A wee bit of chaos…Outlander 3.7 “Creme De Menthe”

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I loved Jamie’s assertion to Claire, in this week’s episode of Outlander “Creme De Menthe”, that what they were experiencing was not “but a wee bit of chaos”.  It kind of summed up this last week in the fandom, too.  Jamie assures Claire that they had dealt with this kind of thing before and survived. As a fandom, so have we. It has been an interesting week, to say the least.  Lots of discussion about adaptations. I’ve got to say that I was anxious for a new episode to be shown, so that we might be able to move on a bit.  That this episode was an all-out adaptation was irony at its finest!  Story-lines were condensed, characters changed, action moved, etc.  Everything we book fans hate.  But, unlike last week, I was expecting no “kerfuffle” because I saw this as one of those episodes that happen every season, full of foreshadowing and intros to new storylines. Then I was told this morning that even Diana Gabaldon had a few things to say about this episode on CompuServe.

Dear Vicki–
    You know I said there was one “Laoghaire-redemption-like” thing this season?   Mm.  Hm.
     Jamie lie to Ian’s face?   The one person in the world (other than Claire, who was there) that he ever told about Wentworth?  His blood-brother from the age of eight, his brother-in-arms, his brother-in-law, his best friend, for whom he’d lay down his life?
     Oh, sure.  Why wouldn’t he?
     As for Claire…you should have seen her _before_ I said Intemperate Things…

–Diana
www.dianagabaldon.com

I’m assuming they heard her and tempered Claire.  Diana has always maintained that she is mostly happy with the adaptation.  Of course there will be things she is less happy with, but I have to say I admire her ability to be so objective about the whole process.  I’m pretty sure if I were in her place I’d be as protective as a mother tiger.  Last week, Jodi Picoult, a very popular writer who has had her books adapted to screen and might know a thing or two about the subject, tweeted that the Outlander folks are doing a great job and Diana agreed.

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A Rare Love…A reflection on Outlander 3.5 ” Freedom and Whisky”

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I was prepared to hate that shop bell.  I had convinced myself that the episode would end with Claire opening that door and ringing that bell.  I was anticipating an exasperating cliff hanger.  We got a cliffhanger alright, but to my delight it wasn’t the one I was expecting.  Instead of groaning out loud my frustration as the credits rolled by, I found myself sharing Claire’s intake of breath at the sound of a voice recognizably Jamie’s.  I walked with her across that shop speechless, unable to answer his inquiry.  I held my breath as she came closer to the opening between the shop and the press room and saw Jamie’s back bent over the machine.  I could feel her tearful joy as she struggled to find words to speak and let him know she was there.  I watched his reaction as his body stiffened at the sound of her voice and as he turned with an almost comical look of suspicion.  His narrowed eyes suddenly flew wide and as she tearfully smiled down on him, the reality overwhelmed and he fell, “rather gracefully for a large man”.  Claire’s concerned face was the most satisfying cliffhanger moment I’ve ever experienced.  I was tearfully smiling. Bravo. Well done.

It’s the well done part that I want to reflect on.  I told a fellow fan after last week’s episode that I feel like I’m saying the same things over and over.  Everything has been so well done, so lovingly created, that I have found very little to “discuss”!  My critique hasn’t been very critical and I’m starting to see what those early reviewers saw in these first six episodes.

..But tucked inside Outlander‘s salacious exterior is an intelligent, well-acted drama about the nature of love and intimacy, with an often radical position on sex…. NPR

…not just as a filler of the Game of Thrones void, but as an emotionally rich, powerful piece of storytelling in its own right…Vulture

.Then there is a bit more, an important addition that scales the Golden Globe nominated series to a new level. By that bit more, I mean that Balfe and Heughan are stronger than ever this year, as is the excellent Menzies… Deadline

Often the Starz drama is lauded for its incredible set and costume design and ambitious cinematic scope, but the series’ pensive, poetic exploration of the human heart’s mysteries, and the quixotic nobility of commitment, is singularly brilliant and underappreciated in the realm of top shelf TV dramas…Salon

……Over the past two seasons of the show, it’s become obvious that they’ve all worked hard to make the emotional bonds among their characters meaningful and even a little unpredictable…Variety

It has been well acted, beautifully produced, and intelligently…written.

