Before I begin I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Snarkland (but you can call me Snark). For those of you familiar with ESL (Eric and Sookie Lovers) I am the Snarkland from over there. I didn’t write blogs for ESL but some of my comments could be counted as such! I have been asked to recap the next few episodes and I hope I do them justice! Oh and by the way: I’m terribly wordy and awfully windy. I apologize for that right now. As I review I will only be basing my opinions on the merit of the show. I am not actively looking to compare the book and series; I am determined to view the series through the eyes of a newbie.
And now, on with the show…
As I sat down to watch the episode, armed with my paper and pen, I was determined to take notes. But how does one take notes when you can’t take your eyes from the screen? I can truly say it’s been an age since a third episode of a new series has kept me this glued to the television. It’s a series that surpasses even the potential of its own source material and, as we know, this concept is about as common as a pig wearing a tutu and dancing the merengue. So many adaptations have proven the common notion that books don’t translate well onto the screen, no matter the size of the screen.
But after I finished ‘The Way Out’ I was left with only one word: magic.
Outlander is magic.
But, then, you already knew this. Otherwise you wouldn’t still be tuned in, and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this blog right now. The magic I’m speaking of isn’t the magic that transported a headstrong, world-weary woman from one brutal war right into another two hundred years into the past, though if it hadn’t been for the magic of some very unique stones none of us would be here today. The magic I am referring to isn’t waved around through a magic wand. It’s not conjured by spells or trickery. It’s the magic only produced when the elements are so good (story, writers, actors, scenery, costumes, etc.) what is produced is seemingly effortless. Because this series honors and respects not only its creator but the integrity of the storyline and genre, the any and all magic shines brightly.
Ready? Here we go…
I See a Bit ‘o’ Your Grandpappy in Ya!
We began with a flashback of Claire going off to war, leaving Frank at the train station. It was a nice role reversal as most tender war separations are depicted with the men leaving the women on the platform or standing on a porch.
Knowing who the real Black Jack Randall was, my feelings of Frank have become distorted. That may not be fair but, then, how often do sons bear the misconceptions of their forefathers? Frank is obviously not like Black Jack but he shares the quiet intensity and the stoicism of the ancestor before him, as he admonishes his wife for being stubborn. At least he conceded to her, knowing he wouldn’t, and couldn’t, change her mind (not that this should be a general practice as if everybody conceded, all the time, to stubborn people we’d be in a whole heap’a trouble). Thankfully Frank’s using his powers for good and not evil, but the family similarities certainly go much further than skin deep.
Oh, and it really was just nice to see Tobias again. And he looked so young!!
SLAPGATE!!! Or… Should We Know Each Other Better Before I Tell You I’m A Time Traveler?
Mrs. Fitz, who seems to have developed an affinity for the strange Sassenach, is bathing aforementioned woman when Claire begins telling her about where she’s from.
(Yeah, sorry, I just gotta stop here and ask: Does any body else have a hard time looking at the actress who plays Mrs. Fitz and remember that she was an alien on Doctor Who? I am having a hard time making the visual transition. I realize that’s hardly fair and I do apologize but… but… but she was a SLITHEEN!! To be a Who villain… wow. So cool.)
Anyway, back to the review. At first it seems that Mrs. Fitz is absorbing and comprehending, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, it quickly turned into a shouting and slapping session, with Claire receiving the brunt of Mrs. Fitz’s superstitious backlash.
Just when we think there’s no hope for Claire (and the option of being burned alive, a la Salem Witch Trials, supplants the suddenly desirable possibility of being killed for being an English spy), both the viewer, and Claire, realize she was daydreaming the possible outcome should she mention that she comes from a land near… or is it far? (Cue Celine Dion… on second thought, don’t. Sorry I said anything.) Thankfully Claire realizes she’s still way too much of a Sassenach to be able to trust anybody. Breathe a sigh of relief, Outlanders: Mrs. Fitz and Claire are still BFFs.
