So, here we are at the cusp of the gruesome, raw, beautiful end. My wishes are quite simple, but my hopes are– well, there are reservations. I am hoping for a Hole in Juan. The Juan of course being that thoroughgoing bastard of a velveteen demon, Jonathan Wolverton Randall.
But Black Jack is a slippery wee bastard. I know that there will be need of more than one set o’ horns, so to speak.
But dammit if I haven’t read, listened to (God bless the golden pipes of Davina Porter) and re-read the books. Therefore, my actual hopes are somewhat more pedestrian:
Now then, a couple items of fun coming up. 1) Bangles. Jewelry. A giveaway of both. Freebies for my readers. Color themed to my new paranormal series “Halfway Dead”. What do you think? Here is the cover, and the bangles:
So, lots of purple and such.
And a second set, with moons and waffles (really!) based on this second bit of art:
For one reason, no one asked me to. And that’s fine. I’m only going to comment briefly on last night’s episode of Outlander. There isn’t any humor to be found, and I write the blog posts with the hope of making you laugh.
I know some actors, and they’re really good– experts, in fact. I like to watch people do things well. It can be almost anything– a pastry chef, or a leather worker, or a dancer, or a nurse. Whatever their calling is, if they’re an expert, it’s interesting to watch.
With that in mind, actors are among the only people who understand the difference between pretending and acting. Pretending is what you do on a first date to seem less nuts and unlikely to belch at the table or call your friend a douchebag out of habit. Acting is inhabiting a different, wholly unknown person, adopting their traits, and then filling the role they serve in that moment. For the case of all the actors in Outlander last night, they were essentially re-living a vile rape and torture scene again and again until they got it “right” on camera.
I feel a bit like a voyeur, and a bit unwashed after even seeing them go about their jobs in such a convincing manner. Who didn’t flinch at both the hammer blows and the closeness of Black Jack as he cooed to Jamie? Fuck me, that was brutal.
So yeah, no one ever asked me to act. And I’m cool with that. I’ll write instead.
One other thing: Is it just me, or are you wondering, like I am, why the Scots haven’t just crossed the border and burned England to the ground? After the shit that the Red Coats visited upon Scotland for centuries? If I had a neighbor like that, I’d have razed their house, plowed salt in the fields, and buried every last one of them in an open field. Good God.
What do you all think? Drop a comment if you’re feeling up to it.
If you’d explained that this season I would see a woman milking herself like a Jersey cow, my first reaction would have been. . . .
I dunno. Yay, boobies!?! Maybe? I mean, I’m wired to appreciate breasts, sooo. . . .I’m conflicted. But in truth, Jenny is my new favorite character, and that’s saying something given the warmth and amiability of Ian.
It’s partly her attitude, persona, and that eighteenth-century-fertility-goddess-hotness. It’s working for me, and the fact that she carries twin pistols and has a penchant for violence is just icing on the cake. Anyone else wince when she got on the horse? I mean, didn’t she just have a kid?
*Reason 994 Why I’m Glad To A Dude*
Where’s Jamie? You don’t want to know. I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: I teach history, and my focus is military history. What Jamie is enduring at the hands of Black Jack Randall is a sort of “greatest hits” of all the shitty things that humans do to each other in military and religious history,with the exception of outright murder. I’m sure everyone in Outlander fandom is braced for impact, so to speak. But back to Jenny and Claire for the moment, because:
One Hour Episode. One Common Theme. We know Jenny has giant balls (metaphorically speaking), and Claire’s sensibilities, while modern, are no less badass. Now, allow me to digress. Is it just me, or are the British just uniformly horrible to the Scots? Yeah. They are. Now fast forward to Jenny, and Claire, and some unfortunate redcoat messenger who is dealing with a woman who may or may not have: 1) Post-partum Aggression 2) A sore hooha 3) Boobs that jiggle like winesacks. 4) All of this on horseback 5) You’ve just stolen her brother, on whom the sun rises and sets.
Yeah, Redcoat. You really fucked up. Jenny is gonna bring a special kind of crazy to this party.
