Ahhhhh Where to start? Such an excellent Cliff hanger, leave taking and window waiting finale! First of all, I just want to share this poster that sums a lot up for so many of us who have read the books!
Yes, Jamie will be hanging out in the window until April… and Jack Randall will be excitedly and impatiently awaiting his entrance!
Okay, back to the beginning and my thoughts on all of it. The episode went pretty much as I expected it to with some major changes that, while I was not expecting them, worked so well! I know there has been a lot of discussion, debate and some outright disgust at the changes. There are a number of viewers, who having read the books, think that any changes made to Diana Gabaldon’s words are blasphemy and close to sacri-religious? They can not seem to wrap their minds around the fact that sometimes, change is good! I feel somewhat like the broken record in repeating once again that, There is absolutely no way that the show can cover every single detail of what is written in the books. This is why I so highly recommend that if you have not read the books, you should! This brings us to the next point… The books are the starting point and the guideline for the show, it does not mean that the show can not make it’s own deviations and turns at times from the hallowed writings of herself, Diana Gabaldon. Some of the deviations and turns are needed to fit the book to viewing format, and others such as this episode take us down another path that Diana has not taken us on as yet. I am quite happy with this route and seeing a fuller side of Frank Randall!
The title of this episode was very appropriately labeled Both Sides. We got to see a more in depth look at the situation from Frank’s perspective and we got to see that other darker side of Frank come to the surface as he fought with traces of what his supposed ancestor, Jack Randall has passed down to future generations… I say supposed here because I have read the books and know the secret, but I will not divulge it here. We also see some other sides of Jamie and Claire emerge, the sides that cause them so many problems when they are unable to control them.
Yes, Jamie and Claire are meant to be together, they quickly discover that intense and fiery physical chemistry that initially draws them to each other and are over come by it. It’s that physical desire and passion that often gets them into trouble in the beginning because they act without thinking. Claire realized that last week when she uttered the comment of “Well there it is.. I’m not only a bigamist, I enjoyed it!” She continues along this theme this week as she enjoys what little private romantic time she and Jamie can manage. She goes right along with his newly discovered enjoyment of sex and it gets them both in serious trouble!
This is what happens when one forgets the number one Cardinal rule of survival… Always be aware of your surroundings and watch your back! Jamie was so intoxicated with the passion of Claire that he paid no attention to that rule, thereby putting Claire and himself in mortal danger.
Not only had he put them in danger, he caused Claire to have to do something that went completely against her deepest beliefs and principles… she had to kill the English Soldier in order to save herself and Jamie. This tore at both of them and would begin the first of their many disagreements but would eventually teach them so much more about their own and each other’s beliefs and values. No, this was not so evident in the show, this is a portion that you should read about in the book to see how deeply this truly affected them both! For Jamie it was a blow to his pride as a man that he had been so careless and unthinking and unable to protect Claire. I personally think this is the start of his life long need to protect her? He felt he failed her so badly in this instance and he would never let such a thing happen again. Fortunately for them, this even happened after Claire’s knife lessons!
Before this event we did see some more tender moments between the two and we met Hugh Munroe, who one could not help but like! He had news of an English deserter by the name of Horrocks who might or maybe not prove Jamie’s innocence? Could Horrocks be trusted? Probably not, but it would be worth a try. Hugh gave Claire a Wedding present, a beautiful piece of amber with a dragonfly imbedded in it.
Dragonfly in Amber… Which of course we all know is the clue to the next book and the next season?!
And, with that clue to the next season came another delightful arrival on the scene! On the other side of time while Frank was struggling with his fear and his inner demons, this precious little lad showed up to make everyone smile. And, Goodness knows by that time we needed a smile! Many of us who have read the books probably had the same thoughts as I did upon seeing him and being introduced. A gleeful squeal of delight! This could be one of those moments that actors are warned about… never work with children or animals, they will immediately steal the scene without even trying! My most immediate thought on seeing him was wanting to reach into the screen, pinch his cheeks and utter this:
Yes, little Roger made his first appearance as he was introduced to Frank Randall as Reverend Wakefield’s nephew. Of course if you’ve read the Leaf in the Wind of all Hallows, you would know that actually Frank has met the lad before and it was not a momentous occasion for either of them. Perhaps Roger has some deeply hidden memory of that meeting, hence the look on his face when meeting Frank again? Roger will show up as an adult in season 2, Dragonfly in Amber, where he will become an important part of the continuing story. I do just want to add here a thought running through my mind. As we read the books we develop an image of the characters in our minds and it’s difficult to get that set image out of our head when the casting directors begin their process of choosing a person to play each part. I do applaud and appreciate the excellent decisions and choices they have made so far and I will trust their judgement on the casting of Roger… as long as he comes close in some way to the image I already have of the man, which is similar to this? I know everyone has their own version of characters stuck in their minds, I am just sharing what my version of Roger is! Ohhhh, and the lad does need to be able to sing us a tune or two or three… or more!
Now, as long as we’re on that other side of time with Frank, let’s talk about Frank Randall! This is where the episode made the biggest deviation from the book. When you think about it, it makes sense in approaching it in this way. The book is told from Claire’s first person narration of the events and mentions little or nothing of Frank’s actions during this time. Of course it doesn’t, she had no idea what was going on with Frank at that time! I was intrigued with this addition and now want to know so much more about Frank? He has never played a big role in the books and most of what we get even in later are Claire’s somewhat biased thoughts, memories and opinions on Frank and her relationship with him good or bad depending on her frame of mind at the moment she’s thinking of him. In later books we do get glimpses of his inner character and feelings from daughter Bree’s perspective. We also get some of Bree’s thoughts on Claire as well, which are not always in a positive light. Those revelations however are far down the line and do not play into what is going on right now in the show. For now we have to go with what we are being presented with and try not make too many assumptions… extremely difficult for many of us!
