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Outlander - First Wife - Review: "A Very Chilly Homecoming"

10 Nov 2017

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In my family, it’s acknowledged that if we are being polite to you, we do not like you. If we’re picking on you...then you’re in. Jenny made us look like amateurs. That greeting. Chilly Poor Claire.

“And how are the children?”

Jenny knew that, no matter what Jamie and Claire told her, Claire was either lying or leaving something important out of the explanation of where she’s been for 20 years. Claire finally returns to the home of her heart only to find the gates locked.

Jenny decided to force the matter. She sent for the mysterious wife everyone has asked him about since they realized Claire had returned. Honestly, I couldn’t quite figure out if Jenny was testing Claire, or simply trying to get rid of her. Just to make everything worse, Jamie married Laoghaire. Neither woman took the news well.

The fight sequence, after Laogharie leaves, was intense. It was better than the version in my mind’s eye as I read the book. There were a few occasions in the episode where they had to walk a fine line between 21st century sensibilities and iconic moments book fans would be looking for. The fight between Claire and Jamie was one of the scenes I thought was handled well.

The other 21st century nod was Young Ian and his thrashing after running away. I missed Jamie handing Young Ian the belt so he could spank his uncle, but, given that I have a cousin who, by the time he was 8, figured out that the pain of a spanking was over pretty quickly; whatever shenanigans he wanted to get up to were worth the minor (in his mind) punishment. On the other hand, making my cousin sit still for a half hour was torture. So, the alternative punishment for Young Ian worked for me.

Speaking of Young Ian, these writers know teenaged boys. He just couldn’t take his father’s advice and stop talking. Every word he said just dug the hole he was in deeper. What reaction could he possibly have envisioned when he gleefully (and proudly) announced that his Auntie Claire had killed a man? Like most teens, he seems absolutely clueless about his parents' reaction to this news until he’s sent out of the room. It was hysterical.

I wonder how many people were accidentally shot in the 18th century? That pistol went off pretty easily. I adored seeing Claire body check Laoghaire after she shot Jamie. The show tried to redeem (soften?) Laoghaire during season two.

Given that Jamie was aware that Laoghaire tried to kill Claire, they had to make us believe he would marry her, no matter how much time has passed. By having Jamie meet, and be charmed by, Marsali and Joanie first it made it more clear the benefits Jamie saw in the marriage. After losing the opportunity to raise three children, it made sense that he would accept almost any woman as part of the deal even Laoghaire.

But even with all the strum und drang, the major thing this episode needed to do was mend the fence between Claire and Jenny. Jenny does seem to finally accept the fact that there is a part of Claire’s story she will never know. And judging by the fact that Claire finally changes out of her traveling clothes, Claire got the second chance she wanted.

But Laoghaire’s shadow still looms over them. She wants alimony. On the one hand, Jamie knows where there’s a box of jewels. On the other…so does someone else. Just as Young Ian retrieves the box, a ship comes into view, and Ian is grabbed.

This is the turning point into the sea faring part of the story. I’m really looking forward to it.

This episode was filled with moments I’ve been waiting for. As usual, I loved the way in which the adaptation was handled. What did you think of the episode?