First of all let me say that this was delicately and honestly brought to life by all involved and it was a highlight as a fan of a beloved book series to see this produced so superlatively. That said, I was sitting on my couch waiting for this to start and all I could think was:
And what glorious nudity it was. On to the recap.
The episode starts near the end, chronologically speaking, with a Frankback of her memories as Claire remembers her first wedding, and periodically jumping back to the events that lead to this moment, so if I seem to jump around it’s because yes, I’m jumping around.
Pre-War Frank and Claire are on their way to meet his parents at a restaurant when Frank, inspired by a couple getting married in a civil service at the registrar’s stops Claire in the street. Although Claire points out that his parents have never even met her, Frank says they never have to meet Claire Beauchamp, because he will introduce them to Mrs. Frank Randall. My mom would have smacked me, but whatevs. He proposes, Claire says “of course” and they kiss…
…which brings us to Claire and Jamie at the end of the ceremony, and the declaration of “man and wife”.
Jamie is obviously humming with HELL YES, the attendants are in full tumblr fandom mode, and Claire has an expression that we will see repeated a whole hell of a lot this episode:
Forward to the room at the inn, where Claire is seated at the vanity in her undergarments, musing on how memories are like a strand of pearls that can break and be lost forever, or maybe you try to lose them but can’t? I’m a bit confused by it but the gist is she is trying not to remember Frank during this her waaaay waaay better wedding night OR she is missing her pearls.
I understand in her mind she’s a bigamist and conflicted but thankfully the show moves on and Jamie comes into the room, adorably apprehensive when he sees her dejectedly sitting and not making eye contact, just how every groom imagines his bride will receive him.
Claire breaks the silence by asking if the wedding party is still going on downstairs and if they will go to bed any time soon, to which Jamie replies that yes it is, and no they won’t leave until they “have made things official”.
Claire snaps that it’s a wonder they didn’t want to watch, and Jamie says only Rupert and Angus. When she looks up, shocked, he says it was a joke and she says he’s no Bob Hope. Jamie asks if he was a funny man, and Claire smiles, saying she always thought so. More awkward silence, until Claire proposes, “perhaps a drink?”
Jamie adorably toasts his bride in a speech he makes up on the spot and during which he is visibly nervous and Claire is terribly embarrassed. IT IS THE GODDAMN CUTEST THING EVER SINCE CATS HAD KITTENS. Text of toast: “To a lady of grace…um…a woman of strength…and a bride of astonishing beauty. My wife…Claire Fraser.” He enunciates those last two words with an intense look that pants-meltingly awesome, and Claire reacts with silent panic.
They drink, and Claire reaches back to refill both their glasses. As she downs her second glass in one pull, and goes back for thirdsies, Jamie’s brow knits and he realizes she may be panicking.
He gently tells her that she doesn’t need to be afraid of him, because he is not the kind of man to force himself on her. She smiles nervously and says she never thought he would. Then, as you do when you have a hot piece of ginger man ready to come at ya, you tell him you have questions and want to talk.
Jamie agrees and asks her what she wants to know. Claire says she will just come out with it, and the obvious question is why did Jamie marry her? This leads to a flashback of the moment when Jamie was told of Dougal’s plan.
Dougal and Ned are explaining to Jamie and Murtagh that they are setting out in “a boat made of paper”, and that they must follow the letter of the law to make sure Claire is safe from Randall. Ned tells them that the la specifies not only that the marriage be consummated immediately, but that witnesses must be present “in the building, if not in the room itself.”
Jamie asks if Claire is aware of this, and Dougal says that she has no say in the matter. Jamie makes subtle eye contact with Murtagh, who quietly says that he thought Dougal didn’t hold with rape. Dougal replies that it isn’t rape, but persuasion (ugh). he crosses over to Jamie and says that Claire is a “smart lass” who will see the need for it in the end, but that Claire and Jamie could secretly agree to say the marriage was consummated when it wasn’t. He then says he can think of worse things than…. well, I’ll let the picture do the talking:
That’s right. He describes having sex with the woman he is giving in marriage to his nephew, in case there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that he a) wants to bang her b) wants Jamie to know that he wants to bang her. Wedding party foul, Dougal, and Jamie’s not having it. He roars “Enough!” and stalks out of the barn, fuming that if Claire does become his wife, he’ll thank Dougal to “stop talkin’ and thinkin’ of her as some common whuuurre”. Dougal, realizing he may have approached this the wrong way, catches him to apologize.
Haha, no. Did I say ‘apologize’? I meant “berate”. He tells Jamie that there is no “if” about it. Claire took several hits from Randall and kept silent (which is “a fair sight more than [Dougal] expects of any ordinary” woman”), but Jamie knows Randall and what can be expected from him if he delivers her back to him as promised. It is here that we see that Dougal is genuinely concerned for Claire’s safety, even if he is a total sh*t about it. and that the thought of Randall putting hands on her finally prompts Jamie to make his decision.
Back to their room at the inn where Clare asks if he married her to keep her safe. Jamie says a gruff “Aye, that’s the gist of it” and their expressions here are the sweetest. Jamie is revealing how much he cares, and Claire is noticeably struck by it.
