Hannah James as Geneva, playing a girl we love to hate
An exciting storyline filled with some serious drama
Some supporting ladies who we totally identify with
One MAJORLY steamy scene
Massive time jumps with big holes made the whole episode felt rushed
Claire who? A lack of development for what's been going on with our leading lady felt especially prominent this episode
This week’s Outlander may cause a fandom implosion- What side are you on?
In this week’s Outlander we began in Claire’s present in 1968 where Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Roger (Richard Rankin), and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) are all searching for Jamie (Sam Heughan) after realizing that he didn’t die at Culloden. Roger and Brianna are getting along really well judging from Roger’s bashful “Aw, shucks” demeanor and Brianna’s American ingenuity. But the search is frustrating for them because it can’t be easy to just find one man two hundred years ago. And it’s taking it’s toll on Claire. But we’ll get back to that later.
The bulk of this episode is dedicated to Jamie and his experiences at Helwater. Brought there by Lord John (David Berry) at the end of the last episode, Jamie appears to be settling into life as a groom there relatively well despite the fact that he’s still a prisoner. When the Dunsanys return Jamie is summoned by Lord Dunsany. He knows that Jamie is a Jacobite prisoner (though not quite how notorious a Jacobite prisoner) and reveals his own son was killed during the rising. Because of this he tells Jamie he won’t tell his wife to spare her that pain.
Lord Dunsany also has two daughters. Isobel (Tanya Richards), who is lovely and sweet tempered and appears to have quite the crush on Lord John (we’ve all been there, Isobel). Then there’s Geneva (Hannah James), who is spoiled, self-centered, demanding, and maybe a bit of a shrew. Despite this fact she’s caught the eye of the Earl of Ellesmere, who is rich as Croesus and manages to buy Geneva for himself. Geneva is accustomed to going riding each day and since Jamie has caught her eye, one day she demands he accompany her on her ride. But Jamie isn’t so biddable as the other grooms and when Geneva pulls a stunt to get him to “rescue” her, he tosses her into a mud puddle.
This would probably put most women off, but not Geneva. She decides that since she’s supposed to marry an old man she might as well lose her virginity to someone virile and strong and Jamie will fit the bill. So she pumps Lord Melton for information about who Jamie really is and uses it to blackmail Jamie into sleeping with her. He does, and thought she says she loves him Jamie assures her she doesn’t and that she could have the feelings she’s having with any man. Regardless she comes back from a long honeymoon months later pregnant as anything and the look she gives Jamie tells him it probably isn’t the old dude’s baby.
Geneva goes into labor and she’s having trouble, so the Dunsany family rush to her side but it’s too late, she’s dead. A distraught Isobel tells Jamie she knows the baby is his because Geneva told her everything. Meanwhile Lord Ellesmere is in a frothing rage, calling the boy a bastard and saying it wasn’t his and that he’d rather kill it than give it to the Dunsanys. Jamie has to protect his son and shoots Ellesmere, and the Dunsanys are so grateful they not only are able to cover it all up but they’re able to arrange a pardon for Jamie so he can go home. But he can’t leave his son, so he agrees to stay with the Dunsanys until he’s ready, using the excuse that he’s sending home the money he’s making to his family.
Roger and Bree are getting closer, but unfortunately not to finding Jamie. Brianna worries that finding Jamie will result in her losing her mother. Joe Abernathy tries to entice Claire back to the hospital by telling her one of her favorite patients needs surgery right away, but she’s not biting. After Fiona returns the pearls Jamie gave her that she had given away to Mrs. Graham Claire worries she’s torturing herself living in the past and decides to give up the search.
Fast forward a couple of years and Willy is about six. Though he’s just a groom it appears he and Willy are not only able to see each other, they’re exceptionally close and Willy loves him. When people start to notice that Willy looks like Jamie, it’s time for him to go. Jamie asks Lord John to take care of Willy and offers himself as payment but Lord John would never accept that. And it seems Lady Isobel’s dreams are coming true: Her and Lord John are engaged. Before he goes Jamie baptizes his son so he can become a “stinking papist” and gives him a snake like the one his brother carved for him.
As the end of the episode nears, Jamie leaves his son with an equally sad Lord John at Helwater. Claire gives up the search for Jamie and leaves Scotland taking Brianna away from Roger as well. Time to get into the good stuff!
Blackmail gets all the boys
We might as well start with the biggest point in this episode because we can hear the fandom exploding from here: Let’s talk about Geneva. First things first, we’re going to give some praise to Hannah James because she was really really great in the role. Geneva is absolutely detestable in the book, but James really found the humanity in Geneva. Her eyes are especially expressive. It didn’t matter what was coming out of Geneva’s mouth, James had such expressive eyes we felt her loneliness like a punch in the gut.
