Every review of this 2nd episode is full of praise and I want to join in that praise. I really do. It was a entertaining hour of television. The costumes and the sets were amazing, the acting was flawless. The episode deserves all the praise it has gotten. But I admit for me as a book reader – and I’ll always be a fan of the books first – quite a few things in this episode felt rushed while other scenes felt unnecessarily drawn out, like the “Dressing of the King” scene. And I had to remind myself every few minutes “It’s an adaption, it’s an adaption…” ;-)
I missed some kind of introductions for Prince Charles and Mary and even Louise. All of a sudden they just were there and right in the middle of everything that happens with and to them. What about Charles and Louise’s connection? In the book Charles didn’t care about the rebellion for a long time, but only had been lovesick over Louise. Wasn’t that how Claire gets to know her in the first place? And was Claire really the driving force in the whole plotting how to stop the rebellion? Here she seems the much more active part in comparison to Jamie and I don’t recall that from the book. But my memory might be fuzzy on that.
There are two changes from the book that I’m still not sure what to think of yet. One was Murtagh openly advocating for regicide. Really? Just kill the Prince or even the King to stop the rebellion? Maybe Murtagh’s loyalty lies with his Laird Jamie first and foremost, but still…. those are the Scottish Royal Family (so to speak). And to speak his mind so freely in the Prince’s presence without any regards for the social divide between them. It just felt off to me.
The other big change from the book was the meeting of Claire and Alex Randall and how she found out from him that BJR is still alive. I don’t think Claire will keep that information from Jamie, she just can’t. I mean she literally can’t, because she just is a bad liar. But also because this would really damage their relationship, I think. But what will happen when Jamie finds out about it and BJR isn’t nearby to be challenged to a deathly duel? I honestly haven’t made up my mind yet if I like this change of the plot or not.
I guess it doesn’t matter, because it’s the plot of the TV show now and Ron probably had a good reason to do this. But I’m curious to hear what he says about that on the podcast. And does the Duke know or assume to what extent BJR did abuse Jamie? What was that smile he gave Claire when he left the room all about?
This all sounds so negative, doesn’t it? I did enjoy most of the episode and there were some great scenes. Raymond, Louise and Mary were perfectly cast and they will be a great addition to the story.
I really like that we actually see Jamie still being haunted by BJR and Wentworth. Like I mentioned in my post about episode 1, I didn’t remember “Book Jamie” being troubled that often by his memories in the early days in Paris. But maybe reading about him having a nightmare just didn’t leave such an impact as the seeing him having a vivid nightmare. What a way to start the episode, by the way. And it made sense and if they choose to stress these parts of the book for TV, I’m fine with it, because it’s a realistic portrayal of a rape and torture victim.
My favourite, lighter scene was when Jamie’s “Ex” Annalise threw himself at him. Claire’s facial expressions throughout the whole scene were hilarious and so was Jamie’s apparent embarrassment over the whole incident and the memories evoked. I loved it.
And another funny line (to me at least) in a different scene was “I wouldn’t trust the prince with Lallybroch’s vegetable patch”.
So all in all, a good episode. I just have to get used (again) to the fact that it’s an adaption! Ron knows what he is doing! He did well on season 1, so…