Hello gentle readers! Are we all still celebrating the official renewal for a second season of Outlander? It’s fantastic that we’ll be get to see Dragonfly in Amber in at least 13 parts! They haven’t figured out how many episodes we’ll have for the next season. Maybe we’ll get all 13 in a row for season 2…
In the meantime, there’s tons to enjoy with another look at this week’s Outlander episode! Let’s talk all things Scottish and, yes, we can also talk swag!
Recap – Episode #102 “Castle Leoch”
Now that Claire and the gang have arrived at Castle Leoch, the men shift from battle into their everyday lives. Claire insists on changing Jamie’s bandages since her roadside triage was only temporary. Mrs. Fitz, the head housekeeper, is impressed with Claire’s skills and obliges her with materials and a place for her to tend to Jamie.
As Claire cleans Jamie’s gunshot wound, she sees that his back is covered with scars. Uncomfortable with pity, Jamie explains that he was flogged twice by the English four years ago. A pack of English redcoats were collecting taxes and attacked Jamie’s sister, Jenny. Jamie came to her rescue only to see one Black Jack Randall holding her at gunpoint.
Jamie surrendered to the redcoats, but Black Jack wanted to make an example out of Jamie for his defiance. Black Jack whipped Jamie and threatened to kill him if Jenny didn’t consent to, um, give him the same kind of fun he tried to have when he first met Claire in the woods. Yep, Black Jack is a swell guy.
Claire thinks of Frank and how he must be reacting to her absence back in the 1940’s and she realizes that Frank is technically dead in this time period. She gets emotional and Jamie lends her the strength of his broad chest to cry on. He then reassures Claire that she has nothing to fear from him and that he’ll protect her.
Jamie then suggests that Claire gets some rest and leaves. Claire collapses, exhausted from her travails. Later, Mrs. Fitz wakes her and has suitable clothing for her. Claire starts to get dressed — this takes some time. Corsets. (‘nuff said!)
Properly attired, she heads off to meet the king of the castle, the Laird Himself, Colum ban Campbell MacKenzie, Dougal’s older brother. His study is filled with books and papers so she learns she’s in 1743 – so she has an idea of the politics – Scotland is unhappily a part of Great Britain, England and France are fighting (what’s new?), there’s a Hanoverian King on the throne, the American colonies haven’t revolted yet, etc…
Colum enters and Claire’s medical mind diagnoses him with Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome which hasn’t yet been identified in this time period. This degenerative disease means Colum has weak legs, a shorter life span, etc.. Although his health isn’t robust, Colum’s mind is just fine and he questions Claire about her rather flimsy cover story. She tells him that she’s a widow on her way to see distant relatives in France. She was attacked by bandits and lost her servants and worldly possessions. Then she was attacked by Jack Randall and lost her clothes.
Yeah, Colum isn’t buying it, but he agrees to help her back to Inverness in a few days. That’s the first step in Claire’s plan: get back to the circle of stones at Craigh na Dun and, hopefully, use the stones to get back to Frank and the 1940’s. She’s relieved to hear she’ll head out to Inverness soon so she just needs to hang at the castle for another couple of days…easy, right?
Well, dinner that night is rather thorny as she sits with Colum, Dougal and Colum’s wife, Letitia. Colum plies our girl Claire with plenty of wine (which she doesn’t refuse) and he continues to interrogate her in a very dinner conversation sort of way. She bluffs her way through, but bungles things slightly when she mistakes Colum’s son and heir, Hamish, for Dougal’s kid. Whoops!
The next day, she heads out to the stables to change Jamie’s bandages. Jamie has a way with horses and the stables are a nice, out of the way spot to put the lad. They have a quick meal and he admits there’s a price on his head which is why he’s going by the name of Jamie MacTavish. Only a handful of people know his real name, including Colum and Dougal since he’s their nephew (on his mother’s side). So he doesn’t carry the MacKenzie name, but he is a MacKenzie by blood.
On the way back to the castle, Claire notices that someone is following her (we’ll call him Rupert). Grr! She heads out to confront Dougal as to why he’s having her followed. He flatly states he thinks she’s an English spy.
Determined to prove him wrong with an unexceptional routine for the next couple of days, Claire helps out Mrs. Fitz by picking some herbs in the gardens. She meets Geillis Duncan who has a shared interest in herbs. A little quirky, Geillis mentions that people call her a witch. Claire, the suspected English spy, is making friends with a witch – not a great idea, but it’s not like people are jumping out of the woodwork to befriend her.
They meet again during Hall – a meeting where the Laird presides over issues from his tenants. Geillis helpfully translates the happenings including an incident where Jamie volunteers to take the punishment of a young girl, Laoghaire, whose father wants her beaten for flirting with guys.
Claire goes to patch up Jamie (again!) and he explains that the punishment would be devastating to a young girl, but he’ll heal in a few days. His gallantry is admired by Claire, Mrs Fitz (grandmother to the girl) and to Laoghaire who wants to thank Jamie. I’m sure she does…
A couple days finally pass and Claire prepares to travel to Inverness! She is about to head out when Dougal brings her to see Colum. They head to the lower levels of Castle Leoch and into the room that Claire toured with Frank back in 1945. During that tour, she teased that the room was for the “castle hermit.” In 1743, the room is the castle surgery (ie…hospital) and Colum states that they have need of a Beator (aka healer).
