Outlander: The Devil’s Mark (111)

This week’s post is brought to you by Macallen 12 year old Scotch.  Outlander is doing a bit of damage to my pocketbook.  Also my sobriety.*  I just learned you do not drink Scotch on ice.  About that I will paraphrase what I said about my (previous) preference for blended Johnny Walker Red:  I’m secure enough in my Scotch drinking to not worry about what the snobs enthusiasts say.

*Not to worry.  Alcohol isn’t really my drug of choice.  That would be chocolate.

I’m not sure this is my favorite episode (so far), but possibly it is.

Jamie brings Claire to the stones at Craigh na Dun.

Perhaps you can go home again.

Emmys for everyone!

The performances were off the charts.  The way Caitriona Balfe’s voice broke as Claire told Jamie her true story; the many facets of Sam Heughan’s face as Jamie listened, without saying a word.  Lotte Verbeek was riveting as Geillis Duncan sacrificed herself to save Claire.

While we’re at it, how about the writing and the directing.  I’m not sure Toni Graphia, who wrote this episode, is my favorite writer on the series, but I’d be hard pressed to tell you who is.  This was the first episode directed by Mike Barker, and it’d be hard to top Anna Foerster (who’s directed some of the most difficult episodes), but he did some lovely shots that made me sit up and take notice.

My only complaint is that the episode could have been 30 minutes longer.  The scenes at Craigh na Dun are some of the most significant in the book.  Regardless of how fabulous Sam Heughan was in conveying Jamie’s despair without words, I’d still like to hear him tell Claire. Can I hope the scene will continue into the beginning of next week’s episode?

And there was still time for idle thoughts.

1.  I missed “my men.” And woman.

One of the things that saddens me about this saga is the ever changing backdrop.  Diana Gabaldon has us fall in love with these wonderfully written characters—Murtaugh, Mrs. Fitz, Rupert, and Angus—only to have them disappear from the story.  Sometimes I think I should write my own version of the series,* where these well-drawn (and well-acted) characters continue.

*I think that’s called fan fiction.

2.Why Jamie Fraser is the “King of Men”

Who came up with this moniker, anyway?  Fans?  Ron Moore?  The series writers?

Gentlemen, want to know how to please a woman?  Look no further than James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (or as Amy’s recap at That’s Normal calls him, James Alexander Motherfucking MacKenzie Fraser.)  Women don’t love him because he’s tall, handsome, strong, and brave.  (Well, maybe the shallow ones do.)  Some may love him for his keen knowledge of female anatomy.  But really, it’s all about his romantic soul.  Men would do well to read the Outlander books, taking note of his statements for later use.  In this episode alone:

I swore an oath before the altar of God to protect this woman!  And if you’re tellin’ me you consider your authority to be greater than that of the Almighty, then I must inform you that I am not of that opinion myself.

No.  No, mo nighean donn.  I want to watch you.

Speaking of that last line…

3.  Most Erotic Sex Scene while Fully Clothed:

Boom!  There it is.

4.  Sam Heughan looked particularly lovely this week.

No, this doesn’t negate the “… [not] because he’s tall, handsome…” remark above.

5.  Best line, Geillis Duncan:

It looks like I’m going to a fucking barbecue.

If the small pox vaccine scar didn’t convince you Geillis is from the future, “fucking barbeque” certainly would.

Speaking of Geillis, did anyone notice she was still wearing the red shoes?  Guess what.  The red shoes don’t mean shit.  They’re not a nod to Dorothy Gale and the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.  As Ron  Moore and Terry Dresbach’s podcast informed us, the shoes were just something sitting around the set, and Lotte Verbeek put them on.

I love it when fandom reads something meaningful and symbolic into nothing.

9 responses to “Outlander: The Devil’s Mark (111)

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  3. This ties “The Wedding” for my favorite episodes, I think, and both for the same reasons. Yeah, the sex was fantastic, but it’s more about the emotion and the maturing of both character and relationship.

    I find Jamie to be a singular character. He’s true to his time and very flawed, but he is so willing to learn and grow. He adapts so much during “The Wedding,” has so much eagerness to do so. In “The Devil’s Mark,” he not only listens and trusts, he absorbs and reflects and makes the right decision, even if it hurts. Unfortunately…

    Having not read the book, I don’t know how much of this is show and how much is source material. But I have a lot of impatience for Claire. I totally get her reasons for doing what she does, but she still makes decisions with a sullenness and unwillingness to bend that I don’t like. For many, many episodes she did almost nothing. My husband was tired of her not using her knowledge or ability to be resourceful, to contribute, and I had to agree. She did do so early on, when she was Leoch healer, but she became kind of worthless for a while. There’s been little growth of her character, and until the last few episodes, she didn’t really give much to Jamie, just took what he wanted to give.

    These are minor impatiences, though, and it got better. 🙂

    I had to wonder, though… How much of her decision to stay was because of Jamie, and how much was because of Black Jack? It would be effing hard to face Frank, looking as much like his ancestor as he does, and with him being totally enamored of the a-hole. You know?

    • Loveryour take on Jamie (willing to grow) and impatience for Claire. Actually, tv Claire is more tolerable than book Claire, but I was FURIOUS with her in “The Reckoning.” (You haven’t commented on that post, so I’d love to know what you thought of it.)

      One of the biggest missteps the series has had so far is their treatment of the scene at the standing stones. It’s very well explained in the book, but is so glossed over here it leaves a lot to interpretation. Some non-book readers think that Claire tried to go back through the stones, but couldn’t, which is why she stayed with Jamie. I like your Black Jack theory, too. It wasn’t one I’d thought of initially, but in the past few weeks I’d begun to wonder how she would react to Frank after having known Black Jack.

      • I didn’t mind them leaving the stones a bit ambiguous, but my take was that she chose not to go.

        I meant to comment on The Reckoning and missed it. I thought overall it was a very good handling of the reconciliation between Claire’s need to survive with the customs of the times and the core of the woman she is. I thought the knife was over-the-top but her demand that he never treat her that way again acceptable, even necessary. She has few ways to control her own safety (not touching on the ignoring advice and running off all the time) and making sure the guy who’s supposed to protect her won’t hurt her is one of the those.

        I agreed with your thoughts on Jamie in that post, and his shift during the fight with Claire about broke my heart.

        I’ve never had patience for Laoghaire, and Murtagh’s assessment of her early on was a perfect description. I knew she’d take Jamie’s nobility and turn it into dreamy falsity, and Jamie was too green to see what she was doing and probably could have handled it better. I was glad to see the last of her and, frankly, the last of Leoch. I was surprised at how much of the story was about politics and it was never my favorite part. Though I did find Dougal’s complexity intriguing.

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