but amazing brilliant piece of television

Clara Oswald: The Woman Who Deserved Better

How I wish this episode had aired before Moffat Appreciation Day, but let’s just call it a late contribution, shall we?

I want to start this off with saying that in my opinion, the writing, directing and acting of this episode was brilliant. Frankly, it would be a crime not to praise Sarah Dollard, who did wonderfully, especially considering it was her first time writing for the show.

It was an amazing piece of television and a perfect example of why Doctor Who is still on air with over fifty years on its back.

Now, I have seen some criticism of Clara’s death revolving around how “she deserved a better ending” or simply “deserved more” as a character.

And that is the point: I agree.

Clara Oswald deserved better. A life with a miraculously resurrected Danny Pink. The life she told the Doctor about in Last Christmas. A long, fulfilling life she will never get to live.

Face The Raven gave us something I have long wished for: An ordinary adventure with a tragic, avoidable ending. Because in many ways, it was an ordinary (albeit great) episode. There was a mystery. There was an old friend of the Doctor about to die who expected him to save him. There was a countdown.

But this time they didn’t make it. The Doctor’s companion died because of a risk she took.

This was not because of hubris. No, she took the chronolock because she, like the audience, had implicit trust in the Doctor. The man of miracles.  The man who we’ve seen doing the impossible many, many times. The man who would have taken the chronolock himself,

And if he had, the Doctor would have made it. Why? Because he always does. The Doctor is a character who will never die.

And, therefore, at worst, he would have regenerated. Clara took the chronolock because it was a good plan, because she stood under the protection of the mayor, because she knew it would save Rigsy. Because it was something the Doctor would have done.

But the Doctor didn’t do it; Clara did. And because she is human, and the Doctor, for all his human traits, emotions, stories, is not and never will be, it had the most tragic of all consequences.

And so Clara died because of her own choices. Aware of the fact. Brave.

And that is another thing - her last words.

Let me be brave.

Clara has always shown her fear, and she knew that if she did now, the Doctor would be furious and no words of her would keep him from taking revenge. So she wished for one thing. To be brave.

And she was. To the end.

Face The Raven deserves its place in Doctor Who and television history. Face The Raven showed the other side of the medallion when it comes to travelling with the Doctor. With every other exit in the show, there was closure. There was hope. There was the knowledge that still, the character got some sort of happy ending.

This is what is missing here. This is what makes it brilliant. This is what makes this a poignant, unforgettable episode.

Goodbye, Clara Oswald. And thank you for all you have given us.

Outlander Review: Wentworth Prison, Episode 1x15

Please note, this review and recap is majorly spoilery and long, that’s how I roll. Please also note that this review contains details that may trigger victims of sexual assault and abuse. Please do not read if this applies to you.

Well that was an incredibly tense hour of TV. In a good way, even though I find it incredibly hard to watch characters that I love being tortured on TV.

The performances tonight were all amazing. Both Cait and Sam broke my heart into tiny pieces. They deserve all the awards.

I’m literally crying as I’m writing this just thinking about what I’ve just watched. Tobias Menzies was brilliant as Black Jack Randall, and I haven’t hated a character as much as I do him since Joffrey and Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones.

Watching last night’s episode reminded me of something that happens in Dragonfly In Amber that to this day still irks the fuck out of me. Book readers might guess at what that was. If not, inbox me and I’ll share.

Anyway, as I was saying, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe were flawless last night, and if they don’t at least pick up some notable noms during award season, I shall be mad as hell. Especially if Julianna Margulies and her entitled ass (I can’t get past the fact that she wouldn’t even film with Archie Panjabi on her last day) are there after what was a generally poor season of The Good Wife.

I’m way too distressed to post as many GIFs, so this will probably just end up being a straight review. We’ll see.

When the title card popped up and we saw all those instruments of torture, my sense of foreboding and crushing inevitability ramped up exponentially, ironically enough to be given a brief reprieve when the episode opens up with Jamie and MacQuarrie waiting to be hanged.

The show is about Claire and Jamie so I knew that although MacQuarrie would hang, there was really no threat to Jamie. Not here anyway.  Although there was a hitch in my throat when Jamie told MacQuarrie that what grieved him was Claire never forgiving him for getting himself hung.  Ugh, there goes the tears again. Dammit. Pull yourself together girl.

