Sassenach, Episode One. Outlander Watch Along

ols1_putakiltonit_fb_coverphoto_download_851x315_v2Astrid’s Blog

Bridget’s blog

The rules:

  • Be nice! This is meant to be fun. Rude or mean comments will not get approved so do not waste your time.
  • No spoilers beyond the episode currently being discussed. If we are watching episode four but you are commenting on episode one, please do not spoil for anyone trying to catch up.

The Prizes:

  • Third Prize – Book Lover’s Soy Wax Tarts in Sassenach by Frostbeard Studio
  • Second Prize – Sassenach t-shirt in your choice of Unisex (black, grey, maroon, green, or blue) or Women’s fit (blue, green, grey, pink, or pistachio) by Socialpop Tees
  • First Prize – Hand Stamped “Sassenach” Stainless Steel Dragonfly Necklace with Amber Bead by TaggYourIt

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The Virgin View by Bridget Blackwood

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First episode of Outlander and I’m hooked on the series. I was really ready to meet Jamie but I wasn’t expecting to like Frank so much. I have no doubt that Frank and Claire love each other. They had a quiet kind of love that grows from friendship and a deep respect for one another. If Claire had not gone missing, I think they would have had a nice and peaceful marriage. The strain of five years apart was evident, as was Frank’s struggle to put the guilt of sending men to their death behind him. I found it interesting that Claire was the one to sleep in tents and cots in the mud while Frank probably had much nicer digs working with British intelligence. It was heartbreaking to see them kind of drifting while looking for a way to reconnect. As a former military wife I have a small idea of how frustrating it is when your spouse comes back from deployment and you have to figure out how to be an “us” again.

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Nice use of foreshadowing with Frank pointing out the vantage point used by the British to ambush the Scots. We got a brief bit of history on Franks ancestor “Black Jack” Randall. Frank called the nickname dashing. My thought was that no one is called “Black” whatever as a compliment back then. The tea leaves/palm reading pretty much outlined everything that was going to go down. I do like a good foreshadow.

The scene on Samhain with the druids and the standing stones was beautiful. The swells of the music, the lanterns, and the dresses were gorgeous. Something about the girl who came back was so sad. I wonder what she is about. Seems too important to be nothing. One of the things I am loving about this series is how easily they can make tiny imagery have a massive impact, like the last kiss between Frank and Claire before she went through the standing stones. I got a little misty eyed knowing the importance of the kiss and feeling like it was an ending.

Poor Claire. Shot at, almost raped by her husband’s doppelgänger, manhandled and treated like a second class citizen because of her gender. She’s having a crappy day in her first few hours in the past. Black Jack lives up to his moniker. How awful for Claire to endure such awful treatment at the hands of a man who looks exactly like her husband.

The looks on the Scots faces every time Claire curses at them had me laughing. Jamie definitely has a magnetism. I see the appeal. I can only guess at the moment but Jamie and Claire have a connection i think it going to really sizzle. They have the potential for the kind of romantic passion many of us, well, read romance for. What did you think of Sassenach? Were you entertained? What did you like? What would you have changed?

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The Professional Fangirl by Astrid V. Tallaksen

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First of all, let me just say: I LOVE bossy, cheeky Jamie.

Moving on.

The episode starts with a voiceover about disappearances and their typical ability to be solved. This is straight from the first page of the book, nearly verbatim. Quite a lot of the voiceover narrative is directly from the book. And while I thought it a bit strange to have so much narration, it’s almost inevitable considering that the whole story takes place from Claire’s perspective.

We move on to Claire looking at a vase in a shop window in Inverness, Scotland. In the narration she talks about never having owned a vase, or lived in a place long enough to need such a thing, how she moved around with her Uncle Lamb. We have a flashback of her time with her Uncle as a child, which we don’t get in the books, but I rather like the little glimpses we get of her past. Returning to the vase, she leaves it behind in the show, whereas in the book she buys the vase (and two others with it). In fact, in the book, Frank says he’s glad she won’t be pressing flowers in his books anymore. While in the show she essentially says it was her idea to take up botany, it was Frank’s in the book. These are such minor departures though, I didn’t even really think about them until I referred back to the book to see what might have been added or left out.

