Sunday, May 1, 2016

Episode 204: "La Dame Blanche" (SPOILERS)

Here are my reactions to Episode 204 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "La Dame Blanche".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

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


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I thought this episode was very well done.

The opening sequence, showing a man removing a pin from a carriage wheel and replacing the cover, is clearly meant as foreshadowing of what happens to Claire and Mary Hawkins later in the episode.

I love that view of the entrance to the palace at Versailles. Gorgeous!

The discussion of baby names is cute, and I like the way both Jamie and Claire react to each other's suggestions. "Dalhousie" comes straight from the book.

My first thought on seeing St. Germain was that he's like a walking storm cloud, spreading gloom and doom (and danger!) wherever he goes.

"I'd give good money to watch you do it." - good line.

I like Jamie's waistcoat in this scene. That light blue color suits him very well, IMHO.

A lot of people seem surprised or taken aback by Jamie's reaction to the news that BJR is still alive:

"This is wonderful news!....You've given me something to hold on to. Something to look forward to! And that is a gift. Thank you, truly."

It seems like such an odd, joyful reaction. But in fact, book-readers have seen a very similar reaction from Jamie once before, in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, when he thinks he's about to confront "Butcher Billy", the Duke of Cumberland:
"His heart beat painfully, eager, for all at once the future had a shape to it. No more long days of mere survival. He had purpose, and the glow of it lit his soul."

(From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 7, "When a Man is Tired of London, He is Tired of Life". Copyright© 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Much as we'd all like Jamie's life to have purpose, it would be better if that purpose was something other than the pursuit of vengeance. But keep in mind that a) he is awfully young in this episode, no more than 23 years old, b) the physical and psychological wounds left by his ordeal at Wentworth are not yet fully healed, and c) he's a Highlander and a "bloody man".

I love Claire's outfit in the scene with Master Raymond. Gorgeous! Really glad we got a look inside Raymond's inner sanctum, complete with the animal skulls.

"I'm fascinated by things not of this time." Terrific line! I like the way Raymond smiles at her. Clearly he knows she's a time-traveler like himself.

"You have no need to worry. You will see [Frank] again." Yikes!! This is not good news, to put it mildly, and I like the way Claire reacts. Notice the Frank musical theme playing softly in the background.

I'm glad they included Louise's cuckoo clock. <g> Much of the dialogue in the scene between Claire and Louise comes straight from the book, except for this:

"But how will I raise a child with a man who's not the father?"
"All that matters is that the child is brought up with love."

Major foreshadowing here!

The scene between Jamie and Claire was just terrific! All of it. Very emotionally intense, and I loved what they did with the "fortress" lines. This is one of the best scenes in Season 2 so far, IMHO.

"Naked. Alone. Trying to hide under a blade of grass."

I wanted so badly for Claire to reach out to him right then, and was disappointed when she didn't.  But the sex scene that follows more than made up for that!  I thought it was really well done, one of the best ones in the series so far, IMHO. Tender and loving. I think it was just right for Claire to be the one to initiate it. ("Find us.")

"But I think perhaps you've built me a lean-to, at least." (Rubs her belly.) "And a roof to keep out the rain." Awww! What a terrific way to incorporate those lines. I love it. <g>

I like the way the rain coming down on the roof changes from metaphor to reality, so to speak, with Charles Stuart's unexpected arrival. That transition was very cleverly done, IMHO.

"Mark me!" We really need a "mark me" drinking game for this season! <g>

"The way I see it, we're doing a bad thing for a good reason." In other words, the ends justify the means. I don't like that. I understand the necessity of it, but I don't like it.

I like the scene with Fergus and Murtagh very much! Hilarious. Fergus is very perceptive, especially where women are concerned. I hope Murtagh's misogynistic views of women don't rub off on him too much!

The scene with Monsieur Forez is very much as I imagined from the book. Glad they included the hanged men's grease. I loved Mary's reaction to it.

"You, Madame, are a great deal better than nothing." Another line straight from the book, and high praise indeed, coming from Mother Hildegarde.

And now we see the broken (sabotaged) carriage wheel as shown in the very beginning of this episode.

I like Sandringham's wig in this episode much better than the one he was wearing when last seen.

Charles Stuart walks into the room with his nose in the air, exactly as described in various places in DRAGONFLY.

Notice how Mary's stammer entirely disappears when she talks about Alex. <g>

The attack was suitably sudden and violent, and I think it was a good decision to keep the focus mostly on Mary.

The costumes at the dinner party are fabulous! I like the way they intercut the scenes relating to the rape and its aftermath with the opulence of the party.

So Jamie wants to rush out and find the intruders, and it's Claire's idea to try to carry on as though nothing has happened. Jamie even offers to cancel the party, and Claire refuses. That's a change from the book, and I didn't care for it. It makes Claire look more decisive than Jamie is.

On the other hand, I liked very much the way Claire steels herself to meet the guests. ("OK. Let's go.")

Claire's gown is fabulous! And I love the embroidery on Jamie's waistcoat.

Alex is very good in the scene in the attic with Mary.

"Mark me" - again! LOL.

Sandringham is boorish and annoying at the dinner party. But I liked this line: "I must say that the combination of [Jamie and Claire's] respective beauties results in a child of unfathomable pulchritude."

Right after Jamie raises his glass to Claire, their eyes meet for a moment and she nods, very slightly, as the signal that he should spring the news about Louise's baby.

I like the Comte's line to the effect that "if Madame is worried about the cooking in her own home, perhaps we should all have a stone." Good point!

The melee in the hall is pretty much as I imagined from the book. But I love the bit they added at the end, where Fergus sits down at the dining table and helps himself. LOL!

