Posts Tagged ‘Outlander’

As usual, there be spoilers aplenty in this review if you haven’t read the book or watched the show.

!!!OUTLANDER SPOILERS!!!

This episode was strange in a few ways that I will get in to as I run through what happened.  It starts with Frank in the police station and we see that he’s still looking for Claire but no one else seems to be.  I feel bad for him but this is much more than we got in the book. So far, I think the show has done enough to let us know that Claire loves him and wants to get back to him but I’m not sure this scene isn’t overkill especially in light of the fact that he later decides to give up and leaves Inverness (and Claire’s suitcase behind).  More on that later.

So we feel sorry for Frank and the fact that everyone else thinks she ran out on him.  We see a poster on the wall of not only Claire but of Jamie.  This confused me because in the book AND on the show Frank never got a good enough look at Jamie to give that kind of detail.  Then again Frank is MI6 trained and who knows what he was able to pull up from his memory.  And then from the dark and gloomy 1940’s we go back to Claire and Jamie in verdant and beautiful Scotland of the 1740’s.  This episode more so than any other highlights the differences between the time periods using coloring.  Dark and drab present versus the vibrant and colorful past.  That’s because the past is the present to Claire– the more time she spends with Jamie the more the 1940’s becomes like the past to her.  I don’t mind this visual cue to her changing emotional state.  It works for me.  There were other things that didn’t work for me though and I’ll get to them as I go thru the story.

Jamie's modern wanted poster, note the handwriting that says "Jacobite brooch, possibly 18th Century"

Detail from Jamie’s modern wanted poster, note the handwriting that says “Jacobite brooch, possibly 18th Century”

Okay, so Jamie and Claire are being all lovey dovey and he wants to know is it typical what they experience when they’re making love and she says it can be like that but no, it’s not usual at all.  What they have is special.  I had a problem with this scene.  It needed to be more emotional and so far it is just coming across as physical.  In the books it’s more emotional and it was a scene that I highly anticipated.  And it didn’t translate here the way it needs to–Claire still seems shallow.  As I mentioned in my first review of The Wedding–while it is too soon for her to be forgetting Frank, there should be an undeniable emotional connection developing between her and Jamie.  And this scene where he asks her “is this special” and she says “yes” was crucial to establishing that.  But it didn’t work IMHO.

Then they had the interlude with Hugh Monroe, the mute beggar, showing up to advise Jamie of an English deserter named Horrocks who was an eyewitness to the murder that Jamie is accused of and did not commit.  I liked the guy who played Hugh and how he came across on screen.  The piece of amber that he gave to Claire was much larger than I expected and seemed to have a lot of other stuff in it too.  In my imagination the dragonfly was bigger and the amber smaller and it was clean.  However, the one he gives her looks much more natural and is probably more like what one would find in reality anyway.

A wedding gift from Hugh Monroe, a dragonfly in amber

A wedding gift from Hugh Monroe, a dragonfly in amber

Wee Roger. I can't wait to see him all grown up!

Wee Roger. I can’t wait to see him all grown up!

They switch again to Frank and I don’ t know why they have this scene EXCEPT to introduce Roger Wakefield, who will be VERY important next season.  The rest of the scene was unnecessary and I wish they’d stuck with just Jamie and Claire, exploring their growing emotional connection or used this time later to delve more into the relationship with Jamie and Dougal.  However, since they didn’t introduce Roger when Claire was still in the 1940’s they have to do so now before we get too far into the story.  Anyway, my only other complaint here might be that Roger’s eyes are supposed to be a really bright green.  But since Geillis’ eyes (on the show) aren’t that green then I guess they don’t need to find a Roger with eyes that green either (remember book readers Geillis is his great-grandmother to 7th power or something like that).  On an aside, I’ve noted that they’ve put out casting calls for Brianna and Roger and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they strike gold again. They did an outstanding job with this first cast (Caitriona and Sam I’m looking at you) so the odds are good they’ll find just the right people.  Okay before I start sounding like a #poutlander, I’ll move on.  (And yes, I totally stole that hashtag from Outmander, my favorite male take on the series–you have to read his reviews, they’re great).

Frank's mannerisms with the blond in the bar were disturbingly like Black Jack and I suspect Menzies is doing this blurring of the characters on purpose and to good effect

Frank’s mannerisms with the blond in the bar were disturbingly like Black Jack and I suspect Menzies is doing this blurring of the characters on purpose and to good effect

Next we’re back to Frank in a bar getting set up by some blond and I can’t believe he falls for it.  His MI6 instincts should have been screaming at him but I’m sure that was dulled by the amount of booze in his system and the fact that he’s absolutely desperate to find Claire.  But when he got another drink after agreeing to meet with the suspicious lady, I was like, “Well, that’s a brilliant idea, ya eedjit!”

Then we jump back to Claire and Jamie making googly eyes at one another next to the fire while Rupert tells stories about a Waterhorse (one of my favorite myths from the books BTW).  This scene is very similar to the books where they’re ambushed by a rival clan (the Grants) and they have to fight them off while Claire hides in terror completely unable to defend herself.  What is different is that Claire hid beside an old log instead of in some rocks (understandable, they have to work with the scenery at hand).  Less understandable is them not showing Dougal and Jamie fighting back to back and how Dougal gets wounded.  That scene shows how well Dougal and Jamie know one another and we learn from it later that it was Dougal that taught Jamie to fight with a sword.  So later down the road when things turn out as they do (trying not to be too spoileriffic here) it’s all the more tragic.  Again, instead of seeing Frank be a total doofus and walk into an ambush, which is the very next scene, we could have seen how close Jamie and Dougal really are and just why that relationship is so gosh darn complicated.  Then again, maybe I’m nitpicking.

Then back again to Frank where he is ambushed and two guys attempt to rob him while the blond looks on.  Now I totally expected Frank to prevail and he did.  What I didn’t expect was him to get all chokey on the woman.  My BF said, “see I told you Frank is not a nice guy–he’s bad just like his ancestor”.  I didn’t have an answer for that really. I wanted to tell him that Frank will redeem himself later through Brianna but I didn’t want to spoil what’s coming up in the story in Season 2–he’s not a book reader.  Anyway, again, I don’t think we needed this scene UNLESS the producer has some need of it as groundwork for Frank having to be brutal again.  But I don’t know of a single instance in the books where that is necessary so this need for Frank to be so tough would have to be something made up from whole cloth.

