Catch up on Outlander: “Castle Leoch” — Aug. 16, 2014
The accidental time traveler, Claire Randall, started her day in 1945 and wound up in the 18th century without her husband, Frank. That’s what happens when you stupidly snoop on Pagan rituals. She immediately ran into redcoat Black Jack Randall, Frank’s lookalike ancestor and also a rapist. You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. Fortunately, Claire was rescued by a Scottish rebel. The year 1743 doesn’t have much going for it except for dreamy Jamie Fraser. After her rescue, Claire met the brave and considerate Jamie, he’s one of the rebels standing up to the British.
The rebels bring Claire to Castle Leoch. She conveniently knows where she is because this show seems fond of the Checkov’s gun principle. Expect frequent visits from the foreshadowing fairy. Claire and Frank, an aspiring historian, conveniently explored the castle’s ruins two days ago. I didn’t read the books and I don’t know how many of the characters deserve a significant amount of attention, I’ll ignore them until they really drive the plot.
- Dougal MackKenzie is clearly a VIP; he’s the rebel leader, a total alpha male and you wouldn’t want to get on his bad side since he threatened to slit Claire’s throat if she did anything annoying. Dougal’s brother Colum is the laird of the castle. Dougal comes across like the one most capable of plotting an effective Shakespearian coup. I love him!
- Jamie Fraser is drop-dead gorgeous, mysterious, caring, a good listener and the only character who makes time travel to a backward era appealing.
Claire is a nurse and has had to repeatedly take care of Jamie’s injuries even though they’ve known each other for about a day. Jamie was shot in the shoulder, but he’s too manly to worry about severe injuries so he brushes it off. Claire wants to avoid infection, but the year 1743 tells Claire to stop repeatedly trying to make fetch happen with things like disinfectant because Joseph Lister won’t be born until the next century. She does know about herbal remedies and just has to settle for that. The unparalleled excitement of a shirtless Jamie results in major mood whiplash. A patchwork of scars cover Jamie’s back thanks to sadistic Black Jack, who whipped Jamie on two occasions, once because Jamie fled Fort William, where he was held on the fishy charge of “obstruction.” Jaime was flogged a second time for trying to stop Black Jack from assaulting his sister, Jenny. It’s only been two episodes and sexual violence seems to be a theme. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into a Game of Thrones situation. Jamie assures Claire she’ll be safe as long as she’s with him. When she’s not with him Claire has to watch her back because being English is frowned upon and might result in a slit throat.
Claire is taken to meet Colum MacKenzie, laird of the castle and Jamie’s maternal uncle. Gotta be honest, he’s no Dougal. Claire has the good sense to keep mum about her ride on the Tardis, so she makes up a cover story about being a widow, who was traveling to France. She does tell the truth about nearly being raped by Black Jack Randall, but wisely uses the surname Beauchamp since a tie to Black Jack is the kind of thing that gets your throat slit. At dinner, Colum plies Claire with booze to loosen her tongue and asks lots of questions, such as why she pronounces her name “Beech-ham” instead of “Bo-cham” and what part of France she hails from. Tipsy Claire makes one faux pas after another. She thinks that faux pas is pronounced “Fax pass.” In any case a tinker, will arrive at the castle in five days and take Claire wherever she needs to go. She’ll say, “You can just drop me off in the future if it’s not out of the way.”
The next day Claire goes to Jamie to
see him shirtless again check on his shoulder and bring him lunch. He tells her he’s hiding out because there’s a bounty on his head and he must use the alias, Mactavish instead of Fraser. These two have so much in common, they should definitely get together! Claire notices that she’s being followed around and confronts Dougal. He is certain that she’s a liar and probably an English spy. Since she expects to leave in four days, Claire treats her stay like a weekend trip to the Poconos. She looks for medicinal herbs and encounters fellow botanist Geillis Duncan. Geillis is the go-to girl when you want herbs to terminate a pregnancy. The word on the street is that she’s a witch, but Gellis is cagey about whether that’s true.
That night Claire watches Colum hobble into a barbaric town hall event. She’s diagnosed him with Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome, but can’t mention the 19th century artist. (She also needs to cool it with too many references to France since she’s not fooling anyone.) The point of the evening is to have a horrible way of settling disputes, nobody uses ‘I’ statements or a talking stick. Some abusive father accuses his daughter of having sex and wants Colum’s approval publicly punish her. Jaime steps up to take the girl’s punishment. There needs to be some Jamie and Katniss Everdeen alternate-universe fan fiction, please make it happen, people. Jaimie gets to choose how he will suffer, it’s like one of those ghasty luncheons where the only options are tough prime rib or rubbery chicken. Jaime selects to be punched until blood spills. At this point, he seems to be looking for ways to get Claire to touch him again. It works and we get some nice eye candy.
As Claire tends to Jamie, she asks why he volunteered. Do you think she wants to know if he’s involved with the girl, or is it just small talk? Jamie points out the obvious, he wanted to spare a girl the pain and humiliation of a public beating. They bid each other farewell since Claire expects the tinker to show up the next day and GPS his way to the 1940s. Claire is all packed and ready to go when Colum summons her at the last minute. Since Chekhov’s predictable gun is still in play, the laird takes her to a remote room that she and Frank saw when they were wandering around the castle ruins a day or so ago. They remarked that it was a terrible place to live — but okay to have sex in because that’s how the Randalls roll. The castle needs a healer; Colum forces Claire to fill the vacancy. He does offer a 401k plan and telecommuting, so there’s that. Dougal shoots her a death glare as he locks her in and 1743 tells Claire to have a seat.
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