Spank You Verra Much Mr. Fraser or The ‘Bottom’ Line About #Outlander, Episode 9

This post contains Spoilers for non-book readers.

Along with millions of other Outlander fans, I’ve been impatiently waiting for April 4th to arrive so I can finally see the second half of Season One.  As you may know, Black Jack Randall, himself, convinced Starz to allow him to choose the return date in order to inflict suffering on the audience–Starz actually wanted February 4th.  While musing about what we’re going to see in that episode, it occurred to me that the waiting and anticipation may be different for book readers vs. show watchers, as book readers already know what’s coming and why; and we know parts of Episode 9 are going to be very tough to watch.  As I said above, there are SPOILERS in this post.

When last we saw Jamie and Claire, Jamie had scaled the outside wall of Ft. William in order to save Claire from the clutches of the evil Black Jack.  A few hours earlier, Claire had promised Jamie she would wait for him on the road side, but instead she hightailed it to, Craigh na dun and the waiting arms of her first husband ‘Fraaaaaank!’ faster than you can say ‘Willie is making a poopie’  Unfortunately, she was immediately captured by the British soldiers.

In order to save Claire,  the lives of the traveling MacKenzie clansman are put on the line and Jamie has to kill a guard which brings the wrath of all the British soldiers down upon the MacKenzies’.   Claire, who has narrowly escaped torture and death, is terrified and extremely grateful to be rescued. However, as she’s coming from another time, she truly does not understand the seriousness of the situation she has put the MacKenzies in and she doesn’t understand that apologizing is not going to be enough.  Until now, Claire has seen her situation as temporary and the clansman as sort of participants in a costume drama.  The MacKenzies, however, fully understand the impact of the day’s events and they want Claire to be punished and pay for what she has done.

Before you think they are being overly mean or vindictive, imagine for a moment what would have happened if the MacKenzies had taken in a young Englishman they’d found on the roadside, feeding, clothing and putting a roof over his head for weeks on end.   Then imagine if at the first opportunity he had run away and been captured by the English with the very real possibility of imminent torture and death.  If rescuing him put all their lives in danger, he would most assuredly have been abandoned to our resident sicko Black Jack with eventual death as his only escape.   But Claire is a beautiful, young woman and Jamie loves her, so he risks everything to save her including the lives of his clansmen and because she is Jamie’s wife, it falls to him to administer her punishment.  And Jamie Fraser is never a man who shirks his duty no matter how difficult.

So, this is where things get tricky.  The punishment Jamie must administer is a dozen strokes with his sword belt.  This spanking/beating, must cause physical pain and be enough of a punishment that the clansmen will forgive her and allow her to live.  And before we organize protest marches and on-line petitions accusing Jamie of domestic abuse,  we must understand that this was a different time and place with different rules and beliefs.  Jamie loves his wife, is a fair man and will do anything to save her and there is no question that the ‘beating’ saves her life.  Claire eventually realizes the truth of the matter and forgives him, but they will have to go some distance before she gets there.

Book readers have had years to prepare themselves for this event and may understand and move on more quickly.  I’m more worried about the show watchers as they won’t have the benefit of reading the explanation in the book so they can understand exactly why he has to do this, and this may change their opinion of and affection for Jamie Fraser.

One fact cannot be disputed and the bottom line (oh, see what I did there?) is this.  If Jamie doesn’t spank/beat her, the MacKenzies will probably do much worse to her.  As hard as it may be for us to understand, this beating saves her life.  I’m sure thousands of words will be written about this event after this episode airs, including more from me…but I am 100% sure that after seeing it with my very own eyes, my opinion will not change.

ADDENDUM AFTER VIEWING:

I just re-read this blog after viewing the episode and I still agree with myself!  And, I also think it wasn’t nearly as bad of a ‘spanking’ as it could’ve been and will also go out on a limb and say I’d bet my best shirt (like Murtagh) that thousands of women would willingly line up to be disciplined by Jamie Fraser.

17 thoughts on “Spank You Verra Much Mr. Fraser or The ‘Bottom’ Line About #Outlander, Episode 9

  1. I agree, Melissa. And there is the added dimension the series stresses. Claire knows things about the Mackenzie clan’s treason. They cannot let Black Jack torture that out of her but they can be very resentful that they must risk their lives to rescue her to prevent it… again. After all, they already went to the trouble of a very nice marriage to keep her out of Black Jack’s hands. They would surely see this as a betrayal.

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  2. Well said Melissa. I’m just awaiting the spanking scene being taken completely out of context by feminists and the ensuing uproar of this show condoning domestic abuse. I’m looking forward to seeing how this scene will be played out.