Is that a black jack in your pocket Frank or are you just happy to see me?  Actually quite the funny pun by the writers, innit?

Is that a black jack in your pocket Frank or are you just happy to see me? Actually quite the funny pun by the writers, innit?

Back again to 1740’s (are you getting dizzy yet) where the fellas all agree that Claire needs to know more than how to drop a knife in terror—like how to stab a guy in the kidneys.  So they show her how to use it and where to stick them withe pointy end (you didn’t think I’d go without at least one Game of Thrones reference did you?).  Then back to 1940’s where Frank is told by Mrs. Graham of the stories of how people travel through time through the stones. Did you note that little Roger overheard that convo about the stones. I do wonder if he’ll remember it when he gets older…hmmmmm. Anyway, Frank packs up his stuff and leaves the Reverend’s house.  He also leaves her suitcase behind and I’m not sure if it was because he thinks she might return and need it or if he is trying to leave the memories behind. Again, I have to point this out because I have some kind of book OCD thingy but if I recall correctly Frank doesn’t leave Inverness and continues to wait for Claire.  So I’m not sure why the producers are having him leave.  What is important to note here is that he is giving up on her sort of like she has been giving up on him.  Which leads us to the final scenes and how this all ties together.

Evil finds punctures in good men says the good Reverend, so he advises Frank to go back to Oxford and start his life over

Evil finds punctures in good men says the good Reverend, so he advises Frank to go back to Oxford and start his life over

Murtagh, "I still say the only good weapon for a woman is poison."  Dougal, "Perhaps but it has certain deficiencies in combat."

Murtagh, “I still say the only good weapon for a woman is poison.” Dougal, “Perhaps but it has certain deficiencies in combat.”

The story shifts back to Claire and Jamie and they’re getting it on in the grass and it’s clear that Frank is not anywhere on her mind at all (see what I mean about shallow–she’s so taken up with fucking Jamie that she’s forgotten the whole point of her being on this trip in the first place–to get back to that darn fairy hill).  She’s all about the boom boom with Mr. James right at that moment.  Until they get attacked by a couple of British deserters who try to rape her and make Jamie watch.  Claire puts her new knife skills to good use and kills her attacker which allows Jamie to kill his.  Afterward she is so in shock and so deeply disturbed that it snaps her out of the postcoital fog of the last few days.

Shock begins to set in after Claire and Jamie kill their attackers

Shock begins to set in after Claire and Jamie kill their attackers

On a re-watch I realized that Claire says she’s angry but she doesn’t know why. But in her dialog with Jamie before he leaves to go meet Horrocks, it seems she’s pretty mad at him for not protecting her earlier–for her having to kill the guy herself. This is how it is in the books too and I always thought it was a bit unfair of her. I mean, she was rutting away in the woods too and just as responsible for their getting attacked by the deserters. In any case, she goes on to say she’s angry she’d stopped trying to get back to Craig Na Dun and she explains her anger away as guilt for having betrayed Frank and almost forgetting about him. This makes more sense to me…she’s falling in love with Jamie, almost against her will, she just can’t help it but she feels bad about it, as any woman with a conscience should.

As a result Jamie and the fellas leave her with the youngest and least capable guy, Willy (I think his name was) to go meet with Horrocks–the guy that is supposedly going to exonerate Jamie.  Again, this is different than in the books.  In the books she was left alone in the forest–her promise to Jamie trusted as being enough so that she would not go anywhere and endanger herself (or endanger them for that matter).  Also she was scared of being left alone in the books.  What IS similar as in the books is that she sees Craig Na Dun and realizes this will be her last, best chance to get there so she high tails it off leaving Willy with his pants around his ankles (literally–he was taking a dump).

Simultaneously in the future (yes, I know it sounds dumb that’s what’s happening) Frank is driving past Craig Na Dun and he just can’t stop himself…he goes up to the stones.  And conveniently enough she arrives just as he arrives.  The “door” through time is open or at least thin enough for him to hear her shouting his name.  There was a nice little Easter Egg in the show…and I give TOTAL credit to Outmander for catching this one when I did not…they announce on Frank’s car radio that General George S. Patton had died. Now we can google that Patton died on Dec. 21, 1945 and if you know your calendar that is the Winter Solstice.  Anyway, the veil is thin and he hears her voice but just as you think she’s made it (she couldn’t ya know, or there would be no series) she gets dragged away by some Redcoats.  Frank gives up dejectedly. I’m not sure if Frank understood that she might have actually gone back in time…he did hear her voice, right? So at the end I’m not sure if Frank continued on to Oxford or if he returned to Inverness to wait for her return. Meanwhile, Claire is carted off to Ft. William where she encounters Black Jack Randall.

Ft. William in the show is Blackness Castle for real.  Verra intimidating, no?

Ft. William in the show is Blackness Castle for real. Verra intimidating, no?

Black Jack almost does a spit take upon hearing her utter the Duke of Sandringham's name.

Black Jack almost does a spit take upon hearing her utter the Duke of Sandringham’s name.

I don’t know how many times I can say this and why Claire just doesn’t get it, I don’t know, but she cannot outwit Black Jack.  He is far wilier than her.  She just needs to accept this and move on.  She throws her only weapon, the knowledge of his patron, the Duke of Sandringham and he is surprised but recovers nicely by asking her if she was also working for the Duchess–who doesn’t exist.  Claire falls right into the trap and says she knows the Duchess and, of course, the jig is up.  So he enjoys himself by tying her up and trying to rape her at knife point when who busts in the window but Mr. Jamie “I look so damn good in a kilt with the saft Scottish rain in my hair” Frazer, who says “I’ll thank you to get your hands off my wife”.  And how does Jack react?  He laughs.  Yep, he did that, he actually did that.  And that’s how it ends.

Jamie, always the frigging hero busts in to save the day and to keep his promise to Claire

Jamie, always the frigging hero busts in to save the day and to keep his promise to Claire

In regards the juxtaposition scene of Frank and Claire at Craig Na Dun, I’m not sure I liked it. Other reviewers definitely didn’t. But that was on purpose. Ronald D. Moore admitted in the “inside the episode” tidbit that this sequence of Claire and Frank almost meeting again at Craig Na Dun was on purpose in order to tweak us readers into wondering, “what the hell is he doing to the story?!” In which case, he can consider our collective noses tweaked well and good.

