Conflicted Healing

Written by: Anne Hawkinson





My mind jolted at Jamie’s reaction when Claire told him BJR was still alive. “That can’t be right,” I said. I was waiting for some sort of flashback (if not a Wentworth Prison scene, then some expression on Jamie’s face) of the physical and emotional abuse he suffered, and up to this point, is still trying to recover from. Instead, he’s happy, grateful, and wishes Claire would have told him sooner. The reaction was not at all what I expected, and it isn’t until later in the episode that Jamie provides Claire with an explanation of where his mind has been. His recovery seems too immediate – all of that torment gone with the knowledge that BJR lives. I know he’s still carrying some baggage, and I would have liked to have seen some of it right then and there. An expression, or that tormented look in his eyes, letting us know he is still affected by what BJR did to him.

Ironically, the explanation comes just as the pair are about to have sex. Claire notices the bite marks on Jamie’s thighs and demands an explanation. Jamie stumbles through it, getting it all wrong as he tells her the truth. I would have liked to have what happened next follow the book – the fact that Jamie was trying not to appear “unmanly” in the presence of his companions, and the discussion that followed between Claire and Jamie regarding adultery from each of their perspectives. In the book, this is where the reconnecting between them happens, and I would have voted for the scene that followed to appear in the episode.



In the book, Jamie explains his torment (as he bathes). “I want to hold you like a kitten in my shirt, mo duinne, and still I want to spread your thighs and plow ye like a rutting bull.” We learn about Jamie’s duality in his expression of his love for Claire. I loved the resolution in the book, which is immediate, but was forced to wait and watch, hoping it would eventually happen on screen.

I embraced the explanation Jamie provided on-screen. (It could easily have been incorporated into the bathing scene on-screen, but I won’t keep harping on that.) He talks about a place a person keeps to themselves, the farthest, most private part of you – perhaps where your soul lives. A place for you, yourself, and no one else. A fortress of sorts. He explains that BJR blew apart that fortress, and from that time forward, he has been without shelter, naked, trying to hide under a blade of grass. Jamie is so vulnerable and open to Claire, and for the first time, she hears from Jamie what he’s been wrestling with, trying to find his way back to her. It made me mindful of my own fortress and I wondered if other viewers were doing the same.



I didn’t want Jamie to leave! “Stay and see it through!” I pleaded with him from my spot on the couch. I didn’t want them to give up when they were so close! They’d just had a major breakthrough in overcoming the trauma BJR had inflicted upon both of them, and my heart sank when Jamie decided to sleep somewhere else. Was it the daybed? I couldn’t tell. Perhaps it wasn’t the location that was as important as what was going to take place. But I wanted to know, and my eyes spent too much time trying to figure it out.

The book (sorry, here I go again) gives us wonderful insight into the fact that Claire has the same rough/gentle thoughts regarding her love for Jamie. The viewer missed that on-screen. “I can drive you to the edge of collapse and sometimes I delight in it, Jamie, I do!” And then she says, “I want to hold your head against my breast and cradle you like a child and comfort you to sleep.” 



This is a big part of what makes them soul mates – what she and Jamie have that she and Frank never had, and never will. That passion, that multi-dimensional intensity is what makes their relationship so bonding and unique. Jamie wondered about it in Season One, shortly after their marriage. “What I mean to ask is, is this … usual? What it is between us, when I touch you, when you… lie with me? Is it always so between a man and a woman?” Claire finally acknowledges that what they have is something rare. “No, it isn’t – usual. I have no idea why, but no. This is … different.”

I wanted to see that passion re-ignited, the healing process complete. I’m happy it finally happened, but it was too quick, too calm, and too quiet for the strong, passionate people I know Jamie and Claire to be. Have they really turned the corner?

Where you satisfied by Claire and Jamie's reconciliation? Were the bite marks adequately explained either the book OR the show? Let us know in the comments.

