Outlander Episode 202, “Not in Scotland Anymore”

A conversation among friends, henceforth known as Whisky, Rhenish & Tea

HOPE: Thanks for the warm reception on Medium, everyone. The comments that came from various places online were kind — light yet complex, just like we like our wine (raises her glass) or, you know, anything else we might be drinking.

JOANIE: I think we should call ourselves Whisky, Rhenish & Tea. And I think we all know exactly who’s who! (points to each of us in turn.)

MARY: Yes, that is perfect. Sums us up pretty well, I’d say! So, let’s talk about this week’s show. I’ve had Versailles on the mind ever since Saturday. I have so many thoughts about this episode. When it started, my first thought was, “Joanie is going to be happy that they started with sex right out of the gate!” But as we all know, Jamie’s nightmare ended up in a horrible, bloody mess. #TheBadRedSymbol

JOANIE: I was ecstatic with the start of 202 — and it appeared that Jamie was ecstatic, as well… for the first 15 seconds. Then, BOOM… gotcha! I get it, Jamie isn’t emotionally healed yet, and we need to see the nightmares that will continue to plague him. But why, oh, why did they have to make this particular nightmare so darn bloody!

HOPE: Right? Not only did the scene bug me, but it’s like — I know this isn’t the book. It’s an omniscient point of view by the nature of the medium. When you read, we’re only told about Jamie waking up sweaty, chilled, clawing, and screaming… now and for the rest of his life. I’ll give them this one time to show us the nightmare, but I think it’s the wrong choice to convey the gravity of the situation this way anymore. What would be equally terrifying to me is being in Claire’s position, trying everything she can think of to help him heal and failing.

MARY: And to repair their relationship, I think. So far, this season feels off. The basis, the foundation of the reason I love Outlander is that it’s a love story. And when that’s off…

JOANIE: They need to spend more time on Claire and Jaime, whether they’re talking, having sex, not having sex… they could have cut a good ten seconds of bloody Jamie face out and given us that.

MARY: Or the brothel. Cut a couple of minutes out of that, even.

JOANIE: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we aren’t in Kansas anymore!” Even the episode title, “Not in Scotland Anymore,” is a clever nod to that line from The Wizard of Oz. Color, color everywhere. Did you catch the lime green and burgundy livery early in the show? It’s not always colors that pair well. This episode does an awesome job pitching us right into the colorful, eccentric, and even vulgar world of Paris.

HOPE: I totally agree. Everything about where they are and what they’re doing is diametrically opposed to what they’re used to and what they value. Maybe I’m still feeling the sting of last season, losing the better part of “The Search” to Claire and Murtagh’s traveling road show instead of saving that time for Jamie’s convalescence at the abbey. It’s like, “I get it. France is superficial and vulgar.”

MARY: Going out into Paris and searching for a cure for Jamie’s nightmares was what sent Claire on the path to meeting Master Raymond — who was absolutely wonderful!

HOPE: (incoherent squeals of delight) I didn’t think I could adore him more than I did in the book, but it’s happened.

MARY: But did anyone feel like we were at the Rainforest Café when Claire first entered the shop?

HOPE: Maybe a little, but I was too wrapped up in their conversation to notice much. I pictured the shop as being far more crowded, like Ollivanders Wand Shop only less dusty. I just hope we get that lovely exchange from the book, “I’ve kissed many women but it didn’t work — I’m still a frog.”

JOANIE: How about another one of Claire’s new friends, Louise? I think she is going to be a lot of fun this season! Who wouldn’t want to party with Louise at Versailles?! The waxing scene was a hoot.

MARY: I love Louise! The scene in her chambers with the waxing and shy Mary Hawkins was funny — especially the ending where both Claire and Mary were angling their heads to get a better view.

HOPE: It is hilarious, which we need after a lot of seriousness and sadness, and it’s so well-acted. The actress playing Louise (Claire Sermonne) takes lines and a situation that could come off as vapid, and instead demonstrates why Claire would choose her as a friend. Louise isn’t just some flake that Claire’s working for an entrée to court. Claire sees that Louise is a woman like herself — bright, strategic, and confined by patriarchy, yet working the system to the greatest benefit. “A hairless mound is de rigueur,” not just a kicky trend in the 21st century.

JOANIE: Again, another indication that we are “Not in Scotland Anymore.” And poor Claire! All that pain and trouble of waxing for naught! Her lady balls are turning blue!