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They do know what they’re doing

I see pictures of the fans with the cast from one “con” or another and even though it would be nice to meet them, the folks I really want to meet are the writers!  I’m fascinated.  I’m intrigued by how they are able to walk that fine line of honoring the source material and creating the show’s own independent personality and identity.  This week they fleshed out a story arc from the book about Claire’s decision to leave Brianna and go back through the stones. In my opinion, this time in Boston was a needed bridge between Claire’s future and her past.  Starz hashtag for the episode #impossiblechoices couldn’t have been more apt.  I had always wondered how Claire could possibly have come to terms with leaving her daughter.  I couldn’t imagine how she could do it!.  They had to make this okay for us.  They had to find a way to communicate why this woman would risk everything to go back. I needed to see how she arrived at that decision. What I didn’t expect to see was a bigger truth about the nature of love.

True love is rare. 

 

The Voyage to the Print Shop

I am fascinated with how the writers were able to get us to that print shop scene.  They have been drawing us a map to a true love’s reunion for the last three seasons.

Season 1

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Claire spends the first half of the season fighting her attraction to Jamie.  We are able to see that she is in danger of loving him.  Jamie asks her if what he feels when he lies with her is normal between a man and a woman.  Claire shakes her head and admits that, “No”, what there is between them is different.  We watched them grow closer and then there is the aftermath of Wentworth. In the Abbey, Jamie tries to send her away, but Claire won’t let him.  She tells him and us that the only way she can make sense of all that has happened to her is to believe it is because they are meant to be together and that she will take him anyway she can get him.

 

Season 2

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In season 2, we see them trying to find a way back to each other.  We see them fighting for their relationship.  They always do find a way back to each other despite all that happens and stands in their way.  When he takes her to the stones the second time, there is no doubt that their love is rare, mutual and passionate, “You are my home” insists Claire.  “And you mine, but this home is lost”, Jamie promises that not even death will separate them, “I will find you”. Claire’s anguished cries when she knows herself to be back in the future are heart-breaking.

 

Season 3

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This season they have led us to the print shop door by showing us how empty Jamie and Claire’s lives are without each other, but they have also shown us how rare their love really is.  Jamie is constantly reminded of Claire.  Her memories color everything for him.  He is a shell of himself without her.  We see both Jamie and Claire live with the knowledge that they have lost a love they will never experience again.  Everyone around them, Bree, Joe, Roger, Jenny, Ian, John. know that they have lived a “half-life” without their hearts.  When Frank asks if Claire could have forgotten Jamie with time she tells him, “That amount of time doesn’t exists”.  Jamie lights a candle for Claire because he remembers her …always.  Their love is mutual and rare.  Claire loved Frank, but whatever she felt for him paled in comparison to what she feels for Jamie.When Geneva asks Jamie what is the difference between love and what she feels, Jamie tells her that love is when you give your heart and soul to someone and they give theirs in return.  It is the “in return” part that this episode highlights.

The scene that brought this all in to focus for me was the scene with Sandy the mistress and Claire.  At first, I was incensed for Claire. This woman had no real idea what things were like between Frank and Claire and why they stay together.  Claire wasn’t trying to have it all!  Claire wasn’t being selfish.  But, then I rewound the scene.

“You should have let him go. … All those years you never wanted him, but you wouldn’t give him up. He told me he stayed with you for Brianna, but I knew a part of him was still in love with you and always would be no matter how much you broke his heart. I had to live with that because he was the love of my life and I wanted him even if it meant I had to share him with you.  I could have made him happy, but you were selfish you wanted it all.  So, you lived a lie and made Frank and Brianna live it too. You threw away 20 years with him and I would give anything just to have one more day.

