My review of “The Way Out”, Outlander Episode 1 Season 1. If you haven’t read the books, then this is full of spoilers and if you don’t want to know anything about the show before seeing it, then don’t read it!!!!
Before I get into what happened, I wanted to note that I just can’t say enough about the quality of the cinematography, the scenery, the costumes and even props. Like Claire’s medicine box–it’s looks like a real antique and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was. Okay, enough with the gushing.
|The episode opened with a 1940’s scene with Frank and Claire. He’s sending her off to the Front in France at the train station. I liked this addition. It demonstrates, again, their love, what she’s missing, and her determination to get home. It also reveals a VERY important personality characteristic of Claire–she’s makes mules look positively submissive. Frank loves this part of her and we know Jaime will too. After all in the previous episode didn’t Jaime say (about the white mare Claire startled in the paddock) that ‘she’s just spirited and that’s no a bad thing’.We’re treated again to the insane dressing procedures of the 17th Century–copious amounts of cold water being poured over your head in a cold ass room while you’re standing there butt naked. But that’s a side note really. We see here that Mrs. Fitz has been growing fond of Claire. So the next bit threw me a bit.|
They showed a weird little vignette of Claire imagining what it would be like if she told Mrs. Fitz the truth because in this reverie, Mrs. Fitz accuses Claire of being a witch and basically freaks out. Claire comes to her senses though and realizes there is no way she can tell anyone, not even Mrs. Fitz, about her trip through the stones.
Claire settles into her new surgery in hopes of making a good impression on the McKenzie brothers in hopes of getting out of Castle Leoch. I loved seeing the medical box that Claire discovers that the late and not so great Beaton left behind. As a book reader you might remember that Claire will keep this with her for years to come. I always imagined it to be quite utilitarian looking but when it’s all closed up it looks quite appealing–like a finely made piece of furniture.
Anyway, with everything being so unfamiliar, working with medicines and healing people is familiar to Claire so it’s a great comfort to her. The ONLY thing I didn’t like about this scene is that I still don’t like the way she says “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ”. I don’t know if it’s because she’s saying “roohsevelt” instead of “rosevelt” or if it’s where she puts the emphasis. In any case, it pulls me out of the story every time I hear it. I know, I know, it’s a nitpick.
The guards, Rupert and Angus, have begun to let down their guard and Claire notices. She’s gearing up to leave. But Claire can’t help getting involved when people fall ill. So she gets caught up in trying to figure out the death of a young boy and the illness of another (Mrs. Fitz’ own nephew). Her curiosity and modern sensibility become inflamed whe she hears the story of how the boys went to the “Black Kirk” and became possessed .
After talking to Mrs. Fitz she is summoned to Colum’s study where he asks her to massage his legs to ease his pain. Claire, once again, shows her superior knowledge by offerring to massage the base of his spine instead and she does indeed help him a great deal. We get our first good butt shot and it’s Colum hairy arse. Nothing sexual about it at all. LOL Claire notices while talking to Colum that even he, a well read man and presumably educated, also believes the boys illnesses are the Devil’s work. As a result of her helping Colum, he invites her to Hall that night to hear the Welsh bard he’s employed.
So later as she is entering the Hall, Dougal catches her at the entrance to the Hall and basically says he knows what she’s up to, being all nice and helpful all of a sudden.
|Dougal could learn something from Claire–you get more flies with honey than vinegar. Next comes a very memorable scene from the first book. This is where Laoghaire sits nexts to Claire and they exchange friendly words. And then Jaime comes in and sits in between them and proceeds to hurt Laoghaire’s feelings. Jaime comes across in the show (and it’s this way in the books as well) as being unaware of how he affects women, naive almost. Jaime’s comments are meant to be self-deprecatory but end up offending Laoghaire. Jaime then escorts Claire back to her room under the pretense of her changing his dressing leaving a jealous Laoghaire behind. Instead he reveals that he wanted to help Claire since she was clearly tipsy (more of Colum’s wine) and make sure she got back to the surgery okay. Then we get their first overt verbal flirting, which is cute. But the cutesy talk turns serious when he reveals that he doesn’t mind her seeing his back and why that’s important–it’s a very personal and intimate thing to know what he’s been through. This soon turns into romance novel smoldering when she opens his shirt to examine the bullet wound in his trapezius. Claire’s fighting the attraction hard as evidenced as the big sigh she lets out after Jaime leaves the room.|
Rupert provides comic relief before and after Claire meets Geillis in the garden to harvest herbs and berries. While discussing the boys’ illness Claire doesn’t give in to Geillis hints about magic and things happening beyond their ken. Geillis is being really conniving trying to get information out of Claire and as book readers we know why. I think Geillis’ questionning of Claire comes across much clearer on the show than it did in the books. Of course, the book has the leisure to be more circumspect about such things whereas a one hour tv show does not. Anyway, Geillis tells Claire to stay away from the remaining sick boy but remember my comparison to mules earlier? Well, she tromps off right away to get a look at Mrs. Fitz’ sick nephew. Claire still doesn’t understand what she’s about to put her foot into.
