No One Dies!
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
This is certainly the influence of Game of Thrones on the television landscape that as soon as the word “wedding” is announced I expect “The Rains of Castamere” to start playing and someone to die. Thankfully no one died on this week’s steamy excursion of Outlander, although by simple laws of storytelling (and having read the book) the happiness isn’t going to last. Heck, it doesn’t even last till the final frame of the hour. The episode itself, while continuing the slight annoyance of on-the-nose episode titles, is less concerned with the wedding ceremony itself and more on the emotional ramifications and the sex scenes. Yes, scenes, three of them in fact and all between the same two people. I don’t throw this phrase around often for the sake of propriety, but this episode was hot. There is an intense chemistry between Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan and their lovemaking was so passionate, I felt as if I was intruding on the wedding night of an actual couple. The camera spins in a voyeuristic fashion and yes, despite my feelings of intrusion, I couldn’t look away for even a single second. The Wedding is by far the sexiest episode of television I’ve seen all year and I avidly watch Masters of Sex on Showtime. Only one more week until the mid-season finale (that flew by fast, am I right?) and we’ll return to the world of 1743 Scotland next year.
The episode’s weak point is the structure of events, with the cuts back and forth by use of flashback creating a jittery juxtaposition. Covering the events a bit more cohesively in terms of time would have been helpful certainly. Nevertheless, the character moments throughout the hour were so strong I can hardly take the structure and make a large amount of gripe about it. In more disturbing fashion, Dougal came onto Claire with the creepily uttered line “You’re a singular woman, Claire.” Graham McTavish continues to be great at the role, but I’m not sure if I like the structure of Dougal being the hero one week and sleaze ball the next. Some consistency there would be nice.
The opening with Frank suddenly proposing to Claire on the spot is incredibly sweet, cruelly juxtaposed with Jamie and Claire kissing at the wedding ceremony. The relationship between Claire and Frank is portrayed with an authentic sense of sweetness and I applaud the series for not going down the dramatic cliché of Frank being an ass. It makes Claire’s journey and her struggle all the more emotionally drawing. To make a note about the sequences that take place in the twentieth century, the art direction is superb and I love the grayish hues that are utilized. Quite suited to that era. Another neat note in that little bit: the number 45 on the building where Claire and Frank have their nuptials, pointing to the year they get separated at Craigh na Dun.
The wedding ceremony between Jamie and Claire was endearingly sweet. Claire emerges out of golden sunlight in an incredibly cheesy moment, but heavens if she doesn’t look like the most beautiful woman in a Scottish corset. Jamie emerges from the other side in a Fraser kilt, his hair slicked back and his body wracked with nervousness. “Your servant, madam,” Jamie quips with the cutest of handshakes with Claire. The couple has a lovely conversation and even though we didn’t get to hear much of Jamie’s family history (a sad miss I hope we revisit later), the slow reveal of how Jamie had arranged for the wedding from his side was done quite well. He had wanted the wedding to be held properly in a church, but that would have hit a little snag considering the proper traditions would take approximately three weeks to be completed properly. There’s a great Bible back and forth between the priest and Dougal’s man that ends with Dougal losing his patience instead and bribing the priest. Jamie wanted a key melted down into a ring, something Angus and Rupert took care of (these two need their own spin-off stat). And Ned garnering that beautiful dress from a whorehouse was just… let’s just say I couldn’t stop laughing for a single minute. He was like a young man right before he loses his virginity.
Speaking of which, the sex scenes throughout the episode were incredible and something that would never be allowed on network television.The Wedding was an episode written and directed by women and it is no mistake that the female gaze is given such strength here. Far too often there’s a sexual discrepancy between men and women in storytelling even though men and women are both sexual beings. As Claire surveys Jamie and vice versa, there’s an equality between the two that is rarely seen even in this day and age. The first of the three scenes was so obviously Jamie’s first time you just basically wanted to pat the guy on the back and hand him a glass of whiskey (Claire took care of that latter part). The second time around Claire guided him through the process, beginning with Claire’s “Take off your shirt”, it got volcanic hot. If there isn’t already a meme of Jamie’s blow job face, the Internet has failed me. The final time was so beyond romantic it even made someone like me who doesn’t do romance just melt. Jamie giving Claire his mother’s pearls was a beautiful scene, reminding me of Troy in all the good ways. The scenes of the night were basically soft core porn (not that I’m complaining). But what was truly endearing was the amount of trust and love these two characters have established despite the turbulences in their own lives. As Claire shakes off her gown post-coitus, Frank’s ring that she had hid before the ceremony with Jamie falls out, rolling across the floor and becoming embedded in a floor crevice in LOTR-fashion. She slides Frank’s ring onto her other hand, her broken expression speaking more volumes than any dialogue could express.
Great Moments Not Covered Above:
+Claire’s Bob Hope reference
+The production values and Bear McCreary’s music continue to delight
+Claire: “Church and money, some things don’t change”
+Claire getting drunk before her wedding
Post. Script. No Geillis or Mrs. Fitzgibbons dialogue. Boo.
Episode Title: The Wedding
Writer: Anne Kenney
Director: Anna Foerster
Image Courtesy: IB Times