Outlander Episode 308: FIRST WIFE aired on Sunday, 5 November and the first thing I have to say is … oh, the hair. Jamie’s lustrous hair. It’s back. I know aesthetics like hair should not be important, but Jamie’s red mane is a defining element (as Diana Gabaldon writes about so much in the novels) of the man over whom we love to obsess. Both Claire and Lord John Grey make a big deal about it, so why can’t I? What follows is one of Diana’s passages describing a vivid moment on the trip from Ardsmuire Prison to Helwater.

At the crest of the next hill, the track split, going off in two directions. Fraser, some distance ahead, pulled his horse to a stop and waited for direction, the wind ruffling his hair. He had not plaited it that morning, and it blew free, the flaming strands lifting wild about his head.

Squelching his way up the slope, John William Grey looked up at the man above him, still as a bronze statue on his mount, save for the rippling mane. The breath dried up in his throat, and he licked his lips.

“O Lucifer, thou son of the morning,” he murmured to himself, but forebode to add the rest of the quotation.

– from Voyager, Part Four: The Lake District, Chapter 14: Geneva by Diana Gabaldon

Love the ‘squelching’ part but enough about mud and hair – for now – let’s talk about the episode. The lovely Nell Hudson as Laoghaire MacKimmie (neé MacKenzie or should we say Fraser? It’s hard to keep track around here.) is back and seems to be over her puritanical repentance. Maybe it died with Colum. She’s one of those moms who has no qualms about badmouthing others in front of her children. I do believe the expletives flying out of her mouth are the worse we’ve heard on the show. She’s no lady. But then … we’ve always known that.

As if John Bell as Young Ian doesn’t add enough sparkle and shine to the series, two more adorable kiddies join the cast. Layla Burns is cute as a pixie as Joan MacKimmie with eyes bright as a penny and hair red as … hey, wait a minute. Red hair? What exactly has Jamie been doing the past 20 years? Guess we’ll let him ‘splain himself later. Meanwhile, beauty Lauren Lyle plays little Layla’s big sister Marsali and is moony-eyed over … well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Both girls are sweet and polite, amazing considering their mother has probably done nothing but rant and rave about Jamie for the past few months. No doubt, Claire’s name came up more than a few times over the years as well. The c-word? Really? What is this – Game of Thrones? Come to think of it. Our Jamie could have used their Jaime’s Bronn (too cool to have a last name) as his wingman in the reunion scene. Not that one, this one. Bronn would not have stood for Laoghaire’s behavior or her potty mouth. Or maybe it would have turned him on.

Back from the dead, er never-dead, is Ned Gowan. Bill Paterson is a pleasure to see in this episode although I actually expected him to show up with a young, pretty (perhaps former hooker) wife. Alas, he never wed, he tells Claire when she gawks at his agelessness. Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around.

The best parts of the show (besides Jamie and Claire, of course, and Young Ian and Joan and Ned and Bronn (I wish!)) are Jenny and Ian’s biting remarks. Laura Donnelly as Jenny is not as happy to see her brother as she was all the other times he dragged himself through the gates of Lallybroch – this time with a “stray.” She has a burr up her skirt and almost more bairns than she can handle. How many bedrooms are in this place? Ian is as-ever the soft voice of reason but does show a bit more grit in this episode. Steven Cree is as splendid in this role as Tobias Menzies is/was as both Randalls. (Gosh. I miss that guy.) Laura and Steven together – perfection. Skinny and one-legged, Ian still stands up to Jenny when she crosses the line although she refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing. Is she right, or is she wrong to send word to Laoghaire? It’s not like Jenny doesn’t know the girl is crazy as a bag of cats. What could possibly go wrong, eh?

