A True Fan’s Review of #Outlander Episode 112: LALLYBROCH

As this is a special day – my one-year anniversary with wordpress – I’d like to dedicate this 116th post to all #Outlander fans who have visited this site from 163 countries. According to wikipedia, that means, at least 66% of the world’s sovereign states have lovers of #Outlander residing within their borders.
Thanks for your support this past year. Here’s hoping we reach all 247 countries over the next twelve months! Now, on to my recap.

Outlander Episode 112: LALLYBROCH introduces two well-loved and vital characters to the Outlander story – Janet “Jenny” Flora Arabella Fraser Murray, Jamie’s older sister, and Ian Alastair Robert MacLeod Murray, Jamie’s best friend from childhood. In case there’s any doubt, SPOILERS are ahead.

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The episode also welcomes back a popular character – Captain Jonathan Wolverton Randall, Esq. – in all his sadistic grandeur. Each confrontation delves deeper into the fascinating mind of this troubled man who “dwells in darkness.” Most of what we know of him lives on the surface which may be the main reason for his dreadfulness. The unknown factors of his past make him an enigma difficult to solve.

LALLYBROCH is a much anticipated episode as it also introduces a sentimental location – home. I’ll make mention now of Lallybroch’s unexpected opulence as envisioned by production designer Jon Gary Steele. He holds nothing back in the design of the estate’s interiors – from the baroque parlor with its wraparound staircase and comfy-looking seating, to the ornate dining room with its wall-to-wall medieval tapestries and Jacobean furniture, to the Laird’s luscious bedroom with it’s to-die-for-fireplace and blue forested toile walls. It may not be how we envisioned Lallybroch, but there can be no argument regarding its beauty.

This episode concentrates primarily on the rekindling of Jamie and Jenny’s awkward reunion and Jamie and Randall’s treacherous history. With Jamie’s return to Lallybroch come the many haunting memories of that “one day in October” and the tragic days which followed, including the death of his father – Brian “Black Brian” Robert David Fraser. Jamie’s homecoming is overshadowed by those remembrances, as well as the many painful thoughts of his sister’s assumed welfare.

LALLYBROCH is directed by two-timer Mike Barkerwho has the unusual challenge of weaving the sheer darkness of Captain Randall flashbacks in-between some rather cumbersome comedic moments. The flashbacks do well, setting the stage for WENTWORTH PRISON. I’ve mentioned Ep 115 quite a few times over the past weeks because I believe it will be the most groundbreaking episode of the series with heroic performances by all.

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Anne Kenney penned this jam-packed episode. She also wrote Ep 103: THE WAY OUT and Ep 107: THE WEDDING, episodes with two vastly different storylines. LALLYBROCH is disparate from both those scripts, having to progress the story arc along more than one subplot in a short amount of time while manipulating a bevy of raw emotions.

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LALLYBROCH opens with a bird’s eye view of the rolling vistas making up Scotland’s landscape. Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are part of that landscape, riding across the verdant lushness toward home. The Laird returns.

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The journey between Craigh na Dun and Lallybroch are Jamie’s only days of peace, between saving Claire from the witch trial and arriving home to face his demons. He seems to revel in tales of the future – airplanes that soar over the earth at thousands of feet in the air. Now, they’re speaking my language.

Quick aerodynamics lesson: A Lift to Drag ratio > 1 means airplane go up. L/D < 1 means airplane go down. I’m partial to spacecraft. Don’t have to deal with so much drag in open space.

Jamie and Claire reach a summit, with Jamie nodding his head toward something in the distance.

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“There it is,

he says fondly, helping Claire dismount.

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Lallybroch. Lallybroch. Lallybroch. We’re finally here.

Jamie is happy at first, but rather than see his childhood home, his mind flashes to his last day on the farm . . . four years ago.

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Jack (Tobias Menzies) is back in all his gory glory.

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As they approach the homestead, Jamie tells Claire about the rumor surrounding Jenny having Randall’s bastard child, but Claire knows the value of a rumor – especially one in those days.

Jamie soldiers forward, the bad memories clashing with his long desire to return home, but every sight is a reminder of that day. Standing under the Fraser crest, he again flashes back to Randall.

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We’ve always known Randall’s obsession with Jamie is personal . . .

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. . . which makes Jamie’s likewise preoccupation just as personal, though we don’t yet know how intimate their connection.

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Claire breaks into Jamie’s flashback, speaking to a small boy in the yard as Jenny (Laura Donnelly) exits the house with a basket on her hip.

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Seeing Jamie, Jenny drops her load and runs to him.

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“This is  my wee Jamie,”

she says with a glowing smile, holding the small boy’s hand in hers.

“This is your uncle, mo chridhe, the one you’re named after.”

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Wee Jamie looks happy but unimpressed. Big Jamie looks horrified.

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“Why? Why would you name him after me?”

It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when thinking only of yourself, hm? Jamie seems to think all women are out to get him. Oh, wait . . .

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This is one of the scenes I most looked forward to viewing – Jamie and Jenny having a knockdown, dragout fight. Like Jamie’s argument with Claire after her rescue from Fort William, he’s in the wrong but doesn’t know it yet. Accusations of whoring and bearing children with no father to give them a name are thrown about the yard.

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Jamie is ready to storm from the house of shame – his really, not Jenny’s – but Claire knows how easily he casts erroneous judgments. He’s a smart guy but tends to overcompensate sometimes.

When Claire attempts to intervene on Jenny’s behalf, she gets her head bitten off by yet another Fraser. She just can’t win with this family.

