Can you hear it even now?
Almost an entire week later, can you still hear those wedding
I wasn’t going to bother with an episode review, seeing how they aren’t exactly analogous to an endangered species. (Let’s face it; Outlander blog posts floating around cyberspace aren’t exactly disappearing like the bees. If anything, they’re multiplying daily). Be that as it may, being a fan of the books I can’t exactly overlook the importance of such a milestone episode.
This post was written in a rush, and I'm sure that will show, but I couldn't NOT share any of my thoughts. It was too important an episode to sweep under the rug.
FYI: There will be spoilers from the books!
I wish to address right up front that I enjoyed the episode. While I’m not a card carrying member of Clan “Poutlander,” I certainly can understand their point of view and they are entitled to express their opinions.
These books have been around since 1991, and Diana Gabaldon created two of the most beautifully written couples in literary history. (Scarlett and Rhett Butler? Romeo and Juliet? Lancelot and Guinevere? Ppphhhfft, puh-lease. Who are they again? )
Jamie and Claire are extremely loved by millions of fans around the globe. No, really. We do L-O-V-E them. They’re special to us, and even if one of these characters does something incredibly stupid we would never abandon them.
In some strange way, when you think about it like that – never losing faith in them and wanting the best for their story - they’re almost like our children. We’re protective of them. While reading Claire/Jamie’s story we can’t help feeling we know them extremely well, and when the day finally arrives that we can witness their wedding from the comfort of our very own living rooms… we will have expectations.
So please give Clan Poutlander a little bit of love. Their hearts are in the right place, and for some enthusiasts it’s going to take more time for them to separate Book Outlander from Starz Outlander.
I’m not gonna lie. Before this particular episode aired I snatched my Outlander book from my bookshelf. I did re-read a few of the scenes from previous episodes, as well as the wedding chapter. I never expected Starz's version of the wedding to be exactly like the book, but I must confess that when almost immediately we saw only seconds of the wedding kiss followed by the wedding couple at the inn AFTER the ceremony...
... for the first time I was really, really concerned for the sanctity of these characters that are so precious to me. My fear factor skyrocketed to about Defcon Level 3, but I kept telling myself that there’s still hope I won’t be disappointed. Maybe we’ll see the wedding vows in a flashback.
Pep talk aside, considering the fact that I was only sitting in my room watching a television series at the time, my heart was racing as if I were being mugged or had just finished running a marathon. As Jamie would say, I was "nAIrvous. Verra, verra nAIrvous."
I observed Jamie’s toast to his new bride... Claire’s drinking like a fish… Jamie’s humorous facial expression over Claire’s drinking like a fish.
And then it happened. Claire’s statement posed to Jamie echoed my own:
“Me too!” my inner-Poutlander self shouted at the television screen. Since this episode’s title is “The Wedding,” why haven’t I seen more than two seconds of the ceremony? Exactly what is happening here? I’ve been watching this for 5 minutes now. There are only approximately 50 minutes left to 1). Show me the wedding… 2). Deflower Jamie Fraser... 3). Show me all those key scenes I’ve been playing inside my mind for over a decade.
I was beginning to feel like I was part of last week's Doctor Who episode. Was I the victim of one of those disgusting memory worms? Have I entered The Twilight Zone? Did I miss the wedding episode, or is my life playing out like Drew Barrymore’s character in 50 First Dates? Did I hit one of my neighbor’s cows with the car or riding lawnmower, and now have short term memory loss? Could I have forgotten seeing one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser on his wedding day?
I finally reached Defcon Level 2 and counting...
Oops, nay. I was about to have my very first panic attack over nothing. It looks like this will be a flashback episode after all.
Insert huge sigh of relief....
Speaking of flashbacks...
(And there were many)
Groom #1 versus Groom #2
Even though it's common sense and "beyond contestation"... (to quote James Purefoy in A Knight's Tale)... let the boxing match begin!
