07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Monday, May 23, 2016

Michelle Monkou's Recap of Outlander, Season 2, Episode 7

Outlander Season Two, Episode Seven - Faith
(See below for links to all recaps)
(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
All week long Outlander fans on social media have posted advisories about this episode's triggers for a variety of issues: losing a baby, child sexual abuse, and the overall weighty emotional content. Truly a positive sign that Outlander has continued to get people talking. By the time I watched, I was ready for the pain. But no matter how hard the preparation, the beauty of the episode (and I choose to look at this episode from a technical perspective) took my breath away and threatened an outpouring of my tears. I gave myself a headache keeping those tears in.

(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
This episode was a final salute to Paris and its King. Through Claire's eyes we see the power of an absolute monarchy. How life hangs in a delicate balance of his whim or insecurity or even lust. The actor Lionel Lingelser is a marvelous model and interpreter of this famous/infamous man and his appetites. As I'd tweeted before, he is a scene stealer with the subtle artistry to achieve the magnitude of what's necessary to deliver and affect the scenes. Regardless of how independent and clever Claire can be, her fate is still at the king's mercy. Suppressing parts of herself to survive and outmaneuver his ire is part of the Parisian experience that sucked her in and spat her out.

In addition to Lionel, what a bloody great cast of actors. I mean really. I must give a shout out to the secondary characters and extras. From the servants who welcomed Claire back to the house, to the nuns and Mother Hildegarde's kindness, to little Fergus and his trauma, and the needed intervention of a very pregnant Louise de Rohan to take Faith from Claire. All of these smaller gems alongside the major drama unfolding added such emotion that should not be considered decorative edging, but hearty, significant contributions to a robust production.

The musical score is outstanding, as usual. I'm always ready to dance and sing whenever the theme song plays, but this time, I knew where the story would pick up after seeing Claire clutching her belly and blood saturating her legs and the ground in episode 6 -- Best Laid Plans. This episode -- Faith, the music reached in and poked at my heart, as if to say, Hold on. You will reach for several boxes of tissues. I got through the scene of Claire being told that her baby died.

But when Claire emerges from the carriage upon her return to the house, the music begins its haunting accompaniment for her walk. That's when I teared up. The household staff flanking her on either side to show their deep respect and share in her sadness couldn't have been as successful with its emotional punch without the layering of the soft, mournful melody. Watch it again, and pay attention to the music. Kudos to Bear McCreary.

The editing sequence, as Claire told Jamie about their baby, is beautiful. The flashbacks, along with the visual of Jamie, now bearded and haggard, and Claire's narrative that still rang with the pain, anger, grief, and acceptance was the sum total of what has been lost to this couple.

Faith in its literal meaning of a child and as a symbol of what has been stretched to its limit started this episode and ended this episode. Claire and Jamie were tested again. Life just keeps
(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
on challenging and poking at their reserves. No one walks away a winner. But they've weathered a storm of hurricane force and will return home to Scotland--together, as a unit. And let's face it, while Caitriona was a distinctive model of Parisian fashion. No one can compare to Sam in his full Highlander gear.

My Weekly Recaps
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6

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.

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