Now we wait for another 6+ months until April 2015 when the final 8 episodes of Season 1 will air.  I don’t know what I’ll do in the meantime to get my Outlander fix.  Cry in my Atholl?  Yeah, I couldn’t resist.  All joking aside, I probably WILL cry into some kind of alcoholic beverage (repeatedly) whilst re-reading the books.  And I’ll be reading Outmander’s blog as he has lots of fun stuff lined up for the hiatus.  Until next time….

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Okay, so last night I watched “The Wedding” episode of Outlander again–this time without interruption of the BF or the kids or a bad mood.  And, of course, it was much improved.   Overall, it’s a great episode and Sam Heughan could not be any sexier.  Literally, could not be more or hundreds of thousands of women around the world would spontaneously combust.  I still don’t like the way that Dougal is being portrayed but I have to believe they’re doing it for a reason.  I hope that was less bitchy and whiny that my original review.

An invitation to the wedding I created

An invitation to the wedding I created

In Ronald D. Moore we trust

In Ronald D. Moore we trust

As I’ve said many times before if you haven’t read this books this post will be full of SPOILERS!

 

!!!Outlander Spoilers!!!

 

This was a good episode.  I went into it wanting it be THE best episode I’d seen yet.  After all I’d anticipated this wedding for so many years that perhaps I was expecting too much.  Unfortunately I still have to give the “Best Ep” award to last week’s “The Garrison Commander”.  I don’t know what it was….the fact that I was in a bad mood and exhausted or if it was because of changes from the book that threw me off or if it was because of the inability to hear/see everything going on from Claire’s perspective (like we do in the book).  I just had a similar feeling, a let down, that I had watching a certain death in Game of Thrones (no spoilers here)…it just didn’t have the same emotional impact or humor.   This week I’m not going to recap so much as review it.

A happy and eager bride, Claire and Frank in the 1900's

A happy and eager bride, Claire and Frank in the 1900’s

A reluctant bride, Claire and Jaime in the 1700's

A reluctant bride, Claire and Jaime in the 1700’s

Again, it’s a good episode.  The acting was very good.  We finally get to see Sam Heughan let his charisma flag fly and boy does it ever.  He could not be any more hunky–he had it turned up to 11.  The chemistry between Jaime and Claire is outstanding and sexy.  So much so that the boyfriend noticed at the end of the episode I was a little flushed.  I told him it was the wine and hot flashes but I don’t think he believed me.

Claire's wedding dress was incredible

Claire’s wedding dress was incredible

The costumes are wonderful.  Her dress was gorgeous except (and here comes some more negativity, that’s just where I’m at right now) her chest looked weird in some shots.  I know that I’m probably gonna get some criticism for what I’m about to say but I feel like I need to be honest.  Catriona Balfe is a stunningly beautiful woman however she is not well endowed.  I always pictured Claire to be more curvy than thin and Catriona, a former catwalk model, is extremely thin.  The dress was obviously made to give more oomph to the wearer’s bustline and it certainly helps in this case.  Unfortunately, it seemed too tight, like they were trying too hard to make her breasts look larger.  At times, side camera angles show the awkwardness of the effect (maybe it’s just me but take a second look and tell me what you think, I’m betting her nipples were sore).   That’s not to say that Caitriona isn’t right for the role.  She’s awesome.  It’s just that I have a firm idea of  what Claire looks like and it doesn’t match up to Caitriona (and for that matter my Jaime is different than Sam–my Jaime is fiercer looking, not as pretty, nose more crooked and definitely taller because that’s what I find sexy, never liked pretty boys terribly much).  However, I can easily separate the books from the show as far as the characters go and it doesn’t bother me.  I’m good with both actors–they’ve done an excellent job so far and I am eager to see what they do with the challenges facing their characters going forward.  However,  I was distracted by the tightness of the bodice (is that what you call that part or is it the stomacher?)–it just seemed unnecessary and weird to me.  Anyway, back on topic….

Dougal is nae so happy about goings on in the bridal suite

Dougal is nae so happy about goings on in the bridal suite

I liked the ring made from a key idea…that was a nice romantic change.  I liked the comedy of the way Ned acquired the dress and how Rupert and Angus barged in their room.  And I liked the way Murtagh said she smiled like Jaime’s mother, which is a quote from much later in the book that they simply decided to use much earlier.  On the other hand, I didn’t like the way that Dougal acted.  I seriously do not remember him being such a jealous asshole.  See in the book he’s a very complicated person. He’s attractive and charismatic and that hides a ruthless person.  He is in control of himself, almost always, except for the one time where he gets really drunk at the Gathering.  He isn’t jealous of Jaime so much as he is simply attracted to Claire and he clearly has no scruples about diddling his nephew’s new wife.  But it’s very clear he’s not in love with Claire.  In the show, Dougal seems very different.  He’s not as charismatic and his doesn’t come across as being all that much in control of himself. He also doesn’t hide the ruthlessness as well and does seem that he’s much hotter for Claire than Book Dougal.  Furthermore, it makes me wonder just how they’re going to deal with what readers know is coming up–his relationship with Geillis.  Book Dougal could clearly cheat on Geillis and think nothing of it.  Show Dougal seems to be the more passionate kind of guy.  This negative reading of Show Dougal has been growing on me over the season but I haven’t said anything until now because it was still okay, until this episode tipped the scale.

Now about the sex because it has to be addressed.  It was really very tasteful, realistic and yes, hot.  I thought it was brilliant to have Jaime act like a typical male virgin (i.e., done in less than 5 minutes) because it’s stupid in romance novels where the guy is this fantastic lover his first time.  I also liked the way they didn’t just rip their clothes off.  The slow burn we’ve been enduring continues as she stops him from kissing her with questions.  Then later as he undresses her.  We get to see Jaime’s hesitation and a little frustration at the number of laces on her bodice.  Claire’s reaction to the first time was perfect too.  You could almost see a bubble over her head that said, “Really?  That’s it?”.   But she liked it enough to want more and that’s important.  The second time is better and she enjoys it even more, enough to climax at least.   By the end she’s decided that in for a penny, in a for pound and she might as well enjoy herself.  Here we finally see the modern 1940’s woman….she’s takes the initiative, she’s on top and she’s finally teaching Jaime what a real woman should be like in the bedroom.  Murtagh was right, Sam needed and wanted a woman, not a cowering little girl like Laoghaire who doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground.