Much of the dialogue in the show is straight from the source material, which is thrilling as I continually go “Oh! I remember them saying that!” It’s a good sign that Ron Moore, the creator of the show, intends to stick as closely as he can to the source material.

One thing Gabaldon never really delved into in the book was what Frank had done while in MI6, and therefore never explored how the war had affected him. I really like the silent trauma you can see in Tobias Menzies’ (who plays Frank) eyes. In a lot of ways it lengthens the distance between Claire and her husband, although you can still see they love each other and struggle to figure out how to find their way back to each other once more. Claire had her own traumas in the war, but which is harder? To experience the brutality and death, or to know you caused some of it?

While I loved the exploration of Castle Leoch, and the intimate (and HOT) scene there with Claire and Frank, they didn’t visit Leoch in the book (it was Castle Urquhart via a trip on Loch Ness). What I think the point is, though, is to almost foreshadow that she’ll be there. I can pretty much guess the room they discovered (and had their hot little tryst in), and I’ll keep it a secret for now as to what it will turn out to be.

The scene at Craigh na Dun with the druids is so beautiful! I was so looking forward to it, and I really loved the way it was shot. It lent the mystical air that was needed. I don’t know what I expected it to look like, but whatever it might have been, this was perfect. When Claire returned the next day I was wiggling at the edge of my seat because I KNEW what was about to happen. The sound that the stones made was great, although in the book she describes it as “a deep humming noise” and says she thought it was a beehive. Then the stones scream, followed by the other stones shouting and the noise of battle, the cries of dying men and shattered horses. Again, the voiceover describing the sensation of falling through the stones is straight from the books. And here, as she falls through the stones, is where the story REALLY begins.

One critic complained about Tobias Menzies being cast both in the role of Frank as well as Frank’s ancestor, the infamous “Black Jack” Randall. I believe the word the critic used was “jarring”. But that’s exactly what it should be. Claire genuinely thought the man was her husband. You wouldn’t think someone who sort of looked like your husband was him, and as jarring as it was for us to see the same person playing both roles, can you imagine how jarring it had to be for Claire? I loved how very differently the actor portrayed both characters. Claire’s nearly immediate realization that this man was definitely NOT her husband tells us just how much she knows and loves Frank.

So onward we go, to our first meeting of Jamie Fraser. He’s got a dislocated shoulder and the other Scots are trying to fix it, so Claire has to stop them. (Although, Dougal looks nothing like he’s described in the books, he ACTS the way he’s described, and while that may not be good enough for some, it works fine for me.) The vulnerability on his face really shone, and I loved it. The best part was the unspoken trust immediately established between him and Claire, which in a place where nobody she’s met has trusted her or been shown to be trustworthy themselves, is really important. This trust continues with her warning about the British ambush. He believes her without question when she mentions it. Granted, in the books we don’t have Dougal questioning her outright about how she knows, but I don’t have a problem with him doing so in the show, as it really underscores the difference in how Jamie sees her as opposed to everyone else she’s met so far.

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There’s a bit of interaction at the end of the chapter before they get to Leoch that was left out, ending with Dougal asking Jamie if he can ride and Jamie says “Aye, if ye’ll take the lassie off my chest.” I wish that had been left in, just because it was hilarious. But I can live without it if I must, although I think it’s just one more example of Jamie’s sense of humor.

Almost all the rest of the interactions in the episode are right in line with the book. The glint of humor in Jamie’s eye juxtaposed with his strength and steadfastness in whatever he’s set his mind to is perfectly portrayed (and Sam Heughan IS Jamie Fraser!!!). And Claire is very apparently a smart, stubborn, self-possessed woman who won’t take shit from anyone, even brutish Scotsman. In a world where women are second class citizens, she refuses to let them treat her as one anytime it’s within her power. And as stubborn as Scots are, they give her a wide berth when it comes down to it.

It’s as if the characters all stepped straight out of the books onto the screen.

I’m absolutely thrilled with what I’ve seen so far. I don’t know how I’m going to make it to the next week.

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Posted on August 10, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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