Let’s start a cheerful campfire, shall we?
But Redcoats Are Sassy. I give credit to the messenger. He’s got some courage. . . until Jenny and Claire play “good cop, bad cop”. They also truss him up in a rather awkward position, more suitable for a corrupt cop looking for drugs. Up your bum, that is.
So Jenny is obviously the bad cop– actually, upon second thought, she’s the worst cop in what will be a scene of complete karmic overload. Claire, the healer, tries to alleviate what is quickly becoming an outright murder, even though it turns out that she’s okay with that.
Stop. What Have We Learned? 1) Jenny is like a mother bear. 2) Claire is like a mannerly bear. 3) And–
Yeahhhhh. . . .soo, Murtagh isn’t just handy with a knife. And a gun. And his hands. It turns out, that in that codger lurks the heart of–
A DANCER! A sword dancer, but still. Oh, and by the way, Claire is going to dress like a pirate (sorta) and travel the highlands while hoping to rouse Jamie’s curiosity. It’s an excellent ploy, and leads to one of the strangest transformations we could imagine for Claire. Performing as “The Sassenach”, they only succeed in getting Jamie captured, but that was inevitable. What wasn’t unavoidable was the, ah, costume that Claire is forced to adopt.
So, a few more shots of Scottish vistas, and here we are: holding and waiting to be stomped like a grape in a barrel next week thanks to the depravity of Black Jack Randall. He’s like a bladder infection rolled up into a visit from unwelcome relatives, topped off with papercuts. But, you know, more into leather.
I’ll get to that title in moment. Full disclosure: this was a difficult episode to watch. We’re entering the stretch where the shit hits the fan, so to speak, if the fan is wearing a red coat, armed, and has a taste for ginger men. There was so much tension I found myself mentally skipping ahead in the books, trying to find a brief patch of sun to look forward to.
But First. And Old Acquaintance Visits. What was his name?
Horrocks Visits. With Ruffians.
I don’t care if they are Scots, The Watch are a dirty bunch of hooligans. Every scene that they were in was both irritating and laden with tension. The byplay of Jamie’s status as an outlaw took second place to their general coarse behavior. Seriously, for Jenny to tolerate that nonsense made me wish Claire brought a machine gun back through the stones. When Lenox puts his feet on the table, I found myself hoping– no, praying— for some kind of comeuppance.
Two stories: One conclusion.
From the Department of Reasons I Love Being Male, we introduce the issue of Jenny’s water breaking. Little does she know, the child is breached, thus necessitating something wholly unknown to every single person in the world except Claire: Medical skills.
Which leads me to my next point: If you want kids, I have a suggestion.
Cheaper, easier, and you can usually get two day shipping, unless you live somewhere crazy, like Spokane or Mississippi.
About That Title. If you told me that there would be a semi-nude scene between Caitriona Balfe and Laura Donnelly, I would have prepared myself accordingly. If you told me that one would be behind the other in what can only be described as a Greco-Roman wrestling hold, I would have prepared twice as hard.
Except it wasn’t like that. In fact, ummm.
There was some actual levity (Thank God) in which Jenny requests a stiff drink. To make sure the baby is born with a buzz. A True Scot and all that. Frankly, it could have been taken a different way, if one had a dirty mind.
All right all right all right. Now we’re cookin’–
To remind us: Ebay. Then, the shit hits the fan, and any laughs are effectively gone for like, what? Three episodes? Four? I don’t know. I know I’m picking out what niceties I can right now, in order to brace for the oncoming assault on our senses. Things like Cait’s neck. Or Jenny, when she’s not, uhh, screaming and having a kid turned sideways through her hoohah. Stuff like that.
So, About Horrocks. Despite Ian showing balls of steel and feeding the no good Irish scut two feet of steel, Horrocks has a plan in place that outlives him. Jamie is pressured into a raid, and to put it mildly:
And Now, The Wait. Claire and Jenny are about to go Batshit Crazy in order to free Jamie, and there’s only one thing standing in their way. The dark, toxic, freaky, acidic, amoral heart of a man so horrific he could make the kindest of God’s creatures recoil in horror.
