Previously, on Outlander: “The Gathering”
True to his word, Dougal has pulled Claire from her daily repairs at the surgery and has taken her with him to collect the rents from the MacKenzie lands. Even though the men exclude her on the road, she makes friends with Ned Gowan, the Edinburgh-educated lawyer whose thirst for adventure put him in Collum’s employ. Finally, someone civilized she can talk to!
They trudge for days through the dreary countryside–just kidding. I’m sure they’re gone for days, but pretty much everyone is cheery, and who wouldn’t be, riding through such stunning scenery? On the road, the men spend their nights making lewd jokes in Gaelic, while Claire looks on all forlorn and luminous and excluded. Seriously, pretending she isn’t bothered by their dirty limericks is a good look on her. The nights in the villages, though, are spent with Dougal giving some mysterious fiery sermon in Gaelic while ripping Jaime’s shirt off (unexpectedly to everyone, at least the first time) to show his scarred back; the villagers who just paid their rents exit one by one, dropping more money into an alternate collection sack. Claire, who is quite pleased with herself for figuring out Dougal’s game, confronts him about the money he is collecting on the sly to keep for himself; he promptly does not give a shit what Claire thinks.
Angus cares, though, and when Claire calls him names in front of all of his buddies, he responds with a knife at her throat. Jaime diffuses the situation, luckily, but gives Claire the sternest talking to that she’s had since she showed up in his century: keep your mouth shut, woman, if all you’re going to do is judge and start shit. More or less, and in his delightful accent.
She must have taken it to heart, because the next day collecting rents, she’s a little surprised when Dougal takes bags of food off the rent wagon and provides it to the villagers who have just been attacked by the Redcoats; even more so when, that night at Dougal’s sermon, she figures out he’s not just pocketing all that extra money but raising it for Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart king exiled in France and the true king of Scotland.
Claire realizes that she’s been looking at these men, her companions, all wrong—they’re not thieves or tyrants, but rebels and freedom fighters. Unfortunately she quite literally knows how this story ends, and it’s not in favor of the clans. They’re raising money for a war that she knows they will not win, and they will end up slaughtered on the largest scale possible. She tries to explain that to Ned one night over dinner, in the most subtle I’m-from-the-future-so-trust-me way possible, and ends up alienating her only friend on the trip. Turns out no one at all likes being told their cause is lost, even centuries back. In the middle of the conversation a fight breaks out between the MacKenzie men and a bunch of surly shit-talking locals, and as Claire sews up her friends’ wounds she finds out they were fighting to defend her honor from the opinions of the jerks the next table over. Seems like every assumption Claire has made about these men so far has been wrong.
Ned must have tattled to Dougal, because he approaches Claire yet again to find out who she really is. She may not be a spy, but telling his men that they serve a lost cause certainly doesn’t make him trust her any more–or so he would have finished telling her, if they hadn’t been interrupted mid-sentence by a troop of Redcoats. Uh-oh!!
What caught my attention this episode:
- I’m pretty sure the alternate working title of this episode’s script was “Oh my God, Claire, shut up shut up shut up!” What a mouthy handful of a captive she’s turning out to be–she spends the entire episode giving drunk sass to Dougal, stalking off from sweet Jaime, insulting both Angus AND Ned, and generally sticking her foot in her mouth. And then also just being plain wrong about pretty much everything she’s been thinking.
- That one kid who was wrestling by the campfire had on plaid pants! Other than the English, that might be the first instance of a man in pants on the entire show. What a fashionable little fella.
- The wool waulking scene with Claire and the village ladies. Here’s some internet info on what was going on there. Other than the surface-level neat historical details, it shows a big difference in how the men have been using Gaelic to exclude Claire and how the ladies use it to include her in their work and make her welcome. And man, does Claire pick up the words to that song with a quickness!
- And now we’ve come to the eternal dilemma of all time-travelers: do I use my knowledge of the future to help people make better choices, or do I just gamble on baseball games from Grays Sports Almanac? There’s nothing Claire can say to convince these men not to fight this war–there’s no way they can understand the brutality of what they’re walking in to, and there’s no way to make them understand why she knows what she knows without sounding like a crazy person (or worse for her, a witch). She basically has to stand there and watch these men march to their death.
- I didn’t previously know a ton about Scottish history and the relationship to England (I still don’t), so it took some research to figure out what was even being said when they talked about the Jacobite rebellion. Here and here are some links to some basic info about it. Scotland is still seeking independence from England, hundreds of years later, with a referendum vote coming next few weeks. This is CSI: Outlander, with real stories ripped from the headlines!
- I won’t speak for everyone, but I’m ready for a little more time with Jaime and Claire. He’s been present but fairly background (side note: there’s no way he sewed that shirt back together every time and it still looked like a shirt!) It’s adorable that he was sleeping outside of her room to protect her, and the aghast look on his face at the idea of sullying her reputation was priceless, but that brief hand touch was LAME. We already know what kind of chemistry they have; it’s going to take more than a measly brushing of hands to satisfy us!!!