Previously on Outlander, English lass Claire ended up time travelling from 1945 to 1743 by touching the center stone of an ancient druid hedge in the Highlands of Scotland (the show is WAY better than that sounds. ALSO Scotland is so pretty).
Last weeks episode “Sassenach” moved slowly, spending a lot of time focused on Claire and her marriage to Frank so we would know just how much she has lost since leaving 1945 (so many fun facts from historian Frank). This week “Castle Loech” moved faster but still took its time introducing us to Claire’s new home or more importantly, introducing Claire to her new home. The show is entirely filmed from Claire’s point of view which is interesting because Claire is new to this world so it makes her a rather unreliable narrator, as she has an entirely modern take on most situations. I also think by having sole focus on Claire the VO works rather well, even though Caitriona Balfe has an extremely effective use of her face it can only do so much expressing before telling everyone else what she is thinking so I like the little touch ins on what’s going on in Claire’s head via VO.
I am also really enjoying a show with a smart female lead. There has been a lot written about Claire being a feminist but I find her a pre-feminist a woman much like Peggy Olsen who is too driven to be just a secretary or house-wife and yet is also a product of a time period where those were the only professions available. Though Claire WAS a nurse during the war in 1945, after her second honeymoon she was about to become a house-wife–a life that I’m not so sure Claire would have loved especially if she and Frank did not have children. So it’s doubly interesting to have the character who is already driven to be more than society expects of her and to transport her to the 18th century where being a woman especially one who is NOT willing to downplay her intelligence is NOT a benefit and could be potentially hazardous to ones safety. Mainly I’m really interested in Claire’s journey in the 18th century (I would also be really excited if Claire was joined in 1743 by Peggy that would be the best ever, imagine Pegs in Scotland in the 18th century).
Now that’s enough analysis, let’s get into the good stuff like cunnilingus and hot dudes in kilts –spoiler alert no cunnilingus this episode in fact this episode HAD none of the sexy stuff last week had BUT it did have a half-naked Jamie.
Claire and her protector/captors arrive at Castle Loech which she had previously visited with Frank (and had FUN TIMES –I feel like sex is the only thing I can truly make fun of about this show). Claire is muddy and practically half-naked based on 18th century fashion. The band is greeted by Mistress Fitzgibbons who is the housekeeper (den mother) of Castle Loech. Mrs. Fitz (as the call her) doesn’t know quite what to make of our Claire at first but is very helpful in helping Claire help Jamie with his shoulder and to get her some appropriate clothes.
Mrs. Fitz brings Claire the necessary ingredients to fix Jamie’s shoulder, which include garlic and witch hazel (Claire is the QUEEN of herbal medicine). This also means that Jamie must hang out without a shirt (a win for us all). We also get to see the scars of not one, but two floggings on his back (this only makes him sexier).
Jamie tells us his tale of woe about being flogged by Captain Randall AKA Frank’s nefarious and rapist ancestor Black Jack Randall. Jamie was arrested by Randall and taken to Fort William (a really fun 18th century prison) for obstructing the rape of his sister, Jenny. Jamie was whipped and knocked out with his last vision of Jenny going with Randall in an effort to save Jamie’s life. Black Jack Randall is a real winner; and by winner, I mean complete and total sadistic bastard. Jamie flirts a bit with Claire and then makes her sad by mentioning her husband. He embraces her and she breaks away when the sexual tension becomes too great (I too would have a hard-time making out with Jamie if he was giving me those mooney eyes). Jamie promises that no one will hurt her as long as he is with her and to remember she is English while they are apart (basically he tells her to keep her mouth shut and her head down, spoiler alert Claire will do the opposite of this a lot).
After taking a much-needed nap, Claire is awoken by Mrs. Fitz. She informs her that Claire has an audience with the MacKenzie AKA Laird Colum MacKenzie the lord himself. The show slows down and strips Claire of 1945 and dresses her in 1743. Claire’s bra is cute, it’s sad that Mrs. Fitz basically gives it the side-eye and throws it away. Also since this is pay cable Claire is NAKED AGAIN.
While waiting to meet the MacKenzie, Claire looks at a letter on his desk and finds out that she is in the year 1743. Claire meets the crippled Colum MacKenzie. They initially sort of bond over reading. Colum gently interrogates Claire, who uses more fun facts from Frank’s time as a super spy; basically she crafts a tale that is more or less based on the truth minus the whole time traveling thing. I’m so pleased that the show is finding ways to insert Frank fun facts even though Frank is no longer in the picture. Claire kind-of-sort-of passes the interrogation. Colum tells her that she can leave for Inverness in five days. Claire also gives Colum a lesson in rape culture (well if one has traveled back in time one must try and make a difference).