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“Tell your trollop to keep her neb out of my business,”

Jenny says with an angry finger.

Heading for his horse to leave whence – I don’t use that word enough – they came, Jamie spins around.

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“She’s my wife and you’ll speak of her with respect,”

Angry Jamie erupts.

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Jenny is unflustered by the outburst and offers a solution. She’ll grab him by the ballocks to stop his fussing about. Jamie doesn’t like that solution and demands to know who the father of wee Jamie is.

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“Mine. And that one, too,”

Ian Murray (Steven Cree) says, joining the conversation while stealthily coming up behind Jamie with his wooden peg leg. I’m telling ya – unaware Jamie is gonna get caught one of these days.

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Jamie is happy to learn his best friend made an honorable woman of his tainted sister. Men.

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He makes a half-hearted attempt to apologize, after introducing his trollop wife to Ian. But Jenny calls him a damn fool and stomps into the house. Hey, she forgot to pick up her basket.

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The Frasers and Murrays take tea, er, whiskey in the parlor. Poor Claire is still wearing Jamie’s kilt as a frock, probably thrilled with the impression she’s making: “I’m not really this big.”

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Jamie and Jenny stew by the fireplace while Ian plays host to Claire, handing her an 18th century Glencairn while standing between the most well-behaved – or bored – dogs in the industry.

The in-laws make uncomfortable eye contact, silently commiserating with one another over their significant other’s hissy fit.

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“What happened with Randall. I want to know. I need to know,”

Jamie finally grumbles.

Let’s talk about this for part for a minute. Why does he want to know? Is the “not knowing” worse than the imagining? Most probably think so. It’s always better to know than to go on guessing or assuming the worst, right?

But what if the worst is more gruesome than the imagined? What if Randall used Jenny, then passed her around to his men? I could go on, but you get the point.

Jamie’s demand seems a selfish request, making Jenny relive whatever experience she had and in front of her husband. But it’s clear Ian has heard the story before and makes no objection.

Jenny relays the tale of Randall taking her into one of the bedrooms, while Jamie is left unconscious, outside in the yard. Randall’s methods of seduction rankle the skin. He doesn’t want a docile partner. He likes to play. He likes to take his time. He likes to be watched.

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What is going through Randall’s mind at this moment? Has he ever been with a woman in his life; I’ve often wondered? I’m certain he’s never made real love to a woman or a man. Again, his undisclosed past hampers our full assessment of his character. Was he born with a black soul or no soul? Was he turned into this person by another, or did he choose this villainous life on his own?

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Jenny resists at first – perhaps thinking she doesn’t love her brother that much. Randall reacts to her attempted escape, by striking and throwing Jenny onto the bed.

I won’t go into the gory details of the entire scene, but I will say this: Jack has trouble getting his beanstalk up – guess he got sold some bad magic beans – and Jenny has a fit of hysterical laughter, which really is the best medicine for everything.

Okay, one more for the cheap seats in the back. WARNING: The following may not be suitable for those easily offended:

Jack and Jenn went in the den
To make of her a cotter.
Jack's stalk fell down and made him frown
And made Jenn's laughter tauter.
Up Jack got, and rubbed a lot,
As fast as he could muster.
His own hand job, he buffed his knob,
With ferocity and bluster.
When Jenn gave in, how she grinned
To see Jack's limpy master.
Randall vexed, did strike her next
For causing his disaster.

Back to seriousness, the attempted rape scene is played respectfully and solicitously by Donnelly and Menzies. A sinister chemistry exists between them with neither of them restraining their performance. It reinforces my wish for Randall and Geillis Duncan to have met just once – a deliciously wicked encounter, to be sure. All of Randall’s perverse scenes are simply a prelude to the final encounter with Jamie – SPOILER – not only in Season 1 but Season 2.

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When Jenny completes the Grimm Fairy Tale, she looks to Jamie for an apology. Like brother, so like sister. Jamie – being a man, after all – looks baffled.

“Have I not said as much?”

he asks. He thinks his sad eyes have said all they need to say.

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Helpful Claire jumps in, siding again with Jenny who refrains from using the word trollop but still doesn’t appreciate the assistance. Sisterhood she is not feeling.

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“This is between my brother and me,”

Jenny tells her new sister-in-law. An uncomfortable Ian and maidservant looked shocked at Claire’s audacity. Ooh. There’s going to be juicy gossip in the servants’ quarters tonight.

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Jamie takes Claire into the dining room for a private chat, with the maidservant following close behind. She doesn’t want to miss a thing.

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It’s all about Jamie time again. Claire is embarrassing him by speaking her mind in public. She needs to learn her place if she plans to stay in the 18th century. Claire is welcome to lob crockery at Jamie’s head in private, but she must not countermand him in front of . . . oh, anyone. Is it okay to question him in front of the dogs, or do the dogs outrank her, too?

Docile Claire returns to the parlor with puffy Jamie;

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Jenny is still pissed off;

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Ian remains on the sidelines; the maid is hoping for another outburst; and the dogs haven’t moved an inch.

“You’re planning on staying then?”

Jenny says to Claire’s declaration of Lallybroch being her new home.

“What about the price on your head?”

she reminds Jamie, as if he could ever forget.

Hospitality aside, Jenny orders the Laird’s room be made ready for her brother and his lady. They both must smell worse than the goats outside with remnants of several days in the thieve’s hole hanging onto Claire and Jamie picking up her scent from all the hot sex they had on the road.

