*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
I thought this episode was very well done, and very faithful to the book.
That's a beautiful horse in the opening shot -- and how appropriate that this episode premiered on the day of the Kentucky Derby! <g>
Claire's voiceover is loosely based on her thoughts at the beginning of DRAGONFLY chapter 19:
The clock on the mantelpiece had an annoyingly loud tick. It was the only sound in the house, other than the creakings of the boards, and the far-off thumps of servants working late in the kitchens below. I had had enough noise to last me some time, though, and wanted only silence to mend my frazzled nerves. I opened the clock’s case and removed the counterweight, and the tick ceased at once.I like the scene where Jamie returns. It's very close to the book, including Jamie's words to Fergus.
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 19, "An Oath is Sworn". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I was surprised that Alex remained in prison after Jamie and the others were released. "His release will require a word from the lass herself." This isn't in the book, but I think it's plausible.
I like watching Jamie's face throughout the scene between him and Claire. Especially when he says, "No good can come from that pairing."
"You did WHAT?" LOL!
"And so calling your wife a witch was your best idea? After everything that happened at Cranesmuir?"
Well, she has a point, but still, I wish they'd included her reaction from the book:
"So you told them I was La Dame Blanche,” I said, trying hard to keep any hint of laughter out of my voice. "And if you tried any funny business with ladies of the evening, I’d shrivel your private parts.”I winced a little when Jamie said, "And all I wish for is for you to lay in my arms." Diana Gabaldon has commented rather wryly on the fact that no one involved with the TV series -- not the writers, not the other members of the production team, not the actors -- seems to be able to use the words "lay" and "lie" correctly. It should be "lie" in this case. Oh, well.
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20, "La Dame Blanche". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I liked the scene with Jamie and Murtagh. It's good to see Jamie at work managing Jared's wine business.
"Les Disciples" -- in the book, they're called "Les Disciples du Mal" - the disciples of evil. I think leaving out the last part of the gang's name makes them seem less sinister, though I suppose their actions speak for themselves.
I like Murtagh's exchange with Jamie beginning, "I've failed ye." This is very much in the spirit of the way it's done in the book, with two exceptions:
1) In the book, Murtagh kneels before Jamie as he says this. I suspect they changed it because of the other scene involving kneeling later in the episode.
2) In the book, Murtagh asks Jamie to take his life to atone for his failure to protect Claire and Mary. Again, given the very explosive scene involving a dirk later in this episode, I think it would have been overkill to have two such scenes in relatively close proximity, so I don't have a problem with the way it's done here.
Mary is just wonderful in the scene with Claire!
"How are you feeling?"
"Ashamed. Like I'm a different person now, and I'll never be the same."
Very good line!
I also liked this line from Claire: "You're far too pretty, not to mention sweet, to marry such a warty old man."
The bit with the red wax seal on Mary's letter reminded me, inevitably, of the symbol on the cover of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, and I was momentarily pulled out of the story, thinking of the octothorpe in the shape of a pair of interlocking Moebius strips. <g> I bet I'm not the only book-reader who had that reaction!
In the scene with Charles and Jamie, my first reaction was that it's wonderful to see Jamie wearing his kilt again! <vbg>
"Mark me" -- again! We really do need a "mark me" drinking game for Season 2. <g>
I like the way Jamie holds his injured hand while Charles is laying out his plans.
"When are we to expect this shipment?"
"Do not plague me with workmen's concerns!"
Good line from Charles Stuart, and a reminder that he is a prince, after all.
So Jamie and the Comte are to meet in Maison Elise. Do they have no taverns or pubs in Paris?? This is, after all, one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in Europe. I'm sure the production team did this on purpose to reduce costs, so they wouldn't have to build another set, but the idea that Every Single Time we see any of the men having a meeting in public, it's in a brothel, let alone that particular brothel, is starting to strain credulity quite a bit.
I like Claire's blue cloak in the scene with Alex. But I was very startled to see Claire trying so hard to break up Alex and Mary, after she's seen them so obviously in love. I don't like this. It seems awfully cold-hearted of Claire.
"She loves you very much, but in time, she will move on from this."
Oh, really, Claire? Like you'll "move on" from Jamie? We saw in Episode 201 how well that worked, didn't we? (This line definitely seems like foreshadowing to me.)
So Claire is entitled to happiness with her own true love, but she's decided that Alex and Mary are not, just because (in theory) Frank's existence is at stake?
"It broke my heart to break his." I was glad to hear this in the voiceover, because it shows she does feel guilty about it, but I still don't like her interfering in their relationship.
The scene with Jamie and the Comte was very good. The two of them are just mesmerizing to watch! My impression watching them is that their relationship is like a chess game between two experienced players, each trying to predict the other's next move -- but the stakes are very real.
"My memory is as long as yours." - good line from Jamie.
Jamie's gift of the apostle spoons was something I definitely didn't expect, but I liked that scene very much!
"Christening gift. For the bairn." Oh, God, that's a bittersweet thought, knowing what's coming later in the story!
"[Jenny] said she was so full of excitement, she could hardly keep the quill steady in her hand." Another good line.
I like Jamie and Claire's discussion about being a mother very much. Very appropriate for Mother's Day weekend in the US!
"What you don't ken, ye'll learn. We'll learn. Together."
"I do love you!"
"I love you, too, a nighean donn."