19 comments

  1. Excellent analysis and I agree. I thought the lovemaking and cuddling afterwards were well done but way too short. Given how important that reconciliation was, they should have spent a bit more time on it (they spent more time on Prince Charles roof noises, than on Jamie &Claire post-sex cuddling and reconciliation.) The producers seem to be determined to make the show "not a romance" and are actually short-changeing the audience on a lot of the romantic and bonding dialogue between Jamie & Claire. The romantic &soulful connection between those two is the most important thing in the entire story, yet the producers don't seem to realise that and are emphasising the wrong things, alas...

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    2. I don't get it either.. if he was trying to be manly in front of his friends, then did this event occur in front of them? If he wore his kilt, she could bite him easily. The 69 comment in the TV show and the book, doesn't make sense to me, unless he was in bed undressed with the prostitute( which he seems to deny)

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  2. Regarding the bite marks, mentioning 69 was incredibly stupid and misleading (it was as if a writer was trying to be funny). The 69 implied that Jamie was possibly performing or about to perform oral sex on a whore. It was ridiculous. Sam did a good job with insisting he was innocent, but it still made no sense. If they had left the bite marks without mentioning 69, the implication makes much more sense- that a whore was trying to turn him on but he didn't participate.

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    1. Actually, that dialogue comes directly from the book. "“I wouldna suppose a gently reared young lady such as yourself would be familiar wi’ an alternate meaning for the term soixante-neuf?” “I’ve heard the term,” I said, folding my arms across my chest and regarding him with a certain amount of suspicion. “And may I ask just where you encountered that particular interesting number?” “It was suggested to me— with some force— as a desirable activity by a lady I happened to meet last night.” “Was that by any chance the lady who bit you in the thigh?” He glanced down and rubbed the mark meditatively. “Mm, no. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t. That lady seemed preoccupied wi’ rather lower numbers. I think she meant to settle for the six, and the nine could go hang.”

      Gabaldon, Diana (2004-10-26). Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander) (p. 239). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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  3. I agree, londoner, excellent analysis & I completely agree with your comments. I hope the writers have the chance to read the article & comments to get a better idea of where the truth of the books lie. Claire & Jamie have yet to really reconnect. Until that happens, the show with always be lacking a little something.

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  4. Agreed. In Toni Graphia's script notes and Ron's podcast, the focus was on *where* J & C would reconnect, but not "how". The change in location was distracting and unnecessary. All to suit an inanimate object- the daybed? (not that I didn't appreciate the blue/grey visual and kudos to Neville Kidd)

    I read the script and viewed the episode- I would have given up the Fergus/Murtagh conversation for the Fergus/Jamie one, and would have lessened the keystone cops for more on the J&C reconnection.

    Oh hindsight, how I love thee.

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  5. Hi Linda, thanks for your explanation of the 69. I discovered the show by accident, (and i read the Outlander book only after watching the show). Am trying to do the same with season 2 (don't read DIA until after I watch the show). I love the show, I think some things in the show were actually better than the Outlander book. But after having read the book, I think the producers are doing 2 things that are fatally wrong: firstly and as I mentioned in my prior note, I think they are really reducing the J&C bonding moments and romance dialogue compared to the book. Secondly, they seem to be writing Jamie as much less clever & witty than he is in the book. Those are the two big errors and crucial issues in my view. Otherwise, I am not opposed to the idea of changing things from the book. I don't think the books are "perfect" (sorry Diana Gabaldon), and I don't think they had to include the 69 comment- it was confusing and sounded a bit forced. They have to make better decisions as to which speeches from the book are crucial to include, and which things are not particularly necessary. Make better choices of what to include or exclude from the book. In my view the 69 should have been excluded (Even if it was in the book - it is very confusing to non book readers). Other crucial speeches should have been included (ie at the stones, Jamie praying for strength to let Claire go). Generally speaking, I think the show is spending too much time on things not related to the romance, and not enough time on the romance.

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    1. I agree. Plus, a lot of things, like the 69 conversation, were well written and perfect in the book, as they are tiny fragments of a much larger picture. Taken in small chunks and interspersed, this little pieces almost seem out if context and awkward. I have made a conscious decision to separate the book from the show so as to be able to enjoy both independent of each other, but it is so difficult not to compare them, especially when it comes to the little details!