Jamie put more thought into his and Claire’s emergency wedding than Frank ever did. Frank wanted a quickie marriage in the Register Office, followed by spending the first hours of their honeymoon dining in a restaurant with his parents.
Does Frank even understand whom honeymoons are for? You don’t spend them at dinner with your parents. You can’t have romance with your new bride if Mom and Dad are watching you eat, and you sure as hell don’t do genealogical research on your second honeymoon. (If you could technically call it their second).
Unlike Frank, on his honeymoon Jamie didn’t have his nose stuck in a library of books while chumming with the local minister.
Also very unlike Frank, Jamie had three conditions for his wedding:
Condition No. 1 - They must wed properly, in a church before a priest.
Condition No. 2 – There must be a proper ring.
Condition No. 3 – Claire must have a wedding dress.
Okay, I’m already rambling far too much so I’ll just point out specific quotes, scenes from the episode versus the book, as well as the complaints I’ve been reading on blogs. Ready? (This might still be long, so you might need a caffeine drip by the end).
Romantic Groom versus Practical Groom:
Jamie: (places a hand over his heart and gives a gentlemanly bow) “Your servant, Madam.”
Frank: “Let’s get married right now, but we’ll have to get in line as soon as possible because my parents are waiting at the restaurant for us and I don’t like to eat cold chicken.”
Claire Voiceover: “You forget your life after a while.”
Especially if your first husband is a bore and your new husband possesses an actual sense of humor.
Whenever Jamie tries to wink suggestively at his lady love, he inadvertently blinks with both eyes for cripe’s sake. He’s the sexy, yet adorable version of Bob Hope!
And Frank has the default expression that looks like this ---->
See what I mean? Not even a signature wink to pull at the heartstrings.
Afterthought: I realize I'm sounding harsh towards poor Frank. I really don't hate him at all, but when comparing him to Jamie there's no contest.
The Wedding Clothes:
Claire might have woken up looking like a melted candle, but once she was decked out in her wedding dress she turned the heads of all the clansmen. I actually enjoyed seeing Dougal and Murtagh’s smiles.
Although let’s be honest here. They were likely smiling at those two mounds threatening to spill out of the tightest bodice in all creation. After she dropped Frank’s wedding ring down there, I’m surprised that ring didn’t pop out of her cleavage and 6 miles skyward towards the Earth’s troposphere.
I thought Jamie cleaned up really nice, although I prefer the untamed curls framing that face. And perhaps it stems from my past crush on Aragorn, but I also think I prefer Jamie covered in traveling dust and bleeding from fighting off the English with his trusted claymore.
A lot of people are upset that his wedding attire isn’t like it is in the book. Instead of wearing his brilliant crimson and black kilt , he borrowed one from the husband of a Fraser widow.
Some fans were also equally upset over this quote not being present in a Claire voiceover:
“A highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight – any Highlander, no matter how old, ill-favored or crabbed in appearance. A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breath-taking.”
But why was I okay with it not being present? I was okay with it because of the # 1 lesson writers are taught: Show, don’t tell.
And that’s exactly what happened in that scene. Sure, the kilt was different but Jamie still looked an impressive sight. We didn't need Claire to tell us because we could see it for ourselves.
Claire’s Wedding Ring:
In the book, the ring used during the ceremony is Jamie’s father’s cabochon ruby ring. In the tv series, Jamie has one made from a key that he had in his sporran.
My guess is this key is one to Lallybroch. (Thank goodness he didn’t say something cheesy, like it was the key to his heart. I’m being in earnest here…. I was afraid that line was coming, and I did NOT want to see my Jamie being emasculated like that).
A lot of people are extremely upset over the change in the ring, but I think it’s important to remember that THE ring we all know and love is presented to Claire later on in the book. I’m pretty sure the real ring will appear in a later episode.
As will Claire’s wearing Frank’s ring on her left hand and Jamie’s on her right. (Just as in the books). Clearly, the writers had Claire placing the ring in her bodice so that the morning after the honeymoon we’d have that last scene play out the way it did. (Having two rings from two husbands, and having to choose between them).
