Sunday, April 5, 2015

Episode 109: "The Reckoning" (SPOILERS)

Here are my reactions to Episode 109 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Reckoning".

I really enjoyed this episode, and I'm delighted that they kept so much of the Good Stuff from the book.

*** SPOILER WARNING!! *** 

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

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I liked Jamie's voiceover that begins this episode.  "Strange, the things you remember" is, of course, a deliberate echo of Claire's thoughts in EP101.  If you look closely you can see Laoghaire hovering in the background of this shot.

The scene with Horrocks -- because this is not described in detail in the book, I had no preconceived notions of the man. My impression was that he seemed rather cold, businesslike, but not hostile.  And he did tell them what they wanted to know, even if it wasn't what Jamie wanted to hear.  I liked the music as the clansmen rode away.

The dressing scene was fun -- a good counterpart to the scene in EP102.

The whole sequence of the clansmen getting into Fort William was very well done and suspenseful.  Seeing the sentries on guard and all the soldiers in the area really makes you feel how dangerous this was, not just for Jamie but for all the clansmen.  In the book, you don't get much of a sense of why Claire's actions put the rest of the men in danger.  Here, it's much clearer.

"Pray that ye do, or your next words will be in a lassie's voice." - good line

On the first viewing, I didn't understand why Jamie's pistol was empty, because he didn't actually shoot anyone.  Then I re-watched and caught Jamie's explanation: "Ned said not to kill anyone, so I had all the pistols unloaded."  From a practical standpoint, that makes sense, but it also means that (unlike in the book) Jamie didn't have to kill anyone in the course of rescuing Claire -- and that, in turn, explains why "I would have killed a dozen men to get to you, Claire" wasn't included.

The whole scene with Jamie coming to the rescue was done very well.  BJR's lines in this scene are mostly new, but effective.  "Who's the man in this marriage, Fraser?"  "You are a foul-mouthed scold", etc.

Interesting that Jamie thinks about whether he should have killed BJR.

I wasn't expecting the alarm bells. I thought that was a realistic bit that increases the dramatic tension considerably.

So Murtagh and the others provided the distraction that let J&C get away, in the process doing great damage to Fort William. It's easy to see why this was a huge risk for the clansmen!

"You are sure there's water down there, aren't you?" "Aye, I think so."  Good exchange, and the first glimmer of humor in this episode.

More gorgeous scenery at dawn the next day.  Jamie asking Murtagh to water the horse is a very obvious ploy to give him and Claire some time alone.

The whole scene that follows with Jamie and Claire is absolutely PERFECT!!  It's just as I have always imagined it (including J&C nose-to-nose, yelling into each other's faces), and I'm so glad they kept the whole thing basically intact.

"You'll not speak to me that way!"  I love the look on Jamie's face right after he says this. Also, the way he collapses to the ground, "You're tearin' my guts out, Claire."  Very well done!  The part where they forgive each other is also really well done, and IMHO it's somehow more emotional than in the book.

I loved Jamie's voiceover here: "But the truth is, I'd forgiven everything she'd done, and everything she could do, long before that day. That was no choice. That was falling in love."  You may recall that in the book, Claire doesn't learn until much later that Jamie fell in love with her from the moment he saw her. I really like the fact that we're seeing Jamie's POV here.

I liked the way everyone ignored Claire in the tavern. She's trying, but they just act like she's not there.

The "spanking" scene is Just Terrific!!  I loved the fact that they kept so much of the dialogue from the book.  (With one minor exception -- why do they keep saying "British" instead of "English", not just here but throughout this whole episode?  I found that a bit distracting.)  I liked the way they choreographed this scene.  Instead of the way it is in the book, with Claire sitting basically still, holding onto the bedpost throughout their conversation, the two of them move around constantly, and I thought that was an effective way to illustrate Claire's emotional turmoil as well as Jamie's determination.

I laughed at the men's reactions downstairs.

In the midst of the spanking, I liked this exchange:
"This will go faster if you just yield, woman!"
"Ow!!  I'm going to make you suffer!"
"You already have."

More wonderful scenery on the way back to Leoch.