SO. Holy Shit. Jamie’s gone. And we have to wait a week for things to get worse. I thought we agreed not to get into this Fifty Shades crap? Ugh.
Okay. That’s is. Now we wait, while Jack Randall shops online for new ball gags.
Until next week, friends.
And, if you’re going to come see me at an author event, we’re bringing along whimsical zombie/mummy/witch coffee mugs for readers. Here’s a peek.
The Rumors. They Are Flying. Before we launch into tonight’s episode, let’s address the Interwebz Buzz du Jour regarding the casting of Bree and Roger.
*All commentary on this topic is squarely from the perspective of a heterosexual male. In no way should it be misconstrued as “leering” or “improper” or even “cause for a stalking charge”.
So, this appears to be Bree. World, meet 5’8″ actress Amber Skye Noyes. She is either going to be world famous, or merely really famous. It is uncertain until tomorrow after her twitter announcement.
And this is Richard Rankin, a Real Live Scotsman, so you know the accent will sound authentic. Bonus? He’s not 5’3″.
He’s a really good looking guy, is a trained stage actor, and he meshes with my expectations of Roger as the series goes on. By “The Fiery Cross”, I had a much more clearly developed sense of what and who he had become.
Now then. To Lallybroch! It’s about time! I’ve been waiting for Lallybroch since I first turned the page in Outlander, reading of a place that seemed incredibly real. I teach history for a living; places like Lallybroch are alive, if we find and keep them. With that bit of melancholy put aside, Lallybroch seemed to be both primitive and richly appointed. I was enthralled. And, bonus– Jenny and Ian! But there’s quite a bit of tension.
Even among such tension, it’s just so beauti–
Gawd Almighty. Jack Randall can ruin a basket of puppies. What an asshole. And, we briefly see Black Brian prior to his death due to sheer grief at Jamie being peeled like an onion. To reiterate, what an asshole Randall is, was, and will be. Oh, side note: Ian is a good dude. Glad to have him aboard. I do have a minor quibble with the history of one scene: when the tenants are paying their rent, it’s basically a big group hug. European Feudalism was, ahh, Let’s just say it was less optional– and cheerful. But that’s minor, given the nostalgic feel of the entire scene. It’s replete with All The Feels, and that’s okay.
We get a little taste of that braided with some good old fashioned Jamie Fraser ass-kicking ( on the way). McNabb beats his kid. On the back. In front of Claire and Jamie.
Oh, hey, guess what ladies, Jamie’s gonna get naked! You’re gonna see ERRYTHING!
LOL J/K. Moving on. I love Jenny and Ian. They’re my new favorite humans. It’s impossible to ignore their spirit and emotion. Well cast, Outlander!!!! The combination of Ian’s amiability and Jenny’s steely Fraser-ness is excellent. Jenny has a mercurial quality that’s perfect, given her small stature and huge presence.
And let’s be thankful that each and every episode has a reasonable conclusion. I mean, it wouldn’t do for us fans to be–
So, they did that to us, eh? You know what I’m gonna do? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Because I’m afraid my anger will invoke some timewarp that will make me wait longer for next week’s episode. Thanks for dropping by. I have something witchy to share– the new preview art for Halfway Dead. Take a peek. Drop me a note. A threat. An attaboy. Whatever suits you. Cheers! Terry
THE TRIAL. Leghair’s machinations have led to this moment. Let’s all take a deep breath and give thanks, then, that we don’t live near her. I have a favor to ask of you. the next time someone gets a distant look in their eyes and says, in a wistful tone, “I wish I lived in the good old days”, you must immediately punch them in the throat. Hard.
