Category Archives: Outlander Episode Reviews

Episode 109 – The Reckoning – A Review

I’ve been wanting to talk about this episode since I saw it in NYC at the premiere. I’ve been very open that I loved this episode and I think it’s one of my favorite yet so let’s get into my thoughts.

I separated this episode into my “Top 6 moments”, the scenes I thought were the most entertaining, interesting, and pivotal to the story.

TheRescue

The Rescue: Since Ron decided to leave Jamie in that window for MONTHS, we knew we’d start off with the rescue. However, you go back a little farther to introduce Jamie’s new point of view. Now this is different from the book in that the book is completely told first person from Claire’s POV. I LOVE that the second half of the series is told by Jamie. So much will happen that is important to his story that is makes sense he tells it.

So back to the rescue. Jamie and some of the men go to Fort William to rescue Claire. Jamie, armed with “an empty pistol and my two bare hands” enters the room to find the evil (although incredible Tobias) Black Jack Randall with Claire and attempts to take her by force.

I love that even though Jamie gives up the pistol (knowing it isn’t loaded) he knows that as long as he can get close enough to Black Jack, he can take him physically. All he needs is that moment of distraction, and he’s out.

I’ve heard from some men that watched the episode (my husband included) about why Jamie didn’t kill Black Jack right then and there. Book readers obviously know that the story would be mostly over without Jack and that Jamie’s honor keeps from killing an unarmed man, despicable and deserving of death as he is.

So with an action packed escape, our two characters are on their way and Claire has been rescued.

thefight

The Fight: This scene was SO important to me. Probably more than the one coming up afterwards. If you’ve read the books, you know that Claire and Jamie know how to argue. They hold nothing back from each other, and that includes their stubborn willfulness, which I kind of love (and hate) about them. But as far as character development and them really being these characters I wanted to see them within an inch of each other’s faces and really going for it.

And boy did they. I remember early on Diana said that Caitriona had an “expressive chin”, and it’s in it’s full glory in this fight. I love how Jamie clenches with anger and looks like he could shake her for all she’s done. Claire’s complete disregard that she’s done anything wrong until Jamie actually shows how HURT he is (“You’re tearing my guts out, Claire”) is perfection. The change in them both as they plead for forgiveness is a position I believe is a turning point for this relationship.

They’ve met their match, so to speak, and both care enough about moving forward to accept the other’s apology. For two people married against their will and just really coming to love each other that is hugely important.

The Spanking: So I’ve made the mistake before writing this to go online and see what other people are thinking about it. We KNEW this was going to be a polarizing concept for some people. The fact of the matter is – it’s the 18th century and women WERE thought of as property and that they needed to obey their husbands. Jamie is under a lot of pressure from his men (who have flat out started ignoring Claire) to punish her for putting all their lives at risk. As much as I, a modern women and someone who at least kind of considers herself a feminist, don’t LIKE the idea that a man would put his hands on any woman, I totally get the reasoning and necessity behind it IN THIS CONTEXT.

Now, let’s talk about how it’s acted and edited. I LOVE this scene. I love that they took a slightly humorous approach because in the book Jamie is trying to reason Claire into this as well as use his humor to let her know this is just something that must be done. He’s not really trying to hurt her.

I love Claire fighting back and getting some good hits in herself. The way it’s balanced between the two and we see Jamie give that smirk at the end should soften it for the audience (though some people have made it very clear that under no circumstances is it ok and that’s fine).

This was a scene that was essential to get right and I believe they nailed it with the right tone, choreography, and delivery.

The Brothers: I’m just going to touch on this briefly because I felt like it was kind of thrown in/rushed (hello, only so much time to convey things on TV). However, when Jamie basically tells Colum how to handle the situation with his brother I had one of those “YAS!!” moments.

Here’s the thing. I’ve read the books. I know that Jamie is well educated, destined to be a Laird, and has the ability to be incredibly persuasive to a variety of different people. I feel like up to now Jamie has been really nice to look at, but there hasn’t been enough of that wit and intelligence I know is in there. I was so glad to see him in a powerful role with the uncles. YAS, Jamie, YAS. Work it. We have to see him come into this before season 2!