What is important in viewing Frank here, and his actions, is to know that he is not just a mild mannered gentle history professor as Claire glosses over and portrays him to be. Frank spent his military years as a part of the British Intellegence Agency as a leader of covert spy operations. This is a key factor that comes out as he reacts to his wife’s disappearance and how the local police department is treating it. They have had no luck in their search. Having been given a description of some odd looking Scottish highlander roaming about the vicinity during this time, they sum up the disappearance as a runaway wife scenario?
Frank is none too happy about this assumption and his anger shows as he insists to the Officer that his wife has not run off with some other man!
An angry, frustrated and very emotionally exhausted Frank returns to the Wakefield residence only to hear more highly improbable theories from the Reverend who, grasping at any straws he can dream up imagines his own scenario of what could have happened, involving tumbling downhill into the river and encounters with frogs and such? Frank is not any more amused or agreeable to this notion than he was with the idea that she ran off with a Scottish highlander!
Just when he thought things couldn’t get much more bizarre, Mrs. Graham decided that she must in all good faith share her own theory on what happened to Claire? Her theory went so far as to suggest that Claire had somehow been transported through the Stones of crag na dun to some other time! Really? Ahhhh he does make some attempt to be polite to her crazed idea but, isn’t this going just a touch too far, he thinks?
Well, Mrs. Graham can tell that the man is obviously too overwrought to digest her theory properly so she tries to make amends by offering him tea?
Hmmmm and perhaps he should have a bite to eat as well? We have some dinner left… a bit of rarebit and some pork sides? Maybe a bite of raspberry tart as well and a nice glass of wine would sooth ye, No?
Frank has had enough of this now… he’s not in a mood for tea, or dinner for that matter, and he in desperate need of something much stronger than tea or wine! He heads off to the local pub to drink his frustrations away in peace…
Unfortunately he can find no peace there either and his drinking is interrupted by a mysterious young woman named Sally who had just made a grevious error in judgement!
Sally and some friends seem to think Frank an easy mark? She suggests to Frank that she has knowledge of what happened and can take him to those who know? Well, already having heard the most unlikely of theories and not thinking quite as clearly as he should be at the time, Frank agrees and goes along with her? Yes, Frank has been set up by those looking to cash in on the reward…
Their mistake was in thinking Frank some mild mannered, easy target?
A fight ensues and Frank does not fight quite fair?
Mild mannered history professor Frank Randall keeps black jacks in his pocket! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baton_(law_enforcement)#Blackjack
Frank loses his tight control and visions of that ancestor, Black Jack Randall begin to surface as he confronts Miss Sally with a choke hold that is definitely Jack Randall worthy!
Later, back in the past on the other side, Claire will encounter Jack Randall once again. This encounter is entirely her own fault and would not have happened had she listened to Jamie sound advice for her to stay put in the woods where he leaves her to go off to his meeting with Horrocks.
Before that encounter with the infamous Black Jack Randall though, there is another very important encounter for both Claire and Frank?
As I mentioned, Jamie finds a safe place to leave Claire while he goes to meet Horrocks. He specifically tells her to stay put and not leave… Claire is still quite shaken by the previous events, so may not be thinking too clearly? But, what that previous event should have burned into her brain was how dangerous it was out there! She was thinking though only of herself, and was angry… more with herself than with Jamie, but she was mad at him too for leaving her. This is another spot where the show varied from the book, but played out just well the way it was presented! what it came down to was, Jamie and Claire were both on edge and a little angered about their present circumstances.
Jamie left Claire with young Willie to stand guard… probably not the best choice? Where were Rupert, Angus or Murtagh when they were really needed! Claire easily escapes Willie’s less than observant watch and starts to wander about. She then realizes just where they are. She spies crag na dun in the distance and she is reminded of her vow to get home to Frank no matter the cost!
All thoughts of Jamie have left her for the moment and her only thought is to reach the stones, and get home to where she thinks she belongs.
At the same time on the other side of time, Frank recovered from his encounter with Sally and friends… regained control of his dark side, and having no other sound theories to go on, he was compelled to follow Mrs. Graham’s thoughts on the Stones. He makes his way to the Stones and there is a moment frozen in time where it seems that he and Claire meet on each side of the Stones calling to each other and vaguely hearing the other’s callings? It was moving, chilling and heart wrenching!
And in that heart stopping moment where Claire is reaching for the Stones, she is suddenly stopped by English soldiers once more! She is captured and dragged away from the Stones to meet a fateful encounter with Jack Randall…
Leaving a deeply disturbed Frank standing on that other side of time and the Stones, unsure of what he heard… was it real or was it just his imagination, his depth of loss playing tricks on his mind?
What we were left with was a brutal meeting with Jack Randall where Claire attempted to out think him and lost the battle royally!
Jack once again led her on, spun his web and caught her in it. He won the hand with a rope in the drawer and Claire came close to losing much more than just her dagger or her clothes.
So, until April we are left with Jamie waiting in the window announcing to Jack, “I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife” and Jack being supremely happy to see young Jamie so nicely served up to him!