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Two Takes: Outlander “Both Sides Now” 

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Does Claire want to make a life with Jamie Fraser in 1743 or return to Frank Randall in 1945? She wears each man’s wedding ring and while we can see she’s happy with Jamie, when she realizes just how close she is to the stones at Craigh Na Dun she makes a run for it.

Kara: I don’t know about you Tina, but as Claire made the dash for Craigh Na Dun I really wanted her to be transported back to Frank. I’ve read the book and I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but I was still on the edge of my seat thinking that it might. And to see Frank there gave me both hope and also made my heart break a little. He’d given up on Claire. The police’s working theory was that Claire disappeared with her lover. They couldn’t find any evidence of a struggle and based on Frank’s own description of The Highlander, that’s the theory the police are working with. So when Reverend Wakefield convinces Frank that it’s time to give up on finding Claire, it feels final — especially when he leaves her suitcase behind. So when he goes to the stones at Craigh Na Dun and breaks down, it feels like a goodbye. But when he hears Claire calling out to him, we see that spark of hope. Although Frank told the housekeeper he didn’t believe her story of the travelers, maybe he’s so desperate for any explanation that he’ll entertain something so far-fetched. As Claire’s hands get closer and closer to the stone, I really felt hope. I really felt like maybe Claire would get back to Frank. And then to have the Red Coats seize her just as she’s about to touch the stone. Talk about good storytelling. I may have gasped.

Tina: I don’t know, Kara. I can’t say I wanted Claire to go back even though I do love how the action at Craigh Na Dun cuts back and forth. We see Claire in the past and Frank in the present and Claire comes thisclose to returning to her time. The only reason I’d want her to go back is because 1743 is so very dangerous. Given the choice, I want her with Jamie. Having said that, I do feel for Frank. I’m so glad we finally get the chance to find out his perspective during what is a very trying and heartbreaking time for him. When I was reading the Outlander novel (actually listening to the audio CD), I kept wanting to see what he was going through and we didn’t get that. Everything was purely from Claire’s POV. So these scenes are wonderfully informative for me. Maybe we see too much, however. Because when he is ambushed in the alley or wherever “Sally” and her two accomplices try to steal his reward money, Frank turns the tables on them. He goes to town beating those two guys up good. And then he chokes “Sally” so hard. I don’t know about you, but I saw shades of Black Jack Randall. I understand where his anger comes from, I really don’t blame him. These three yahoos are despicable. They deserve the pummeling. But that doesn’t stop me from seeing a little bit of his nasty ancestor in him.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: I think we see more than just shades of Black Jack Randall in Frank, and so does Wakefield. He thinks searching for Claire for these past 6 or 7 weeks is bringing a little bit of evil out in all of Frank’s good intentions. It’s interesting that the Reverend sees it in him and maybe Frank’s heartache prevents him from seeing the kind of man he’s becoming. From what we’ve seen of Frank so far in the series and the book, I always thought he was bookish, more internal. I never thought he’d even be able to defend himself in a fight. Maybe it was war that hardened him or maybe that “fighting” spirit is literally in his DNA. Whatever it is, we’ve seen a whole new side of Frank. And I guess we see a new side of Claire as well. After their traveling party is attacked, the MacKenzies realize they can’t leave Claire undefended. So, she’s given a small knife and shown how to kill a man — not how to wound or incapacitate, but kill. I knew her newly acquired skills would come in handy, but not quite so soon. Two deserters come upon Claire and Jamie as they’re enjoying their marital privileges and one of the Red Coats thinks he can finish what Jamie started. Jamie’s at gunpoint and can’t intervene for fear of getting his head blown off. So Claire goes for the man’s kidney, providing enough of a distraction for Jamie to slit the throat of the other soldier. Again, we’re seeing the brutality of life in 1743 Scotland. I understand exactly why Claire goes into shock and I feel her desperation to keep it together so she doesn’t spill all her secrets to Jamie.

Tina: I totally agree with you about the Frank in the book vs. the Frank they show us in “Both Sides Now.” I know he was in intelligence or something like that during the war, right? Actually I just looked it up. He was plucked from life as an officer to join MI-6. So I guess he has to know how to fight. Even so, from his time with Claire, I never figured him for being able to go on the attack so thoroughly and so brutally. He was all about tracing his ancestral history. Now I see him in a whole new light. Seeing Fierce Fighter Frank and then thinking about Black Jack, I go back to my assertion that I really want Claire to remain with Jamie. I concede to being heavily biased, though. Jamie, in this episode, gets to be adorable and protective. He and the others are forced to fight off robbers. He has to stand back and let the love of his very short life fend for herself with that Rapist Red Coat. And I love how he’s able to quickly understand Hugh Munro, the guy who finds Claire and Jamie at the top of the hill early in the episode. The poor guy had been kidnapped by the Turks and his tongue was cut out. Jamie is so happy to see him and tell him about his new wife. And he’s able to understand the message Munro has for him. There’s a witness (a Red Coat deserter) who can potentially clear Jamie of the crime that has resulted in a price over his head. Oh and I like how Munro gives Jamie and Claire a dragonfly that I presume is stuck in amber. “Dragonfly in Amber” is the title of the second book in the Outlander series. Nice.

Kara: I’ll never get tired of seeing Jamie’s happiness, but I cannot express how relieved (and happy) I was to see Jamie at the end of this episode. We know the Red Coats are taking Claire to Captain Randall at Fort William and we know it’s gonna be bad. Really bad. Not only has Claire managed to escape from his clutches two times already, we know he’s willing to do anything to make Claire tell the truth about who she is and what she’s doing in Scotland. So when she arrives at the castle, Claire has her game face on. She knows that if she can make Randall believe she’s also in the employ of the Duke of Sandringham she has a chance to escape. And she plays her part very well but, of course, Randall manages to trick her.

Determined to show her exactly how far he’ll go – and how brutal he’s willing to be about it – Randall rips her bodice open and throws her skirts over her head as he holds her down on the table. He finds her hidden knife and applies it to her breast. That’s when Jamie shows up, gun loaded and pointed right at Randall. Claire’s (and our) hero! He literally shows up in the nick of time.

Outlander returns Saturday, April 4th 2015 on Starz.

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  1. Janet

    I haven’t read the book but it is clear to me when Claire runs for the stones that she just wants her old life back, period. It’s not so much the guy as it is her life back and who wouldn’t? 1743 is pictured as so barbaric. From a pure romance standpoint, Jamie wins hands down…but I felt myself feeling so heartbroken for Frank, I must say.

    Riveting show!

    1. Tina Charles

      I’m really happy we got a look at what was going on in Frank’s world. I think it was important and was something I missed in the book. I also felt really bad for Frank. It has to be one of the worst feelings in the world to lose someone and not know how or why or when you’re going to see that person again. But in the end, I hate that Claire was captured but I’m glad she’s not gone from the world that has Jamie in it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Catherine

    IDK, the extra emphasis on Frank just doesnt do it for me, the less I see of him, the better and am having a problem with Claire. If she is so in love with Frank, desperate to get back to 1940’s, what happened to her marriage of convenience to Jamie? It looks like a full blown affair now, is this an honorable woman?

    1. Tina Charles

      The way I see things — and Kara probably thinks differently — even with the extra emphasis on Frank, I just don’t get the same connection between Frank and Claire that I see with Claire and Jamie. Is this a full blown affair? I don’t know. Even though Claire had hoped to get back to her time via Craigh Na Dun, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would happen.

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