Outlander: ‘Guest’ Is So Much Nicer than ‘Prisoner’

Outlander-Episode-1.02-Castle-Leoch-Promotional-Photos-10_595_slogoPreviously on Outlander: Claire Randall’s inability to keep her hands to herself got her sent back to 1743, where she found herself in the hands of the clan Mackenzie, avoiding her husband’s creepy doppelganger ancestor.

Claire and her captors/hosts arrive at Castle Leoch and dismount in the courtyard. Claire warily looks around and VOs that she’s going to have to get someone to help her get back. No shit. A woman comes out and happily greets one of the men, Rupert, and calls everyone in for breakfast. She catches sight of Claire and basically asks what the hell this is. Jamie introduces Claire to Mistress Fitzgibbons and explains to Fitz that Dougal says they had to bring her along. Fitz eyes her beadily, then takes Claire’s arm and starts dragging her inside to get her something to eat and wear. Claire asks what’ll happen to Jamie, who’s been shot and all. Claire explains that she needs to clean the wound properly so it doesn’t get ‘inflamed’. Fitz seems suspicious of a woman who knows what to do with wounds and asks if she’s a charmer. ‘Something like that,’ Claire says, possibly a bit stupidly. Fitz calls for Jamie to accompany them.

Claire makes her way through the castle, flashing back on her time with Frank, exploring these very passageways.

Later, she sees to Jamie’s wounds, using some home remedies provided by Fitz. As she moves his plaid out of the way, Claire sees some serious scars on his back. He tells her it was the redcoats, who flogged him twice. Guess which redcoat was responsible? Yes, that’s right, it was Randall. She asks why he was flogged. First for escaping Fort William, second time for theft, allegedly. She asks why he was at Fort William and he says it was for a trumped-up charge, basically. What really happened was Randall caught sight of Jamie’s sister, Jenny, and tried to take advantage of her, but Jamie intervened. He was beaten as she watched, and after a little while, Randall offered to stop the beating if Jenny went inside with him and ‘offered him better entertainment.’ Jamie urged her not to go, so Randall knocked him unconscious and Jenny apparently went with him, afraid he’d kill her brother. And they still dragged Jamie off to Fort William. Claire does the ‘must have been terrible for you,’ thing as she finishes bandaging up the wound. He observes that she’s a kind woman with a good touch and that her husband’s a lucky man.

CVO wonders what Frank’s going through. Frank and Reverend Wakefield are just now finding the car at the standing stones and looking for her.

Claire starts to get upset and Jamie asks her what’s wrong. She claims she’s fine, she was just thinking about her husband. He asks if he’s not alive and she says he isn’t, before bursting into tears. Jamie comes over and comforts her. Aww. And then they have a really intense moment before Claire scrambles to her feet and apologises. Jamie tells her she doesn’t have to be scared of him or anyone else at the castle, as long as he’s with her, but she needs to remember that she’s English, in a place that doesn’t really favour the southern cousins. She thanks him for the warning. He tells her to sleep a bit, because she’s probably worn out, and she’s going to have to put up with some questions sooner or later.

[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]

Claire VOs that she’s going to have to get someone to help her get back. No shit[/cryout-pullquote]

Claire sleeps and is then really rudely awakened by Fitz around 5. Fitz bustles about, laying out some fresh broth and water for washing. Claire gets all of three spoonfuls of broth before Fitz takes it away and starts helping her undress, confused by the sight of Claire’s 20th century underwear. Claire claims it’s from France, and Fitz makes an, ‘oh, the French, no wonder.’ Fitz then proceeds to dress Claire up like a doll in some very nice clothes. This is one of those things that always kind of annoys me about time-travelling stories. In most of them, the person who goes back somehow always winds up hooking up with some incredibly rich family. Instead of acting like normal people would when faced with a person who looks, dresses, and acts basically like they came from another planet (most people, I think, would either run from this person or throw them in jail), said rich people proceed to take the traveller home and dress them up in some of the nicest clothes they have to offer (the traveller is always someone else in the household’s exact size, of course). I get that we audience members always want costume porn, and stories are written that way because it’s more fun and interesting, but it still bugs me.