It’s a nice foreshadow of the events to come. Ironically, a similar situation that would provoke the Good Lady Fitz into slapping the Sassenach is the reason their relationship grows deeper. Mrs. Fitz’s nephew, Thomas, is afflicted with the same problem that a young boy, the son of the Laird’s chambermaid, died from the previous evening. Enter the village priest, Father Bain, who is overzealous and hateful towards women and anybody who isn’t, well, him. His exorcism techniques border flogging and, the way he was wielding that holy water, you’d have thunk it was a wet t-shirt contest. Father Bain, we really need to work on your people skills!
It takes some super-sleuthing by Claire (whose stubbornness sometimes puts her just this side of danger) and Jamie at the Black Kirk to realize what was happening to the boys and she saves young Thomas’ life. This, unfortunately, made yet another enemy for Claire. My dear Claire, won’t you learn that people can be just as stubborn as you??
Seriously. Does this look like the face of somebody you want to cross?
OMG, did you SEE the Creepy Woman in the Village??
Geillis Duncan, the master herbalist, just grows creepier by the moment and Claire, being the stubborn yet intuitive person that she is, is no dummy. But she’s learning a lot about herbs and the natural around her to function as a 20th century healer in the 18th century. After all, she’s inherited a cool stash of herbs, included powdered bones, wiggly insects and blood from various creatures. But she said so herself: she’s go to learn to acclimate herself to the time so she takes to learning how vital it is to be willing to work with the natural.
But Claire knows the woman with the red shoes is hiding just as much as what everybody accuses herself of hiding (to be fair they would be correct). When the strange woman asks Claire about where she’s from, Claire’s saved by the entrance of Jamie who has come to fetch the relieved Claire.
Those Fillies Can Be Dangerous
I can’t tell you how much I love a good slow burn, banter filled, intelligent romance. That ‘will they, won’t they’ seems to be seriously lacking in today’s entertainment. Given the need for instant gratification in today’s society, seemingly nobody has the patience for the slow burn. But do you know what I love the most about the slow burn? Slow burning fires burn the hottest for the longest amount of time. That instant flame-up isn’t needed because the temperature doesn’t change much. And boy, let me tell you, this show is brilliant about the slow burn… and the effects on a certain outgoing, stubborn woman and a young warrior whose sensitivity is in complete opposition to the battles of his land.
You just have to love Jamie. While he was abroad learning Greek and Latin, he didn’t get around to learning that, as nice of a dude as you are, women will flock to you. They all want a piece of your, um… kilt. He’s already pretty smitten with Claire (though he tends to keep that to himself) and he doesn’t realize what he’s doing to the potential dating pool around him. (That ginger can rock the plaid, let me tell you.) But don’t get me wrong; Jamie’s a wonderful man who would never try to hurt anybody but I get the feeling that Claire may be the very first woman he’s ever cared about THAT way. (Awww.) The young lad may not know what to do with those feelings.
Remember Laoghaire MacKenzie, the girl whom Jamie took the punishment for? Yep, she’s got quite the thing for the handsome, sensitive Scotsman.
But Jamie sees Laoghaire as nothing more than a young girl he was too old to grow up with and, therefore, didn’t really know. But to tell Claire, within Laoghaire’s earshot? Jamie, Jamie, Jamie! And at the musical gathering #1 (there were two concerts; they really liked the musician. He’s Welsh you know) of all places! How embarrassing!
You just know that she’s gonna blog about that later. Or her and the girls are gonna trash your locker during 3rd period Proper Kilt Etiquette. Or, if she were a country singer, she’d write a song about you (and the other guys she’s been knockin’ boots with). Or…
Oh… wait… perhaps not.
Sigh. My dear Jamie, when an teenage girl (ESPECIALLY the very one you took her punishment for) asks if you remember her after you’ve been gone for years you don’t remind her (especially not to her face) of her infant status. She’s a teenager; emotions rage and that doesn’t help. To your credit you aren’t doing it on purpose. Then again you can’t see the crush she has on you. See, Jamie, if you were ugly like me you wouldn’t have all these problems! See what a pretty face, a great kilt, and a beautiful heart will do to those around you??