Sandy just encapsulated the desperate state of most relationships.  She was talking about her relationship with Frank, but ironically, she could have been talking about Frank’s relationship with Claire. “… but I knew a part of him was still in love with you and always would be no matter how much you broke his heart. I had to live with that because he was the love of my life and I wanted him even if it meant I had to share him with you.”  Frank knew Claire still loved Jamie, but he lived with it because she was the love of his life.  He too believed he could make her happy.  They lived a lie alright, but it wasn’t because Claire wouldn’t let Frank go. The lie they lived was because Frank loved Claire more than she loved him and he couldn’t let go. Sandy lived in discreet shadows because she loved Frank more than he loved her and she couldn’t let go.  I wonder how many people hang on to relationships where the love isn’t mutual. How many settle for less.  I believe to love and be loved equally is the exception not the rule.

Frank and Claire’s marriage didn’t work because there wasn’t enough time for her to ever forget her love of Jamie and his love of her. Sandy also reminded me that it has been twenty years.  Twenty sad and lonely years, pining for the person with whom Claire can be her true self.  What wouldn’t any of us give for just one more day with the love of our lives?  What would Claire be willing to give or risk for the chance of one more day with Jamie?

Brianna reminds her mother that if what she felt for Jamie was that powerful, she must trust that he feels the same.  She wants her mother to be happy and she knows without Jamie that will never happen.  She reassured Claire that she is her mother’s daughter and that she will be fine.  “He gave me to you. Now, I must give you back to him”. The decision to leave is made because the chance to love and be loved equally and passionately is the greatest reward any of us could hope to obtain and the only thing worth the risk.

The answer to Claire’s question is “no” to have gone once is not enough because to experience true love is worth the voyage again.  Claire decides she will once again travel beyond the moon to find and live in a rare and mutual love.

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“My marriage to Jamie had been for me like the turning of a great key, each small turn setting in the intricate fall of tumblers within me. Bree had been able to turn that key as well, edging closer to the unlocking of the door of myself. But the final turn of the lock was frozen–until I had walked into the print shop in Edinburgh, and the mechanism had sprung free with a final, decisive click.”
― Diana GabaldonVoyager

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you go home?… a look ahead to Outlander 3.5 “Freedom and Whiskey”

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I’m continually amazed that I haven’t run out of things to write about Outlander.  Every time I think I’ve gone to the well one time too many times something will happen…in real life that reminds me of something that happened in the books.  And, once again, I am inspired to write.  I marvel at the depth of the characters and story Diana Gabaldon has written.  I wonder what she thinks of those of us who ponder and mine her stories and find,…well, what do we find?  I find inspiration and truth, truth about life and relationships. The TV adaptation of Diana’s story has turned out to be no less engaging and just as full of inspiration and truths.  Last week, we saw truths about life moving on after loss, how life doesn’t always go as planned, “…you will hear no in this world…’, how life can hand us unexpected blessings, the miracle of mercy, and self-sacrifice for the sake of others.

This week our characters are all heading “home”.  As a reader of the books, I know what is awaiting Jamie at Lalleybroch, but what the show has done so wonderfully is help me flesh out some of the things the book only touches on.  In many instances, they have deepened and enriched my understanding of this story and its characters.  This next episode appears to be attempting to do just that.  The clip I saw of Claire and Bree looks to fill in one of those gaps in the book and more deeply develop my understanding of some of the main characters, specifically Claire and Bree.

In the clip, Bree has decided to quit Harvard.  She says she needs a break.  She said her mother isn’t listening, a daughter’s lament worldwide.  She says she has tried to be her old self.  It isn’t working.  I hope that there is more to this story arc because right now Claire is looking pretty self-absorbed. Really?  She didn’t know this news might affect her daughter long-term? Think about what has happened to Bree.  She recently discovered that she has been lied to her entire life about who she is.  The father she loved isn’t her “real” father.  He lied to her too.  And, who her real father is is too unbelievable to be true and yet,… she saw Gellis go through the stones.  Of course her life would feel foreign to her, she isn’t who she thought she was, no one is who she thought they were.  She might understand her mother better, but that doesn’t take away the years that came before. The home she had and the person she was no longer exist.  Brianna can’t go home.

