***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for Outlander through Season 3, Episode 4, and Book Spoilers through Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager follow. Spoilers***
Likewise, here’s your notice that there are a couple of NSFW/K gifs below.
I’ve got to hand it to Outlander; they certainly know how to turn a scene around. Though in Voyager, after Jamie is blackmailed into having sex with Lord Dulsany’s daughter, Geneva (played to prideful perfection by Hannah James), there’s a moment when Jamie pushes past the woman’s request to stop; he later apologizes (and she admits she didn’t really want him to stop), as written that scene becomes consensual. Of course, the act is not truly anyone’s choice — Jamie is arguably Geneva’s victim. In “Of Lost Things” the series writers effectively dispensed with Geneva’s victimhood, and made the pair’s eventual “I’m okay with this” attitude mutual; there’s an understanding on Jamie’s part that goes beyond him losing his own ability to choose. Regardless of how he initially came to be in a Lady’s room, when he understands he’s to be Geneva’s first, and offers her an out when she appears hesitant, once she reasserts her desire Jamie goes above and beyond the actions of an unwilling participant. In the moments when the pair commits to the … task at hand, unlike Diana Gabaldon’s book scene, there is no doubt that both parties are into what they’re doing.
But, perhaps I should back up a little bit. In another whirlwind episode, with several time jumps spanning many years, we’re returned to the time and place left off last episode — Helwater — right after Lord John Grey released Jamie aka Alexander MacKenzie into the service of Lord William and Lady Louisa Dulsany (Rupert Vansittart, Beth Goddard), and their two daughters, Isobel (Tanya Reynolds) and Geneva. After Geneva is promised by her father to the crusty old Lord Ellesmere (James Cameron Stewart), the feistier sister decides to take losing her virginity into her own — well, into Jamie’s — hands. Honestly, who could blame her?
As we’d deduced from the first Season 3 trailer, Jamie and Geneva’s single tryst resulted in a tiny baby, and Jamie’s defensive shooting of Ellesmere — who knew he’d never had relations with his new wife — finally, the heartbroken Jamie had a child who lived and breathed in his own timeline. If ever we’ve had seriously confused emotions about what we want for Jamie and Claire, this hour brought them to the forefront. After all, it’s clear that Jamie took his instructional duties with Geneva very seriously, and went well above and beyond what a blackmailed gentleman might usually provide. Even when (in the cave) he’d agreed to give in to Mary to satisfy their mutual need to “keep each other whole”, it was nothing like what we saw last night. And, despite having seen Claire and Frank together (with Claire mentally imagining Jamie to keep her going), those scenes never felt like Claire was truly into Frank. This hour, though, for that short period, Jamie let himself go and truly gave himself over to another person, which resulted in a child that for a time, Jamie raises as his own — and whom Jamie clearly loves (and that child loves him back). We can’t begrudge either Jamie or Claire for accepting their apparent fates and moving on as best they’re able; at the same time, this is a history that can’t be changed. Whether and how little Willie will affect the Frasers’ (series) future, remains to be seen, but for certain, the audience is left at least slightly broken.
As time frantically flew in the 1750s to 60s, in late 1960s Scotland, Claire, Brianna and Roger continued their search for Jamie with an early victory — Claire finds his name on a list of those at Ardsmuir Prison, 1753 — until resources seemingly run cold. As effective as Outlander is at carrying us through these separate periods, when we know (trailers, photos, books) Jamie and Claire will soon be reunited, it’s hard to connect to the struggle of the search. There’s great attempts to involve the audience in Claire and Bree’s frustrations, but on that front it feels more like we’re collectively sitting around tapping our fingers, waiting for Episode 6. Meanwhile, the younger Fraser lass played flirtatious with reciprocal Roger, whose fears about Brianna leaving are well-founded … for now. Claire’s toast “To all of those we have lost” reverberates as goodbyes silently echo across centuries, but we take heart in the promise of somedays.
Was everyone as impressed with Hannah James’ Geneva as I am? She did a wonderful job with a not-very-likable character, showing us multiple facets of her Lady (heh) in a short period of time. She and Sam had great chemistry; if the character had lived, I think Jamie would have had trouble staying away. Yes, of course I know this is Claire and Jamie’s love story, but when actors are as captivating together as James and Heughan, it’s hard not to let the imagination roam.
Because they’re speeding through so much story here (and yes, the novels are huge, long and could use a bit of judicious editing), this hour sometimes felt rushed. But, the scenes that mattered, including (I suppose!) the sex, were so well done, it more than made up for any problems. Like I mentioned, I have a hard time connecting to Claire’s searching, especially this hour — and we still have to get through one more episode before ***Spoiler!!!*** the print shop reunion.
I’m trying very hard to feel something between Roger and Bree, or even at times, Claire and Bree, and so far it hasn’t happened. That said, I don’t think we’ve spent enough time with Brianna to establish those connections. I’m guessing that will be rectified with next week’s “Freedom & Whiskey”.
Little Willie (that doesn’t sound right) aka “not a bastard”, William Clarence Henry George Ransom was adorable, and in a single episode, Clark Butler proved himself nearly as great as show favorite, Romann Berrux (Fergus). On a semi-sad note, next week marks the debut of César Domboy’s adult Fergus and while he’s quite a looker, I can’t imagine Outlander without little Romann.
Speaking of great — and sad — everyone’s expressions at the end of the hour, as Jamie left Helwater, his son and Lord Grey behind …
… and Claire, as she looked out the plane window, on her way with Brianna back to Boston;
all those sad faces and the music playing through the montage about killed me.
Btw, that was Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall sung by Walk off the Earth.
David Berry absolutely killed it again this week — as did Sam Heughan — during John and Jamie’s pivotal, “Will you look after Willie” scene. Both actors were fantastic.
While appreciating the little nods to feminism — Bree fixes the loose distributor cap, Claire speaks about women belonging at the bar — they felt thrown in for effect, rather than naturally occurring.
I remain disappointed that Claire and Joe’s friendship hasn’t been better developed; he barely feels like a character here.
Lord Dulsany to Jamie: “… But you are a prisoner, Mackenzie, don’t forget it.”
Jamie: “The pain of losing a child never leaves you. I’ve lost two children myself.”
Jamie to Geneva: “We don’t have to do this. You can change your mind if you want.”
Jamie in response to Geneva asking what he’s doing: “Shoveling shit, m’lady.”
Jamie in response to Geneva’s blackmailing comments: You filthy, wee bitch.”
Jamie on sex: “The first time can be vexing.”
Willie to Jamie: ““I want to be a stinking Papist, too.”
John Grey to Jamie: ““I should probably want you until the day I die.”