'Was that it?!'

‘Was that it?!’

Is it hot in here or is it me?

Is it hot in here or is it me?

Unfortunately all this is followed by an ending that I’m not sure I like it’s implications.  In the end Claire seems to already be in love with Jamie and thinking about having to choose between him and Frank.   In the book Jamie was in love with her when he married her but Claire didn’t admit  to herself or to him that she loved him in return until they had returned to Castle Leoch.  And it’s important to note that on their way back to the Castle, she tries to escape from Jaime and the McKenzies to get back to Craig Na Dun–so clearly she wasn’t as conflicted in the book this early.  She told herself it was infatuation and not real and it was enough to keep her allegiances clear–to Frank.  But that’s not how it felt in this episode and I think it will affect non-readers viewing the show.  In fact, the ending where she looks at both her rings and ponders the choice irritated my sig other who is not a reader–he scoffed at her already being in love with Jaime and it seriously made him think less of her.  He understood the necessity of Claire marrying him and her situation, but he didn’t accept that after having sex she suddenly would even consider abandoning Frank.  He just thought it made her slutty and fickle.  Sadly, part of me actually agrees.  And from a storytelling standpoint it doesn’t make sense to me.  The show has invested quite a lot of effort showing us how much she loves Frank and actually does a better job than the books ever did.  And for all that effort, it seems that they’re just tossing that aside in the space of an episode.

Claire is already confused

Claire is already confused

For my part, I hope I’m wrong.  I really hope they reinforce her allegiance to Frank next week and show her attempt to leave Jaime because I think non-readers need to see that Claire still loves Frank or they simply won’t respect her and when she does make a choice it will be anti-climactic.

My review of Episode 6 of Season 1, Outlander entitled “The Garrison Commander”.  If you haven’t read the books, don’t read any further.

 

!!!! OUTLANDER SPOILERS !!!!!

 

Okay, you probably expected me to say this but WOW! Tobias Menzies knocked it out of the park this episode and Caitriona Balfe stepped up her game considerably. Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore took the first encounter between Claire and Randall from a few pages in the book and expanded it into an entire episode that crackles with tension. IMHO Menzies should get an Emmy nomination for his acting in this episode–it really is that good.

Claire’s emotions run the gamut. She starts out feeling relieved. Finally in the presence of other British citizens, she thought she was going to be safer and for the first time in a long while, she did not feel like an outsider. The British officers, lead by a Lord Thomas with the rank of General, were very happy to see her as well not having seen a English gentlewoman in some time. Dougal, on the other hand, was the outsider and as expected, the British officers were very insulting to him. They talked about him as if he wasn’t even in the room, insulted his speech, threatened him, dismissed him….the list is long and he wasn’t even in the room but for a few minutes in the beginning of the episode. You have to admire Dougal here. He’s in enemy territory, surrounded by hostile men and he didn’t back down. He even called the General out for his poor behavior in front of Claire. The General called Dougal ill mannered, which was ironic in the extreme since Dougal was nothing of the kind until the Brits started showing their metaphorical asses.

Claire and General Thomas

An English Rose

Snotty, arrogant prick

Snotty, arrogant prick

Claire made quite the impression with her manners and charisma. She had them convinced she was an innocent victim (which she really is, of course, just not in the way they think) until Black Jack Randall burst into the room. Her feeling of safety evaporated upon seeing him. Both of them were shocked to see the other but Randall recovered better. They both gave the General the impression that they had never met before. Randall couldn’t admit to finding her and not seeing to her safety the first time around. Nor did he want to mention the fact that he attempted to rape her on their initial encounter. Likewise, Claire couldn’t admit to knowing him without drastically changing the story she had just told the other officers, which would cast doubt on the veracity of everything else she said. She also wouldn’t be able to explain why she ran from Randall in the first place. To do that she’d have to report the near rape and as we saw with Colum, no one would believe her, gossip about Randall notwithstanding.

So Randall’s entrance was very sudden and cranked up the drama just when Claire was thinking she was home free. This scene not only sets up the main confrontation of the episode but it also serves to demonstrate Randall’s power even among the officers. He was downright rude to the General who he clearly has no respect for. I have to say I agree on the General…a silly, arrogant poof who wouldn’t know subtlety if it slapped in the face. There was a point earlier where the General says in front of Dougal that if he stays long enough in Scotland, he might just be made a Laird (with maximum mocking Scottish emphasis on the word). Although my family is a few generations removed from Ireland that statement created quite the visceral reaction in me because that’s one of the many things the English did in Ireland as well. The English Kings gave land and title to Englishmen and stole the land right out from under the Irish. For Scottish and Irish people there was nothing more important to them than the land they lived on–it was not only their birthright, it was a fundamental piece of who they were. To take it from them, make them live on it as tenants with forced obligations to some foreign twit who treated them like animals, was almost unbearable. So the insult and threat behind the General’s statements really got my dander up and it obviously wasn’t lost on Dougal. Anyway, I digress.

Randall’s responses to the General was at times dismissive and condescending but the General let it slide. Claire should have seen the dynamic at play and realized that Randall was powerful enough to insult a General in front of an entire cadre of officers and get away with it. She may have been in shock or she just didn’t see what was going on. In any case, Randall proceeds to masterfully manipulate both Claire and the other officers.  I kept saying to screen, “shut up, Claire, shut up!” Suffice it to say, Randall succeeded in planting a large seed of doubt in the General’s mind and Claire sealed her fate by saying that she doesn’t blame the Scots for being angry since the Brits are occupying their land.  In 1945 such a statement would not have been treasonous but in 1743 it was most certainly considered as such.