TheTempation

The Temptation:

Girl, it’s time to talk about Laoghaire.

I wont give away spoilers but she’s a girl you love to hate and sometimes you just hate. In the beginning I felt kinda bad for her. She was all making out with this hot highlander, making plans and having unrealistic expectations, and he goes off and comes back with a SASSENACH WIFE?! Really?!

So any adult woman would just say, that sucks and move on with life. But Laoghaire is young, conniving,  and scorned. And that makes her dangerous.

By Jamie not only coming home with a wife, but turning her down at the river, she’s just become more pissed and more desperate. Can’t image what will happen next? Let’s just say that bad omen under the bed is the least of our problems!

TheMakeup

The Make-Up: I’ll cut to the chase. The hottest of all the makeup sex scenes ever? I think so.

The meaty part of this scene is that Jamie realizes he can not Lord over Claire. They have to meet somewhere as equals, and when he promises to never punish her like that again, that is what he means. It takes a lot for a man coming from where he’s come from to say that there can be another way to live together. That times can change.

But when Claire holds the dirk to his throat and tells him if he ever lays a hand on her again she’ll cut out his heart and have it for breakfast? I mean come on, that’s hot! 😉

Some of the great lines in this episode straight from this book included one from this scene – “It seems I can not possess your soul without losing my own.” – it sounds cheesy if I say it out loud, but Sam delivers the line with such sincerity that I believe him completely.

I believe that this episode is one of the most finely acted ones I’ve seen yet. Which is ironic because it was filmed before several of the previous episodes! I think that Sam and Cait SHINE as Jamie and Claire. So much packed into one episode but I’m excited to see what this Saturday will hold. It’s only going to get better from here.

What did you think? Like it, love it, hate it?

 

Photo credit to Starz and FarFarAwaySite.Com.

The Wedding recap – Episode 107

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Ok, guys, the wedding happened on Saturday and I’m just now writing a wee recap.

So many people I know have done amazing recaps – be them funny, serious, critical, whatever. So even though I feel like so many angles of this particular episode have been hashed and rehashed already, here is MY take.

For starters, I guess it is safe to say that I am a huge fan of the books. Read them all, love them all, blah blah. Taking that into consideration, if you only want a show that follows directly with the books, you are not only cheating yourself out of enjoying a really fantastic show, you are also probably going to be disappointed with some things that happened in this episode.

When the show first aired, I immediately threw the books out the window. (not literally, I love my books) But because not everything that happens in the books (especially the dialogue) is going to work on the screen. I have enjoyed every episode since the beginning and that is because as a whole Outlander is just good story telling. It’s compelling and visually stunning and moving and exciting and that is what Outlander is anyway. That doesn’t mean I don’t have questions or criticisms at time. But as long as the essence of my favorite book series is in front of me, I’ll save my judgement for the quality of the production over what lines were dropped from the book.

So, moving on.

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We open with Claire and Frank’s proposal and essentially their wedding day. Can I just stop for a minute and gawk at how amazing her outfit is? That hat. The structure of that suit. Incredible.

We continue to the kiss that seals Claire and Jamie as husband and wife, and so we’ll continue to see this sort of flashbacks and jumping around over the course of the episode. It’s a lovely way to remind the audience of Claire’s past life, as well as give us glimpses of whats happened over the course of the wedding day, from the bridal chamber.

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A toast to a Bride of astonishing beauty.

 

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We see Jamie and Claire coming to terms with being all married. They both know they need to “seal the deal” but go for the slow way around by Jamie telling stories.

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“Tell me about your family”. Love Jamie’s smile and Claire turns on the breaks.

I’ve never seen two people drink so much and still stay awake.

Rupert and Angus barge in which breaks the tension and Claire says they should go to bed. Jamie’s all “To bed… or to sleep?”

Then quite possibly the sexiest undressing I’ve ever seen takes place.

