I am finding it, again, difficult to watch the series and judge from a book-lover point of view. I, in a way, envy those that have the "virgin eyes" as they watch the show. They don't know what is missing....IMPORTANT conversations or what is to come. Yes, I know what happens next week and maybe the week after (depends on how fast they fly through those parts in the book). It will be down right heartbreaking and you will possibly need emotional support in the end. I try NOT to remember what happened in the book or things that were said just so, but it is SO very difficult this season! I admit, I do not have a photographic memory, so not everything is crystal clear from the books, but I do remember certain things. As for this second season.....For the most part, I have been pleased.
How the episode opened up is a quandry in itself. They left out a VERY touching scene with Jamie being up all night and he and Claire reconnect with Jamie on this knees and declaring his love for her, etc. HOW can you leave that out? The way the episode opened is that we go from the ending of last week where they have a huge argument and there is separation, to Jamie sitting at a desk with the sunlight coming in and his attitude seems a little lighter. Ummm...what? It isn't clear if he was up all night. Certainly doesn't look like someone who has been up with no sleep. A servant comes in and tells Jamie that Claire has said he really should eat something and when he asks where is the "lady of the house this morning", the servant replies that she has gone to the Hospital. "Of course she is." Jamie replies, rather harshly. I don't like this. Claire is not the type to just walk away and avoid Jamie when they are fighting. This scene makes her seem callous and it doesn't make Jamie look any better.
Also, Murtagh comes in all smiles and is talking excitedly about how Jack Randall has been released from prison and that he has made arrangements for the duel to happen in two days time. He is confused when Jamie doesn't show excitement, but just sits there. Murtagh goes on a few times about the duel and is headed towards the door when Jamie informs him that he will not be dueling Randall. Murtagh is really confused now and accuses Jamie of acting "like a woman in flux". Jamie just growls at his godfather that he has good and sound reasons. Murtagh is dumbfounded and says he has taken a lot of Jamie's (and Claire's for that matter) decisions on faith lately and he isn't sure how much more he can stand.
Meanwhile, Claire is working at the hospital and is called over to assist the creepy executioner guy with preparing someone for burial. He says he must be going soon, as he was called by the King to prepare for multiple executions. Claire asks why multiple and he replies that the King has made it so to execute anyone associated with the black arts. She asks how they will be executed and he says they normally would be hanged, but the King will most likely ask for them to be drawn and quartered. At this point I cringe. I saw Braveheart! I know what happens to William Wallace and others when they are drawn and quartered. And here I thought the English only loved to use that method!
Of course, Monsieur Creepazoid goes on to explain that anyone can put a rope around a person's neck and hang them. However, to draw and quarter someone is a refined skill. Of course.....he has to go into detail of how it is done. I won't, however! He sees Claire not feeling well (I am sure it had nothing to do with your description!) and mentions she should see a friend for help and mentions Master Raymond, perhaps? Oh Snap! I would say that entire conversation was a word of warning to Claire that Master Raymond is in danger and she should watch her back as well. She does have that La Dame Blanche reputation!
Claire of course runs over to the apothecary shop right away. I must say that for a woman as pregnant as Claire, she could climb those stairs quickly! She gets inside and immediately gets Master Raymond in the back room. There she warns him of what she learned. Master Raymond tells her not to worry that every king, including King Louis's father has done the same thing. It will pass. Claire tells him that she is not sure, that this King Louis means for blood to spill and he should high tail it out of Paris right away. Master Raymond acts like he is thinking that he might just do that, but he also tells Claire that they can try to snuff it out, but it always comes back. For some reason, after how he said this to Claire I saw a Hydra. Cut one head off, 2 more grow back in it's place.
That night, Claire in her dressing gown is relaxed in a chair by the fire. Her feet are up and Jamie is at the bottom rubbing them. She has a smile on her face. Once again, that CONVERSATION is key. There is no make-up talk here. All of a sudden they are "good". Claire asks Jamie how he knew that is exactly what she needed. He says he remembers when Jenny was pregnant, that she enjoyed to have her feet rubbed. He pauses and recalls their conversation from the previous night. He reminds Claire of her saying that he owed her a life. Jamie tells Claire that by his count, he saved her life just as many times, so that they are even. Claire of course begins to get upset. Jamie stops her and says that his promise of not killing Randall for a year stands and he goes into his reasoning. He says that by the looks of things, he may have to fight at Culloden after all and that if it came to that, he needed Frank alive, because he would need someone there to care for Claire and the child. Claire looks horrified at the thought. He says that "If anything should happen to me, I want there to be a place for you. Someone to care for you and our bairn." His eyes grow wet as he continues that he wants someone who loves Claire. He touches her belly and makes her promise that she will go back which she does. They kiss and all seems well in the Fraser world again.