Claire is taken to see the laird of Castle Leoch, Colum. Before he joins her in his study, she manages to find a letter that clues her into the fact that it’s 1743. Colum comes in just after that and we see he’s got Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome. He welcomes her fairly warmly and asks her to sit while CVO tries to run through her 18th century history. Colum sits at his desk and confirms she wasn’t harassed by any of his men. She was not, and she’s grateful for having been safely delivered to the castle, but she’d really like to arrange to head back to England soon. He briskly says they can work something out, but first he wants to know how she got there in the first place.

She flashes back to Frank schooling her on holding up under scrutiny. He told her to lie as little as possible, so she tells Colum she’s a widow from Oxfordshire who was travelling to relatives in France. Yes, it makes perfect sense to travel north to Scotland from Oxfordshire in order to go to France, Claire. She goes on to say that they were attacked by highwaymen and she had to abandon her horse and property. While wandering through the woods, she was attacked by Randall, who managed to undress her but thankfully didn’t rape her. Colum says that Randall is an officer and gentleman, which makes it a tad unlikely he’d rape a stray woman in the woods for no good reason.

‘Is there ever a good reason for rape?’ Claire asks him pointedly. He apologises for his unfortunate turn of phrase. Claire brings the conversation back to transport to Inverness and he says that a tinker named Petree will be by in five days and can take her then. Meanwhile, she can stay at the castle as his guest. Claire thanks him.

Claire goes up to the top of the castle to take in the view and muses that she felt like she’d landed on an alien world only glimpsed through a telescope. She looks down at Dougal playing in the courtyard with some of the castle kids, particularly one boy named Hamish. Bagpipes swell to Loch Lomond in the background.

Dinnertime. Claire gathers herself before walking into the dining room, where the castle’s retainers are arrayed at long tables on either side of the room, while Colum and his family are seated at the head table. Claire curtsies to them and Dougal gestures to a chair in between him and Colum. There’s another lady at the table: Colum’s wife, an elegant-looking woman. Claire is served wine by Colum himself before being introduced to Letitia, the wife. Colum keeps the wine flowing and asks Claire why she uses the English pronunciation of Beauchamp (‘Beecham’). She explains that her family came out of France a while ago and presumably some ancestor changed the pronunciation. He asks what part of France her people hail from and she says they’re from the north. She changes the subject to Jamie, asking how he is. Colum says he just had a scratch and asks Dougal where the boy is. Dougal sent him to the stables to help out with the horses. He adds that it’s the best place for Jamie under the circumstances and then kind of dares Colum to second-guess him on that. Colum lets it go and calls for another bottle of wine. Claire’s making really short work of the booze. Colum starts talking about France and Claire admits she’s not yet been. This was to be her first visit. He asks if she’ll be staying with family. She nods. The kid Hamish comes running in and Claire introduces herself to him. He introduces himself as well and Claire puts her foot in it, saying she saw him playing in the courtyard with his father earlier. But Dougal isn’t his father, he’s Letitia’s and Colum’s son. The silence just now is so awkward and everyone’s recovery so intent you know that there’s some serious questions as to the kid’s real paternity. Claire apologises for having messed up and excuses herself. She just barely manages to walk straight as she leaves the room. CVO beats herself up for not being more careful.

The next day, (a probably hungover) Claire makes her way to the kitchen, where Mrs Fitz spoons up some cold porridge, which Claire refuses before asking for directions to the stables so she can change Jamie’s bandage. Mrs Fitz points her in the right direction. Claire heads that way, watched a little sullenly by one of the men. Up at the stables, Jamie’s training a horse, speaking Gaelic to it. Claire accidentally startles the horse, which rears, sending Jamie tumbling into a pile of hay. Claire apologises and Jamie calms down and says the horse is just a girl with spirit, which is a good thing. Claire presents the fresh bandages and lunch she’s brought. He inhales the food and she observes that he would probably eat grass if there was nothing else. He tells her he actually has eaten grass, while he was raiding cattle and living rough the previous winter. She asks why he was doing that instead of tending his own farm and he explains that there’s a bounty of £10 on his head for murder. But he didn’t kill the man he’s wanted for. He tells her that friends of his tried to break him out of Fort William, and in the ruckus a redcoat was shot, but not by him. Still, he’s an outlaw now, which is why he’s not really allowed in the castle. But Jamie’s family: his mother was Dougal’s and Colum’s sister. Claire asks why he trusted her with this valuable information and he says he just trusts her. He gets ready to return to work and thanks her for the food. As she leaves, Claire spots that guy from earlier hanging around and demands to know why he’s following her. He won’t answer. She guesses Dougal asked him and he doesn’t deny it, but he does tell her that he’ll be splitting this duty with Angus until he’s told to leave off.