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There are some great lines from the book scattered through these moments. I love how real and honest this scene is. Jamie is a virgin, after all, and the desire and hunger in his face is palpable. You can see how much he wants to touch her, but there is still the slightest bit of hesitation. Even their first sexual encounter is honest. Short, sweet, and without much fanfare. He thinks it’s the BEST. THING. EVER. and she’s like “yeah… ”

The show is broken up in 3 different sex scenes. The first breaking the barrier between them, the second the exploration of a lover, and the third we see love. They are distinct and lovely.

It’s also broken up in the 3 stories Jamie tells of the things he did to make their wedding day as special as it could be.

The first being a priest, the second, a ring, and the third, a dress.

So let’s talk about this ring…

theringIt’s not in the book, and it’s created a big stir in the Outlander community.

If you’ve heard the podcast, Ron wanted a ring that would mean something and that she could keep on (as the ring she got in the book was Jamie’s fathers and it was too big).

I love this ring. I love how it translates on screen, I love how rustic and “18th century” it looks against her modern smooth gold band. As much as people are connected and loyal to the ring that comes to Claire later in the book, I am sure this one will probably be inscribed as well, and it will find a special place in our hearts just like that one did. It has it’s place in the show and no one is taking the other ring away from us book lovers.

Speaking of controversies, they also left out a very important conversation between Jamie and Claire about honesty. I feel like the wedding episode probably wasn’t the most fitting time to put it in, and we’ll probably see it this Saturday. Hold your horses, friends.

Now, the dress… Bless Ned Gowan. This is also different from the book in that they pick up the dress at a brothel and it’s new, rather than smelling of it’s previous wearer. I’m absolutely obsessed with the dress Terry designed. It’s so stunning. The sleeves look like they could just blow away, the stomacher is embroidered in this elaborate acorn and oak leave design, and there is mica in the skirt to make it shimmer. So, so lovely.

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And can we just stop and appreciate how in-freaking-credible Jamie looks as well.

If you want to learn more about the dress, I suggest visiting Terry’s Blog Here. 

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I actually kind of love the blood letting and handfasting even though Dougal made it a bit unpleasant.

Then the vows we all know and loved said in Gaelic.

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I’m just going to leave these here. I did decide not to screen cap any bums or dangly bits as my mom visits this blog, and out of respect of our actors. (hey mom!) Needless to say, there was sex and it was hot.

There is a delightful scene with Dougal and Claire (that’s sarcasm) where he kind of comes on to her. Show Dougal has so many more layers than book Dougal and I find myself going back and forth with my feelings towards him.

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The scene where Jamie gives Claire his mother’s pearls is so painfully beautiful. This the start of the love between these two characters that we will just continue to see grow.

In the morning, reality sets in as Jamie leaves and Claire picks up her dress and Frank’s ring falls to the floor. She puts it on with the most perfect “what have I done?” look upon her face.

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And our episode closes. I think this episode was magnificently shot. It’s so sweeping and beautiful and the general arc of it is so well thought out. It was nice to take a break from the violence for just one little moment of bliss.

Pictures from FarFarAwaySite.

Screen grabs by me.

 

The Garrison Commander Episode 106

So I wanted to take a moment and talk about my reactions to this episode. It wont be flashy and full of screen shots. Just me taking a moment to reflect.

It’s been days since this episode aired, and I’ve only been able to view it twice. It’s taken this long to even attempt to write something that will be thoughtful and coherent since this is such a complex and emotional episode.

It begins simply enough, Dougal and Claire go to the garrison where she is greeted like the “English Rose” she is. Then we quickly see how a mouthy (delightfully so!) modern woman reacts when someone she’s come to care for and respect is insulted and disrespected. Enters Black Jack Randall and the tension heightens. She then is able to show off her medical skills when a soldier needs an arm amputated, but don’t think that’s where the gore in this episode ends.

When she returns to the room she was in earlier, Black Jack Randall is there waiting for her. Now, if you’ve read the books you know what kind of guy you are in for, and if you haven’t, well you are in for an education in this episode.

Randall begins his game of cat and mouse with Claire. Trying to find out who she really is, where she came from, what she’s about, why she would defend a Scot! This manipulative interrogation is one of the most compelling I have ever seen on TV. Tobias Menzies blows you away as BJR. He’s brought something to this character that makes you second guess what you know in the books. He’s handsome and charming, and like Claire, there is something about him you want to believe can come back, can be saved.

