Title: Outlander on Starz: Episode 4
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
We open with guards in the woods, and Claire running (and an unfortunate shot of the actress’s warm up boots, and not the boots meant to be seen, much to the ETERNAL DISMAY of Terry.) But instead of escape, Claire is playing with the children, but also scouting out the terrain around the castle for her planned escape. As escape plans go, it’s fairly clever, she’s also working at being annoying to her guard/escorts so they’ll be more inclined to ditch her.
All of Clan Mackenzie is making their way to Castle Leoch for a Gathering, where the fighting men will reaffirm their loyalty to Colum, and everyone will get gussied up and eat and drink and engage in community building activities like boar hunting and shinty and drinking a LOT. Claire is hoping she’ll be able to sneak out during the chaos. She’s got an escape route, she’s got a horse, she’s got a pile of food, she’s got valerian in a bottle of port for Thing One and Thing Two (Angus and Rupert, MY BOYS) (“It’s a sedative.” “….is that Spanish?” Bless.) It’s a good plan, and it almost works.
And she’s almost out (after running into a bunch of drunk, rapey dudes and then Dougal gropes her and she breaks a chair over his head) when she trips over Jamie sleeping in the stable, who points out that Colum has like, tripled the guard and things would go very badly for her WHEN they caught her. Then he is found by yet more drunken clansmen and they’re both brought back to the Hall, where Jamie has to play political game master and pledge fealty JUST ENOUGH to keep everyone happy, but not enough to declare himself a Mackenzie and thus a contender for the laird-ship and then get murdered for his pains.
Then there’s a boar hunt where a guy dies after a disgusting closeup of his disemboweled bowels, and Claire and Dougal work together in a really interesting fashion. And Dougal and Jamie engage in male bonding by beating the shit out of each other in a shinty game. Then Dougal tells Claire that she’ll be going with him and Jamie out to collect rents from tenants who could not make it to the Gathering, because having a healer along would be a good idea, so Claire gets a beautiful fur trimmed coat and off they go into the next episode.
Elyse: So basically my entire feelings about this episode were summarized when my husband walked into the room and said, “Guys with beards and kilts playing hockey. Do you need a minute alone?”
I forgot about all the casual rapeness of the book. Clearly even as Dougal's guest, Claire is not safe. Maybe her watchers are as much for keeping her unmolested as they are because Dougal thinks she's a spy.
The Gathering scene. I'm really torn between wanting to wear those gorgeous dresses because OMG and bearing the knowledge that I can barely stand a bra. Geillis' dress is The Shit.
And all the people drinking from that bowl? The whole castle is going to have the flu. And Mrs. Fitz snarking? OMG yes.
The two things that really stood out in this episode for me were Claire's realization that maybe she's not as safe as she thought she was and Sam Hueghan playing an amazing Jamie.
Claire thinks she has everything figured out for her escape and manages to get Jamie almost killed in the process. Her dismissive comments about the hunt, followed by the poor guy who got gored by the boar really showcased how much danger Claire is in day to day. Plus Geillis is starting shit and Claire realizes it.
And Jamie. Ye Gods, my lone ovary cannot handle him being sweet to Claire and speaking French. She cannae take any more, Captain!
I neeeeddd the Claire/Jamie romance to move faster, damnit! Sweaty field hockey can only sustain me so long!
RHG: This is one of my favorite sections of the book- it’s world building, character building, and just the whole Gathering thing is just fascinating to me. And Claire and her falling into the rhythms of the castle and how it all works is lovely. I think this is what Galbaldon does best- plopping her characters and letting them run around with only loose plot.
ELYSE LOOK NEW MITTS. AND A CAPE. LOOK ELYSE. ELYSE LOOK.
Diana Gabaldon's role…ma'am please don’t quit your day job. I would have been fine if she was just in the background, but she can’t act and it was distracting.
Laoghaire does have some self-awareness- “moving his heart forward” and sucking face are not the same. I really think Nell Hudson is doing a great job- it’s not an easy role, and she is making her sympathetic- she’s 16! She’s an infatuated 16! I really like what she’s doing, and she’s cute as a bug. (Spoilers, again: I think the attempt to get a love spell from Claire is an attempt to make her a bit more well-rounded and sympathetic- she now has legit reason to think that Claire is a witch, as opposed to being a purely murderous 16 year old girl. I like it. I’ll take it. End spoilers)
I suppose our one episode streak of no attempted rape was too good to hold. I am just so happy with Sam. So so happy (one of my podcast cohosts saw him in a play in Edinburgh a few years ago and has been rubbing it in my face because she’s the WORST). And his “They didna hurt you?” with the look of a man who’s about to go pound some heads is perfection.
