Note: Due to an editing gaffe, this recap was accidentally posted early. EW regrets the error.
This show is full of spectacular butts.
Sorry—I was struggling with how to start this recap. After all, “The Wedding” (alternate title: “9 1/2 Weeks in the Highlands”) is a big episode, and arguably the most anticipated of the season. So much pressure! So many things to say! So I just went with the first thing that popped to mind. (But seriously: If Caitriona Balfe’s personal trainer is reading this, please call me.)
Let’s really start with a different (potentially controversial) observation: Back when I read the wedding passage in Diana Gabaldon’s novel, it struck me as odd that Claire’s principal concern over marrying Jamie was that she didn’t know him well—not that she already had a husband waiting for her back in the future. Sure, that worry was there too, but it wasn’t as dominant as you’d think it would be. Here, that issue has been jettisoned by a surprisingly bittersweet opening, one in which Claire and Frank’s impulsive nuptials in the 1900s are skillfully juxtaposed with Claire and Jamie’s equally spur-of-the-moment ceremony (and ensuing “honeymoon”) in the 1700s. I expected to be titillated; I didn’t expect to feel melancholy, too.
We learn most of the details of the Beauchamp-Fraser nuptials through flashbacks as Claire and Jamie get further acquainted in their coital cloister. It’s post-ceremony, and Claire is sitting timidly on the bed, awaiting Jamie’s arrival. As he walks in, she hears the commotion from downstairs.
“Sounds like the wedding party is going strong,” she says. “I don’t suppose they’re going to bed anytime soon.”
“Nah, not until they know we’ve made things official,” he says. (At least they didn’t insist on being in the room!)
Not quite sure what to do, Claire suggests a drink. And then another. And another. And for the second time in the series’ run, Jamie assures Claire that she needn’t be afraid of him.
She, of course, has questions—mainly, why he agreed to marry her. Through Jamie’s recollection, we learn that Dougal used the threat of Black Jack harming Claire (and played upon the would-be groom’s own painful history with the Redcoat) to convince him. Knowing full and well what Black Jack could do, well, Jamie couldn’t say no.
“You have my name, my clan, my family, and, if necessary, the protection of my body as well,” he promises Claire. (Repeat: HIS BODY.)
Clearly touched, she takes his hand and asks to know more about his family. And what a missed opportunity for Jamie character development! In the book (the chapter’s titled “Revelations of the Bridal Chamber”), Jamie speaks at some length about his past and his family. But here, we’re only treated to stolen snippets of the conversation—trifling hints book readers will surely make sense of, while non-readers will be at a loss. (Contrast that with the intimate conversation we were privy to between Claire and Black Jack last week, and it feels as though we’ve been cheated.)
NEXT: Let’s get it on