Welcome back, Heughligans and Caitriots!!
I said it last week, and the week before. The world of 1743 is less forgiving than a scorned wife. Let’s put that in perspective before we move on and discuss the episode, shall we?
The concept of “A Bad Day”has a radically different meaning in 18th century Scotland, but in the spirit of proper context, imagine that the smallest crime can be met with overwhelming brutality. Example:
It’s a hard way to make it through the day. Life was. . . .different. But, was it always worse? Was there no pleasure to be had in that land of morning mists and stunning vistas?
Of course there was. I want you to close your eyes, and imagine a world so free, so boundless–
This episode has beautifully rich scenery that brings 1743 to life. Right down to the grimy, drunken, parasite laden truth of it all, which is– much as modern travelers still know– when you visit, don’t drink the water. Wine was a blissful necessity, since the water sources were. . . let’s call them dodgy and leave it that *cough* cholera *cough*. Claire’s surgery is a wonder. “Hold the sheep dung, and get me more powdered skull!” Ah yes. Medicine. It’s so. . . sciencey.
The village is a filthy, wonderful wreck, and I loved it. I loved the cloistered feel of the room where we get to meet the newest applicant for the position of Evil Overlord and Killer of Babies, or as he is known to everyone else, Father Bain.
Casting note: Well done. You’ll be paying for therapy for everyone in a scene with him, but bloody well done indeed.
Father Bain’s intransigence isn’t unusual; in fact, it’s probably fairly common. Claire becomes something dangerous– a woman with a mind– and her breakthrough to save Thomas is a thing of beauty. Along the way, we get to see Father Bain as a sort of– well, I leave that to you to decide. Here he is on duty:
And here he is enjoying some “me time”:
But the crazy train wasn’t done chugging yet. We get to see the necessity of a woman’s wiles when used to prevent what could have been a far more savage punishment for a simple act of theft. The scene also let us glimpse the cunning of Geillis Duncan, who isn’t above using her milky skin, lush bosom, and long, red hai– excuse me. My apologies. Now then, where was I? Ahh, of course.
The atmosphere at Castle Leoch is both alien and beautiful. Claire’s fearless bumrubbing helped ingratiate her with Himself. DUH. Rub any man’s bum for “medical” purposes, and you’ll either have a friend for life or a serious marriage proposal. We get to see the haunting effects of music in that drafty, noble pile of stones, as well as how people interact with each other under the roof. In short, life.
There was some tension, as expected, between Jamie and Claire. I was relieved to see that some things in our modern world remain solidly in line with our past. Case in point, Jamie uses subterfuge to be alone with Claire. What brought her boldness on once they were alone?
Faster than Jamie could say, “Do you want to get in the backseat?“, Claire lets her cups get the best of her. A little bit. Frankly, I think they did a great job of building tension in an episode that incorporated a lot of new material. Note to self: BUY RHENISH WINE FOR WIFE.
This episode was part culture clash, part commentary on superstition, and a further stoking of the relationship between Claire and Jamie. And on an author’s note, where did they find a woman like Caitriona Balfe? She must have been first in a line the day that English Roses With Swan-like Necks were made. She’s luminous, and it makes it even more believable that a person like Jamie can be entranced with her. Finally, a casting agent says, “Let’s find people with chemistry and looks.” Yeah, I’m looking at you, Hollywood.
Until next week, friends. And kind thanks to those of you who have promoted my books. I appreciate your time and efforts. I REALLY appreciate those of you who left nice reviews on Amazon. I wish you Scotch Eggs and Whiskey and Naked Highlanders, but not in that order.
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