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“No, I wouldn’t dream of putting you out of your room,”

Claire says with a sweet smile when Jenny utters the command. Of course, she’s practically halfway up the stairs when she says it, clearly meaning, “This being the Lady of Broch Tuarach thing ain’t so bad. Plus, putting Jenny in her place feels pretty damn good.”

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Jamie and Claire settle into their new room with Laird Jamie sharing fond memories of his father.

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Claire ruins the mood by asking:

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“When was the last time you saw your father?”

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Jamie takes us back to Fort William . . .

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. . . the week after he was flogged the first time. He see his father as two Red Coats escort him toward Randall’s office.

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Brian (Andrew Whipp) is desperate to win Jamie’s freedom before the next flogging takes place, and is off to see the Duke of Argyle.

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He kisses Jamie on the cheek in parting, calling out:

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“You’re a braw lad, son.”

Jamie is thrust into a chair before Randall, who sits behind a desk, scratching out a letter.

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I am fascinated by the face on the back of Randall’s chair, who looks an awful lot like Albert Einstein:

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But let’s not digress . . .

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Randall seems in a cheerful mood after meeting Jamie’s father. Not the time, I know, but I’m wondering what kind of socks Tobias Menzies is wearing in this scene. Ahem. Randall goes on to make the assertion that even if Brian is able to retrieve a written pardon from the Duke of Argyle, it won’t be in time to spare Jamie the second flogging. With sad (creepy) eyes, he expresses regret regarding their poor start.

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Jamie is, at first, bewildered until Randall makes clear his desire:

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“It’s quite simple. Give over to me, make free of your body, and they’ll be no second flogging,”

the Captain says with ominous music intensifying behind his words. Ick. I hope this isn’t called the “Jack and Jamie Love Theme.”

Randall rises from his chair and approaches Jamie:

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“If not, well . . .”

Nothing like a  little Blackmail to set the mood.

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Jamie admits to considering Randall’s offer to spare himself the agony of a second flogging. A quick shag, and he’s out of prison the same day, Randall promises.

“But I could still feel my father’s kiss on my cheek,”

Jamie says to Claire. Thoughts of being broken bother him more than the idea of being buggered. Must be a guy-thing because what follows ain’t pretty.

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Brian returns to witness his son’s second brutal flogging. When Jamie falls limp in his shackles, Brian gives out a small whimper – thinking his son dead – and collapses to his own death. He dies the way I’d think every man wants to go out – on his feet, wearing an Alexander McQueen-worthy leather jacket.

Boy, I’m hoping that’s the last sad tale of the episode . . .

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Down in the dining room, the sisters-in-law sit uneasily across from each other. Claire reaches for the liquor while Jenny casts judgmental dispersions regarding Claire’s ability to run Lallybroch, then b*tches and moans about money when Jamie and Ian enter the room.

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Ian’s role in this episode is to smile, smirk and break the tension. He does so now by announcing the celebration over the Laird’s return on Quarter Day. Claire expresses concern having Jamie on public display . . .

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.  . . but spiteful Jenny declares:

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“Our tenants are like family. Not a man, woman, or child would think about turning Jamie over to the Red Coats – at any price”

Jenny trusts the tenants. Jenny doesn’t trust the tenants. I’m sure they’d think about it for the right price.

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Quarter Day arrives, and Jamie slips on his father’s McQueen jacket. Um . . . yeah . . . his dad died in that thing. But no waste in the Highlands. The jacket is too valuable to have been buried with his father.

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The Laird and his lady make a handsome couple, greeting the tenants of Broch Tuarach, but Jamie turns bold and pretentious over the next few scenes, taking the role of Laird to an obnoxious level.

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In the house, Ian sits meekly on Jamie’s left side – He’s supposed to be on the right. Maybe that’s the problem. – not objecting when the rightful Laird declares to a tenant who’s come up short in the rent:

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“I’ll not squeeze the last penny from you when times are hard. That was my father’s view, and mine as well.”

I’m taking a slight detour here to express my disappointment with this approach to Jamie’s character. I truly understand why it’s done – to provide conflict and contrive a later reversal in his attitude – but it doesn’t quite fit his dedication and duty to those for whom he’s responsible or his sharp, strategic head for business. He knows how to run an estate. He knows how important the rents are. I believe he’s too strong-minded to let pretentiousness take over. There. I’m done whining – for now.

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Meanwhile, Claire sits outside with the women – in her place – but jumps up when Ronald McNab grabs hold of his son Rabbie and beats him in public for taking a bannock from the table.

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It’s sad no one but Claire seems to have a reaction, but then, why should I be surprised after the lukewarm response from the Leoch partygoers during Arthur Duncan’s death? Is there no such thing as a good samaritan in the 18th century?

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Claire takes Rabbie off the man’s hands and escorts the boy into the house where she is joined by Jenny. Thank goodness. Someone else who cares. An obvious abuse victim, they lift the boy’s shirt to inspect his body. Not sure why they do this in the middle of a crowded room, but . . .

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. . . Jamie interrupt his hobnobbing when he sees the marks on Rabbie’s back.

“Not for you to worry about,”

Jenny replies when Jamie inquires who would do that to a defenseless boy? There’s an obvious affinity between the Laird and the urchin, but Jamie is easily distracted by one of his tenants with an offer of drink.

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Miffed Claire watches her Laird husband walk off.

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Later that same evening, drunken fiddle music accompanies Jamie to bed where Claire is already sacked out. Drunk Jamie oafishly thuds down onto their straw mattress.

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At least, that’s what it sounds like. Jenny must have snagged the feather-top mattress. I say – if he’s going to come home like that every night, they should seriously think about investing in a Tempur-Pedic.

