Sunday, September 21, 2014

Episode 107: "The Wedding" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 107 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Wedding".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.


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Watching the opening scene with Frank and Claire, my first reaction was, "WTF??" Frank seems in an awfully big hurry to get married, and this isn't at all the way it happened in the book, not even close. But I liked Frank's line, "The only family I care about is you, and the family we will make, together."  I think he really meant that.

The scene seems almost shot in black and white -- like parts of the opening scenes in Episode 101 ("Sassenach"), only more washed out, drained of color. I'm sure that's deliberate.

And when they showed a brief clip of Jamie and Claire -- "You may kiss the bride" -- I said, "Hey, wait a minute!!"

Claire's voice-over about the metaphorical string of pearls "rolling into dark corners, never to be found again" is clearly meant as foreshadowing of the very end of the episode.

You can't help but notice that Claire is drinking an awful lot already. <g>

They didn't promise honesty to one another (and yes, I miss that bit!), but Jamie is giving her honesty anyway.  I wonder if they left that out because of all the emphasis in last week's episode about truth vs. lies, and the uncertainty about who Claire really is.

I thought the use of flashbacks throughout this episode to show events from Jamie's and the clansmen's point of view was very effective.  I really enjoyed the scene with Ned, Dougal, Jamie, and Murtagh.

"If Claire does become my wife, I'll thank ye to stop talking and thinking of her like some common whore." - good line! And Dougal's reaction was just right.

"You have my name, my clan, my family, and if necessary, the protection of my body as well." - Jamie looks so earnest, dead serious, and so young, looking up at her like that.

I like that they started off very slowly, just holding hands.  Jamie wants so badly to kiss her, but instead it's "Tell me about your family".  LOL!

The "montage" effect was well done, IMHO. There's a lot of talk in this part of the book, a lot of back story to cover, but no need to go into the details here. (Just as an aside, Jamie referring to Brian as a "younger half-brother" of Young Simon is incorrect -- Brian is considerably older -- but don't blame the scriptwriters; this is taken straight from the book.)

I love the look on Jamie's face when he tells Brian and Ellen's story. <g>

Angus and Rupert barging in -- once again, they're comic relief, but it's fine, it helps to break the tension between Jamie and Claire. And the two of them are hilarious and always fun to watch.

I just LOVED the undressing scene!!  The gown is lovely, especially the bodice. Magnificent.  And the way Jamie touches her -- gentle, tentative at first -- seems just right.  I'm not sure if his hands actually trembled when he touched her, but it's not hard to imagine that they did. Very sensual scene!

The kiss, and Jamie's line, "I said I was a virgin, not a monk", was just right, every bit as I have always imagined it. <g>  And you can see at first that he's going to take her from behind, "like horses", but she turns around just in time.

The awkwardness of that first sex scene seems just right, and very much as described in the book. Claire's "Jamie, you're crushing me!" is not a direct quote from the book, but it totally fits.  (I miss Jamie's "Holy God!", but I'm sure he was thinking it.)

I love Claire's reaction to Jamie telling her he thought it would be "like horses".  (Have we seen her laugh before in the series?  I can't remember, but I hope she does it more often in future episodes. <g>)  Her hesitation when Jamie asked if she liked it was a little unexpected -- I was taken aback a little to think that Jamie actually believed for an instant that she hadn't enjoyed it -- but I see now that she hesitated out of guilt over betraying Frank (totally understandable), and I like the way they made that clear with the voice-over: "Not only was I a bigamist and an adulteress, but I'd enjoyed it."

The scene with the lads is pretty much as I'd always imagined.  Very funny!  I like the way Murtagh punches Jamie casually on the shoulder, in an avuncular gesture of congratulations and, maybe, pride in the way his godson is growing up. <g>

"I said I was completely under your power and happy to be there." -- Good line!

Once again he tries to touch her and she shies away. Then he finds the right words -- "mo nighean donn" (awwwwww, I just LOVE the way he says that!) but she still doesn't want to be touched. He's so gentle with her, so tender. Just perfect!