Jamie is finally going home to Scotland to the place that has always been his dream.  The place where he had hoped to live a quiet life.  He is happy to be going home to the bosom of his family, but it has been a long while and life there has gone on without him.  He is not the same man who left, so many years ago.  In some ways, he is better.  He has moved on and made peace with the loss of Claire, but he also comes home with more loss. Most importantly, he is coming home to a place where he has no real purpose.  The estate is no longer his and has been run for years without him.  Claire isn’t there.  William isn’t there.  I’m sure they will be over joyed to have him home a free man for the first time in decades.  But, I suspect the novelty of freedom will soon fade and he will soon face a predicament similar to Brianna’s …who is he…where is his place?  Will he feel at home or will he feel himself to be an Outlander.  Can Jamie go home?

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We know that Claire will soon be given information that will change the course of her life and I am so glad that it appears the show will let us see her grapple with that decision.  It isn’t a small one.  I’ve said several times since this season started that her choice to go through the stones was monumental.  She truly doesn’t know what is on the other side.

…Jamie and Claire have not had the luxury of time together to change and grow.  They have become the people they are now because of the things that happened to them while they were apart.  And, it occurred to me that each may be longing for someone who no longer exists.  Scary stuff.  It makes that trip through the stones an even bigger gamble than I first thought and that ringing shop bell sounds a bit more like a harbinger of uncertainty than of hope…

…What could possibly make Claire take that risk, along with traveling through the stones and leaving her daughter for what she has to believe is forever?  I have to wonder if she truly had a plan B.  What was she going to do if she found him married or recognizably altered from the man she knew?  Would she have stayed just to be near him committed to loving him however she could? Does she love him that much? It feels very much like blind faith to me. Faith that the man she loved and still loves would be there.  Despite whatever he had to endure, she has to believe he will still be her Jamie. My own life experience tells me she is probably right, but it was still a hell of a risk…

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The decision to go will have to be made very quickly, there will a small moment of time in which they believe they know where Jamie will be.  I’m so glad the show has decided to let us see Claire and Bree make that decision together.  I want to hear what a conversation like that could possibly sound like.  The regrets and grief she would have about leaving her daughter would be real and her doubts and fears about what she’ll find in that print shop would be real.  I have no doubt that Caitriona will play them all to perfection.  Have I said how amazing the performances have been this season? Yes? Well, it bears worth repeating.  They have moved me.

Going to post my poem again because I can and because I’m feeling Claire’s insecurity and fear, but lord I’m excited to see it all play out…..

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by Beth Wesson

Happy Birthday Cait…A poem for you

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Caitriona’s Smile

 

I think it is her smile

when I see her in a moment of

naturalness

I then see the woman under the patina of fame

a natural girl quick to laughter

and hugs

yeah, it’s all there in her smile

 

by Beth Wesson

 

I Know What Lord John Grey is thinking… a look ahead to Outlander 3.3 “All Debts Paid”

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The clip I can’t stop watching!

I keep re watching the clip from Outlander’s next episode “All Debts Paid”.  I find myself mesmerized by Lord John Grey.  I have to laugh at myself because I know these characters so well that I’m all up in what’s going on in Lord John’s head when he sees Jamie.  I’m already interpreting his facial expressions and body language!  This is one of the big issues we book fans turn TV series fans have to deal with…knowing too much! My knowing what Lord John is thinking is actually kind of ironic because I’m pretty sure this actor, David Berry, did not know as much about his character at this point in filming the story. I believe I heard him say he got the role one day and was on set the next. An actors’ life is a strange one to be sure. So, how did he manage to embody that character so quickly?  It’s gotta be magic or Kismet or some other kind of cosmic luck or a casting department that are clairvoyant geniuses! Seriously, their track record deserves its own olympics!  I KNOW Cait and Sam had no real idea just what kind of plum roles they had landed.  I think I remember reading about Sam telling a director/friend that he had just gotten something he thought might be a big deal. I’m pretty sure he knows now that it was.  However, that whole first season, I continued to wonder if they truly knew what great characters they were going to get to play.  Did they know they were going to get to play characters that struggled with real issues, made hard choices, lived with integrity, and evolved?  Do they know it just keeps getting better?

