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Outlander “Both Sides Now” Review (Mid-Season Finale)

Last I was here, I was Claire Randall. Then Claire Beauchamp. Then Claire Fraser,”

Starz did it again. Last night’s episode was a blast!

If there is a better way to leave the viewers wanting for more, then I want to know what it is. The episode was everything you wished and hoped for in a (mid-)season finale: romance, fights, highlanders, adventure, emotions, twists and turn and an excellent dialogue. Fast-paced, unlike some previous episodes, “Both Sides Now” changed the rules of the game and gave the viewers the preview of a “darker season 2” (actually a second half) as Ronald D. Moore had already announced.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 3.54.18 PM

Spoilers below…read only if you have seen the episode.

As I asserted in my previous review, the happiness was too good to last. While last week’s Wedding was an episode of discovery and rediscovery for both Claire and Jaime, this one is of conflict and change. Change on all levels and for all the characters. The colors are shifting like in a kaleidoscope revealing new features and new faces of the characters.Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.25.32 PM

It is fashionable of this modern age to dismiss the idea of good and evil, that there is evil. That it finds punctuous in good men by giving sins a sweet taste of ecstasy.

First, there is Frank. It’s been 6 weeks since Claire disappeared and he’s not given up regardless of how many times he has heard that his beloved wife has eloped with another man. Well, if there is one thing this episode’s managed, it’s to make me fall for Frank even more. I know I’ve said it before, but Tobias Menzies’ performance is so wonderful that I’m having a difficult time to decide whom I want Claire to choose. On one hand, there is the gorgeous, young
Jaime Fraser (Bless your heart, Sam Heughan) who is so in love in Claire it makes my soul melt each time, and on the other it’s Frank. Mature, smart, sophisticated, loyal. Watching him cry in the stone circle at Craigh na Dun gave me the goosebumps. I dare anyone say it’s not so!Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.31.19 PM The scene was absolute perfection with the montage of Claire on the other side and Frank in the present, not knowing if the voice is real or not. I so wished that Claire would touch the stone and return to him…but then what would have happened to Jaime?

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep”

My “reading” of Claire is that she tries hard not to fall in love with Jaime, but her defenses are not working.

At all. I don’t blame her, who would resist a man like Jaime looking into her eyes and hearing him say all those wonderful things? Making her feel like she’s the one and only. For what I do blame her though, is for not telling the truth from the beginning, at least not telling Jaime the truth. What is her plan? To leave him behind without a word, just as she left Frank? It would be so cruel. She doesn’t even try to prepare him for anything, not a word, not a hint.

 “My mind jumped and danced from thought to thought, like a stone skipping from pond to pond. My parents, men I’d seen die, the smell of cigarettes, Errol Flynn swinging on a rope, the feeling of my dagger tip puncturing the kidney. I knew he was worried about me, knew he wanted to talk about what it had happened. And I knew if I did, if I started to giving reign to my feelings, things would pour out of me, things that I want to keep locked away for ever.”

Claire’s world is rocked to the core, in just a few seconds passing virtually from ecstasy to agony, when she and Jaime are attacked by two British army deserters, is nearly raped under Jaime’s eyes by one of them and is forced to kill in self defense.

Quite a handful of events that she feels like a divine punishment and which send her into a shock that will unleash all further events. I wonder if nothing had happened she would have thought of Frank and her plans to return to the present? But it does and Claire finally reaches Craigh na Dun, ready to join Frank who is on the other side, but she is taken prisoner.

The grandioso finale is reserved for Claire, Jaime and Black Jack Randall. Throughout her encounter with Black Jack, Claire demonstrates once again that she is a woman with a mind of her own, clever and resourceful. But, one thing she forgets…that she is still a woman caught in a men’s world (literally and figuratively). The final image is strong and powerful…Claire is subdued to Black Jack Randall’s will while Jaime tries to save her.

One of them is to going to get hurt. The question is…who ?

Previous to the Starz series, I haven’t known anything about Outlander or just how huge the success of the books was. Silly me, I’ve always dismissed it as some sappy story of erotica, but now I know better. It’s been a pleasure, Starz! I’m looking forward to the other half of the season. I don’t know how I’ll manage though…I’m gonna miss you, Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, all the cast, the crew, the writers! I’ll miss you till April and THANK YOU!

 

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