Previously on Outlander, Claire tried to escape Castle Leoch only to realize that was futile BUT she impressed Dougal enough for him to take her (and Jamie) on a rent gathering trip –FUN? [NOTE: I apologize for this taking SOOOO long, basically life got in the way of the blogging.]
Claire looks fucking fantastic in a fur trimmed coat reciting the poetry of John Dunn into a beautiful Scottish vista (this whole show is travel porn). She befriends Ned Gowan Colum’s lawyer and a fellow poetry buff. She notices his asthma and instantly offers him something to solve it. I know Claire wants to get back to Frank, but every time she treats someone I am always reminded of how much Claire will hate being just a professor’s wife upon return to Frank and her own time period, especially since after WWII women were discouraged into entering professions of theirown. It was a step backwards for the women’s movement which had gained so much in the early 20th century Suffrage movement.
On the road despite her friendship with Ed, Claire is treated more like an outsider –OUTLANDER– than ever before, mostly because her traveling companions are 18th century dude bros who think it’s funny to make obvious lewd jokes in their native tongue. It’s so fucking depressing considering how much research went into this book and show that groups of dudes don’t seem to have evolved in nearly 300 years. Jamie, the 18th centuries perfect man, is of course lovely to Claire except when she asks him point blank if he trusts her and he says matter-of-factly that he is fairly sure she is hiding something.
While the dudes collect rent Claire notices that some of the money they collect goes into a separate satchel –are Dougal and Ned stealing from Colum? She gets bored (as watching people collect money and goods would be really boring) and wanders off only to find the village ladies WALKING WOOL. I will try and spare you dear readers of you my knowledge of wool and fabrics but I will note that I have a minor in Crafts, specifically fibers, and this display of 18th century wool working made me squee with positive delight. If I were to go back in time I would have gotten by because of my knowledge of fabrics and ability to sew. FUN FACT: we still use Urea in specific dying applications though we no longer need to get it from our urine (it is ALSO in soaps, shampoos, cigarettes and other common household items) AND while the village woman tells Claire the piss is used to set the dye it really is used to help the dye stay wet longer so that they get a more uniform color (I apologize I just could not help myself from bringing that up also my former professor John Hawthorne ,wherever he may be, just felt the universe give him a pang of pride that after all this time I still fucking remember why we mixed Urea into dyes –I REMEMBER JOHN).
Claire learns that one of the women has a child who is going hungry because they had to give the families goat to the Laird. Claire is drunk (because alcohol makes a person pee more for working the wool) and goes out and tries to take back the goat only to get into a shouting match with Dougal. An Englishman tries to come to her defense but is stymied by all of the Scots. When the gentlman skulks back to his tent we find out he is a RED COAT –RUH ROH!
Later that evening when everyone is having fun at the local pub, Dougal gives a speech in Gaelic and strips the shirt off Jamie’s back to reveal his scars to the locals. He and Ned then collect a bunch of money from the crowd and put it into the SECRET SATCHEL. Both Jamie and Claire are really pissed off. Claire is pissed because Dougal thinks she should fix Jamie’s shirt because of her vagina and Jamie is pissed because he is embarrassed about his scars. The next morning Claire confronts Ned about the stealing. He doesn’t deny it and also thinks she would make an excellent lawyer if only they allowed that sort of thing –he does this with a twinkle in his eye that I both hate for his condescension and love for the adorableness of an old timey Scottish lawyer. We find out via voice over that this happens over and over again at every village they visit for weeks.
While on the road , our merry band of highlanders come across a family’s house being burned down by the Watch a group of Scots that police people who are rumored to may or may not be working with the Red Coats. Claire is appalled and even more angered by Dougal taking some of the families’ chickens. At camp, Angus (who Jamie affectionately told Claire hates everyone) gets very angry when Claire refuses to eat stolen food. Jamie stops Angus from forcing her to eat via knife-blade and then tells Claire privately that she needs to stay out of things she doesn’t understand. Later while watching Ned and Dougal collect rent she notices that Dougal gives food to a man who had his rent stolen by the Red Coats. She gives Dougal shit for being generous during the day then stealing from Colum and the villagers at night. Dougal is about to tell her something when Ned intercedes and tells Dougal that Claire has figured them out –wink wink.
That night at the pub Claire recognizes a name James II the Stuart King and we flashback for FUN FACTS from Frank about the Jacobite rebellion. Claire realizes that Dougal et al are not stealing from Colum, but rather collecting money for the Jacobite cause to free Scotland from those bastard Brits. [Some things never change. -M] This makes Claire see the men in a different light from assholes to proud men willing to die for Scotland. Being from the future however proves troubling for Claire since she knows that the Jacobites will lose and that the Highlander way of life will consequently die –OH HISTORY! After leaving camp our rebels find two Scots crucified by the Red Coats –British BASTARDS. This makes me kind of sad that Scotland decided to stay part of the United Kingdom. After properly burying the Scots, Dougal gives a moving speech at the next inn and even though he is speaking Gaelic he even seems to move Claire.
