The seventh episode of Outlander is devoted to the moment fans of the novels have been waiting for years to see brought to life on the screen: the wedding between Claire and Jamie. Thrust unceremoniously into an engagement with a man she barely knows, Claire relives her wedding to Frank just before the break-out of World War II – an impromptu occasion, not unlike her second wedding in the 18th century. Amid the calamity of the rushed marriage, tensions are high and Claire’s discontent is even higher. Disgraced at how she must betray Frank, she knows her marriage to Jamie is the only thing that will keep her out of the hands of Black Jack Randall; taking Jamie’s name will quite literally save her life.
As the episode unfolds, we’re taken right into the married couple’s bedchamber, an initially unromantic scene as the men of Clan MacKenzie wait with neither patience nor discretion for the marital consummation. Against a foray of drunken clamoring and self-conscious awareness, Claire and Jamie awkwardly begin to discover each other; but what began as bashful necessity turns into something much more beautiful and true as they learn more about one another and their relationship naturally begins to unfold.
The Outlander adaptation has faced a daunting task in capturing the likeness of the story while also giving fans a new, exciting experience, and the Outlander wedding is undoubtedly the moment of truth. But with fans everywhere singing the praises of this episode, it’s safe to say the team behind Starz’s Outlander – especially Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as Jamie and Claire – delivered something that far exceeded our expectations. Their chemistry was wonderful, perfectly measured in their initial moments of shyness before scorching the screen in a sequence of spine-tingling, heartwarming love scenes. But what makes Claire and Jamie’s wedding night so special is the emotional discovery as well as the physical, and their bits of sweet conversation and gentle laughter dispersed throughout the episode highlight the growing intimacy between them.
I loved the way the events were unfurled in this episode, falling away in layers through flashbacks, which allowed us to feel a sense of even greater anticipation for the quiet grandeur of Claire and Jamie’s wedding. Once again costume designer Terry Dresbach didn't disappoint. Claire's dress was extraordinary, deeply authentic and quietly resplendent; and the details of Jamie's wedding attire were beautifully rendered. Moments from the book are tied in with the show's originality, continuing the way this adaptation has been able to stay true to the book while also allowing us to relieve the story as if for the first time. Touches of humor and a few sentimental moments are stolen between the clan, specifically between Murtagh and young Jamie as he prepares for his wedding. Alternatively, Dougal radiates a cloud of tension that casts a feeling of insecurity on Claire. It’s an emotionally full episode, one of brightness that contrasts the stark, harrowing feeling the previous episode evoked. Proof, no doubt, of just how expansive and rich this adaptation will continue to be.
The next episode concludes the first half of Outlander’s first season, marking a mid-season break in which time I’m sure we’ll all scurry to read or re-read the books to keep ourselves sane. In the meantime, you can relive the season so far On Demand and on the Starz Play app.
Disclosure: Access to programming was made available for the purpose of review.