FYI: Of course, those of us who have read the books (and something they LEFT OUT in the first season) is that Jamie can't go through the stones. They left out where Jamie is with Claire at the stones and he touches it, but nothing happens. Claire starts to, and he sees her start to fade. It totally terrifies him. Turn out not everyone can. It appears to be genetic, so it is a 50% chance that the child would be able to travel back with Claire anyway. Somehow I think it unlikely that Claire would leave her child behind, so Frank would be a moot point. BUT.........we KNOW that Claire does return to Frank, but there is NO child AND she is only slightly pregnant.
All this aside, Claire, Jamie and Murtagh are still trying to throw a wrench in Prince Charlie's plans with the damn wine. Claire is working at a table with Jamie nearby. Fergus is fooling around. Claire says that a certain mixture when drank will cause some signs of smallpox and then nettles rubbed on the skin will cause a rash. Poor Jamie is the guinea pig on this one. Claire reprimands Fergus for fooling around and not paying attention. I got a little confused here, because in the books I believe it is MURTAGH that is the one to use the stuff. Poor Jamie is having a hard, sick time by the end of this scene and he sits and holds onto Claire.
It is decided that Jamie and Fergus will ride to Le Harve and arrive at night to put the elixir in a couple of bottles of wine and to brush the nettle stuff inside the men's coats. If the plan goes well, the harbormaster will think that it is smallpox and condemn the boat and shipment and have it destroyed.
However, before Jamie rides off, he talks to Claire and they both agree that Murtagh needs to be told. Claire watches out the window as Jamie is telling Murtagh in the courtyard. We can't hear much of anything, which is fine, because it is in Gaelic anyway. Jamie finishes and Murtagh is quiet and walks away a little. He turns and says "If you believe your wife to be a witch, than who am I to contradict ye?" and he walks up, and punches Jamie in the jaw, grabs his arm and tells him that Jamie should have trusted him with that information a long time ago! Nothing says love in a Scottish family than a punch in the face, eh Murtagh?
Later, when Jamie and Fergus are gone, Claire and Murtagh share a nice moment where he shows her dates from 1918 through 1945 and says "You've lived through all of these years?" She says yes, that 1918 was when she was born, 1939 was when she became a nurse and 1945 is when she came through the stones. Murtagh just looks at her and reaffirms that she knows what will happen in the future with the clans, when people will be killed. He tells her he would not want to carry such a burden of knowing the future. (For the record, this is ONE scene I did NOT mind they added. Murtagh never knew the truth about Claire in the books and I am still all for #SaveMurtagh)
The night before this plan takes place, Jamie and Claire are in bed and she says to him "Bad things happen when we are apart." and Jamie assures her by saying "We always find our way back to each other." He is touching her belly when the baby moves and he is pleasantly surprised. He asks Claire if the babe can hear him and when she nods, he talks to the bump. "I canna wait to meet ye." he says. **Tissues please!** Jamie kisses Claire and things start to heat up. Jamie asks Claire if they can, with the baby in there. She smiles and says it will be fine. She gets on top. Oh yes!
Jamie returns and is summoned to see Charles who is in the company of the Comte Saint Germain (of course!). He says a terrible sickness has arisen at the docks and wants Jamie to transport his wine to the Comte's warehouse at once. The Comte says he will be accompanying Jamie as he does not trust him. Jamie is so very thrilled the Comte is coming along and that the Comte's conversation will provide a pleasant distraction from the loneliness on the road. Can you feel the sarcasm there? LOL....
Jamie and Murtagh devise a plan where they hire some other men and, along with Murtagh dress up like the group of young aristocratic men that attacked Mary and Claire. Murtagh LOVES dressing up like a dandy! LMAO at this point as he flails his arms about with the ruffles. I am sure there are some threats, but Suzette offers to help him get undressed and that quiets him down and they leave.
Jamie and the Comte, each in a wagon with a driver, are coming down the road from Le Harve when Murtagh and the men hold up the wagon. The Comte orders to keep going, but they stop and the Comte, with a loaded gun refuses to stand down and has his gun pointed at Murtagh. Jamie jumps off his wagon and tackles the Comte from behind just when Murtagh's gun goes off. Murtagh then pretends to fight with Jamie and renders him unconscious.
That same night Claire is visiting with Louise and some of her friends. They are drinking and talking in French about the love affair between some of the servants and are laughing. Claire continues to look dour and doesn't participate at first. She then speaks up about how the poor are treated in the city and how she saw a young mother and child dead in the street. Louise chimes in and says yes, that something should be done, but the ladies agree that maybe those "uglies" should be moved to another, more undesirable, part of the city. Out of sight, out of mind I suppose. Just because you are rich, doesn't make you smart by any means! Claire gets up and leaves and heads to the hospital.
Claire is at the hospital working and is slow and holding her stomach. Mother Hildegard sees her and asks her to lie down. When she lifts Claire's skirt, she sees blood, but assures Claire that it is a normal thing and that the baby could just be moving into position. She tells Claire to stay and rest, but Claire protests and says she much be getting home, her husband will worry. Mother Hildegard tells her it was not a request as much as an order. She will send word to Jamie with Fergus.
