Sunday, September 28, 2014

Episode 108: "Both Sides Now" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 108 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Both Sides Now".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

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


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I liked the maps in the opening shot, emphasizing the contrast between 18th and 20th centuries even before the story starts.

My impression of Frank in the scene in the police station is that he's holding himself under very tight control at first, perhaps feeling that letting all his rage and frustration out in front of the police won't help. I like the contrast between his very dry, "My expectations of your department were low to begin with, and I can assure you that you have met those expectations at every turn" and the way he explodes, "My wife is NOT with another man!" at the end of the scene.

I love the scenery of the Highlands in this episode; the cinematography is really beautiful. You can feel the mist and damp in the air.

I was delighted to see this particular conversation between Jamie and Claire, taken straight from the book, complete with Jamie's uncharacteristic shyness and groping for words. I love the way they're sort of making love with their hands -- very sensual!

The scene with Hugh Munro is terrific! The little bow he gives Claire as she's introduced to him is exactly as I always imagined from the book. I like the way they've condensed things a bit here, so that Hugh presents Claire with the chunk of amber himself. (Yes, I miss the "Da mi basia mille" reference, but maybe they'll address that in a later episode.) The gaberlunzies are fascinating to look at. You can see more examples in my Friday Fun Facts post here.

Random thought: From Claire's POV, at this point in the story, it's Frank who is frozen in time like a dragonfly in amber.

"With my bride, Claire Fraser, Lady of Lallybroch." This is the first time we've heard Lallybroch mentioned by name in the TV series.

I love the bit where Claire notices her gold wedding ring, and the next shot shows Frank's hand wearing an identical gold ring -- nice touch!

I'm so glad they included the cork board in the Reverend's study! It's not as big as described in DRAGONFLY, but I love it. If you look closely, you can see a number of articles and photos about Claire's disappearance. Just to the left of the "MISSING" poster, an article says "Girl missing in Inverness." And to the right, just above the "Hurts Our Cause" headline, there is another article about Claire. Finally, notice the photographs of the area. Not just the standing stones, but the photo showing the trees in the woods near Craigh na Dun, as we'll see later in this episode. And another time reference -- seven weeks since Claire's disappearance.

Wee Roger is adorable. So cute!! I'm glad they didn't leave him out.

The scene in the pub took me by surprise. Who is this Sally, and how did she know Frank would be there? Has she been following him?

And again, connecting the two centuries, Frank's whisky glass and Angus pouring a drink for Rupert. I love these little connecting images throughout this episode -- really well done! <g>

I'm glad they kept the waterhorse story. Rupert does a good job telling it! Watching the way Jamie and Claire look at each other in this scene, my thought was that it's tough to spend your honeymoon surrounded by all those clansmen!

They're making a big deal of noticing the date: "It'll be Yuletide by the time we get back to Leoch." Just like in Frank's time, it's nearly Christmas, about 7 weeks after Claire's arrival.

That was quite a fight, but I love that it's Ned Gowan who saves the day with his pistol. "Did you see that shot? Twenty paces if it was one!" LOL.

Back to Frank: For a former MI6 agent, Frank seems pretty reckless in this scene. Going into a dark alley at night with a strange woman who claims to have information, who is clearly interested in the reward money, but won't give him any details? Surely it wasn't hard to see this was a trap? But of course, he's acting out of desperation. And he has much better hand-to-hand fighting skills than I expected. <g> I think he got carried away by "the red thing", just as Jamie has on occasion.

I liked the scene between Frank and the Reverend very much. You can see why the Rev. is a good minister, AND a good friend. "Let her go, just as she has let you go" -- but she didn't! (I'm starting to feel sorry for Frank.) The Sherlock Holmes quote is very apt.

Claire's sgian dubh lessons -- very good, and very much in the spirit of the way it's done in the book, even if some of the details are different, like the use of a sgian dubh instead of a dirk.