As he enters into his story of Jamie’s flogging, we suddenly realize how deep his sadism really is. He’s entranced by Jamie because Jamie matches his will, his stubbornness, his immovability. He looks at the pain and torture inflicted on Jamie as a kind of experiment, and the grotesqueness of his back as a work of art. You know then that this man is so twisted, so broken, but something, something in him makes you want to reach out to him.

The flogging itself is only a few minutes but packs a punch I still can’t quite get over. Jamie is a beloved character in these books, and seeing him whipped almost to death makes me angry, makes me sick, and makes me want justice. I would feel that way about anyone having to endure such horrible brutality. Kudos to the makeup department and the director for making it so impactful and so real, as it should be.

As he ends the story, he and Claire share a smile, and you see this flicker of vulnerability. As he reaches for her hand, pulls her up, and thrusts his fist into her stomach we realize just how dangerous that vulnerability makes him. He does not want to be saved. He does not want to be reached. He wants to dwell in this darkness that he has created for himself.

We don’t get a whole lot of who Black Jack Randall is in the books. We just know he’s a bad dude, he’s obsessed with Jamie, and we don’t like him. The character that Tobias has brought to this show is beyond what I could have ever imagined. I’m so interested to see where he takes BJR.

Dougal comes in and rescues Claire, takes her to a magical stream (hee) to see if she is lying about being a spy. She once again says she’s not, and he believes her. Then he drops a bomb on her. To save her from BJR, she needs to become a Scot, and to become a Scot, she needs to marry… a SCOT. As much as he’d like to “grind her corn”, he’s lined up Jamie for the job. She’s a little resistant to this whole thing, but I think Claire gets that there isn’t any other option.

Claire and Jamie have a lovely moment where she makes sure this is something he’d be ok with. She asks him if he minds her not being a virgin, and he adorably tells her he doesn’t as long as she’s doesn’t mind that he is. O_o The line of the night follows as he says “I reckon one of us should ken what they’re doing.”

Oh Jamie. I’d follow you anywhere.

 

 

Next week is the wedding and those delicious screen caps will be back as we discuss every delightful and sexy moment!

 

 

 

The great Scotland road trip. Let’s talk about “Rent” Episode 105

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In our fifth episode, Claire takes off with her band of highlanders to go and collect rent from the villages that were unable to make it to the gathering. Dougal leads this group, and we see his interaction away from the castle with his men.

Claire is still trying to plan an escape, and takes opportunities to scope out her surroundings and see where in relation to the stones she really is.

Ok, so that’s what’s going on. Let’s talk about some of the memorable scenes in this episode.

 

Ned Gowan

Oh what a precious little guy. What else is there to be said for him. Loved him in the book, and the actor that plays him is pretty spot on. He’s a lovely new addition.

The Wool Waulking Scene

My favorite scene in this episode. I loved the singing and I loved the camaraderie of the women with Claire and I even loved the hot piss. Hey, it’s authentic, right?

The Goat Scene 

I think the basically showed what happens when you mess with a hangry Claire too strongly. She fights back. And she’s got claws.

The Shirt Ripping Scene

Though I personally expected a more explosive reaction from my experience reading the books, Sam Heughan’s facial expressions leave you with no doubt of how he really felt about his back being brandished to a group of people. (over and over again)

The Watch and the “Traitor” men

Both the scenes with The Watch and the men trussed up are a sad but poignant reminder of what it actually going on politically during the time (if Jamie’s back didn’t remind you). Claire’s reaction during both scenes mimics how I’d probably feel. Helplessness, anger, fear, revulsion.

Dougal’s Speeches 

The Gaelic speeches by Dougal are numerous in this episode. Numerous and one would argue necessary. It is only later that Claire (and the viewer) realizes exactly what he’s speaking about. Raising money for a jacobite uprising. One that Claire knows is doomed. The Gaelic in these episodes is SO wonderful though, and his passion! Gah.