Later that night while sleeping in a room upstairs she hears a noise outside and it turns out to be Jamie protecting her from drunk English dudes. She offers to let Jamie sleep in her room (of course she does) but Jamie is shocked by this proposal as it would ruin Claire’s reputation (oh Jamie). Claire gives him the blanket off her bed and there hands briefly touch and man those two just need to kiss (or fuck) already.
The next morning she asks Ned why he would want her to think of him as a thief instead of what he truly is A REBEL because of there friendship she tries to warn him without outright stating she is a time traveler. He is dismissive and then she basically tells him the truth that it is a fact that history will not record another Stuart king but the conversation is broken up by a breakfast bar brawl (NEW BAND NAME) to bag pipes (which will be the signature instrument in the band). When Claire is tending to the highlanders wounds and giving each of them a hard time she finds out the dudes where defending her honor–all together now–AWWW. Can I just say that I adore the way the word “whore” sounds when coming from a Scot. She then endears herself to the group by making a cutting masturbation burn on Rupert. She even gains a tiny bit of respect from Angus –making fun of a dudes love of hand is a centuries old friendship starter.
The crew ride through Culledon Moor and we learn more from Frank about the decimation of the Jacobites by the British –thank god Frank is a history professor eh. Claire goes to a nearby stream to wash and Dougal accosts her because of her conversation with Ned and her knowledge of the British army. However, they are interrupted by the Englishmen from before who is now in full uniform and has Dougal outnumbered. He asks Claire if she is there as a guest of the clan or a prisoner.
The Garrison Commander
This was my least favorite episode of the first half of season 1 and not because it wasn’t well acted –that is far from the case– but because Black Jack Randall is such a fucking sadistic bastard.
Claire asserts to the young Red Coat that she is indeed a guest of Clan Mackenzie and not a prisoner. Dougal and Claire reluctantly agree to go with the Red Coats to the nearby Inn where there Commander is stationed. The Commander (who in my head is played by Burn Gorman who plays the Commander on Turn and is basically the same fucking character as this guy. ALSO Burn Gorman should be in everything). The Red Coats make fun of Dougal to his face which embarrasses me, Claire and Dougal –STUPID BRITISH. Claire of course puts everyone in there place because let’s face it she is routinely the smartest person in the room. I’m going to be quite frank (OH FRANK) because I don’t really want to watch this episode again (it’s the only one I watched just the one time) I’m basically just going to point out the important parts of and then recap the last five minutes because they are AWESOME and set up my FAVORITE episode of the season.
I should explain that this is NOT an episode to skip, it’s just not one you want to watch over and over again NOR do I want to do it a disservice in recapping it. The way it is structured it lulls the viewer and Claire into a false sense of security that when the floor drops out it’s shocking in a good way. If I were to recap it in great detail it would ruin how it works. Its structure is also why I haven’t re-watched it because now that I know whats coming it’s less fun sitting through all of the talking. The episode virtually takes place in the Inn’s fancy dining room and is a series of conversations in which Claire tries to maneuver the British to take her to Inverness which she nearly does only to be out done by her mouth. Eventually she goes toe-to-toe with Black Jack and realizes that her smarts are no match for his sadism. She is eventually rescued by Dougal and reunited with the highlanders but the events of the Inn lead to one of the best parts of Outlander, Claire having to become Scottish by marrying Jamie.
That’s right folks she has to marry Jamie –hallelujah!
Black Jack tells Dougal he must produce Claire to him at Fort William in three days time. Dougal takes Claire to a spring and makes her drink the water while he asks her if she is a spy for the British. She again tells Dougal that she is NOT a spy for the British for the millionth time. He informs her that the spring is magical and that the water would have killed her if she were lying. Claire finally gains Dougal’s trust because of 18th century superstition –WIN! She nearly ruins it by almost mocking Dougal but then thinks better of it. Dougal informs her that if she were Scottish he would not be compelled to bring Claire to Randall. When she inquires how this can be accomplished he says she will have to marry a Scot. She initially recoils at the thought of marrying him but finds out Dougal wants her to marry Jamie instead (in the book Dougal is married but the show doesn’t seem to want to state his marital status).
Claire gets drunk and has a heart-to-heart with Jamie. She finds out two things :that Jamie kind of digs her and that he is a virgin. This is just the best ever, not only do we finally get to see Claire and Jamie in the sack but Claire also gets to deflower the handsome Scot –WIN for all of us.
I have read a lot of recaps and reviews of Outlander that take issue with the pace of the show and I too had these issues with the book but upon reflection I think both do the romance justice because once you get to “The Wedding” the audience and Jamie are dying for our two handsome leads to GET IT ON.
The structure of this episode is also very effective storytelling, starting with Claire marrying husband number one Frank, and then briefly showing Claire marry husband number 2. Claire and Frank spontaneously marry at the magistrate office before going to dinner with his parents and Jamie and Claire marry in a small Scottish church surrounded by Highlanders, innkeepers, and whores –FUN!
