After the shocking beginning sequence in Not in Scotland Anymore, it ultimately becomes a risque, riotous, and frenetic ride with a healthy side of serious, from beginning to end. This highly condensed hour covers approximately three months of time after Jamie, Claire, and Murtagh’s arrival in Paris. They are entrenched in Jared’s wine business and the running of his home. They are making a new life. The exteriors hark back to descriptions of old Paris, the costuming delights and is brilliant onscreen, and there’s a definite feel to the threesome being fishes out of water, in their new high society way of life.
The density of this multi-month spanning episode leads us to meeting 8 new supporting characters. With varying importance, each character has a key role to play in one or more of the plots that are underway. All a joy to meet, even the awkward Annelise de Marillac scene. I found Master Raymond beyond my wildest dreams.He can mix-up herbs for me anytime. Louise de Rohan is my new frivolous, yet cunning spirit animal. Alexander Randall, a wonderment. Is he good or bad? Sweet Mary Hawkins, there’s a quiet strength and rebelliousness in her. Monsieur Duverney, is a bit of a pervert when he drinks, but affable enough when all is said and done. King Louis is an ill-tempered, spoiled man-boy. It’ll be interesting how he turns out in the end. Finally, Prince Charles Stuart, the reason they’re in this plot. The Bonnie Prince is all about excess, AND doing God’s work. He is out of touch and ill advised. Yet, the man could charm a snake out of his skin. He is one strong will to reckon with.
Within all the moments of lightness throughout, mostly thanks to the ample hilarious lines by both Murtagh and Louise de Rohan, the serious nature of implementing the plan to off track the impending Jacobite uprising, and Jamie’s less than healed psyche, remained constant undertones. This is bawdy, sexy Paris. This is grand Court life. There are layers upon layers to discern and act upon or not. Nothing is ever quite as it seems. When in doubt, sex on any level -exposed cleavage, naughty conversation, or men frequenting brothels is de rigueur.
Overall, I liked it quite well. But…there’s always a but…
What do I not like? There’s one glaring thing. Jamie.
The wholeness of Jamie’s character is glaringly the missing element. The King of Men is a mere ghost of himself. I contend it was, and is a mistake, to have glossed over his healing in Season 1, because of the immense material Dragonfly in Amber offers up for adaptation. If there was no time then to devote (again, there were many wasted minutes that could’ve been given to this action instead), there certainly wouldn’t be adequate time in this even bigger, more difficult big book adapted season.
I don’t want Jamie Fraser to be a less than man. Men should want to be him and women should want to be with him or a man like him. I don’t see that as a possibility in how he’s currently being written. Whoever is envisioning Jamie, doesn’t get him. Sam Heughan is doing everything possible to elevate Jamie with what he’s being given. Being easy on the eyes and looking the part is not enough to be convincing, he needs to have the grit, the character, the will, to be Jamie Fraser. In my podcast, I said something that sounded the opposite, because I did not expound heavily on Jamie. The writers have indeed come into their own defined path with the characters voices. I happen to not be fond of the lacking in Jamie’s voice. After watching both Season 2 episodes several times at this point, I find him missing in plain sight.
What do I mean?
The first vision of Black Jack Randall in Jamie’s nightmare was over the top, but sensible since he has PTSD. The viciousness of it can also be accepted, as he needs to continue to process the vulnerability of it, what was taken from him, and what he was forced to participate in. This paints a realist picture with the recurring nightmares. Physically he is recovering well, but the emotional toll is taking longer as expected. Trauma such a he experienced is never forgotten, though possible to work through and survive well into thriving.
Moving on to Jamie’s inability to maintain full arousal and orgasm with Claire due to the continuing mental interference of Black Jack, (three months after being in Paris), feels utterly gratuitous. For Jamie to not have reclaimed his healthy sexual relationship with Claire, rings hopelessly hollow. Why is he not further along in his process and able to be physically intimate with his wife? The nightmares certainly fit, this doesn’t, not at all. Why? He’s already fought Claire acting as Black Jack during his stay at the Abbey. She took that tack knowing it was the only way for him to regain his will to live, recover his manhood (sexuality), and take his battered soul back, while facilitating the healing process.
