Outlander – #1.15, Let’s discuss!

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It’s the middle of the week and I’m still coming to terms with the content of this episode. Let me say this, no matter how familiar I was with the books or even the fact that I’ve re-listened to the chapters pertaining to this episode, I was still left sobbing and in shock.

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The title card, the music … everything from the get-go was pointing to the dark content that was inevitably coming.

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The hanging of the convicts was disturbing. The conversation between Taran and Jamie was part funny and part sad. They were having a discussion about what does a man do when hung, shit himself or spend his seed … I’ll let you figure out which one was Jamie’s stand on the subject.

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Jamie’s last ditch effort at not freedom but at least a death by a bullet rather than a noose was painful to watch. Black Jack’s last minute arrival to “save” Jamie from the noose only to have him tortured wasn’t what I expected, but I guess it worked for the show in a more dramatic way. Saved by the Devil.

For only a second I saw Jamie contemplate jumping off that platform. In the end I guess he figured he wasn’t going to let that Devil have his due with his soul. He’d rather commit his body to the torture.

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Claire on the other hand is doing her best to keep it together as she’s trying to find out first if he’s still alive. Sir Fletcher, the head of the prison, assures her that he had been granted a temporary reprieve, a day or two at the most. Next, she enquiries if she may be allowed to see him so she can see if he has any message of reconciliation with his family to pass on. Sir Fletcher can’t risk her life, so he declines. Not to be deterred she then asks if maybe Jamie could write a letter to his family. No can do, he says and then leaves to get something that might be conciliation to the convicts family. As he leaves, I am heartbroken as Claire is, and both of us are on the edge of our nerves … and the show just started!

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Sir Fletcher comes back with a wooden box filled with Jamie’s worldly goods and looking in, there’s his Clan badge but on top, Sawny pears and …here they come by the buckets!

I’m not sure how Claire even managed to walk out, but she did and promptly lost her breakfast by the gate, while Murtagh gently scooped her up and carried her off to the inn where they all are staying.

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In the meantime we see Jamie in a dungeon, chained to a wall and even given some provisions by BJR who has decided to come and visit his prey with a muscle man, Morley, in tow. And here comes another surprise!

The petition of complaint Claire signed is now made fun off by BJR and he burns it right in front of his victim. He also would like to offer his victim a “proper and dignified” death. The only thing Jamie has to do is surrender to him, that’s all!

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And yes, I did notice that he offered “Brutus” death to Jamie as an option and a shout out to all of us that know Tobias playing Brutus from Rome in which he was even better than he is here.

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Jamie sits on a cot and is basically biding time at this point. I don’t think for a minute that he would have taken this guy on this offer.

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Claire is at this time in the tavern with her cohorts all glum and pissed because Rupert and Angus are gambling and drinking, obviously not caring a whit about Jamie! Or do they?

They prove her wrong as they share with the rest of the gang that they just lost all their money to, not ONE but TWO, jailers and got some very useful information out of them. Claire has one last chance at finding Jamie because of the one-hour window of time in which Sir Fletcher will be absent from his office. That will be her chance to find the keys and a map to Jamie’s cell so that they can then come and save him later.

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Forgive me but I will digress here only for a bit [feel free to stare at one of my favorite Jamie pic’s above]. I’ve noticed the commentary all over the social media blaming Claire for not storming the castle or having a better plan or having any kind of weapons on her person. Excuse me?! What in hell are you all talking about?! This is not “Die Hard” or “MacGyver” for Pete’s sake. This is a historically accurate piece of drama! HELLO!!!!!

First, Claire is a very sensible person, although she’s not perfect, she has one goal in mind and she has to take one step at the time to formulate a plan. Where would be the sense in storming a prison without knowing if the man you are to rescue is still alive?  But now that you know he’s alive, where is he? This prison was huge and there were probably hundreds of soldiers in it. Claire’s main goal when meeting with Sir Fletcher was to learn this information and then organize the escape.