Oh, sure. There was less crowding at Starbuck’s back then, but you give up so many of life’s little pleasures, like sanitation, science, clean water, dentistry, laundry more than once a month, and handwashing. Then again, you get to experience things like burning witches, killing babies for being Fae changelings, and whisky before nine in the morning. I’d say it’s about even, taking all of that into consideration. I mean, who doesn’t like a wee nip before breakfast? The Thieves Hole
When Claire and Geillis Duncan are dropped into the hole, and I the only one who thought it was surprisingly roomy, despite the mud, rats, vermin, and frigid temperature? I’ve had college apartments smaller than that!
The Good Ole’ Days, Part Deux:
I don’t know what pissed me off more; the fact that there are multiple laws about witchcraft, or Leghair’s stupid, vicious little ratface. She wasn’t alone in her accusations, as the parade of witnesses quickly devolved into one sympathetic character ( the mother who lost her child) and three uniquely terrible assholes. Let’ start with the 18th Century Douchebro. I know a spurned lover when I see one, and the clown who claimed that Geillies turned into a bat and flew away had Yes, I drive a Jeep written all over his face. But first, I’ll say something I’ve never said before: Thank God for lawyers.
I love Ned. The guy stays cool under pressure, even when someone introduces the testimony of a cat. He’s a pro. Then, all hell breaks loose. We have even more reason to hate Father Bain, who could really use a good exfoliation or face scrub. . . .or a series of open-handed slaps. He looks like his face has been used as a flushable baby wipe, but he’s going to take second place behind the penultimate evil of a teenage girl and her *alleged* broken heart.
Faced with such emotional testimony, things quickly go from bad to worse. Ned delivers the bad news: One of the women can be saved; two cannot. Geillies Duncan must take drastic action to save Claire, but first, she drops the bomb:
And then, BOOM. The Devil’s Mark. Science. Reason. Proof of intelligence. Medicine, learning, and all of the things that primitive, superstitious idiots cannot understand:
Who says that stupidity dies out in the modern era?
So, Jamie shows up, he’s pissed, and everyone decides that fighting a crazed redhead with two swords is officially a Bad Idea. Mind you, this is after Claire gets strapped, presumably before being burned at the stake. What the hell is it with sadists and the 18th century? You’d think everyone lived for blood and perversion, despite being “just regular folks.”
Mea Culpa, Futura. Or Something Latin Like That. It’s time for the next bombshell. Claire’s going to tell Jamie the truth.
Not that truth, the other truth. She’s from the future. 200 years, to be exact– the same amount of time that every Highland story seems to declare. Jamie, in love and in shock at Claire being beaten, chooses to believe her. After 55 minutes of utter chaos, Jamie give Claire a choice that may break her heart.
Who says Outlander isn’t in tune with the classics? It’s a Greek tragedy wrapped in an Arthurian legend with a dash of soap opera. Perfect.
Next week– and seriously, this is even better than this week– we get to see Lallybroch. I cannot wait.
Have you stopped by my author page? I’d love it if you did. Buy a few hundred books. Tell friends. Tell coworkers. Tell a lawyer, even. They needs pals, too.Terry’s Author Page. And Such.
What A Smug, Conniving, Deceitful– But first, a word about the dining habits of of the Highlander Lickalotopus.
I’d like to make a casual observation here, as one man to a few friends. If I kept my head under the covers as much as JAMMF, I’d never get a suntan. Claire fell through time and landing on a giant Scottish tongue. Then she got up, and jumped on it again. Go Claire! This was a compressed episode– they did a hard job and squeezed a lot into a tight space.
The Duke of Sandringham is a loathsome, foppish, predatory boy chaser, and yet, it’s difficult not to like him. The performance by Simon Callow is lush, cheerful, and a high point. He’s fantastic. The episode is interrupted by a the kind of grief-induced meltdown I expect from a Real Housewife ofInverness, but instead we get treated to Dougal absolutely losing his shit.
More importantly, he’s doing it with a sword in hand while trying to trash Castle Leoch like a hotel room during Spring Break. Claire, potion in hand, comes to the rescue. She doses him with enough hooch to drop a rhinoceros, leaving him completely at their mercy. OH–right, back to Laoghaire. THAT BITCH. Claire delivered the Ill-Wish to Laoghaire with a clear warning, delivered in a simple manner that a horny teen can understand: AKA Pimp Slap. Then, in true British fashion, she offers an apology while plotting to invade Laoghaire’s country and make her people eat shitty food and drink tea.