Claire goes to dinner and even in the 18th century it’s awkward on the first day in the cafeteria. Dougal moves so that Claire can sit at the main table in between the brothers MacKenzie. Colum keeps plying Claire with booze to further interrogate her about her secrets. Claire gets pretty drunk and then she puts her foot in it when talking to COLUM’S son Hamish because she mistakes his father as DOUGAL this creates quite the stir and Claire excuses herself (I’m betting there is some truth to this).
Claire goes to change Jamie’s bandages and notices that she is being followed by Rupert, one of Dougal’s men. Claire finds Jamie at the stables (of course he is good with horses). Claire spooks the horse Jamie is trying to break and the poor chap falls over (it’s a good thing for Jamie that he has becomes friends with a nurse because I’m beginning to believe he is quite accident prone. As of the second episode he has had a dislocated shoulder, been shot, fallen off a horse, AND now fallen over). Jamie informs Claire that he has to use a fake last name because he is a wanted man for murder (but it’s cool he didn’t actually kill the dude he just escaped Fort William and Black Jack Randall is a dick). I’m upset that Claire didn’t make him strip to his kilt while they ate lunch and chatted (Claire help us out here). We also find out that Jamie is the nephew of Colum and Dougal. Jamie is cock-blocked by his boss but he does get in a few flirty lines with Claire before he leaves.
On her way back to the castle, Claire accosts her stalker and finds out Dougal is having her watched. Claire immediately goes to confront Dougal (Claire will not be stopped). Dougal doesn’t harm her but does accuse her of being an English spy because he can tell she is lying about who she is. Claire tells him that she will be pretty boring over the next four days when she is to leave to go to Inverness. Dougal is shocked (SHOCKED I TELLS YA) that Colum didn’t let him know that he was letting Claire go (I smell tension between the brothers and so does Claire).
While hanging out and trying to keep a low profile Mrs. Fitz has Claire gather herbs and vegetables for the kitchen. While out and about picking mushrooms she is alerted to their poisonous nature by the ginger haired Geillis (Geilie) Duncan, Claire (who might be a know-it-all, not a criticism as I too am often perceived as a know-it-all) corrects that if ingested they are poisonous but that SHE is going to dry them and use them to stop bleeding. Geilie is like, “bitch, I know medicinal herbs” and points out a flower that can be used as an abortifacient. Geilie comes off as mysterious and kind of dangerous (it’s the ginger hair). At one point she mentions that people in the village think she is a witch. I really enjoy Geilie she is an asshole and knows it (she totally laughs when Claire hits her head on the tree). Everything out of her mouth is droll and hidden in double meaning –Claire this woman is either your BFF OR she will get you burned at the stake either way I think it will be super FUN! Geilie informs her that in the evening the MacKenzie will be holding court AKA the 18th century version of judge Judy (even though this show proves over and over again the 18th century has no place for sassy women).
At court Claire sits with Geilie (because you always want to sit with the catty asshole at court). Geilie also translates the Gaelic for Claire. The last case is a poor girl who has been accused of loose behavior (oh dear). They sentence the girl to a beating but Jamie says he will take the beating for her if the MacKenzie allows. Claire is none-too-pleased that an injured Jamie is going to get punched until he bleeds (Claire is devoted to her patients AND probably does NOT want that pretty face bruised). Dougal lets Jamie get beat by Rupert longer then he should (Jamie has shitty relatives). At one point Claire moves to stop the beating (because Claire is kind of a danger to herself) BUT thankfully she has Geilie who is like bitch step back (Geillie is totally the type of friend who would hold your hair back while you puke AND post pictures of it on Facebook –FUN). Claire and Jamie have a night-cap in the kitchen (Claire also cleans his wounds, again Jamie is a handsome walking disaster). We find out that the girl is Mrs. Fitz’s granddaughter who then goes and ruins Jamie and Claire’s emotional farewell.
Claire is about to leave for Inverness when she is called back into the castle by Dougal who takes her to Colum. Colum is in the apothecary room of the castle. He informs Claire that they once had an healer from the Clan Beeton and wonders if she is a distant relative. The healer died of a fever. He asks Claire if she too is a healer, she says she has an interest. He tells her that she is going to stay and be the healer for the castle. She accuses him of doing it because of Dougal and his spies. He informs her that he is the Laird and he is keeping her here until he decides if her secrets will hurt the clan. She then accuses him of making her a prisoner but he says only if she tries to leave. Meanwhile Claire gets her own medical practice –it’s better than a dungeon.
Next week Claire gets accused of being a witch (show of hands of those who didn’t see that coming).