What a difficult episode to watch, but making the audience uncomfortable was absolutely necessary to get across the brutality and horror of what Jamie went through. Sorry, but cutting away and just hearing some screams/sobs (a la Sansa Stark/Ramsay Bolton) would not have had the same impact.
When BJR spit into his hand was such a revolting moment. So casual, so rote, so been-there-done-that. It made me think of not just Jamie, but all the other people BJR had and would abuse. Victims who would never get justice. The moment of BJR cradling Jamie like the Pieta was beautifully horrifying.
Overall I was actually happy with many of the book to TV changes spanning Episodes 15 & 16.
– I didn’t care for the wolf part in the book, as it seemed implausible. I was OK suspending disbelief about time travel since that was the premise of the story, but this was a bit much to accept.
– I enjoyed seeing the cow stampede, as the book gave short shift to how the rescue actually happened.
– The shorter sequence of Claire & Fr. Anselm was appealing to me. This was another element of the book I didn’t care for. Up until that point, Claire had been established as a character who valued science, reason, and logic rather than religion. At most, she was someone who went throught the motions to be socially appropriate (ie, the priestly counseling before she married Frank). I was pretty disappointed in her and lost some respect for her when she seemed to turn to religion out of trauma and fear – the author trotting out the old trope of “there are no athiests in foxholes.”
I know there has been some critique that Ep116 was not “balanced” properly between the scenes of Jamie’s abuse and the healing process. I disagree. I feel like the audience needed to fully understand what happened to him, not gloss over it. Even shifting 15 minutes of the program to the healing section would have done a disservice to the fact that healing from such a trauma is a life-long process. Just showing a few more Jamie/Claire scenes and calling it good might have made the audience feel better, but would have been unrealistic and insulting to rape victims. I thought it was effective to show that he has started the healing process, he chose to live (even if in that moment if was for Claire), he chose to get out of bed and put on some clothes. At the beginning of the process, that’s good enough. Baby steps. On the ship we see Jamie taking another few steps, a bit of light humor and being able to feel happieness and hope about Claire’s pregnancy. Both Ron & Sam have acknowledged in interviews and articles that this situation fundamentally changed Jamie and would follow him through the rest of his life and I trust them to carry this through next season and for however long the series continues.