As to the weapons on her person. She had none because she would have never been allowed to step foot inside the prison if she did. To be found with it if anything ghoes wrong, would mean certain death, and she can’t help Jamie if she’s dead! Besides, that idiot dude Marley searched her for them, and if she had any at that time, dead she would be, no doubt about it.

Okay, on to the rest of the show …

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Claire and Murtagh are now back at Wentworth knowing full well that Sir Fletcher is having an hour-long lunch and meditation with his Bible, so they’re left to wait for him in his office and are using this chance to look for the keys and the map. They come up with the keys and without a map and an unconscious guard, Murtagh lets her go in search of Jamie.

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Meanwhile, back at the deep bowels of the prison, BJR is patiently waiting for Jamie to surrender to him. Jamie rises from the cot and takes a few steps, stops and says he won’t do it. Not to him, not to any man. BJR is actually happy about it! He knew it! Sadistic ass! He doesn’t just want to inflict pain on Jamie’s body, anyone can do that. No, BJR wants to dismantle a strong man and pull him apart, piece by piece, mentally and physically. And after all that, he wants to own your soul before he sands you to death. I don’t watch a lot of psychological drama, but what I did ever see on film or read in books, I have yet to see a villain that can even come close to BJR.

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All polite like and with renewed hope in his heart (and loins!) BJR asks if he could touch Jamie’s back. Jamie is now calculating the distance of Marley, BJR and himself … will he be able to do something, anything? As BJR is slowly reaching for his back to lift his shirt, Jamie turns abruptly and starts choking BJR, while Marley figures out that he should do something about this. In the end, all is for naught as he’s subdued by Marley. This little attempt costs Jamie dearly because BJR is now pissed to no end while blaming his victim for such shabby treatment. WHAAAAAT????

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He takes the mallet from the floor and crushes Jamie’s hand and while Jamie is insensate, he decides to revive him and grope himself with Jamie’s good hand. SERIOUSLY?! That was gross and totally unnecessary. YES! We get it. The man is a sadist. Whatever. That scene made me just mad. On the other hand, it showed me Jamie’s anguish and that made me cry.

Of course, BJR is all like, let me contain my course passions, I’d rather have you tortured in a fashionable order! Piece o’shit! Then he leaves and that’s when Claire finds him, all sprawled on the floor, half-unconscious. I have to mention that before she finally finds him, she has a sense to find and unlock some door that is potentially an escape route.

What follows is just harrowing, heartbreaking and just painful to watch.

She is heartsick at how he looks, and she knows now that she has to free him and try to escape with him, even though in between his coming in and out of consciousness he’s telling her to leave that BJR is coming back. She isn’t listening, and Randall returns with his buddy in tow.

She is caught; she struggles and she loses. In the aftermath Marley is killed by almost insensate Jamie, but as Randall is choking Claire, Jamie capitulates and strikes a deal: You can have me. Let her go unharmed. You can see this SOB’s happiness at that, but he will need a proof of his sincerity … so he asks Jamie to lay his hand on the table, picks up the piece of wood with a nail sticking out …. Oh, yes. Now we see it coming! He is ready to nail Jamie’s hand to the table. Claire is screaming bloody murder, and is told that if Jamie doesn’t shut her up, BJR would. Jamie says, please …so she shuts up. As BJR is about to run that nail through his hand, Jamie and Claire are holding on to each other for dear life. Jamie is trying to comfort her, as well as himself, but it is painful and he gives in to pain, screaming and almost passing out again. BJR grabs his head and says, “Now, kiss me!” and proceeds to shove his lips onto Jamie’s, giving him a deep lovers kiss. Claire is devastated for Jamie. Before she’s escorted out of the prison cell, she manages to say her last goodbye to her husband and hear him say that he loves her.

As she’s escorted by BJR through the narrow corridor, he asks her about the witch trial, and that’s when she turns and tells him that she is one and she curses him with the knowledge of his time of death. Not a second later she is thrown down a chute in the floor, landing on a heap of dead bodies. She manages to crawl up and run for the forest.