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Jamie tells Claire he’s been out drinking with Ronald McNab, discussing the difference between abuse and discipline. He ended up giving McNab a demonstration with his fists, he jokes. I’m thinking about the last time he made a joke about the MacDonalds’ mother and ended up with the pointy end of it in his side. Will Jamie ever learn?

The next morning, Jamie faces his Scottish breakfast with a Highlander-sized hangover.

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Jenny bursts into the room, lambasting her brother for not collecting the rents and saddling them with another mouth to feed. Rabbie MacNab joined the household when his father kicked the boy out of their – no doubt – ramshackle hut. Jenny is furious Jamie took matters into his own fists, obstructing her efforts to have the boy removed from McNab’s care through other means.

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Angry Jamie declares himself:

“I am the Laird of this estate now, and I do not need to discuss the running of it with my sister.”

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Jenny says “F#@* you,” but in a much cooler way, and storms from the room.

Jamie returns to his breakfast where it seems a nasty bannock is the Scottish cure for a hangover. He stalks off for the broken mill – Mrs. Crook having informed him she had to grind the flour by hand – to investigate the case of the pebble-laced bannocks.

After jerking on a few gears and shifts inside the waterworks, Jamie decides he must go into the pond to look for the jam under the non-functioning wheel. He sheds his boots and kilt, and I have to say, I am a hearty proponent of this plan.

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It’s been at least a half-hour since Jenny chided Jamie, but here she comes through a field of wildflowers, holding up her skirts.

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“Mrs. Crook told me the stupid fool had come up here,”

she says, scanning the horizon.

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She turns Claire to face the oncoming band of Red Coats.

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Jamie spots them from the water and ducks out of sight.

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Quick-thinking Jenny pulls Claire down beside her to hide Jamie’s clothing. She greets the Red Coats, having told Claire to keep silent because of her English accent, and informs the soldiers the mill is out of operation.

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The helpful Red Coat commander offers his assistance and gives the mill a closer look.

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From under the water, Jamie hears of the English soldier’s intention to join him in the pond.

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Abracadabra! The wheel starts slowly spinning to the commander’s surprise. He plucks Jamie’s shirt from one of the rotating blades, assuming it to be the culprit for the malfunction.

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The Red Coats ride off, and drenched Jamie resurfaces with the waterline coming up to a convenient level. Jenny attacks with some gibberish Gàidhlig – I think – but stops colder than Jamie’s cøck when she see’s his backside. Funny. I think he exposes less from the front than from the back, but who’s complaining?

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Yes, it’s the first time Jenny sees Randall’s art work on Jamie’s back. Obviously distressed – not that Jamie senses it – she dashes off. The camera operator and editor stay on Jamie as he makes his way toward shore. Bless their hearts – and Diana Gabaldon, of course, for writing the scene.

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Sometime in the middle of the night, Claire takes a stroll along the upstair’s Lallybroch gallery where she runs into fellow night-owl Ian. As Claire admires a portrait of Jenny as a young girl, tenderly holding a dove, Ian asks:

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“Are you surprised she has a gentle side?”

Claire, not having witnessed that side of Jenny yet, politely lies:

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“No, of course not.”

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Ian smiles. He doesn’t see it much either.

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“Perhaps a little,”

Claire amends.

I wouldn’t call this an important scene to advance the storyline of this particular episode, but it is one of my favorites. I go into more about it in my overall summary at the end.

Ian reveals a bit of his personal history to Claire regarding the loss of his leg, then shares the tale of his unusual, but touching, journey to the altar with Jenny.

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“She came out to me in the field one day, while I was mending a fence. I was covered with muck, and her, standing there like a bush covered with butterflies.

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“She says . . . Well, I dinna ken exactly what she said, but it ended with her kissing me and saying, ‘Fine. We’ll be married on St. Martin’s Day.’

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“I was still explaining to her why we couldna do any such thing, when I found myself in front of a priest, saying, ‘I, take thee, Janet.'”

Claire is likewise touched by the story, and we see her heart soften a bit for the feisty Fraser lass. Ian is obviously curious – and empathetic – regarding Claire. He offers advice on how to handle being married to a stubborn-headed, pain-in-the-arse mule of a Fraser. Actually, he’s talking about this wife, but the same applies to Jamie.

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“You can tug on their rope, or give them a wee kick in their backside.”

he says plainly. Claire goes with option C.

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She returns to the Laird’s bedroom where the mighty Laird is fast asleep on his throne bed . . .

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grabs hold of the covers . . .

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. . . and pulls him onto the floor with an eye-waking thump to his rump.

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“You’re going to listen to me. I did not marry the Laird of Lallybroch. I married Jamie, but I haven’t seen much of him since we walked through the gates of this place.”

Claire berates. The Laird can’t get a word in edgewise when she gives him a stern warning for trying to interrupt.

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“Your father’s dead, Jamie, but if he were here – I’d wager he’d give you a thrashing for the way you’ve been acting. You’re trying to be someone you’re not. And in the process, you’re wrecking the family that you do have left. If you’re not careful, you’re going to lose them, too.”

Claire’s wise words appear to sink through Jamie’s thick-headed, stubborn skull, as the next morning he visits his father’s grave for the first time.

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His thoughts and words, we cannot hear, but I’d wager he’s asking for advice . . . praying for strength and guidance.

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Jenny joins Jamie for one of the most tender and emotional scenes of the episode. They are awkward in front of each other, but this time for very different reasons. Pride and guilt are put aside on both sides of the sibling table.

