I really thought the show was going to open with
“I prayed all the way up that hill yesterday, he said softly. Not for you to stay; I didna think that would be right. I prayed I’d be strong enough to send ye away. He shook his head, still gazing up the hill, a faraway look in his eyes. I said ‘Lord, if I’ve never had courage in my life before, let me have it now. Let me be brave enough not to fall on my knees and beg her to stay.’ He pulled his eyes away from the cottage and smiled briefly at me. Hardest thing I ever did, Sassenach.”
But, it didn’t. That’s okay.
The show does begin with the sweeping Scottish countryside, itself nearly a character in both the show and the books. It’s absolutely stunning. Their conversation is about airplanes, which also happens in the books (Jamie wants to hear in minute detail about planes, trains, and automobiles). This is also the first time he learns of Claire’s age. When he is 40, he says, she will be 245. Nice. The fact that he believed Claire to be younger than he is really says something about the state of women at the time. Jamie is 22, assuming Claire to be younger has got to mean that at 27 in the 18th century, a woman must look like absolute butt.
Lallybroch is a bit grander than I had imagined. As happy as Jamie is to return home, he cannot stop thinking about his last day at Lallybroch four years before. We keep seeing the flashback of him being whipped and Jenny being drug inside by BJR, to be raped. He tells Claire that Dougal told him about rumors of Jenny being preggo by BJR. Claire tries to assure him that rumors aren’t facts. Sorry Claire, your common sense is no match for your husband’s ability to jump to conclusions.
When they get to Lallybroch, Claire befriends a little boy with the cutest little outfit on, it even laced up the back, like a little man. We hear “Jamie?” and the little boy turns his head. Aww, it’s Young Jamie. We see Jenny drop her basket, grab her currently preggo belly, and run to Big Jamie. They have an embrace and it’s like “aww,” until it isn’t. Jenny introduces Jamie to his namesake, something Jenny is very proud to do. Well, Big Jamie isn’t verra thrilled, “Do ye think I haven’t suffered enough over what I let happen to name Randall’s bastard after me?” He also points to her pregnant belly and infers that that child is also a bastard and that basically, his sister is a whore. Real nice, dude. “We shouldna have come,” he says in pain tinged anger.
Jenny is not about to take it, no matter how much she had missed her brother. Half his size and knocked up, she’s is ready to throw-the-fuck-down. In the books she grabs his balls, here she threatens it. Jamie just gets even more pissed, as he believes he’s being embarrassed in front of his wife. Jenny then takes out some wrath on Claire, calling her a trollop and Jamie flips out. I think Claire finds it a bit amusing, but also is like “fuck this,” as she never had to deal with extended family with Frank.
Suddenly a man with a wooden leg appears, one we know to be Ian, as readers, Jamie’s childhood best friend. He is just the best. I like that Claire introduces herself to Ian as “Trollop, otherwise known as Claire.” There’s a great contrast between Jenny and Ian, played perfectly by Steven Cree (300: Rise of an Empire). He’s just so nice and welcoming, calmly setting Jamie straight, giving him the knowledge and peace of mind that Young Jamie is his son, and he is Jenny’s husband. One thing we learn during this, is that until Mrs. Fitz sends Jamie’s trunk to Lallybroch (changing form Murtagh himself in the book), Jenny has feared her brother dead. I get her anger as it’s also pain that she has been holding on to for what, four fucking years? We find out later why she has held on to this.
They move inside, which is a bit more lavish than I had imagined, at least as far as the furnishings go. However, it’s dim in there, and somewhat cramped, adding to the tension. Now we get a Jenny flashback. She tells Jamie she will tell him once and only once, what went down after he was knocked out during BJR’s raid of Lallybroch four years before. Jenny’s flashback is disturbing. BJR forces Jenny into a bedroom and attempts to rape her. BJR creepily touches her lips, which was all Menzie’s apparently and not scripted. When I say attempted rape, it’s because that’s what it was, attempted. It was brutal, disturbing and well done. It’s almost straight from the books. BJR is unable to get an erection, and when Jenny realizes this. He has turned her face down, ass up and is starting to masturbate in order to get an erection. Oh, and according to Menzie’s Twitter, that’s his wiener that’s getting flopped about. It’s here that Jenny starts laughing hysterically, and realizing her laughing is affecting him, doesn’t stop until BJR, embarrassed and enraged, knocks her out. When she wakes, everyone, including Jamie, is gone. She believes Jamie dead.