It also leads to one of the more beautiful monologues between these two to date. Jamie earnestly tells Claire “Now you have my name, my clan, my family, and if necessary, the protection of my body as well.” Claire finally realizes the caliber man she is getting.
That’s right, a speech so heartfelt and bosom-heavingly awesome that the only way to repay it is immediately put out. Claire puts her glass down with an audible clink, Jamie accepts with an audible gulp, and it seems this show is about to get on the road.
Claire does what any experienced woman should do with a skittish man-child she’s about to induct into the ways of love and holds his hand to reassure him that it’s okay.
Claire thinks this is as good a time as ever to use the age-old Scottish trick of getting a Scots to speak of his family to buy time and delay the inevitable a bit longer. Jamie proves once again he has both intuition and a fine sense of the ridiculous when he asks her how many generations back she would like to go. She smiles and says his parents is far enough. Ah Jamie. It’s adorable because you’re a hot virgin and Claire is actually nervous about banging you instead of the other way around.
In a voiceover, Claire mentions that they spoke for the next several hours of each others’ families and how they were raised, generally getting to know each other as new spouses. Jamie, she says, was charming, a born storyteller like most Scots, and after some time and some drinks she started to feel not only relaxed but to enjoy herself and they seem perfectly in sync, laughing and content…
…So you know something had to happen, and those two somethings are drunk, hairy, full of innuendo and will walk into a married couple’s bedroom without knocking.
Jamie is visibly annoyed and Claire hurries to try to cover herself (because she is in her underthings, even if she looks fully dressed). It turns out that they are interrupting on a mission from Dougal, who wants to know if the deed’s been done because he wants to tweet it.
When Angus points out that they can’t have because they “still have their clothes on”, Rupert says you can still do it with your clothes on, to which Angus, outraged retorts “No on yer wedding day!” This is enough for Jamie, who pushes them out the door and shuts it in Angus’s face when he expresses a desire for a peek at Claire’s um, rack.
And as angry as he seems, the moment the door is shut, both he and Claire start to laugh. Claire asks if he is related to them and Jamie says only Rupert, who is a distant cousin. Awkward silence as they once again remember their pending matter.
Claire takes the leap, telling Jamie that it is late and they should get to bed. His clarification of this statement is ENDEARING AS F&^%$.
Once he is sure things are going to happen, he nonchalantly says that whichever way things go, Claire is not likely to sleep in her corset, so he will help her with that. It warms my heart that he has thought about his “move” and that this is it. Practical AND provocative? Gold star, sir.
She stands so that he can help peel her layers off like a sexy banana, and he gets the same expression I would if I had to figure out what to untie first.
And just because I’m curious, let’s see how many layers he has to peel off before we can get to the good stuff.
Poor Jamie. It’s taking a while. Claire even laughs at his exasperated expression.
But once her corset is off and she is in her shift, the tone changes.
Jamie leans down to kiss her once more, but Claire delays him again by saying it is now her turn, and she reaches for his belt. Let’s compare, shall we?
And that’s as far as we’ll get because that is all it takes for Jamie to lose his cool and basically kiss her face off. It’s damn sexy.
When they break apart, Claire asks him where he learned to kiss “like that”. Jamie says he’s a virgin, not a monk…
…and if he needs guidance, he’ll ask. With that he does what we have all been waiting for since Sam Heughan was cast.
Round 1 is ON.
As the books say, what Jamie lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm, and before Claire knows it, he is done and she is left hanging. There is a brief moment of awkward silence where he suspects he may not have done things quite as he should before he smiles like any proud owner of a sexual organ does when he or she discovers they can make it go boom, and Claire asks him if it was like he thought it would be.He starts to tell her something but repents, saying that she will laugh at him. Claire sincerely promises not to and then does when he confesses he thought they would do it back to front like the horses.
As they laugh together, Jamie picks that moment to ask Claire if “she liked it”. Claire tactfully lowers her eyes and says nothing, but message received. Poor Jamie.
He says that Murtagh was right about that, then and Claire questions him. He says that Murtagh told him that women “generally do not care for it”, which was an opinion then echoed by Rupert and (omg) NED. That’s quite the brain trust. Apparently he heard a lot of advice on the subject the night before. He sits up at the edge of the bed looking dejected and it breaks my black heart. I can’t stand it, and neither can Claire.
She tells him in a very quiet voice. “I DID like it, Jamie,” and in a voiceover, states that this is her problem: not only is she a bigamist and an adultress, but she’d enjoyed it. Suddenly the guilt and the hopeful look on her new husband’s face is too much and she excuses herself to get something to eat.
Jamie tries to stop her, but too late.
She comes out to realize that the entire wedding party is still downstairs and as such has heard everything, not to mention she and Jamie are standing on the balcony in their shift and shirttails, respectively. They tease Jamie about his night and he takes it in good humor, but his playful expression changes when he looks at his wife.
He tells them off and then asks Claire to go back into the room, since they won’t be at peace until they have “had their fun”.
Jamie goes downstairs to get their food, and Claire shuts herself in their room.
And that’s it for Part 1. Hard to be snarky because I am a romantic at heart, but 80 caps for 20 minutes? I am EXHAUSTED. This show.
I am EXHAUSTED. This show.