Yes! We heard THE line! (One of our favorites anyway).
And yes, Claire did see Jamie’s full name on the marriage certificate in last week’s episode, but the woman was already becoming quite intoxicated by then. She only remembered sporadic events from her wedding, so forgetting reading his name is plausible.
While I had to look up the description of the pearls in the book...
He stepped forward and fastened the necklace around my neck. Looking down, I could see it was a string of small baroque pearls, those irregularly shaped productions of freshwater mussels, interspersed with tiny pierced-work gold roundels. Smaller pearls dangled from the gold beads.
... I must agree with my fellow fans that the pearl necklace is all wrong, and being so wide of the mark is the result of laziness on part of the costume department.
Personally, I’m not too upset over that but I do find it a little ridiculous. The pearl necklace was described in great detail, and it does make more appearances in later books. Most fans were going to notice, so the costume department really should have been precise.
Not to mention my suspicion that had they gotten it right, any replica necklace Starz would put up for sale (as they've already done with the key ring) would sell like hotcakes.
I kind of thought it funny how so many people expected to hear this line. While Jamie didn’t say it in the episode, I’m sure there’s hope yet. There are loads of steamy scenes ahead for the couple, so of course it’ll happen.
Although the more I think about it, it really is a little crazy that it isn't present. It’s not like it would have subtracted any time at all from the length of the episode, and it would have made a lot of fans happy to hear it.
If that exclamation belonged in any Outlander episode, it belonged in this one.
- Murtagh professing that Claire and Jamie’s mother had the same sweet smile. I believe this was my favorite of the flashback scenes.
And maybe I'm reading more into it, but did anyone else notice how when Jamie told Claire his full name outside the church, Murtagh SMILED when Jamie said "MacKenzie" Fraser? Murtagh isn't one to strain any smiling muscles, so I have to wonder if he smiled like that because Jamie's mother was a MacKenzie?
Either way, I love the thought of Murtagh being a victim of unrequited love. Perhaps that's the reason for his gruff exterior. And let's remember... he did pledge an oath to Jamie's mother, when Jamie was only a week old, that he would devote himself to always seeing Jamie under his protection. To me, that screams that perhaps he was in love with Jamie's mother.
- Dougal’s all too apparent jealousy over Claire being his nephew's wife.
(No matter that he himself arranged it).
I'm thoroughly enjoying Dougal’s character being expanded upon. By God, this guy will be a prince one second - like rescuing Claire from that sick b@stard Randall - and the next he's willing to cut her throat.
Then the next day he's hitting on her, on her wedding night no less.
I love to hate him, and I hate to love him.
- Jamie's Wedding Party, aka Rupert and Angus.
I liked hearing Rupert trying to explain to the blacksmith which part of the key to use for the ring.
He and Angus are an odd duo. Not quite Tweedledee and Tweedledum, but more Tweedledee and Grumpy.
Or Tweedledee and Oscar the Grouch?
- Claire's frizzy, curly hair when she awoke on her wedding day.
I love how they've been incorporating that from the books. A lot of the story coming to life onscreen really is through little details like that.
- I was thrilled when we got to hear the blood vow.
I rewound this part a few times.
It's already beautiful, but hearing it recited with a Scottish burr had me melting.
- Claire: "You're a regular Bob Hope."
Jamie: "Is he a funny man?"
- Jamie was so sweet and polite whenever Claire initially brushed off his little advances. The pained look on his face looked similar to a puppy dog having been smacked with a rolled up newspaper when all it wanted was to show it's master some affection.
I wanted to hug the poor lad, but thankfully Claire would almost immediately apologize.
- Ned Gowan's nervousness was hilarious around all those whuurs/strumpets. I enjoyed seeing him all bumbling and flustered.
- Jamie's toast to his bride was a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e because he was so nervous and you could tell he was trying to impress Claire with gallant words.
My God, it was sweet!