Jamie returns the next morning and barely has time to eat something for breakfast before he is summoned to see Prince Charles who has racked up a serious bill at the Maison Elise and the police are going to be called in soon. Of course when Jamie gets there Prince Charles is beside himself with the loss and thinks his cause is over. Saint Germain is there too, of course, and makes voices his concern of how the timing of those men on that particular road was suspicious and all the while looking at Jamie. Jamie threatens him with what happens to someone making false accusations. They stand up and are nose to nose, when Charles chimes in about how Jamie saved the Comte's life and why would he risk his own life if it was his plan. They sit back down and Prince Charlie begins to cry some and how his father's invitation in Italy is running thin and if this plan falls through and he returns to Italy, they may very well be exiled to somewhere like Poland. He whimpers like a baby. Ugh....that man!
Meanwhile, Fergus, who came with Jamie is venturing about the brothel and comes upon a room with some bottles on the nightstand and the door is open. No one appears to be in there. However, we viewers DO see the English redcoat uniform hanging in the room. When Fergus smells one of the bottles and puts it in his pocket, the door suddenly slams shut and Fergus turns and looks very scared. Here is what you DID NOT see and for good reason. Jack Randall was there and that was the room he was in. He forces himself on Fergus and Fergus screams, causing Jamie to come running to his aide. Jamie finds him and he and Randall get in a fight. That is how it happened in the book, not sure if they will explain it as such on the show, but I felt this scene was VERY vague.
Claire returns the next morning to Magnus and the other servants acting a little peculiar. She is beat down and tired and in the bedroom when Suzette arrives in a rush to ask her if she needs anything, if she is hungry, etc. Claire looks at her and asks where Jamie is. Suzette doesn't reply right away and Claire says she knows he came home because his wrist brace was there on the bed. Suzette gives in and tells Claire that Jamie got called away to Maison Elise and while there an altercation with a British officer happened. Claire goes white as a sheet at that last bit. She asks what British officer. Jamie had left a note that only said. "I am sorry. I must." Claire goes running out yelling to Magnus to get the carriage and they are headed to the place of the duel. I do love how the carriage took off so fast out of the drive, that is did a large skid across the road!
All the while there, Claire is rubbing her wedding band, the gold one, meaning Frank. She keeps saying "You promised!" and you can tell she is getting in some serious discomfort and pain. Once at the woods, Magnus helps Claire through the woods and you can hear the clanging of swords and men fighting. She pauses a couple of times for what seems to be pain, contractions or otherwise. They get to the clearing and being that the men are already fighting, Claire's thought is that she "could only wait to see which of [her] men would die." Frank or Jamie. Claire becomes more distraught with the duel and pain. She tries not to cry out on some of the contractions. Then a big one hits her and she cries out like she is the one being killed and we see her double over in pain and blood gushing from between her legs.
Just then the gendarmes arrive. Someone must have called them as the working theory was that they did not patrol that area. Jamie gets in a stab at Randall, hitting him in the groin area. He hears Claire scream and tries to go to her, but the gendarmes prevent him. Claire collapses with Magnus trying to hold her. She tells him to take her to the Hospital. Randall looks like he is dying (don't get your hopes up people). We see the gendarmes surrounding Jamie who has been ordered to drop his weapon and he falls to his knees and screams "Claire!" Claire whispers Jamie's name before she passes out.
HOLY CRAP! I was right in that they did end the episode with that scene. That scene was pretty much just like the book. Very powerful and well done.
I know I do not agree with everything. However, basically a good episode. I am starting to get the feeling that there may be TOO MANY hands in the pot when it comes to the writing and making decisions of what stays and what goes. Yes, this is an adaptation. I GET THAT, but your major fan base, particularly in the beginning are the people, like me, who have read these books from the beginning at least a dozen times. I re-read mine every time there is a new book scheduled to be released. I have to read them in order....I am anal that way. A word to the show-runners, writers, etc....do NOT add or change or leave out so much stuff from the book or you will start to piss off a lot of fans and you don't want that.
Why am I ranting about that? I am worried, as Diana said in her CompuServe forum, that she was aware of a major change/add in a future episode that she was not particularly happy with and knew that the fans of the books would be furious about. Awesome. Someone saw Nell on set and asked why as Leoghaire was NOT in the second books! There is no reason for that bitch to be in this season. We aren't supposed to see her until Voyager!
As for this episode, minus a couple of things that were too vague or left out, it was a pretty good episode. All I have to say, as I know what is coming....LOTS of tissues and emotional support will be needed. I believe sometimes they need to change the perspective to Jamie's, which is not done much until Voyager in the books. It would have made this a stronger episode and helped to clarify some things too.
Any comments as to what YOU thought of the episode? What do you think is coming (if you didn't read the books)? Love to hear feedback!
Excuse me now, as I go prepare for the next couple of episodes................