“Lallybroch” is Jamie’s first return to his home since his imprisonment, floggings, death of his father, presumed impregnation of his sister Jenny by Captain Randall. Jamie is clearly emotionally battered and bruised from the previous experiences leading to old wounds being opened right in front of us. Filled with strain and anger this is likely not the return to home viewers are expecting.
This review I am taking it character by character for this episode.
Jamie Fraser: Clearly having no idea to reconcile events of the past, expectations, and the emotions surrounding it all, he reacts like an arrogant jerk to his sister, Ian, Claire, and to the running of Lallybroch. Impetuous like he has never been seen. The imperfection of Jamie reigns throughout most of the hour. This excessive reaction I suspect will leave even die hard lovers of Jamie a little cool. Though his recount of Randall before and during the flogging is shame, guilt, and horror invoking. Valuable view into what Jamie has carried for years. It has formed who he is.
Claire Fraser: Sometimes Claire does not read people well. She does not often understand the social subtleties that need to be heeded. Foot in mouth-itis. It is nothing new. Claire needs to step back and observe. This is one of her most charming and infuriating aspects of her personality. Her backbone of compassion and wanting to do what is right salvage her blunders, even in causing problems. She does have appropriate concerns over the public display of Jamie’s return. She has much work to do for Jenny to be accepting of her. Yet she likes and respects her. Always a Sassenach never a Scot.
Janet “Jenny” Fraser Murray: The sister left to run the entire household and estate. She is strong, protective, with a side of controlling, anger, bitterness, and over the top rudeness thrown in. Jenny’s attitudes are completely understandable given the situation and history. Her feeling threatened is also very reasonable with Jamie’s return with a wife to take their places as Lord and Lady Broch Tuarach.The recount she gives of Randall’s rape attempt is stalwart with deep emotional stirrings below the surface. I shudder. She is stubborn as a mule, but like Claire, acts generally from the core of love and doing what is right, eventually. It will likely take some time for viewers to warm up to her. She is a great character who is sure to warm hearts and slap hands over time.
Ian Murray: Jenny’s husband. He the perfect balance to her. A leader in his own right but in the quiet, courageous, strong ways. His act of including Claire and diffusing Jamie, shows insight to his character. I hope to see him much more.
Brian Fraser: Jamie and Jenny’s father. Only moments are seen of him prior to his stroke or aneurysm during the second flogging sequence. He obviously loves Jamie and is in great pain seeing him in this plight. His untimely death looms over Jenny, Jamie, and their relationship. Simply gutted emotions his appearance lead us.
Black Jack Randall: Randall in flashback to the last time Jamie and Jenny see each other. He requires his victim to be in fear, pain, in his control or he cannot sexually perform. He gives Jamie an out to the second flogging, a trade of sex for freedom. Personalizing the connection between them is important, yet this felt out of place with the in your face request by Randall. He is a disturbed presence and seeks his vengeance in the second flogging. Brutal, mean, and sadistic. He likes to win.
The McNabs: Claire witnesses the father beating him. Jamie takes matters into his own hands. In drunken rashness, Jamie beats the dad causing him to kick out Rabby. Jenny and Ian take him in. A catalyst for future events?
In the end, Jenny and Claire conceal Jamie from the redcoats at the water wheel. Jamie and Jenny properly forgive and reconcile. Claire and Ian bond. Jamie and Claire confessing love to each other. This wonderful exchange as to him wanting her from the first seemed a side note and not enough time spent between the two in relationship. There are a few tender, sweet moments to hold on to that seemed rushed and near afterthoughts to all the angst and emotional upheaval. In the closing moments a gun to Jamie’s head …… Intrigue and nail-biting to close out the episode.
I give this a solid B. A solid, necessary episode but not quite up to the others. I liked it, but do not love it.
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