HOPE: Hers aren’t the only ones (cough, cough)… So this gets to my issue with this aspect of the adaptation. I had such high hopes for this scene. The way he reacts is internally consistent with the state of show-Jamie’s psyche, and I respect the time they’re investing in allowing him to recover. But we’re watching a show about time travel... can’t they can’t write a powerfully narrated time-passing montage or two that makes up for the truncated abbey passage and accelerate his progress somewhat? Not having Jamie healed makes some of the interactions at court feel really out of sync. I don’t think he’d be so at ease with accepting Joseph Duvernay’s apology after catching him accosting Claire in the alcove (although the cool, cavalier way Jamie shoved him in the water was pretty awesome), and I don’t think he’d be as warm about embracing his former flame, Annalise de Marillac, either.

MARY: Maybe seeing Annalise took him back to a time when France was a pleasant place for him, and long before Randall’s multiple tortures changed his life completely.

HOPE: You’re absolutely right. That makes a lot of sense.

MARY: Claire’s facial expressions during that exchange were perfect. Her eyebrows could have been their own character.

HOPE: And seeing Jamie control himself and the situation with the Minister of Finance, turning it to his benefit, reminded me of how clever and strategic Jamie is. Good thing, too, because broken-TV-Jamie has been deferring to Claire’s puppet-mastering for the most part. Hearing Claire tell Jamie that she was proud of how he handled Prince Charles at the brothel made me cringe a bit. Too maternal and deprecating.

MARY: I know this is shallow, but his nickname is Bonnie Prince Charlie, right? Simpering and full of himself, yes indeed. But not verra bonnie.

JOANIE: I totally agree! I expected a younger, prettier, more naïve Bonnie Prince Charlie. It will be interesting to see if TV Prince Charlie is as easy to manipulate and prone to obsessive infatuation as Book Prince Charlie. I have a feeling TV Prince Charlie will show a bit more back bone and determination.

MARY: How about the way Murtagh talked to Charlie, or to Jamie for that matter? When he and Jamie were practicing swordsmanship in the park and ended the session with a heart to heart about how much grumpy Murtagh misses Scotland, I absolutely loved seeing their close relationship. Later, in the brothel, when Prince Charles questioned the Scottish people’s readiness for battle, Murtagh’s reply was so sincere and moving; I fell in love with him even more. Jamie also spoke eloquently and from the heart, but we are used to that. From the more quiet Murtagh, though? (sighs)

JOANIE: Let’s talk about Versailles. It was almost like a red carpet parade of dresses. I think we can all agree that we loved the red dress and that Claire rocked the look!

HOPE: Gorgeous, and Jamie’s reaction to it, again, was funny, but it wasn’t quite right because of what I’ve said. Wasn’t it he who told her to wear something “distracting” to court? Sure, he wasna pleased by just how distracting it turned out to be — the whole third-rib/navel/bigger fan exchange was spot-on — but did he deride her in the book like that after Duvernay’s advances? It might just be me, but I think neither book nor TV Jamie is a victim-shamer. I know I need to get over it, but I still feel like Marty McFly in the altered 1985. I need to go back to episode 114 and fix the time continuum. I need to let it go. Bear with me.

MARY: So, so much to say about the outing to Versailles! The colors, the costumes, and the setting were all fabulous. Claire appearing a good foot or more taller than all the other women was a bit disconcerting. She did look luminous in that dress, though. #TheGoodRedSymbol

JOANIE: Mary, remember that with the benefit of 20th century nutrition, Claire was taller than the other women. And how about the King’s mistress, Madame Nesle de la Tourelle, and her nipple-baring dress? That got my king-of-the-remote husband hitting *pause* for more than a few seconds!

HOPE: (almost does a spit take.)

MARY: The showstopper for me was how very creepily evil The Duke of Sandringham was. From offering a (non)apology to Jamie, to taking pleasure in introducing Claire to Alexander Randall, and in her discomfort upon finding out BJR is still alive. Those events were upsetting enough on their own, but the look on the Duke’s face as he was leaving? I really, really don’t like the man.

HOPE: This was an episode where the minor characters really shined. It feels wrong to call them minor characters, really. Season one had an amazing cast, and it just keeps getting better. Even so, this is not usually an ensemble show. This episode was, though.

MARY: I am so looking forward to Jamie’s continued emotional healing so that he and Claire and get back to their loving relationship that is, for me, the cornerstone of this story. Also, I seriously can’t wait to meet Fergus, Mother Hildegard and Bouton!

All images courtesy of Starz, via Outlander-Online