I’m so glad to be back, reviewing Outlander episodes on Outlander Dreaming! Thank you for reading my kooky, and hopefully insightful, reviews, and let’s get this show on the road!
This episode, Episode 1.10 ‘By the Pricking of My Thumbs’, could also have been called ‘The Changeling’ for more than one reason. But we’ll get into that soon.
The episode begins with some lovin’ for everybody. Not only does Claire find out just how talented her new hubby’s tongue is (whoa…), she now has even more to compare her two husbands with. AWK.WARD. But I said lovin’ for everybody…TPTB show just how much they love us by giving us this scene, aye??
They left legions of women either squirming in their seats, squeeing uncontrollably, or nonverbally promising their significant others a good time (once the episode was over of course). Just as the slow lovin’ was gettin’ hot and heavy, Murtagh (what a buzzkill), chooses to turn the faucet onto the raging inferno.
Despite his thoughtlessness, I must reinforce my love of Murtagh…and those eyebrows. How come I learn more from one movement of his eyebrows than all the verbal fodder from other men put together? (Would it be wrong to say that I wouldn’t mind having him grind my corn…if he trimmed the beard just a wee bit? And took a bath. Or does that make me greedy and judgmental?)
Sigh. With all the knowledge of a confirmed bachelor he chastises Jamie for ‘letting marriage make him sluggish’. Does this look like he’s been sluggish?
Jamie sheaths the visual daggers as his godfather explains that the Duke of Sandringham has arrived at the Castle. Ah yes, the same gentleman who (in the book), tried to proposition a 16-year-old Jamie numerous times, including almost attacking Jamie in the stables. But hey? The situation can’t be THAT awkward, can it?? After all types of another kind of awkwardness (really, for a clan not usually afraid to tell people where to get off, sometimes the Mackenzies really suck in their communicating) about Claire knowing information but not telling them where she got it, Jamie pleads with her to understand that he needs to do this; that he is innocent and he must take his rightful place. If it works, he can finally go home and she can be the lady of his manor. Like the rest of the viewing audience, the soulful, pleading look from the Highlander helps persuade her to go along with him, with her warning of not being able to trust him.
Once again I’m reminded of yet another reason why legions of fans across the world are in love with James Fraser: look at the immediate trust he puts in his wife. He didn’t even hesitate when she asked him to trust her. In a way, Murtagh is the voice of the audience: he doesn’t trust her himself (I have a feeling he trusts very few people) and he’s questioning the reasonability of blind trust. I don’t blame him myself; there are very few people in this world I can truly say I trust; even fewer I blindly trust. My life experiences have made trust, and respect, a very difficult thing for me. But James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser is a man of his word, and he trusts that his wife is a woman of hers. Because Murtagh trusts his godson, he’ll transfer that trust to his wife, no matter how weary of her he may be.
Meanwhile, while Jamie prepares to meet with Sandringham, Claire has a fun-filled couple of days visiting psychos, witches, egomaniacs and the arrogant overprivileged. In other words, life moves on at Castle Leoch.
And here is where the story deviates from the books. It changes. Now, I feel I must stop here and tell you that I’m a pretty laid back kind of a gal. I am completely aware that the series is an adaptation of a complicated, thoroughly amazing world with its own twists and turns. That’s why we like the book, right? I’m totally ok with changes between the series and the book because I know it’s going to happen. As long as they are keep the pace and in the spirit of the novels I usually don’t have a problem with it. After all, I think we’d need about 10 more episodes to fit everything from the book into the series. And that’s a lot to ask for our favorite actors and actresses. But this deviation just doesn’t sit right with me. I’d bet my last bannock the events were created for dramatic license but…I loved the mystery of the book. I loved how the reader was as clueless as Claire until all was revealed. In the book it made sense. In the book the revelations were well executed and I know I gasped and exclaimed, “Ah-HA! That makes sense!” Given that this episode is not from Jamie’s point of view, removing the suspense and revealing everything for dramatic license just didn’t work for me.
And, in the series, when the revelations came, it didn’t have the same impact as the book. All in all, I felt that the tone, the rhythm, was sacrificed for television dramatic license.
BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD. If you don’t want to read about events that happen in the book then don’t read on. However…I would advise you read the book. It rocks. But just doing my due diligence with the warning! Now, on the with review…
I would assume by now that you probably realize that there are a number of changes from the book to the screen. Specifically, in the book…
**Claire doesn’t confront Laoghaire about the ill-wish; in fact Claire doesn’t find out until after being arrested who left it in the first place.
**Claire doesn’t encounter Geillis in the woods; they went into the woods together and Claire found the changeling.
**She doesn’t discover Geillis’ pregnancy after a moondance, or that said moondance was a pagan ritual to abort the baby…Dougal’s baby. In fact I don’t believe there was a moondance, at least one that Claire witnessed.
**Dougal doesn’t trash the castle when he hears his wife has died (and, really, I can’t even remember his wife mentioned at all in the series. Did I miss it?).
**The reader has no idea that there is even a baby until the trial.
***There’s there’s no acknowledgement between Geillis and Dougal at the dinner when Arthur dies.
**The Duke of Sandringham doesn’t duel with the MacDonalds; Jamie doesn’t call the MacDonalds a name and get into a fight with them.
**Colum doesn’t banish Dougal from the Castle and he doesn’t make Jamie go with him; Jamie went on a hunting trip with the Duke.
I wore the exact expression on my face as Claire…
Perhaps it shouldn’t bother me but it does. It bothers me because I felt that the impact of the story was lessened for dramatic effect. While it was dramatic (and I certainly wasn’t complaining) when Claire slapped The Teenage Psycho Laoghaire, I thought the premature revelation of events took away from the drama later. I was thoroughly confused about Dougal’s outburst concerning the death of his wife because I can’t remember him even mentioning a wife on the series until then, and the rather over-the-top reaction was just that: over-the-top.
But I always have to laugh whenever Jamie warns Claire not to do something. I want to scream at the television, “REALLY DUDE?! Have you MET your wife? You spanked her because she wouldn’t listen; do you just think she’s always going to listen to you now?” The note she was sent, though, was shamefully inadequate. ‘Come quickly.’ Seriously? Geillis could’ve meant that she got a last minute mani/pedi appointment and they had to leave right then to get there in time. I think I would’ve asked for more information but, then, since I’m not Claire…
So now Dougal’s got more little sprouts popping up everywhere. If ever there was a time for free contraception from the local free health clinic I would say this was one of them. And, for series readers, we know where this pregnancy leads (no spoilers!!).
Despite my dislike for how events were handled, the fork does veer back to the book and the girls are taken in the paddy wagon to the gaol. And, from what I understand, they don’t have wi-fi there. It won’t be pleasant.
So…given the changes from book to screen, what did you think of this episode?
WHAT I LOVED…
**Murtagh, of course. Oh…and a haircut would be great too. Perhaps Geillis’ mani/pedi technician knows someone.
**THIS KISS. The depth of love that I believe Claire is discovering with her young Highlander groom is catching her by surprise. It’s beautiful and amazing and I’m absolutely, thoroughly jealous.
**The shock on JAMMF’s face at the heartfelt plea from his wife. He hadn’t seen anything like that before and I don’t think he knows quite what to do. Sigh.
**The entire cast for their awesomeness but, specifically, Nell Hudson and Lotte Verbeek. They both are phenomenal in their roles. Nell is so good I want to reach into my screen and beyotch slap her, and Lotte scares the bejesus out of me.
**Jamie’s trews. They get honorable mention. 🙂