Frank Flashbacks 

I’m just adding this because I LOVE the extra scenes with Frank. 🙂 Sexy beast that he is.

Eavesdropping on Jamie and Dougal 

Any time we get a little glimpse into what Jamie is truly made of I’m happy. Though couldn’t he punch something a little softer?

Redheaded Door Stop 

Sigh. A scene from the book and the scandalized look on Jamie’s face when Claire asks him to sleep IN HER ROOM is so priceless I just want to squeeze him. “I’ll be right here”. I feel safer already.

Adorable, the both of them.

Standing up for Claire

When her companions defend her honor and Murtagh explains that to her, it links her to them. She sees them in a different light. One of my many changes of heart she has. Suddenly she isn’t seeing them as just her captors, but passionate rebels willing to fight for things they believe in. She even feels comfortable enough to joke with them.

“We can insult ye. But God help any other man that does.” – God I love Murtagh

Culloden Flashback 

Nothing else to say about it really. If you’ve been there, you know. If you haven’t, you should go.

Dougal confrontation and cliff hanger 

Dougal finally gets Claire in a place where he can confront her true motives, only to be thwarted by the arrival of some English officers (including hottie LT Foster). Asked if she is there on her own will, we are left hanging. What will she answer?….

 

Next weeks Episode “The Garrison Commander” can be watched on Starz this Saturday. It’s promised to have lots of evil BJR goodness. Can’t WAIT!

 

Thoughts on Episode 104 The Gathering

This episode of Outlander just proves that it just gets better week to week.

In The Gathering, we find Claire desperate to get back to the stones. She’s calculating her escape, making plans, and getting everything prepared for her journey back to Frank.

This is also the episode we have cameos by Outlander Author Diana Gabaldon and show producer Ron D Moore.

As there are so many recaps of episodes out there, here are the highlights for me. (apologies for the less than superb screen caps)

 

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Any scene that involves these guys.

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This incredible dress of Geillis’s we didn’t see enough of.

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I think I spot a very handsome Ron D. Moore.

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Our amazing Diana Gabaldon’s cameo. She was wonderful!

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This dress too. 🙂

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This hilarious scene with Claire and Angus… and the port.

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Oh and this dress.

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The only scene of the night that made me squirm. Don’t give her any reason to throw you under the bus Claire!! #witch

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Foreshadowing… eh?

I mean… quite possibly the best scene of the night. AM I RIGHT.

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Jamie’s ability to avoid the double edged sword with perfect ability and charisma.

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The hunt with and the loss of Geordie. Big fat tears most definitely ran down my face. Expertly acted by Caitriona Balfe, Graham McTavish, and Bryan Larkin.

More great acting (and shinty playing) by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish.

I’m so loving each and every new thing I see come from this show. All the little added bits are a delight, the music is superb, and the acting is wonderful. It only gets better and better, as it should!

 

 

Outlander Episode 102 Castle Leoch

Outlander Episode 102 “Castle Leoch” was another home run for the Starz series.

Instead of writing out my long winded recap, here is a hilarious one that basically says everything I’d want to say anyway.

https://news.yahoo.com/video/aboutlander-show-outlander-episode-2-065820670.html

So since that recap covers the high points, let’s talk about my favorite parts!

First, I am absolutely loving the flashbacks. With Frank, with Jenny and Black Jack Randall and Jamie. I think they add so much to the story.

Second, let’s talk about that Claire hair! They have NAILED IT. As someone with Claire hair herself, this is spot on how it looks when I get up in the morning. (especially if I’d been riding a horse in the rain all night)

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Finally, I absolutely adored the dressing scene with Mrs. Fitz. It really highlighted the amazing costumes that Terry has designed as well and showing how LONG and cumbersome getting dressed was! (not to say I wouldn’t want to dress in 18th century wear, I absolutely would! Give me a corset and a bum roll any day!)

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But what about JAMIE they say!!! Oh yeah, he was great too. 😉 I think that Sam Heughan just keeps hitting it out of the part with his portrayal of Jamie. Working with the horses was exactly what I had in my head and boy does he have a mesmerizing smile…

You can already see the trust and even a friendship blooming between he and Claire and this is the basis for everything that is yet to come. Can not wait until next week’s episode!