Are we to believe he can take on extreme political plotting and the undoing of an uprising, if he is so emotionally fragile still? This feels painfully prolonged and unjustified. It’s hampering their relationship beyond the physical. It appears narrowly one-sided toward Claire having the control and power. Jamie is coming across as a subordinate to Claire, and not a strong, equal partner who will be able carry the burdens of what is come. His recovery should be about growing better, not waning and remaining the weaker. I hope with Claire finding out Randall is still alive, it will be used as the vehicle back to his full self. Whether by anger, vengeance, hate…it doesn’t matter. He needs to find that wholeness and balance. This is no way for him to live, and grow from and beyond his Wentworth experience.
I look forward to hearing your comments! Please leave on various social media sites or after this post.
On that note, you will find below, 175 or so screen captures, most with commentary. Some witty, some straight. I hope you enjoy them all as you relive the episode through them. Click on the thumbnail to view the larger photo.
Screen caps are the property of Starz.
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24 thoughts on “A Risque, Riotous, Frenetic Ride. S2 E2 Review with Screen Caps”
I have the same feelings about the way they are writing for Jamie. In the books he is on top of everything, his mind being so logical and intuitive. In the show, I get the feeling that Jamie is not as sharp as he should be, being treated as a fool when Claire is always asking him to leave when she is having discussions with the Duke. I think he seems to be her puppy dog, being manipulated, with her acting more like his mother. I love the cotumes and sets but Claire’s hairstyling is too hard and is making her look the 20 years later look she has in Voyager. I also remember we were told the rape isn’t a problem in this season, but that’s not true. The “honeypot scene was a disappoint, totally unfulfilling. If I remember, the red dress Was Jamie’s Idea, show treated it like a big surprise to Jamie. Liked the dialogue in the book better for this. The episode ended too soon ( wish they were extended or they give us first 5 episodes like the gave critics. I did love the ending music and the music over credits. Also they fixed chyron to 1744, Not 1745, too much to happen in such short period of Time . My first episode still shows 1745. That was shoddy research. Claire needs to be softened and less manipulative of Jamie. Sam does great job with what J’s given, knows Jamie so well, and has to see the undermine of his character.
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Thank you for you well thought out comments. I’m trying to wrap my head around 1744 still
I left a rather lengthy comment lower on the list of replies, but I wanted to make one comment to your last sentence. A part of this for me is the way they have manipulated more air time for Frank and made him far more sympathetic than the book Frank this season. That adds to the reducing of Jamie. Other than his fantastic good looks, some of my non book friends who are just beginning to watch Outlander can’t quite understand why Claire would have stayed in the 18th century. That just isn’t right. Time to make Jamie the King of Men again.
Because in the first season there was a push for a love triangle between Frank and Jamie and Claire it diminished Jamie. And now moving forward I agree with you. He needs to be able to shine just like Claire does and in his fullKing of men self. So I hope the men who were behind the outlander production won’t be afraid of Jamie like they’re not afraid of Claire.
Yikes. I adored the costumes in this episode…simply stunning. However, I found the episode as a whole quite…..boring? Lacking? Not really sure, still, what word to use – but it was unsatisfying (this is a first for me in all episodes in both seasons). I agree with your assessment of Jamie. Also, for the first time I was a bit disappointed in the small changes from the book. Was really looking forward to Claire learning that Black Jack was alive by running into him in a hallway…as in DIA. I think I just felt like a lot of information was thrown together, and it all seemed disjointed somehow. Hope things get a bit more on track…
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Regarding Jamie, you’ve written (almost) every thought I’ve had, and well put. My bigger problem is that I’m finding it hard to enjoy the other elements in the show. The change in the balance in the relationship between Claire and Jamie is downright creepy, especially in the first episode. Subordinate is a perfect word, but since we first saw them this season she’s seemed like his mother as well. She’s proud of him after he went to see the prince!? How about waiting on pins and needles to get a word for word account? I did not like it that its been made to seem that their course of actions was not only Claire’s idea – it was actually one of the options Jamie gave Claire to choose among – but that the strategy is her idea and that she’s directing Jamie and Murtagh. I agree with all of the things you miss about this Jamie and would add that, almost since the beginning, the show does not touch on his intelligence and scholarship. Now the fact that he is sophisticated enough to handle himself at French Court and society is because he’s done it before is also glossed over – although not to as great an extent. Most of all, due to the shadow that is now presented as Jamie, we miss his sense of humor, and Claire’s as well, their teasing and banter. It is the essence, addition to being “canny,” that made their Paris story enjoyable. In fact it is a huge factor in how much fun it is to read them no matter what else happens through the current 8 books.
