Saturday, August 16, 2014

Outlander: Jamie Takes A Beating (Or Two...)

Oh, Outlander. I love you. And Season 2!! Huzzah! (I probably shouldn't use huzzah. I don't want to frighten off any sexy eighteenth century Highlanders that may be near by.) 

Sam Heughan shirtless pic Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Outlander Jamie Claire, Claire Jamie McTavish, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Shirtless
Jamie Jamie Jamie. First of all, Sam Heughan is just so brilliantly cast. I can't get over it. It's not just that he's supremely attractive (although he is). These first two episodes have convinced me sufficiently that he's a competent actor. And he's got a look that let's him play early 20s Jamie and should work well enough for older Jamie as the series moves forward. Plus -- the Gaelic and the accent. Pardon me while I just go swoon all over the damn place.

Sam Heughan shirtless Jamie Fraser Outlander Claire dresses Jamie's wound Claire Jamie McTavish, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Shirtless
This episode gave us our first taste of the torture fueled Jamie backstory. As Claire properly cleans and dresses Jamie's gunshot wound, she can't help but notice the scarred mess of flesh that makes up his back. Must be a bitch to get that scarring applied for the copious number of shirtless scenes Outlander will contain...

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser on Outlander Starz Outlander episode 2 Jamie and Claire, Claire Jamie, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser farmer
Jamie tells the story of the day evil John Randall dropped by the family farm for a bit of mid-afternoon-rape. John Randall is about as mustache twirling as a villain can get without physically twirling any mustache. He just tries to rape everyone he comes across.

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser on Outlander Starz Outlander episode 2 Jamie and Claire, Claire and Jamie, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Starz Jamie Fraser
There's no good explanation for why the redcoats have showed up, but they have, and they're unpleasant, and Jamie tries to keep them away from his sister. Unfortunately, he's outnumbered. And Jenny doesn't help by running toward the house instead of away from it. Come on, Jenny!! It's horror movie 101. Run AWAY from the house. But! Jenny! She looked exactly right. Two thumbs way up.

Sam Heughan shirtless Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Outlander Jamie Claire, Claire Jamie McTavish, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Shirtless
Anyway, Jamie fails at freeing Jenny and Randall decides to punish him by stringing him up and flogging him. It's only a little baby flogging though. There's more serious flogging to come. But Jamie would rather be flogged and murdered than have his sister dishonored. Happily and logically, Jenny would rather Jamie live.

Sam Heughan shirtless Jamie Fraser Outlander Jamie Claire, Jamie McTavish Outlander Sam Heughan Jamie Shirtless Jamie gets flogged whipped beaten
Sam Heughan shirtless Jamie Fraser Outlander Jamie Claire, Jamie Outlander Episode 2 Sam Heughan Jamie Shirtless Jamie gets flogged whipped beaten
Ugh. Those eyes. ^^

So Jamie has this awesomely angsty guilt over his sister's decision to accompany Randall into the house rather than let Jamie die. I feel like one could discuss the gender politics in Outlander until the end of time. I love that Jenny chose to save Jamie. I can't imagine many sisters would chose otherwise. But it calls into question this protector role that Jamie thinks he should be filling. If I had more time and energy, I'd tally up the number of times women save men vs. the number of times men save women. I'd probably also count the number of attempted rapes. Was eighteenth century Scotland really as rapey as Outlander would lead us to believe? Or ... do they just happen to have this one really rapey guy in their lives who skews the data?

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser on Outlander Starz Outlander Jamie and Claire, Claire and Jamie McTavish, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Starz Jamie Fraser
Anyway. After Claire finishes dressing Jamie's wound, she starts thinking about Frank and Jamie comforts her as she weeps over her not-born-yet-husband. It's cute. Until Jamie... reacts? Sheesh. I'll never be a romance writer.

Claire x Jamie Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser Outlander Episode 2  Starz Jamie Claire, Claire and Jamie, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Starz Jamie Fraser
But then Jamie promises he's not-rapey. Which, you wouldn't think someone would have to make a point of telling you. But in this world, it's better to just put it out there. Not. A. Rapist.

Sam Heughan shirtless Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Outlander Jamie Claire, Claire Jamie McTavish, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Shirtless
It's a little more adorable than that. He actually promises she doesn't need to fear him or anyone else while he's around. I don't know about you, but if I wasn't already planning to spend all my time stalking the one attractive male at the castle, the promise about protecting me from the dozens of rapists in our midst would keep me glued to his hip.

Outlander Stars Jamie and Claire, Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall, Sam Heughan and caitriona balfe as Jamie and Claire, Outlander Jamie Clare Claire x Jamie
Next day, Claire visits Jamie in the stables while he tells her more backstory stuff. He's wanted for murder. Colum and Dougal are his uncles. Blah blah blah -- he's hot.

