Little did Jamie know infiltrating Fort William and rescuing Claire from the clutches of Black Jack Randall would be the easiest part of reuniting with his spitfire of a wife.
In Outlander Season 1 Episode 9 we witnessed for the first, and last, time the narration of an installment by Jamie instead of Claire and it was beautifully effective.
After Claire was rescued, something she desperately needed, what ensued between her and her young, extremely inexperienced husband was a 20th Century argument in an 18th Century setting. It was orchestrated with precision and neither was going to win without a little pain and giving a little of themselves to the other in the process.
In the long run, they were both right in their arguments. If she had stayed put and not gone for a walk she wouldn't have been so vulnerable, but if he would have listened to her and not so easily dismissed her suggestions because she's merely a woman, that might have changed the outcome of the situation, as well.
Of course, until Jamie knows the full truth about what she knows and how she knows it, he'll never truly understand how she'd have such foresight about their lives. A part of her was also so desperate to get to back Frank, and this happened more than once, that she put all thoughts of her safety aside in her attempt to reclaim the life she lost.
Really, who can blame her? She's still probably not entirely certain she's not living in a dream or gravely injured and in a coma, near death or even truly dead. As easy as it seems to wrap your head around the romantic notion you've fallen through time and into the rugged arms of a handsome Highlander, the rationality in you would be screaming in agony at what your life had become. How could it possibly be real?
Feeling Jamie's pain and frustration in the marriage when he's never so much as had a relationship before was crucial. Much like they took a chance by opening a window into who Frank was, how he and Claire were as a couple and, most importantly, his thoughts and reactions as he dealt with her sudden disappearance, allowing us the opportunity to peek into Jamie's world was eye-opening.
Even seeing his daily activities (who knew he would lay on his back to put on his kilt?) and the discussions with the men about Claire after she put them in such grave danger gave us a completely different perspective of events than if we had seen them through Claire's eyes.
Never was it more clear that Claire didn't quite comprehend the nature of what she almost caused to the men than when Jamie realized he had to dole out justice upon her. However barbaric, it's nothing he wouldn't have done to one of the men. As he said, one of them may have lost their lives as a result.
Claire needed to truly understand that words didn't count in those times for what they did in hers (and even less in hers than for what we've worked toward in ours). In turn, Jamie needed to be frozen out of Claire's favor – and her bed – so he, too, got a worthy lesson from the entire ugly experience.
I can't think of a better place in the narrative to use the tactic of Jamie's perspective than right here, when their marriage changed from what Jamie believed to be more traditional to his acceptance that marrying Claire meant his path would never follow that of his kin.
I swear on the cross of my Lord Jesus and by the iron which I hold that I give you my fealty and pledge you my loyalty. If ever my hand is raised against you in rebellion again, then I ask that this holy iron may pierce my heart.Jamie
The idea of taking the iron and making the pledge sounds really silly on paper, but watching it and hearing him ask if she didn't want him anymore was so incredibly touching and from the heart it's impossible to consider it anything but what it was – and impassioned plea to accept his failings and to love him as much as he loves her.
Walking in Jamie's tartan plaid and experiencing the deep connection he has formed with Claire was inspiring. As Jamie said earlier in an Outlander Quote, forgiving her wasn't even a choice because it was love. It was as simple as that. Giving us this chance to witness that simple and profound emotion from his viewpoint is what made this episode so powerful.
As much as the men might harass him and laugh to his face about how Claire has him rather whipped, there's not a single one of them who wouldn't exchange places with him in an instant to stand alongside a strong, open, beautiful and opinionated woman like Claire.
All of that said, the most beautiful moments of the installment surprised me, as always. It's easy to point to the their lovemaking because of the ease in which Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan plunge into them. But the arguments are far more unsettling and the acting so intense and can evoke so many unexpected emotions while watching. They're always good for at least one immediate rewatch, and that's saying a lot when airing beside those incredible love scenes.
Of course, there was more going on than what happened between Jamie and Claire. Further observation into Jamie and his uncles was also welcome. Dougal managed to get so angry at the intrusion of Colum into his Jacobite interests that he betrayed his "secret" about being Hamish's father. That surprised even Jamie, who was already well aware of the paternity of Hamish, but would never have uttered a word.
Proving why Jamie is Colum's choice as his successor for Laird, Jamie not only has no leanings toward either king in the fight for the English throne, but he knew exactly how to calm the rancor between his uncles. It worked like a charm.
Let your brother play the rebel, as long as he does it quietly. Let him whisper of a free Scotland for now, while you bide your time and wait to see how events transpire. If Bonny Prince Charlie every responds with a call to arms, you can decide then which side to back. Dougal may be war chief, but he knows only you can cry for war.Jamie
What would Dougal think if he was privy to such conversations and knew how well his nephew could play him? Jamie is a born leader, and that's most likely why he has no inclination to be one. It has been said the best leaders have no desire to do so, but are forced into the position by external situations. They are humble, self-sacrificing and as willing to follow as they are, ultimately, to lead others. That's hardly a description of Dougal.
I guess it must be mentioned that it was really easy not to feel sorry for Laoghaire. The problem is that Jamie never told her she meant nothing to him. Even though he never slept with her (such good kids, really), she felt their kisses were much like girls today feel when they do sleep with a boy to gain their affections. Even knowing he was now married, she was stepping up her game with a little near nudity to sway him. Tsk tsk.
Would she really go so far as to create the talisman under the bed? Aye. Perhaps. But could she do it without the help of someone like, oh, Geillis? No way. She wanted a love potion from Claire. Laoghaire wouldn't know a talisman like that if it reached up and slapped her.
All in all it was an absolutely stellar installment and utterly brilliant to have shake up the second half of Outlander Season 1 by introducing it with Jamie's narration.
- Calling Black Jack a helpless man seems silly in even the best of circumstances. That was a very B-movie move, Jamie!
- Yes, more could have been said about the scurrilous Black Jack Randall, but he doesn't deserve the mention given all of the other things going on. Phooey on him.
- Jamie finally told Claire her wedding ring was the key to Lallybroch.
- Their conversation about what *insert bad word here* and sadist means was very funny.
- Not knowing Claire's thoughts and seeing her through Jamie's eyes was well worth the trip.
So hit the comments Outlander Fanatics! The show is back and we're ready for the end of the first season to unfold before our eyes. What did you love and what do you want to see more of going forward? Do you sense Geillis' handiwork under the fair couple's bed?
If you haven't seen all of the episodes yet, you can watch Outlander online and even buy the installments to keep them forever and ever. Until next week!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.