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Two Takes: Outlander “The Reckoning” 


It’s back. It’s finally back. It’s been a long, hard winter (not really; we live in LA where it’s usually sunny and beautiful) and we’re so happy one of our favorite shows is back. The last time we were in this world, Black Jack Randall was about to make good on his threat to rape Claire when Jamie swooped in to save the day. It’s probably not a spoiler that he gets himself and Claire out of Fort William, but what comes after might be a surprise for those of you who haven’t read the book (more on that later). One thing we’re really enjoying for this half of the season is that we’re now hearing Jamie’s thoughts in voiceover. We loved Claire’s perspective earlier, but it’s great to get Jamie’s take on things for now.

Kara: For those of you have read the book, we might need to start by talking about that spanking scene and the fight that leads up to it. I read the book a while ago, but from what I remember those scenes were a lot more intense in the book. I get that Jamie was scared for his life — literally — and that Claire needs to understand the magnitude of this blunder, but some of those words they hurl at each other are so surprising and so hurtful. And while the spanking scene in the episode is shorter and less brutal, in the book I know at least a few of the men from the Fort Williams raiding party make sure to pat Claire’s butt to extend her suffering. I know, I know. It was a different time, but it was still strange an uncomfortable.

Tina: I read the book a while ago too and since my memory sucks big time, I’m not sure if I’m remembering everything correctly. What I do recall is being very, very, VERY uncomfortable with the whole corporal punishment portion. It was one of my least favorite aspects of the book. It was intense and awful and since we frown so much on that kind of thing these days, my fragile self couldn’t handle it. I’m a wuss. Sue me. In this episode, I knew the spanking was coming and I got through it. The way they executed this part of the storyline was intense but not overbearing at all. And they didn’t focus on it too long. I’m thankful, actually. I don’t know whose team I’m on in this argument. Jamie is under pressure from the men. I get that. Actually, I guess I’m Team Claire because I don’t feel like she needed to be spanked. But let me go back to when the two are fighting in front of the men after they rescue Claire. Even when they are saying hateful things to each other, fighting at the top of their lungs and in each other’s faces, they’re hot. I’m sorry, they just are. Their chemistry continues to be the biggest asset this show has.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: Their chemistry is never in question for me. They’re fighting? Hot. They’re not talking? Hot. They’re smoldering at each other from across the room? Hot. They’re having sex? HOT. But they had work to do before their reconciliation. Claire is understandably upset after the spanking. She makes Jamie sleep elsewhere when they get back to Castle Leoch and Jamie knows he must do something to win her back — if it isn’t already too late. His vow to never lift a hand to her again is what it takes to regain her trust. And I think it’s right for their relationship. Just because there’s a history of physical violence towards women in Jamie’s past doesn’t mean it needs to be part of his future. I love that he says that. And when Claire reiterates that while they’re having sex, it makes so much sense for Claire and for them. And…it’s hot.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Tina: Don’t forget how hot it is when they simply touch foreheads. Their chemistry is tangible. And it’s not just physical violence towards women that’s in Jamie’s past. It’s also physical violence towards him. His father used to enact corporal punishment when he was growing up. It kept him in line. That’s what Jamie’s always known. I love that Claire is here to show him a new way of doing things. There’s no need to resort to spanking. They belong to each other. They are each other’s master, right? I do so love that line from when they were on the floor after having kissed and made up (so gloriously):

Jamie: “I am your master. And you are mine. It seems I cannot possess your soul without losing my own.”

Beautiful. What isn’t as beautiful is Laoghaire’s crush on Jamie. I mean, I don’t blame the girl. Not at all. Who wouldn’t fall in love with this man? But there also seems to be a bit of entitlement going on here. She’s had her eyes on him since she was seven. He took a beating for her. They kissed in the alcove. So when they’re out in the woods, she does feel some sort of entitlement — she thinks his marriage to Claire is simply an arrangement; an arrangement that can be overcome.

But Jamie tells her he’s not going to break his vow. But since he doesn’t tell Laoghaire that he’s actually in love with Claire, there’s no way this is going to curtail any feelings she has for him. That’s going to come back and bite him in the ass.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: In more ways than one, but for now they have to contend with the ill-wish, presumably left under Jamie and Claire’s bed by Laoghaire. Because she can’t get what she wants — Jamie — she, in essence, curses Claire to pain, suffering and maybe even death. We’ll see that play out for the rest of the season.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

And what about all that politicking? The Laird is mightily displeased that Dougal has been raising money for the Jacobite cause. He’s understandably upset that Dougal has been doing this without his knowledge or consent. As the Laird, it is still up to Colum to decide what causes the clan supports. But we can tell that Dougal doesn’t want to be told his place, doesn’t want to listen to his Laird — especially when he admits to being the father of Hamish.

I didn’t expect him to admit that at all and certainly not in front of Ned and Jamie. It’s one thing for people to whisper and gossip about it (and for Claire to assume it — remember that?), but it’s another thing to admit it in front of others.

Tina: Leave it up to Jamie to stroke some egos and figure out a way for Colum to give back the gold and let Dougal do his thing.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

The politics of it all isn’t my favorite thing to focus on. Sorry, it just isn’t. I need to go back to the beginning of the episode and something I forgot to talk about. The confrontation between Jamie and Black Jack Randall when he had Claire bent over the desk. That was intense. Especially when Jonathan asks Jamie to show him the damage he did on his back. And then, later, instead of inflicting major pain on Claire, he says something about Jamie joining them. It’s creepy and I think says a lot about Black Jack and where this story is going.

Favorite Post-Coital Exchange:

Jamie: “What does ‘fucking’ mean?”
Claire: “What?”
Jamie: “‘Fucking.’ After Fort William, you called me a ‘fucking bastard.’ij”
Claire: “Well, it means what we just did.”
Jamie: “Uh. And what about sadist? You called me that as well.”
Claire: “Well, that means someone who takes sexual pleasure in hurting someone.”
Jamie: “Oh well, you dinna flatter me over much, but I can’t fault your observations.”
Claire: “Was I too rough on you?”
Jamie: “Well, if you bed a vixen you have to expect to get bit. Come here, bite me some more.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Random Thought:

We didn’t mention it in the recap above, but we were both constantly struck by the sheer beauty of the Scottish landscape. If you don’t have an HD TV, you are missing out. Seeing all of the gorgeous countryside in all its vibrant color and clarity made us want to jump on a plane and visit Scotland now. Maybe we’ll get invited to a set visit during the filming of season 2. Fingers crossed.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9/8c on Starz.

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