So we have a cliffhanger ending, with lots of loose ends to be resolved in next week's episode. I can't wait!

I hope you've enjoyed this recap. Please come back next week to see my comments on Episode 205.

Here are my recaps of the previous Season 2 episodes:

Episode 201: Through a Glass, Darkly
Episode 202: Not in Scotland Anymore
Episode 203: Useful Occupations and Deceptions

Look here for my recaps of all of the Season 1 episodes.

9 comments:

Tracey R. said...

"'Mark me' as a drinking game"--see, this is why you are a true MOP girl and why we love you. :-) And why our Ep 204 recap will make you giggle. Another great recap, Karen!!

Amina guessaoui said...

Love your recaps Karen, after each episode I can't wait to read what you think about it. Love from France

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen , I felt this episode was very much like the book , I had a feeling that the Comte would try to get his revenge at some point , the scenes with Jamie & Claire were needed and alot was resolved between them , but I know there will be more to come the sex scenes was romantic and beautiful good to see Fergus is being given more scnes , hope to see more of it , the attack scenes were the same , both Jamie & Claire should have made the decision to have the dinner party as a couple , it seemed there that she was making all of the decisions , didn't care for that , liked the was Alex was with Mary , very caring and more than makes up for BJR, liked the dinner party and liked the costuming and background , the fight scene was like it was in the book, but the scene should have gone along a little longer , will be missing the next few episodes will be on vacation, will be reading your blog to see what happens next, please post more soon. Happy Week. Sincerely Yours. Mary Tormey.

Railie Douglas said...

Love your summing up! Very astute observations.Talk about a run away train with this ep. Alot to compress into a short spaceFelt the entire cast was flawless in this ep. As with you I wasn't keen on the portrayal of Jamie's reactions to dealing with the rape & party. But he is young & still impetuous. Claire's collecting herself to meet the assemblage was terrific. The attack itself was brutal, sudden & much as I expected. Talk about the dinner party from hell! Loved Le Comtes line about the stone. Stanley Weber plays disparaging contempt so well.
Simon Cowell continues to delight as Sandringham. Pulchritude! Extending our vocabularies. And mark me! The situation will only go from bad to worse. Mark me & sculls top of Kosciusko this month with MPC. Go Aussies!

Susanlynn♥ said...

Karen , thanks for your thoughts on the new episode. I agree with most of them. I have also been reading the comments on Compuserve. I was a bit thrown by his reaction to BJR being alive , but I can accept it . I was surprised by the scene about the thigh bites when I read it in the book , and it was interesting the way it played out in this episode . The big difference is that in the tv adaption Jamie has not been able to make love to Claire since Jamie's rescue from Wentworth. Jamie seems so excited and happy when he comes to Claire in bed. Then , she notices the bite marks on his thighs, and Jamie seems truly surprised by her reaction. He is so relieved that he was finally able to feel aroused that he does not appear to understand that Claire is upset that a hoor aroused him..not her. I Can't blame Claire because I would feel the same. However, twice he tells her that nothing happened ,and he also tells her how he finally felt like a man again . He innocently tells her that what happened at the brothel "stirred him" with lust . I believed him that nothing happened and that he hurried home to take advantage of those stirrings to make love to his wife! Like many on Compuserve, I can't exactly understand how he was bitten while wearing pants! I thought that he had his kilt on when this scene happened in the book. I love both bookJamie and tVJamie perhaps because I did not start reading the books until after I watched the first season. Therefore, Sam is Jamie to me.

Susanlynn♥ said...

Every time I hear Charles proclaim "Mark me", I can't help but think of Claire saying those exact same words to Jamie before they are parted and he uses the knife to put a " j" on her hand .

Susanlynn♥ said...

The scene with Jamie and Claire talkking alone at the dining table by candelight sharing their secrets and a drink once again was my favorite. It felt like the old love connection was back, especially the soulful kiss at the end. It was interesting that it led directly into the dining table all set for the big dinner party. We are headed toward some very sad scenes from the book. Help. Sigh

Kathy Van Wesep said...

I always enjoy reading your recaps. I think Toni Graphia did a wonderful job of weaving together events and scenes that were spread out in the book into a cohesive and logical sequence that flowed well and retained a great deal of dialogue from the book. It definitely felt like "Outlander" to me. Particularly the scenes between Jamie and Claire, taking the "fortress" text from Book 1 and inserting it in Season 2 at the perfect time. Ron Moore and his team of writers know which lines from the book are "iconic" and they may not have them appear in the same sequence but they find a way to work them in later. The use of the healing blue light for the final "connection" of Jamie, Claire and Baby Fraser was very effective and beautiful. I love that they are once again affectionate with each other, working as a team and even able to laugh together. I can't get enough of Murtagh and Fergus. They are adorable. Poor Mary Hawkins, that rape scene was so hard to watch. She is so tiny and vulnerable. Alex Randall is so incredibly sweet (the opposite of his big brother) and he loves Mary despite the fact that she is no longer a "maiden". I find it interesting that the writers have made the Duke and LeComte "associates". Although this is not in the book it makes sense that they would join forces to neutralize Jamie. What better way to derail him than to have something tragic happen to his wife and unborn child. They are both cold hearted and evil. Perfect villains. Love Master Raymond and his awesome shop. Mother Hildegard and Bouton are just as I imagined them as was Mssr. Forez, the Royal Executioner. The casting has been flawless.

♥Susanlynn said...

Loved these lines..."Good evening my beautiful wife. How was your day since last we met?" Followed by " You wont have to wait long tonight, Sassanech." Awwww...It was so great to see randy, joyful Jamie again.