"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Outlander 1.7: Tender Intertemporal Polygamy

Another outstanding episode - 1.7 - of Outlander, for reasons almost completely the opposite of last week's powerful episode.   In place of the beatings and brutality meted out by Black Jack to Jamie and Claire, we get Claire and Jamie together, before, during, and the night after they are married.

And what an exquisite portrait it was.  They make love at least four times - providing quadruple ratification of their marriage for all concerned - and each time was a delicate and passionate sight to behold.   As Claire has been throughout her relationship so far with Jamie, and indeed just about everyone else (except Black Jack) 200 years in the past, she softly calls the shots, leading Jamie - a virgin (but not, as he aptly says, a priest) through the pleasures of the flesh.   Since Claire is from the future, and married in the future at that, she knows things about the bedroom that Jamie had never even dreamed of.  She responds like a woman from the future, too. The fact they're not only physically attracted to one another, but love each other - even though neither will quite admit it - makes all of this a tenderly beautiful series of scenes to behold.

Which is not to say Claire no longer has any problems.   She runs into one about 3/4s into the erotic night, when Jamie is sleeping and Dougal comes in the room to tell Claire that he broke the news of her marriage to Black Jack, and then makes a move of his own.   Fortunately for Claire, the Scots never shared the Inuit custom of wife lending.

But if the coming attractions to next week's midseason finale are an indication, Claire has far more serious problems awaiting her in the future - or its interaction with her present in the past.  She has now two husbands, both of whom she loves, separated by 200 years.   In that sense, Outlander gives serial polygamy a new kind of meaning.  Or maybe we need a new name for it - intertemporal polygamy.

Claire symbolizes this situation when she holds up her two hands to herself at the end of this episode. Each hand as a wedding ring.   Which hand will prevail in this Big Love across time?

Hard to say, but the episode that got us to this place will surely go down as one of the best, tenderly sensual and beautifully filmed marriage-night stories ever seen on television.

See also Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel ... Outlander 1.6:  Outstanding

podcast review of the first half season

Sierra Waters series, #1, time travel


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