After seven episodes that were almost leisurely in pace- for which I’m actually very appreciative, I love that the show has taken the time to develop all the characters and tell the story without rushing around trying to get in ACTION around every corner- this episode felt like falling down a waterfall into rapids.
Episode Eight: Both Sides Now
As a book reader, I am no fan of Frank. He is fairly non-existent in the first book, and in the interest of remaining spoiler-free, I will just say that he is written as very unlikeable in a subsequent book, whether that was really Gabaldon’s intention, I can’t say, but overall I hate Frank. That said, I love that the show has managed to bring so much humanity and empathy to his character. I really felt for him, and I liked the glimpses we saw this time of how he is (not) coping with Claire’s disappearance. The cut from the scene of Frank yelling in the police station “my wife is not with another man” to Claire with Jamie was brilliant.
Given the huge amount of time we have to wait on hiatus, I wish (albeit unrealistically) that this episode was longer than an hour, even an hour and a half would have given them a little more time to get through the material without being as rushed. Not that I have a huge problem with how things played out, I just wanted a little more time seeing Claire and Jamie in the happy honeymoon stage. Selfish, but true.
I thought for sure they’d cut the Hugh Munro scene because in the book it seems a bit throw-away, but I’m really glad they kept it in. Besides giving the useful information about Horrocks, I think it was another stark reminder for Claire that she really is 200 years in the past, talking to a man who had his tongue cut out. The danger of life in the 1700s roils through the entire episode.
The Grant fight! So well done, showing the men all in sync and subtle as they notice the disturbance and prepare to fight.
Claire and Jamie and the redcoat deserters- ugh. That was painful to watch. I am not sure how well the slo-mo of that scene worked, but it did make me viscerally uncomfortable, and presumably that was the point.
I do wish they’d had more time after that before getting to Claire waiting in the woods while everyone goes to meet Horrocks, because it felt like there was more time between in the book. But really, it’s a tiny nitpick. Also, in the book, she travels for like an hour to get to Craig na Dun and is captured by the British before she gets that close. This was a well-thought out change, though, aside from the startling appearance of the soldiers holding Claire, which I thought for non-book readers could have been explained a little better. But I did get goosebumps at Frank and Claire calling out to each other at the stones. I’ve read a bunch of people complaining that the episode should have stopped there, before the soldiers took Claire, but I don’t think the stones moment is really the moment of peak cliffhanger in the episode. I mean, even if you haven’t read the books, it would be pretty far-fetched the think that in episode nine Claire is going to successfully make it back through the stones, because then we would have eight episodes of what, her and Frank happily reuniting and going about their lives? Not much drama left there. I think the moment of Jamie at Black Jack’s window was the precise right moment to leave us hanging until April. Also, how genuinely scary was Black Jack in that scene? Good lord, even as a book reader I was freaking out.
Finally, wee little Roger MacKenzie! That cherub-cheeked kid was so cute, I can’t even stand it. I am dying of curiosity to see who will be cast for Bree and Roger.