WARNING: Mature subject matter follows.
Take a moment. Breathe slowly in and out. You along with Jamie Fraser survived the Outlander Season One Finale.
The acting raw, gritty, and terribly truthful. Absolutely outstanding across the board throughout. Each cast member raised their own bar to meet the other.
The Darkness Inhabited
Special kudos for Tobias Menzies and Sam Heughan. Incredibly bold and brave. Deeper into the sadistic, twisted desires of Black Jack Randall together viewers are taken. Sheer brutality and indignities upon Jamie Fraser.
The horrific terrors of rape are offered up too easily by Black Jack Randall. A desire to overpower, gain submission, and twist emotions that force the breaking of Jamie for his sadistic drive. Played to exquisite perfection.
More than the physical side of rape is shown by the use of disturbing psychological tools invoking Jamie’s desire for Claire to finally get the response he is after. As Jamie says, “He made love to me.” A heartbreaking moment for a broken Jamie and viewers. Randall has accomplished his end goal.
Definitely a difficult watch. It is shocking, absolutely enough to induce memories of those who’ve endured sexual assault.
These scenes are straightforward with a no holds barred view of Randall. Black Jack Randall is not lauded or given a sympathetic point of view. He is darkness, not evil. Evil infers the supernatural, darkness is of this earth.
Jamie is plunged so away from the light he wishes to die by any means when Randall’s promise to kill him are thwarted by his rescue. As he put it Randall hurt him too much and not enough.
By Highland kine stampede Jamie is rescued and lovingly carried out of the prison by Murtagh. What a brilliant and unexpected plan using reveille to disguise the noise of the encroaching herd. What a clever decision usings cows as a means to rescue. Hope given by hooves.
More hope is offered to viewers in Black Jack Randall being crushed under the trampled door presumably dead. Momentary satisfaction and relief as the story moves ahead.
Darkness continues to hang on after taking refuge in a monestary with FatherAnselm and Brother Paul. The devastating effects are obvious in Jamie’s demeanor. He wants to die, cannot touch or look at Claire, vomits up all food and drink, and though physically healing well is fevered and lacking will to live. These symptoms of deep trauma are examined with consideration and reality. The desperation spreads through Claire, Murtagh, and the Brother. They recognize wisely there is more at play causing Jamie’s want of death as escape.
Murtagh seeing Jamie needs to be joined in the darkness by Claire to find out what he is hiding and reclaim him from it. The idea is sound, the execution goes off mark. Claire sets herself up to invoke the memory of Randall in order to get Jamie to share the secrets, to fight back. The use of lavender oil is smart but then instantly he realized it is Claire he is fighting and not Randall. They slap, kick, tumble to the floor? Why, if not to fight Randall? How does fighting Claire help him regain himself and begin healing? It doesn’t quite make ends meet.
In this process the brand is exposed. After which he does reveal the secret of being broken and ferls unable to be a husband any longer. A small breakthrough. Then something awkward occurs. Claire makes it all about her and says she will die right here with him if they cannot be together. That is what turns him back toward her and he begins to come back. Again this math doesn’t quite add up in my estimation. What about what he needs to feel strong and whole? Virtually left out of his process back.
Claire’s fierce protection is also not displayed to what we know it can be during the scenes at the monastery. She seems partially present outside of setting his hand. Her demeanor is more fretful than proactive as she usually is.
A solid move and return back to path happens in Murtagh cutting out the brand from Jamie’s skin by his request while sober and in his right mind. Finally we are getting somewhere.
The exit to France is a clean departure from Scotland into the future. The conversation between Claire and Jamie on the deck of the ship feel strange and forced. It was a sore disappointment how Claire divulged her pregnancy. The lack of intimacy of the outdoor location of a ship’s deck was a misstep, though Jamie’s first real smile in a couple of episodes warms the heart. Seeing them in a state of sexual reconnection and emotional coming together would’ve wholly altered this sequence.
The first season sails off to France where season two will pick up. Hope, a pregnancy, and trying to change the future together.
Overall this episode gets an A- for the strength of the first half of the episode and the efforts to get on point in the second half.
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