"See? Got it!" Watching Claire, you can tell she's not taking it as seriously as they are, even though she's cooperating and willing to learn. She thinks it's sort of a game, not a skill she will need in a life-and-death emergency.

The wedding photo in Claire's suitcase was an effective way to transition between one husband and the other.

The scene with Jamie and Claire and the deserters in the glade was just perfect!! Everything from their dialogue at the beginning ("Does it ever stop? The wanting you?") to the encounter with the deserters was exactly as I've always imagined. I liked the use of slow motion from Claire's POV, so you can almost see her thinking (very fast!) about how she's going to stab the man.

Meanwhile back at the manse... The scene with Mrs. Graham was excellent! It's not just a way to remind viewers what happened to Claire; it's also entirely plausible that Mrs. Graham would know the stories and legends of Craigh na Dun, and have her own suspicions about what's become of Claire.

"A place on the earth where the powers of nature come together" -- in other words, an intersection of ley lines, as Roger hypothesizes in ECHO.

Fascinating to think that Roger was raised by BOTH the Reverend ("Superstition!" "Dribble-drabble.") and Mrs. Graham. So maybe this is one reason why Roger seemed, in DRAGONFLY, more open to the idea of time-travel, more willing to believe Claire's story? Just a thought.

I love the way wee Roger looks up at his future father-in-law. Just adorable!

The scene after the fight with the deserters is very good. Claire going into shock was something I didn't expect, but it fits, and Caitriona does a great job of making us feel what she's going through. Her hands are shaking, but she's trying hard to calm herself. "If I started giving rein to my feelings, things would pour out of me that I wanted to keep locked away forever." -- terrific line, and she's right, it's much too early in the story for that! <g>

So sad to see Frank leaving Claire's suitcase behind!

The conversation between Jamie and Claire just before he leaves her is changed quite a bit from the book. Jamie's threat of what will happen if she disobeys him is never even implied, let alone stated outright. (I suppose because they want to leave that for the next episode....) And Claire's stubbornness is not as evident in this version of the scene. On the other hand, I liked this exchange:
"I'll be back. I promise."

"You shouldn't make promises you can't keep." (Echo of Geillis in Episode 104, "A promise is a serious thing in this country.")

"Swear you'll be here when I get back."

"Fine, I promise." (Ha!)
Patton's death announced on the radio pins down the date very precisely: it's December 21, 1945, the winter solstice, and the portal is open. Very good attention to detail there! <g>

I love the Craigh na Dun sign on that boulder. And there's Frank's ring again. He doesn't believe it, but can he afford not to try? He has nothing to lose, at this point, by going to have a look.

(Side note: it's mid-December in the Highlands, and Frank is driving around with the car top down? Wouldn't it be freezing cold?)

Remember the trees I mentioned earlier in the newspaper photo on the Reverend's corkboard? They look just like the ones we see here, as Claire wanders through the woods. I like the music as Claire sees the stones, bringing back the eerie song of the dancers from Episode 101.

The juxtaposition of Frank and Claire at Craigh na Dun is really well done, and fascinating to watch! So sad to see Frank crying. I liked seeing Claire's shawl still at the base of the stone where she left it seven weeks before.

The idea that Claire can actually hear Frank through the stones -- and maybe vice versa -- is just electrifying! Riveting. As she came closer to the stone, I started yelling at the TV: "No. No! NO!!!" Because I'm certain she WOULD have gone through, if she'd touched the stone at that point. (It's weird to feel grateful to the redcoats for stopping her just in time, but I do. <g>)

And what is Frank supposed to think now, that he's been hallucinating or something? Poor man. I really do feel sorry for him.

I love the bit with the redcoats taking Claire down the hill toward the wagon, while simultaneously Frank goes back to his car. The way they set up that shot, with the same lichen (?)-covered boulder separating the two characters in two different centuries, was very clever and well done.

Beautiful scenery, and Fort William looks scary and forbidding, just as it should.

The interrogation scene was well done. Tobias is absolutely riveting as BJR, of course.

