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Date Posted: 07:45:20 05/14/16 Sat
Author: Shadow
Subject: Episode 206 - Best Laid Schemes...

Written by Matthew B. Roberts, Directed by Metin Hüseyin

Plot points covered:
M. Forez's description of his duties as a subtle warning.
Claire's creation and test of drugs to simulate smallpox.
Explanation of Claire's origin and knowledge of the future to Murtagh.
Sabotage of the wine shipment.
Fergus' encounter with BJR.
The duel.
Claire's miscarriage.
Jamie's arrest.

Commentary:
My initial response to this episode is a simple "WOW!" I loved it.

I feel this was one of the most exciting and brilliant adaptations of events in the book that we have seen to date. Several of the book events were changed subtly and rearranged on the timeline, but the flow was excellent and the changes were very effective in building the tension of the episode to the duel and its tragic conclusion.

I'm glad we didn't lose Monsieur Forez's horrific description of his professional skills completely, although here it is a warning to Claire about the dark arts, rather than to Jamie about treason. As a method of streamlining the many tangled subplots of the book I thought this worked well. It also led neatly into another wonderful Raymond/Claire scene.

The scene between Claire and Murtagh after Jamie has informed him of Claire's origins was outstanding. There was a lot going on between the actors far beyond the words they spoke. I also felt it was a good choice to have Jamie telling Murtagh about Claire in Gaelic, rather than French or English. It's too dangerous a topic to be overheard by eavesdroppers, no matter how trusted.

I quite enjoyed seeing Claire compound the smallpox ruse. I loved Fergus in this scene. It was great to be reminded that for all his sense of responsibility, he is still a child and must occasionally be reminded to stay on task. I didn't understand why he was such a large part of it until it became clear that he and Jamie would be the ones riding off to Le Havre instead of Jamie and Murtagh. Even then I wondered about it, but once it was clear that Jamie wasn't to be actually on the ship but that they were dosing the crewmen, I thought it a great way to accomplish that business. It shows Fergus as clever and trusted, which I liked very much. At first, I wondered about the change in the timeline, but after consideration I think was a really smart choice for the show because it makes this simply another step on the road to the climactic scene for this episode, which is The Duel.

I think getting Murtagh out of the way by hijacking the rescued wine shipment and then running off to sell it was also a good bit of writing. It was logical and dramatic. The scene with Saint Germain and Charles at the brothel was pretty good. It was fun seeing Charles melting down and Le Comte so venomous. The casting in this show really is extraordinary.

The one scene I didn't really care for was the one where Claire is enduring another gossipy tea with Louise and her tittering cohort. Granted, it gave Claire the motivation to overtire herself at the hospital and show that all was not perfect with the pregnancy at last. That has bothered me this season, that the pregnancy was going so smoothly.

I'm glad we never actually see BJR with Fergus. I do hate it when a book or show presumes that the reader/viewer is too stupid to figure something out from subtle cues.

Claire's frenzied journey to Le Bois du Bologne, the duel, the wounding of BJR, the miscarriage, the arrival of the guard... wow. I was simply riveted. The performances were staggeringly good. The direction was brilliant. I loved the parallels of BJR's and Claire's wounds (just as in the book) and the almost matching expressions on their faces. Props to the editors as well, as I thought the cutting on this particular episode was very well done.

In my opinion this was one of the best episodes of the season so far. Wonderful work by everyone.

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Replies:

[> The flow of this episode was really perfect. Wdd in impeccable acting, sets, and even horse drawn carriages with torches. -- Swarl- it was awesome., 07:02:30 05/15/16 Sun

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[> Yeah I liked it too. I think we will see a bit of Fergus and BJR in flashbacks, when Jamie tells Claire why he was dueling. The gossip scene wasn't needed I didn't think. Agreed with best of season too. Glad they didn't do the dream sequence that Matt Roberts talked about wanting to add. -- M&M, 19:50:37 05/15/16 Sun

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[> This was my favorite episode of this season so far. Murtagh and Fergus were entertaining. The scene where Jamie talks to the baby and when he asks Claire to promise him she'll go back to Frank if something happens were emotional. I was happy to see BJR get knifed in the crotch.He deserves as much pain as Jamie can give him. I find the portrayal of St. Germaine mesmerizing. -- CarolSR, 05:54:34 05/16/16 Mon

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[> [> I agree about St Germain. He is very edgy. As we see more, we realize he is not quite unbalanced, but close to completely out of control. What i admire is in these scenes, he hasnt upstaged anyone, but we certainly see who he is more clearly. A hard trick to pull off. Good actor. -- Swarl, 06:07:12 05/16/16 Mon

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[> It was a wonderful episode, it still jarrs me when they go off book but when I watch it again that is smoothed over. I think Fergus is so well cast. -- PD, 06:59:26 05/16/16 Mon

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[> [> See, this is why I have been very careful to not reread the early books lately. I find having some distance from the original gives me greater latitude to appreciate the effort the creative team is making. It's interesting to me to read comments on fb from viewers who have not ever read the books. An astonishing number of folks didn't get the subtle cues about Fergus' run in with BJR and have no more clue than Claire does about why Jamie broke his word regarding the duel. -- Shads, 10:42:42 05/16/16 Mon

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[> [> [> I am with you Shads. The TV series brings back so many good memories about the books I've had to resist the urge to pick them up again. I don't want to focus on what is different with the series vs. the books. I just want to enjoy the series on its own merit! I am so loving it! -- Mia, 07:42:34 05/17/16 Tue

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[> Also FB folks are trying to figure out why Claire is so pregnant now, but hardly showing when she goes back to Frank. :) -- CarolSR, 11:28:25 05/16/16 Mon

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[> This episode and the previous one have showcased Sam's amazing talent. His cries of "Claire" ripped my heart out. -- Lady-Jane, 17:51:23 05/21/16 Sat

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