16 Days of Outlander - Day #12 Lallybroch
Lallybroch is easily my favorite episode of the back half of Season 1 - I’m a huge fan of Jenny and Ian and love the way the show approached Jamie’s return (I’m not really surprised though since the Anne Kenney wrote it and she’s basically my favorite of the show’s writers).
Favorite Location: the Laird’s room. I love that the show defaults to this shade of blue so often (it’s already appeared several times in the promo pics for Season 2). I’m not sure whether it’s wall paper or tapestries but I’m absolutely in love with the wall decoration in Jamie and Claire’s room. The carved mantle and four-poster bed in that rich, dark wood are also an aesthetic I heavily subscribe to and the lighting somehow manages to make the room appear larger than I think it actually is - a true feat given such a dark color palette in the decoration.
Favorite Costume: Claire’s quarter day dress. I told you all this dress would be making a reappearance. I think what impresses me most is how perfectly the fabric was cut and sown so the lines of the tartan align perfectly with the lines of Claire’s body and that the tartan’s symmetry is maintained. Also, those three-quarter sleeves are the ideal length and looseness for maintaining mobility and function.
Favorite Music Moment: drunk Jamie. This was the track I was most looking forward to on the second volume of the show’s soundtrack (it kicks off the Tracking Jamie track, for the record). The whole scene is pure gold and the lilting way the track is played in imitation of Jamie’s drunken state works perfectly. And the resumption of the track as Jamie faces breakfast with a hangover while Claire smiles on with a smug sympathy… There are many times in the books when we get to see Jamie drunk and while this isn’t a scene that appears in the first book, it is definitely in keeping with some of drunk book Jamie’s more charming escapades (I wonder if we’ll hear a variation on this theme in future if they include some of those other drunken encounters between Jamie and Claire).
Favorite Minor Character: Ian Murray. Having been around Frasers pretty much his entire life, Ian Murray is basically a walking “how to handle Frasers” manual. He’s able to deftly defuse the tension between the siblings, leaving Claire in awe and seeking advice. The chat between the two of them in the hallway is one of my favorites from the show and I really wish we could see more of their relationship (maybe next season).
Favorite Line: “kick them harder.” Coming from a family that’s stubborn on one side and more level headed on the other (I generally fall on the level-headed side though there are certain issues where I definitely dig my heels in stubbornly), Ian’s observations and advice to Claire stick with me.
“Once they’ve dug their heels in there’s no budging them and you don’t want to get between them when their danders are up[…] You can tug on their rope or give them a wee kick in their backside and they might move, or you might get bit for yer trouble.”
“And then what?”
“Kick them harder.”
Favorite “That’s not in the book” Part: Claire dumps Jamie out of bed. So I know there are people who don’t care for how the show portrayed Jamie upon returning to Lallybroch (that Jamie is too conscious of his responsibilities and capable to make the mistakes he does in the episode and that he wouldn’t be so pompous, etc.) and I understand why that criticism creeps up, I just happen to disagree with it. Even in the books, a lot of the incidents Jamie tells Claire about growing up at Lallybroch demonstrate that he isn’t/wasn’t always tactful or respectful (the incident with Mrs. Fitz during his first trip to Leoch comes to mind). Add to that the fact that it’s his first time home since his father’s death and that he is now saddled with the actual responsibility of being laird (a very different thing from his position at Leoch where, much as he manages to navigate the tension between Dougal and Colum, the responsibility for making the calls and enacting them still falls to Colum), and I think it’s completely believable that Jamie would revert a bit to his younger attitudes - I always go back to How I Met Your Mother and their “revertigo” episode. Anyway, what I love about this scene is the way that Claire is able to get through to Jamie (taking a bit of Ian’s advice). It also ties in so nicely with the earlier scene where he chastises her and tells her that she shouldn’t reprimand him in front of people because it’s just not how things are done in his time. She bites her tongue through a lot of the episode, letting things go where her natural instinct is to push. But here, she finally gives into her instincts and lets the honesty flow - it’s not a public disagreement but Jamie needs to hear what she’s saying and because it’s coming from Claire like this, he trusts it and sees the truth in it.
Favorite Performance: Laura Donnelly as Jenny Murray. Donnelly and Heughan play siblings so well. The frustration Donnelly channels through Jenny during her altercations with Jamie is something I relate to strongly, right down to the “let him figure it out for himself then” attitude. I feel like it really emphasizes what comes out during the scene in the graveyard where Jenny and Jamie make amends - she blamed him in part for their father’s death and some of her treatment of him stemmed from that resentment, the need to punish him. But what I think truly makes this her episode is the way she laughs during the flashback with Black Jack Randall - it’s a huge part of what makes that scene so uncomfortable and compelling.
Favorite Book-to-Screen Adaptation, Favorite Jamie and Claire Moment: first ‘I love you’s. Again, it isn’t a scene that is depicted exactly the way it transpires in the book, but they managed to capture all of the spirit of the exchange in such a way that the material is elevated in some ways. Peace has been achieved within the family and Claire finally feels like she’s somewhere she belongs, like she’s home. That so much of the scene is one continuous shot/take is downright amazing. It’s cute and funny and sweet and heated and intimate and just… everything that I was hoping that scene would be. I don’t think I’ve ever watched this episode without stopping to rewatch this scene at least five times. I often forget that there’s a little bit more after it (that damn cliffhanger).