Monday, September 22, 2014

Confessions of a Sassenach: Outlander The Wedding

So, how many times have you watched the most anticipated television episode in the history of ever?  By the looks of the piles of laundry and stacks of dishes in the sink, I have watched it approximately 30 times. Okay, maybe not that many, but this episode was definitely worthy of repeat viewings – Sweet Mother of Jamie Fraser!

Outlander fans have basically been waiting since June 1, 1991 to see the wedding of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp and James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. And dare I say it was worth the wait!  I must admit that when the episode started I thought I mistakenly hit the fast forward button and missed the actual ceremony – I had a slight moment of panic and thought that they skipped right over it.  Thankfully, the producers/writers of Outlander have proven time and again that they are respectful of the fans and wouldn’t rob us of such an important moment in the story.  The wedding was revealed slowly throughout the episode. Brilliant move!  
I love every single thing about this episode – the wedding flashbacks through Jamie’s eyes, the costumes, the scenes leading up to the wedding where we see how much Jamie respects Claire and his need to keep her safe from Jack Randall.  It was perfection! And, Claire, I’m really not sure how she was standing up straight after tying one on in the lead up to her arranged wedding – that lass can drink right along with the guys!  

And then there was the wedding night…let’s be honest, THAT was what Outlander fans have been waiting for!  I can sum up the wedding night in three words: WOW! HOT! PERFECT!  From the very first time that Claire and Jamie consummate their wedding – no pressure with the whole clan Mackenzie downstairs as witnesses – to the very last time in the episode, we see a couple go from nervous attraction to cementing what will be a deeper understanding of each other mentally and physically. Can I just say I’ve never seen a strand of pearls and a kilt used in a better way?!
Speaking on behalf of the Outlandish Ladies Roundtable, I can tell you that they were verra, verra pleased with The Wedding.  Here are their thoughts on the hottest night in television this year:

Joanna:  “Is it hot in here? Or was that just Jamie?? Anyway. I loved this episode (obviously). Another brilliantly acted episode - this time by Claire and Jamie. You could just FEEL the awkwardness they were both feeling on their wedding night. Jamie was eager but Claire needed to feel like she knew more about him (and needed to drink more wine, obviously) before getting down to business. Watching them slowly fall for each other was adorable - and the chemistry!! I don't even need to say anything about that. Then the next morning, when Claire realized what this all means, you could see the guilt written all over her face. She loves Frank, but how can she not love Jamie too??”

How does Joanna feel about only having one more episode left ‘til the midseason break?  “It's total bullcrap that there's only one more episode ‘til January, btw. Bull. Crap.”

Stephanie:  “Well, the episode we’ve all been waiting for…I will begin by saying that it was so very touching. First, with the adorable scene between Frank and Claire, where he, on a whim it would seem, asks Claire to marry him. So very, very sweet and they both look quite happy. Them BAM- Jamie and Claire kissing after their wedding. It shakes you! Claire was a happily married woman before she met Jamie Fraser. Now, she’s still married but clearly attracted to Jamie. How does anyone wrestle that??  Whiskey!!
I love the back and for between times, especially within Jamie/Claire time. You think for a minute that the writers are just going to move over details from the book, but we are surprised that the details are there, were thought about, and written about. I haven’t paid attention before this episode, but I saw last night that this episode was written by a woman and directed by a woman. 

As I said above this episode was very touching to me. Jamie and Claire’s physical and intellectual connection are something that really doesn’t come along very often between a man and a woman. And between a husband and a wife reminds us why it is a sacrament, as Jamie says in the book. It was captured beautifully!  I could just go on and on about this episode. If I never saw another, I am happy.”

Debbie: “Hello, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser!!! At first I was confused that the events in the episode weren’t shown linearly, but then I got into the storytelling and understood that the "flashbacks" were a way of Jamie explaining to Claire about his three demands for the wedding, and seeing the wedding through his eyes and not through Claire's view. It was a great way to show Jamie and Claire getting to know one another. I kept thinking of the quote in the book about how handsome a Highlander in full regalia is, and Jamie more than surpasses that thought: hair brushed and Fraser clan colors-just absolutely gorgeous!  Claire's dress was beautiful and even though the bride was hung-over, the lighting of the scene was just brilliant and Claire did "glow."  They switched my favorite line in the book, "The sun came out in the form of Jamie Fraser" to having Jamie say the line describing Claire and her dress, it worked perfectly. The flashbacks also showed how protective the clansman are of one another and their family. Rupert and Angus are awesome and I just love Murtagh. The scene with Ned Gowan getting Claire's dress was great! 

Now onto the wedding night.....WOW! It went from doing "a duty" to falling in love in a quick few hours. You see their growing relationship as they grow in their intimacy with one another. They still have secrets from one another, but at least Claire knows Jamie's name and why he wanted to marry her. Claire is falling for Jamie and you see her soften throughout the episode. But, she feels guilty about it. But, if you had a Jamie in your life, would you feel guilty about what happens to her?
The episode lived up to everything that I thought it would be and more. Beautifully shot and acted, Brilliant of the show going from the brutality of last week's episode to the beauty of this one.”

Elena:  “At first, I thought they'd got it wrong.  How can they deprive us from the most anticipated wedding?  Well, I've since learned to trust the producers.  Starting the episode after the wedding but before the consummation was truly brilliant!  The flashbacks were done as a means of conversation between the nervous bride and groom.  Unbeknownst to Jamie, Claire is battling some serious demons; the shadows of her future life, paradoxically a past life, play on her face, desire and loyalty tearing through her like the icy Scottish winds.  
But it is Jamie.  The most fantastic volte-face occurs: it is not the Bride the focal point but the Groom!  His awe when he first touches her, the tenderness in his eyes, his inexperienced assumptions about the act of sex, his kisses, the way his actions ask for permission when all words fail!  Oh my!  As Claire explodes in his arms and he realizes what has just happened to her, after assuming he was hurting her, he is taken aback by her forwardness.  And then, instead of the typical the-boy-performs-certain-activities-on-the-girl's-southermost-point, it is the other way around!  I don't recall seeing such mix of amazement, enjoyment, guilty pleasure but please don't stop look on a male character before.  Although Jamie knows his wife is not a virgin and innocently tells her he will ask for guidance, should he need it, he is clueless!  Eager, but clueless.  So she takes control of the situation. 

And she does so again, for their third time.  After he gives her the pearls, it is so apparent he's in love.  When she places the tartan around them both, it symbolizes an allegiance she yet doesn't recognize.  I was moved throughout the entire episode, all because the Jamie I came to know was on my screen; I was watching his loveliness, his playfulness, his joie de vivre, projected from the novel, brilliantly embodied, for us.  I believe this is the beauty of what it makes me feel.  The novel has not been violated or corrupted.  This show is an extension of the experience of all things Outlander!”

Amazing recap ladies and I couldn’t agree with you more!!!  I am impressed more and more by the Starz team – they’ve faithfully honored Diana Gabaldon’s work and our passionate fandom.  Next week will be the midseason finale and we will have to wait until the New Year for more Outlander – thankfully we’ll have eight amazing episode to re-watch in the meantime. I’m guessing The Wedding will get the most repeat viewings.

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