An arranged marriage between an 18th-century Scot and a 1940s time-traveling Brit seems like an odd pairing, but Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan’s Claire and Jamie Fraser were able to add a whole load of chemistry to an improbable couple.
From Seasons 1-7 of Outlander, hopeless romantics have been spoon-fed many memorable instances of love, faith, and intimacy between these two characters, making it impossible to not root for them since day 1. After experiencing anything from the bloody war in Culloden to reuniting with each other years later and starting over in America, it is wonderful to reminisce about this couple’s epic love story and how they continue to put each other first despite the circumstances. Yet, this connection that Claire and Jamie have wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t forcibly banded together in Season 1, Episode 7, entitled “The Wedding.” This episode was a spot-on introduction to this pair, showcasing their subtle transition from being friendly to passionate in the matter of one night.
Claire and Jamie’s Wedding Day Starts Far From Romantic
Before this instance in their trajectory, Black Jack Randall (played by Tobias Menzies) had an eye on Claire. To secure her protection from the show’s ultimate villain (who looks exactly like Frank, Claire’s 1940s husband) and officially make her a Scot, Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) comes up with the plan of marrying Claire to Jamie. The two must wed out of necessity, so the idea is far from romantic. Even though they have always been cordial to one another, they had never even kissed before walking down the aisle. Despite a few instances here and there where viewers could notice somewhat of chemistry simmering between them, it felt Platonic to say the least. Yet, everything changes when an arranged marriage becomes a match made in heaven.
The episode starts with Claire and Frank getting married spontaneously in the 1940s, showcasing the startling difference between a wedding that the protagonist is willfully getting into and one where she must do it for survival. When it cuts to her in a corseted dress, sitting in a chair fearful of what is in store for her wedding night with Jamie, the situation seems like it could only get more uncomfortable. Still, Jamie surprises Claire by taking things easy and assuring her that he wasn’t going to just force himself on her at any given second. Instead, Jamie proceeds to break the ice by telling his wife about his family heritage, which slowly allows Claire to calm her nerves and even smile. This conversation between them is only a glimpse at the partnership that the two build throughout the seasons as a married couple. It demonstrates the intent that Jamie had of acknowledging the vows he made at their ceremony and taking them to heart.
Jamie’s Everlasting Commitment to Claire Begins in this Episode
When Claire asks why Jamie agreed to marry her in the first place, he responds by saying that it would be the only way to protect her from Randall. This statement shows that Jamie didn’t have any advantages to getting married, but that he did it as a selfless act. “You have my name, my clan, my family, and if necessary the protection of my body as well.” This quote continues to be true about this couple’s relationship ever since it was uttered in this episode back in Season 1. At the time, things were only getting started between them, but it foreshadowed the intense love that they were bound to have all along.
As the night progresses, the newlyweds have to consummate their marriage to ensure to everyone (including Randall) that their union was legitimate. Now, Jamie is a virgin, and he doesn’t have much of an understanding of sex. Once they’ve sealed the deal, he even turns to Claire and tells her that he thought that it wasn’t done face to face, but from the back like horses. Although she promised she wouldn’t laugh at his candid remark about how he envisioned his first time to be, Claire bursts out in laughter. Even though she feels comfortable with Jamie at this point, she can’t help but have mixed feelings about being intimate with another man while Frank is waiting for her to go back to him. This internal conflict between choosing Jamie or Frank becomes a pivotal part of the series, and only later when Claire goes back to the 1940s in Season 3 does she notice that her heart burns more for Jamie than it ever did for Frank.
Claire and Jamie’s Wedding Night Gets Steamier
After consummating the marriage, Jamie and Claire continue to foster their connection by going over the events that led up to their wedding. Jamie shares that he had three conditions to accept Dougal’s order to get married. The first was to do it in front of a priest, to make sure it was a proper wedding ceremony. Secondly, he requested that a wedding ring be made for Claire with parts of his key to Lallybroch (something he only reveals to her later on in Season 1). Lastly, Jamie tells Dougal that he would like Claire to be dressed like a bride. All of his wishes are taken into consideration, resulting in a beautiful wedding that seemed to be out of love. In their conversation, Jamie even tells Claire that when they kissed at the end of the ceremony, he forgot for a split second that she didn’t want to marry him. All of this catching up is enough of a foreplay for these two to get physically intimate a second time. Instead of it being awkward like the couple’s first time, it is steamier than ever, once again proving that Claire and Jamie’s chemistry was set in stone ever since this episode.
Although much has happened between this lead pairing ever since they were wed in Season 1, there was no better introduction to their passionate relationship than their wedding episode. It starts with Claire and Jamie being far from romantically involved, but through getting to know each other and respecting the vows they made in their wedding ceremony, these two progressively develop feelings for one another. The way that director Anna Foerster was able to capture this smooth transition from friendly to steamy throughout one episode is perfectly done and sets the stage for a relationship that continues to warm the hearts of fans to this day.