Awwwww!! That actually brought tears to my eyes. (I admit it, I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to Jamie and Claire's relationship, and I always have been. <vbg>
I didn't care for Claire's outfit in the Versailles scenes. I understand that costume designer Terry Dresbach wanted her to stand out, to show that Claire's taste in fashion is influenced by the 20th century and therefore is somewhat different from the other ladies at the French court, but I think this particular outfit is just TOO different from what the other ladies are wearing (the fabric, the neckline, the gloves), and I don't personally find it very attractive. Oh, well. Tastes differ. <shrug>
Sandringham thinks Charles Stuart is "an utter arse"? My instant reaction was, "It takes one to know one!"
Claire and Annalise going through the archway: "Apres vous, Madame." I laughed a little at this, realizing that as wide as that archway is, there's no way that both of them would fit through it at the same time, with those enormous gowns.
The gardens of Versailles are just gorgeous! And I like Annalise's outfit very much.
"When I knew him, he was impulsive, headstrong."
"He still is."
At the first glimpse of BJR in full uniform coming toward them, I started yelling at the TV: "Go away. Go AWAY! GO AWAY!!"
Random thought: You may recall that BJR said in Episode 106 ("The Garrison Commander"), "I dwell in darkness, Madam, and darkness is where I belong." He's right. Seeing him outside in the daylight like this is deeply unsettling, to me at least.
All right, he's not going to go away. (Consoling myself with the vision of corbies-plucking-out-eyeballs from the beginning of VOYAGER....)
"Jamie? He's here?" And before Claire can say a word, attempt to make up some lie, he reads the truth on her face.
"...the sublime preposterousness of a universe that would guide us to a meeting at the French court."
I agree entirely with this! But I want so badly to wipe that expression of smug self-confidence off his face!
"F*ck the king!" I definitely saw this as foreshadowing, as I think most viewers who've read DRAGONFLY will.
I like the King's conversation with BJR and Claire before Jamie shows up. The King is charming, handsome, and a far more appealing character than he appeared when we first saw him in Episode 202.
I was really looking forward to Jamie and BJR coming face-to-face at last -- but definitely not like this!
"I hear you had an unfortunate encounter with some...sheep, was it?"
I really, really don't like this. :-( Jamie and BJR making polite conversation with each other?!? The dialogue between the two of them is clever, but it seems out of character for Jamie, IMHO. This is, after all, a man who brutally tortured and raped Jamie, who nearly destroyed him psychologically, and they're standing there making polite chitchat as though they've just encountered one another at a dinner party?
I think Jamie would be grim and mostly silent in that situation, plotting how exactly to take his vengeance, and IMHO he definitely would not initiate this kind of small talk. Talking about the weather, of all ridiculous things?
"On your knees."
I wasn't expecting that at all! Part of me enjoyed seeing BJR humiliated like that, and it's an effective illustration of the King's absolute power. (Lionel Lingelser is terrific as King Louis!) But I was a little taken aback by Jamie's reaction, laughing along with the others. Sure, seeing your worst enemy humiliated in public must be pretty satisfying, but Jamie is a Highlander and a "bloody man", and he's already stated very clearly his desire to kill BJR. So when Jamie went to call BJR out, I was actually relieved.
When BJR reached out to touch Jamie, I thought immediately of his words to Lord John in VOYAGER: "Take your hand off me, or I will kill you."
"He said he owed me a death" - referring to Jamie's plea in Wentworth, at the beginning of Episode 116 ("To Ransom a Man's Soul").
In the carriage on the way home, Claire is apprehensive, but notice the way Jamie is half-smiling, satisfied with his plan.
I liked the scene with Jamie and Murtagh, talking about preparations for the duel. This isn't in the book, but I can easily believe that they had such a conversation.
"Murtagh, will you please leave? This is between Jamie and me." Good idea, even if Claire came across as rather abrupt. This is definitely a conversation they need to have in private!
This very explosive final scene between Jamie and Claire is really well done! It's one of my favorite scenes in DRAGONFLY, and I think Sam and Cait both nailed it.
"You'd stop me taking vengeance on the man who made me play his whore?"
I heard, very clearly, the line from the book that follows this: "Who forced me to my knees and made me suck his c*ck, smeared with my own blood?" I'm sure they omitted this line on purpose, because we didn't actually see that happen on screen in Season 1, but to me it's a reminder that Jamie's ordeal at Wentworth in the book was even more horrific than the version we saw on TV. (This is not a complaint, just an observation.)
Notice how Jamie clutches his maimed left hand to his chest while he makes his decision. And then he picks up the sword and kisses it, just as he kissed the dirk at the oath-taking. As he walks away, saying, "Do not touch me", I got the distinct impression that his hand was throbbing in pain.
Wow, what a dramatic and emotionally intense end to this episode!
I was disappointed to see that it ended a few minutes early. After all that talk in the podcasts about how they often have to cut scenes for time, why was this episode five or six minutes shorter than most? I hope they explain the reason for that, eventually.
Overall, I thought this episode was really well done, and very much captured the spirit of this part of the book. Kudos to scriptwriter Richard Kahan! This was Richard's first OUTLANDER script, and he did a good job. I hope we see more from him in Season 3, assuming there is one.
I hope you've enjoyed this recap. Please come back next week to see my comments on Episode 206.
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
Episode 204: La Dame Blanche
Look here for my recaps of all of the Season 1 episodes.