I haven’t weighed in on Season 2 of Outlander yet. Maybe I was letting it sink in, perhaps I needed to process it a bit…to decide just what I felt about it.
Other fans shared their thoughts and opinions. I heard talk about how Episode 1 Jamie seemed remote, hard to relate to, almost wooden. They bemoan the change and how Season 2 Jamie isn’t “their” Jamie–how he’s not the same as Season 1 Jamie.
And, of course, they are right.
They mention the rape, talk about his PTSD, and how he is traumatized. Yes, yes. Of course he is. But a lot of these comments are followed up with the something like, “I’ll be glad when the old Jamie is back.”
What they likely mean, of course, is that they will be glad when camera focuses less on Jamie’s pain and trauma and gets back to the good times. They want less screen time that focuses less on his nightmares and more on his smile, his wit, and his cute tush.
And I get it.
Or maybe they simply mean that they want his suffering to end. That’s not bad, right? I mean, they really like Jamie. Who wants to see someone they like in pain?
But, really, if one of our BFFs suffered a trauma, would we try force “normalcy” on her so quickly? Or would we give her time to cry, to grieve, to bury her pain in a pint of Ben & Jerrys (or a pint of Guinness, I won’t judge), and to curse the son of a bitch that hurt her…all while we planned his very painful and humiliating demise?
Sometimes you need to hang out in your sweat pants and watch bad Lifetime movies while eating Nutella straight from the jar. Sometimes that chocolate-hazelnut goodness is all that gets you through the day.
These episodes…they are Jamie’s Nutella Days. The guy has earned it. Don’t try to take the jar away just yet.
Yes, broken Jamie is painful to watch. Broken Jamie doesn’t want to think about Sexy Time. Broken Jamie is short tempered and doesn’t whisper sweet nothings in Gaelic.
Geez. Next thing you know, Broken Jamie will start talking about bills, and carpool, and he’ll leave the toilet seat up…
But the thing is, people are like that. Life is like that. Love is like that.
There are things you simply can’t rush. You can’t rush healing. You can’t rush forgiveness (of yourself or of others). You can’t rush growth, or understanding, or love.
One of the things I love so much about the books is how Diana Gabaldon doesn’t rush things. She doesn’t write Jamie’s rape and then pretend it never happened. We are reminded of it– Jamie is reminded of it—over and over and over again.
Diana Gabaldon did not merely craft a character and a scene. She crafted scars for him to bear, specters to haunt him, guilt to chain him, and faith to heal him. Her books gave Jamie—and the readers—time to work through what happened and its implications. She breathed life into fantasy.
Jamie’s rape casts a long shadow, and it reaches through the books and colors events for many years to come. I appreciate that what he endured was not a simple plot device that, once used, is swept under the rug. The thread of Jamie’s sacrifice is woven through all of the books…through each page (oh, so many pages) of all of the books (those wonderfully long books!).
Have I mentioned that I love long books? (Thank you, Diana!)
Because you can’t rush a good story.
Stories are more than just the good parts. Life is more than just the good parts. Love is more than just the good parts.
So I will watch patiently. I will bear witness to the painful bits, the heartbeats of sorrow, and the moments of aching longing, because these times are the building blocks for what is to come.
Things get better. They do. Wounds heal. Disappointments fade.
Both on screen and on the page…and in life.
Until then, pass the Nutella.