And to make matters worse, Jamie hands Laoghaire Claire’s wine glass and escorts Claire from gathering #1, in front of everybody (gasp!) to the free health clinic in the basement of the castle. In Jamie’s defense, he was looking after the tipsy Claire as she had one too many of the bonny toddies. He just wanted to make sure she got home properly! But, really, I can’t begrudge her the alcohol; if anybody in this show deserves to drink its Claire. Yeah, and Frank too. Give him a few; he’s misplaced his wife!
… Wait a minute! The basement? Isn’t that where Mr. and Mrs. Randall got their freak on many years into the future?? Oh I get it! The whole timey-wimey thing. Gotcha. …
Meanwhile Laoghaire was left fuming with adolescent jealousy and emotional roller coasters that would make even those with the strongest constitutions seasick. So what does the kilted one do next? He’s playing tongue hockey with the wee, emotionally wrecked Laoghaire right in front of Claire! Talk about running hot and cold. Stop that Jamie; mixed signals are so the Middle Ages.
Yeah, it had me squirming just as much as it did Claire (though it simply made her long for her husband). But it was one smile, one little smile, then more tonsil hockey that upped the ante and sent Jamie and Claire’s relationship on a different course, a more relaxed and a bit more trusting, one. (You sly thing Jamie Fraser…urm, Mr. McTavish!)
Which brings us to my favorite scene of the entire episode. It had me rolling yet feeling sorry for the lad as well.
Yes Jamie, those fillies can be dangerous. The sensitivity of the inexperienced laddie, being teased by the obviously more experienced lassie, was fun to watch (sorry Jamie, but tis true! You’re just so delish). While she was regretful of the teasing, it shows Claire’s comfort level is expanding. She’s relaxing no matter how infuriating the current situation is. Though Claire felt guilty, the teasing made our sensitive Highlander want Claire even more. And the looks just keep on comin’…
And just a quick shout out to Jamie and Claire, the best street con artists! “Ok, Sassenach, you work the crowd whilst I go free the boy.” What a team!!
What a Coinky Dink!!
And this week’s episode ended with Gathering #2. After saving Mrs. Fitz’s nephew, Claire is gaining the respect of the castle, slowly but surely. The musician is back for a second concert, and Jamie in his enthusiasm to see her continues to enthrall the women viewers.
As the musician begins enthralling the masses, Jamie interprets… interesting how the man on the mini harp seems to be singing Claire’s biography. Trust me she’s a lot more interesting than I am; my song would consist of a chorus and perhaps a coupla bridges. But this seeming soothsayer is singing her encouragement. She NEEDS to reach the stones; she MUST reach the stones.
Well, pardon me but DUH. That hasn’t changed. She doesn’t need a music god to help her realize her main goal. Remember she’s a strong, STUBBORN woman. Up to this point there’s never been the dilemma of Claire changing her mind to stay; it’s just been a matter of when she can get to the stones. If this was used to give her more encouragement to leave, fine. But couldn’t they have at least waited until she realized any true feelings for a certain ginger laddie? It would sure help with the suspense. Yes there have been amazing looks exchanged between them, and we certainly know that she’s not immune to Jamie. But currently, Frank is first and foremost on her mind. She doesn’t want to stay there. She wants to go. Perhaps this is used to prove to her she doesn’t belong there? I can understand the internal drama, I can but it’s still bit contrived in my opinion.
If it did do one thing for me it was this: I got chills to listen to Jamie describing her story and not realizing he’s doing it. See? Magic. The future describing the past. There’s magic all throughout this episode.
What a brilliant episode this is. Yes it is a transition episode… but it’s a very necessary episode. We didn’t get any hot and heavy steam action but we got some nice setups and more foundation continues to be laid, ready for the some of the really, really good stuff that I know is coming soon. And talk about comic relief. Thank you for Angus the bodyguard for being, well, just awesome, and that dinner with an inexperienced young gent getting surreptitiously called to the carpet for playing kissy face by the woman he really does care about.
Thanks for reading! Til next week.