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Date Posted: 21:30:34 04/23/16 Sat
Author: Shadow
Subject: Episode 203 - Useful Occupations and Deceptions

Episode 203 - Useful Occupations and Deceptions
Written by Anne Kenney, Directed by Metin Hüseyin
In which we meet Fergus, Mother Hildegard, and Bouton.

Okay, I don't know what to say about this episode. I stayed up late last night to watch it but the OnDemand connection was so poor (lots of digital dropout and signal interruptions) that I spent more time watching the digital snowfall (seriously bad pixellation from a poor signal) than the story. I did sit down and watch the regular broadcast tonight---which was perfect, signal wise---but I was, well, bored.

This episode was beautiful in sets and costumes. (I really want that blue sofa/divan!) The acting was up to our now-expected standard. Important elements of the story we know happened---Claire realizes that Mary is Frank's ancestress, Jamie plays chess with Duverney, Claire learns that Master Raymond substitutes bitter cascara for aconite when purchased by poisoners, Claire goes to work at L'Hopital des Anges, Jamie hires Fergus to lift letters, Mother Hildegard helps Jamie solve the musical code, Bouton proves himself a most remarkable scenthound. All good and well.

But.

I'm just gonna say it: I am starting to not like Jamie. I get that he's still very traumatized from the rape, but it doesn't seem like he's making any attempt to heal. How long has it been now? months? (how many more episodes do we have??) There is little or no affectionate interplay between Jamie and Claire. I don't mean sex, I mean simple affection. This episode has Jamie running himself ragged flitting from the business to the palace to the brothel, then coming home to change clothes. He doesn't seem to care if he never sees Claire again, then throws a hissy fit when Claire goes off to actually do something. It's extremely unJamielike. We also don't see him looking very competent at anything besides chess. Well, and drinking and deciphering codes. This Jamie comes off as selfish, just as he did when he was the "I am the Laird of Lallybroch" guy back in episode 112. And BIG SURPRISE, this is the same writer who wrote that episode. (I don't think she likes strong men.)

Oh yeah, and I have a question: If you are part of conspiracy to betray someone, do you really talk about it openly in front of your servants? Even if you don't think they speak your language? I'm thinking, no. And yet, they do it a LOT in this episode. It really bugged me.

Anyway this was an okay episode, but not my favorite by any means. Bouton stole the show, though I was rather fascinated by the body art in the brothel.

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[> This wasn't my favorite either. I remember Claire saying in the first episode that all the servernts were trust worthy......but really do that extent? J&C, it was like they weren't even married in this episode. I thought Claire belittled Jamie a bit when she said about the pick pocketing letters a good idea. Like Jamie hadn't had one before. I only liked Murtagh and the hospital scenes in this episode to be honest. Bouton the best. lol -- M&M, 22:24:34 04/23/16 Sat

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[> [> Yes! that's it exactly. It's like they are barely friends. Here's another thing that seems off. This version of Claire is clearly the dominant in the relationship whereas in the books she and Jamie are partners, equally strong in their respective areas of expertise and always. ALWAYS having each other's back. It bothers me a lot that the decision to change the course of history was made by Claire and Jamie is just going along with it. Heck, in this episode Murtagh is more supportive to Claire than Jamie is. -- Shads, 05:54:46 04/24/16 Sun

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[> [> [> In the series Claire makes out that this is a good way to keep Jamie's mind off the rape, was that said in the books, I don't remember. Jamie is a bit of Claire's puppet lately. -- M&M, 09:40:43 04/24/16 Sun

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[> I enjoyed this one because it has ONLY been 2-3 months, so I think Jamie's running from his internal problems by keeping ridiculously busy is spot-on accurate. They didn't spend the months in the Abbey to heal like he did in the books, so this avoidance/denial seems realistic. Part of the appeal of Jamie and Claire's love is that they DO fight through the difficult times. It's clear they still love each other but are struggling to figure out how to connect when their most intimate way of connecting isn't a possibility. These 2-3 episodes are the replacement for that drug-induced battle Claire fought with Jamie. Since they didn't do that, they have to show how the healing happens, and it won't happen quickly. Obviously, I also LOVED Mother Hildegarde, Bouton, and wee Fergus! -- Lady-Jane, 13:48:44 04/24/16 Sun

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[> [> I see your point about Jamie's recovery, but I'm still not liking the words they are putting in his mouth these days. Ah, well, different opinions! On the other hand, I think we can agree that Frances de la Tour as Mother Hildegarde was another example of perfect casting. I saw some whiner on another site complain that she was not as tall as in the books. Who cares? She was exactly how I pictured the matron of l'Hopital. Dignified, filled with inner strength and aware of every breeze that wafts through her domain. It was fascinating to watch her subtle performance-- how she initially assumed Claire was just another bored society lady but began to see that there was much more to Claire than her pretty face and clothes. And all this with barely a word spoken. She was brilliant. And Bouton was spot on! What cute little mutt. -- Shads, 20:43:13 04/24/16 Sun

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[> No, you don't talk in front of the servants. Rule #1. Also, I forgot to mention below, that it is the Prince's upper lip that indicates his drunkenness. I think it is brilliant. And Duvergny is too modern and casual for his position in that incredibly important position in the royal court. (that is what I meant to say below.) -- swarl, 15:20:02 04/24/16 Sun

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[> Was it when Jamie first proposed that Fergus be his pickpocket that he said that he would take care of him for life if injured or maimed? Or was it later? That's a rather important part of the story, isn't it? -- LT (Denise), 15:21:41 04/25/16 Mon

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[> Not my favourite either. -- Beladona, 18:10:20 04/28/16 Thu

Love the scenery, sets, costumes, and the characters as individuals. Not sold so much on how the characters relate to each other. Am also bored during most episodes and find myself reaching for the knitting needles or the iPad till I can get engaged iback into the show.

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[> [> Sorry, the remainder of my reply was inside the message. -- Beladona, 18:21:49 04/28/16 Thu

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[> I thought the episode did a wonderful job of depicting the life of an expat wife. Having lived inmany countries as one, I cna tell you that you have to learn how to deal with staff, and you are frequently either bored out of your mind or you are very stressed about coping with your new situation. Catriona did a brilliant job of showing that.>>>> -- Kim G, 10:17:59 04/30/16 Sat

Often in modern expat moves, the husband IS immediately off working long hours to justify his salary. This leaves the wife to cope as best she can in a new country, with new cultural norms, and new expectations. After a couple of countries, it gets easier, but it never gets EASY. Claire has been through enough changes in her life to have developed a way of coping that she can put into place, but she still feels the same thing any wife would feel in that situation-bored. And the afternoon teas she goes to would be the earlier version of a coffee morning. (Hello. Nice to meet you. Yes, I'm new. Been here a couple of weeks. He's in wine. Hello. Nice to meet you. Yes, I'm new...) Ladies, it's tedious, and the writers did show that well.

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