Jamie makes the first peace offering, handing Jenny a pouch of coins – the rent from the tenants. He, then, offers to undo the damage he did to Jenny’s endeavors with the McNabs, but Jenny concedes that Lallybroch is the best place for Rabbie.

Jenny breaks into tears when Jamie apologizes for being wrong, not consulting with her over the affairs of the household.

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“I’m the one who’s wronged you, and I’m so ashamed,”

she cries. Jamie is understandably perplexed:

“Of what?”

he asks.

“Ever since father died, a small, dark part of me has blamed you for his death. When they told me what happened at Fort William, that Randall flogged you himself and that seeing that is what killed father, I thought you must have done something to bring it upon yourself, shot your mouth off, or acted without thinking of the consequences as you have done all your life.”

After seeing Jamie’s scars at the mill pond, Jenny reveals that she now blames herself for Jamie’s treatment and thus, their father’s death. She’s convinced her taunting of Randall made the sadistic Captain take out his fury on Jamie’s back.

Likewise, Jamie has spent the past four years blaming himself for their father’s death. The truth is . . . all together now:

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“There’s a devil in that man that no one can influence. The only one responsible for putting father in his grave is Jack Randall.”

So . . . maybe he was born that way.

Jamie and Jenny come to a long-overdue reconciliation with Jamie adding he would willingly have sacrificed his life to spare his sister the pain of Randall.

“And if your life is a suitable exchange for my honor, tell me why my honor is not a suitable exchange for your life,”

Jenny lovingly retaliates.

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“And are you telling me that I may not love you as much as you love me, because if you are, Jamie Fraser, I’ll tell you right now – it’s not true.”

Oh, these two. How do their conversations ever end with each one wanting to get the last sentimental word?

All is well and harmonious at Lallybroch, which usually means – in an Outlander novel – that something really horrible is about to happen.

Jamie and Claire have their first tranquil evening in the bedroom. No one is drunk. Everyone is awake. There’s no talk of Randall. Like I said . . .

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Claire, standing by the window in a lovely nightgown by the fabulous Terry Dresbach, admits to feeling like she belongs at Lallybroch. Who wouldn’t want to live there, after all? It’s grander than Castle Leoch. They don’t have tapestries in every room or gorgeous wallpaper covering the cold walls or a cozy dining room for no more than six people. Plus, no Dougal skulking about and no Colum telling them what to do. Oh, yeah. And no mention of Laoghaire.

Jamie is very happy to hear his wife talk so. He always knew she belonged there with him, at his side as Lady Broch Tuarach. He tells Claire he married her:

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“Because I wanted you more than I wanted anything in my life.”

Jamie’s tender side is buttery soft, but his sexual comedic side can sometimes be rather smarmy, as it is when he grabs hold of Claire’s “lovely round arse.”

Eh. Is it just me? I want either romance or comedy. Trying to meld the two together kind of ruins the scene for me – unless done right, as it is in THE WEDDING episode.

Don’t get me wrong. I think this is a charming scene between our Laird and Lady, but if they’re going to diverge from the novel (I know. I know. I’m comparing it to the book.), then I say – go for it.

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The important part is, Jamie and Claire openly proclaim their love for one another for the first time in their marriage . . . and just in time for something really horrible to happen.

The next morning . . .

Claire wakes to find Jamie gone from the bed. It’s a farm. Early to rise . . .

Dressed, she strolls out onto the landing and hears combative voices coming from below.

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When she reaches the banister, she finds Jamie surrounded by at least five men, one pointing a pistol at her husband and another holding a bouquet? Odd man out. Guess they ran out of armament.

114_Review_0001

SPOILER: Seems Jenny forgot to include “untrustworthy scumbags who Jamie beat up” among those who would never turn her brother in to the Red Coats. Something really horrible is about to happen . . .


In general, I like Ep 112 LALLYBROCH, but it feels a bit disjointed in areas. I suspect that’s because a lot of mileage has to be covered within this single episode. Much time is spent with Jamie and Jenny – as rightly, it should be – but that means someone has to be sacrificed. That someone is Ian.

Ian’s character is certainly not the most dynamic of the series, but he is important to the story as a whole. Of course, I’d be hard-pressed to pick any main character who’s not essential to the Outlander universe. What is lacking for me is Ian’s connection with not only Jamie, but Jenny. Beyond the homecoming hug between the brothers-by-childhood, Jamie and Ian have no bonding moments. Neither does Ian show love or concern for his wife. When he first enters the yard, she is obviously distressed. He makes no gesture to take her side. Of course, he later warns Claire not to come between two Frasers when their danders are up, but does that mean he never offers comfort?

Two of my favorite Jenny and Ian scenes are Jenny’s telling of her near rape experience and Jenny’s delivery of baby Maggie. Actually, it’s the aftermath and Ian’s reaction to both situations which move me. If you’ve read the novel, you know exactly what I mean. I’m fine with the adaptations in the show, for the most part, but during Jenny’s telling of Randall’s violence, Ian appears to be listening to a story of . . . well, anything but that. For non-readers of the novel, I fear the couple on-screen is misrepresented.

Ian’s scene with Claire along the gallery, where Steven Cree is given the most dialogue, we are awarded with a short exploration of his character. He’s a smart man, a former soldier, and a perceptive reader of people. We like him. We want more.

Regarding the remainder of the episode, it’s thrilling to watch Jenny’s character come to full life. Laura Donnelly partners perfectly with both Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies.

Tobias Menzies. What can I say which I haven’t already said? Captain Randall steals every scene for me, and his presence magnifies and darkens with each episode. While we’re elated the perfect Jamie and Claire were cast, how different would the show be without Mr. Menzies? I can’t imagine.