And I loved how he sounded out her married name so slowly and deliberately, as if trying to convince himself that it was all real. "My wife, Claire Fraser."
I can think of several other scenes I enjoyed, but to keep this post shorter I'll not list the rest of them.
- In the book, Jamie could read Claire’s mind so easily, and we didn’t really see much of that here.
- Jamie asking Claire to tell him about Frank.
“Why did you ask about my husband, though?”
“Well, I knew ye must be thinking of him. Ye could hardly not, under the circumstances. I do not want ye ever to feel as though ye canna talk of him to me. Even though I’m your husband now – that feels verra strange to say – it isna right that ye should forget him, or even try to. If ye loved him, he must ha’ been a good man.”
This was a GREAT moment from that chapter, which is sorely needed to develop Jamie's maturity and depth of character. I think the series is starting to fall a little bit behind in establishing their connection. Fairly soon we're going to have to understand just why Claire chooses Jamie over Frank.
Being so accepting of Frank exhibits to the audience the caliber of man Jamie is. While he is young, he's also wise.
I just really wish that the elephant in the room, aka Frank, was included. I think the honeymoon scenes as a whole would have been all the more poignant had it been addressed verbally rather than through Claire's reservations towards she and Jamie's attraction to one another.
- Jamie and Claire's touching to feel more comfortable with one another was sorely missed.
I realize that we might still catch a glimpse of this, especially in the mid-season finale this weekend, but it truly BELONGED in THIS episode.
This awkwardness, and especially Claire’s retreat whenever Jamie would simply touch her hair, was not nearly as present in the book as in the episode. That really felt strange to me. Not Jamie’s actions, but Claire’s.
To me it just felt like a disservice to her character.
- I can live with it (barely), but I'm not a fan of the tv series changing where Claire and Frank married. It was FAR MORE POIGNANT in the book!
I imagine that Starz changed the venue to the Register's Office to punctuate the point that Frank and Jamie are very different.
Well you know what? That's already been established. We get it, but having Claire marry BOTH these men in the same church across the centuries carries one whopper of an EMOTIONAL PUNCH for the bride.
It certainly would have made it a hell of a lot more interesting.
- It would have been nice, and very telling of what Jamie’s life has been like, had they included the scene with the dagger along with that beautiful quote: “Don’t be afraid, there’s the two of us now.”
Of course, I think we might still be shown this at some point.
- Most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, the following request from Jamie SHOULD HAVE been included.
"There are things that I canna tell you, at least not yet. And I'll ask nothing of ye that ye canna give me. But what I would ask of ye---when you do tell me something, let it be the truth. And I'll promise ye the same. We have nothing now between us, save---respect, perhaps. And I think that respect has maybe room for secrets, but not for lies. Do ye agree?"
If one occurrence from these books should have been included in the wedding episode, this is it. It is INTEGRAL to the very FOUNDATION of Jamie and Claire’s relationship.
I am 110% siding with the Poutlanders on this one. While I'm feeling fairly certain we'll hear this speech during the first season, I must acknowledge that I believe Starz has made one massive error by not including it in the wedding episode. (This might as well be labeled as fact and not mere opinion). Even if they showcase this in the future, as a flashback to their wedding night, the truth of the matter is that we really should have seen it last week.
It belonged there, just as much as Jamie and Claire belong together.
That's how I feel, and I feel confident that 99.99% of fellow Outlander enthusiasts share this view.
So yeah... I really did enjoy this episode despite my HUGE disappointment over that one exchange not appearing. Also, I was a little apprehensive over Sam Heughan successfully portraying Jamie's boyish innocence and humor, yet being sexy at the same time. (Dude totally killed it at the "You'll laugh at me/back way" comment. I was so pleased to see that one sentence from the book come to life). Jamie is such a multifaceted character, and I think Sam did a wonderful job.
And while the wedding chapter in the book is still superior, I felt it was a fantastic episode.
If you read this entire post, here's a Snicker's bar for your troubles!
Sorry it's virtual.