Episode 102: "Castle Leoch" (SPOILERS!)
I thought this episode was AMAZING! Wonderful. Absolutely riveting throughout, and very, very faithful to the book. <g> (By which I mean, it's a very effective adaptation, and where changes have been made, all of them make sense, IMHO, and add to the story rather than detracting from it.)
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
I thought the brief recap before the opening credits was a very effective way of summarizing the first episode for viewers who hadn't seen it. Nice to see Gary Lewis and Lotte Verbeek in the opening credits, and it's much easier to see Diana's name in this week's credits, with the white text against a dark background.
Wonderful to see Old Alec, even with two functioning eyes. <g> Love his dialogue when they arrive at the castle.
I love the first scene with Mrs. Fitz, especially the way she teases Murtagh about his stink. <g> It's great that they managed to keep so much of the dialogue from the book -- that's always reassuring.
Very effective use of brief flashbacks in the corridor. I like this technique, and the way it's used throughout the episode to show us Claire's memories.
The first sight of Jamie's back was horrifying, as it should be, but very much as described in the book.
"Why were you escaping in the first place?" "They were holdin' me prisoner." Matter-of-fact, and very much in character.
The whole scene at Lallybroch was just riveting, very tense and dramatic, extremely well acted. BJR rubbing his saliva over Jenny's face made me shudder with revulsion. I was NOT (at all) expecting the bodice-ripping, but it's fitting, in character for BJR (as is the way he forced Jamie to watch), and I have no problem with it. I am wondering how they'll reconcile this with Jenny telling the story later, where she "taunted him wi' [her] breasts", etc., but it's a really minor point.
BJR beating Jamie was hard to watch, but I kept reminding myself that it's only a faint taste of what's to come. I liked how unemotional BJR seemed through the whole thing.
"Your husband is a lucky man" - good way to segue into Frank's POV, but I'm glad they only showed a brief glimpse of Frank and the Rev. Wakefield in the present day, keeping the focus on Claire's story.
The first time Jamie holds Claire as she sobs -- it felt JUST like the book, to me <g>, and I just love the way they look into each other's eyes just before she says, "I'm sorry". We know that Jamie was falling in love with her there, and it shows.
The dressing scene is WONDERFUL, and I'll go back and watch this many more times, I'm sure. <g> Terrific idea to show all the layers, and exactly what's involved in getting dressed in 18th c. clothing. I was fascinated. And I laughed at Mrs. Fitz's reaction to the bra.
I love that they remembered the bird cages in Colum's room. <g> The first sight of Colum's legs is shocking, but I think they did a good job in portraying the "shockingly bowed and stumpy legs" described in the book. Very cool the way they did that! And his gait, too, is fascinating to watch.
I liked the little flashback with Frank on how to resist interrogation. <g> Very much as described in the book, but showing, not telling.
"Is there ever a good reason for rape, Master MacKenzie?" Good line, and her delivery was perfect! Score one for Claire!
The bit about the tinker coming in five days is of course not in the book, but I thought it was effective. It's realistic (in a place as busy as this, there must be wagons coming and going all the time, and why shouldn't Claire take advantage of that?) and it adds some urgency (and some suspense) to her desire to leave the castle. In the book, she seems to fall into a routine a little too easily in the beginning, IMHO, so I like this addition. It's plausible.
I love the first view of the exterior overlooking the courtyard. What magnificent scenery! Notice "Loch Lomond" playing very softly in the background? <g> The scene with Dougal and young Hamish is terrific, and the boy is very cute!
The dinner scene - The hall is very much the way I pictured it, and I liked the way everyone stared at Claire as she entered. Claire doesn't eat much in this scene (maybe one bannock?) but I couldn't help but notice that she's drinking an awful lot. I love the way Dougal stays quiet, saying almost nothing, but his eyes are watchful and it's clear he's taking in every single detail about Claire.
"With your father" -- OOPS!! Put your foot in the middle of it, didn't you, Claire? <g> This was effective, though, in explaining the situation to viewers without a lot of tedious voice-over. And I loved the way Hamish and his mother reacted.
That's quite an impressive kitchen - very realistic-looking! I'll have to go back and look closer at the details.
"She's just a girl with spirit, is all. That's always a good thing." - This line of Jamie's isn't in the book, but I love it! Clearly he's thinking of Claire when he says it. <g>
I like the stable scene. It feels very close to the book, even if it's not word for word identical. I had to laugh when Jamie squatted down, very carefully not giving the viewers a peek under his kilt!
"Try not to get flogged or stabbed today." "No promises, Sassenach." - I love that they're already teasing each other, even this early in their relationship. This exchange is terrific, and a good addition.
The scene between Claire and Rupert is great. I only wish Rupert had been introduced by name. We know who he is, but how will the audience know? (Unless I missed where Claire was told his name?)
Great confrontation between Claire and Dougal in the corridor. It reminds me of Jamie, many years later, saying, "Ye were always bolder than was safe." Her personality comes through very well here. Another good addition!
I like the fact that Claire is hearing 1940's music in her head ("Run Rabbit Run", etc.) just before she meets Geillis. And Lotte Verbeek is very good as Geillis! Looking forward to seeing more of her.
I liked seeing L's father, though I do have to feel a bit sorry for him. Having L for a daughter must be quite stressful at times! <g>
The whole punishment scene was just wonderful, and very faithful to the book, even though it's Rupert who actually administers the blows. I liked the drums in the background. And Jamie's face is very, very expressive. You can tell exactly what he's thinking in this scene. When Rupert hit him on the injured shoulder, I said, "Hey, that's not fair!!", and immediately recalled the much older Jamie saying (to Roger), "Dirty fighting is the only kind there is." So even though this is not quite the way it happened in the book, it definitely works, and it's plausible.
The scene afterward between J&C is pretty close to the book, except for the absence of the leeches.
I loved the series of "deja vu" moments as Claire enters the apothecary. And her confrontation with Colum was great, even if she did find herself outmaneuvered by him. <g>
"You mean I'm your prisoner, don't you?" "Only if you try to leave." - great line.
Notice the tears on Claire's cheek, just after the door closes. Very dramatic end to this episode!
I loved it and I really can't wait to see more!!
Here are my recaps of the other episodes:
Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"