Seeing as the episode is called FIRST WIFE, it makes sense the story is central around Claire. Poor Claire. She was so sure everything would work out. She planned to find Jamie waiting for her, somehow re-virginated, with a steady printer’s paycheck. Instead, he’s got a shady business on the side, hoors for roommates, kids running amok and a spare wife. Good thing he hasn’t told her about John Grey. Caitriona Balfe puts out an extraordinary performance in this episode. She’s an estranged wife, sister wannabe, life-saving surgeon and a woman unsure of her choices. Don’t you hate it when you travel back through time and everything is harder than you thought it would be? I know I do.

Sam Heughan finds himself in hot water with three and a half different women in this episode. As Jamie, he has words with Jenny, manhandles Laoghaire (although not hard enough), shares a hug with Joan, and wrestles with Claire (which is just about to get interesting before Jenny ruins it). For much of this episode, the women are in a tizzy, but Jamie doesn’t seem to get it. Ian gets it. Too bad no one listens to him. Like most men, Jamie does not understand why you cannot have too many hens in the house. And these are three of the bossiest hens in 33 counties. What has Jamie gotten himself into? Let’s find out, in this week’s episode of …

Jamie’s Top 30 How To Moments for Episode 308: FIRST WIFE.

#30: Jamie’s How To Kill Time Moment: This would have been a great time to tell Claire about his other wife … instead of 15 minutes later.

#29: Jamie’s How To Look Like A Pirate On A Horse Moment: A little prep work there, maybe?

#28: Jamie’s How To Talk His Way Out Of That One Moment: Where are all these other red-headed men? No, really.

#27: Jamie’s How To Talk With Your Eyes Moment: And they’re saying, “keep your mouth closed.”

#26: Jamie’s How To Break The Bad News Moment: Too little, too late?

#25: Jenny’s How To Clout Your Son On The Head Moment: Geez. Think I would have run away, too.

#24: Jamie’s How To Be A Male Chauvinist Pig Moment: Aw. I’m just kidding, but not really.

#23: Jamie’s How To Read A Woman’s Mind Moment: Yep. No matter what. When there’s another woman involved, the man is screwed either way.

#22: Jamie’s How To Build Trust Moment: Says the man with two wives.

#21: Jamie’s How To Look Cool Looking Through A Telescope Moment: Didn’t think it was possible, did you?

#20: Ian’s How To Lay Down The Law Moment: I’m with Jenny.

#19: Jamie’s How Not To Tell The Truth Moment: He’s had a lot of practice at that.

#18: Jamie’s How Not To Be A Heartless Bastard Moment: He’s had a lot of practice at that, too.

#17: Jamie’s How To Act When You’ve Forgotten Your Line Moment: Come on. You all thought the same thing.

#16: Jamie and Claire’s How To Rut Like Wild Beasts Moment: Jenny simply does not want Jamie to be happy.

#15: Jamie’s How To Get Out Of The Doghouse Moment: Politicians could learn a thing or two from Jamie.

#14: Jamie’s How To Flirt With The Psychopath Who Tried To Have Your Wife Killed Moment: Just like that.

#13: Jamie’s How To Be An Adorable Drunk Moment: Is he ever anything but?

#12: Jamie’s How To Make Your Sister Stop Asking Awkward Questions Moment: Warning. This only works once.

#11: Young Ian’s How To Make His Mum Hate His Aunt and Uncle Even More Moment: Good thing Young Ian doesn’t mention Mademoiselle Brighid.

#10: Jamie’s How To Tell Joan Her Mother Was Not His First Choice Moment: Best to leave out the crazy parts.

#9: Jamie and Ian’s How To Reminisce Moment: All those times Brian took a strap to them … good times.

#8: Jamie’s How To Prepare Yourself For Emergency Surgery Moment: There’s an awful lot of emergency surgery going on in Scotland.

#7: Jamie’s How To Look Good During A Fireside Chat Moment: He pretty much has this down pat.

#6: Jamie’s How To Make Claire Feel Really Sh*tty About Leaving Moment: Eh. She gave it a week.

#5: Jamie’s How To Kiss Twice, Smack Once Moment: Wait a minute. We’re all feminists here. We don’t want to be thrown down onto the bed … do we?

