Title: Outlander on Starz: Episode 5
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Before we begin this week's summary & commentary, WOULD YOU LIKE A KNITTING PATTERN?
Of course you would!
Claire and her adorable fur trimmed coat (WANT) head off with the boys to collect rent, where she makes the acquaintance of the Mackenzie lawyer, Ned Gowan, who admits to having a taste for adventure, which is how he gave up his shiny name plate in Edinburgh to be the lawyer for a highland clan. (Side note: would I be able to find that kind of job on LinkedIn? Asking for a friend.)
Dougal and Ned collect the rents, which DOES include live pigs, much to Ned’s dismay, the boys protect them, and Claire is along… just in case someone gets into a bar fight? (SPOILER). It’s unclear. Dougal also makes a big speech in Gaelic every night and strips Jamie’s shirt off so everyone can see his scarred back, and people give him money. Claire assumes this is a general shakedown.
They run into the Black Watch, and some people crucified on a Saint Andrew’s Cross.
During one of the stops, Claire wanders off to talk to women, and is taught how to waulk wool, which is delightful and hilarious, but Angus decides to be a dick because she wandered out of his eyesight and yells at her, and she yells back. Eventually, they pass near Culloden Moor, and we get a flashback to what that means in the context of history, and Claire puts two and two together and realizes that Dougal is raising money for a rebellion. She tries to warn Ned about the futility of it all, and how the clans will be destroyed by it, but this works about as well as you’d expect.
In an inn where Claire has a room to herself, she hears a noise outside her door, and rushes to attack it, and it’s Jamie, sleeping across her door to protect her from rowdy dudes. She offers to let him sleep in the room, where it’s warmer and marginally less gross, and HE IS SCANDALIZED. It’s hilarious. There’s also a breakfast that breaks out into a bar fight because some other dudes said nasty shit about Claire, which no one else is allowed to do, and Claire makes dirty jokes at Rupert’s expense, much to the amusement of all.
Claire flouncing to the river leads her and Dougal to meet up with some English soldiers, who pointedly ask if she is with the Mackenzie’s of her own free will, and we leave her to ponder her answer for a week.
My husband commented that he wanted subtitles in this episode, but I think the point of not having them is that the audience is supposed to feel like an outsider like Claire.
Can we talk about Jamie sleeping outside Claire's room? And the accidental hand brush? And how scandalized he was by the suggestion they share a room.
“I'll be right here.”
RHG: I love the wool waulking bit. That was wonderful. I really like that they’re making an effort to show women outside the realm of the men, doing things men just don’t deal with. That was just a lovely little interlude. (Wool waulking is beating the woven fabric while soaking it in hot urine. The urine helps set the dye, and the heat and the beating action felts the wool to make it warmer and more waterproof. Both important things in Scottish weather.)
Angus, don’t be a dick. You don’t get to be my fave if you’re such an unmitigated dick. SHE IS BORED and she’s not fomenting revolution or anything. That’s Dougal’s job!
I really liked the method of Claire thinking that Dougal was just shaking people down, and slowly being able to sort through the Gaelic and figure out the words. I always liked the line from the book, “Whatever “King George’s Health” is in Gaelic, I very much doubt it sounds like “Braugh Stuart.””
Jamie, you adorable puppy dog, you. Sleeping across her door. D’aaw.
Amanda: Behold. Pertinent gifs.
I kind of missed seeing Claire’s hair down and I’m really liking her partnership with Mr. Gowan. It’s nice to see Claire have a friendly (and platonic) relationship with a member of the male species.
Definitely agreeing with Elyse’s earlier observation at the lack of subtitles. As a viewer, I felt some mild discomfort for Claire. They were clearly talking about her and, instead of adding subtitles so the audience is “in on the joke,” we’re made to feel as much of an outlander as Claire is. Which, now that I think about it, ties into the whole voiceover aspect. The voiceovers are growing on me, by the way. I don’t find them nearly as annoying as I did in the first episode.
Though I still haven’t forgotten Dougal’s handsy assault on Claire, it’s nice to see him in his “element,” around his people and friends. He’s usually brooding and serious and gruff most of the time.
And my appreciation for the sexy Englishman who suddenly appeared to defend Claire’s honor was short lived.
Oh my god. Dougal, I’m trying to give you a break here! But you just keep being an asshole. I quit. Ladies, don’t ever let me say another nice word about him.
Who knew a brushing of hands could be so sexual?
Rupert’s “I’ve never heard a woman make a joke” absolutely killed me. I probably laughed for a good five minutes.
Elyse: I love the waulking the wool scene too. My husband was all, “WTF are they doing? Why is there pee?” Dude. Ammonia.
I think, Jamie aside, Claire's allies are pretty tightly drawn along gender lines. The women welcome her while the men view her as an outsider/ outlander. Mrs. Fitz embraces her immediately (once she realizes she's not a whore) as does Geillis, although …yeah. Geillis.
There's this sense of camaraderie in work among the women in the show and the book, and quite honestly, in mutual support and protection regarding the men in their lives. Take Mrs. Fitz dismissing the priest for example. There's kind of this eye rolling “dumb boys” mutual affection among the women in the castle.
I personally wasn't a huge fan of the scene where Angus and the boys defend Claire's honor. The whole “We can call you a whore but no one else can” thing didn't endear them any more to me. Also quit fucking pulling her around by her arm and being all shovey. Makes me mad. Jesus.
Amanda: The scene where Claire is spending time with the women just warms my heart. I think it’s one of the few times she actually seems happy and she embraces the customs so openly. Effing Angus had to go and ruin everything.
Carrie: Count me in as loving the scenes with the women. Also, I like scenery porn even more than costume porn.
I dislike the voiceovers more and more. Seems to me that if the show is brave enough to make the audience work (along with Claire) to figure out what’s going on when everyone is speaking Gaelic (a device that I love, BTW) then the show should be brave enough to trust the actress, who has no problem portraying loneliness, depression, and fear. I don’t need a lengthy voiceover to explain that Claire feels trapped and might have to face living here forever, especially since Jamie sums up her predicament in nine words: “It doesn’t matter where you came from. You’re here”.
Angry Claire is THE BOMB. I adore her when she’s pissed off, whether she’s sober and angry while binding a wound (Ep. 1) or drunk and angry and playing tug of war with a goat (Ep. 5). NEVER CHANGE.
I often find Claire annoying or frustrating and paradoxically this is one of my favorite things about the show. She’s allowed to be things that most fictional heroines are not – openly sexual (most openly sexual women are portrayed as predators, but Claire just likes sex), smart but not a genius, impatient, kind but sometimes a little snobby, and capable of making enormous mistakes, as one might do when surrounded by people speaking another language. She’s proactive, and sometimes that’s to her benefit and sometimes not. Ron Moore’s show Battlestar Galactica was full of deeply layered, confused and confusing, flawed but wonderful, male and female characters and I think it’s to both Diana and Ron’s credit that the show doesn’t turn Claire into a Mary Sue. Also her willingness to pee into a bucket in front of her new friends and later her joke about hands makes her my new BFF.
I know I’m supposed to hate the Redcoat because he’s a Redcoat but I suddenly have this enormous crush on him. I expect this will last about two minutes into the next episode. But I think it will be more interesting if he is, in fact, a genuinely decent person, because I find conflicts more interesting when they are less “Good vs Evil” and more “Complicated Humans Are Complicated”. I don’t remember this guy from the book at all so am genuinely in the dark.
RHG: That particular Redcoat is pretty hot. I’ll grant you that.
Carrie: And…cliffhanger! Boo.