Tuesday, August 26, 2014

OUTLANDER: Season 1, Episode 3: The Way Out

While there are plenty of things I loved about this episode, there are also a few things that didn’t sit right with me. Having said that though, I’m still loving this ride. I feel like, through some Gabaldon magic, I’ve stepped inside the pages of her book and I’m getting to live it out myself. And after multiple readings of Outlander, that is some ride!

When I heard Diana Gabaldon speak about the difference between the book and the filmed version, she said more than once that there are scenes in the series that do not appear in the book, but that they could have. I wasn’t sure what exactly she meant by that until I saw the lovely scene of Frank and Claire at the train station. What a beautiful and poignant way to remind the viewer that Claire has a 20th Century husband she still loves very much. I’m a sucker for World War II partings, so that scene tugged at my heartstrings. The scene nicely wove in some foreshadowing, as in when Frank tells her he loves her “stubbornness” and finally says, “Promise that you’ll return to me.” That opening scene is reflected back nicely at the end of the episode as Claire is listening to the ballad about the woman who goes through the stones.

I’m not a fan of dream sequences, be they sleeping dreams or daydreams, so I did not like the fake scene with Claire confessing her truth to Mrs. Fitz. I kept saying out loud, much to the annoyance of my dear husband who is patiently watching these with me, that that never happened! Of course it didn’t, and that does annoy me, but it did begin an important theme that is developed throughout this episode: Claire’s dawning awareness that she could be thought to be a witch. Later, when we see her fighting against the backward, evil priest to save the life of a young boy, we see her marked as a witch when Father Bain says to her, “I can smell the vapors of hell in you.” Witches did not have happily-ever-afters during that time period. You’d better watch yourself, Claire!

Oh, and by the way, that ‘saving the poisoned boy’ scene isn’t in the book. I’m assuming it was placed there to help with pacing, which is something that is proving to be a slight problem as the book is re-interpreted as a screenplay. Yes, I love the books, but I’m the first to admit that pacing is an issue in some of them.

As a reader I never cared much for Laoghaire, but I found myself feeling quite sorry for her in the humorous scenes in the hall with Claire and Jamie. Poor thing. Jamie is so oblivious and dismissive of her. Not only does Jamie ignore Laoghaire as if she isn’t even present, but he tells her he has no memory of her as a young lass and then goes on to tell Claire that when he was sixteen he wouldn’t have had anything to do with snot-nosed children! Yow!

No, Jamie can see little but Claire. And Claire, despite her best intentions, is obviously attracted to Jamie. Once again she has a wee bit too much Rhenish, but this time it leads to a flirtatious exchange with Jamie in the surgery where she sits on The Table! The same table she sat on (ETC.) while visiting the castle with Frank in 1945. I have no doubt she knew exactly what she was doing when she sat there with Jamie. Later, seeing Jamie with Laoghaire evokes some feelings of jealousy, though the voice-over tells us it is because she misses the intimacy with her husband. Yes, she misses Frank. Terribly. But as we know, she is a red-blooded woman who is comfortable with her sexuality. Surely, she’s picking up on the sexual tension emanating from Jamie.

 At the end of the episode we have the gorgeous scene in the hall, with Claire listening to the ballad as translated by Jamie, that is the perfect reflection of the opening train station scene. Not only a roadmap of sorts for Claire to find her way back, but a heavy dose of foreshadowing is present in the lyrics. SPOILER ALERT!!! “…strangers who became lovers…,” “…back through the stones…,” “…took up with the man she’d left behind…”.

How many days until the next episode!?

Slàinte mhath!

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