They say you can’t go home again, and I find that is very true. Even when you do finally get to the physical place, it is never really the same, especially after a big, life-changing event has happened. Even though things are in exactly the same place they were….the same smells, the same dishes, the same furniture….it’s not the same. This week we see Jamie and Claire, newly minted as a true couple now, head for Jamie’s family home, Lallybroch.
Beautiful, scenic countryside take us there with Jamie and Claire as they talk along the way about Claire’s life and world before Scotland and Jamie. Then, as it happens in real life, we are suddenly there. Lallybroch, Jamie’s home for his whole life, is right there. Idyllic and picturesque. Lovely and peaceful looking. There is no great fanfare, the two simply walk up to the house, encounter a small boy and around the corner, comes Jenny.
We get no real introduction to Jenny. She is simply there all of a sudden, which I thought was perfect. No one wonders who Jenny Murray is. She is a force to be reckoned with all on her own. So, after a brief embrace with her brother, she calls Claire a trollop and commences to arguing with Jamie.
And, the whole time I was sitting there thinking how right and true this relationship already is. I am the oldest of five – three sisters and a brother – and this is exactly what happens when we get together after not seeing one another for a long while – and especially when we have been fighting with one another long distance. Well, I don’t fight with all three of my siblings – just the one ….. the arguing never stopped so I just quit talking to that sibling altogether. Story for another time (like … never!).
Jamie and Jenny go at one another right off the bat, and it is sibling bickering perfection. Neither one of the are willing to bend one bit, nor do they consider what the other might be thinking or feeling. Assumptions – they are a big, huge, enormous problem with Jenny and Jamie. Jamie especially assumes a lot of things that simply aren’t true, and it’s clear that he is still dealing with what happened with Randall. The very sight of the house – and Jenny – brings back horrible and painful memories. The two of them are still going at one another when around the corner comes Ian Murray. He proudly announces the child that Jamie assumed was the bastard child of Randall is his own child, Jamie (from now forward to be called Young Jamie, so we know who is who).
I assumed that the reunion between Ian and Jamie would be a bit different. (Assumptions. They are terrible things!) It was not quite as warm and brotherly as I had pictured. As a matter of fact, it was, in reality, quite realistic under the circumstances. It can be hard to pick up where you left off when things are so strained and awkward. It doesn’t take a lot of time for these two to fall into the easy friendship I was expecting though. By the end of the episode, the comradery I was hoping for is there.
Dinner is about the most awkward dinner I have seen. Very strained, very contentious and definitely not the home Jamie had been talking of to Claire. Jamie and Jenny go around and around, neither of them saying what is really, REALLY on their minds. They just continue to peck at one another. I love the feel of these scenes. Instead of disliking Jenny, which I was terribly afraid of, I can completely relate to her. BookJenny has never been one of my favorite characters, but SeriesJenny is a bit different. Yes, she is super prickly, and she calls Claire a trollop without so much as looking at her, but we have to remember that Claire is English. English people are not exactly well liked by the Fraser/Murray family, and Jenny and Jamie have this big thing – including their father’s death – between the two of them.
Jenny Murray is a strong person, with strong opinions and not a lot of skills to be able to express her very deep emotions. She just can’t. She can’t go there because she needs to be the one who holds everything else together. It is very difficult to be and do both. I can absolutely relate to that and I think Laura Donnelly, the actress who portrays Jenny, understands that as well. So, because expressing her emotions is not comfortable for Jenny, she turns to the one thing that is comfortable for her – fighting with people. The anger and snark are a cover for what she is both having difficulty expressing and repressing. She believes that if people see her break down, they won’t respect or listen to her. She may be right. I don’t know.
Basically Jenny and Jamie carry on picking at one another until they are finally able to talk to one another – alone and away from the house. Jenny is finally able to expel the emotional demon she has been carrying around with her by basically spilling her guts to Jamie about the death of their father. Once it’s out, she is changed and their relationship morphs instantly into a much more calm and peaceful one. Jamie is finally able to get to grips with the fact that he has the situation all wrong and has HAD the situation all wrong from the beginning. He realizes, in that moment standing next to his father’s grave with his crying sister, that he has been going at things all wrong and what really matters is his family and the families who depend on them to survive. Jenny has had to be the one to hold all of together for the past four years – and she did it simply by being stubborn. In the end, they both realize that home is the family – and the place is just where the family happens. They are tied to the land, yes, but the need one another to make it home.
As for Jenny and Claire, it doesn’t take Jenny long to realize that there are real feelings between Claire and Jamie. She also realizes, instantly, that Claire is different. Not just English different, but a different sort of person altogether. Claire is every bit as direct and strong as Jenny is herself. Strength recognizes strength – and both recognize the one thing they have in common: a love of Jamie Fraser. I thought the relationship between these two often hard to handle ladies got off to the best start it could, all things considered. Loved the dynamic between the two women and can’t wait to see more of the two of them, together in action!
Two more points before I forget:
- Black Jack Randall and the full frontal by Tobias Menzies: I know some of you were a bit taken aback by those scenes. I admit to looking away, but not because of the nudity. I was actually disgusted by what was going on onscreen – and Tobias Menzies should be heralded as a brave and dedicated actor for doing it. It was not just for shock value. It was not self serving. It was not just to do a full frontal. It was done to drive home a point about the character….Jack Randall is a sick man. He’s violent. He’s evil. And Tobias Menzies absolutely drove that point home and wasn’t afraid to take it ALL THE WAY home. Honest to God, I am scared sh*tless over what is coming in the next few weeks. I think that was the purpose and if so, mission accomplished.
- The I Love Yous: I can see how some would feel unsatisfied by how the long awaited I love yous finally happened. It was not this big, sweeping moment straight out of The Notebook. It was not this brash, crazy, chaotic declaration. It was quiet. Natural. Intimate and sweet. It wasn’t forced or brash. It was heartfelt, honest and pure…and just like coming to Lallybroch, it was suddenly there. It was right and so Jamie said it. I loved it. It might be one of the best I Love Yous I’ve seen on television. It certainly makes the top three for me.
Overall, I loved, loved this episode. I tweeted earlier that I was afraid I wouldn’t like Jenny. I really wanted to love her – and I do. I love both her and Ian and I am so happy for all of us as fans and series watchers. We are getting the very best television has to offer in this show. I can’t wait to see more – even if I am scared to death of what it is going to look like. I already know, of course, what happens but I am afraid to actually see it. Boldly forward I shall go, however! Hope to see you all there at the end.
With much love and best wishes for a wonderful week! J