It could have been worse. Claire could make her eat a mouthful of some British dessert, like spotted dick.
There’s a great deal of political– not really intrigue, but more like an inevitable beginning of the end for the clan leadership. The catalyst for this is of course the Duke’s duel. Let the lesson here be: do not tempt JAMMF with violence. He likes it, there are swords, and three froggy Scottish lads take turns getting stabbed and/or kicked in the balls. Jamie gets clipped, which makes his upcoming ride to take Dougal’s crazy ass home into a rather painful affair. So, from the Scottish temper comes Claire being left alone, enemies circling like sharks in the water.
So, Claire gets nabbed with the crazy redhead. Even if you knew nothing of Outlander, it’s obvious that a shitstorm of epic proportions is on the horizon. This week, we had a murder, a death, a duel, a challenge, a shunning, and the arrest of Claire and Geillis. I’d say that’s about as much as we can take. So, until next week! Cheers, Terry *Spotted dick is a REAL English dessert. Yep.
So, what did you do tonight? Me? Glad you asked. I stood by an idyllic stream, throwing stones and–
Character Development! Internal Dialogue! Nature! I personally love the shift to Jamie’s point of view. It’s interesting tohear his thoughts as we edge into the next step of the journey. It also helps to make such bitter pills like, oh, I don’t know– the existence of Jack Randall– more palatable. Okay, not a lot, but a little. Right away, we get reminded of what a colossal douchecanoe Black Jack really is when his, ah. . . craving for Jamie comes to light.
Jack, Jack, Jack. You dirty little sadist.
Let me be clear: If I was given a choice between drinking this and being naked with Jack Randall, I’d say “Bottoms Up”. Wait– that sounded wrong. Shut up and pass me the cup.
If you think about it, there seems to be a recurring theme of conflict and resolution in this episode, along with something else. Something I just. . . can’t. . . put my finger on. Whatever could it be? Love? Devotion?
I couldn’t decide if seeing Claire’s bum was worth the guilt of witnessing someone get strapped. Let me clarify: seeing someone who wasn’t wearing black latex get spanked. That was my conflict. Who am I kidding, totally worth it.
We got to cozy on up to the oncoming Laoghaire Crazy Train. That chick has Stage Five Clinger written all over her. And a nice rack. But I digress. In between our first view of L-Lao- Leerah– Lugh– can we just call her Laura and be done with it, for Chrissakes? Anyway, in between her flashing the sweater kittens at Jamie and the final reveal of some bad juju, there is the slight matter of Jamie and Claire’s redefining the term “Unsafe Sex”. If you’re a male, like me, unsafe sex means many things. It means cooties. Babies. Bad mornings and awkward nights, but it has never meant what Claire brought to the table tonight. The message seems to be, “We obey each other, you can’t spank my ass, blah, blah, blah– OH, and if you come before me, your balls will be spit-roasted by morning.” At least that’s what I got.
Shall we shag on the shag? Three items about the love scene tonight that caused me to think. 1) I would LOVE to have been in the production meeting where they discussed exactly how funky they were going to get with each other. Cait: “So, are we all agreed? A graze of the nipple with the tongue, yes? But not a true suckle? Can I get that in writing?” Sam: “Define graze.” Herself: “Not a lick or a rootle (herself’s fave word), but more of a light tongue bath. . . .like a kitten. Here, Sam, let me show you.” 2) Cait’s booty got moves. That is all. 3) I could never be an actor. Never. I could perform open heart surgery with a spork before I could pretend to be passionate with someone in a room full of people with cameras and union jobs. Plus, I like my sex like my basketball: one on one, with socks on. 4) Does the agreement on physical touching cover the entire world, or just the set?
