Title: Outlander on Starz: Episode 2
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Things happen. There’s Scottishness.
Quick recap: Claire and Jamie and the rest of Dougal’s men arrive in Castle Leoch after two days of hard riding. Claire gets supplies from Mrs. Fitzgibbons, the housekeeper and real power within the walls of the castle, and bandages Jamie’s various wounds. His back is horribly scarred from being flogged by the British, and he tells her the story of why he was arrested and how he met Black Jack Randall (Randall was trashing his farm and threatening to rape Jenny, Jamie’s sister, and things go from bad to really really bad). Claire meets Colum, the Laird of Clan Mackenzie, and feeds him a story that she’s a recently widowed lady from Oxfordshire (which I always pronounce wrong in my head), Colum doesn’t buy it, because he’s not dumb.
Claire is told that she’ll get transport to Inverness in five days, and she holds to that. She also meets Gellis Duncan, from the village near Castle Leoch, who knows a thing or two about healing and abortifacients, and oh, yeah, she also says she’s a witch. Claire doesn’t buy it, because she hasn’t quite figured out what story she is in. Later that evening, everyone attends Hall, where Colum dispenses justice and arbitrate disputes- including a father who drags his teenage daughter up accusing her of loose behavior. She is to be punished, and Jamie, because he’s a good guy, offers to take her punishment for her, which involves him getting the shit beat out of him.
Claire doctors him for the third time in a week, and then is like “So you can take off your bandages in three days. I’d do it, but I’m leaving tomorrow so bye!” And then Colum brings her down to the stillroom which yep, was the room she and Frank found in the pilot and annoited with their sexytimes. It was the surgery of the castle’s former healer, and now it’s Claire’s- she’s not leaving for Inverness, she’s a guest. Unless, of course, she tries to leave. Then her status changes to prisoner. FADE TO BLACK.
RHG: The fucking voices overs. There seemed to be fewer, but still. I’m also… dubious about the repeated flashbacks. But okay. It gets Menzies work for this episode, which he wouldn’t have otherwise. And Jenny! )Although in the book Jenny knees Randall in the balls and that’s important and also a character defining moment for Jenny and I swear this won’t turn into a litany of things that were changed in the transition but this one is important).
DRESSING CLAIRE FROM SKIN OUT IN ALL THE PROPER LAYERS I LOVE IT THAT SCENE WAS FOR ME AND YOU CANNOT CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE.
Did we have our first sheep fucking joke? I believe we did.
I felt like Claire is asserting her sassy more now that she’s figured out where and when she is- not always to her benefit. The awkward dinner scene with Hamish was delightful! (However, Claire, can I jsut say that you could have stopped stressing about “Crap, which King George?” For basically the majority (okay 86%) of the 1700s and into the 1800s, it’s one George or another. It’s 116 years of George. You left an era with a King George, and you entered an era with a King George and odds are pretty good that they won’t side eye you for not using an ordinal. THERE ARE A LOT OF GEORGES OKAY.)
I do agree that Mrs. Fitz and Colum really shone this episode, but my favorite was Murtagh and his constant “Goddammit, Jamie, I’ve spent most of your life trying to keep you alive what the fuck, kid. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU” face. I wished they had kept in the bit with the leeches, but I get why it may have been logistically difficult.
Still digging the lack of subtitles. It helps given that this is Claire’s POV, and she doesn’t have any Gaelic. And we can see why she’d find Jamie to be the best golden retriever of a man ever. He’s so cute, and basically a good guy. (No one says “Murrrderrrrr” like a Scot. It’s true.)
I’ve seen some people take issue with the “You need not be scairt of me, or anyone else as long as I’m with ye” line like, “Why are you saying that as long as you are with her she shouldn’t be scared? Stalker.” That’s not what he meant AT ALL – context matters. He meant “I won’t do anything to harm you, and if I’m around, I’ll keep everyone else from harming you, as well.”
The two things that struck me most about this episode were the clothes and how much I love Jamie Fraser.
First, the clothes. Holy shit. I want all the plaid skirts and beautiful traveling dresses. I also found it interesting that women wore what looks like one of those airline neck pillows around their waists.
I was drooling over the shawls and hand/arm warmers. I kept pausing to try and determine how they made Claire's brown, bulky shawl because now I must knit it. I'm going to be scouring Ravelry later for Outlander patterns.
(RHG: Elyse, the “neck pillow” is called a bum roll, and it helps support the weight of the ridiculous skirts. It totally works. If you are willing to knit me arm warmers, I will not say a bad thing about Wisconsin for a WHOLE MONTH.)
The series does a great job capturing why Jamie is so loveable, I think. Aside from his epic sexiness, he's genuinely a really nice person. Like super nice. In this episode he comforts Claire when she's sobbing (while conveniently shirtless), tames a white horse (a romance hero requirement I believe), takes a beating to spare a young woman from it, and, we learn, was flogged for protecting his sister. I mean, c'mon Starz/Gabaldon, I'm down to one ovary. It can't handle this!
I think Sam Heughan manages to play a genuinely nice guy without making him seem unreal or too sweet. I think I fell in love with book Jamie because he wasn't an alpha hole.