This one tear just did me in. #Emmy4SamHeughan

As Jamie is being unshackled by BJR, he is assured by him that Claire is safe and then he rips Jamie’s shirt, running not just his hand but his tongue over the scars he inflicted. Shell we begin? He says and we see Jamie shed tears, knowing this is it. Jamie is now resigned to this, and I think he figures it’s only his body this man wants, so he knows pain is coming. However, I don’t think he’s aware that BJR wants his soul as well.

Claire is visibly shaken, but in no way is she giving up hope. She now knows that he’s alive and she knows where he is, and she has means of entering the place by the door that she unlocked. The problem is that she needs more able-bodied men and this MacRonnach dude isn’t willing to risk his family for even Ellen’s son (don’t ask!).

In the midst of negotiating with the man to give them some men, some dude shows up with some cows, and our Murtagh is smiling… He now has a plan to rescue Jamie!

And that’s it for this episode! This episode in my humble opinion was well written, excellently acted on the part of all involved, but Sam and Cait shined in it and were unstoppable. Their interpretation of their characters and what they were going through was nuanced and palpable. It left me numb for hours after I saw their performance.

At the end of it I was shaken and stirred. Shaken because this was an hour of utter devastation for one of my favorite book and TV show characters, Jamie and Claire. I was stirred for another reason all together after I listened to RDM’s podcast and checked out the social media in the aftermath of the series.

For some reason everyone was buzzing about how Tobias Menzies had done such an amazing job and pulled off playing the creepiest of character ever [which in my opinion he did, no doubt], however, not much was said about Sam Heughan’s performance of a victim. I honestly couldn’t figure that one out. Bit by bit Sam’s fans caught on this trend and started commenting here and there and the conversation is happening out there about why is this.

I debated if I should comment or not. This is a touchy subject and we all see things from our POV, meaning that there will be 1000’s of different views, and that is just fine. That said, I’m solely going on the facts available to me, which are the podcasts. And guess what? The fact is that Mr. Moore has yet to give even a little praise to his leading actor. I’m not making this up for the sake of “drama” or siding to one side over the other. This is a fact. You all can listen for yourselves. Now, that doesn’t mean that Mr. Moore is “jealous”, or “biased” or any such nonsense. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. He’s too professional for “games”. However, I do think that he’s taking his star for granted, and not even consciously. I honestly believe that he’s not even aware that he’s doing it. Personally, his podcasts are a wealth of information as much as boring at times because he tends to rant on and on about other non Outlander related things. I don’t care as long as I get a glimpse of my show bts.

I saw the episode many times now and once with my DH who is not a book reader but he’s a fan of the show. Even he noticed that BJR’s storyline has been given more air time than necessary. Again, I’m not sure that Ron and co. are doing this on purpose. These people are professionals. However, they are artists and they “see” this show in a way that you and I probably don’t.

I look at the show separately from the book, as a compliment to them and nothing else. The show will never replace the books. Nothing can.

This next episode will be torture to watch, pun not intended, and I hope to God that the scenes of Jamie’s degradation are kept to absolute minimum. The scenes with Claire redeeming his soul should be what that episode is about. It points to reason that it will have to be Jamie’s POV because it will be told in flashbacks BY Jamie. This will be then ALL about Sam’s portrayal of pain and degradation and humiliation. Most of the scenes should be concentrated on him, right? Let’s see what happens.

My last point is this. Let’s be humble and respectful of one another’s opinions. It’s our love of the books and the show that’s bringing us together from all walks of life and the world. How humbling and awesome is that?!

Have I forgotten to say anything? You got something for me? Please chime in. All opinions are welcome and respected.

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About Bookworm

I'm married, working, and have grown and independent kids. I love gardening, reading and painting. My favorite TV show is Dancing With the Stars! Television shows have gone to the crap house. My favorite movie of all time is "Last of the Mohicans" with Daniel Day Lewis. Second best is "Titanic" and third "Passion of the Christ". I am an avid reader and I love talking about the books I’ve read, especially romance novels. I will warn you though: I am prone to rants and raves about a lot of things!