“Then you’ll know what to do. When you come to my bed.” -Geneva
Geneva’s behavior towards Jamie is reprehensible and we don’t want to forgive her. But we’re going to admit something unpopular. We absolutely understood in the show why she did what she did. From the moment Isobel says, “A cage is still a cage,” you get the feeling the writers are trying to make you sympathize with Geneva. She’s a young girl with absolutely no agency for herself. She can’t choose her husband. Once she belongs to him he can essentially do whatever he likes with her. And when Lord Ellesmere says his sister had encouraged him to take a more biddable wife we got the feeling Geneva acted like such a prickly bitch just to avoid the kind of situation she finds herself in. If she behaves like a shrew no man will offer for her and she won’t be trapped by a man. It’s too bad it backfires on her so spectacularly. And he is gross. You’d drown a kid for having red hair? Screw you, Ransom.
Jamie and Geneva, sitting in a tree…
Book readers will know that Jamie and Geneva’s sexual encounter has caused massive debate in the fandom for twenty years. We’re don’t have to get into that, because thank the lord, Toni Graphia made the smartest decision ever and changed the entire tone of this scene by changing it from the book. Thank you, Toni, for making that call. This time, when Jamie asks Geneva if she still wants to go through with it, Geneva gives him a definitive yes. Geneva is wrong to blackmail Jamie into her bedroom the way she did. Is she assaulting him? We’re not gonna lie: The argument can (and should) be made. But here, once he’s in her bedroom, we got the feeling that he was kind of into it.
“Love is when you give your heart and soul to another, and they give theirs in return.” -Jamie
Will this cause major fandom implosion? How dare Jamie enjoy sex with anyone except Claire! We expect fans will rage. As for us, we really liked it. Jamie generally likes women with spirit and he’s been alone a long time. It’s not a stretch to imagine that he’d take what she was offering. Sex for him at this point is human connection and everyone needs that. The scene was long (he certainly took his time). And graphic. But we loved it because we’re taking it as Jamie not just needing connection, but pitying Geneva. When she says she loves him at the end of their encounter, he tells her she doesn’t and explains what love is. But he knows she’s never going to have that. Jamie is lucky, he had love, and he had physical connection with that love. Geneva is only ever going to have that small piece of sexual satisfaction. We did feel bad for her, at the end. Even after the heinous way she got Jamie there.
Six years in sixty minutes
This episode flew by. There was a lot of content in very little time. The majority of the episode was given over to Jamie and Helwater with the small portion spent in the 60’s with Claire, Roger and Brianna tossed in as an afterthought and our biggest question is: Why? The balance between time spent in the 18th century and time spent in the 60’s until now has seemed really balanced in season three. This episode was very Jamie-heavy and it’s already felt in previous episodes like Claire’s life hasn’t had as much intensity. All we’ve seen of Claire’s life is how it relates to Frank. In this episode Claire’s world revolves around finding Jamie. She didn’t even seem to care much about her patient and all we’ve heard about Claire in her life without Jamie was that her work was her life. But we still haven’t seen her work so it was a lot of tell not show. But that’s not the only problem. Everyone seemed to get short shrift in this episode. Why is Brianna attracted to Roger besides the obvious point that he’s gorgeous? There was a scene that allowed us to see why Roger would perhaps be interested in Bree. Show us what attracts Bree to Roger as well.
“What did you do?” -Roger “Distributor cap was loose.” -Brianna
Even Jamie’s story felt rushed. He sleeps with Geneva and suddenly she’s nine months pregnant. Then she’s dead and Ellesmere is screaming about the child being a bastard. That didn’t bother him at all throughout her pregnancy? John Grey and Jamie seem closer and their relationship far more trusting, but there was only a singular chess game between them to make this so. And it’s not as if more material doesn’t exist. We were hoping that perhaps they’d pull a small portion of the storyline from The Scottish Prisoner to beef up development here. Jamie and John’s relationship could have been embellished. You could’ve seen Jamie at Helwater suffering for lack of Claire and the solace that he found with his son. The scenes with Jamie and Willy were really quite touching. It’s a shame that they felt just too quick. This episode could easily have been spread over two episodes and we wouldn’t have complained.
Stretching this over two episodes would’ve felt more satisfying emotionally as well. When Jamie offered himself to Lord John as payment for taking care of Willy, we felt nothing. That’s either because this was unearned in terms of their relationship or because some dialogue shouldn’t be lifted directly from the books. We can’t blame David Berry because, well, we absolutely love him, and because we really did see naked hunger and sadness in his eyes when John looked at Jamie. Thank goodness for them, they really delivered much needed emotion even as we wished for more.
