Previously on Outlander, ‘Castle Leoch’
Another day, another corseted, padded, shifted, stockinged outfit to squeeze in to; now that Claire is a permanent resident of Castle Leoch, her days of following Jaime about and picnicking have been traded in for healing the castle’s minor maladies and being followed by Dougal’s watch puppies, Angus and Rupert. Don’t try to figure out which one is which. Colum puts Claire’s “talents” to good use in asking for a massage to ease his pain, and she inches into his good graces as he invites her to the Hall for a concert that night.
Claire make small talk with Laoghaire as the concert starts up, and it’s as awkward as any adult trying to chat with a 16-year-old who is looking around the room for anything more interesting. Jaime shows up and sets both faces alight, though it’s clear early on whose company he prefers. Since Claire has gotten herself drunk on Colum’s super-stout, pain-relieving wine, Jaime helps her walk it off down to her secluded Sexy Surgery.
The next morning, followed by Angus/Rupert, Claire meets Geilles in the garden for their daily herb forage. When Geilles mentions that another boy has been possesed by the devil after visting the Black Kirk (some old churchy ruins), Claire marches down to the boy’s house against Geilles’ advice to offer her assistance. Turns out the boy, Tammas, is the nephew of Mrs. Fitz, but when forced to choose between Claire’s learned healing and the “righteous” exorcism of the awful Father Bain, Claire has to take a backseat to the superstitions and beliefs of the old-timey Scots.
The hits just keep on coming when, back at the castle, Claire accidentally sees Jaime following Laoghaire around with his lips in a darkened corner of the castle kitchen. When she sits across from him later at dinner, Claire teases him about his swollen lips from “playing with fillies”, but Old Alec warns her after Jaime has taken his leave that Laoghaire will be nothing but ruin for Jaime. Jaime needs, very pointedly, A Woman.
Dougal has to make a village run the next day, and takes Claire with him so that she can restock her surgery before all of the nearby clansmen arrive for The Gathering. He deposits her at Geillis’ house, where the ladies grind and steep their herbs and Geillis says some of the weirdest, most ominous things about secrets and magic and is clearly trying to get at…something. Relief comes for Claire when Arthur Duncan, village justiciar and Geilles’ gassy husband, interrupts them to dispense his justice to a young tanner’s boy caught stealing bread. Claire and (mostly) Geilles convince Arthur to go light on the boy, who instead of losing a hand has his ear nailed to a pillory. When Jaime comes to collect Claire (and interrupts another awkward, prying conversation with Geilles), the two contrive and manage to free the poor boy’s ear without drawing any undue attention from the gawking justice-loving villagers.
On the way back to the castle, Jaime and Claire take a swing by the Black Kirk. Jaime, who is almost as educated as Claire, maybe doesn’t quite believe that the sick boy is possessed, but also is smart enough to know when and where he is, and how much that factors in to what people believe. Perhaps Claire could be taking notes on what he’s saying. Claire, maybe not listening as carefully as she should be, instead finds a plant that Jaime says they used to eat when they’d spend the night on the Kirk as a dare. Since the plant is actually a poison native to Germany, erm, Prussia, she rushes back to Tammas’ house knowing what cure will save the boy. Sort of. Her dose of belladonna, also a poison, will either save him immediately or send him into fatal convulsions, if she can get past he-man woman-hating Father Bain. Luckily Mrs. Fitz has her back, and short of spitting in the Father’s face, politely declines his services in the field of exorcism. In a tense moment of will he or won’t he, Claire’s medicine saves the boy and all is well. Or rather, all is well except for the enemy she just made in the religious leader of the area.
Her reputation as a miracle worker ostracizes her even more from the inhabitants of Castle Leoch–except for Jaime, of course. At that night’s concert, he translates the Gaelic bard’s song of a woman who, having touched the fairy’s stones traveled through time, lived a life, and then traveled back to the man she loved when it was all over. You might have heard this one, no? Claire has, and even though it’s an old folk tale, realizes that if her story is anything like the one in the song, then she has a way to get back to Frank and to the 20th century.
Here’s what I think you should take notice of:
-Poor Frank. He really takes a back seat to the majority of the story, even though Claire talks him up all the time, and he seems rather boring in pretty much all of the flashback scenes. Compared to the excitement of Jaime I guess he doesn’t stand much of a chance, but he really does get a scene or two every episode where he seems like such a nice guy. Not including that one where he tells her it’s okay if she cheated on him because of war.
-When Mrs. Fitz is dressing her…the first time. I’m glad the whole time travelling confession nee witch accusation turned out to be a daydream, at the very least because it seems like a rather stupid thing to open up about to someone you’ve known for a week. In hindsight, I think this is some pretty pointed commentary on the precariousness of Claire’s position. How much can she really say or do, especially when it comes to the healing, without any suspicious woman knowledge being immediately thought of as witchcraft? I’m surprised she wasn’t accused of it after massaging Colum’s spine; she’s going to have to spend a lot of her time cleverly misdirecting her actual knowledge so that it’s construed as luck and happenstance and a knowledge of local herbs.
-Claire and Laoghaire, and then Jaime’s, conversation at the concert could have been written verbatim by any awkward Gaelic high schooler. Could Jaime have been any more cavalier or oblivious to what he was saying to Laoghaire? You could almost feel her shriveling up inside when he called her a “snot-nosed bairn”. Men: not knowing what the hell they’re saying since 1743.
-Oh, but the heat between Claire and Jaime! When she has him down in her Sexy Surgery (and I swear she was about to sit on the exact same table as, ahem, before), and she unties his shirt to take a look at his bandage…I’m not an actor, so I don’t necessarily understand the nuances of being on film, but THAT was some sort of chemistry. Wouldn’t that be hard to fake? It just felt so authentic–my pulse raced and my heart stopped at the same time, which I feel is rather impressive for a third episode.
-Speaking of third episode, it’s probably not fair to say but thank God something actually happened! The first episode, while a little bit on the snoozy side, was understandably laying the groundwork. First episodes always get a pass. Episode two really had to spend its time explaining a new time and culture, which is fine because that Gaelic can be hard to understand the first time around. I’m just happy to have an episode with a little story progression and a little action to it (figuratively, literally–I’ll take it all)