Even though the General is doubting her he still says she should go home as soon as possible. And no sooner does Claire ask if she can leave for Inverness that day than they are interrupted, learning that the Scots supposedly fired upon British soldiers at the edge of town with one soldier is dead and another badly wounded. Once again Claire can’t help herself when it comes to someone in need of medical care. So she goes downstairs and helps amputate the soldier’s arm. At this point we are given the impression that someone is acting as an agent provocateur, trying to gin up hostility between the two sides because Dougal is very clear that it was not his men. The most likely culprit is Randall. Claire, bloodied and tired, returns upstairs to find her hope in the form of the General has left the Inn without giving her permission to go to Inverness. She finds, instead, Randall having his face shaved by a corporal using the very razor that she would shave Frank’s face with 200 years in the future . These memories of Frank are really getting in Claire’s way because she can’t help but think of Frank, who is or will be a kind gentle man, when she interacts with Randall. This puts her at a distinct disadvantage that she won’t be fully aware of until this episode ends.

It was a mistake for Claire to leave the room

It was a mistake for Claire to leave the room

Claire remembers using Black Jack's razor on Frank 200 years in the future

Claire remembers using Black Jack’s razor on Frank 200 years in the future

Randall keeps her off balance by first apologizing for his behavior on the day they met and begins interrogating her in a relatively polite manner. Claire, unfortunately, is not a good liar, making mistakes like admitting to knowing he is from Sussex, which she only knows due to Frank’s genealogy research. Such an admission that she knows something about him that other people do not only puts her in more danger. When he asks her about her maiden name, she doesn’t answer and instead argues that she should be allowed to go home. This tells him that she is lying about her name. He basically accuses her of being an empty headed trollop or an agent in league with the King’s enemies. Obviously she can’t tell him the truth and she isn’t either of those things so she comes up with another story about her unfortunate love affair with an officer who misled her. Another mistake that Claire makes is that she keeps appealing to his gentlemanly nature.  Randall only acts like a gentleman when it gets him what he wants. Ultimately, Randall doesn’t believe the new story either.

Claire is forced to make up yet another tale

Claire is forced to make up yet another tale

And Black Jack doesn't believe her, again

And Black Jack is skeptical

There was one thing that puzzled me in this scene. In the middle of the scene, while still questioning her he draws her likeness on a napkin and asks her opinion. I’m not sure if this was a ploy to get her to come closer to him, if he wanted to have her likeness in case he needed to make wanted posters or if he was trying throw her off balance again. In any case, he tells her he will call the drawing, “Beautiful Lies”. The tone of the interrogation shifts at that point and he offers her a deal–provide evidence of Dougal’s Jacobite activities and Randall will allow her to go to Inverness. She refuses, of course, and she demands he either arrest her or leave her alone to wait for the General’s return. He ignores her and threatens to use “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

Randall draws Claire's picture on a napkin

Randall draws Claire’s picture on a napkin

"You will not leave this room until I am satisfied that you are as innocent as you claim to be" Randall

“You will not leave this room until I am satisfied that you are as innocent as you claim to be” Randall

Then Claire makes a HUGE mistake. She admits to seeing the result of those “techniques”.  She gives away that she has met Jaime and that the McKenzie clan has been sheltering him at Castle Leoch. Not only is she giving away too much information, she opens a can of worms that she’ll forever regret. Randall proceeds to tell her how he laid Jaime’s back open. In the book it was different because it was Dougal who tells her the story of Jaime’s second flogging after her disturbing meeting with Randall.  On the show Randall is kind of using her to confess his darkness but he’s also telling her as a warning. And he’s probably telling her because he wants to watch her fear and disgust grow–he’s a sadist and her fear and anger only excite him more.

This is an Emmy worthy scene for Menzies and the make-up and prosthetic department and if you see nothing else of the episode you should watch this part. Randall narrates the events and his feelings while we watch every stroke. I should warn you though, the flashback to Jaime’s flogging is absolutely brutal. My boyfriend, 14+ years as a first responder has seen many absolutely horrifying things in life and even he was shocked by the flogging. The wounds on Jaime’s back looked so real that I had to avert my eyes several times. And I’ll admit to tears. Claire mistakes him telling the story as a means of expressing remorse and I was shocked that she so clearly misread how deep the man’s sadism extends. But I think it goes back to Frank. She thinks there is some tiny bit of decency in him still–it’s as if she needs to believe it. Also, Claire is a very empathic person. She’s seen what war does to people’s psyche. All this comes together and makes her see him as another version of Frank, if he’d been to the front and been mentally damaged by it–in the end there is some pity amongst the horror. Feeling pity is also a mistake because Randall doesn’t want her pity as she will soon learn.

"I'm just afraid I'll freeze stiff before you're done talking" Jaime

“I’m just afraid I’ll freeze stiff before you’re done talking” Jaime

"All they could see was the horror but I could see the beauty." Randall

“All they could see was the horror but I could see the beauty.” Randall

Another mistake that Claire makes is that she thinks he cares about her opinion of him, but he really doesn’t. He can confess to her for the opposite reason. Because she doesn’t matter–she is disposable. By hearing his confession she is in even greater danger than before. Claire is dealing with a creature she has never encountered before and she is in way over her head. Randall is so very clever. He knows that she has mistaken his motives and doesn’t yet understand the depths of his depravity. He uses her pity against her to make her think there is some chance of redemption for him. He teases her by saying he should let her go back to Inverness as his first step toward that redemption and Claire buys it, hook, line and sinker. That is until he helps her to her feet and punches her in the stomach, full force. This is followed by him ordering the corporal to kick her while she is down, which the corporal does twice before Dougal busts into the room.

"I dwell in darkness, madam. And darkness is where I belong." Randall

“I dwell in darkness, madam. And darkness is where I belong.” Randall

Dougal demands that he be allowed to leave with Claire and claims that Randall cannot continue to question Claire on McKenzie land (the Inn and village the soldiers are currently in is in McKenzie territory). And if not allowed to leave, then it will be a declaration of war. Apparently Dougal is making a decent legal argument so they are allowed to leave but he is ordered to surrender her at Ft. William by tomorrow at sundown, where Randall will be on British “land” and can do whatever he wants to her. Dougal and Claire hightail it out of there but instead of taking her back to their camp he takes her to the Spring of St. Ninian, aka the Liar’s Spring. He asks her, one final time, if she is a spy and she says no, like she has a thousand times before. This time he believes her because he believes the superstition surrounding the spring. If a person lies right after drinking its water, it is supposed to burn out their “gizzard”. Once he’s determined she’s no real threat, Dougal tells her his plan to save her from Randall’s clutches. She’ll have to become a Scottish citizen because while Randall can compel a British citizen to submit themselves for questionning, he can’t force a Scottish person from clan lands without the Laird’s permission. And to become Scottish, she’ll have to marry a Scotsman.