I like the colors of the Fraser tartan.  (No, it's not scarlet and black.  That's a modern invention.  Look here for an article Diana Gabaldon wrote in 2009 about the history of clan tartans.)  And I really enjoyed Murtagh's explanation of how he got the kilt, along with the reminder that Jamie is still very much a wanted man, and Randall is not far away.  Gotta love Murtagh, who always has Jamie's best interests at heart. <g>

"I plan to be wed but one time, Murtagh. So I'll do so in a way that would make my mother proud." - good line.

"Your mother had the sweetest smile. It would warm a man to the backbone just to see it." I was startled to hear this line here, rather than at the Abbey much, much later, but I like the next bit: "Claire's smile is just as sweet."  Murtagh is not nearly as dour as he appeared in the book. He's turning into a very likeable character!

I loved Dougal's reaction to Jamie's three conditions: "Christ, it would be easier to kill ye both." "But much harder to explain." LOL!

I liked the added scene with the priest. He's a stubborn man, every bit as much as they are!  And it's good to see young Willie again, taking a more active role this time.  "If you'd learnt your catechism from Father Bain, you'd ken your Bible verses, too." - this line made me laugh.

(Just a side note: That candelabra on the mantel in Jamie and Claire's room is lovely.)

Now, to this business about the ring.  This is the one part of this episode that I didn't really care for.  So the blacksmith offers to make them a silver ring, but Rupert says no, it has to be made from this (iron) key - but he doesn't want to give up the part that goes in the lock.  The clear implication being that he still needs that key.

"This is what Jamie wants."   Assuming he's telling the truth about that -- WHY??

"Just...something I had in my sporran."  I'm thinking that it's the key to the front door of Lallybroch.  I could certainly be wrong, but it's the only explanation I can think of that makes sense.

I am not unduly worried about the ring.  It seems pretty clear to me that this is a "placeholder" ring, just something temporary that she can wear until Jamie manages to buy her something better. They must have decided that TV viewers needed a visual reminder of Claire's divided loyalties, and it's going to be a while yet before they get back to Leoch and Jamie can buy her a decent ring with his own money.  I am confident that he WILL do that, when the time comes.  Claire isn't going to go through the whole series, multiple seasons, wearing a crude iron ring fashioned from an old key. <g>  Don't worry.  The people in charge of this show are fans (this episode made that abundantly clear!); they know very well how important that silver ring is going to be, and they won't forget it. We will just have to wait and see.

[UPDATE 9/23/2014 6:21 am: Unfortunately, it turns out I was completely wrong about this. See my post about the ring here.]

Moving on.... I liked the scene with Ned Gowan in the whorehouse. Very cute!  I loved the explanation of how the madam acquired the gown, and I agree completely that it's much better for Claire to have a dress for her wedding that's never been worn before.

I love the way Claire wakes up with a massive hangover. "Ye hardly want to get married looking like a melted candle" (Murtagh) - good line.

Not surprising at all that Jamie remembers every second of the wedding.  So do many of us fans! <g>

That gown is magnificent!!  Terry Dresbach did a superb job with it.  The stomacher (the triangular piece in front) is particularly gorgeous, as is the embroidery on the petticoat. Wow!

"And suddenly the sun came out" - nice twist on the line from the book, in that we are seeing all this from Jamie's point of view.  I love the bit where Jamie bows formally to Claire. He looks so young! "A Highlander in full regalia", indeed.  He looks every bit as splendid as Claire, in his own way.  I like his coat very much, and the colors of the Fraser tartan.

I love the way he says "James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser", slowly, just as described in the book.  And the way Claire responds is also just like the book.

I didn't care for the way Claire took Frank's ring off and tucked it into her stays. It seemed like she was trying to deny his existence, as though that was the only way she would be able to get through the ceremony.

The blood vow is done EXACTLY as described in the book -- just wonderful!!

Right before Jamie kisses her, Claire looks utterly miserable. "And when you kissed me like that, well, maybe you weren't so sorry to be marrying me after all." - good line.

Seeing Jamie naked for the first time, my reaction was, "My God, Claire was right, he IS beautifully made!"

The sex scene was very well done.  Almost dreamlike, in places.  But tasteful, if you know what I mean -- not overdone.  (And very hot.  Oh, yes. <g>)

I liked that Claire went downstairs wrapped in the Fraser plaid.  I didn't care for Dougal making advances toward her, though.  Still, it's her first opportunity to say clearly, "I'm Jamie's wife."  When Rupert says, "Young Jamie may not have much experience, but that one looks well-ridden", why did Dougal hit him?  Was Dougal defending Claire's honor, or only jealous that he wasn't the one who got to bed her?  Maybe both, I'm not sure.

