07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Michelle Monkou's Recap of Starz Outlander, Season 2, Episode 2

Outlander Season Two, Episode Two – Not In Scotland Anymore
(See below for links to all recaps)

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

The beginning notes of this episode are a definite reminder of the past -- Jamie's past. And from the post traumatic distress that he suffers on a nightly basis, his past interweaves with his present. 

Black Jack Randall haunts his soul.

If you are popping into the Outlander world for the first time, I invite you to watch Season One in its entirety. It's important to understand how vile and inhumane Jack Randall has been to so many and the deep imprint he's left on Jamie and Claire.

As that nightmare hangs over this couple, we are led into a visual assortment of pre-revolutionary Paris life. Colors and fashion, density of population, massive buildings, the maneuvering of polite society make up the fabric of this vibrant French city. And through Murtagh's eyes and humorous, and almost always insulting commentary, we get a comparative analyses of the French vs. the Scottish. 

Another taste of the French life was the introduction of body waxing with the outrageous Louise de Rohan (Claire Sermonne), a member of the French Court. Sermonne brings her witty charm to this character with such fun and abandon that she would be a great friend to bring to a party. Claire certainly follows along as she takes a few tips to address her "honeypot."

I must say that I'm glad that an audience with the Royal Highness no longer needs to take place as s/he sits on the potty. Jamie, always the diplomat when necessary, comes to the rescue with his prescription of "parritch" for the constipated King Louise XV (Lionel Lingelser). Just hand the silly man a bowl of hot Old Fashion Oats.

And yes, I must mention the "nipple" dress. The unique fashion couture that Diana Gabaldon researched and included in the book. In all its splendor, the series conveyed the dress to the small screen, as worn by King Louis XV's mistress. Her grand entrance was noteworthy on, as well as off-camera, based on the costume designer's interviews. I wonder how many takes were needed to get the entrance just right without everyone else losing it.

But, alas, all good things must come to an end when the surprise appearance of the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) causes a stir with Claire. As if that wasn't enough, his introduction of Jack Randall's nephew--Alex--is another gut check. And the encore of surprises is that Jack Randall is alive!

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
Claire faces the dilemma to tell Jamie or not, knowing he will do anything to find and finish the job of killing Randall, even if it means delaying the plan to dislodge the Jacobite Rebellion.

Share with me what you thought of Season 2, episode two. While you’re compiling your thoughts, I asked Eden Butler, author of the Serenity series to share her thoughts of Outlander and her latest release, Catching Serenity.

This episode had quite a bit of humor with the backdrop of the Jacobite rebellion hanging over this stint in Paris. What were a couple of your LOL moments?

Eden: “Honeypot” caused a lot of giggling. Sam’s reaction when he “investigated” what was amiss of his bride was perfect. That scene made me laugh while reading it in the books and the on screen version did it justice.

Murtagh’s reaction as he stared at the King’s mistress in THAT dress (I think they’re referring to it as the nipple dress), was also very LOL-worthy. The cast in this show is just wonderful and that scene is one small example of that.

2) The research for historical detail and accuracy has to be tremendous for Outlander book/TV series. What were some of the "setting" details that you had to know for your book or series? 

Eden: Since my book is contemporary, there wasn’t any research to do for the period. There was, however, lots to do with the setting. The Serenity series is set in the fictional town of Cavanagh, Tennessee, which, in my mind, is located somewhere around Maryville and Gatlinburg.

Several years ago my family and I took a vacation to meet up with my friends in Gatlinburg and we all instantly fell in love with it. That trip included quite a bit of picture taking and trail walking in the mountains, but that wasn’t where my research ended. I’m fortunate that some very good friends of mine live in that area and were a fount of information for me while I created Cavanagh.

The town is an amalgam of Gatlinburg and the small college town where I attended university here in Louisiana. Cavanagh is comfortable and homey, a place where you can relax or have a pint and just enjoy the day people watching in the park. You can’t recreate the feel of a place like that, one that really transports you, unless you’ve experienced them for yourself. And, as Diana Gabaldon has frequently advised (and I’m doing a poor job of paraphrasing here): research isn’t an excuse not to write. So, I did both at the same time.

3) A tortured hero and heroine have to draw strength from each other for a successful story. How have your character(s) drawn strength during times of hardship (feel free to share the hardship, unless you feel its a spoiler)?

Eden: The readers that have been with the Serenity series from the beginning, know what happens in Catching Serenity. But for those who are new to the struggles Sayo and Quinn endure, I’ll just say that drawing strength from one another is central to the book. The couple, initially, aren’t remotely interested in each other. There is contention, preconceived notions, assumptions and outright disinterest between them when they first meet.

And then, Quinn and Sayo are drawn together by a little girl they both love and it’s her situation specifically that keeps them returning to each other until, eventually, they can’t pretend there isn’t real love between them.

Catching Serenity is about them getting to that point. It’s told in Sayo’s point of view and because it’s a first person narrative, we only see Quinn’s thoughts, his feelings, through the sketches he creates which Sayo finds. This enhances that point of view and gives us a glimpse into Quinn’s emotions and how he’s dealt with all the suffering leveled at him in the book.

It really is a heartbreaking story because there is loss, because there is a need to demonstrate the many facets of love and how it can wound. But you also see how love heals. That heartbreak becomes something, I think, that is ultimately very beautiful, very touching and very, very real. Catching Serenity is my eleventh novel and, I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of anything I’ve written.  



To stay updated with Eden Butler's activities, connect on Goodreads \ Twitter \ Facebook \ Tumblr \ Pinterest \ Blog

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of Mystery, Suspense and Contemporary Romance novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. 

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.
She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.

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My Weekly Recaps
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3

Episode 4

Michelle Monkou writes for Harlequin Kimani, Evernight Publishing, and her indie pursuits with Stella Maris Publishing. Michelle’s website is michellemonkou.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook.


Sarah Raplee said...

Awesome review, Michelle!
Love the photo you included - Jamie's reaction to Claire's daring gown was priceless! Black Jack's resurrection was a shocker for me, as I haven't read the books - yet! Talk about gob-smacked!

When I think of the poverty among the masses during this time of excess by the wealthy, it's easy to feel the outrage that fueled the coming French revolution.


Catching Serenity sounds like an amazing story! Thank you for visiting RTG!


Eden Butler said...

My pleasure!