So, Outlander fans… was it good for you?
I’m talking, of course, about Claire and Jamie’s wedding night, an event long-awaited both by ardent readers of the novel and those who’ve been wanting the TV series to get to the sex already! revel in its premium-cable-ness since the beginning.
Aside from the glorious (and extended) wearing of birthday suits, the hour is quite strong in that it allows us to watch Claire succumb to her feelings for Jamie at the same time that it highlights her conflict over betraying Frank – a not-insignificant point as we move into next week’s midseason finale.
If you’re not too busy rewatching certain, er, key moments (you little plaid pervs), let’s review the major points of “The Wedding.”
DEJA VOW | We start off dealing with another wedding altogether: Claire and Frank’s, held moments after Frank proposes to Nurse Beauchamp outside Westminster’s equivalent of Town Hall. (Side note: Claire seems so much older in her formal uniform and cap, no?) As the future Mr. and Mrs. Randall skip into the building to get hitched, we hear, “Ye may kiss yer bride” – and the action cuts to Jamie and Claire becoming man and wife in a candlelight ceremony in 1743. The groom looks hopeful. The bride looks gobsmacked.
Throughout the hour, we’ll see the ceremony in bits and pieces, but right now, Ron Moore & Co. cut to exactly where most of us want to be: in the bridal chamber with Claire and Jamie. (Fair warning: Though I’ll try to keep it respectable, there’s no way a recap of this episode isn’t going to venture into some naughty territory. If impassioned appreciation of the human form and words like “thrusting” offend you, you might want to bail out now.) She comments that the reception is still going strong downstairs, and he remarks that no guests will leave “until they know we’ve made things official.” Lovely.
After a nervous yet earnest toast by Jamie, Claire downs several glasses of whiskey – a tactic we’ll learn she’s been employing ever since Dougal first informed her about the marriage. “Ye needn’t be afraid of me, Claire,” Jamie assures her, promising he won’t force himself on her. Sadly, this is one of the most reassuring things Claire has heard in days. He admits he married her mostly to keep her out of Black Jack Randall’s clutches, then vows to protect her with all that he is. It’s very sweet, and they start to go in for a kiss, but Claire pulls away at the last moment and asks about his family. (Heh.)
A while later, they’re both much more relaxed – despite Angus and Rupert’s bursting into the room to see if the marriage has been consummated – and Claire suggests they go to bed. “To bed,” Jamie asks slowly, “or to sleep?” Annnd we’re off!
APT PUPIL | Claire’s new hubby volunteers to help “with the laces and such,” undressing her with a level of dexterity surprising for someone of his limited experience. (Side note: You think unhooking a bra in the heat of the moment is tough? Jamie has Claire out of her skirts, hip roll, choker and stays faster than you can say “Victoria’s Secret.”) But Claire wants in on the fun, too. “It’s my turn,” she purrs, breathily, but only manages to undo his belt before they’re sucking face in earnest. “Where’d you learn to kiss like that?” she asks. “I said I was a virgin, not a monk,” he replies. “If I need guidance, I’ll ask.”
That’s hot, and all, but Jamie? You’re not quite as slick as you think, as evidenced by the way you fall on top of Claire in your granny gown, nearly crush her with your strapping bulk and then roll off her maybe 30 seconds later (and I’m being generous with the stopwatch there). God, I love Claire’s face as Jamie is seeing stars and trying to catch his breath. It basically says, “Poor pudding, you really have no clue, do you?”
Jamie worries that his new wife didn’t enjoy their blink-and-you-miss-it trip to Heaven. After all, Murtagh, Rupert and Ned told him that women “generally do not care for” making the Loch Ness Monster with two backs. But Claire’s surprised to note that she did have a good time. “There it was,” she remarks via voiceover, touching on a topic many of you commented on last week. “Not only was I a bigamist and an adultress, but I’d enjoyed it.”
IN DEEP SMIT | It’s clear Jamie is completely taken with his Sassenach, especially when he comes back from a trip down to the main room for some food. Dougal warns him not to hurry back to Claire, lest she believe she holds sway over her husband. “I said I was completely under your power and happy to be there,” Jamie says, smiling, offering Claire a piece of cheese and basically being the best thing ever.
Since this whole episode can’t just be scenes of the newlyweds banging (though I’m sure the adult-film industry will soon see to that with Outland Her or Kilting Me Softly or something along those lines), Claire and Jamie have a little more whiskey and engage in a few more flashbacks.
They talk about Jamie’s wedding finery, which is Fraser plaid, and how dangerous it was for him to wear it and risk being identified by the Redcoats. Jamie tells her about his conditions for their wedding, which included her having a fine gown and a proper ring, and them getting married in a church. And they both recall their vows earlier that day, when Claire finally learned Jamie’s real name – James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser – and he thought she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING | Claire is apparently moved (and more than a little turned-on) by what she hears, because she gets up and speaks for a lot of people when she says, “Take off your shirt. I want to look at you.” When Jamie’s there in nothing but his scars, he whispers, “Take off yours, as well.” (I know we’re nowhere near Craigh na Dun, but young Mr. Fraser’s stone has got to be standing.)
I’m not exactly sure about what happens immediately after, because all of the estrogen in my body floods my brain and I’m pretty sure I pass out. Anyway, they’re both naked now, and — oh, that’s where all of the pretty in the world went.
The Frasers make love again, with Claire a much more interested – and satisfied — participant this time. “I didna know women could…” Jamie says afterward, flummoxed. “Does it happen every time?” (That sound you just heard was every female in the world bursting out in rueful laughter.) Claire soothingly tells him that he’s a good lover, then goes on to introduce him to the pain-as-pleasure principle, which in turn introduces us to several frames of Jamie writhing in ecstasy. If GIFs haven’t been made by the time this recap is posted, Internet, I’m disappointed in you.
THE MORNING AFTER | But wait, there’s more! After a brief hop downstairs, during which Dougal puts the moves on his new niece (eew), Claire returns to the room. Jamie’s got a gift for her: his mother’s pearls, which he puts over her head. “They’re verra precious to me, as are you, Claire,” he says seriously, and she’s so moved, she keeps them on as she rides him like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The next morning, the newlyweds are cute as they get dressed. Jamie runs downstairs, leaving Claire to finish up. She’s all smiles and hearts-in-her-eyes… until she shakes out her wedding gown and finds her original wedding band, which she’d taken off and stashed in the bodice the day before. Though she says nothing, Claire looks like she’s drowning in guilt as she puts the gold band on one ring finger while the new ring takes up residence on the other. Looks like the honeymoon’s over, folks!
Now it’s your turn. Book readers, did you love hearing Jamie call Claire “mo nighean donne“? Newlanders, are you all in on the Frasers’ relationship? Is anyone still rooting for Frank? Are ye ready for next week’s midseason finale? Click through the gallery of photos from the episode, then sound off in the comments!