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    2. I agree. Plus, a lot of things, like the 69 conversation, were well written and perfect in the book, as they are tiny fragments of a much larger picture. Taken in small chunks and interspersed, this little pieces almost seem out if context and awkward. I have made a conscious decision to separate the book from the show so as to be able to enjoy both independent of each other, but it is so difficult not to compare them, especially when it comes to the little details!

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  6. I hate to admit that I, too, would also love more relationship screen time...but I hope that the deleted DIA dialogue makes its way into a future scene. The "blade of grass" lines were planted in a new scene, maybe J and C will get their moment in an upcoming episode. Folks, it only gets more complicated after Culloden, in the rest of the books...changing continents, characters. If we can't enjoy the ride in Paris, maybe Starz won't want to build is that ship and sail it for another season. 🙄

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    1. I think we are enjoying the show, we're just frustrated that it could have &should have been much better. They struck pure gold with the casting of Sam& Caitriona, yet they are under utilizing the important bond between those 2 characters. If the viewer numbers are going down, it's not because the show is too complicated- it's because viewers are not getting enough J&C romantic interaction and character development (nobody wants to watch huge amounts of Frank, frankly...)

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    2. Regarding the blade of grass speech (such an incredibly important speech!!! The most important speech in the entire episode, and one of the most important in the entire Outlander book) they almost didn't include it, the writer didn't add it but thank God Maril Davis asked for it. If feel that perhaps some of the writers just don't "get" what it is that makes Outlander special...

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  7. I am so happy to have found this site, and to find so many of my thoughts reflected in the posts and comments! I have a lot of catching up to do but I opened this post because I, too, found Jamie's response to BJ being alive totally jarring. They had him almost giggle. I can't imagine Jamie, or anyone ever, finding happiness during any mention of their tormentor. Relief, satisfaction, some positive response to the possibility that confronting might bring resolution, but laughter? It's bothered me since. It was the ultimate sign that whoever was defining Jamie this season, didn't remember him from last season, let alone the books. I could picture him telling Claire, I know how to face an enemy but not how to fight a ghost. But, oh goody now I can kill him and be happy!? Ich.
    On a related note, I agree with Linda that the show has made a fatal error in not showing Jamie as witty and clever - I would add well educated which is also a big part of his character - and in not showing us the bond between Jamie and Claire.
    The motivation to continue to watch season 2, after the first episode kicks off by telling us the season's heartbreaking ending, is to view see this magnificent love story that engulfed Claire. I mean, they didn't spend those 40 minutes in the 20th century discussing history or time travel (both worthy subjects), they drew us into the season with glimpses of an epic love story. And then the producers decided the audience wouldn't like too much focus on a love story?
    We knew that political intrigue, adventure and battle were coming, the show does those wonderfully as well. But, with or without sex, whether wounded, broken, frightened, confused, or as one, we were promised a love story. Not two people who barely spoke to each other for the first few episodes.
    I've just passed episode 5 and there's more connection, but I'm getting my hankies ready for the rest of the season.

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  8. I am so happy to have found this site, and to find so many of my thoughts reflected in the posts and comments! I have a lot of catching up to do but I opened this post because I, too, found Jamie's response to BJ being alive totally jarring. They had him almost giggle. I can't imagine Jamie, or anyone ever, finding happiness during any mention of their tormentor. Relief, satisfaction, some positive response to the possibility that confronting might bring resolution, but laughter? It's bothered me since. It was the ultimate sign that whoever was defining Jamie this season, didn't remember him from last season, let alone the books. I could picture him telling Claire, I know how to face an enemy but not how to fight a ghost. But, oh goody now I can kill him and be happy!? Ich.
    On a related note, I agree with Linda that the show has made a fatal error in not showing Jamie as witty and clever - I would add well educated which is also a big part of his character - and in not showing us the bond between Jamie and Claire.
    The motivation to continue to watch season 2, after the first episode kicks off by telling us the season's heartbreaking ending, is to view see this magnificent love story that engulfed Claire. I mean, they didn't spend those 40 minutes in the 20th century discussing history or time travel (both worthy subjects), they drew us into the season with glimpses of an epic love story. And then the producers decided the audience wouldn't like too much focus on a love story?
    We knew that political intrigue, adventure and battle were coming, the show does those wonderfully as well. But, with or without sex, whether wounded, broken, frightened, confused, or as one, we were promised a love story. Not two people who barely spoke to each other for the first few episodes.
    I've just passed episode 5 and there's more connection, but I'm getting my hankies ready for the rest of the season.

