Outlander: of fascinations and frustrations — Part III
To be Frank…
A great tale may end on a hearty note, however, what precedes is so much more: an enthralling microcosm of life presenting itself, leaving you with an air of stirring emotions. When I am lost in the world of Outlander, never do I assume the all compassionate, principled spirit of Claire, and no, neither do I simulate the machismo of Jamie who martials battalions onto war when he is not getting himself flogged — an exemplar of leadership. Okay, in all truthfulness, I have gashed the air with an imaginary sword on a number of occasions and maybe, voiced unintelligible Gaelic war cries. That aside, I am the lost, gloomy husband, bewildered, cussing his fate and astonished at the sudden disappearance of his wife. Oh, Frank! Mate, here’s a virtual hug. What a companion to brood over also. She returns with not so much as a glance at the general welfare of her husband. None. Did you publish? Your ancestor is such hateful beep. I hereby relinquish my English identity and thusly, absolve my self of any association with their dastardly acts. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! At least say something, dear Claire. No. Without so much as an utterance as minor as ‘Umm, Hi Frank!’, she gets all chummy with Mrs. Graham who would have likely struck her as an odd old woman raving about the science of palmistry before she had the life altering experience. When she finally recounts her adventure to Frank — the flipping makers jump-cut that scene. Do you ever feel this swelling frustration when two dear characters reunite, with a baggage so fat that if cleaved, it could be its own person and pen a Premchandesque classic or reinvigorate the spirit of Bukowski to give a TED Talk on depression but all that never materializes since they bloody don’t show the bloody dialogue? Argh! A whole gamut of emotions squashed to emaciation by the fist of the screenplay and relegated to surrogacy under the viewers’ unsavory imaginations. Fearfully, I understand that by making my vexation public, I might have hazarded the purchase of utmost mockery from wicked readers who’d correctly assert that I be made to relish Indian daily soaps if it’s reactions that I crave for. Even so, nuance is my friend, and therefore, I shall use it to lather my rep.
Given the unpopularity of Frank, I do sense that many fans of the show would take umbrage at my championing of him; to them, I say, scram. S’il vous plait, scram. The sharp decline in her concern for Frank glinted under the spotlight of my disbelief and with every jaded mention of him after progressively longer intervals, my eyes couldn’t dart upwards quickly enough in exasperation. Which isn’t to say that Frank’s behavior was honorable; the right thing to do would have been to amicably part ways when the stark reality smacked you in the face. To just let go. Two years in the 18th century were a vast change in Claire’s life. Despite judging him to be dunce in the beginning and grossly selfish later on, we can still empathize — not justify! — with his motivations, how his injured spirit might have discolored his actions. Two good people botching it up for years made for a painful watch. Throwing up yet another howbeit, I’d say that for all the flaws in Frank, it made him the most realistic character of the three. Both Jamie and Claire are guilty of hackneyed displays of heroism when they should have tucked in their butt and walked on. Which is why I kind of dug Jamie’s illicit side hustle of smuggling alcohol. Now there’s something to smudge his dreamy image!
It’s understandable that one may be struck by cupid when distanced from their partner but for any yearnings for this said partner to wither away into emptiness is difficult to take in. I guess, the plot pedant that I am, I’d have scooted into a delightful ease had Claire made a short trip to Frank, broken up, waltzed back to Jamie. Oh, how mental is the soul that relishes the trouble of a conflict and yet wishes to resolve it. Perhaps, had it been solved with ease, I’d have been the first to flay the plot, operative speech being, “Contrivance!”
Although I lament the misfortune of Frank but it did bring a certain blemish on an otherwise honorable character of Claire which in turn made for an excellent primary conflict whilst the later seasons were jejune in terms of conflicts, character quality and plot progressions. However, the ending of this tragic saga had me fuming; poor old Frank was rewarded with a few sobs and a posthumous slap on the cheek: “Oh Frank! I did love you”.
“Well, Watson, what do you make of it? Let me hear you deconstruct her most obfuscated declaration.”
“Holmes, I dread to cause another instance of disappointment to a dear friend such as you, gifted with the most astute of faculties. As you yourself admit the proclamation’s obscure nature, I am at sea regarding its conclusions.”
“Indeed, I did characterize it as such but, my dear Watson, you might have erred in assuming that I had indicated it was impregnable to scrutiny for I surmise that our dead client here was thought of in the most amorous manner by his former companion before she downloaded an update who was, however, in strict chronological sense, dated.”
Or to be Fraser
Claire’s betrayal to Frank was still assuaged by the harmonious love between Jamie and Claire; that this betrayal happened to allow a pretty thing was a great consolation to my heart. When Jamie brought Claire to Craigh na dun to let her return to her time, darn it that was the most adorable moment in the show; besides Claire, even I fell for Jamie that very instance. I emitted this humming aww at the screen as if to say, “lord I ship them so hard!” And that’s when the teenaged me put on a stiff grimace; he can take a hike and let me ogle at this lovely pairing. To me, definitely, Outlander is about these two swaggering along in the olden world amassing triumphs and grey hairs.