Anyway, to the surprise of no one, Jamie resists when it’s his turn to get up on the gibbet to be hung.  And I’m equally sure that nobody was surprised when BJR rides in, in time to save him from swinging. I’m pretty sure Jamie wished at that point that he’d been allowed to hang. I’m not sure I didn’t wish the same for him.
The look of unadulterated lust and anticipation on BJR’s face terrified me, and at that moment, I really wished that I didn’t know what was coming.

Seeing Jamie try to prise off the chains around his legs was somewhat comforting, because it meant that he still hadn’t given up at that point. Watching him hungrily inhale a condemned man’s meal soon took that comfort away.

We then find Claire talking to the governor of the prison, pretending that she was a Christian woman who wanted to take back word to Jamie’s relatives. She was so strong in this scene. Her face barely betraying the anguish that she was experiencing.

When she momentarily broke after Sir Fletcher left the room, it was like I was in the rooms with her. The grief and distress from Claire was so palpable that once again I had to reach for my tissues. There goes the tears again. There I was thinking that I’d cried enough.  Anticipation is a terrible thing.

Claire’s face when Fletcher brought in Jamie’s things, just about killed me, and my stomach churned for her.    She clutched the box like it was a life line, and I wasn’t at all surprised when she puked outside the walls of Wentworth.

Bless Murtagh for picking her up and carrying her away. Although in that moment I wondered how he was managing it because Claire is a tall woman, and the weight of her clothes alone would have only added to the difficulty of carrying her.

Rupert and Angus getting drunk and extracting information from the Wentworth jailers in the public house provided a moment of much needed levity, and gave Claire hope that she would get Jamie out.

From the levity of Rupert and Angus to the depravity of Randall in a quick flash and I, and I’m sure you all too, were back in misery.

When BJR burned the petition of complaint that Sandringham had signed, I was so mad. Then I remembered who he was and what he was, and I became afraid for Jamie all over again.

We then find Claire tricking her way back into Wentworth, and oh she was so brave and clever asking the guard to stay in an attempt to double bluff him. The guard leaves and Claire and Murtagh frantically start searching for clues of Jamie’s whereabouts.

Back with Black Jack Randall and Jamie, and we find him asking Jamie if he haunts his dreams since Fort William.
When you awaken in the middle of the night shaken and sweating, is it my face looming in the darkness?  Tell me, when you lie upon your wife and her hands trace the scars on your back, do you ever think of me?

Man this man is a sick sadistic twisted son of a whore. Pox on him and his future spawns.

Give me what I ask, and I will give you the death that you deserve. Clean, honorable, of your own choosing. You could have a Roman death. Fall on your sword like Brutus. Or maybe a Greek demise. Socrates took hemlock. No, perhaps you do not want to see my face at the end, I understand, I can simply slit your throat from behind. It’s messy but the choice is yours.”
Jamie: “How will I ever choose.”
BJR:  "But choose you must. First you must give me your surrender, and make no mistake, I will have your surrender before you leave this world.“

I have never hated a fictional character as much as I do Randall at that moment. Tobias is masterful in his portrayal of an antagonist that is clearly evil, yet is layered enough to have the audience believe that he believes that he is simply paying homage to the object of his desire.

Thank goodness the moment is broken up when we switch to Claire still desperately searching for clues as to where Jamie is.  Murtagh knocking the redcoat out is what should have probably happened in the first place. Anyway Claire takes his keys and goes looking for Jamie in the dungeons.

In the mean time, Jamie inevitably declines BJR’s offer and tells him to shove his surrender up his ass. Knowing what was coming, I do wonder if things would have been easier for him had he given in. And even as I type that, I know what the answer is. If I’d been Jamie, I don’t think I could have surrendered my body that easily either.

BJR then asked Jamie to show him his back, and man I was so fucking creeped out. Of course Jamie fought BJR and his man, Marley. They weren’t going to take him so easily.

Unfortunately Jamie was at a major disadvantage because he was chained to the prison wall. Marley tries to strangle Jamie to death, only to be unceremoniously knocked out by a sadistic BJR who prefers to play with his toy while he’s still alive.

