Spoiler Alert: Don't read this post if you're avoiding spoilers for Voyager.
Filming for season three of Outlander is underway and everyone is speculating on how the Outlander team will handle their favorite scenes. I know everyone is crazy excited for the print shop scene, Claire and Jamie’s first night together, Fergus and Marsaili’s wedding. I’m sure more than a few of you are looking forward to “turtle soup”. Those scenes are all fantastic. But the one I'm downright salivating to see is one that some readers might even be dreading.
I like passion, and there is no more passionate scene in this big wonderful book (my favorite of the series) than Jamie and Claire’s epic throwdown at Lallybroch after Claire finds out about Laoghaire. That’s chapter 34 if you want to look it up. You might think it’s perverse of me, but the truth is, I love it when "Mom and Dad" fight. This is the story of a marriage after all, and married couples do have fights. Jamie and Claire should be no different. As I’ve said before, one of the things that makes Diana Gabaldon’s writing so good is the realism of her characters. This particular scene is about as real as it gets.
From the moment Jamie turns and sees Claire in the print shop, they have been a lit fuse working their way to an explosion. Each of them has spent the previous twenty years holding on to their heartbreak with white knuckled grips. Claire has been living with the spitting image of Black Jack Randall and raising a child while bottling up her grief over Jamie. And Jamie has spent twenty years surviving some extremely difficult circumstances while holding on to his grief as well. When they see each other again they’re not the same people that they were before Culloden.
That grief that they've been bottling up starts to swell, and eventually it will have to find some release. They’re each like a glass that’s filled to the brim with twenty years worth of emotions held just above the rim by surface tension. If you get at eye level, you can see the liquid wobbling and jiggling. There are moments where it seems like it will spill over, the first time they make love, at the “whore’s breakfast” the next morning, in the cellar of Madame Jeanne’s. But they manage to hold it together, until Laoghaire.
She’s the catalyst. When Claire learns that not only is Jamie married, but married to her nemesis, it finally spills over. When she tells Jamie she’s leaving, that’s the catalyst for him. Soon twenty years of bottled up tension, heartbreak and anger comes spewing out. It’s not necessarily rational. Claire even admits that just before Jamie comes back into the room. Still that doesn’t change the fact that they both have a lot of pent up feelings to vent.
Those feelings all come spilling out. As soon as Jamie puts his hands on Claire to stop her from leaving, they explode into a physical confrontation a little reminiscent of the infamous spanking scene in Outlander. Pretty soon they’re going at each other like the forces of Heaven and Hell in Book 6 of Paradise Lost. Only Jenny drenching them with water is enough to get them to stop.
I can’t wait to see what the Outlander team does with this scene. If Nell Hudson’s tweet yesterday is any indication, they may be filming it soon. I think that Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan will do an amazing job. Think back to the scene by the river from The Reckoning where Jamie and Claire confront each other after breaking out of Fort William. That was when they’d only been married for a few days. Just imagine that kind of passion times twenty.
The only potential pitfall I see, is if the writers short change this emotional explosion the way they did the soul-ransoming confrontation at the end of season one. The show is incredibly well made, and it’s clear that everyone involved is doing a bang up job 95% of the time. On the rare occasion that the show has faltered, it has been in pacing and the time allotted for certain key points of the story. Usually, those have been the times when they have focused more on the action of the story than the emotional aspects of it. For example, expanding the witch trial and The Search, but trimming the aforementioned soul-ransoming.
I know there have to be differences between book and show. Some things are just easier to tell on film than in print and vice versa. But this is a scene that I really hope they don't skip or shorten. I would love to see this get the sort of extended treatment that they gave to Jamie's flogging story in The Garrison Commander, which was one of the best television episodes EVER.
I'm sure the writers are feeling the pressure this season. Poll any group of Outlander fans on which book is their favorite and I can just about guarantee Voyager will be the majority choice. There is a TON of ground to cover in Voyager and I don't doubt that some things will have to be cut down, but this scene, this fight is the catharsis that Jamie and Claire's marriage NEEDS to move forward.
What about you? Is there a scene in Voyager aside from the print shop that you can't wait to see?