I’ve already discussed the beauty of the Lallybroch interiors, and you’ve hopefully seen them for yourselves. If I have one pseudo-negative comment to make, it’s that the sets and dressing are distracting. During my initial viewing of the episode, I found my eyes repeatedly straying from the characters to admire the production design. While a compliment to Jon Gary Steele, I doubt that’s what the filmmakers had in mind.

If time had allowed, a more complete introduction of Ronald McNab’s character would have served the story greatly. McNab is essential to putting Jamie in harm’s way, and it’s regrettable there isn’t more time to spend on him and his motives – beyond Jamie’s fisticuffs. As I said, a lot of mileage had to be covered in this episode.

Jamie and Claire’s relationship takes a backseat in LALLYBROCH, but they have such beautiful scenes in THE DEVIL’S MARK, it carries them through this episode.

I look forward to Claire and Jenny bonding in Ep. 113 THE WATCH, and hope to see Ian receive considerably more coverage.


Showrunner Ron Moore is joined this week by screenwriter Anne Kenney during the podcast for Episode 112: LALLYBROCH. It should be available for free on  iTunes, or you can listen to it here. Mr. Moore also treats us with an Inside Look at the making of Ep 112, revealing more about Jamie and Claire’s arrival at Lallybroch.

Terry Dresbach provides a close look at the Lallybroch costumes in her post: The Laird and his Lady Return Home. Ep 12

Once again, Mandy Tidwell provides our Gàidhlig translations in her Outlander Episode 112 blog post: Lallybroch – The Gàidhlig Bits I Could Decipher. Mandy also provides the translation for Brian Fraser’s tombstone: 112 Bonus

Outlander Episode #113: THE WATCH premieres on Starz on Saturday, 2 May 2015 in the U.S.

For more goodies on this episode, check out: Jamie’s Top 30 Looks from Outlander Episode #112: LALLYBROCH

And if you missed my previous recapped review, you can read it here: A True Fan’s Review of Outlander Episode #111: THE DEVIL’S MARK

41 thoughts on “A True Fan’s Review of #Outlander Episode 112: LALLYBROCH

  1. Candida,
    Congratulations on the anniversary of the site.
    I think you’re brilliant, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this site, which I adore.
    However– I haven’t read the books (deliberately– I want to be able to enjoy the surprises of the show without knowing what is coming…).
    Therefore, your mentioning Wentworth and MacNab getting Jamie into trouble are spoilers for me.
    I’m not sure if this site is meant only for people who have read the books– but I’m getting afraid to look at this site because I’m concerned about spoilers.
    If you think people who haven’t read the books should not therefore read this site, please let me know.
    Thanks,
    iv.

    1. Thank you, Irene. I believe all of my recap/reviews thus far have included spoilers not only for the remainder of the season but for seasons to come. I normally include a warning at the beginning. I will reinstate. Regarding MacNab, his holding a pistol on Jamie at the end pretty much indicates Jamie is in trouble – not really a spoiler there. Curious – do you not know the titles of upcoming episodes? They give a loose indication of what is about to happen. The show is also fairly steeped with foreshadowing. I hate to lose the audience, but I understand your hesitation to come back. Enjoy the rest of the season!

      I’m amending this comment to you, Irene, after speaking with a close friend. It seems I was wrong. McNab is not the man holding a pistol on Jamie at the end. Now, I know what you meant by spoiler. My apologies.

      1. Hi Candida,
        Thanks so much for your reply, and for the spoiler warnings. I know it must be really tricky/difficult for you to have to worry about spoilers, and basically have 2 different audiences (book/non-book). I hate to add to your chore! Sorry!

        I live in London UK, only just got show availability recently, and I’ve fallen madly in love with this show. I guess I am a bit of a “superfan” and want to read reaction/analysis/recaps of the shows. But when so many millions of people have already read the books, it’s pretty hard to avoid spoilers… (Even Ron Moore is very often inadvertantly giving away spoilers in his interviews).

        Anyway, as soon as this series is over, I’m going to read the book…will probably go ahead and read DIA too, as the utterly brilliant Sam/Cat/Tobias are now firmly established in my brain as JAMMF/Claire/BJR…and I am dying of curiosity!

        Thanks again for your excellent work,
        iv.
        PS- even without having read thre books, I was slightly disappointed by the love declaration in this episode– thought it was too brief and ended too abruptly. Same with the second half of ep 11(too much witch trial; not enough Claire/Jamie). I wonder if producers are trying to underplay the romance & emotion, in order to ramp up the action/adventure elements… I hope that’s not going to be a “trend” in the show going forward…

        1. Unfortunately, the only way truly to avoid spoilers is to stay off the internet. :oP I am not adverse to putting SPOILER markers in my posts as you may have seen in Jamie’s Ep 112 Top 30. I got lazy the past few weeks. Thank *you* for the reminder.

          Personally, I believe the main problem with the “I love you” scene is the coverage. The camera angle(s) are more placed to showcase the room rather than our lovers. I wanted close ups of Jamie and Claire at the most critical moments in the dialogue. If they exist, they didn’t make it into the final edit. The producers/editors chose to keep the audience at a distance until the very end. And odd choice, in my opinion.

          Enjoy the books. Would love to hear your thoughts as you read, so feel free to drop a comment whenever/wherever!