Sex and romance, obviously missed, are one thing but to take away their banter, teasing, conversations, discussions of any and every detail – this is what makes them, and in fact makes any long and close marriage. A marriage of minds and a marriage of bodies are what make Jamie and Claire the “book” couple they are. You can’t always have one but, as long as they are both conscious, you can have the communication. Except if you make Jamie kind of dumb and Claire kind of clever anyway.
Finally, the baby, Where is the morning sickness, Jamie’s adorable over-protectiveness, His physical care of Claire. This goes to Jamie’s general protectiveness of Claire. Even when he was in agony, suicidal and hallucinating, he made sure Murtagh knew how to take care of Claire. No matter what.
I’ve gone on so long, but want to share my husband’s – a non-bookreader – observation. I told him the show was starting to be boring due to all we’ve been writing here. He thought it was because they weren’t in the highlands, where Jamie was with his guys, knew every blade of grass, and was the best at whatever he was there. And that just didn’t translate to French society. The thing about Jamie, which is a source of amusement in the books, is that his swagger translates anywhere and everywhere and his charisma and ability to communicate reach all humans and many small animals. And that he never changes his personality or essence in any circumstance, on his feet or near death. We both observed that this is how all great heroes in fiction are written (that’s a compliment from us btw).
Thank you so much. I almost posted about her being proud of him. That was freaking weird.
Sweet of you to say. I went on so long and might just have said ditto to most of the other comments.
It is like, you the writer and you the commentator, are both in my head. Thank you for posting so clearly that which I have been unable to articulate.
You’re very welcome!
I was delighted to read your blog as you GET Jamie and Sam. I have never seen an actor work harder at a role and be so utterly perfect in that role only to be sabotaged by creaters who, as you say, do not get Jamie. He has indeed been reduced to a secondary role. I have waited since episode 107 for Jamie as Sam could play him if only given the material. Brava to you for this excellent, insightful bolg. You have made my day. Thank you!!!
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Agree, not liking the writer’s adaptation so far. Sam has said many times in the recent interviews that Paris is a dark place for them, except the pregnancy… it brings them together.. where was it in Ep2, she is 4 mos preggers and they could have shown his protection and asking about whether it is safe to have sex…. show his hesitancy and not just the BJ nightmares. The adaptation is definately out of sync if you ask me. I do think this adaptation is all about Claire, and too showy, almost circus like, and very little to do with Jamie, the other BIG hero in DG’s series.
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I agree, Cindy. Totally out of sync. Absolutely need more Jamie, the loving, caring husband and leader!!
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I completely agree with all of you about the lack of depth in Jamie and in their relationship the way it’s written. It’s lacking, and I miss it, but I’m trying hard not to dwell on that. If think about it too much it impedes my enjoyment of the visual feast which is the show. Instead, I try to almost watch this as a suggestion or reminder of the fully realized, beautifully rich “real” story that I keep in my head. I’m not always successful, but when I am it allows the truly stellar moments of the show, and there are those, to shine through and embed themselves while the lesser ones are just passing through.
I will say that I did see some growth in the way Jamie was written in this episode though, so perhaps he’ll soon grow closer to the real Jamie we all know and love… They do seem to do far better with the supporting cast. Less baggage perhaps? The wonderful Master Raymond, Louise, Mary and Annelise make me hopeful for Fergus and Mother Hildegarde…
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I agree knowing it was 3 months later. But giving time to PTSD as we call it now is also believable. When my Dad came back from war, he suffered for a year (pre shrink days) before becoming himself again. Just a thought. Great writing and look forward to your next review.