Jamie is still a total ass after this revelation, as is Jenny. When Claire suggests that Jamie apologize, she gets shade from Jenny, a look of “Oh shit,” from a serving girl, and taken out of the room by Jamie to be reprimanded for making him look bad in front of his subjects, more or less. It’s not that he wants her to be meek and do as he says. He knows things are different in her time and basically asks her to just keep it to herself in front of others, as this is his time. He tells her Letitia is the one with power behind closed doors, and Colum is no stranger to frying pans being hurled at him. Claire understands this and agrees to at least play the part, for the sake of her husband, but warns him “Careful my laird. I have a much better throwing arm than the fair Letitia.”
Jenny asks about the price on his head and he mentions the Duke of Sandringham. Jenny takes a jab at Claire indirectly when she remarks, “I never thought you’d be so trusting of the English.” At this, Claire excuses herself to wash up…and rooms are assigned, since Jamie and Claire plan to stay. Jenny orders the staff to move hers and Ian’s items out of the Laird’s room. Claire protests, but Jamie, in all of his current state of being a dick and Jenny in her current state of bitch, both shut her down and take/give the Laird’s room out of spite for each other. Ian just sits, a kind look on his face. Poor guy.
Upstairs, Jamie remarks about the room looking nearly identical to how it did when he was younger. He can still see his Father’s books in his memory, opened to their pages on the nightstand. He reaches under the bed and pulls out a very old and beautiful sword. Claire studies the sword and remarks that it is Viking and very well made. She recognizes the markings and craftsmanship and remarks “I was raised by an archaeologist.” I think that this reminder is necessary on the show; as Claire fits so well into the time as far as rustic-ness of landscape, food and amenities, go. I’m sure there were times growing up with Uncle Lamb that made Lallybroch look like a 5-Star hotel. She tells Jamie “It’s yours, now.” And her responds “Ours.” Aww. Gag.
And now another flashback, and this one more painful than the one Jamie had of Jennie. Claire wants to know when Jamie last saw his Father. Previously we had seen the flashback of Jamie’s second flogging, with Dougal in the crowd. What we didn’t see were the before and after of Jaime being flogged/passing out. It’s nearly identical to the book. As Jamie is being transported to his flogging, he is surprised to see his Father, Brian. Brian is worried for his son’s life, as he has just been severely flogged the week before. He has gone to Fort William to ask BJR for leniency. Brian is leaving a meeting with BJR, where he was told if he wanted to prevent Jamie’s flogging, he would need a written document from the Duke of Argyle. Black Brain grabs Jamie, hugs him, kisses him on the cheek and says “Remember to pray, and I’ll stand by ye, no matter what happens.” As Jamie is taken in to BJR’s office, the show has added Brian yelling “You’re a braw lad, son!”
Menzie’s again is so quietly and methodically BJR. He’s so good at playing this disgusting character. He has basically set Brian Fraser off on a mission he will definitely fail at, as there is no way he can get to the Duke in time to stop the flogging. Jamie tell Claire BJR told him, “It’s quite simple. Give over to me. Make free of your body and there will be no second flogging. And if not, well…” at this he rises and presses on Jamie’s still raw back. He gasps in pain. He admits to Claire, who looks shocked/concerned/helpless, that he thought about going through with it. Jamie tell her he assumed that being buggered would probably be less painful and over sooner. That, and Randall said he would agree to set him free, that day. Jamie says he could still feel his father’s kiss on his cheek, and although he did not believe his Father would care about the buggery, he did not want him to think he had given in to BJR, that he had broken him.