We fans have had eight books to get to know these characters intimately.  In Lord John’s case, Diana felt he was interesting enough to give him his own book series. His character arc of being a gay man in the 1700’s is interesting.  What would life be like for a gay man in a time when knowledge of your sexual orientation could get you killed and ruin the lives of everyone you care about?  Some would say not so different than now. Lord John is definitely one of my favorite characters. I’ve written before that I think he might actually rival Jamie in honor, integrity and loyalty and Claire for being caring and kind.

Recently, I read some research on the topic of loneliness.  I thought about that research this week after watching Outlander ‘s last episode “Surrender”.  Jamie, Claire, and Frank were all suffering from loneliness. The research I read suggested that loneliness was monstrous in its effects on the people who suffer it, mentally, spiritually, and physically.  They went on to distinguish what is true loneliness vs transient feelings of being lonely.  They concluded that the cause of loneliness was a want of intimacy.  I believe one of the deeper looks that Diana gives us in the life of Lord John Grey is also one of loneliness and a want of intimacy.

Psychoanalyst Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, an early researcher in the topic of loneliness, claimed that the lonely person was just about the most terrifying spectacle in the world. She suggested that we often guiltly avoid the lonely because it “touches on our own possibility of loneliness”.  The research, I read, suggests that there is a high frequency of loneliness in those who feel other, different, those that feel discriminated against. When the HIV epidemic was at its zenith, scientists found they were able to predict which patients would die sooner.  It wasn’t those who lacked family or support systems, as they expected.  It was those who were still in the closet.  The inability to be yourself and be accepted for who you are can have devastating consequences.  Lord John Grey is a man who must be in the closet and that takes its toll. When you are forced to present yourself as someone other than who you are every word must be watched, every look practiced, every touch measured, and every piece of information about yourself policed. A person forced to stay in the closet lives in constant fear of exposure or blackmail.  Intimacy and even friendships can, and at times must, be limited. Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John gives a look into the loneliness these sharp limits can create.

outlander-staffel3-john-grey.jpgWhen these two men, Lord John and Jamie Fraser, meet again in Ardsmuir Prison they are both lonely.  They are both in positions that require them to keep themselves somewhat separate from others.  Lord John is the governor of the prison and as such, holds a position of authority that makes few his equal. Jamie finds himself in a similar predicament. The men in the prison look to him as their leader and chief. As governor and as MacDubh, both men hold a position that naturally places them in a higher “social” station if you will.

Jamie has spent the years since he lost Claire in some type of “prison”.  Ardsmuir has provided him with more company than he has had in years and believe or not more freedom.  He is no longer being hunted, he is no longer a danger to those he cares about, but he is still without the intimacy that would relieve some of his loneliness. The prisoners give him something to care for and about, but they look to him as a leader more than friend and treat him with deference.  He is different and apart from them. John’s prison is the secret he must keep.  John has family and friends, but other than his occasional lover, he has no one with whom he can be himself.  He is different and apart from everyone even his own brother.  John has to measure every word he speaks and hide his true self from everyone.  He craves intimacy.

Despite, the difference in their stations and the odd circumstances under which they interact, it is not surprising that they would strike up a tenuous friendship. Had they met under different circumstances, they would have found they had a lot in common. John and Jamie are both learned men who share a love of books and philosophy. They are both soldiers who have had the responsibility of leadership. They get each other’s sense of humor. They are both fiercely loyal and protective of those they love.  And, I think as men of integrity, they recognize the honor in the other.

Lord John has the misfortune to fall in love with Jamie, a man who can never return his feelings.  Jamie has very real reasons for associating homosexuality with the abuse he suffered at the hands of BJR, and his reaction to John’s revealing of his desires is nothing short of violent and complete rejection. The fact that they are able to be friends after all, and in the end, speaks volumes about both men. I can’t help but believe that Lord John’s friendship became the most important of Jamie’s life and his for John, as well. I believe that each was able to help the other heal.

