We were told that each of the #4Droughtlander video clips, which have been coming on the Fourth of each month prior to the April 4th Outlander return, would be increasingly good, and this one did not disappoint.
I watch them, even dissect them, because I know I’m in the competent, safe hands of fantastic showrunners. They’ll give me what I want (most of the time) without actually spoiling a thing. They’re not torturing us, folks. Enticing and titillating us, sure, but if this is torture for you, just wait and see. Or, as Caitriona Balfe suggests in this clip, “Have a cushion to hide behind.”
Here’s my take. Let’s talk about what you think of what we’ve seen and what’s to come.
After a—yes, cheeky—introduction from Tobias Menzies (What astounding range this man possesses!), we start with the familiar: The stones, the forget-me-nots, the dreamt confession. The blood. The Wedding…
And the now-familiar push in from the window at Wentworth.
In this expanded offering, Jamie is resolutely furious and furiously resolute. His eyes shift from left to right as he enters, his incredulity cast as much upon his wife as his nemesis.
Claire shakes her head, almost imperceptibly, astounded at the impossibility of his arrival and entreating his dedition, as we hear BJR’s bone-chilling words, “Let’s commence with the evening’s entertainment.”
Coming back to him, Jamie has resumed a countenance of pure strategy, emotion-free and in charge.
This is subtle, nuanced, layered acting. In fewer than twenty frames, we see Jamie suppressing, calculating, compartmentalizing, and more. The set of his lips alone confirms his commitment to cause.
Interspersed with a few seemingly MacGuffin (see what I did there?), at the least non sequitur flashes of Geillis Duncan glancing about in panic, enigmatic war chieftan Dougal Mackenzie literally wielding a double-edged sword, and our lovers, awash in morning light (but which morning… WHICH??), we return to the now oft-seen “You’re tearing my guts out” passage.
Maybe (surely) viewers have pieced together that this and the last image we were allowed to take away from the mid-season conclusion—of Jamie, the exhausted but stone-faced protector, enclosing a crumpled Claire against him—and this occur in the same scene.
Back to indomitable Black Jack, whose seemingly ponderous, confused countenance can never be trusted, is looking down the barrel of Jamie’s gun.
We immediately cut to find the pair, no! Not again! At the all-too-familiar whipping post.
Is it at all possible that we can take some comfort in seeing that Jamie’s hair doesn’t appear to be of the length it has become by this point in the time line of the story? A paused frame leads me to believe that the bystanders appear to be those of episode 1.06 The Garrison Commander? I could be way off, and I welcome public comment. Time will tell, in any case.
That, and the ominously creepy, piercing, studying look from Black Jack, stroking his wanting lips, head and camera shot all askew.
Phew! Well, enough of that. Back to Leoch, it seems, where we get a delicious bit of Claire giving a piece of her mind to Laoghaire.
Those unfamiliar with the text and whose first knowledge of… her… is from the show may not fully understand the wrath held for her by the decades-faithful Outlandish. Just wait.
And Geillis. Oh, dear. What I didn’t catch on the first few viewings was that we have the two women of suspicious origin thrown into the room by Ned Gowan. I know what’s coming, and yet I dread this as much as what this preview indicates may be in Jamie’s future.
Aside from a few other establishing frames to indicate political and clan unrest, we move on.
Back to Lallybroch! Glorious Jenny, and (newbies, a minor spoiler) our first sight of Ian.
We also like Jenny, even when she’s upbraiding our lovelies.
We know that, for all the best intentions and all the worst circumstances, they sort of have it coming, yet.
Speaking of upbraiding, more triumph during peril!
Jenny and Claire, pistols drawn upon a redcoat. Sublime acting, ladies. In a blink of an eye for each, you can see the retribution due each of them, having had weapons drawn upon themselves by his brethren soldiers before him.
And more fighting! Duels, and—gasp!—who is that being toted up the street with nefarious Father Bain bringing up the rear?
Also, what does our trusted, fearless Ronald D. Moore mean, exactly, when he says that the second half of the season is going to, “go in a direction a lot of audiences aren’t expecting,” huh?
These are dangerous times, mo nighean donn.