"We MacKenzies are all loyal subjects" -- notice the "WE". And I liked Claire's little smile right before she mentions the Duke of Sandringham. The woman really does have a glass face! You can tell she's thought of something clever to say, before she says it.

The bit where Claire unwraps and reties BJR's stock was startlingly intimate, and I definitely didn't expect it.

I like the way BJR rubbed his forehead again, just like in EP106, as though her lies are giving him a headache. But he manages to trip her up pretty easily with the reference to the "duchess". Oops!!

Say one thing for Claire (and Caitriona): she screams VERY loud!! <g> The bodice-ripping bit was intense, and very reminiscent of the scene between BJR and Jenny from an earlier episode. You really get the impression that he could have cut off her nipple.

Then Jamie shows up JUST in the nick of time, of course. <vbg> The way they played that was exactly as I have always imagined it -- just perfect! And the perfect cliffhanger on which to end this episode and this half of the season.

I really enjoyed this episode and I think they did a terrific job adapting it for TV. I was a little taken aback at first by the switch to Frank's POV (we've been told so often over the course of the filming that this is Claire's story, that Caitriona is in virtually every scene in the entire show), but it was very effective, and I'm glad they did it this way. The constant switching back and forth between Claire's POV and Frank's added to the tension and the suspense (even for those of us who know the book really, really well). You really feel Frank's pain in this episode, and it helps a great deal to emphasize how conflicted Claire is.

Finally, I don't think anyone watching this can deny that Frank and Claire truly love one another.

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 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"

15 comments:

Medieval Muse said...

I took the "You shouldn't make promises you can't keep." as Claire thinking Jamie didn't do his job protecting her from the deserters, something he promised to do on their wedding day (even the protection of his body).

vanessa said...

Now I'm Team Frank, sorry Jamie...

Annette Sailors said...

I loved this episode as well. The scene(s) at the rocks had me crying, screaming NO! and feeling sympathy for them both. Love the additions to what we have always imagined. I look at it as enriching or enhancing the books. I look forward to your recap after every episode and will miss reading them until April.

Allison Ling said...

I'm team Ned! LOL. It was a perfect segueway to lighten the post raid mood. Also, I thought the love seen with the laughing really shows how their relationship is evolving. Friends and lovers and the intimacy that comes when you're both. Yay!

However, there are a few things about this episode that disappointed me. First, I would have added about 30 seconds of dialogue before Hugh Munro appeared. Part of what makes Claire and Jaime falling in love so powerful is the knowledge that these are two practical, honorable people (Claire through her narrations and committment to get back to Frank; Jaime through his actions) who both find their shared emotions tying them together. At this point, the book demonstrates to Claire that the infatuation she feels for Jaime is not one sided whereas the episode leaves that question unanswered.

"I thought perhaps not. I’ve not lain with a woman before, but I’ve…ah, had my hands on a few.” He smiled shyly, and shook his head. “It wasna the same. I mean, I’ve held women in my arms before, and kissed them, and…well.” He waved a hand, dismissing the and. “It was verra pleasant indeed. Made my heart pound and my breath come short, and all that. But it wasna at all as it is when I take you in my arms and kiss you.” His eyes, I thought, were the color of lakes and skies, and as fathomless as either..He reached out and touched my lower lip, barely brushing the edge. “It starts out the same, but then, after a moment,” he said, speaking softly, “suddenly it’s as though I’ve a living flame in my arms.” His touch grew firmer, outlining my lips and caressing the line of my jaw. “And I want only to throw myself into it and be consumed.”I thought of telling him that his own touch seared my skin and filled my veins with fire. But I was already alight and glowing like a brand. I closed my eyes and felt the kindling touch move to cheek and temple, ear and neck, and shuddered as his hands dropped to my waist and drew me close."

Additionally, I wonder if they're leaving this bit of relationship development to the later half of the season but, I was a little disappointed that both post-fight sex scenes were elimited. Given how Jaime and Claire ground themselves in each other's bodies, it's one of the reasons why Claire is so conflicted. Both Frank and Jaime are intelligent, thoughtful men. The difference is Jaime connects with a primal part of Claire that Frank never sees or can acknowledge.