In the honeymoon chamber our couple (and let’s face it the only couple we care about even though I do appreciate Frank’s fun facts) who up till this point have had an easy report are having a stilted conversation and getting pissed on booze (well mainly Claire is getting pissed on booze). Once the booze gets flowing Claire asks Jamie a bunch of questions, chiefly why he married her. She married him because Dougal didn’t give her a choice but as Jamie tells it he felt that Dougal didn’t give him much of a choice either especially when pointing out that if they didn’t get married Claire would be at the mercy of Black Jack Randall. And just as they are about to kiss Claire cock-blocks herself, Jamie, and the entire audience by asking Jamie about his family. Claire in VO says it was a much-needed distraction and a way for them to get to know each other. Of course they are disrupted by Angus and Rupert coming in to check if Jamie consummated the marriage.
After the interruption Claire asks Jamie to bed. Jamie immediately looks ill and intrigued and asks Claire if she meant to sleep or to bed. He decides that either way he should help her take off all of the stupid underclothes a lady must wear in the 18th century. At first they kiss and Jamie is quite good but he is a bit confused about which way to enter and this being his first time quite fast. He felt that humans mate “backwards like horses.” He then asks her if she liked it. When Claire hesitates, Jamie says the dudes warned him that women don’t like sex. Claire rolls her eyes then sets him straight as the sex positive feminist she is.
Jamie goes and gets the couple snacks and is accosted by the highlanders and of course Dougal about the sex. Which seems like a good point to talk about Dougal-the-dick. Dougal is clearly infatuated with Claire. At one point in this episode he tells Claire that just because she is married now, that doesn’t mean they can’t have something on the side which makes ALL of us uncomfortable. He also as you may remember got drunk and handsy with Claire in a dark hallway and she stopped the situation by knocking him out. We were all left wondering how far he would have gone had she not. Dougal is also a noble patriot, in fact he reminds me of John McCain, though I HOPE that John McCain is less handsy with the ladies. Dougal is your older conservative uncle who would says things like “well that’s not rape rape.” There is a moment in this episode where he basically says just that.
I recently read a recap of “Rent” where the recapper couldn’t understand how Claire who was once assaulted could also find him noble for wanting to free Scotland from the British, if we put aside the whole people can be both evil and good (I wish people who recap TV as a paid profession would realize that) and focus on the fact that Dougal is both Claire and Jamie’s antagonist AND benefactor which makes him an infinitely more fascinating character. Everything he has done also fits with how he is written. He is the clan’s war chieftain. He makes Jamie marry Claire because then Jamie owes him something. He saves Claire because it would really piss off the British. He helps Jamie because he is his nephew but he also would sell Jamie out if it hurt the clan because Jamie is the member of a different clan. He wants Claire because she is tough like himself and he has never seen that before. Dougal is loyal to the clan but he is also a businessman. Neither Claire, Jamie, nor the audience are ever prepared for what Dougal does. He is a much better adversary then Black Jack who we know will only bring chaos and doom. Dougal isn’t likable–he isn’t supposed to be–but he is real, and that’s better.
In between all of the sexy-times, we are treated to how Jamie ensured Claire got the perfect wedding. Oh wait you want to HEAR about the sexy-times because that would make me uncomfortable and pervy. Basically they do it 3 times, the first time, then they make each other get naked, and then when Jamie gives Claire his mothers pearl necklace AND Jamie also gets a blowjob courtesy of Claire, who is the perfect woman to take a dudes virginity. ALSO why is oral sex so popular on TV all of a sudden (I’m not complaining) and not just cable, network TV as well (standards and practices have really gotten lax) it was in the premiere of How To Get Away With Murder and Jane the Virgin (watch HTGAWM for Viola Davis but watch JtV because it’s fucking good).
Anywho, Jamie the romantic forces Dougal to become Scotland’s first and most cowling wedding planner. First Dougal has to basically threaten the priest only to find out that he needs to be bribed with a church in a warmer location –DONE! Then Jamie sends Rupert and Angus to the blacksmith to have the end of a key made into a ring –AWWWW! Murtaugh finds a widow of a man from Jamie’s Fraser clan so that he can be married in the correct tartan. And finally Ned goes to the local whorehouse to retrieve a gown for Claire –AND some fun for himself.
The church is lovely. The gown is lovely. The ceremony is touching. Our couple finally kisses and then Dougal demands they go through a Scottish wedding blood bonding ritual –FUN!!! Claire asks Jamie what the words they spoke meant and he tells her that she is part of his clan now and that they will protect her. He says it a lot more romantic than I am doing it justice. Jamie looks at Claire and asks what she was doing while he and Dougal planned the wedding of a century –in a day– and we are shown that Claire was basically a drunken mess –THAT’S OUR GIRL!
The next morning after all the snogging and talking our two lovebirds look pleasantly satisfied with themselves only for Claire to find her gold wedding band which she had hidden in her gown before entering the church. Claire puts it on the ring finger of her other hand. She holds both hands up to her face and all of the bliss she felt sinks realizing she might have to make a choice –dear Claire, you always pick the ginger.
I’ll be back next week with a recap of the mid-season finale and our hopes, wants, and needs for season 2.