16 Days of Outlander - Day #1 Sassenach
So excited to have an excuse to rewatch Season 1 all the way through (I realized that I’ve watched the first eight episodes way more times than the second eight, despite the fact that I only watched the first eight for the first time the day before the second half of Season 1 started airing).
Fair warning: I’ve been trying my hand at screen caps to go with the posts for this 16 Days of Outlander.
Anyway, onto my favorites for 01x01 Sassenach.
Favorite performance: Caitriona Balfe. From the beginning of the episode through the end, she has so much to do to carry and establish the story and not just for the episode, but for the series. What gets me every time is the scene below when she learns the war is over. Everyone else is celebrating and while I wouldn’t say she’s disappointed - she’s far too compassionate for that - she does immediately look lost. Having just come from that horrible leg injury, there’s clearly still work to be done but when her friend tells her “it’s over” I can’t help feeling that there’s a little bit of Claire that feels like her usefulness is already slipping away. To convey such depth right off the bat in the episode floors me every time.
Favorite Claire and Frank Moment: Jumping on the bed. There are little glimpses of the marriage Claire and Frank used to have (few and far between, though they may be) but those glimpses show enough of what they’re both trying/hoping so hard to recapture - namely the levity they felt before five years of war - that I can’t help loving this little moment. It’s clearly going to take work if they are going to have any chance of succeeding - I mean, immediately after getting into their room, Frank just takes out a book and starts reading. It shows a little better the balance/dynamic they once had. Claire helping Frank not to be too serious all the time; Frank helping rein in some of Claire’s wilder tendencies. It isn’t as great a balance as she will have with Jamie but it probably worked better for Claire and Frank before the war changed them so much as individuals.
Favorite Location: Reverend Wakefield’s library/study. I mean just look at it! That fireplace, that window, how open and light it is. I would love to have a room like that to work and play in - it’s got plenty of room for both. Totally personal taste on my part but just… love it, want it, don’t care that we hardly spend any time there this episode (and can’t wait till we get another look at it later).
Favorite Minor Character: Mrs. Graham. In working on my Jamie through the stones fic, I’ve gotten very attached to Mrs. Graham as a character. I also love Claire’s surprise when she realizes that Mrs. Graham is one of the “druids” dancing at Craigh na Dun. She’s just one of those characters I really wish we could have more time with in the series as a whole.
Favorite Scene, Favorite Book-to-Screen Adaptation Moment: Frank’s encounter with Jamie’s ghost. One scene, two favorites. This is the scene I go back to and rewatch over and over and over. The lighting, the perspective, the sound mixing/editing… I just love everything about this scene. And it’s a scene I’ve enjoyed analyzing so much in the book. That you can see Frank watching Jamie watching Claire: Frank’s attention on Jamie and the fact that he is watching his [Frank’s] wife; Jamie’s complete absorption in watching Claire fighting with the curls he loves to much. The haunting way he just vanishes when Frank turns and the lightning illuminating Frank briefly before all the power in the square goes out just emphasizes the significance of that moment so subtly and so well.
Favorite Costume: Claire’s night gown. I’m not a huge fan of the 1940′s costumes - I find the 18th century costumes more impressive but we don’t see too many of them this episode. This costume is also one of the most “traditionally” feminine costumes Claire wears. A lot of her 1940′s dresses have sleek lines but this flows and billows.
Favorite Music Moment: Claire gets shot at (Fallen Through Time on Volume 1 of the Outlander Soundtrack). I am addicted to television and film scores and the music for Outlander is definitely up there on my list of all time favorites (seriously, at least a third of my iPod is instrumentals from soundtracks - about 2 days worth of music). The transition in this scene as Claire stumbles around the woods trying to figure out what just happened to being shot at by the Red Coats is perfected by the shift in the music from quiet and innocuous to loud and raucous (courtesy of some amazing bagpipes and drums/bodhran).
Favorite Jamie and Claire Moment: Cocknammon Rock. It’s after they’ve been riding for a while - Claire has already fixed his shoulder which has earned her a few points with Jamie - and when she mentions the Red Coats’ preference for Cocknammon Rock as an ambush point, Jamie doesn’t hesitate to believe and trust her word. He alerts Dougal immediately and when Dougal basically asks, “are you sure?” Jamie takes one look and Claire and asserts, “yeah, he’s sure.” Then Dougal gives the order and Jamie promptly dumps Claire off the horse and breaks free of the belt she used to bind his arm to his side.
Favorite Line, Favorite “This wasn’t in the book” Part: “On your horse soldier.” Another two-fer. I love this line that wasn’t in the book, so much so, it’s my favorite in the episode. Seeing Claire in action at the beginning of the episode when the war ended balances nicely with this line (and scene of her healing in action) at the end. They’re scenes when her mask/facade drops completely - no polite smiles or wary/guarded looks, just Claire at her most competent. The scene passes from Claire cursing at Jamie in frustration through the more somber and serious hint from Jamie about just how dangerous BJR is and ending it with this more light-hearted, mildly affectionate, but respectful note adds to the understanding that has begun to develop between Jamie and Claire.
Favorite Performance Honorable Mention: Sam Heughan. Claire may not be consciously aware of Jamie’s feelings for her for a while but his falling for her occurs hard and fast - both on the page and on the screen. The ability to capture in that one glance what I tend to think of as Jamie’s enlightenment about his feelings, could not have been easy but there it is, broadcast for all to see. Jamie is entirely hers in that single moment by the roadside as she curses him for being too stubborn to admit he was hurt and needed help (basically, Jamie in a nutshell).