Tobias as BJR continues to blow my mind. So damn evil!

Lesharon said...

Sorry Karen, this is the first time I don't feel the same as you about this episode. I mean the bits with Frank I can appreciate the creative license Ron Moore took to make the show a little unpredictable for book followers. However, you can't have the hero burst in to the rescue and call it a cliff-hanger. They should have just omit that part and let everyone speculate about Claire's fate during the break.

Karen Charbonneau said...

So well done, Karen. Only people who know the books well should attempt to compare the televised episode with the books in these recaps sprouting up on the Internet. I caught General Patton's death on the radio, but not the date. I'll listen better next watch-through. My husband, who hasn't read the books, but apparently absorbs everything I tell him (and sometimes I let coming events slip out), thought it was a foreshadowing of Frank's eventual death. Because I hadn't caught the date, I wondered why the stones seemed so active. I, too, thought Hugh Monro was perfect. They are all such fine actors - I keep forgetting it's an American production, and not a BBC series.

Catullus_1000 said...

Karen - a wonderful summary peppered with intelligent insight. I enjoyed the back and forth in this episode - it was well done and kept me riveted to the TV. I liked the back story of Frank - I often wondered how he fared when I read the books. I thought the attempted rape scene with the two redcoats was spot on. SO disappointed with the 6 month hiatus - I thought late January would have ben better for the fans.

Cathie Jones said...

You always put things in perspective. I was very disappointed that they abandoned the "Claire's POV" philosophy in this one, and that they seem to be re-writing the book. But, as you point out, they did it well. I'll listen to Ron's podcast and see what he has to say about it. I hope this is not a fore-telling of how they intend to re-write things in future episodes.

Allison Ling said...

Agree.

Victoria Thor said...

I did not care for the scene with Frank, the woman and her accomplices going after the reward money. I bet Tobias' agent said that he needed to be in x-amount of scenes, have x-amount of lines...he's a well known actor who can't be left out until she returns in a couple of years. Another point, if Claire ran away with another man, she would most likely have snuck into the Rev's manse to retrieve her suitcase.

Anonymous said...

I felt this episode totally left out any bonding for Claire and Jamie - the 4 days they had together after the wedding. Why would she want to stay in 1743 when there are only bad things happening. They leave out too many things Jamie says.

Laurielucy said...

I agree with anonymous. I really missed the bonding part between Claire and Jaime. I think it is needed to understand why/how could Claire pick Jamie over frank esp when life is so miserable in 1743. You see how many people post about being team frank. That would be because they don't know what Jamie brings to the table and the kind of man Jamie is and the kind of man frank can't ever be. And we don't really see why Jamie would bother with Claire. She's actually a liability for the clan and Jamie. This episode left me meh... After being on pins and needles for weeks. I thought it was a big miss and I have loved every minute so far and been eagerly awaiting this to come to film for years. Just horrible way to do mid season.

ValerieE said...

I love the look on BJR's face when he realizes that Claire's Scottish husband is Jamie. Very telling for later goings-on in the book, and hopefully in the series!

Anonymous said...

One of the most subtle, startling, and effective time-crossing parallels was during Frank's beating of the thugs in the alley and a quick flash of Frank's hand revealed him to be wielding - a blackjack! Sent a chill through my spine.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading and rereading the books for over 9 years now and just love them. I think I am perhaps in love Jamie and Claire. So I have only just finished season 1 part 1 and I just love it - I will be rewatching it again very shortly and I have just started reading the books again :)
Cant wait for part 2. It is aweseom to see them following the books so closely - I hope they keep it up. Even if a season has to have 3 or 4 parts. I to yelled at the TV shouting Noooooo when it looked as though she was going to go through the stones again.
Great blog - something else I now a fan of :)
keep it up :)
Lesley