Saturday, September 20, 2014

REVIEW: 'Outlander' - Claire and Jamie Become Intimate Following Their Forced Union in 'The Wedding'

Starz's Outlander - Episode 1.07 "The Wedding"

Claire enters into a forced marriage with Jamie, but soon begins to experience deeper feelings for him.

I've been watching Outlander as a story of a woman misplaced in time. I recognize that the romanticism aspect between Claire and Jamie is a huge part of the series. However, it hasn't been the one thing I've needed to see from the show every week. Claire and Jamie have had a connection. He's the lone Scot who has always been friendly and respectful towards her. He recognizes that she's carrying secrets but he's not willing to let that shape his feelings of distrust towards her. "The Wedding" is solely about the show taking that connection between these two lead characters and turning it into intimacy. To that effect, the hour does an adequate job. It's not my favorite episode of the series but I do recognize its purpose and how much weight will soon be put on the Claire and Jamie dynamic.

"The Wedding" is most certainly Sam Heughan's busiest episode as Jamie. It's not quite as impressive as Tobias Menzies' tape from a week ago. But it does allow us a deeper understanding of his character in an intimate personal way. This is an arranged marriage quickly pulled together that neither Claire nor Jamie were expecting. They know what's expected of them but they have no clue of how to go about it with the other. That is fascinating - seeing two people equally awkward and confused trying to make this bond. They both have issues from their past. Claire still technically believes herself as married to Frank back in the 1940s while Jamie has a price on his head. It's the former that is largely the biggest hurdle this new couple has to overcome. She was happy with Frank and she hardly even knows Jamie. This is a marriage of circumstance so she won't have to be subjected to Black Jack's torture.

But that also means they need to consummate the union in order for it to be official. He's still a virgin and it's wonderful watching him experience all of these sexual acts for the very first time. It's dynamic, at times it's funny but most importantly it's personal. Sure, it's a lot of gratuitous nudity. And yet, I do think a lot of it is earned. They are slowly become more comfortable with each other. The first time they do it, it is awkward. They are still clothed and they are each worrying about what the other is feeling. It's not any kind of intimacy or understanding of what each other's needs are. But as the hour goes along the two become closer. They learn more about each other - although it is mostly Jamie telling his side of the story about his family, the wedding day, etc. They become acquainted with each other's bodies. By the end of it, the intimacy of sex is present. They can hardly keep their hands off of each other. More importantly though, it's a mutual love. Claire is instigating as much as Jamie is. Now, how much of that is the alcohol talking and how much of it is actual love?

For this one night, she is Jamie's wife. A title she will carry as long as she is in 18th century Scotland. But when the next morning comes, she rediscovers her ring to Frank. It's a reminder that she is someone else's wife as well. In the beginning, she was fearful of committing both bigamy and adultery. In the end though, she's proud of being able to wear both rings. It doesn't make the question of who she loves more any clearer. And yet, that question isn't being asked right now. I'm sure it will be later on. But right now, the show is establishing her actual connection to Jamie. A vital plot point for the series as it develops.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Wedding" was written by Anne Kenney and directed by Anna Foerster.
  • Dougal propositioned Claire for the second time. And this time he was actually sober. He may not trust her completely but he also finds her sexually appealing. She truly is unlikely any other woman of this time - which unfortunately makes her majorly desirable.
  • The fellow Scots complying with all of Jamie's requests was quite great from the battle of the Bible verses to Rupert and Anghus forging the ring and Ned finding a wedding dress for Claire.
  • I don't think Black Jack would so easily agree with Claire not returning for his questions. I do understand that he has bigger problems to deal with. But I don't see him putting this to bed anytime soon. So Claire better watch out the next time she sees him.
  • It's interesting to know that Claire's marriage to Frank was a spontaneous thing. Jamie gave her a big church wedding which is what she questioned Frank about wanting at the very top of the hour.
  • I loved that we could see Claire reaching for the wedding ring through its reflection. That was really innovative.
  • That wedding dress had a lot of cleavage.