“I may have wholloped him over the head with a chair or something.” Oh, Claire, really.
Oh! The use of 1940s music when Claire is all in her head. I LOVED THAT. Fascinating choice, and I think it totally worked.
Jamie and Claire have A++++ eye-fucking game. Good job, you two. Good job.
Carrie: I felt like crap on toast when I watched this and it was perfect because I didn’t have to be all, “OMG PLOT!” I like that we are moving slow but that details seem significant for future plot. I was very content to watch the costume porn and also ponder what the hell kind of game they are playing. Hockey minus ice? Rugby plus sticks? I have to admit that I don’t care about plot – in fact, since the plot is harrowing, I’d just as soon not have any plot at all. Let’s just hang out in the village being tense and dressy at parties and beating each other senseless during Death Croquet and exuding sexual tension. That’s my idea of good TV, y’all.
It was fun to watch Claire be irritating and then to realize that she had a Master Plan. It was a crappy plan, but still she set it up as well as she reasonably could, with her “I play with cute children so I can see everywhere!” “I’m snobby and irritating and you don’t want to follow me around!” “I’m generous with alcoholic beverages!” routines. The parade of peril was a bit much but seeing her knock out Dougal “with a chair or something” was very satisfying. I appreciated Elyse’s points about how this episode is a reality check for her – she keeps thinking she’s got this down but she’s so over her head.
Like RHG, everytime I see something knitted I’m all, “ELYSE!” And those party dresses looked so uncomfortable and sooo pretty. What the heck was Geillis wearing, a toga? And have we had an episode yet in which Jamie keeps all his clothes on?
RHG: NO AND I AM NOT ARGUING.
Strongest part of the episode was watching Jamie think his way out of political disaster and Claire figure out how to help the dying man. I realize Dougal was a huge asshat one scene prior but watching them work together seamlessly as a team with no spoken communication was brilliant. Both characters and actors deserve applause for getting through that scene.
Elyse: You guys, stop encouraging me! I'm going to be doing nothing but knitting Outlander cowls and mitts for the rest of the year. You get a cowl! And you get a cowl! Everyone gets a cowl!
Why does Claire get all the pretty fur-lined dresses BTW? That seems fancier than her standing…
Carrie: Elyse, you could make millions here. There’s a vast untapped Outlander cowl and mitts market just waiting for you.
The game is called shinty. I looked it up because I’m that much of a nerd. It’s related to hurling but the rules are slightly different. You are allowed to tackle – no word on whether you are allowed to beat your opponent senseless with a stick. The game is ancient and it’s still played today. But official teams play in shorts and jerseys, not in kilts – behold how quickly I lose interest, because I am shallow.
RHG: I suspect that beating your opponent senseless with a stick was just an expected outcome, certainly before regulation play. It’s kind of what I expect from Scots, after watching the independence debates go on and on and on for the past year.
Amanda: With all this cowl generosity, I’m very glad I don’t live in Florida anymore. I also know Diana Gabaldon has a cameo in this episode, but I agree with RHG that maybe she should’ve left the acting to professionals.
Well, I was hoping someone else owned that kilt…
I found it interesting the choice of music they chose to play during the stable scene when Claire is looking for a horse. Glad to see the other ladies picked up on it, too!
Geillis is always so impeccably dressed and I know that, whenever she’s on screen, I can count on her to say something hilarious (i.e. about her husband’s farting). I wouldn’t mind if she had her own show: Geillis Says the Darndest Things.
Why can’t neck bows be in right now? And Mrs. Fitz can deliver a backhanded compliment like nobody’s business. And Colum cleans up rather nicely, I might add. I’m calling it right now. Best scene of the night: When Claire gives Angus the spiked alcohol.
I feel like there should be a sign, you know the ones they have for workplace accidents. Instead, it should say: We have gone ____ days without doing or saying anything related to rape.
I am quite saddened that it takes nearly a half hour before we see any of Jamie’s beautiful face, though the eye sex was definitely worth it. And a shirtless Jamie.
I can’t decide whether I like Dougal or not. Just like with Frank. We get to see softer sides and sweet moments with them, which make it really hard to cement one particular feeling about them. And as with Dougal, I can’t decide whether or not I liked this episode. I’ll admit I teared up, and Claire and Jamie’s scenes are always well worth the wait, but it was just okay for me. Then again, I’m also super impatient about things.
JUST DO IT ALREADY!