9 thoughts on “Outlander – #1.15, Let’s discuss!

  1. “He is resigned to this, and it’s only his body this man wants, so at least his soul would be spared.” The only comment I have about your assessment of the storyline is that BJR is not content with having Jamie’s body at all. His intent is to do what you said initially- to take Jamie apart piece by piece, body, mind, and soul. BJR alternately uses pain and pleasure (and references to Claire) to drive Jamie to the point that he loses the will to live after he is rescued because he cannot reconcile within himself that BJR made him rouse to him sexually- even against his will. Afterwards, Jamie cannot see or think of Claire without associating her with the soul-sickening experience he went through. Mind-fucking at its worst. I am looking forward to the happy ending in the finale. Thank you for your recap, I enjoyed reading it!

    • Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      When I said “He is resigned to this, and it’s only his body this man wants, so at least his soul would be spared.” I meant that Jamie was figuring, I’ll submit my body, but I won’t my soul and believing Claire free, he didn’t care much what happens to him. He was a dead man either way. You are right about all the rest. This sadistic ass was too eager to play with Jamie and dismantle him mentally.

      • OK, I see what you meant. You were commenting from Jamie’s POV. At that point he still thought he could remove himself mentally and emotionally from what was going to take place. Thanks.

      • Exactly! I corrected it so it would be more clear as to what I meant. Thanks for pointing it out 🙂

        Melanie

  2. Whilst not turning this into a ” who was the better actor ” argument , which I won’t sink to, I do think you raise a really valid point about Sam not receiving his due recognition from Ron Moore in the podcasts. Yes Mr Moore , Tobias and Cait were awesome, but so was our Mr Heughan !! Do you think he feels that Sam gets his share of recognition from having the greater fan numbers than C & T?? Doesn’t he know that fan recognition is different to recognition and acclaim from your peers. ..and director?? Sorry RDM but it’d not same.
    Loved this article, and that clip with the tear??? Emmy awarding grab that one 🙂

  3. I share your opinions. Bless Sam Heughan, I cannot imagine what it would have been like in that room when the Director says, “Cut.” I heard Ira Behr say that he started to walk over to Sam but realized he was in a dark place and needed to not be interrupted so that when “action,” was called again he could return to character. Of course. But what about the final, “Cut?” Does Sam pick himself up, blink his eyes, have enough energy to stand or walk off the set. I cannot imagine what that took out of him. I believe I also heard those scenes were well rehearsed and choreographed giving the actors time to reach inside themselves for truth and authenticity in their portrayals. The crew, burly and male, in tears. Staff asking, “how much longer does this go on?” Very, very intense and difficult. Kudos to Sam. State of the art. Could be a teaching tool forever more. Ground-breaking. Stratosphere shooting. A nightmare to watch. A gift to savor.

  4. Excellent overview of the show, Melanie! It’s interesting that you said it looked like Jamie was contemplating jumping off the gallows – my husband said that exact thing! 🙂

  5. I agree with your comments. Tobias is portraying a perfect BJR from the very beginning, everything is there! Sam and Cait on the other hand, had to evolve their characters in every episode. Listening to the podcasts and reading interviews I’ve understood that Jamie has been shown as a young guy growing up, making choices and some mistakes too. I am OK with that; I found it quite realistic. Nevertheless I’ve felt that they are downsizing the “King of Men”. Perhaps it’s because of just that: they try to avoid Jamie’s glorification and lose a wider audience. But I do agree that in the process Sam’s outstanding performance isn’t getting well deserved praise. Finally, a comment about a secondary subject you mentioned: When I started listening to the podcasts I was fascinated to learn more about the creative process of this fantastic series. In the last ones I’ve found myself losing interest because important scenes were left unnoticed while they kept talking about other subjects. I actually fell asleep during the last three. It’s a pity.

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