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That’s true I know. I remember soldiers returning from Vietnam very well. The condition that he is in with all the expectations on his head and responsibilities aren’t jiving. I expect JB to have nightmares and PTSD reaction it’s for years. as long as the seasons go on it will come up over and over again to be sure absolutely.
I wish it would’ve been handled up before this whole new adventure took place in the sense of though there would be days of struggle, moments of struggle,nightmares certainly, yet assault wasn’t still consuming him. Some people responsibilities help them return to them self released get on their way it gives them a purpose. It doesn’t seem that the things that his character needs to do are giving him purpose. He hasn’t even said anything about the baby and she’s what supposed to be about four months pregnant. does that make sense?
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Wow so much to digest…I was a little disappointed with episode 2 but not to the degree most have written…I have faith it will get better and we will see the Jamie we all know and love…I doubt it’s an easy task to adapt all the wonderful chapters of Diana’s books into one hour shows..I worry that too much negative publicity will be detrimental to outlander being picked up for future seasons…so let’s take a deep breath and sit back and enjoy the season…
I tend to agree with your thoughts about how Jamie is portrayed as a shadow of his former self in these first two S2 episodes. I do believe that the writers/producers missed a crucial point in his physical and emotional healing. I think they should have ~ at the very end of Season One ~ included the scene in the Abbey’s underground hot springs. This is where jamie and Claire truly reconnect and solidify his healing. They emerge from this chamber reunited as one strong entity.
Yes. Bringing it this heavily into S2 is hampering him.
I agree. That would have made a huge difference!!
I was very disappointed that there was no time for Jamie to heal at the abbey, whether in Scotland or in France. I missed the catharsis of the cave scene. It didn’t have to be an underground spring in a cave if that was cost prohibitive, but it had to happen. I think they could have cut out miles of The Search to afford more time for Jamie’s healing. They could even have cut out some of the brutality at Wentworth. We got the idea. But here we are. The time frame has changed a lot from the book. Where we had months of healing at the abbey now we have months of healing in Paris at the same time he is trying to subvert the Jacobite Rebellion.
I do want to say a few things about Jamie in season two. First there was sinply not nearly enough of him in episode 1. I was irritated in episode one spending way too much time on the made for television scene of Claire’s return to her own time. There was literally no more then 10 minutes of Jamie and Claire in Paris. He was much stronger in episode two than one but there was more Jamie in general. Claire seemed to lead him around by a nose ring in episode 1. In this episode it was less so, although I didn’t like the way she dismissed him, like a small child, when she wanted to talk to the Duke of Sandringham. It was like take your brother outside to play while we adults talk.
However, he is getting his sense of humor back. I have always loved his humor and wit. I liked the sword fighting with Murtagh and their interplay. Loved the mention of Lard Bucket and Angus. I liked Jamie’s quips to the King of France about eating parritch for breakfast and the come back that now would be a good time to develop a taste for it. I liked the unspoken communication between Jamie and Claire regarding Annalise. Liked the dialogue too, but the facial expressions were priceless. I liked the honey pot scene although I missed the more drawn out, funnier scene in the book. Still it is a condensing of a huge book so it was okay and Louise was fun. I loved Jamie lifting Murtagh’s kilt and telling him he should have washed his knee. Sam and Duncan La Croix were great playing off of each other. I loved Jamie’s reaction to the red dress and felt his three lines actually enhanced and in some respect stole the show from the red dress itself. So this was the first episode that Sam actually could show healing in Jamie.
He managed Prince Charles and King Louis admirably gaining both their notice and a level of respect. He also managed quite well with the Minister of Finance after throwing him the pond. So, it looks to me like Jamie is beginning to find himself in all areas except sexual intimacy. I hope they don’t wait until the dueling scene for that to happen.That would be way too far into season two to bring Jamie and Claire back to each other and there is still more to come to tear them apart. Sex is not gratuitous in Outlander. It is the way that Jamie and Claire connect and I really miss that connection.
Overall I didn’t care for epiosode 1 and am hooked again on Outlander after episode 2.
Great thoughts! Thank you.
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Thank you and love your name!