Wow…. the Print Shop – it was everything to some but to others it fell short in several different ways. I think I’ve seen more upset and discussion about this long-desired episode than I have any other. I’ll be honest, at my first viewing, I too wasn’t all that impressed at how they handled some scenes, but upon a second review, I think I got what the writers and directors were trying to convey.
I’m not going to do a recap in this week’s blog, let’s be real here most of my readers have probably watched the show more times than I have (4 times just so you know). Instead, I think I’m going to address some of the things that lead to the upset…and how I think that just maybe they weren’t that upsetting at all.
I see some people hated the way it was portrayed that Madame Jeanne had a crush on Jamie. Sorry, but I loved it! First off, for non-book readers, the first scenes were a fake-out. Remember, non-bookers have no knowledge of what happened to Jamie after Helwater and that first scene made them think he was married to Madame Jeanne. I know this due to a text I got from my non-book reader friend Tina minutes after the show began.
WTF…he’s freakin married?
Being the good friend, I am, I replied telling her to calm down and be patient. The thing about Madame Jeanne having a crush on Jamie is that it speaks more to Jamie’s character than anything else. Here Jamie is, living in a brothel with a Madame who desperately wishes he were more than just a sometimes boarder. Out of his own mouth in this episode, we learn that Jamie’s been celibate for a while. I haven’t done this in a long time he says before the first touch of his lips to Claire’s, and yet Jamie has never touched Madame Jeanne save out of friendship (the kiss on her cheeks at greeting is simply a French custom). This little side plot tells me Jamie is a man of character and restraint, either that or he’s got an endless source of saltpeter.
Brianna & William
This was a big one and I must tell you I was a little bit disappointed I didn’t get to see Jamie fall to pieces in Claire’s arms. Jamie was affected, you could see it in the shimmer of tears in his eyes and the subtle tremor in his hands when he held the photographs. I read somewhere that when Jamie held the pictures of Claire holding baby Brianna, it was the first time Jamie and Claire had ever held one of their children together, Jamie stared longest at that picture, maybe he recognized that fact too. Jamie reacted much like my own Dad did the first time he ever saw me in a bikini, but the flash of shame on Jamie’s face wasn’t because of the swimsuit, it was because of the secret he held – a secret he couldn’t hold back from the woman he separated himself from for the sake of his daughter. Jamie didn’t tell Claire about William because he was proud, he did it because he wasn’t ashamed and couldn’t bear that shame in Claire’s …and Brianna’s presence. I knew you would have a life, Claire tells him and asks the question that made all the difference to her, did you love his mother?
You see, in any type of fiction, be it for the screen, the stage or the page, there are plot devices and then there are dramatic beats. Plot devices move the story and can be repeated again and again, but dramatic beats are different. Much like the single toll of a bell at the end of a life, the dramatic beat in fiction can be played only once.
The dramatic beat of Jamie’s emotional reaction to his daughter wasn’t played out this time, not because it wasn’t important, but because it is being saved for another more important point. Book readers I’m sure can think of a few times for which this particular dramatic beat was saved. I know of one in particular myself…and I’ll leave it at that with this one simple reminder. When they wrote this script for season 3…. they already know they’d have a season 4. Plus, the director of last’s night’s episode directs others this year, curious to me since the decision to fall to pieces seems to be the director’s choice.
Jamie is “different”
Well duh. Of course, he’s different, he’s 20 years older for one thing, plus the big reason Jamie isn’t Jamie anymore is that he doesn’t know how to be. Ever since Culloden, Jamie has not been himself. He’s been the Dunbonnet, Mac Dubh, Alex Mackenzie and now Alex Malcolm and each time Jamie had to bury parts of himself to play the role he needed to play. Jamie has moved on with life, accepting finally that the woman he loves more than anything is gone forever, then whoop, there she is! He’s shell-shocked but mostly he’s scared. It took 20 years to get over losing her the first time – and Jamie knows he doesn’t have the strength to lose her again. He’s afraid that she will not accept him and the life he now lives, he’s terrified that she may leave him again. Yet as he comes to trust that she is there to stay, we see glimpses of the Jamie we all know and love, mostly when he’s wrapped in the loving protection of Claire’s arms. There are still secrets that remain untold – and he worries how Claire will react. He begins to tell her, but the only thing that matters to Claire is the love and for Jamie that has only and always belonged to Claire.
Speaking of that secret – One of my favorite parts of the show was the introduction of adult Fergus (and can we just talk about how ADORABLE Cesar Domboy is as the older French urchin?) Book readers know the secret Jamie still holds, but Jamie didn’t. I loved that it hadn’t crossed Jamie’s mind until he was reminded by Fergus, you could see it on his face.
The sex wasn’t the same – they’re not as passionate.
Ummmm…we are watching the same show, right? Tall red-headed dude and a gorgeous curly-haired woman rolling around in the bed? Seriously I think anyone who wasn’t salivating at the sex scenes is either a prude – or was accidentally watching the Walking Dead instead of Outlander.
The sex was passionate and sensual and raw and a whole bunch of other adjectives that describe great sex. But you know what else it was -and this is the important thing here- it was intimate. Early on the show made a point to show us that Jamie and Claire kept their eyes closed, unable to stand the visual reminder that they gave their bodies to anyone else than each other. Jamie and Claire couldn’t take their eyes off each other. They couldn’t take their hands off each other either. Always touching, always looking into the depths of each other’s soul. They were awkward with each other sure, and rightly so, but as Claire reminded us…whatever was between them before is still there, maybe in a different form, but it still exists as strong as ever.
Lions and Tigers and Ian
Again with the perfect casting. Are you a Fairy? Ian asks upon meeting his Auntie Claire. I can already tell I’m going to love him. I loved Mr. Willoughby too. In forming a tenuous bond with Claire he manages to impart that Jamie is still the protective and generous man she knew.
Oh, and one more little thing. I saw some people say the scars on Jamie’s back looked different, faded a bit. Well of course they did!! Scars fade over time and it has been 20 years, geez. ..quit nitpicking!
Yes, the Print Shop we have longed and waited for was different than the words Diana put to paper over 20 years ago, but it was beautiful and touching in its own right. Jamie and Claire are together again, and no matter how the writers and producers adapt the story, as lovers of the books themselves, they will honor that bond. I trust that.
Dinna be afraid, there’s the two of them now.