Dougal threatens war on Claire's behalf

Dougal threatens war on Claire’s behalf

"The idea of grinding your corn does tickle me" Dougal

“The idea of grinding your corn does tickle me” Dougal

Claire is very against the idea but she can hardly explain why. So while examining the written contract that Ned Gowan had prepared, Jaime, her soon to be groom, brings her some booze and discusses why he is willing to marry her. Jaime says that he owes her for all the medical care she’s given him and he’s her friend and a friend would never leave her to Randall’s not so tender mercies. He admits to not being much of a catch as he has little money to live off of and there is a price on his head, so he could be caught and hung at any time. Then comes one of my favorite exchanges from the book. In one last ditch attempt to get him to say no, Claire asks Jaime if it bothers him that she’s not a virgin. And he responds, “No, so long as it doesna bother you that I am.”  In the books, this entire conversation occurred in an Inn but here they’ve done it outdoors at their camp. But it’s the same dialog as from the book and it works just as well. The episode ends with Claire snatching an entire bottle of alcohol from Dougal and walking away with the contract in one hand and the booze in the other.

Claire is surely thinking there's not enough alcohol in the world to make me forget my problems but I'm game to try

Claire is surely thinking there’s not enough alcohol in the world to make me forget my problems but I’m game to try

"I reckon one of us should ken what they're doing" Jaime

“I reckon one of us should ken what they’re doing” Jaime

Next week is the wedding and millions of women worldwide are swooning with anticipation. But as I’ve said many times, this series isn’t just about romance and all of the episodes so far are more than ample proof of that. However, this episode, in particular, stands out and deserves all the critical acclaim being heaped upon it.

My review of “The Gathering”, Outlander Episode 4 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!!!!

!!!!!OUTLANDER SPOILERS!!!!!!

I really enjoyed this episode! A lot of tension that has been bubbling comes to the surface.

New opening sequence ending?

New opening sequence ending?  Luceo Non Uro

The first three episodes’ opening sequence ended with Claire and Jaime riding across the Highlands together and then a pic of the standing stones, whereas this opening sequence ended with a still life of a candle, some plaid and the McKenzie pin.

They mess with us in the opening scene for a few seconds and make us think Claire is on the run but she’s just playing with the kids while scouting out the McKenzie defenses in preparation for her escape later that night.  As expected Rupert and Angus continue to play comedic relief.

Claire meets Brimstone the horse

Claire meets Brimstone the horse

In this ep Claire proves herself very clever indeed. She reconnoitered her escape route, found distractions for her guards, chose a horse, etc.  But she’s not so clever as to have figured out that Jaime REALLY needs to stay away from the castle during the Gathering. Auld Alec warns her in the stables but she either doesn’t get it or she’s just so focused on her own escape she’s not really paying attention to what he’s trying to say. One thing I liked about the sequence of her in the stable and afterward was the background music–a modern (1940’s) ballad provides a nice juxtaposition. Her body may be in the 1700’s but her mind is firmly dwelling on the 1900’s and she still wants to go home.

Claire is nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers, which explains why she is startled by Geillis waiting for her in the surgery. This scene did not occur in the books but it adds quite a lot to the building tension of Claire’s escape because Geillis seems to have guessed Claire’s plans. Geillis continues to pry information out of Claire, much to Claire’s only slightly hidden irritation. Geillis asks about the stock of food Claire has accumulated and the large amount of valerian root (used to aid in sleep). In the book, Claire reasons that her stock of food can be excused away by her need to feed many of the injured and sick people that she will be seeing during the Gathering and she didn’t use Valerian root because she didn’t think she’d need to–the whole clan will be either drunk or asleep. On the show, however, she doesn’t offer an explanation to Geillis for either the food or the Valerian root. Geillis pushes very hard to find out if Claire’s husband is dead but she also ends up revealing a bit about herself. Geillis implies that she came from some other place and that she had to struggle to get there. She also basically says that she married her husband for security that money and his position can buy. And she encourages Claire to adjust to life in and around Castle McKenzie like she did.   I was surprised by how much Geillis seems to genuinely care what happens to Claire, advising her against trying to make it on her own in the Highlands. Claire doesn’t, of course, listen and continues to gather things for her escape.

While trying to grab a knife in the kitchen Mrs. Fitz catches her and forces her to change into a nicer dress and attend the Oath Taking ceremony in the Hall. Mrs. Fitz is as eager as a little girl to be at the ceremony and delighted to be all dressed up. Then we see her getting kind of catty with none other than Herself, the author Diane Gabaldon playing Fiona, a woman standing in the upper gallery.   This pic below isn’t big enough to see her dress.  It’s lovely. You can see a pic of the full thing here.

Diane Gabaldon's cameo

Diane Gabaldon’s cameo

You could tell that Gabaldon was being very careful to pronounce everything just right. The Executive Producer, Ronald D. Moore, also had a cameo but I couldn’t spot him. When the ceremony begins it’s clear that Colum is proud of his family , his clan and himself. He doesn’t hide his legs, making the long slow walk down the Hall on purpose. He wants the clan to see his legs so that when Dougal kneels and makes his oath, first of all the McKenzie men to do so, it’s clear that Colum is in charge, stunted and twisted legs notwithstanding, and that Dougal accepts this and still supports Colum’s claim to be the Laird. It shows confidence and unity between the brothers even though we know that the relationship is less smooth than they want people to think. Right after giving his oath, kissing Colum’s hands and drinking with Colum, Dougal goes off to the side and drinks almost half a container of something dark and alcoholic as if to clean his mouth out.