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser on Outlander Starz Outlander Jamie and Claire, Claire and Jamie McTavish, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Starz Jamie Fraser
Then the scene that I think really sold me when I was reading the book. Teenage girl, Laoghaire, is brought before Colum by her father. He wants her punished for her loose behavior. Colum decrees she should be lashed. Jamie steps up and offers to take her punishment for her, despite his recent shoulder dislocation and gunshot wound. Jamie, being a dude, can choose to be beaten with fists rather than getting lashed. So punisher-man (what a weird job to have) knocks him about for a bit, including one particularly unsporting punch to the shoulder.

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser on Outlander Starz Outlander Jamie and Claire, Claire and Jamie McTavish, Outlander Jamie Sam Heughan Starz Jamie Fraser
Claire later tends to Jamie (thank goodness he keeps requiring medical attention) where she learns he basically did it because he's a decent guy. He didn't want Laoghaire to be shamed. It mattered less to him to stand up there and get punched a few times. Awwww.

Overall, this was a very conversation heavy episode. Which I'm fine with. I appreciate that Jamie and Claire aren't instantly in love. She's still thinking about getting back to Frank and Jamie's just living his life whether Claire's around or not. They need to know each other before they can feel anything other than attraction. And talking is how you get there. So - cool. I'm super looking forward to next week. The teaser implied a fairly significant deviation from the novel, but my Outlander buddies and I were speculating it'd be a dream or imagining or something. Any other book readers have any thoughts on that?! It'd be a crazy thing to change... Until then!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Angst Initiate: Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser on Outlander

Me: Helloooo Internet!! I've missed ye greatly.
Internet: Why are you saying "ye" ?!
Me: Because OUTLANDER!!

You guys. You. Guys. I mean it, you guys. Have you watched the premiere of Outlander yet? I can't even. My ability to even has completely vanished. It's been a while since I've felt inspired enough by the angst and awesomeness of a television character to sit down and screen-cap the hell out of a show. But Jamie Freakin Fraser! If you have eyes, or a soul, or a beating heart, you need Outlander in your life. Take my word on this one. San Heughan as Jamie Fraser is perfection.

Outlander screen grab Episode 1 Premiere Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie Claire Jamie x Claire 
If you're unfamiliar with the amazing series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander tells the tale of Claire Randall, a WWII army nurse who finds herself whisked back in time to the Scottish Highlands circa 1743. There she meets Jamie Fraser, who is basically the best human.

Starting tonight, Starz will be airing sixteen (!!) episodes that cover the first novel. Can I mention how pleased I am that there will be sixteen episodes? Cable shows tend to have seasons in the 10-13 episode range. So score one for you, Starz! The first episode was available online early, and I have to say, I thought it was pretty much perfection.

Outlander Season One Premiere Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie Claire Outlander Jamie x Claire 
The perfection started with the casting. Can we all take a moment and admire Sam Heughan's everything? The hair, the smile, the eyes, the accent, the kilt. It's beyond perfect casting. (Take a drink every time I say something is perfect.) Jamie and Claire's first encounter is one of my favorite sorts of meet-cutes -- the nurse/patient kind. I've talked about my Florence Nightingale syndrome before, and man does this story play into that. Over and over and over and over :D

Outlander Season One Premiere Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie and Claire Outlander S01E01
Jamie's been injured and Claire, captive though she is at this point, is the only one with any medical training in the room. She can't sit idly by and watch the burley Scottish kidnappers do everything all wrong. So she steps in and puts Jamie's shoulder back into joint for him.

Outlander Episode 1 Claire and Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie and Claire Outlander
Then they set off. Jamie covers her with his plaid to keep her warm in the rain, and also doesn't try to rape her, so already he's winning in the chivalry department.

Outlander Season One Premiere Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie Claire Outlander Jamie x Claire 
As they ride along, Claire is able to use her future knowledge to prevent an attack, but this also momentarily separates her from Jamie. (Booooo never leave Jamie).

Outlander Episode One Claire and Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie and Claire Outlander
He goes after her and threatens to re-kidnap her in the most charming and adorable way possible.

Outlander Episode One Claire and Jamie Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie and Claire Outlander
Outlander Season One Premiere Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie and Claire Outlander S01E01
Then, as will turn out to be a pattern, Jamie needs more medical attention. As claire uses strange and foreign words like disinfectant and warm compress, the Scottish brood looks on in confusion. The show does a phenomenal job of bringing the lighter sides of Outlander to life by mixing the societal norms of 1945 and 1743. Who else wants to bring "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ" back into popular usage?

Outlander Season One Premiere Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Starz Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie and Claire Outlander S01E01
By the end of the episode, the group is returning to Castle Leoch where Claire's adventure (and relationship) will really take off.


Outlander Episode 1 Screen Grab Sam Heughan Jamie Fraser Outlander Jamie Fraser Caitriona Balfe Claire Randall Jamie Claire Outlander Jamie x Claire 
I'm so excited about this show. The novel is such a blast to read, and from how beautiful and well done the pilot was, I have very high expectations. Apart from the adonis that is Sam Heughan, the Scottish countryside is breathtakingly shot and the score by Bear McCreary is spine-tinglingly awesome. I'm bummed it's a whole week until episode two, but until then, there are lots of pretty pictures of Jamie and Claire to ogle. Don't miss this one, ya'll. For realz.