As punishment for his disobedience, BJR instructs Marley to lie Jamie’s wrist flat out on the table, and then proceeds to hammer down, breaking all the tiny bones in his hand. Just like when I read Jamie’s recounting of this scene in the book, I could almost feel the pain of the hammer landing blow after blow on Jamie’s hands, forever crippling him, and I felt devastated for him.

BJR then almost tenderly held Jamie, and made him hold his penis. The sight of Randall getting off on Jamie’s hand around his dick angered me and sickened me at the same time. I haven’t seen this level of depravity come from a fictional character since I watched Ramsay Bolton torture Theon Greyjoy endlessly. Poor Jamie. Poor poor Jamie. Ugh, I’m crying again. It doesn’t help when I think that as much as Outlander is fictional, people like Randall do exist in the world.

We find Claire not too far away, and she finds an external door and opens it, presumably as a means of escape.

She finds Jamie on the floor writhing in pain, and oh my, this was a hard scene to watch. Claire cradles him in her arms and kisses him, crying because she can see the state that he’s in. Her proud, strong Scottish husband, brought low by the sadistic Black Jack Randall. A man who wore her first husband’s face.

Heartbroken, she’s determined to get Jamie out, and starts trying to free him from his shackles. Only to be caught by BJR.

Claire calls BJR by what should have been his given name, Fucking Sadistic Piece of Shit and launches herself at him in the most impressive rage. We were all Claire in that moment.

She’s of course overpowered by Marley, and BJR proceeds to taunt her.  He’s interrupted by a couple of redcoats and he sends them off with a fly in their cowardly ears.

Randall then tells Marley to search Claire for weapons, and once again I’m totally skeeved out when Marley goes up her dress, has a grope, then puts his fingers to his nose. Disgusting animal.

I felt so sick.

Claire being the fantastic heroine that she is catches Marley unawares and shoves him off then launches herself at BJR trying to wrap a chain round his neck, Marley gets up to reach for her, but Jamie shoves a piece of wood into his throat, and he slowly bleeds to death.  Thank God.

BJR overpowers Claire, then grabs a hammer ready to kill her.

Jamie:  "Stop!!”
Randall: “Make me a better offer.”
Jamie:  "Have me. Let her go in safety and you can have me. I won’t struggle, you can do what you like.“
Claire: *sobbing* "Jamie..no.”

Of course BJR looked like all his Christmases and birthdays had come all at once. The thought of having the object of his lust was too much to resist, so he agrees, but with the condition that he’s allowed “a brief test of his sincerity.”
Randall then orders Jamie to lay his already badly damaged hand across the table.
Jamie grabs for Claire and lays his injured hand on the table. Claire screams in anguish as she realizes what BJR what wants to do. 

Jamie tries to quieten her, and shushes her, trying to protect her from Randall’s wrath.

BJR then proceeds to hammer a nail into his palm. Over and over, and all Claire can do is hold Jamie while Randall exacts his punishment, sobbing uncontrollably.

This scene was way too much for me. At this point, I was crying so hard that my nose was running, and I was giving myself a headache. I would never choose to watch these kinds of scenes. I’m the person who chooses to watch The Walking Dead and yet cover my eyes whenever there’s a scene where people or walkers are about to be stabbed, decapitated, or shot to death. I’m a girl who loves romantic comedies and can only just about tolerate the violence on Scandal. I just don’t have the capacity to visually see such violence without it fundamentally affecting me. And for it to be happening to a beloved character that I’ve loved for years? Aww man, it was just too much.  Poor Claire, poor Jamie.

Black Jack Randall: “Now kiss me.”

This was the worst. Watching BJR lean down and kiss Jamie on the mouth while Claire is still trying to hold onto him was even more disturbing than watching him hammer a nail into Jamie’s palm.

I felt soiled watching him molest and violate Jamie in front of his wife. What a thoroughly evil man. Yep, crying again.

Jamie unable to bear the thought of Claire seeing Randall violate him in front of her, asks BJR to take her away.

BJR drags her away, but she pushes him off and runs back to Jamie unable to leave him. He asks her to leave with Randall, and tells her that he loves her.

Uncontrollable sobbing commences.

