Insta-Reaction: Outlander, Season 2, Episode 4

s2 poster

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.

Warning:

Spoilers

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 204: “La Dame Blanche”

The official synopsis (via Starz):

Claire and Jamie throw a dinner party to derail investors in Prince Charles’ war effort. Meanwhile, Claire’s revelation that Jack Randall is alive sparks Jamie in an unexpected way as he and Claire struggle.

My take:

Major plot points:

  • At Versailles, Claire is poisoned with bitter cascara and becomes quite ill. She suspects the Comte St. Germaine.
No, Claire! Don't drink it!

No, Claire! Don’t drink it!

  • Jamie is attentive and caring. Claire finally confesses that Black Jack Randall is still alive, and Jamie is delighted. Now he can finally dream of revenge.
  • Master Raymond takes Claire into his back room where his more mystical objects are hidden, including rune-carved bones that can tell the future. When Claire casts the bones and wonders about Frank, Master Raymond tells Claire that she will see him again.
  • Jamie and Claire have a huge confrontation after Claire finds bite mark on his thighs. Jamie opens up about how he’s been struggling with the memories of his rape. The two finally make love again after all these months.
  • Louise is pregnant, but not with her husband’s baby. Jamie and Claire realize that Louise is having an affair with Prince Charles.
  • They plan a big dinner party with the goal of bringing the Prince and the Duke of Sandringham together, then causing a fall-out so that Charles’s funding will be in jeopardy.
  • Mary and Claire are attacked in the street, and poor Mary is raped. She’s hidden away upstairs at the dinner party, but when she runs in fear, all is exposed, and there’s a big fight and probably an even bigger scandal on the way.

Insta-reaction:

Well, that was a surprise! I spent the last week wondering if and when Claire would share the news of BJR’s surprising survival, imagining a devastated Jamie falling apart or becoming so upset with Claire for hiding the truth that their marriage might be in danger.

Wrong! Jamie was practically giddy with joy. This way, he has the dream of exacting vengeance for everything that was done to him. Just the thing to put a spring in a man’s step!

jc1

Of course, he’s not quite as healed as he’d like to pretend. When Jamie comes home from the brothel full of lust and covered with bite marks, Claire isn’t having any AT ALL. This is not okay, Jamie! He says that the whore in question was interested in “soixante-neuf”, but he swears that nothing happened… even though he was very turned on. He sees it as a plus that he rushed his horny self home to his wife, but she’s upset that he hasn’t touched her in months, and now it takes a trip to the brothel for him to find an interest.

This all leads, of course, to a deeper set of confessions, when Jamie finally articulates to Claire just how destroyed he is from the events of Wentworth, how his innermost core has been violated and he has nothing left. He goes off to sleep alone, but Claire follows him, reaches out to him, and they finally make love, reclaiming their passion and bringing their relationship back to life.

JC204

Meanwhile, lots of other stuff happened too…. see my notes above!

The look on Claire’s face when Master Raymond told her she’d see Frank again! That is NOT what she was expecting to hear — she just wanted to make sure that he’d be okay. She looked positively horrified, because there’s no way she’ll see Frank again if her life with Jamie goes as planned. Not happy news, by a long shot.

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Meanwhile, I loved the shot of Claire examining a dinosaur skull, and Raymond describing his fascination with things from other times. Hello, can he possibly be more blatant? Claire, he knows you’re a time traveler! Maybe it’s time to explore what you two have in common besides the ability to recognize herbs by their smell.

murtagh

Murtagh and Fergus have a very cute scene together. The little French pickpocket is becoming one of the family!

Poor Mary! A horrific experience, and then to be on display so publicly, so that her reputation is ruined and her shame is known by everyone. (Dudes, I’m not saying I think she has anything to be shamed by — but that’s the reality of the 1700s. Once she’s been violated, she’s seen as damaged. Stupid 18th century.)

Quite a dinner party. The setting and costumes are lavish, and the tension around the table was quite delicious.

Outlander-Season-2-First-Look-outlander-2014-tv-series-39152157-2000-1333

It seems like every episode includes a shot of Claire in some sort of magnificent hooded get-up, walking up the stairs to visit the apothecary:

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And it’s quite fun to finally see Claire with a full-on baby bump, which they somehow make look realistic even up close and uncovered.

Insta-reaction wrap-up:

Would you want to be at a dinner party with Prince Charles and the Duke of Sandringham? Both seem utterly insufferable.

It’s been a while since I read Dragonfly in Amber (I deliberately chose not to re-read prior to the start of season 2), but I’d say that this episode contains a lot from the book, portrayed very close to the book events, even down to some of the dialogue. Quite fun, really, to see so many familiar moments and hear the familiar lines.

In the books, Alexander Randall is supposed to look so much like his brother that he can be mistaken for him. At first, i just didn’t see it in the actor playing Alex, but in this episode, I could get a family resemblance. Alex is so sweet and loving with Mary. Sigh.

A couple of “artifacts” turn up that, at least in the book, have more significance later on: The necklace from Master Raymond to Claire, which can detect poison, and the hanged man’s grease that Claire and Mary seem so grossed-out by in the hospital. Both should come up again within the next few episodes. And keep an eye out for a man with a birthmark on his hand!

And furthermore…

outlander-bump

Claire and Jamie are incredible people, no doubt about it… but be glad you’re not their kid! “Lambert” and “Dalhousie” are their ideas of great baby names? Sheesh. Poor wee bairn.

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