I apologize for the blog running later, I’m recovering from a pie and cake induced birthday coma. I emerged from said coma to watch Outlander, thank the stars I live in the modern world, and eat some blissfully urine-free cake, all within the span of an hour. But first, a word about Dougal:
And while we’re at it, let’s address the growing conflict between Claire and the other bastion of cosmopolitan manners that is giving her a serious case of travel remorse, as well as the truly jarring moment when Claire learns how the ladies of the Highlands keep their colors from fading:
“I see. So, I’ve fallen through time to a place of wanton savagery, ruthless competition, and people who are willing to do anything to rise to the top.” Claire might think. You know what I thought? I’d seen this type of behavior before.
Rent is the first long, slow descent into a culture of pandering, violence, extortion, unwilling taxation, poverty and social practices that one might find unusual and repellent despite their apparent necessity. Cait’s performance is excellent. Raise your hand is you were hoping she hauled back and kicked someone in the balls after being treated like a glorified pack animal. I know I winced on three or four occasions, thinking that Claire’s character was being revealed by what she didn’t do, rather than what she did. Although, there were some fantastic moments where Cait’s facial expression and mine were nearly identical.
But everything in “Rent” is not lighthearted. There are violent deaths, subterfuge, and the use of Jamie’s scars as a rallying point to fight against the tyranny of a distant king. It’s sad and beautiful, just like much of history. Let’s give Sam credit (and Cait) for an elegant, coy scene where he concerns himself with her honor. In the shadows and light of the tavern’s hall, it’s easy to see the luminous quality of Claire that will come to possess Jamie. She’s radiant, and he’s the perfect mirror for her beauty. Once again, a hearty well done! to the casting team.
By far, my favorite reveal of “Rent” is the complex nature of rebellion and honor. I love a good bar fight, and the revelation that the donnybrook we see is caused in defense of Claire’s honor explains a great deal of the backstory. The Highlanders are engaged in a complex dance of manners, crudity, and the perception that, despite being English, Claire is worthy of their blood. She also unleashes a well-placed joke about Rupert’s, ah, lack of companionship.
The flashback to Culloden Moor is a sobering moment. Claire is carrying the burden of history, and it’s hard to watch. The raw beauty of a battlefield is always such a contradiction, isn’t it? I teach Military History, and I visit these places, the swaths of holy ground, and I’m always stunned into silence by the feeling of ghosts, and peace, and beauty. Isn’t that what we are seeing in each and every scene of this grand cinematography? A story to break your heart, but a vision to lift you up?
Now, on to our ending. The tension. The drama. The:
As always, thanks for dropping by. If you feel like stalking me online, I wholly encourage that kind of behavior. I hope your week is free of, uh, setting dye in tartan.
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