Claire goes back to the castle and yells at Dougal for having her followed, asking what he suspects her of. He suspects her of being an English spy. Claire tells him he can go ahead and spy on her all he likes, but in four days she’s gone. He’s surprised to hear that.

She tries to keep her head down over the next few days, helping Mrs Fitz harvest food for the kitchen, which she enjoys. While she’s out picking some mushrooms, however, a woman’s voice warns her that those are poisonous. The voice belongs to Lotte Verbeek, who played Giulia Farnese in The Borgias, which gets an internal fist pump from me, because man, I loved her on that show. Her name here is Geillis. Claire knows the mushrooms are poisonous and Geillis asks who she’s trying to do away with, her husband? Claire explains that the mushrooms can be dried and used to stop bleeding. Geillis introduces herself; she already knows who Claire is. The village has concluded she’s likely an English spy. Geillis doesn’t appear to be subscribing to that belief. She seems to see a sort of kindred spirit in Claire, because Geillis is a healer too, though some say she’s a witch. She suggests Claire come by and visit her sometime and take a look at her potions and remedies.

That night, the locals gather at the castle. Colum takes his seat while CVO tells us a bit about his ailment and how it means he’s probably living on borrowed time. Dougal should be happy to hear that. Two men are called forward and start speaking Gaelic. Geillis translates to Claire that the men are having a dispute over a cow. Colum responds and everyone roars with laughter, but it’s not something that would translate well. Others step forward, one by one, to have their disputes ruled over by Colum. The last person is a man dragging his teenage daughter. He accuses the girl of loose behaviour and wants her punished for disobedience. Mrs Fitz steals into the room to watch. Colum says something, and two men step forward to hold the girl so she can be beaten. And that’s when Jamie steps in and offers to take her punishment. Claire’s horrified, because he’s still injured. Jamie, Colum and Dougal argue the matter, and Jamie wins. The girl is released and runs into Mrs Fitz’s arms. Jamie opts for fists rather than the strap, for rather obvious reasons. One of the other men whispers to Jamie to watch himself, because Dougal’s up to something. Another guy comes out and gives Jamie a good swift punch to the stomach. Then another one. Jamie gathers himself after each blow, but it’s clearly an effort. Kidney punch next. Claire asks how long this goes on and Geillis calmly says it’s just until blood is drawn. Jamie gets punched in the face and spits blood. Claire calls this barbarous. The beating continues, and the guy administering it hits Jamie straight in his wounded shoulder. Still, Dougal doesn’t call a halt. Another hard blow and Jamie goes down, dazed. He’s helped back to his feet and limps over to his uncle, who finally lets this end. He’s helped out of the room and Claire goes to follow. Geillis directs her another way that’s quicker.

Claire helps Jamie get cleaned up and asks why he took the girl’s punishment, does he know her? He does, but not well. He says the beating would have shamed her publicly and it would’ve taken a while to get over it. It’s easier for him. Mrs Fitz bustles in and hands him some willow bark tea and says what he did was kindly meant. The girl is her granddaughter. She gets a bit overwhelmed and leaves. Claire gives Jamie some instructions on how to take care of his wound, telling him she’s leaving the next day. He tries to hide his disappointment as he bids her farewell. She catches sight of the girl hovering off to the side and says that someone clearly wants to speak to him alone, so she’ll say goodnight. He wishes her a safe journey.

The tinker arrives the following day, right on schedule, and Mrs Fitz sees Claire off with some snacks for the trip and a hug. But before Claire can leave, Dougal arrives to take her to see Colum. She’s taken not to the study, but to the room where she and Frank had sex in 1946. It’s basically the potions classroom from Harry Potter. Colum tells her that the castle’s former healer worked in this room, but he died not too long ago. Claire checks the place out, turning the pages of a large, handwritten book. She’s like, ‘wow, this is all really cool, but I need to leave.’ Colum informs her that she’ll be staying and taking up the now open healer job. She asks if one of Dougal’s thugs made up lies about her and he tells her that this is his decision. She figures this is because he thinks she’s a spy. He says he believes she has secrets, and they may be harmless, but she’ll be staying put until he knows for sure. Welcome to Castle Leoch, Claire!



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