The flashback continues with Jamie’s flogging. Dougal is there, and so is Brian, who Jamie was unaware of being there. He assumed that he had raced off to the Duke. When Jamie passed out, he tells Claire that Dougal told him he let out a sound that sounded as if he had died. At this, Dougal told Jamie, Brian collapses and never gets back up. Jamie is unconscious and does not know of his Father’s death until Dougal tells him later. Claire tries to assure Jamie that he can’t even trust BJR would have kept his word and he tells Claire he has not even had a chance to see his Father’s grave.
At dinner, things are still uncomfortable. Claire rightly voices concern over the next day being Quarter Day, with all of the tenants visiting the home and Jamie, as he still has a price on his head. Jenny shortly tells Claire that no one would ever do that *foreshadowing*. The next day the tenants show up, bringing small gifts and kind gestures. We see Jamie wearing Black Brian’s leather coat. Very lovely touch. A tenant gives Claire a vase of wildflowers. This reminds us of the opening of episode one, where Claire reminisces about never buying a vase in her own time, as she had never had a real home. Now she is at Lallybroch and has her vase and her home *foreshadowing*. Jamie, on his first day as Laird, allows Duncan, a tenant, to keep his money, as he doesn’t want to take the last of his money. He’s doing what he believes his Father would have done. Ian doesn’t say a word, but you can tell he’s thinking “when Jenny finds out…” While this is going on, Claire witnesses a boy, Rabbie MacNab being beaten. She brings him in to Jenny. They check his back, battered and bruised. Jenny takes him to get some food and Claire looks irritated that Jamie goes off to drink instead of doing something about it.
Apparently Jamie DID do something about. He stumbles in that night, drunk off of his ass. Claire appears to be annoyed. We learn that Jamie went to reason with the boys father, but had to resort to fisticuffs and MacNab is pissed *foreshadowing*. He’s also very interested in elephants. He passes out and Claire smiles. The next morning at breakfast Jamie is totally hung-over. Jenny storms in and yells at him about the rents and his actions with MacNab, as now they have another mouth to feed- Rabbie has been dropped off. Jenny says that she and Rabbie’s Grannie have been in talks to persuade Rabbie’s Aunt to take him (they’ve omitted the actual Grannie MacNab here, but I think it works better this way, especially for the show). Whoops. Jenny’s line “Begging your pardon, Laird Broch Tuarach,” was delivered perfectly. She’s been running this place just fine without him. Laura Donnelly is fantastic at embodying Jenny.
The last straw for hung-over Jamie were the crunchy breakfast bannocks he finally started to eat. After yelling at the cook, he is informed that the mill wheel is broken. He storms off to the wheel, strips to his shirt. Claire says, “You’ll freeze to death,” to which Jamie responds “Most likely. At least you’ll be able to serve decent bannocks at my wake.” They have omitted Jamie grabbing his Father’s old red drawers, instead leaving him in just his shirt, plays out way better this way. After Jamie has taken his first dive under the mill, Jenny appears. Claire is like “Uh, we’ve got this, crazy lady. No need to come running out here all knocked up.” Jenny is then like “yeah bitch, I did. Take a look.”
A group of Redcoats are riding up. Jenny and Claire sit on Jamie’s clothing, covering the plaid, and Jenny suggests Claire keep her trap shut, so they won’t know she’s English. Luckily when popping up for a breath, Jamie sees them as well and goes back under. Of course, the man in charge of the Dragoons is a God damn expert in water mills. He pushes on the wheel, trying to get it to move, and then decides he will need to go in for a closer look. Just as he starts removing his clothing, the wheel moves, Jamie’s shirt stuck to it as the apparent cause of the problem. The man is so confused as to why a perfectly good shirt would be thrown into the water, to which his soldier replies something along the lines of “Well, it is Scotland.” Apparently this is a sufficient answer and they ride off. Just in time too, as Jamie is not only out of breath, but is about to lose his penis and testicles to the cold. The omission of the red drawers allows the shirt to be used as the reason for the sticking, which then allows Jamie to turn his naked body in modesty from Jenny, which allows her first look at Jamie’s back. So much allowance. She runs off, stunned, horrified and filled with guilt.