Colum is proud of his wife and son

Colum is proud of his wife and son

Dougal making his Oath to Colum

Dougal making his Oath to Colum

Thankfully for Claire (and us), Murtagh is in the gallery to interpret the Gaelic of Colum’s speech. Remember Murtagh is not a McKenzie and his alliance is clearly and solely to Jaime for some reason (we’ll learn why later this season) so it makes sense for him to be upstairs and not among the McKenzie men waiting to take their oath. We get one more appearance by Gabaldon when she shushes Murtagh but he ignores her. Some other things I noticed about the Oath Taking….I didn’t realize how big the quaich that the oath takers and Colum drink from is! I knew in theory how big it was but seeing it for real, makes me REALLY admire just how much tolerance Colum must have. They don’t say it but I believe he has his favorite extra strong Rhenish in the quaich and every single oath taker will take a drink and Colum has to match them. That’s a lot of damn wine! While the rest of the men make their oaths, Claire tries to leave the Hall but Angus doesn’t want her to go at least until he “bags a lass for the evening”. Clever Claire appears to give in and pretends to share a bottle of port presumably laced with a lot of Valerian root.

Big ass cup called a quaiche

Big ass cup called a quaich

"That's no Rhenish!"  Rupert

“That’s no Rhenish!” Angus

Finally free of her guards Claire grabs her escape bundle, rushing out the surgery only to run into Laoghaire. Laoghaire is there to ask her for a “love potion” to use on Jaime, to “move his heart”. Apparently Laoghaire can move his parts but she can’t make him love her. This is very different from the book if I recall. Laoghaire never approached Claire for anything like this but had approached and received something from Geillis, which I believe was a curse of some sort that Laoghaire puts beneath Claire’s pillow in the castle. In the book she is trying to make Jaime stop loving Claire and love her instead. In the show Claire gives her a small bottle of horse dung because Jaime would never notice the smell in the stables. She tells Laoghaire to sprinkle it on his door and tap her heels together three times and say “There’s no place like love”. This is obviously a clever reference to the Wizard of Oz a movie first shown in 1939. This reference will become more appropos than Claire will like later in the season.

As she’s trying to rush through the Hall’s she comes across three very drunk McKenzie men with rape on their minds making Claire drop her bundle. Dougal rescues her and forces a big grabby and slobby kiss on her. He’s just about to let her go when he notices her bundle on the floor. Knowing the jig is up, she clobbers him over the head with a small chair knocking him out cold. In the book she doesn’t drop her bundle or he doesn’t see it and she doesn’t have to knock him out–he simply lets her go and he thinks she’s gone back to her room. Either way, it probably won’t matter but I guess we’ll see.

She finally gets to the stables only to be thwarted by Jaime, whom she steps on him on the way to her horse. He tries to reason with her to stay and she finally expresses her frustration and anger. She’s just a sassanach and doesn’t belong there. He offers to take her back to the Castle even though it’s really dangerous for him to be anywhere near the castle, on this night in particular. Claire admits to knocking Dougal out and Jaime just laughs it off saying Dougal will never remember it anyway

"I doubt very much he'll remember it"  Jaime

“I doubt very much he’ll remember it” Jaime

Jaime also says and does something interesting. He says, while rubbing the back of his head, “I hope you left a good mark so he remembers his error in judgement”. This makes me think they will be including something from the book that they haven’t directly mentioned yet….that is that Dougal tried to kill Jaime not that long ago and Jaime has a big thick scar on the back of his head from it. In the books, it’s why Jaime’s hair is shorter than everyone else’s…because they shaved his head to treat the wound, which almost did kill him, and it was just growing back when he met Claire.

So, ever the gallant Jaime tries to escort her back via a secret tunnel to avoid the guards and clansmen but they get caught by Angus and a couple of other men. The one man tries to manhandle Claire and Jaime leaps to her protection knocking the guy out only to be knocked unconscious himself by Angus. Inside they make him change clothes and he tells her that he can’t wear the McKenzie motto and instead tells her his own motto, “Je suis prest” or “I am ready”, but still doesn’t tell her his real full name.

Je suis prest, the Fraser motto

Je suis prest, the Fraser motto

His delivery was perfect and I was “Je suis prest” meself afterwards if’n you know what I mean! I’m finally convinced they couldn’t have found a better actor to play Jaime. Sam Heughan really is perfect in this role.

Back in the Hall, Claire is still clueless as Jaime enters the Hall and the entire McKenzie clan takes notice of his presence. Murtagh finally explains to her that no matter what Jaime does, whether he takes the Oath or not, he’s likely to lose his life as a result. If he doesn’t pledge the clan will be offended and kill him. If he does, he’d be declaring himself to be in line for the Lairdship, which would threaten Hamish’s claim, Colum’s son. Hamish doesn’t have a lock on the position. In tanistry, blood does sort of matter and Jaime is a McKenzie through his mother (she was Dougal and Colum’s sister) but that alone is not sufficient. The clan’s opinion also matters and they must choose the most vigorous and worthiest adult for the position. Jaime would certainly qualify, but he doesn’t want it because he stands to be Laird of his Father’s own estate (except for the wee bit of trouble having to do with a price on his head, which he is trying to find a way out of).

Unfortunately, Dougal doesn’t know or doesn’t care what Jaime’s real views are about the matter. Dougal had always assumed he would become Laird once his brother Colum died, which everyone assumed wouldn’t be much longer, and he always felt threatened by Jaime’s presence any time he was near Castle Leoch (Jaime did spend a lot of time at Castle Leoch as a child and Dougal was his foster father but that was when he was a child and not capable of becoming the tanist). And Dougal is, as we have seen, ruthless and probably not above killing Jaime to secure his own position. Claire still questions the wisdom of Jaime being anywhere near the castle, but she’s forgotten Jaime has a price on his head and there was no other safe place for him. If not for her, Jaime would have been out of the way in the stable, staying there until the Gathering was over and the danger of being forced to take the Oath had passed.

"Oh God, this is all my fault"  Claire

“Oh God, this is all my fault” Claire

You can see the wheels turning in his brain trying to figure a way out of this mess

You can see the wheels turning in his brain trying to figure a way out of this mess

While Claire gets all this explained to her and Jaime waits in the line of oath takers looking positively scared, Dougal enters the Hall rubbing his sore head and stands beside Colum. Thankfully Jaime is pretty damn smart. He refuses the oath and says he’s pledged to the name that he bears but he pledges his obedience to Colum as kinsman and Laird so long as he is on McKenzie lands. After a moment of tense silence Colum accepts the vow and offers the quaich to Jaime who drains it in one long draught. Everyone seems happy except for Laoghaire because if Jaime had become part of the clan, she could marry him. But since he rejected it, the odds of her father ever consenting to the match just evaporated. Jaime leaves the Hall intact with Murtagh.

