I’m always surprised by how easily we can suspend disbelieve for fae, vampires, werewolves, and traveling through time by standing stones, but we can’t put aside our 20th and 21st century lenses when reading/viewing historical fiction. So, lest you think me too flippant about my title, let me say my piece (peace?) about the infamous spanking scene:
1. 21st century TQ would’ve pulled a weapon on Jamie or slowly poisoned him at meal times . And that’s if he even thought about spanking me. He never would’ve gotten to the actual spanking (do I need to put in a disclaimer about not really condoning murder?). 18th century me? We’ll let’s be real. I’m black; the 18th century wasn’t the best time for people like me. I would’ve had even less say so in what a man like Jamie Fraser could do with my body, sadly. My point is, an 18th century wife would not see a spanking as spousal abuse. They probably didn’t like it much either, but this was their world, their customs.
2. Claire screwed up, and if you read the book, you know she wasn’t spontaneous about running away either. She put them all in danger, Jamie especially, considering that price on his head. No way was a stern talking-to going to make amends with those Highlanders.
3. For the people that think it was out-of-character for Jamie b/c of Laoghaire. First, remember that 16-year-old Laoghaire is not Jamie’s wife. Nor did she put everyone’s life at risk. Claire is and did. Claire also wasn’t spanked in front of anyone, let alone the entire clan. Jamie having experienced that before, I think it was very in-character for him to take that beating.
4. I applaud the show for making it nuanced and a bit humorous. We all read and interpret things differently, and I’m one of those people that found it pretty funny in the book. Suspend my feminist card if you must. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
5. Most important of all is how the spanking changes Jamie and their marriage. It didn’t take him long to realize that Claire was having none of it and he needed to fix it fast. Was it worth it to get that new level of respect he has for his wife and that shift in power that puts them on more equal footing? No , but he does respect her more and they do end up more as equals. Something good came out of it.
Now back to the recap.
We’re flipping things around in this episode (see what I did there?), with Jamie taking over narrator duties. As much I like hearing the man speak, the voice-overs are still not my favorite thing. While Jamie is telling us all about becoming a man, Horrocks the deserter is waiting to get paid before he’ll reveal the name of the man who did the crime Jamie is accused of. Can we take a minute to talk about how put-together Horrocks looks for a guy hiding out from the English army? Horrocks gets his coin and reveals that it was Black Jack Randall himself that shot the man and Jamie isn’t likely to clear his name ever with that information. Before we can let that bit of bad news sink in, Willie rides up minus one stray Sassenach and off to the rescue we go.
The rescue team makes it to Fort William where they threaten castration to find Claire’s whereabouts. There’s some blunt force trauma inflicted and Jamie is then risking rope burn in sensitive places to get to his bride. Claire screams, Jamie bursts through the window, gun at the ready, and we’re back where we left off in the mid-season finale. Apparently just amputating Claire’s nipple isn’t enough now that Randall has an audience. Let’s also threaten to cut her throat and/or rape her in front of her husband’s face, the “striped-back thief.” Rude much, BJR. It works in getting Jamie to put down his gun, which of course Randall tries to use to kill Jamie. Jokes on you, Black Jack; it’s empty. Taking advantage of Randall’s surprise, Jamie clocks him and he and Claire jump into freezing waters, making their escape. Oh, there was an explosion and some gun shots too.
Once safely away from Fort William, Jamie takes Claire aside while the others pretend they can’t hear or see anything. Jamie is waiting for an apology. Claire is all hell will freeze over first. Names are called. Accusations are thrown out. Jamie gets slapped. And it may be the hottest argument I’ve seen on TV ever. This scene was one of the chemistry tests with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, and dear God was there chemistry. *fans self* After saying things that they both meant but probably shouldn’t have said out loud ( “fucking bastard.” “foul-mouthed bitch.”), our happy couple has come down off the adrenaline high and needs to make amends. Claire apologizes first after realizing that she scared the shit out of her husband. Jamie recognizes that he’s being a dick and apologizes as well. Off we go to the inn to meet up with everyone else.
All is not well with Clan MacKenzie. The men are pulling their best kindergartner impressions and giving Claire the silent treatment. They want justice for nearly getting them all killed or imprisoned. And I won’t go over the spanking scene anymore, except to say that Jamie got as good as he gave. That kick to the face was maybe my favorite thing Claire has every done. The next morning, the men think the balance has been restored and Claire once again exists. While they joke around, the happy couple isn’t so happy. When Claire said she’d make Jamie pay for this, she wasn’t lying. No nookie for you, JAMMF.
We finally make it back to Castle Leoch, and someone must have 18th century text
messaging or something, because everyone knows that Jamie and Claire are married, and they’re waiting to congratulate them on their nuptials. Uncle Laird Colum isn’t quite so thrilled. Seems he might’ve wanted Jamie to take his place one day. We can see where this will cause trouble between him and little brother Dougal. Little Laoghaire MacKenzie is heartbroken also. At least Jamie handles the politics with Colum and Dougal a heck of a lot better than he handled
Leg Hair Laoghaire. Speaking of Jamie and his politicking: it was nice to see another side of him. He’s not just a pretty face. The man is smart and a bit cunning.
Back to Claire and Jamie, Claire is still not having it. Poor Jamie probably has a serious case of blue balls, and of course along comes Laoghaire to make it all better by offering her virginity. Because, of course, she’s the better option since she’s so pure. ::rolls eyes:: Jamie rejects her, she runs away, and we know this isn’t going to end well at all. Back in their bedroom, Jamie can’t take it anymore, finally realizes that his relationship can’t be like his parents’, and makes an oath of fealty to his wife, promising never to raise his hand against her again. Claire accepts and we commence with the make up sex. Hallelujah! They are getting it on the floor and it is glorious. Mid-coitus, our heroine proves just why she’s a bad ass by pulling Jamie’s own dirk on him and threatening to “eat his heart for breakfast.” And not once does she stop riding him, because Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser knows where her priorities are. Jamie wants to be Claire’s master, but it’s clear who has the upper hand right now.
Pillow talk ensues and Claire has to define a few terms for dear James. And this scene is just cute as hell. But, Claire needs food after all that working out they did. We’re still on the floor, btw, and Claire finds a “ill-omen” under their bed. Damn her eyes, Laoghaire is just not giving up.
Like I said, not going to end well.
So, that’s The Reckoning. My favorite episode so far, controversial as it may be. See you next week for By The Pricking of My Thumbs.