***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for Outlander through Season 3, Episode 6, and Book Spoilers through Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager follow. Spoilers***
With the straightening of his neckerchief and a jaunty step out of his brothel home door, Jamie Fraser aka A. Malcolm whisked us back to his version of the moment where we last left off … a familiar voice and one adorable fainting later, our favorite lovers across time are finally back in each others’ arms. After such a long time coming, a lot of awkward hemming and hawing, the reunited couple jumped back in the sack; crass or sass, let’s get real: the sex is what everyone was waiting for.
“You’re here? You’re real?”
“I thought you were dead.”
As they work through the unfamiliarity that at first seems perhaps too much (that “Do you mind?” as Jamie got ready to change his pants rang odd), but is likely realistic, a clearly rattled Jamie comes to accept his wife is truly standing in front of him; he grasps the reality of a full-grown daughter, named after his father and … wearing a bikini. That alone — the sheer weight of a lifetime played out before his eyes in mere moments (never mind seeing photographs for the first time, out of time) — is mind boggling. Claire lives out our collective, reactive emotions, hearing of Jamie’s separate life, including another woman’s child, and the heartbreak of having their individual existences relayed hits characters and audience, equally.
To the familiar sounds of Bear McCreary’s gorgeous score, Claire and Jamie reconnect; dinner and wine fuel their near-exhaustive mutual undressing (a little too drawn out), and as affecting as their first embraces and kissing are, nothing can sustain the extended sexytimes scenes, which veer into overwrought sentimentality. Where previous encounters have brought heat and passion, perhaps too long a wait, and the excess of five episodes’ lead-in took a toll. In the end, it’s the actors’ emotive responses to each other during the non-soft-pornish bits that connect us to them; Balfe and Heughan have excellent nonverbal chemistry, and it takes their scenes next level.
As Claire comes to understand Jamie’s new world and existence, truly a lifetime away from his soldierly past, the charm of his print shop cover gives way to the seedier sides of home and work. Ever the modern woman, she easily adapts, clued in on the brothel’s convenience and Jamie’s whiskey smuggling, she barely bats an eyelash. It’s only in the extended hour’s closing her tough exterior is truly tested; despite her vulnerabilities with Jamie being exposed. Before she’s accosted by a mysterious intruder (Ian Conningham’s “Barton”), Claire has much more pleasant meetings with a (thankfully) toned down Mr. Willoughby (Gary Young), her adorable nephew, Ian Murray (John Bell), and an absolutely delightful, grown-up Fergus (César Domboy). The intermingled encounters Claire experiences are welcome lead-ins to the adventures ahead, though not all those she meets are kind, or have the best intentions.
Despite the jarring ending, drummed-up drama we’re certain won’t end in real danger to Claire, what matters here is that husband and wife are back together. After what truly feels like a lifetime apart, we can all finally readjust to the Frasers (Malcolms) being in the same timeline. What Diana Gabaldon has joined together, let no showrunners put asunder.
Deep Thoughts (Bonus gifs after all the quotes):
All hail grown Fergus and César Domboy! This was by far my favorite scene — brilliant, funny and positively captivatingl. I can’t wait to see more of him.
Young Ian (as he’s called) is quite cute as well, and had great presence in such a short scene with Claire (do 16 year old boys really believe their aunties are faeries?). After Brianna and Roger, it’s good to see these new roles well cast.
I wish when Jamie had explained about Willie that he’d gone a little deeper into the story, though likely it happens another time, perhaps during their dinner conversation. If you’re going to break out the bastard kid, at least include the part about being blackmailed into the sexual encounter (even if he enjoyed it a little too much — which we can’t exactly blame him for).
Speaking of, I’m calling it: the sex scene between Geneva and Jamie was (don’t kill me) way hotter than this. The gifs prove it. That said, one is more lust than love, and clearly the feelings between Jamie and Claire are on full display. Apples and oranges, I suppose …
Geordie (Lorn Macdonald) walking in and going off on pantsless Jamie with Claire was glorious!