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  9. Oops, didn't realize that my last comment showed up twice, sorry! Jennifer's comment just showed up in my email and when I came to look at it I scrolled through, and between the post itself, the photos and the comments, something struck me that I hadn't put my finger on before. Jamie was an assertive (I didn't want to say aggressive, although if the shoe fits...) and lover and tactile person in general. He is always holding Claire - arm, waist, knee, ankle - sexually, protectively, for security, all of the above. We had it to a certain extent in season one, even before they married, so, very in keeping with the Jamie character, but barely this season. And that includes after the "ice" was broken. Odd choices.

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  10. Everything Londoner and Diane said. All of it. Why is sticking to the book deemed such a negative? I will never understand. I tuned in for the characters of Jamie and Claire and their romance, and what I got where a Jamie and Claire I cannot recognize and a whole load of the last person I want to see: Frank. I can't watch anymore.

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  11. Whatyouseehere, I just said those very words to my husband!!! Every week the show manages to compound the problems I have with this season. I was a "nonreader" when I started watching and from that POV the depiction of the characters and focus on the relationship changed so abrubtly after Claire's decision to stay with Jamie that I felt like I had whiplash. I gave it a couple of episodes before demanding that a book obsessed book tell me what the heck was going on. Thankfully, she made me read the books for answers, which I got: a lot of odd choices had been made regarding what to keep and what to change for TV. However, I was more hooked than ever despite my frustrations because of the great acting, great settings, etc, and because I had hopes that once Jamie and Claire reconnected after Wentworth, we would be back on track. Hah! However one felt about the torture scenes, the soul rescue was poor and I think we were all nervous about how much time it would take in season 2 to address the healing appropriately - for fiction at any rate. But, I was still hopeful. Then, flabbergasted by its first episode, Tobias Menzes and Caitroina Balfe gave great performances only not in the story I had signed on for. I was so relieved to return to Jamie, and then hated the portrayal of both characters since :-(.
    I can't imagine what the producers were thinking! With special mention of the poor material given Sam Heughan to work with. Finally, in the end of last episode, I thought he was given the script and time to deliver the Jamie I at least knew and loved from last season. Too little too late. This episode was so poorly written, storyline decisions so odd and, particularly Claire's character went from bad to worse. I too am giving up.
    I know I have written a lot, and caution to anyone who prefers not to discuss the details of how sex is protrayed. But has anyone else been disappointed in that during the few (okay, two) scenes it was allotted? As we all mention, I miss all touching and tenderness, whether sex was possible or not. But once it was possible, the show also changed how that was shown between one season and the next. Since the show began, everyone involved has talked about how unique it was that the camera lingered, did not aver its "gaze" etc. So, I was a little disappointed with the blue cubby reunion because it was so abbreviated, before during and after. How should I put this - they were not even allowed to finish, which they'd always done so well in the past (no wonder they called it a woman's gaze!), and did we really need the bonnie prince to drop in immediately? Again, not just in the books, but even last season, there might have been more lingering. This week, all other reviews raved about the moment, did it seem just an awkward hint to me? Maybe it is because we are not viewing these scenes in the context of what once might as well have been full episodes foreplay, as before, although then they might have been even more frustrating if abbreviated.
    Maybe I just should simply have said, I miss my Jamie and Claire - book or show - and the rest of the story this season has been made almost insufferable as a show alone. I hope I can resist coming back looking for something to change, I don't think there is time or inclination on the part of the producers.

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