    >

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    • My only disagreement with you is identifying them as feminists. Even though I’m a wife and mother, I consider myself to be a feminist or one who wishes to be treated the same under the law as a man. I’m not sure what label to give those who will come out of the woodwork calling it domestic abuse. Uninformed? Not educated vis a vis this specific situation in this book, perhaps? Thanks for taking the time to write. 🙂

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      • From comments and opinions I’ve read on the Internet, I think there are degrees of feminism – perhaps I should have said radical feminist in the sense that there is absolutely no room for a storyline such as this one to be accepted. Really though, I am completely guessing what the reaction will be. Btw I consider myself a feminist too and if I were in Claire’s shoes I would struggle just as hard.

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  3. Thank you for your insightful comments on this up and coming episode. I find the series to-date a wonderful interpretation of the novel. Perhaps the critics of the series could remember that it is based on a series of FICTIONAL novels. Well written, well researched, and well plotted, but none the less novels. Could our poor Jamie really survive the number of atrocities he suffers in the novel in real life (even as a Highlander, the human body has limits, but it does make for a rip roaring tale!). Perhaps we can suspend the criticism and just enjoy a well told yarn in the spirit it was written, and filmed, and be thankful we have something to entertain us that is not “Reality TV”.
    Thanks again for your observations, and other than serious issues,your wonderful sense of

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    • HI Masks, Funny you should ask that question. I’ve thought about whether someone could survive all those injuries….I think maybe, but I bet they would lose their hunkiness. But….since this IS a novel, our Jamie stays just as handsome as ever!! Thanks for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  4. Well done Melissa! I’m anticipating this scene too. I totally agree with Georgia’s comment. I expect a wide range of comments and emotions from viewers. I have faith in Starz handling this scene well. They’ve done a great job so far, imo.

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  5. I think this entire set of 8 new episodes is going to be extremely difficult to watch with the punishment scene being the first of very many difficult scenes. I do not consider myself a coward, but have truly been questioning my ability to watch what I know is coming for both Claire and Jamie. I struggled with the spanking scene in the book a great deal. In fact, I put the book down for a few days until I could remind myself not only of the FICTIONAL necessity of the the punishment, but also the historical context.

    Physical punishment of wives was not uncommon or unaccepted for many, many centuries. As late as 1871 in the United States, courts upheld a husband’s right to physically punish his wife. In 1910, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “a wife had no cause for action on an assault and battery charge against her husband because it “would open the doors of the courts to accusations of all sorts of one spouse against the other and bring into public notice complaints for assault, slander and libel.” So, Jamie’s actions toward Clare would have raised no one’s eyebrows or even been cause for comment. However I do not think the televised version of this incident will pass without substantial, vituperative comment,

    Please understand, I am in no way justifying domestic violence and applaud the strides that have been made to bring greater awareness to and protections from this atrocity. I do, however, recognize and understand it’s inclusion in DG’s first book. It was just one more reminder that “Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas any more” and it perhaps brought home finally and forever her need to adjust accordingly. All that said, it took me a bit longer than Clare to forgive Jamie, but forgive him I did. Eventually.

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    • SPOILER………………………from what I hear from those who went to Paley Fest, this scene has been changed to a 50 Shade of Plaid deal followed by some very sexy Mmphm’ing, so I may have jumped the gun with my pre-emptive strike blog on the topic 🙂 (Doesn’t sound like it’s the same as the book at all.)

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      • To be honest, I cried throughout the book’s spanking scene. I felt as much for Jamie as I did for Claire. Honestly I’m dreading it, but know that it is nothing compared to the scenes in Wentworth Prison between BJR and Jamie.

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  6. Thank you so much for your informative comments. My friend told me to watch Outlander and now I’m Obsessed! Watched all episodes within a few days.

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  7. I was frustrated show creators decided to “soften” the seriousness of the beating with the music. It was a brutal time in 1743 and in 2015 are we not secure enough as women to accept the scene in an historically accurate way?? Jamie’s flogging scenes weren’t made easier to view, quite the contrary, so why was this beating scene with Claire? We say we’re equal to men, that we want equality, well, then why do we accept the softening of Claire’s beating when the flogging wasn’t???

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    • I ‘think’ they were trying to make it as comical as possible, and I’m sure comical is the wrong word. Have you ever the Doris Day movie “Pillow Talk” where Rock Hudson is carrying her down the street over his shoulder and it’s sort of mad cap? I think they were trying to do that. I’m also pretty sure they were trying to turn it into a 50 Shades of Plaid thing and for me, it worked. I know it’s controversial though and I consider myself a feminist, but it was sort of erotica-ish.

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