It's just a pig hunt!

It’s just a pig hunt!

The next day as another modern song plays in the background we see Claire joining the boar hunt. Scoffing at the danger, Claire enters the forest and while rushing to the aid of an injured man ends up face to face with one of the creatures. Thanks to Dougal, who is a fair shot, she lives to tell the tale. Trying to recover from the shock, she tries to help a badly injured man, named Geordie, only to realize that she couldn’t save him. So she stays there to comfort him while Dougal holds Geordie in his arms as the poor man bleeds to death. This is an important bonding experience between Dougal and Claire that serves a number of functions including once again proving her worth to the clan and that Dougal still doesn’t know enough about her.

Geordie lays dying

Geordie lays dying

The next scene was lots of fun to watch but wasn’t in the books. Coming back to the Castle with Geordie’s body and the dead boar, Dougal spots Jaime and several others playing a game of Shinty (which is akin to the Irish game of Hurling if that clears it up for you at all). You can just see the pent up frustration and anger in Dougal’s face as he rips off his gear and rushes into the game like a man with a mission.

Shinty, like Hurling, whacking a leather ball with a curved stick

Shinty, like Hurling, whacking a leather ball with a curved stick

Frustrated and angry, Dougal is ready to do damage

Frustrated and angry, Dougal is ready to do damage

I understand why Dougal is frustrated having just lost his friend but it took me a while to figure out why he’s so mad at the guys playing the game. It occurred to me that maybe he’s angry because they’re goofing off instead of being on the hunt and providing for the castle. Maybe he felt his friend might not have died if these other men had joined in the hunt or maybe he wished it had been Jaime who was dead and not his friend Geordie. Or just maybe he was simply letting off some steam. Whatever his motivation, Dougal proceeds to enter the game, knocks out several players and then basically tries to beat the crap out of Jaime.

 "I taught you this game, lad"  Dougal

“I taught you this game, lad” Dougal

I laughed my butt off when Murtagh catches Angus about to step in and help Dougal cheat so he takes his Shinty stick and gives Angus’ “wee ones” a good scrape with the admonishment to “play fair”. Jaime for the most part is trying his best not to hit or hurt his uncle but Dougal shows no such compunction, repeatedly hitting Jaime with his stick. All the spectators can see Jaime taking the beating without backing off (just like he did when he took Laoghaire’s punishment in the Hall) and without being disrepectful to his uncle until he’s had enough of it. Then he gets under Dougal with his Shinty stick and lifts Dougal straight up and over onto his back.  Jaime, ever the good sportsman helps Dougal up, but it’s clear that whatever is between them is still brewing.

Booyah!  Ye hit me one too many times old man

Booyah! Ye hit me one too many times old man

Clearly this ain't over between them

Clearly this ain’t over between them

Remember what I said about the clan picking the most vigorous and qualified man? Well, Jaime has shown on several occasions that he’s not only the bigger man (psychologically speaking) than Dougal but he’s also shown that he’s the better man and could best Dougal in a fight. So Dougal will stay wary of Jaime as a contender for control of the clan McKenzie.

Finally back in her surgery Dougal talks to Claire and confirms what he already knows to be true–that Claire has seen many men die by violence. He thanks her for trying to help Geordie and for comforting him in his final moments. This surprises Claire and then he surprises her again by telling her that he’s taking her out on a trip around McKenzie lands to collect the rents from tenants who couldn’t make it to the Gathering. He says he wants her along because of her healing skills and because she’s good under stress. One can assume that there will be illegal and dangerous activities in the offing besides just avoiding the Black Watch like cattle rustling and Jacobite recruitment. Claire might not be thinking of all that because she is so excited about getting closer to her goal of Craig Na Dun and returning home to Frank. But Dougal has other motivations for taking her “on the road” as well that will play out in the coming episodes. The final scene is them riding off at first light with Jaime in front of Claire and Murtagh, turning to look back.

Claire hopes to be leaving Castle Leoch for good

Claire hopes to be leaving Castle Leoch for good

Each episode just gets better in my opinion and makes me eager for next week’s installment.

My review of “The Way Out”, Outlander Episode 3 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!!!!

!!!!!OUTLANDER SPOILERS!!!!!!

 

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.

"Woe betide the man who stands between you and what you set your mind upon." Frank

“Woe betide the man who stands between you and what you set your mind upon.” Frank

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.

Claire's wee case

Claire’s wee case

Inside detail of case lid

Inside detail of case lid

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.

"Seems the feral cat we picked up on the road is trying to pull in her claws" Dougal

“Seems the feral cat we picked up on the road is trying to pull in her claws” Dougal

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.

Angus 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.

Is this jealousy, longing, or wee bit of both?

Is this jealousy, longing, or wee bit of both?

"He needs a woman, not a lassie. And Laoghaire will be a girl until she's fifty. I've been around long enough to ken the difference very well. And so do you....Mistress."  Murtagh

“He needs a woman, not a lassie. And Laoghaire will be a girl until she’s fifty. I’ve been around long enough to ken the difference very well. And so do you….Mistress.” Murtagh

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 flatulent fiscal, Geillis' husband

The flatulent fiscal, Geillis’ husband

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.

"Ye wouldna expect me to be less bold than a wee sassanach lassie, would ye?" Jaime

“Ye wouldna expect me to be less bold than a wee sassanach lassie, would ye?” Jaime

"I smell the vapors of Hell on you" Father Bain

“I smell the vapors of Hell on you” Father Bain

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.

Fun Fact: Sam Heughan (Jaime) likes the horses he rides in the show a lot. I think the horse in this scene is his favorite--"Sleepy". He has mentioned him in interviews and on his Twitter account. Another horse that he rides in the show is a bit more energetic and tends to drool on him and bite him. The nippy horse's name is Pinocchio

Fun Fact: Sam Heughan (Jaime) likes the horses he rides in the show a lot. I think the horse in this scene is his favorite–“Sleepy”. He has mentioned him in interviews and on his Twitter account. Another horse that he rides in the show is a bit more energetic and tends to drool on him and bite him. The nippy horse’s name is Pinocchio

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.