          1. Hi and thanks again for your insightful reply. I’m coming to the conclusion that spoiler-avoidance is a losing battle, alas…
            Yes, you’re right– if ever there was a scene that should have been shot in close-up, that was it. The actors are so good, and their faces and eyes are so expressive, that their close-ups are always incredibly powerful and moving. But aside from the camera angle, I think the scene was too brief and not particularly emotional. For such an “epic” love story, this scene could have and should have had a bit more time & physical tenderness. For the most part, I have great sympathy with the editing process, and trying to fit a lot of material into a short space of time. But then I scratch my head in confusion when they occasionally spend too much time on some irrelevant things (i.e. Dougal’s 10 minute drunken rant on his wife’s death, 10 minutes spent bullying Willie in the snow, Ned waving a gun around in court, etc…)
            Anyway, am being a bit nit-picky. For the most part, I think the show does a really brilliant job (although maybe I won’t continue to think so after reading the books, tbd…)

            1. I’d say 99% of the most fervent book fans are not disappointed by the adaptation. I know a few folks who’ve fallen off the fanwagon. I suspect they expected a word-for-word translation which is not possible or practical. Traditionally, the original author is the most difficult to please, so if Diana loves what they are doing – how can those few find it objectionable enough to abandon viewing? Guess I’ll never know . . . but then, I don’t really care. To each her own.

  2. Wow Candida.
    Aerodynamics.
    Poetry.
    Fashion commentary.
    You are just full of surprises.
    (Honestly, I don’t even know how to screen cap.)
    Another great recap and analysis this week. In my opinion you hit the mark on absolutely every point made this time.
    I’ve never thought of Jamie being so self-centered and immature either. Although coming back home after such a long absence with the spectre of his father lurking about must have been more than a little daunting, it’s not like he was away at boarding school. He has a lot of life experience and is, I think, much more savvy than portrayed.
    Where were the dogs running out to greet the two of them when they arrived? I missed getting to see that – how they remembered Jamie even after he was gone for so long. That huge one was great, though.
    Loved Laura as Jenny. And Drunk Jamie. Claire’s reaction to him is perfect. Very 20th Century.
    Tobias!!! Wow. He’s simply brilliant. The scene with Jenny made me want to throw up. I know what’s ahead butI still think I’ll be viewing it all through my fingers.
    Ian is so much more integral than portrayed in this episode. I hope they remedy that going forward, but who knows.
    Every time I think I know where Ron is taking things I’m always surprised by what he does. I suppose part of his job is keeping us guessing and wanting to come back for more.
    I try very hard to put my memory of the books aside while watching the show because there’s just SO darn much good stuff in them. It’s why I like reading the comments here. There are readers and non-readers alike and I love seeing what the non-readers think. This episode seems a bit disjointed to me too and I can’t wait to read their take on it.

    1. Thank you, Susan! This episode has so many great moments but really needed to be divided into two. Unfortunately, there’s no time left. If sacrifices aren’t made here, they’ll be made later and we know that cannot happen.

      1. I agree. It looks like Ron is going a little more “rogue” in the next episode. Which isn’t necessarily bad. I’ve loved everything so far.
        Just read your comment about Tarran MacQuarrie. Don’t remember him. A member of the Black Watch perhaps??
        Oh, and let me add my congrats on your anniversary. It’s terrific!

  3. Wow you are as much a gifted artist as Ron&Co- my hats off to you & congrats on your anniversary & success. The entire production is a banquet which I appreciate, including the set design & additions like the Viking sword. Think your analysis is spot on again. For me the declaration of love scene felt like soda water w less fizz. Dont get me wrong- still love the story & look fwd to the next ep.

  4. Candida, congrats on the great milestone! This is a fitting recap! Agreed with you on pretty much all points! Found bits and pieces to love everywhere, but covering that much territory in one hour means somethings gotta’ give and sometimes those “somethings” are bits I’d have liked to see played out more fully or slightly differently! I’d have loved it to be 2 episodes too! Hubs is a watcher of the show and I am a reader of the books and your observation regarding how a non-book reader would view Jenny & Ian’s relationship was a score! Thanks for the shout out to the cheap seats! Also, I will have to watch the scene again to confirm my observation, but I didn’t think the gent holding the pistol on Jamie was Ronald McNab. Guess I’ll have to watch it again! Thanks for another great post!

    1. Thank you, Gina! You are correct. MacNab is NOT holding a pistol on Jamie at the end. My error. I have deleted the line. Eh, mistakes happen. I’m not writing a history book!

      1. I didn’t think he looked like he’d been on the receiving end of Jamie’s fists! Anyway, sorry if that came across nitpicky… certainly wasn’t the intent! I can’t imagine how much time it takes to do such a thorough and accurate recap! You rock them!

  5. Talking about McNab in the final scene, he’s holding Claire’s gifted vase of posies from Qtr Day. I hope he doesn’t smash it… O & did you see the next promo w Hot Horrocks back? Like these changes. Keeps us on our toes!

    1. SPOILER ALERT: I did not realize MacNa is the one holding the flowers, but I did learn recently the man holding the pistol is the mysterious Tarran MacQuarrie. I have not watched the trailer.

      1. Looks like him, but maybe not.
        SPOILER ALERT…
        On second thought, don’t think he’d have the nerve to show up at his house after snitching him out. But why would anyone be in that context w Claire’s vase in his hands? Weird.

  6. Love the recap and the additional poetry! I figure Jenny will warm up to Claire after the birth. One thing you didn’t really touch on is the fact that Claire finally received a vase of her very own which seemed to really touch her (like this is a place she can put down roots).