She examines the boy in Mrs. Fitz’ sister’s house and determines that it’s probably poisoning and not illness at all. Claire gets to meet Father Bain, a frothing at the mouth Catholic priest, who starts to excorcise the poor boy. The actor who plays Bain is a little too over the top for my tastes but he certainly comes across as villanous, which is exactly how we need to see him. Claire is then very disappointed that Mrs. Fitz will let her take over the boy’s care instead of the priest. She still hasn’t got it. Claire can’t understand why her logic can’t overcome their superstitions.
Back at the castle she sees Jamie snogging with Laoghaire and it makes her feel bad, as least insofar as we can tell by her expression So later that night Claire teases Jaime at the table and he doesn’t take it well. He spills his drink on Murtagh sitting next to him. In the book Auld Alec was there and he got on Jaime’s case really bad about being klutzy and working with the wrong horse, etc. But he was cut out of the dinner scene and there is only Jaime, Murtagh and Claire with a bunch of non-named people around them. Jaime leaves in a bit of a huff and Murtagh scolds Clair.
Claire admits to herself that she’s jealous but she says it’s because she misses her husband. Truth be told, she misses her husband AND she’s also jealous of Laoghaire. She’s just not ready to admit it yet.
|The next day Dougal escorts Claire to Geillis’ house in town where Geillis continues to probe how much Claire believes in magic and how much she knows about herbal cures. She does, however, do Claire the favor of warning her about Father Bain and his disturbingly extreme interpretation of Original Sin. Geillis’ conversational interrogation of Claire gets interrupted, quite fortuitously a few times. First by a ruckus outside, then by the entrance of her flatulant husband and then by more ruckus outside where a young boy is having his ear nailed to the pillory for stealing two bannocks (equivalent of stealing two biscuits). Father Bain wanted the boy’s hand chopped off but by 1700 standards, the child got off lightly.Claire is, of course, properly disgusted with such justice and doesn’t hesitate to express that to Geillis. Finally, just as Geillis is going to ply Claire with drink Jaime arrives to escort her back to the castle. The fiscal’s farting was gross but funny.|
|Although I’ve read other reviews where they decidedly didn’t like it. It’s in the books so at least it’s true to the story–funny or not. The other thing about this scene is we notice for the first time the develpment of non-verbal communication between Jaime and Claire. She gives him a look that says please get me out of Geillis clutches and Jaime obliges. Geillis is not best pleased about losing another opportunity to find out more information about Claire. Non-book readers are surely wondering why she’s pressing Claire so much. Before they leave the village Claire engages his assistance again and again with little verbal communication. All she has to do is ask him, “Your fingers, they’re quite strong I suppose?” (aye) She gets Jaime to rescue the boy by pulling the nail out of the boy’s ear so he won’t have to rip it off himself.Claire, as we will see throughout the series, asks a lot of Jaime.|
|Right after “rescuing” the boy, she asks him to help her by taking her to the Black Kirk. This is another good scene that IIRC was not in the books. Claire slips up when she mentions Germany, which didn’t exist at the time. Jaime knew it as “Prussia”. This scene serves to once again remind Claire that education and logic cannot completely overcome superstition, not even someone with as an open mind as Jaime has. Claire rushes off to save the sick boy and makes a lifelong friend in Mrs. Fitz but makes a very dangerous enemy of Father Bain.|
|This story is made to replace a story that did occur in the books where Claire warned Father Bain that if he didn’t let her treat his own injured leg that it would fester. It did later fester and Father Bain later claimed she cursed him causing it to fester. Anyway, this new storyline fits perfectly and serves the same purpose. Plus it gives us a couple of bonus scenes between Jaime and Claire, which is always good! Another scene that follows is Jaime and Claire discussing the not-so-good Father. Jaime shows that while he doesn’t share the Father’s beliefs he understands why the man thinks the way he does. This goes to show that Jaime is smarter than the average bear (which they’ve shown time and again in lots of subtle ways) and that he is probably a bit wiser and empathic than Claire is in some ways.Claire is depressed to find that her saving the boy has actually made her more valuable to the McKenzie brothers so they were even less likely to let her go. Once again, Claire resorts to Colum’s Rhenish wine to drown her sorrows (I’m sensing a trend here that I didn’t when I read the books–when stressed, sad, or depressed Claire tends to drink and retreat). Fortunately for her, she appears in Hall to hear the bard sing. Jaime is there and drags her to a saved seat beside him.|
He’s cute in this scene, child-like in his enthusiasm. While the bard sings, Jaime interprets for her. It’s an old folk song that talks about a woman who went through the stones to a different place where she lived for a time. And then the woman was able to come back through the stones to her original home. This helps Claire’s mood tremendously and she decides that it may be possible to return to Frank after all. So she decides she’s going to try to escape the castle or die trying.
This really sets up next week’s pivotal episode nicely. When she tries to escape next week, Jaime’s loyalty to his uncles and feelings for her will come into direct conflict. There will be a lot more action and tension next week and I can’t wait!!!!
Overall, another great episode and the series is meeting and exceeding my expectations.