There was not easiness between them any longer—but there was honesty. And that was a thing he had had—ever would have—with precious few men.—Lord John in The Scottish Prisoner, Chapter 18

John challenged Jamie’s beliefs about love and friendship and made him a more tolerant and empathtic man and Jamie gave John the acceptance he craved and a purpose of sorts, someone worthy to love.

Could you call a man who would never touch you- would recoil from the very thought of touching you- your lover? No. But at the same time, what would you call a man whose mind touched yours, whose prickly friendship was a gift, whose character, whose very existence, helped to define your own?

—-Lord John in Lord John and the Plague of Zombies

I am so looking forward to watching this relationship develop, watch the show handle another difficult subject with sensitivity, and wonder at the power of acceptance and love.

 

 

 

 

Phantom hearts and Purgatory…a reflection on Outlander 3.02 “Surrender”

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This move to Sunday night programming is throwing a definite wrench into my reflection and writing.  My real life is full of grandchildren’s athletic events, activities, and my own school work. There is rarely a day that I don’t have something to attend or something to grade.  My old Outlander viewing/writing schedule found me watching the show either lying in bed at midnight with headphones and an iPad or viewing early Saturday morning with two mini doxies on my lap and sipping several cups of coffee with cream. I would write a few notes and watch again and write a few more notes.  I would then watch the show on the big screen Saturday night with my husband, let my thoughts percolate until Sunday morning,  spend a few hours writing, revising, and proofreading and then hit the publish button around noon. Soon, I would find myself frantically correcting the proofreading errors I saw after I hit publish…sigh.

My time to write and reflect has been shortened by half and I am finding myself jealous of those folks who have access to “screeners” and time to sit with their thoughts. These episodes are so full of meaning, I could write pages.  I could write about how young men continue to dream of the glory of war and guns that become as rare and as mythical as unicorns. I could write of how hard life is and how quickly hardship can age and change us all. I could write of the cost of war and the destruction of the highland way of life, of sacrifice, and family.  I need time to think and so, I’m hoping my readers will wait until I find my focus and voice.

Jamie Grieves

Yesterday, I opened Twitter to find someone tweeting about episode 3.2 , “It looks like Jamie is missing Claire a lot more than she misses him”.  I quickly shut my feed, not wanting to be influenced before I had a chance to form my own opinions, but now I think that tweet might have help me find my focus…grief. Did Jamie miss Claire more?

Ian put it perfectly when he explained how a missing hand can still hurt even when it is no longer there and that, he reminded Jamie, was just a hand…”Claire was your heart”. The overwhelming sadness I felt watching Sam Heughan’s portrayal of Jamie cannot be overstated. His portrait of a man who has lost everything, including his heart, was visceral. I felt him.  I felt his absolute and abject loneliness. I felt his pain.  His heart has been ripped from his chest and yet, he lives. I marked his body language. He reminded me of a dog that has been beaten too many times. It was if he expected the next blow to happen at any moment and as a result, shies away from as much human interaction as possible. He walks as if he always has the deadweight of the deer on his shoulders.  He is never without the heavy weight of burden and grief. He is awkward and slow to respond and you wondered how often he ever spoke. It was almost as if he had to go find his words. He is emotionally exhausted.

It is true that the mind and soul can only take so much before they shut down and It appears as if he has stopped caring.  He just gives a slight nod when he hears Ian has been arrested, again, and Fergus cannot provoke him to a reaction even when he calls him a coward.  As I watched, I kept thinking it isn’t that he doesn’t feel, it’s that he feels too much.  He can’t escape his loss, it is all around him. Lallybroch has always been his dream, his place of refuge, but even it is now a reminder of all that has been lost. He cannot even live in the open without causing them all danger and so literally and figuratively exists in shadow. He has no where he can go, he has lost both of his homes, Lallybroch and…Claire.

Claire Grieves

“My mother. My mother lives in another world.”  says Bree.