I was also really pleased with the casting for Colum MacKenzie and Mrs. Fitz. They way they handled Colum's disability (digitally I'm guessing?) was interesting. It didn't look at all how I'd imagined it did from the book and it sent me Googling Toulouse Lautrec Syndrome. I think when read the book I pictured him as having Polio or something similar.
I also thought Colum and Claire's discussion of rape and the very unambiguous depiction of what happened to Jamie's sister was well done. I was afraid the series would gloss over that.
I just saw that Outlander got picked up for another season. Will they be doing one book per season then?
RHG, a whole month? Arm warmers on the way…
For me this was a filler episode – plenty of things to enjoy, but not as great as the pilot. I enjoyed the getting dressed scene (how had I never heard of a bum roll before?) and I got such a kick out of Claire explaining her bra as being “from France”. I feel like they are neither over-idealizing nor over demonizing the time, although Claire and Gellis mysteriously wound up very clean. I think the Highland clothes look lovely but uncomfortable and I think the fact that Claire wears so many outfits in a few days is wildly improbable but charming to look at.
“Is there ever a good reason for rape?” You go, Claire.
In general, I didn’t think this episode represented Claire at her best, although the acting during the scene in which she breaks down and cries was fantastic. She was a little arrogant and pouty. For heaven’s sakes, Claire, of course they think you’re an English spy! I can understand you being worried about that what with the threat of imprisonment or death, but there’s no reason to be outraged and shocked – you practically have “SPY” written on our forehead! Also, getting drunk at dinner was a fairly ridiculous move. I’m giving her credit because she’s traumatized but I expect her to step up in later episodes. Although one thing I’ve always liked about Claire in the books is that she isn’t perfect – she can be ruthless, she makes mistakes, she’s generally a caring and empathetic person but she’s no softy, and sometimes she can be a bit of a snob, and her go-to mode for surviving extreme stress tends to be extreme annoyance and/or dry humor. So I’m glad the series isn’t sanitizing her into an all-perfect Mary Sue.
While Claire struggled in this episode, Jamie just shone. Honestly. He’s an outlaw on the run but he has a heart of gold! He’s a golden retriever puppy dog of boyish high spirits with hidden emotional depths of maturity! He protects, or attempts to protect, or promises to protect, three women from violent assault in 15 minutes! In one case, he’s actually successful! He’s funny and self-deprecating and he provides useful exposition! He thinks it’s a good thing for a female to have a lot of spirit! Go, Jamie!
Elyse: I think Colum intentionally got Claire drunk to pick apart her BS story. He kept refilling her glass and I'm guessing it would be rude to refuse?
I agree about all the clothes though, especially the super luxurious traveling dress
Carrie: Oh Elyse, I am sure you are right, but that’s why I kept yelling, “Sip it slowly, and eat more bread!” at the screen. And hey, it’s arm warmers for everybody, right? Y’all can keep your enormous dresses that squish le boobs – I want those arm warmers! Do you think this will be a new trend?
RHG: They squish le boobs, but the lovely thing about those style of stays is that they support your back. It’s AMAZING.
Amanda: I think Elyse hit the nail on the head, especially given the close-ups of more and more drink being poured. I’ll admit that I know next to nothing about this sort of clothing (which was why I was so grateful for that dressing scene), but with the way they squeeze ladies into those things, it’s like a mystical fabric hammerspace.
RHG: I’m wondering if the reason they set the beginning of the series at Samhain rather than Beltane was just that they were shooting in the fall, and decided to go with it?
Starz has a making of featurette which goes over how they did Colum’s legs and a bit about the dressing scene. RDM didn’t say, “Redheadedgirl, this is for you” but it was in the subtext. I could tell.
Amanda: The opening song is really growing on me.
The juxtaposition of Claire’s surprisingly still-mostly-white smock against all of the dirt and muck is not lost on me.
And Mrs. Fitzgibbons is an HBIC. She might be my favorite character of the episode tied with Rupert (Is that the name of the guy playing guard duty? Right?). The scene where Claire confronts him as she comes out the stables is priceless. And I’m seconding Carrie’s golden retriever/Jamie comparison. But I’d rather look at Jamie semi-shirtless than at a dog with no fur.
During Jamie’s flashback, when he’s standing next to the Redcoats, I think this is when I fully get a clear picture at how big the actor is. I know Carrie mentioned it during her SDCC post, but damn.
I thought it was interesting that Claire chose to say her husband was dead. It’s probably wise on her part given how her status changes at the end of the episode. And if her husband is dead that saves her the trouble of having to concoct lies about where her husband is now, will he come looking for her, etc.
While I appreciate Claire having actual clothes now, I kind of miss her bedraggled, artfully tousled, misty look.
Gellis is too beautiful and it literally hurts me to look at her.
I will agree that this episode was mostly for setup and exposition, and it didn’t pass by nearly as quickly as the first episode, but I enjoyed it. Mainly because we’re rounding out the cast and establishing all the players. I, of course, wish there was more Jamie/Claire screentime, but every moment they shared onscreen was definitely poignant. So far, rarely do we have any throwaway scenes, which contribute nothing to plot or characterization. Hopefully it stays that way.