Episode 2 was clearly designed to impart a lot of story information. We meet a lot of new characters: Colum, Geillis, Laoghaire, Mrs. Fitz. But of course, this episode is really about Jamie, just as episode 1 was about Claire.
I love this part of the book, because of the way Gabaldon doesn’t give us Jamie’s backstory all at once. We learn about Jamie’s past in bits and pieces, and those bits and pieces are how Claire and Jamie slowly get to know each other. If this were a romance, Claire would be thinking about how hot Jamie looks in his kilt and he’d be looking at her cleavage. But it’s not that.
I still think Jamie is a little too beef-cakey for the role, or maybe it was the way the scene was staged. The important thing here is not his naked chest but his scarred back. Otherwise, this scene was perfect. I loved the part where Claire breaks down thinking about Frank. (I’ll learn to live with the beefcake I guess.)
We also get a sense of castle politics, in the somewhat complicated relationship between the two brothers. Colum is the laird and is clearly in charge – but his physical disability means that Dougal is the eyes and ears of the castle. There’s a brief scene where Dougal says he sent Jamie to the stables, which seemed like the best place for him. Colum looks concerned and Dougal says, unnecessarily, “but of course if you disagree..” Is it clear which of these two is in charge? After all this doesn’t seem like a time when people are going to be very accepting of a disabled leader (not that we are much better today).
The scene where Claire assumes the boy is Dougal’s is not in the book. It was a little over the top and made Claire look pretty stupid. Why would she assume that? And shouldn’t she be a little more careful about what she says? But still, we see she’s nervous and needs to make conversation about something that’s not about her.
And I recognize that if the show wants to minimize the need for voiceovers, and hopefully they do, they’ll have to insert some dialogue that shows us the tensions in the castle quickly and obviously, and I think that scene did its job. In the book, Claire is actually thinking “hmmm, I think people with Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome can’t have children, so I wonder who fathered the kid?” But I guess they didn’t want to go there.
One other invented bit in this episode was Colum’s offer to send Claire back to Inverness in five days. Clearly, he’s going to do no such thing, so I’m not sure this added much, except maybe to explain how Claire keeps her sanity these first few days.
The amount of Frank-flashback is good — I liked the scene where he’s talking about interrogation techniques — except I was a little annoyed with the scene where she goes into the castle “basement” and has all the flashbacks from when she was there with Frank. We get it, you were just here. The flashbacks in that scene weren’t useful, just annoying.
Still, I loved seeing all the new characters in this episode. There’s something strange about seeing characters you know so well come to life this way, or seeing someone else’s image of the character. These aren’t the characters I pictured in my head, but they’ll do just fine.
If you’re watching, what did you think? If you’ve read the book, how did this episode compare? If you haven’t read the book, is it confusing at all? Too much information? I will say that I went back to the book and was really surprised how much of the book this one episode covered.
And one more question: do you WANT a weekly review of the show or is this just too much Outlander? Please comment or “like” so I’ll know. I won’t be offended if you don’t.