…and to see what’s up with that scene with Mrs. Fitz!

 

 

 

Outlander Review/Commentary – Episode 101 Sassenach

Outlander

 

Since this is a review of the first episode of Outlander, this is your warning that spoilers will be found within. Though the first episode is available for free and you can see it posted on the blog here.

I’ve been a fan of the books series for almost 10 years now, so, like so many others like me, my expectations for a TV show about it were quite high. I’ve been following the show’s conception since the beginning, through each new casting, every new shiny piece of information that was released. But I don’t think anything prepared me for my first glimpse of the complete show, and hearing Claire’s voice reach my ears.

Knowing this is Claire’s story, I needed her to be played in a way that balanced her strength and capability with her vulnerable situation as a woman out of time. Caitriona Balfe manages this beautifully. When the first shots of her nursing an injured solider during WWII, up to her elbows in his leg, commanding the people around her and in full control of the situation, I didn’t need any more convincing. There she was. That’s Claire. Strong, competent, feminine, engaging, but still with a sensitive and sympathetic look in her eyes.

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The show gives a greater backstory on Claire and Frank, played by Tobias Menzies. I think the show’s version gives you the empathy you need to relate to Claire’s wanting to get back to Frank so badly. Heck, I wanted to get back to Frank! Frank is played by Tobias with such a heartbreaking tenderness that you can’t help but be pulled in by him.

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Of course, Claire and Frank visit a circle of standing stones during Samhain, and watch a druid ritual taking place. This is the first time I get chills.

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Claire goes back to those stones and is transported 200 years back in time, right smack in the middle of a conflict between some Scottish highlanders and English redcoats. The confusion is played perfectly on Claire’s face. Her rational mind struggling with the realities of where she is, when she is, and getting shot at with live rounds!

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Her confusion is expanded when she runs into an English officer that looks remarkably like her husband, until he’s holding her by the hair at sword point and trying to rape her.

Once again Tobias Menzies portrayal of Black Jack Randall is SPOT ON. You wouldn’t even recognize him with this new look in his eyes.

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Claire is rescued/kidnapped by the highlanders and taken to our first meeting of Jamie, played by Sam Heughan. Anyone that was yet unconvinced that Sam could play Jamie can’t exist anymore after that first glimpse of him in character. He’s tall, strong even though his shoulder is dislocated, and perfectly red headed. Sam is going to absolutely stun people with his transformation. He’s adopted this catlike grace and movement which is recognizably Jamie. He’s got a capable but young look to him, and he goes from whimpering patient to fierce warrior in about .5 seconds. He’s Perfect.

Also, when Claire pops that shoulder back into joint it was like hearing the light bulbs going on for all the people that thought this was a “bodice ripper” romance novel series. Yeah, it’s not.

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My favorite part of this episode is probably when Claire runs off after tipping them off to an English attack, and Jamie rides off to get her. He swings off his horse with that kilt moving brilliantly around him, and tells Claire that she’s either going with him, or he’ll be picking her up and making her go with him. Readers know that this wont be the last time these two challenge each other face to face, and it’s a thrill to see it on screen. Claire and Jamie’s stubbornness is right there in the sets of their jaws. Jamie gives a little smirk, having won that match, and back on the horse they go.

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Also, Caitriona’s chin is about the most amazing thing ever.

 

The end of the episode when Claire is cursing and bandaging Jamie (again, because it’s a thing for Jamie to stay injured) you see something pass between them. It’s not love, not yet. Some kind of acceptance and mutual admiration, maybe. Some connecting of souls. It’s just a flicker, but its definitely there. And that flicker is sure to burn as the series goes on.

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I can’t even say I was pleasantly surprised but how much I enjoyed just this episode because I’m not surprised. I’ve been repeatedly pleased with the casting choices, music choices, crew choices, and the respect given to the books that I knew it was going to be something special.

And it is. My anticipation after seeing this episode is at an all time high. Time to spread the word, there is something BIG happening here.