#4: Jamie’s How To Be A Great Dad Moment: Some men have a woman in every port. Jamie seems to have children in every century.

#3: Jamie and Claire’s How To Do A Big Finale Moment: Add one big ship et Voila!

#2: Jamie’s How To Be Happy Moment: Where’s Mr. Fezziwig?

#1: Jamie’s How To Put It All On The Line Moment: I’d say yes. But then, I’ve read all the books.

All images used above are property of Sony Pictures and Starz, Inc.

Outlander Episode 309: THE DOLDRUMS premieres on Starz this Sunday, 12 November 2017 in the U.S.

“Claire and Jamie leave Scotland, sailing to the West Indies on an urgent quest. But when the superstitious crew looks for someone to blame after a string of bad luck, rescue comes from an unlikely source.”

Directed by David Moore and Written by Shannon Goss.

If you missed the other fun looks from Outlander Season 3, you can find them here:

Jamie’s Top 30 Looks from Outlander Ep301: THE BATTLE JOINED

Jamie’s Top 30 Looks from Outlander Ep302: SURRENDER

Jamie’s Top 30 Looks from Outlander Ep303: ALL DEBTS PAID

Lord John Grey’s Top 20 Looks from Outlander Ep303: ALL DEBTS PAID

Jamie’s Top 30 Moments from Outlander Ep304: OF LOST THINGS

Top 30 Moments of Outlander Ep305: FREEDOM & WHISKY

Jamie’s Top 30 Moments from Outlander Ep306: A. MALCOLM

Top 30 Moments from Outlander Ep307: CRÈME DE MENTHE

20 thoughts on “Jamie’s Top 30 Moments from Outlander Ep308: FIRST WIFE

  1. Thank you Candida for your tolerance whereas many Outlander sites are love it or leave it. I believe for readers and show watchers alike, Scotland, its history and culture loomed large in the magic of the first book of the series and the episodes based on it. The second volume and season had an interesting side trip to 18th century France and luxury but returned to Scotland’s less perfumed but more natural bosom. The third volume brought Jamie and Claire together again in a changed Scotland where their prospects were rather limited and another adventure was launched on the ocean and Caribbean islands. From then on, our dauntless pair are pretty well stuck in colonial America and 5 more books with a ninth being worked on and a tenth planned are just too much time spent treading water encountering similar scenarios – rape in all its forms alternating with near fatal harms to all the main characters. Surely Jamie has run out of his prophesied 9 lives by now? And frankly, the details of hard scrabble poverty are rather unromantic when you’re no longer young and haven’t really progressed. I mean, after their Big House burned down, they were literally left with the clothes on their back…AGAIN.

    Ms. Gabaldon just can’t let Jamie and Claire go but watching them age almost in real time isn’t much fun either. Arthritic joints just aren’t as attractive as the bloom of youth and I really don’t need a compendium of 18th century medical procedures and herbal lore. Sure Ms. G still has good passages but they are now immensely padded. However, I admit being a lonely skeptic as her loyal readership numbering in the millions appear as loathe as she is to finish this giant Ring Cycle. I’ve quit reading a few times on reaching the higher number volumes. The TV show brought me back to reading the books from the beginning and I lasted longer this time to fill the long hiatuses but still cut the marathon short near the beginning of An Echo in the Bone. I doubt I’ll buy volume 9 and will likely borrow 10 from the library just to find out how the author ties everything together (I pray it’s a better synthesis than the TV series Lost managed LOL).. Frankly, I find discussion of the earlier volumes, at least the first 3 much more interesting than solitary plodding through repetitive later tomes that merely delay the inevitable. Which brought me here!

    1. Hi, Laine. Being a fan of the Outlander novels, I’m sure you’ve read interviews by Diana where she discusses Jamie and Claire’s story is not necessarily about falling in love. Rather, It’s about the endurance of a loving relationship. Just using the word “endurance” does not sound exciting, interesting and especially not sexy. Diana explains it much better than me. Lol.

