Season 2 has begun! My intention is to write an “Insta-Reaction” post for each episode right after viewing, to share some initial thoughts, questions, reactions — you name it.
I may be talking about events from this episode, other episodes, and/or the book series… so if you’d rather not know, now’s your chance to walk away!
Outlander, episode 202: “Not In Scotland Anymore”
The official synopsis (via Starz):
Life in Paris is not without its trials as Jamie struggles to triumph over his past. A fortunate meeting with Prince Charles present opportunities, while the Duke of Sandringham’s presence brings complications.
Major plot points:
- Jamie seems to be suffering some serious PTSD. It’s implied that he and Claire have not been able to make love, since he’s tormented by nightmares and visions of his abuse by Black Jack Randall.
- Jamie and Claire seem to be fitting in pretty well in their new life in Paris, wearing fine clothes and rubbing shoulders with the upper class.
- Murtagh is stuck like glue to Jamie’s side, but yearns for Scotland.
- Jamie meets Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Stuart), and tries to convince him that the time isn’t right for an uprising. Charles makes clear that it’s God’s will that he reclaim Scotland for his father. Money will be the key to his success or failure.
- Claire has a new friend, Louise, who provides entry to the French court at Versailles.
- The Duke of Sandringham is in Paris, along with his secretary, Alexander Randall, younger brother of BJR. The Duke is nasty and slimy, and reveals to Claire that BJR is very much alive.
Another great episode! This Paris-centric hour is in many ways setting the stage for what’s to come, introducing a few key new faces and throwing in some lighter (okay, hilarious) moments to break the tension.
Charles Stuart comes across as a light-weight buffoon who thinks he’s fulfilling a higher purpose, but knows nothing about the practicality of life in Scotland, having never set foot there.
Master Raymond gets a brief scene here, but we’ll be seeing more of him. He’s pretty much exactly as I pictured him! I loved his shop, especially the taxidermy crocodile hanging from the ceiling.
Louis de Rohan is a treat. There’s no explanation of how Claire came to be friends with her so quickly, but she’s quite a hoot and it’s good for Claire to have a female friend who’s not secretly psycho (miss you, Geillis!). Mary Hawkins is just as gawky and timid as she’s portrayed in the book, and as for Alexander Randall, it’s too soon to tell. He doesn’t look as much like BJR as he does in the book, but that’s okay. It looks like this plot point will work itself out just fine.
This episode is our first full-on vision of the Paris look for the show, and it’s a stunner. Once again, Terry Dresbach has done a fabulous job with the costumes — including two key costumes that are iconic for book readers, the red dress:
and the swan dress (aka, the nipple dress):
Neither one disappoints. Beyond those, Claire’s look is just perfect, from her shopping outfit to her robe (I want one), and even her oddly stiff get-up with the tie around her neck.
Okay, let’s talk about the scene that really cracked me up — the waxing scene! Louise was hilarious. I loved how she hit the waxing dude every time he pulled off another strip. Claire’s reaction was priceless — but so was Jamie’s later on when he realized what Claire had been up to. His astonishment was too cute.
And speaking of Jamie’s reaction — how great was the look on his face when he first saw Claire in the red dress?
Just the perfect combination of being completely wowed by his wife and utterly scandalized by how revealing her dress is. She’ll need a bigger fan, indeed.
It’s terribly sad, of course, to see how much Jamie is suffering, and how he can’t rid himself of the horrible memories that plague him whenever he and Claire become intimate. Have to wonder whether they’ve made love at all since Wentworth. Kudos to Sam Heughan for his portrayal of Jamie’s pain. Even in little gestures, such as Jamie’s absent-minded stroking and cradling of his damaged hand, we see his vulnerability and the constant reminder of the damage done.
Finally, it’s great to see so much quality time between Jamie and Murtagh. Murtagh has shown us, over and over again, that his sole purpose is keeping Jamie safe. It’s a lovely relationship, and it was nice to see them having their equivalent of play-time, working on building up Jamie’s strength with a little friendly sword work. Looks like Jamie enjoyed it too!
This episode was a visual treat, and it’s fun to see the main characters all prettied up and adapting to their new setting (although in Murtagh’s case, not adapting very willingly — really, dirty knees at Versailles!). While there are lighter moments, the political intrigue has the potential for real danger, the nastiness of the Duke lets us know that the scheming may truly hurt Claire and Jamie, and the reveal that BJR is still alive is devastating.
Claire is left with the burden of knowledge about BJR, and we’re left to wonder what she’ll do next. Should she tell Jamie, knowing that this can only worsen his trauma and nightmares? How much more damage can Jamie’s psyche take? But can Claire hide this from Jamie, and does she have the right to do so? And what will it do to their relationship if she doesn’t tell Jamie, but he finds out that she knew?
On a different note — Claire should be about four months pregnant at this point. I’d imagine that we’ll start seeing a little baby bump in the next episode or so, but the pregnancy didn’t seem to factor into this episode at all.
I enjoyed the episode, and thought the acting and production were both terrific… but like Murtagh, I miss Scotland! If I had to guess, based on the episode titles, I’d say that we won’t get back to Scotland until episode 8. Don’t get me wrong, I’m finding Paris interesting and well-done, but the heart of the show is really in Scotland.
Last week at this time, the new version of the opening credits were nowhere to found online, but now they’re here! Alors, the Skye Boat Song, with a wee bit en français. Et voila!