it out and fix it.
Claire’s insistence that she has to save the man who attacked her person and Jamie’s livelihood irks him. Hell, it irks me, even if I understand it. He knows that she’s being overly stubborn, but has to remind her that she’s forgotten the time she lives in. The consequences are not black and white, and her culpability will not be forgotten if she saves the man’s life.
Why do I love a little bit callous Jamie? He’s realistic. He sees a problem and moves to fix it. He is less concerned with the emotional than the practical consequences. That’s not necessarily the JAMMF I love from the novels, but I can appreciate the distinction.
Way to keep making it in my top ten, Character I Despised In The Book.
“I admire a woman who values the sanctity of human life.” Hello! Yes, and thank you. As the boys and Jamie work to move the casks from under the brothel’s floors wishing they could just go up and gut the exciseman, it’s Willoughby who commiserates with the modern sentiment that no matter what someone has or will do, they have a right to live, if possible. Now, go be Claire’s new bff.
4. Fergus, Never Change, Class of ’66
In a combination of being boyishly handsome, very French, earnest, well-written and believably the grown up version of the character we’ve known, Cesar Domboy as Adult Fergus is quickly becoming my favorite new addition to the cast. Somehow, he’s gotten Romann Berrux’s inflection and insouciance down pat, while providing a really nuanced glimpse of what a 30 year old “man of leisure” in the employ of Jamie Fraser should be like. He’s a downright pleasure to watch.
After watching Young Ian sell the illegal casks, he takes a trip down memory lane with him about the aunt Ian has never known. He’s respectful and a bit awed by the woman he remembers. And I love the way he pronounces, “catastrophe.”
5. Dr. Claire
Claire returns to her patient to find Jamie and Willoughby restraining him, and the prickles of unease and tension between the Malcolms begins to rear its head again. Jamie is called down to deal with Sir Percival himself, and runs off to play the Innocent Local Panderer while Claire performs ancient surgery.
Sidenote: Claire is replicating 20th century medicine here. We still bore holes in people’s skulls and cut them open in order to heal them. When are we going to get some less medieval surgical innovations … where my lasers at?
Regardless, we get a good view of Claire’s competence as a doctor in this episode. In the surgery scene from episode 305, she’s in her element, but still going rogue, only saving someone in the last minute. The connotation seems to be that Claire is good at her job, if unorthodox. This scene, and the one with Margaret Campbell serves to remind us that Claire took an oath and takes it seriously. She’s a consummate professional, not just someone with medical knowledge floundering in another century. It’s a maturation that impresses Jamie, but even more … gives her character some much needed control in a place where she will have less than she is used to.
6. Thank you, Jamie, FINALLY
After losing her patient, and worrying that she has dropped a metric ton of crap into Jamie’s life, Jamie FINALLY reassures Claire that his life was in darkness, and that her return brought back the light. His insistence that he would do anything to keep her with him is what we’ve all been needing to hear – definitely something that would keep us happy through the more difficult parts of their tumultuous last few days.
But like, would it have killed them to IDK … embrace after?
Instead they get a little married moment where Claire says she has somewhere to be, and Jamie’s like “but … female, you are” and Claire is all, “‘scuse me?” And again, we FINALLY get a vulnerability from Jamie that he shows he needs Claire. He asks her if she will return, and it’s like his poor little heart is sitting out there on a doily. Again, Claire’s reassurance is all in the eyes. SOMEONE NEEDS TO MAKE THESE TWO HUG.
7. Young Ian
We Noticed That Too: Fergus and Young Ian decide to reenact hobbit scene from The Green Dragon in Lord of the Rings
After Fergus gives him the business on how to get a girl in bed with him, Young Ian takes the tavern girl – who somehow didn’t have to keep working as soon as he offered her a drink – back to “his place” in the print shop. Book readers have long believed that Young Ian – as the years wear on – rivals Jamie for Chivalrous Highlanders We Romanticize. Seeing the young, innocent and carefree Young Ian successfully woo a sweet Scottish girl before his life will inevitably turn to shit is a sweet balm to the soul.
We Noticed That Too: She looks … tan and orthodontized.
Claire returns from treating Margaret Campbell to Jamie counting money and having dinner, and they sit down and have the most married conversation ever. She wants to be useful and make her own money so they don’t have to stay living in the brothel. He’s trying to be practical and thinks of how living rent-free with whatever they need seems better than scraping by in their own digs.
Lord. Marriage. I would have loved to see the end point of this conversation, but they are interrupted by BIG Ian, looking for his son. When they return to their room, and their very married conversation, it has a new tenor. Claire is no longer intent on figuring out their life, but she’s disappointed in Jamie’s character. The ensuing argument has been building all episode, and Ian’s reminder to Jamie that he is keeping a very big secret that can’t be contained causes him to explode accusatorially all over Claire.
We’ve been discussing the realism of this episode. It is realistic that Jamie would have a more hardened character. It would be realistic for Claire to try to save a man even if he had attacked her. It would be realistic that Jamie wouldn’t want Claire to roam the city on her own, treating strangers. But this scene takes the realism of the moment a bit too far for me.
Jamie and Claire are newly reunited – only 24 hours have passed since she entered his life again, and they are bickering like they’re Sam and Diane. At this point, despite the heightened danger of their circumstances, Jamie and Claire should still be in awe of one another’s proximity. They should still be enamored, tentative – yes, but not distant like they seem to be. The Claire who risked everything to be with him again would not blithely hold his hand when he declared his love or asked her to return. SHE WOULD GO TO HIM. She would touch him. Dammit. They should be touching, not tiffing.
And the Jamie that has been living in darkness would not be alienating her to this degree over Brianna. He would still be grateful to have her, to be near her, to know that Brianna is grown, safe and happy. This argument is premature. And let’s be real, not Claire’s fault.
9. Ian Loves Claire
Now THIS is how a person looks at someone they loved, mourned for years, and never expected to ever see again. God bless Steven Cree and how his eyes well with unspilled tears. Sorry about the wig, buddy.
10. King of Men
While Jamie and Claire are fighting in the brothel, Young Ian is fighting Sir Percival’s man in the print shop, and losing. The whole establishment starts to go up in flames, and thanks to
the convoluted set design the cramped spaces of the era, Young Ian can’t find his way out.
But … Jamie, King of Men is about to appear on the scene as a reminder that he’s the still the hero of this story despite being morally compromised and kind of a dick all episode.
Did Jamie just jump into a burning building – one with several, inexplicable, rickety stories – to save his young nephew at risk of smoke inhalation and/or burning to death? Did he manage to not only save said nephew by loading him up like a sack of potatoes, but also retrieve the miniature of his bastard son before he does? Did he also come out of it unscathed and looking swarthy and soot-kissed? Yes, he sure did.
We Noticed That Too: Fergus just gave away THE fun surprise. Thanks, writers.
What did you think of this episode of Outlander? Are you surprised that Jamie and Claire are so … married all of the sudden?