Nice save (for now?) by Fergus when Claire notices his hand — he tells her he lost it in fight with the Redcoats (technically … kind of not a lie?). I expect the truth to eventually come out.
The head smash (ouch!) was a nice and realistic touch during the overdone sex scenes, something pretty much everyone has experienced at one point or another while trying to have a serious snog, only to end up in pain and laughter. That said, the actual sexytimes felt like everyone outside the pair (Balfe and Heughan) was trying entirely too hard, and on the whole it became way too cheesy/corny. Again, this is not the actors; this is writing, set-up of the scene, music and probably the fact that they dragged out everything so long, built up expectations. I don’t care how many clothes they wear, nobody needed to see every single piece of clothing removed. The kissing scenes were great; the emotions between the actors was great. We could have had a much shorter disrobing, a more intense, condensed fuckfest, and it all would have worked out less calculated for maximum effect. That’s my take and I’m sticking to it.
Jamie looking “older” because of his glasses is laughable, but he did look exceptionally adorable (look at Claire’s expression!), whether putting them on or …
… taking them off.
Thank goodness Mr. Willoughby isn’t book Mr. Willoughby; honestly, I almost wished they’d cut the character completely (**Vague Book Spoiler** though I realize he has a part to play in Jamaica **End Vague Book Spoiler**). Gary Young is so far quite good, and I enjoyed the exchange between he and Claire about his real name meaning “Leans against heaven.”
Madame Jeanne is played by Cyrielle Debreuil, who is serviceable, but the girls Claire breakfasted with (Dorcas, Peggy and Molly) were much more interesting (Keira Lucchesi, Kristy Strain, Kimberly Sinclair).
Claire being attacked and threatened by Barton was an odd choice for ending the sentimental episode — and in the middle of the scene. Sure, cliffhanger, I guess (not really), but it felt more cut off than a clever choice. Not certain who Barton is supposed to be (there is a “Barton” in Drums of Autumn); as readers know **Vague Book Spoiler**, there is a situation coming soon, involving an intruder and Young Ian, but that takes place at the print shop. I suppose it’s possible Barton will turn out to be that character at some point. **End Vague Book Spoiler**
Claire to Jamie at his embarrassment having to change his pants: “It’s all right, we’re married.”
Jamie to Claire: “I Saw you so many times, you came to me so often in dreams. When I was in a fever, I knew I must die, I was so afraid — whenever I needed you, I would see you, smiling, your hair curled around your face, you never touched me … There’s the two of us now.
Come with me, if you do not think it immoral.
Time doesn’t matter, Sassenach.”
Jamie on Brianna’s name: “What an awful name for a wee lass.”
Claire telling Jamie about Bree: “Dog was her first word, and no was her second.
She has your red hair.”
Jamie: “Like her sister, Faith.”
Jamie, responding to Claire’s question, “What’s he like? Your son?”: “Spoiled.”
Geordie: “I quit! I’m Free Church. Working for a papist is one thing, but working for an immoral papist is another. Do as you like wi’ your own soul, man, but if it’s come to orgies in the shop, it’s come too far. Oh, god’s tooth! It’s not even noon!”
Claire to Jamie: “Why do you have a room in a brothel? Is it because you’re such a good customer?”
Jamie to Claire: “Christ, Claire, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
Claire: “You must really be losing your eyesight.”
Claire to Jamie: “Do it now, and don’t be gentle.”
Jamie explaining Claire’s nose isn’t broken: “When you break you nose it makes that nasty crunchy sound, and you bleed like a pig.”
Brothel girls to Claire: “You’re the new lass, eh? Wee bit older than madame usually takes on. She likes them no more than five and twenty, but I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
“Oh she’s got good skin and nice bubbies.”
Gif-land! (One or two, NSFW/K)