Our glass faced Claire cannot completely hide her feelings even when she tries.  And,…she tries. If Jamie feels too much in his grief, it seems Claire feels too little. Jamie wakes from Culloden to another nightmare, living instead of dying.  Claire didn’t have to wake up to the nightmare of living without Jamie.  She has been forced from the beginning to walk into hers.  She believes that Jamie died at Culloden and believes herself to be a widow. As a result, her grief is different. Her grief is about trying to find a new normal, a new self without Jamie.  She suppresses and moves on because she promised Jamie she would. She suppresses and moves on because she promised Frank she would.  She suppresses and moves on because she has a daughter who needs a mother.  She can’t afford to lose herself in her grief.  She has to let go of the past because she has a future. Feelings, however, cannot stay suppressed inside the skin forever.  Caitriona Balfe’s subtle performance let’s us see how hard she is trying. Her feelings come to the surface and escape through a crack in her facade in the form of a flinch, a comment, a look of longing, displaced anger, and emotional distance.  Claire needs to be in the present, but she cannot truly come back from the past.  She too is trying to find a way to live without her heart and the phantom hurts and burns and keeps her up at night.

Filling in the Cracks With What Mortar Comes Handy

Jamie and Claire are only human. Jamie so closely relates sex to love that he cannot bring himself to seek the comfort of laying with anyone but Claire. Jamie longs for tenderness, for the gentleness of a woman’s touch, for intimacy to take away the sting of his loneliness. Mary’s acknowledgement of his love for Claire and her offer of something less than, but something they both need to keep them whole, is just too sweet to resist.  And, so he closes his eyes and faces his need with a single tear. Claire misses her husband…Jamie. She misses how he completes her and makes her feel alive and whole. And, so in her loneliness she reaches for her husband Frank, across their bed, closes her eyes and faces her need.

Finding a New Normal

They can never truly be the same again, but come to the realization that they have to find a way to live. For Jamie, it took the loss of Fergus’ hand to wake him up to the realization that he does have something to live for and for the first time in six years, he looks to the future and takes action.  He is trying to find a new normal, a way to live without his heart.  He has so few options, but he takes advantage of the one he has been given by the redcoats. He sends himself to prison to provide for Lallybroch and his family.  He keeps them safe the only way he can by exchanging one type of prison for another.  In truth, I had the feeling that this is Jamie’s purgatory for the sins he believes he has earned and he is enduring, “even 200 years” without Claire, until he can find her again in death.  In the book, Jamie understands that his life will hold little happiness and he accepts that is his lot.

Claire suffers her own type of purgatory, living in neither heaven nor hell, in her marriage of convenience. Like Jamie, she has surrendered to her circumstances.  She has accepted the things she cannot change and has come to the realization, that for her, finding a new normal must include the element of living for more than just herself.

“I once believed I was whole. But, the man I loved was Jamie.  I was part of something bigger than myself”.

She misses her calling as a healer and making a difference.  We see them both surrender to a new future, a new normal, and watch them move away from the past to the sound of bagpipes playing Scotland the Brave.

Foreshadowing

I was moved by both Jamie’s and Claire’s visions of each other. I felt sorry for them both, he for seeing her and realizing once again that she is gone, and her for her loneliness, for the intimacy she craves.  But, both scenes left me with a vague sense of unease.  Their images of each other have been frozen in time. Jamie sees Claire in her 1700’s clothing with her wee herb basket on her arm, smiling gently at him, all womanly grace and beauty.  The reality of who Claire is becoming is more warrior than woman.  She is going into battle and it will change her.  Claire’s vision of Jamie glowing in firelight, forever young and virile and smiling, is a far cry from the feral bedraggled and imprisoned man he continues to be.  Jamie is no longer the warrior he once was and struggles to find agency. His struggles will affect who he becomes, as well.  I am once again afraid that when they do finally reunite, they may not find the man and woman they once loved.  But, I trust in the power of love to overcome and who Jamie and Claire are when they are together…something bigger than themselves.