I was wondering if they'd forgotten about the pearls.  I like the idea that Jamie gave her the pearls in private, even though it doesn't happen that way in the book.  (The look of the necklace is different from what I always imagined, but that's a minor point.)

"Very precious to me. As are you, Claire." - good line!

I like this exchange:

"If I don't get something to eat soon, I might have to take a bite out of you."
"I believe you've already done that."
"And I look forward to doing it again soon."

LOL!

And just when I'd managed to forget all about Frank (Frank who??), we get a very vivid reminder in the final scene.  I liked seeing Claire's reflection in the gold ring - nice touch!  And the expression on Claire's face at the end, staring at the rings on her hands, is eloquent.  To me, it says very clearly, "Frank! Oh, God, what have I done!"
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To summarize my reaction to Episode 107:  I thought it was WONDERFUL!!! Sam and Caitriona were both AMAZING. <g> The writing was terrific, and I'm delighted that they included so many of the best lines from this part of the book.

Clearly they knew the fans would be watching this episode very, very closely, and with so much riding on it, IMHO, they knocked it out of the park! (That's my own personal opinion.  The rest of you are certainly free to disagree.)


I think they did exactly what a good adaptation is supposed to do: they captured the spirit of the book, even if many of the scenes are rearranged or presented differently from the way they are in the book, and some of the details have been omitted or changed.

I couldn't be happier with the way this episode turned out. Kudos to the whole cast and crew!

I hope you enjoyed this recap.  You can see my comments on the previous episodes here:

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"


Please come back next week for my recap of Episode 108!

17 comments:

Susan G. said...

I agree with you (as usual !). I admit that I tend to watch each episode expecting to see a literal translation from the book, and my initial reactions vary according to how similar it is. I need to step back and view again with more objective eyes to see the adaptation on its own merits, and your blog is of great help in this. And I like that you admit to some of the same misgivings that I have ! And I really, really hope you are right about the ring !

Anna Schwartz said...

I think they're planning to make a stronger story line out of Dougal being attracted to Claire. In an interview with Graham McTavish, he talked in depth about Dougal's feelings for Claire which, to me, seemed a little inconsistent with the book.

On a different note, I haven't read anything about this, but are they making book 1 into two seasons? This was episode 7 and the next episode marks the end of the first half. I don't see how they can possibly complete the rest of the book in 8 more episodes. There is still so much more that needs to happen!

Anonymous said...

I very much like your summary. Right on target. Some sites are flapping around quite a bit........you thoughts are much more well thought out. Thanks

Patricia Steinberg said...

I agree with Herself. Liked your summary. The episode was true to the spirit of the book.

corfukate said...


Very good blog. Im an 'Original Outlander' ( my phrase) from first publication,and love every book. Ron has done a fine job of Outlander, costumes, settings etc. A few things are different, out of sequence perhaps, but all good.

I will only say the ring is resolved, and yes, the second part continues in the New Year.

Courtney said...

I agree with so much of what you said. I'm hoping the conversation about "there's nothing between us save respect" will come up in the next episode.

Jo-Ann said...

I too agree with almost everything you said in your review. I tried to put myself back to 1991, when I first read the book, and then to what I felt last night as it "played" before me. I was NOT disappointed! I was so moved by the way Sam's face showed such innocent, yet tender looks as he gazed and touched Claire. I found myself pulled in as though I was back in the story as I had in 1991. I found myself with smiles, soft laughs, and tears rolling slowly down my face. "Bravol"!! Sam, Caitriona, and all involved!

Cynthia H. said...

I think I left this comment for the wrong date on your blog. *smh*
Nice review, Karen...and I agree that "The Wedding" was wonderful. I do wish the writers had included a voice-over by Claire with one of my favorite lines, however. "A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight—any Highlander, no matter how old, ill-favored, or crabbed in appearance. A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breath-taking." But all in all, they did a fantastic job...Sam and Cait are doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

Well said. Great review and I couldn't agree more. Sans gluts are also remarkable. ;)

Judy Renae said...

Your review is wonderful, Karen I too thought the adaptation is wonderful. They really are showing the spirit of the story.