      I understand certain parts may get tedious to some readers. As a writers, I simply enjoy Diana’s style and descriptions, no matter the subject. Regarding the ongoing saga, I love long books that delve into the details but not every book (series or not) satisfies my hunger. I’ve started and stopped plenty of dense novels that could not keep my attention. Perhaps it was the writing style. Perhaps it was the plot. Perhaps it was my mood. There are so many writers out there who have a beautiful way of telling a story, but no story. Then there are those who tell a really good story, but their writing makes me cringe or yawn or simply ask ‘how the heck did this get published and why are they (the author) so popular?’ Thank goodness there are readers for just about everyone, yeah?

      Diana is a beautiful composer with an interesting, complex and detailed story to tell. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. It’s funny you mention not caring to read about their aging because one of my favorite sex scenes (not sure if you’ve gotten there yet) is when Jamie is stuck in the wilderness after his back goes out. Claire finds and saves him (for the 10th time?) and they have sex. Of course! I think it’s hilarious. But that’s me.

      Sorry to hear you aren’t enjoying the books any more, but I’m glad you keep coming back to my site. I hope I don’t start boring you. 🤪

  2. Well, I’m late to the discussion, in the summer Outlander doldrums, bored reading book 7 of this never ending saga where I’m starting to think of the author as rather self-indulgent and repetitious and Jamie and Claire are creaking so I thought I’d look back to talk of when they had fresher blood. And I remembered this site’s light hearted amusing take on the 2 Outlander worlds that seem to be clashing – book vs show.

    I felt watching this episode and still do that after a wonderful first 7 episodes that captured the spirit of the book and characters perfectly, the writers veered off into modernizing the main characters and their reactions in an attempt to appeal to the show only watchers. They committed a giant error back in the first Lallybroch episode making Jamie an incompetent fool lectured by his English wife and rural hick sister about laird’s duties that had been bred into him by his loving father from age 5 when his older brother died to 19 when his father died and that he looked forward to filling after further seasoning by his two uncles, the best education available at the time and quite a cosmopolitan foray to France. The writers showed lack of continuity with their own previous depiction of Jamie whom wise Colum wanted as his own successor due to his nephew’s intellect, quick thinking and diplomacy that saved him at the swearing in and later reconciled the pro-Colum and pro-Dougal factions of the Mackenzies.

    A weakened and flawed character for Jamie that was carried on from then forward has the effect of making Claire appear more of a ball-breaking shrew. So both characters are portrayed as less than Ms. Gabaldon’s conception and their relationship as quite ordinary instead of magnetic poles drawn together across time and space. After their miraculous reconciliation in Season 3, Claire’s constant querulous dithering, obsession with her medical maneuvers over and above any care for Jamie and over-reaction to the Laoghaire situation (also a flaw in the book but better repaired) made her look like a fool who had carried a 20 year torch for a man she now found undeserving. This supposedly competent surgeon appeared more naive about life in 18th century Scotland than when she arrived there by accident as a young woman. Maybe she should have paid more attention to Frank’s history lessons and worked on her marriage to him since the TV writers actually had her say to Jamie that coming back was a mistake and their lives apart weren’t so bad.
    Perhaps talking to myself here but thinking about Outlander beats thinking about the heat outside. Sorry for venting.

    1. You are welcome to vent here, Laine. I can’t disagree with everything you’ve said. I had a problem with Jamie’s portrayal upon his return to Lallybroch. But I’ve tried to be generous regarding the adaptation. Everyone has a different way to tell a story. I think they’ve done the best they can to appeal to both the readers and tv viewers. It’s always interesting to hear a tv-only viewer’s take on the show. What a different perspective they have. I almost envy their not knowing what’s going to happen.

      So you’re not enjoying An Echo in the Bone?

