As I’ve said many times before if you haven’t read this books this post will be full of SPOILERS!
This was a good episode. I went into it wanting it be THE best episode I’d seen yet. After all I’d anticipated this wedding for so many years that perhaps I was expecting too much. Unfortunately I still have to give the “Best Ep” award to last week’s “The Garrison Commander”. I don’t know what it was….the fact that I was in a bad mood and exhausted or if it was because of changes from the book that threw me off or if it was because of the inability to hear/see everything going on from Claire’s perspective (like we do in the book). I just had a similar feeling, a let down, that I had watching a certain death in Game of Thrones (no spoilers here)…it just didn’t have the same emotional impact or humor. This week I’m not going to recap so much as review it.
Again, it’s a good episode. The acting was very good. We finally get to see Sam Heughan let his charisma flag fly and boy does it ever. He could not be any more hunky–he had it turned up to 11. The chemistry between Jaime and Claire is outstanding and sexy. So much so that the boyfriend noticed at the end of the episode I was a little flushed. I told him it was the wine and hot flashes but I don’t think he believed me.
The costumes are wonderful. Her dress was gorgeous except (and here comes some more negativity, that’s just where I’m at right now) her chest looked weird in some shots. I know that I’m probably gonna get some criticism for what I’m about to say but I feel like I need to be honest. Catriona Balfe is a stunningly beautiful woman however she is not well endowed. I always pictured Claire to be more curvy than thin and Catriona, a former catwalk model, is extremely thin. The dress was obviously made to give more oomph to the wearer’s bustline and it certainly helps in this case. Unfortunately, it seemed too tight, like they were trying too hard to make her breasts look larger. At times, side camera angles show the awkwardness of the effect (maybe it’s just me but take a second look and tell me what you think, I’m betting her nipples were sore). That’s not to say that Caitriona isn’t right for the role. She’s awesome. It’s just that I have a firm idea of what Claire looks like and it doesn’t match up to Caitriona (and for that matter my Jaime is different than Sam–my Jaime is fiercer looking, not as pretty, nose more crooked and definitely taller because that’s what I find sexy, never liked pretty boys terribly much). However, I can easily separate the books from the show as far as the characters go and it doesn’t bother me. I’m good with both actors–they’ve done an excellent job so far and I am eager to see what they do with the challenges facing their characters going forward. However, I was distracted by the tightness of the bodice (is that what you call that part or is it the stomacher?)–it just seemed unnecessary and weird to me. Anyway, back on topic….
|I liked the ring made from a key idea…that was a nice romantic change. I liked the comedy of the way Ned acquired the dress and how Rupert and Angus barged in their room. And I liked the way Murtagh said she smiled like Jaime’s mother, which is a quote from much later in the book that they simply decided to use much earlier. On the other hand, I didn’t like the way that Dougal acted. I seriously do not remember him being such a jealous asshole. See in the book he’s a very complicated person. He’s attractive and charismatic and that hides a ruthless person. He is in control of himself, almost always, except for the one time where he gets really drunk at the Gathering. He isn’t jealous of Jaime so much as he is simply attracted to Claire and he clearly has no scruples about diddling his nephew’s new wife. But it’s very clear he’s not in love with Claire. In the show, Dougal seems very different. He’s not as charismatic and his doesn’t come across as being all that much in control of himself. He also doesn’t hide the ruthlessness as well and does seem that he’s much hotter for Claire than Book Dougal. Furthermore, it makes me wonder just how they’re going to deal with what readers know is coming up–his relationship with Geillis. Book Dougal could clearly cheat on Geillis and think nothing of it. Show Dougal seems to be the more passionate kind of guy. This negative reading of Show Dougal has been growing on me over the season but I haven’t said anything until now because it was still okay, until this episode tipped the scale.|
Now about the sex because it has to be addressed. It was really very tasteful, realistic and yes, hot. I thought it was brilliant to have Jaime act like a typical male virgin (i.e., done in less than 5 minutes) because it’s stupid in romance novels where the guy is this fantastic lover his first time. I also liked the way they didn’t just rip their clothes off. The slow burn we’ve been enduring continues as she stops him from kissing her with questions. Then later as he undresses her. We get to see Jaime’s hesitation and a little frustration at the number of laces on her bodice. Claire’s reaction to the first time was perfect too. You could almost see a bubble over her head that said, “Really? That’s it?”. But she liked it enough to want more and that’s important. The second time is better and she enjoys it even more, enough to climax at least. By the end she’s decided that in for a penny, in a for pound and she might as well enjoy herself. Here we finally see the modern 1940’s woman….she’s takes the initiative, she’s on top and she’s finally teaching Jaime what a real woman should be like in the bedroom. Murtagh was right, Sam needed and wanted a woman, not a cowering little girl like Laoghaire who doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground.
Unfortunately all this is followed by an ending that I’m not sure I like it’s implications. In the end Claire seems to already be in love with Jamie and thinking about having to choose between him and Frank. In the book Jamie was in love with her when he married her but Claire didn’t admit to herself or to him that she loved him in return until they had returned to Castle Leoch. And it’s important to note that on their way back to the Castle, she tries to escape from Jaime and the McKenzies to get back to Craig Na Dun–so clearly she wasn’t as conflicted in the book this early. She told herself it was infatuation and not real and it was enough to keep her allegiances clear–to Frank. But that’s not how it felt in this episode and I think it will affect non-readers viewing the show. In fact, the ending where she looks at both her rings and ponders the choice irritated my sig other who is not a reader–he scoffed at her already being in love with Jaime and it seriously made him think less of her. He understood the necessity of Claire marrying him and her situation, but he didn’t accept that after having sex she suddenly would even consider abandoning Frank. He just thought it made her slutty and fickle. Sadly, part of me actually agrees. And from a storytelling standpoint it doesn’t make sense to me. The show has invested quite a lot of effort showing us how much she loves Frank and actually does a better job than the books ever did. And for all that effort, it seems that they’re just tossing that aside in the space of an episode.
For my part, I hope I’m wrong. I really hope they reinforce her allegiance to Frank next week and show her attempt to leave Jaime because I think non-readers need to see that Claire still loves Frank or they simply won’t respect her and when she does make a choice it will be anti-climactic.