I found this scene agonizing, and as I watched Claire and Jamie be ripped apart, my tears fall unchecked. Ira Steven Behr didn’t pull any punches with the adaptation of this part of the book. It was pure torture for me.

Randall drags Claire away and walks out of the dungeon assuring Jamie that he’ll be back soon. As if he was a lover, assuring his partner that he won’t stay away from him for long.

As BJR walks Claire out,  he starts talking about the rumors that he’s heard that  she’s a witch, and he also mentions the witch trial. Claire venomously turns round and tells him that she is indeed a witch:

I curse you with knowledge. I give you the hour of your death. Jonathan Wolverton Randall. Born September 3, 1705 dies… [whispers into his ear]

BJR looks suitably disturbed by this, and shoves her down a hole, where Claire’s fall is broken when she lands on the bodies of the men who were just hung. MacQuarrie was amongst the men.  Claire then proceeds to climb up the hill to freedom and to Murtagh.

Back at Wentworth, BJR removes Jamie’s shirt, admires his handiwork for a moment, caresses his "masterpiece” and then proceeds to kiss and lick the scars on his back.

“shall we begin?” He asks a devastated Jamie.

Yes, another entirely horrible scene. There’s no way that I’ll be able to re-watch this episode after today. I’ve had to endure it twice already, once to ensure that my recap is accurate. But after this, never again.

We leave BJR about to obviously rape Jamie, and we find Claire calling out for Murtagh. She meets Rupert instead who takes her to the house of Marcus McCrannoch. Claire asks him to give her some men to go and rescue Jamie. McCrannoch refuses because he’s fearful of retribution against his family.

Claire offers to pay him with the pearls that Jamie gave her on their wedding night. McCrannoch recognizes the pearls, as he was the one who gave them to Ellen Fraser, Jamie’s mother. Yet another man who was in love with her.

Marcus regretfully hands back the pearls, he’s got a wife and children, he can’t risk them.

Claire looks devastated, and Willie steps up, ready and willing to go it alone with just the five of them.  Claire tells them that she left an open door, and a frustrated Rupert tells her that that’s no plan.

The episode ends with Murtagh looking at a heard of cattle that McCrannoch’s man, Absalom had gathered, after looking for them all day long.  This apparently gives Murtagh an idea of how they can save Jamie, and we cut to credits.

Guys, that was a lot. My eyes are puffy and I feel sick. I have to hope that there isn’t worse to come when the finale airs on May 30th.  Although having read the books, I’m not overly optimistic.

How did you guys all fair? And if there are non-book readers among you, what did you think of the episode? Was it what you were expecting?

Random Observations

I’m so glad that the writers left out the part where Claire fights and kills a wolf with her bear hands. While it works in the book, with the help of Diana’s magnificent way with laying words down on a page, I just don’t see how visually it would have come across as anything but a farce.

Knowing that the finale is coming up next makes me a tad more annoyed that we spent so much freaking time watching Claire sing and dance her way round Scotland. Those twenty minutes could have been used to show the first minutes of this episode, ending with Black Jack Randall coming in to save Jamie from the hangman’s noose and ordering him into the dungeons. Then the writers would have had enough time to rescue Jamie in this episode. Gah. What wasted opportunity.

Anyway, no predictions for me. I just want the last 40 minutes of the finale to just feature Claire and Jamie, I need the finale to end happily for them, I need it.

anonymous asked:

It's such a shame when people mindlessly hate the hannibal women, Alana is a complete babe, she's kind and caring and she believed Will was a serial killer so it's not like she was being unreasonable towards him! And Margot and Freddie are just fabulous and delightful to watch and interesting and brilliant! Thank you for spreading the love of the hannibal women, keep it up!

The women in Hannibal is one of it’s feature points, it’s something it does far better than most other shows on TV.

Alana, Bedelia, Freddie, Abigail, Miriam, Kade, Bella, Beverly and Margot are all incredible characters and it makes me sad that people don’t recognise the amazing work the writers and cast members do to create them.

Silence of the Lambs is feminist piece in my opinion, the film in particular.

The FBI let the crew work with them because they thought Silence of the Lambs would be an advert for female agents.

This show has a history of promoting the role of women in a male dominated genre and people should respect that heritage.