When Claire refuses and insists on going to Inverness, Colum clarifies that this isn’t a request. Colum also believes that she’s an English spy so she’s not going anywhere.
Reflection – what did we think?
Erica: Now we get a shift in the story – the pilot was a rousing adventure with a journey from WWII to Castle Leoch. This episode is more intimate (despite the expansive sets) and focused on castle intrigue. It’s less action and more on the people. It felt slower, but it’s critical to setting up the future.
Alicia: Hmm…interesting. I felt this one moved much faster than the last one. Maybe because I got caught up in the daily workings and intrigue at Castle Leoch. I liked the little things. Seeing the kitchens, the children playing, the stables, etc.
Erica: By the way, I’m booking a trip to visit Castle Leoch in the fall! Or I would if I could! Gorgeous…
Alicia: Count me in! These fall shots are honestly making me weep. WEEP!
Erica: I must say the costumes look great without being distractingly overdone. A lot of period shows get very glitzy with some of their costumes and it’s nice that everything looks practical and lovely in Outlander. But sometimes, I just want to give Caitriona (Claire) an oxygen mask…corsets don’t look like fun.
Alicia: I’ve worn a few corsets, and your assessment is correct. No wonder women fainted all the time. I agree about the costumes. The muted colors and durable cloths lend to the overall feel and mood of the show.
Erica: Remember when showrunner Ron Moore talked about this during the Outlander Los Angeles Fan Event? Sam (Jamie) had a hilarious comment about what getting undressed means in Scotland.
Alicia: I also like that the women’s makeup is subtle and that their hair is never glamorous or intricately coiffed. It’s a Castle but still a more simplistic version than you’d find at Court. More like a country Manor than what we would think of as a castle.
Erica: For the record, this episode condensed several scenes from the book and tweaked the order of a few incidents. Nothing too major and the changes feel right.
Erica: We meet several of the major players including the MacKenzies who are definitely good poker players – very stoic with currents rippling beneath the surface. Well played by Gary Lewis and Graham McTavish.
Alicia: I think they did a really good job with Colum’s condition and Gary Lewis is yet another great casting choice.
Erica: Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan is interesting – it looks like she may have some fun with a slightly different sort of character. We’ll see!
Alicia: I found Geillis’ portrayal quite interesting. I liked how she always seemed slightly amused by everything and the singsong lilt she spoke with. It made her slightly “off” in a way that makes you wonder what her story is.
Alicia: I found some of the voiceovers and flashbacks were a little grating this time. Especially around Frank looking for Claire. I felt it either should be her thinking it while tending Jamie’s shoulder or while she’s wandering the Castle, or a scene showing Frank looking for her, but not together. For some reason it was off to me.
Erica: Yes, the voiceover isn’t my favorite aspect since I think viewers would still get the story without it. It’s nice for additional insight into Claire, but it’s the sort of insight that you expect the book to have that the TV show may skip. Here they are adding it back into the TV show, but it seem gratuitous. The Frank flashback was similarly not needed – nice to see, but didn’t advance the story.
Alicia: I’m still enjoying the way Caitriona and Sam are portraying Claire and Jamie. And I like how there is a good balance of them together and her having her own “adventures.” The show isn’t trying to force them together too quickly or make it out that she can’t function without him. You can tell she’s comfortable with him because he’s the one she’s interacted with most and the one who’s been the nicest to her. It feels like a natural draw to the familiar.
Erica: Agreed! Nothing too heavy handed…
Alicia: I enjoy where they pepper a little humor in. Like the scene when Mrs. Fitz awakens Claire (her hair…lol!). Or when the men first enter Castle Leoch and all the banter between the travelers and those come to welcome them back.
Erica: That is one of the challenges, isn’t it? The book has a lot of humor because of Claire’s perspective, but it isn’t always written into the plot. Jamie still has a quick wit, but you need other touches to provide some relief.
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Erica: So was the “need not be scairt of me” scene everything you wanted it to be?
Alicia: Um, forget that scene, how about the almost money shot when they’re at the stables talking? Anyone else? Surely you didn’t miss that 😛
Erica: Lol! No, I didn’t miss that! It’s definitely a critical scene, but less showy and less quoted than the other. There are definitely some scenes I can’t wait to see in the next episodes!
Alicia: My first character disappointment: Jenny. I was looking forward to her fighting against the English soldiers, and instead get a woman with no fight to her. Makes me worry about how they’ll handle her later on…
Erica: Remember that this is Jamie’s memory of the scene so I hope we’ll see the expanded, feisty version when Jenny tells it.
Erica: Interesting that they are already bringing up Hamish’s parentage. I wonder if there are some slightly different plans for that reveal.
Alicia: How did you feel about the scars?
Erica: The scars were different from what I pictured – they were thicker, fresher and more brutal looking.
Alicia: What about the scene where Jamie takes Laoghaire’s punishment? It all seems so civilized and barbaric at the same time.
Erica: I started to squirm since it kept going on. Rough scene and Dougal came off as a villain in that scene – it’ll be interesting to see the rising tension from him in the next couple of episodes.
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
You’ve read what we think, but how did you like this episode?
Book readers: How did the show match up to what you envisioned in your mind? (Please keep the comments spoiler-free!)
When you comment below, please identify yourself as a book reader or if you’re new to Outlander and tell us what you think!
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