TV Review: “Outlander” – “The Wedding”

Written by Caitlin Cooper October 11, 2014

Outlander

Big things happened in the previous episode of “Outlander”, called “The Garrison Commander”. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) thought she was so close to returning to Craigh na Dun where she could travel back to her own time, then she encountered Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall (Tobias Menzies). They two engaged in a battle of wits that Claire was clearly losing. Jonathan saw through her lies, and indeed seemed determined to get the truth from her by any means necessary. He revealed himself to be a cruel man who finds beauty in torture. It’s no surprise that he ended up beating Claire in the hopes of “persuading” her to tell the truth. With Claire’s life threatened, Dougal (Graham MacTavish) came up with a plan to protect her from the English by law. The law is that no Scottish person can be compelled to be interrogated by an English person without evidence of a crime. But just how would Claire become a Scot? Why, marry one, of course. And who better to marry than the one ally Claire has: Jamie (Sam Heughan).

 

“The Wedding”, then, tells the story of Claire and Jamie’s wedding, and all the preparations for the ceremony. Jamie insisted there be a proper wedding which no doubt is a way for the two to be more bonded rather than simply in an arrangement. As you can imagine, the honeymoon results in lots of steamy scenes over the course of the episode. Aside from this, we see Claire struggle more and more with being separated from her original husband, Frank (Menzies).

“You forget your life after awhile, the life you had before.”

What’s interesting about this “Outlander” episode is the way that it’s told. While the occasional flashback is nothing new to “Outlander”, a good portion of this episode are flashbacks. I will say, however, that showing the actual wedding ceremony itself as a flashback was a bit odd at first. As the episode goes on, it’s clear this was, in part, a smart decision. These flashbacks provide more insight into the two newly-wed characters while also providing a break that keeps the episode from being one long love scene. I think this was a wise move considering the first time they have sex it’s not exactly romantic; it’s awkward. The flashbacks also allow Claire and Jamie to bond on their wedding night before they make it completely official. The flashbacks also allow for comedy in an otherwise tense and emotional episode. We finally get to hear more of Jamie’s take on what’s happening in “Outlander”, and it rounds out his character even more. It also reveals that he has feelings for her. Claire, however, doesn’t feel romantically towards Jamie; indeed, she feels torn about entering into this new commitment.

Outlander

Before you go thinking that “Outlander” is tame for trying to not be too heavy on the love scenes, I should say that the episode is definitely competing with HBO (though perhaps with more romance than HBO shows generally have). I suppose the point for having these characters have more than one sexual encounter in “The Wedding” is that they gradually begin to grow close to one another. By the end of the episode, it really feels like the two – through their talking and learning of one another and their new intimacy – are no longer just allies and friends. They’ve become more. This sense wouldn’t have been as successful if the actors were horrible, but Balfe and Heughan easily play characters who come across as two friends who may be something more now.

“A woman of strength, and a bride of astonishing beauty. My wife, Claire Fraser.”

While the episode seems to gradually shift into a lighter tone – aside from Dougal’s usual jerk tendencies -, the final scene is definitely one of the most poignant. Jamie kisses Claire after dressing for the day, and heads downstairs to get food. Claire smiles to herself and starts folding up her wedding dress and shift, when her gold wedding band falls out of the bodice. The wedding band from her marriage to Frank. She slips it back on her finger, and there’s a shot of her hands. Each ring finger now carries a wedding band. She is literally looking at aspects of her two lives, and she feels at once how she’s betrayed her real life in this past life. This sequence sets up what will be one of Claire’s biggest struggles: creating a life in the 1740s but all the while feeling like she’s betrayed her life in the 1940s. It also reminded us of the opening scene which showed Claire and Frank on their wedding day as a contrast to Claire’s wedding day this time around.

Outlander

Overall, “The Wedding” isn’t one of the best “Outlander” episodes, simply because the formula of storytelling is a bit disorienting at first, and because some dialogue is unnecessarily rehashing what we already know. Over the course of the episode, however, some progress with the main characters is made, and there’s a new major plot-line set up. This episode is certainly a turning point for “Outlander”.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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