Jamie’s nude body. Hell the fuck yes.
Claire and Ian have a late night meeting. It’s almost straight from the book. He tells her how they were married, he really had no choice. Jenny basically gave him a date, a kiss on the cheek, and that was it, all while he was out fixing a fence, clueless as to what was happening. Ian gives Claire some sage advice on how to deal with Fraser’s, “Kick them, and then kick them harder.” He cares deeply for everyone involved, and is wizened and well versed in the art of Fraser wrangling. They also discuss his leg, and Ian is keenly aware of Claire’s lack of shock over his condition. Claire returns to the laird’s bedchamber, and puts Ian’s advice to work. She pulls Jamie out of bed and onto the floor, tells him he had better straighten the fuck up and quit acting like a child, to stop trying to be someone he’s not, or he’s going to lose the family he still has. She married a sweet man, not a Lord.
Jamie finally makes it to the graveyard. He and Jenny have a wonderful exchange. Jenny delivers this fantastic line from the book, which really shows how different things were back then, as well as how fierce, and ahead of her time Jenny is, “And if your life is a suitable exchange for my honor, tell me why my honor is not a suitable exchange for your life. Or are ye tellin’ me I may not love you as much as ye love me? Because if ye are, Jamie Fraser, I’ll tell ye right now, it’s not true!” The siblings agree the only person responsible for their Father’s death is BJR.
Later that evening as Claire and Jamie prepare for bed, (which will mean boning), and Claire tells Jamie she is beginning to feel at home *foreshadowing*. He says that he always knew Claire belonged there, since the first time he met her…and he has a shortened version of this exchange with Claire as to when/where/why he married/fell in love with, her:
“Because I wanted you.” He turned from the window to face me. “More than I ever wanted anything in my life,” he added softly. I continued staring at him, dumbstruck. Whatever I had been expecting, it wasn’t this. Seeing my openmouthed expression, he continued lightly. “When I asked my da how ye knew which was the right woman, he told me when the time came, I’d have no doubt. And I didn’t. When I woke in the dark under that tree on the road to Leoch, with you sitting on my chest, cursing me for bleeding to death, I said to myself, ‘Jamie Fraser, for all ye canna see what she looks like, and for all she weighs as much as a good draft horse, this is the woman’”
I started toward him, and he backed away, talking rapidly. “I said to myself, ‘She’s mended ye twice in as many hours, me lad; life amongst the MacKenzies being what it is, it might be as well to wed a woman as can stanch a wound and set broken bones.’ And I said to myself, ‘Jamie, lad, if her touch feels so bonny on your collarbone, imagine what it might feel like lower down…’”
He dodged around a chair. “Of course, I thought it might ha’ just been the effects of spending four months in a monastery, without benefit of female companionship, but then that ride through the dark together”–he paused to sigh theatrically, neatly evading my grab at his sleeve–“with that lovely broad arse wedged between my thighs”–he ducked a blow aimed at his left ear and sidestepped, getting a low table between us–“and that rock-solid head thumping me in the chest”–a small metal ornament bounced off his own head and went clanging to the floor–“I said to myself…”
He was laughing so hard at this point that he had to gasp for breath between phrases. “Jamie…I said…for all she’s a Sassenach bitch…with a tongue like an adder’s …with a bum like that…what does it matter if she’s a f-face like a sh-sh-eep?”
I tripped him neatly and landed on his stomach with both knees as he hit the floor with a crash that shook the house.
“You mean to tell me that you married me out of love?” I demanded. He raised his eyebrows, struggling to draw in breath.
“Have I not…just been…saying so?”
Claire then tells Jamie she loves him, and this is he first time they have both admitted (though both knew), that they are in love with each other in a very “can’t go on without you” way. The boning festivities begin, sadly off camera. Claire wakes the next morning like “Fuck yeah, bitches! Let’s go again!” But notices Jamie is gone and finds him *whoops* being held at gunpoint. Remember when Jenny said no one would turn in Jamie? Then remember not long after Jamie beats the shit out of MacNab. Yup. Foreshadowing.