Lesharon said...

Hi Karen,

I just had to chime in about the ring. In the book he uses his father's ruby ring which his daughter eventually wears later on so it was plausible that that is the only ring they could make in such a quick space of time. I read a TVline interview with Sam about the back prosthetic and it seems every love scene onward would mean filming long hours as it has to be "choreographed" to avoid damaging it.

Karen Charbonneau said...

Always thoughtful and insightful, Karen. The episode was beautifully done. I had a smile on my face the entire time. My husband closed his laptop to give it his full attention. In watching this series, I always keep in mind that Outlander was Diana's first novel and that, perhaps, she would have done it slightly differently if she'd had the experience of the next two books in the series, which are my favorites. But I don't think she could have improved on the wedding chapters. I reread them last night. Simply wonderful and so is this episode.

Christiane said...

Thankyou Karen ! "They captured the spirit of the book" indeed ! No more to add ! And all that because 26 (?) years ago, Diana decided to write a book for practice...!

Lisa Gill said...

I find myself nodding along with each of your observations. This episode is even better than my imagination - and I've read Outlander more than 10x. Everything is in such glorious, glowing color - the candlelight, their room at the inn was more luxurious than I'd imagined. And the costumes!!! Gah. Terry outdid herself. Everything was spectacular.

In my mind, the ring was Jamie's way of saying she was the key to his heart, but I'm likely wrong.

I got the impression that Dougal hit Rupert out of jealousy as he certainly wanted them married, but didn't want them to enjoy it!

BetsyG said...

Very level headed review Karen! I like your points. I saw Diana gave you cudos on twitter. And I imagine much of this is exactly how she sees the adapatation. I will admit I am still dissappointed in the switch POV of the sun and I didn't like the scene with the priest because I wanted more of the wedding BUT I'm not unhappy at all I am still thrilled that my favorite book is being lovingly crafted and brought to life by genious actors writers and producers...to the point that I believe in time travel even more than before! Time to go back to Scotland and those standing stones!

Victoria Thor said...

I enjoyed the exchange of viewpoints - Claire, then Jamie, then Claire... all through the episode. Sam and Cait were awesome. I think Jamie agreed to marry Claire to save her from Dougal more than Randall. Loved the dress! Totally missed an opportunity to include the lines we all wanted to hear, about being easier to talk when touching... The director was a woman - HOW DID SHE MISS THAT?! C'mon!! Sex scene was good. Good to see normal breasts and not hard, about to explode Hollywood versions. While not in the book Jamie's toast to Claire was nice and her slogging down each glass while Jamie waited for her to toast him was very funny. His expressions were great. Two scenes that didn't need to take up any precious time were: arguing bible verses with the priest and Ned in the whorehouse (gratuitous boob scene) (besides, Murtagh got Claire her dress). I don't like how they are dividing Rupert's lines with this Angus character. Why did they need to mess with the wedding ring story - such chuptzah! Is the book in that much need of rewriting? ...I've seen it 3 times so far.

Anonymous said...

In all sincerity I think the "writers" did a disservice to this chapter and to the Epic creation of Ms. Gabaldon. The addition of extraneous things not needed and not wanted took up valuable film time in which the more humorous and poignant moments should have been underscored. Ned Gowan is a fastidious man with a back bone of steel and a huge desire for adventure....he would never bring a whore to THIS wedding! The ring?- huge mistake, The Registry? Claire and Frank were married in the same little Kirk-so much more poignant while adding to Claire's conflicted mind. The pearls- should have at least been the same as recognized by McRannoch who gave them out of unrequited love and disappointment, the one's used were ordinary. Claire's head cradled in Jaime's lap after fainting and his subsequent line? His hand holding technique to calm and get to know each other? Dougal-even as a war chieftain- may be falling for Claire but he is honorable, driven by a higher cause and smart...enough to know he made this happen for his own reasons...he wouldn't be hitting any one of his clansmen like that. This episode should have left out Frank (again too much film wasted) except as pertains to Claire's thoughts as she looked at her gold ring and should have started (as all episodes have so far- close to the ending of the previous episode) with her drinking in the Tap room holding the marriage contract and talking to the bluebottle! Please don't cave to the masses or money men....stay true to the essence of the characters and the story.