  3. In my first correspondence with you (Lallybroch, season 1) you had made a good point regarding camera angles durning the “I love you” scene at Lallybroch. Rather than close-up, the camera was at a distance, showing much of the room and busy wallpaper – reducing the intensity of the scene. A very odd creative choice (an obvious error in my view).
    I love the show and don’t mean to be overly critical– but– sometimes it’s inconsistent and uneven in pacing and tone and direction. Perhaps the whole show would benefit from fewer writers, fewer directors, and fewer cinematographers. (or perhaps tighter oversight on the ones they do use)

    1. I remember. Sometimes I really want to see an actor’s face when they speak a certain line. Alas, the camera is on the other person’s face to capture their reaction (which I do not usually think is as interesting as the character speaking the line). But the angles are personal storytelling choices. We all have our own ideas and ways to communicate the picture in our heads. I’ve also been a little bit confused with some of the editorial choices made this season. Same thing. Creative choices.

  4. I really enjoyed this episode (hallelujah!) Jamie & Claire seemed themselves again (after being massively mis-written and mis-directed in the last episode)
    Both the writing, and the direction, were way better in this episode than in the past 2 episodes. Yes the writing was better, but the direction was also better– it had zing and momentum– the intensity of all the scenes and close-ups, the pace of speaking of the actors, the choreography of their movements, the camera angles, everything about it was just better and more intense.
    I wish they had used this director for the episode 6 reunion episode, which I thought was a bit flat. In the hands of a better director, the reunion probably would have been more intense than it was (and looked less choreographed).

    Regarding Jamie’s hair– YES. I find it distracting that in some episodes it looks lovely, and in some episodes it looks like a hobbit. Given that he apparently has the same hairdresser all the way through, it’s perplexing. Better if they had just given him a full flowing wig from the beginning, like Tobias (rather than torturing Sam’s own hair, and giving him wigs with frizzy bangs. JMHO).

    Addendum– Love John Bell as Young Ian. He’s totally fun to watch, a really charismatic actor and a lovely surprise. Very talented.

    Addendum 2- Just an odd thought. I recently heard that the producers had tested Rick Rankin (Roger MacKenzie) and Laura Donnelly (Jenny) to play Jamie & Claire. Although Rick and Laura are attractive people- I can’t begin to imagine them as Jamie & Claire…that would have been really awful. We fans are SOOOO lucky to have Sam & Cait as Jamie and Claire. They are amazing.

    1. Yes, the I liked the camera set ups much better in this episode than in previous ones. They sometimes leave me scratching my head, wonder why they chose that or this angle over a better or different one. Creative choices!

  5. Just got done reading. Amazing-like watching another episode but from a character forensics point of view. Your pov, superfragilisticespialidocious(sp). Your book comes our when? 🙄

    1. Ha ha! Thanks, Mary. My book? Hm. Have to finish rewriting it, then you all will be the first to hear me squeal! At some point, I’d like to start sharing excerpts like Diana does. Not ready for that yet. My beta readers loved the original manuscript, but we all agreed it could be better!

    1. I might (and I say that half heartedly) be able to reason with your opinion after the first few episodes. Respectfully however, after watching A. Malcolm and First Wife, if you can truthfully say that not even one scene involving Jamie didn’t give you, at the least a tremor, perhaps your television is working properly or the channel was too fuzzy due to not having the network. Otherwise, the only answer I can think of is to check your pulse, find a cardiologist or gynecologist to see if there’s a “pill for that”.
      (I say all of the above with the same jest as the blog is written with.)

  6. Outlander S3 has been sooo incredibly good, the sets, acting & production is superb, so thank you Ron, Meril, Sam, Cait & Diana for allowing us to share these moments! Bravo

  7. I LOVE reading your Top 30 Moments! I always laugh out loud and also marvel at the joy that is Outlander the Series. I have read all the books too (many times)! I love both.

    1. Thank you so much, Barbara! I’m glad my little blog adds to your enjoyment of the show. I like to add a few punches and gags comparing the books and show, but only for fun. They are two entirely different forms of entertainment. I enjoy them both immensely in different ways, like you; I’m sure.

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