Final Verdict: Outlander 3×04 is bound to cause some major fandom implosion but count us in with the yay-sayers
If the worst thing we had to say about this episode was that we wished it were spread out over two episodes instead of one, we’ll take it. Granted that issue caused a gaping hole where our hearts should be, we’re not talking a small misstep. It seems as if they’re really just rushing us towards the printshop now but really it’s alright with us that we’re not there yet! There are some wonderful moments when Jamie and Claire are separated and we’d love to wallow in them a little bit more than we’re feeling like we’re allowed to. We love some of these new characters. Let us watch them a bit!
Let’s talk about some ancillary women in this episode: Fiona and Isobel. Can we all agree that we are Fiona and Isobel? Poor Fiona. Just trying to take care of a man she digs and some American siren who knows how to fix cars shows up, and typical, the man that she likes is completely oblivious to her affection. Been there girl. And it was really sweet of her to return the pearls! What about Isobel? Her crush on Lord John was actually almost painful. Watching her awkwardly fixing her bonnet when she was in his presence, or watching her ask about him. Girl… been there. All the love in the world to these ladies. Been. There.
Jamie has been denied the chance to be a father twice before, and now he’s being denied it a third time. At least he’s able to be in little Willy’s life for the first few formative years. But we can’t imagine what a heartbreak it must’ve been like for Jamie to be there, but be unable to truly be his father. What did he say to him when he held him and whispered something in Gaelic? We were dying to know.
When John Grey says that he’ll make Isobel a good husband and that there was more to marriage than carnal love, he has a point. But we feel really bad for Isobel because John Grey is really hot and she so very clearly wants him so badly. Did he mean they’d never have a physical relationship? And did Ellesmere have no servants? In the book this confrontation takes place in a small room. Here it’s in the middle of the house. Nobody saw Jamie shoot an Earl? That probably took some major hush money.
The kid who played William was pretty adorable, but let’s be real. He didn’t look a blessed thing like Sam Heughan. Yes, when kids are little they have rounder faces so it would be rough finding any kid who had that kind of ridiculous bone structure, but still. We just laughed and laughed when people kept going on about how “anyone could see it”. Sure they could. And while we appreciated that Jamie gave Willy a snake just like his brother gave him and that was very sweet, book readers will recall that the rosary becomes really important to him as he grows up. Jamie couldn’t get rosary beads from anywhere?
There is a quartet of awards to give out for eye-acting this week. Congratulations to Sam Heughan, David Berry, Hannah James and Tanya Richards for some of the best looks we’ve ever seen this week. If a glance was worth a thousand words this episode actually may have been four hours. From Geneva’s look back at Jamie after he hands her down from her carriage nine months pregnant to Lord John’s despondent look as Jamie gets on his horse and rides away, that was some damn successful eye-acting.
And thanks for the brazen foreshadowing we’ve at this point just come to accept as part of every episode from Outlander. From Ellesmere saying he’d drown a child for coming out with red hair (dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuun) to Isobel’s “A cage is still a cage,” referring to basically everyone in this episode, we now recognize the writers of Outlander just can’t help themselves.
Well it was quite a ride for our hero this week (no pun intended). Now he’s headed home, but Claire seems to have given up looking for him. So what’s in store next week? We can’t wait to find out!
Comments and Questions: Bring on the comments!
- Who else couldn’t help but think about our current political climate when Jamie said they’d lost good men on both sides during the Jacobite rebellion? What an unfortunate dialogue decision.
- Was Roger’s car a morris minor? We couldn’t tell. Too bad if it isn’t, that would’ve been a nice easter egg for fans!
- Hannah James was an absolute MASTER in that sidesaddle.
- Geneva needs acting lessons. That fake scream was ridiculous.
- I know everyone loves seeing Jamie in a kilt, but damn does he look good in that groom’s uniform.
- Unpopular opinion: This sex scene with Geneva was one of the hottest on the show so far. Please don’t throw things at us, but definitely sound off in the comments!!
- Why does Isobel go and run for Jamie herself? Don’t the Dunsany’s have a bazillion people working for them?
- Someone please tell us what Jamie said in Gaelic.
- Claire gets extra feminist when she’s annoyed. You sit at that bar, Claire!
- Claire gave up awfully easily for someone who found out she left the love of her life alive. What gives, Claire?
Outlander returns next Sunday, October 8th, 2017 at 8/7C on Starz.
Outlander Review 3×04 “Of Lost Things”