Finally, we close with the bad juju. So, in the warm afterglow of epic makeup sex, Claire finds what I like to call the Chicken Bones of Doom. (Stage Five Clinger, toldja!).
That scene foreshadows a shitstorm caused by a petulant teenager, or as we call it, “every day in high school.” So, next week,right? See you then? Have you shared this blog with a friend? Been to my author page? What about a shoebox full of money? Have you sent that? Le sigh. By the way: I wrote a little zombie erotica. Just in case you weren’t convinced I’m a weirdo. You’re welcome. Zombies, Dragons, and Witches, oh my.
Welcome Back, Outlanders. So, the Winter of Our Discontent is nearly ended. Blessed be, or something. Tomorrow, millions of fans will re-engage with the second season. Loins will be girded. Chins will be lifted. Visages will be grim. And then, all hell will break loose as the bilious presence of Black Jack Randall invades our collective senses once again. I couldn’t help but snicker as I watched people (okay, women aged 18-77) line up to see Fifty Shades of Grey. What was essentially a modest BDSM film paled in comparison to the depravity lurking in the mind of Jack Randall. He makes serial killers look like marriage material, but the good news is that before Jamie is tortured and reborn as something new, there’s a lot of beautiful story to enjoy. But first. . . .
Naturally, I’ll be paying attention to all aspects of the show, not just the parts that interest me. This is all in the name of science and stuff, of course.
So! there’s a lot to look forward to, eh? After the episode, I’ll have a breakdown and commentary– I look forward to yours as well. Also, if you like witches or pancakes, or witches and pancakes, read the blurb about a new paranormal series that hits stores this June. I think you’ll love it– but for now, a little teaser.
The team at Outlander has selected some actors who are going to be iconic for their parts in the series. I don’t think anyone could have prepared for the onscreen malice of Tobias Menzies, the luminous versatility of Cait, or the presence of Sam. Great job all ’round.
Since my home state was in the grip of winter this month, and I had to run on a godforsaken treadmill (it’s really a deathtrap with handrails), I have been listening to “Drums of Autumn”. This reinforces several concerns. 1. Davina Porter, please narrate my life. This should be self-explanatory. “Terry selected an apple with the verve of a charging knight. He would make the apple his own, one sensual bite at a time.” Annnnnd SCENE. 2. Please Dear Lord, let Brianna be tall. Let Roger be taller. I cannot abide the destruction of another beloved literary character due to a lack of height. It happened once, and if it happens again, you’re going to see some aberrant behavior on my part.By aberrant behavior I mean, “beating the casting agents senseless with a sock full of bolts”.
I AM TOO 6’5″.
Another point: Brianna must have cat eyes. And she must have a nontraditional beauty that dares me to look away. And freckles. And long legs. That’s just a personal preference, but I want my wishes to be on record. I have standards. 3. The Lord John Issue. Easily one of my favorite characters, he has to be charming. Urbane. He must have the gravity of charisma and a trustworthy nature that merits Jamie’s friendship, and later, Brianna’s. Also, he better be blonde. None of this “sort of brown as a blonde” nonsense.Don’t tell me there aren’t British blondes; I’ve seen the BBC in the 1970s. It looked like a Nazi recruiting poster. 4. Ulysses Look, slavery was the bane of humanity, and I don’t want to descend into a political lesson. I hope that the cultured gravity of Ulysses can be found in an actor without resorting to some sort of mishmash where the character is turned into a boilerplate activist. That will ruin the dynamic between Jocasta and Ulysses. 5. Jocasta For the love of all that is holy, please find an actress who bridges that intellect and grace without being an intransigent harridan. The temptation to make Jocasta into a sort of taskmaster might be present, but I can only hope that she is presented as written: Intelligent, graceful, and oh-so-very-Scots.
That’s all for now. I have plenty to worry about before Black Jack starts his onslaught on my psyche via sexual torture. I like to think of it as “Fifty Shades of Cray”, because everything that happens to Jamie is flat-out insane.
Until next time. Buy my books, I want to buy a Scottish island, and yes,you can come visit.