Colum is definitely Not Happy to hear of Jamie's marriage. But I liked his referring to Claire as "Lady Broch Tuarach" -- this is the first time we've heard the formal name for Lallybroch in the TV series.

In the brief scene with Laoghaire, it was pretty clear to me that Jamie was just trying to be polite, nothing more than that.

The scene with Colum, Dougal, Ned, and Jamie was very good.

"Any repercussions will land solely on me. Captain Randall will make sure of that."  My instant reaction to that was, Yikes, foreshadowing!!

Colum is a very forceful personality, and he's absolutely in command in this scene, as the laird should be.  He should not be underestimated!  I liked how they introduced the conflict between him and Dougal. Up to this point, the viewers who haven't read the book have no way of knowing that Colum is not a supporter of the Jacobites.

I loved the confrontation between Colum and Dougal here, but I was very surprised when Dougal blurted out, "I've even assured your bloodline!"  As Jamie pointed out later, it wasn't exactly a secret among the castle inhabitants, but it's not something they spoke about openly, either.

I didn't realize Colum would see Jamie marrying Claire as such a betrayal, but it does make sense, especially in view of what we learned in EP104 about the clan succession.  Who else has Colum got, as an alternative to Dougal as a successor, now that Jamie can't fill that role?

Meanwhile, Claire still hasn't forgiven Jamie sufficiently to let him back into her bed.

This scene in the snow with the clansmen is (obviously) not in the book, but I thought it was an effective way to show that Willie's actions, like Claire's, had consequences.  I liked Rupert's line, "Besides, this is MacKenzie business.  You Frasers should mind to your own."

So Murtagh, who a few episodes ago was telling Claire that Leoch is the only safe place for Jamie in Scotland, is now urging Jamie to leave?  Interesting.

Jamie's solution to the rift between Colum and Dougal makes sense in the short term, and I thought the scene between the brothers was riveting, really well done.

Jamie and Laoghaire by the loch -- This scene seems to have bothered a lot of viewers, but I didn't have a problem with it.  When L started taking off her clothes, I thought, "She's acting like a slut!" I knew Jamie wouldn't do more than touch her, though.  He may have been tempted, but the man has an amazing amount of will-power for a 22-year-old.   I thought his "I'm sorry" was simple politeness, nothing more.  "The lad has nice feelings", and all that.  He's too well-mannered to say bluntly to her face, "Give it up, Laoghaire, go away, I'm not interested," but there's no good way to say it to her gently.  I think she would have run off with her feelings hurt no matter what he said to her at that point.

The scene with Jamie and Claire is very good.  "I saw a rigid man bend" -- Jamie learns from experience, and from watching other people.  "But maybe for you and me, it has to go a different way" -- good line.

I'm glad they kept most of the oath-taking from the book, but I miss the line where Jamie says, "I don't take frivolous vows".

Claire's hesitation was unexpected, but I understood it after she said, "I feel like that's what I should want [long pause] but I don't."

So I guessed right about the reason for the ring being made from a key, but I still don't like this.  On the other hand, I love Jamie's line, "You are my home now."

The "master me" sex scene loses something in translation to the screen, IMHO.  I think that was inevitable.  So much of Claire's response to it in the book (see OUTLANDER chapter 23) is internal -- her thoughts, sensations, the boundary between pleasure and pain, the point where "in body or soul, somewhere he struck a spark" and they truly became one -- that I think it would be impossible to portray that on TV.  I missed Jamie's line, "I canna be gentle about it", but I'm glad they included the line, "Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own", which is really the important point here. <g>

I didn't care for the way Claire pulled the dirk on him in the middle of the sex scene.  That seems like a very odd time to be making a threat like that if you want him to be paying attention!  But it's a relatively minor point.

I liked the fact that Jamie told Claire Laoghaire put the ill-wish in their bed. In the book, he claims he doesn't know who did it, but I have always felt he was lying about that, not wanting to frighten her.  It seems much more straightforward to tell her, as he does here, especially since L is now an open threat to her.

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I loved this episode, and it was definitely worth the wait!  Kudos to the entire cast and crew!