    I’ve got to agree with you about the speech to Claire about keeping her opinions to herself until they’re alone. All I could think of is she can’t even be herself in front of family? Since, presumably, she can now consider Jenny and Ian family. Claire actually took that speech a lot better than I’d have thought she would.

    Congrats on the anniversary. Love this site and believe me when I say it really helped me get through Droughtlander.

    1. Thanks, Jerri! I leave a lot out every week, I’m sure. Nice catch on the vase. Adds to the creepiness having that stranger (Black Watch?) guy hold it at the end. I’m a little worried my recap/review will get so long, people will stop reading. :oP

      1. Don’t worry about that, even should they become small comic book size, I’ll be here to visit as soon as it’s posted. 🙂

  7. I love your recaps/ and captions. !! I eagerly await them every episode.
    I was disappointed in the Jamie portrayal this week, he was much kinder in the books, when he went home. I wish there had been more time for the Ian character to develop, he was to much in the back ground. As for your poetry, >> I laffed till tears ran down my face…
    You are one talented lady 🙂

    1. Thank you, Kilts and Swords! Love your avi. Lol. Yes, the quiet before the storm, eh? I am actually looking forward to the last four episodes because the performances are going to be spectacular. There’s nothing like Outlander on television.

  8. Candida I absolutely love your musings. They are as much of a highlight each week for me, as each new episode of Outlander. You need to work a deal with Ron/Starzs/Diana and your Gaellic translator blog and publish these to keep us all entertained during Droughtlander Part 2 that will soon be upon us.

    This blog is Fab. Looking forward to the next 4 weeks.

    Sarah

  9. First, congrats on the blogiversary! (sp? 🙂 ) Second, I did like this episode quite a bit–I didn’t mind the “new evolution” of Jamie’s character as much as other people, only because as much as I’ve loved the books, there were times where–VOYAGER and Laoghaire aside, ahem!–I felt that he could come off a wee bit too perfect here and there. In LALLYBROCH I felt that I really did see him learning how to f-ing grow up and take on the mantle of running a family–something he’d never done, and would have no reason to know how to do. (After all, knowing how to love people isn’t the same as having to be responsible for their upkeep . . . )

    The “I love you scene” is my sore point in the episode. I treat this show purely as an adaptation and try not to get bogged down in “They left THAT out! They got THIS wrong!” But this hit a wrong note for me. I think it’s sooo obvious when Claire stays in Jamie’s time what she’s really feeling–but the fact that this is the first time Jamie says it, out loud, is a huge deal! In the book, he uses that “lovely round arse” line to try and deflect her shock for a moment, but the emotion was so intense, and so moving . . . and I kind of didn’t get that intensity here. And I was so looking forward to this as a big “moment.” (Yes, in the book she also ‘fesses up to her own love for him a few days later . . . which would have been nice to see, but given the character arcs they set up, would have made sense to cut.) This just felt sort of rushed and more filled with humor than true emotion, which made me a little sad.

    Still and all, I think Moore & Co. are doing an amazing job adapting these books–it can’t be easy! (Plus, your blog–hee!)

    1. Thank you, Susan!
      Yes, the “I Love You” scene seems another sacrifice made due to time-crunch constraints. Given a 17-episode season, this storyline would have worked much better over two episodes. Alas, where do they make the cuts? I don’t envy the tough decisions Ron has to make. With only 13 episodes for Season 2 . . . talk about tough decisions.

  10. Candida- you are truly a muse! Yours is one of my favorite recaps!

    I am a ‘bookie’ first, and suddenly got the shivvvvvers when you started off by mentioning BJR’s middle name, Wolverton. This bit of buried foreshadowing brought me right back to the sucker-punch of seeing, for 3 seconds, the stuffed snarling wolf at the B and B in ep. 1 ! Gawd, Everyone Outlander is masterful at layered storytelling!

  11. Only 13 episodes for DRAGONFLY IN AMBER? Really? I respect the art of adaptation but I sincerely hope that they are planning to pull a GAME OF THRONES and split that into two seasons, because there is a hell of a lot of story in that book. Not to mention they might kill me with the (SPOILER ALERT) parting at Craig na Dun, sob . . . I wonder why Starz made that decision . . . Interesting, considering that the show is so popular. Perhaps the expense of the production? All those locations . . .

    In the meantime, I’ll just keep giggling at your recaps and Top 30 lists. Love ’em!

    1. SPOILER for non-readers: Ron has discussed breaking Voyager into two seasons – Season 3 & 4. Would love to see all novels make it to screen, but Voyager would be the best place to end it – if they can’t. Ending the series with one of the other books would leave the audience hanging. Voyager has the best wrap-up.

  12. The news of number of eps for Season 2 is that a recent announcement? Let us hope what you envision is true bc Season 1 is so jam packed at 16 eps. I hope the chances for Season 3 arent affected by this- Btw RDMoore has announced ppl ought to begin asking Starz for Season 3 now.

  13. Kudos on another great (and amusing) post! I agree wholeheartedly with all of your comments, except I kind of enjoyed D-bag Jamie. Book Laird always seemed just a bit too perfect for a 23 year-old. In this episode, where he makes mistakes and requires some straightening out, he seems more believable. Also, the scene in the pond was the first where his body (in almost all its rippled glory) looked broad-shouldered and large enough as I’d pictured Jamie. Nice work, director, for getting the camera angles perfect!

    1. I’ve never considered Jamie perfect. I didn’t mind his being a bull upon his return to Lallybroch, it was the swaggering parts I didn’t like. I understand his initial leniency with the one tenant, but I’m not convinced he would have been *that* lenient with all of them. Glad to have the mix of opinions!

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