I hope you enjoyed this recap. Look here for my reactions to the previous episodes:

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 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"

Please come back next week for my recap of Episode 110.

15 comments:

Jo said...

Very good recounting. Thank you. Enjoy your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Karen, you've done it again! EXCELlENT review - my thoughts and sentiments exactly! Need to watch it again, a third and fourth time!
~ Victoria T.

Kathleen Kilgrow said...

Thank you Karen for clearing my mind filled with disappointing thoughts after viewing episode 109. I had anticipated seeing DG's wonderful words which paint pictures of C and J relationship slowly coming to full love and respect being the full focus of this episode. You showed me even though this tv series did not follow her book with this story it has some merit. Sincerely I always enjoy your recaps. Katheen Kilgrow

Anonymous said...

Yes the master scene was less intense but I think that was wise. They don't really have the time -or aren't taking the time - to go into the beating and the "master" part of the makeup sex in great depth. If they are not going to do that, then they have to lessen the intensity.

They have to adjust to accommodate their own changes. At least, that's what I thought when I watched it.

Kristin_Texas said...

I wish I had Starz so that I could see this. I really wish they had done like last time, and allowed for a free preview of just the first episode. Oh well, Droughtlander continues.

I wonder what people who haven't read the books thought of the spanking scene?

ingeborg oppenheimer said...

karen, thanks so much for your thoughtful and exacting blow-by-blow! i fully agree with your analysis of the scenes between laoghaire and jamie - taking into account the basic personalities of both participants. and you've given me pointers to watch for in my next viewing that i had missed before [i've seen it twice so far, but i'm a slow learner!]

Rachel Naveh said...

Thanks Karen. I will see this episode here in Israel only in 2 days time but now I know what to expect and what to pay attention to. I also like your writing and devotion toward the books and the series. Thanks again.

Bev Sykes said...

Right on the money, as usual. I was a little surprised they didn't spend more time on Claire's discomfort riding a horse after the beating.


I'm wondering if you know how they photographed Collum...what process they used to get his legs right?

Belinda said...

I loved the episode, such great actors. I enjoyed reading your run down Karen, makes me think more into the episode. Cant wait for the next one!

theRossica said...

Thank you for your recap and comments! I feel like the argument scene and the spanking scene were WONDERFUL. When J did his voiceover discussing forgiveness...ahhh...made me love J's character even more. I love that the show had him saying how he feels out loud to us (even though it doesn't come out in the book until later on).

YASMEN said...

Astute recounting of Ep 9 Your point that Jaime just want 2 be kind 2 Laoghaire still doesn't sit well with me. I call it a common man's POV & I've always looked @ Jaime as very uncommon. His 1st response in the hallway was a "weak" Dougal made me do it. & @the river because of his vows - a little bit acceptable now that you mentioned Jaime does not take vows lightly. I considered both a"cop out" Jaime has always been truthful or not say anything. In Matt Robert's exemplary writing of the whole Ep 9 Jaime's & Laoghaire' s exchanges were the only part I did not like but understood Matt''s guy.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I read this Karen. I was having such an issue with Laoghaire and Jamie at the river really upset me. My husband who is not a book reader said it is very understandable and he is a good man and refused her. Well I am settled with it and will not hold it against them although Ron did want them to kiss and his partner said no no no so glad she told him to stop it there or we may have seen a revolt. lol Thanks again for sharing your thoughts of the episode really enjoyed them.

Shelljo said...

The Laoghaire scene to me seemed to be put there to lead us down the road to the events at Cranesmuir (sp?). I wondered about it's insertion, and then decided that we're building up to see what she does to Claire. And the change in the scene where Claire finds the "charm" under the bed seems to lend to my hypothesis...

terbear said...

Does anyone know when we can see this in the US on amazon prime? I can only see episodes 1-8.

Marijane Diodati said...

In DIA, Claire is willing to risk Faith's life to ensure that Jamie doesn't kill BJR so that Frank will be born. However, when her life is at stake and BJR has the knife to her throat, she's not thinking about Frank being born when she tells Jamie to shoot BJR. It struck me as very odd.