BWW Recap: Star-Crossed Love Blossoms on OUTLANDER
This week's episode picks up on the heels of the last, with Claire and her Highlander captors entering the courtyard of the Castle Leoch. If Claire had any lingering doubts as to her whereabouts, or, rather, timeabouts, she can have them no longer, as the castle she and Frank last saw and toured as a ruin, stands before her, intact and alive and rather intimidating.
You have to admire the production's dedication to accurate recreation of the time period, since everything in the courtyard, is utterly filthy. You can almost sense the reek of manure coming off the television screen. And once again, poor Claire's pleas for disinfectant for Jamie's many wounds are greeted by vacant stares. Until, that is, the formidable housekeeper, Mrs. Fitzgibbons ("They call me Mrs. Fitz") catches on and brews up a steaming herbal potion.
The purported gist of this episode is Claire's whiling away the five days until she can catch a peddler's wagon back to Inverness, the Stones, and, hopefully, modern times. Colum MacKenzie, the crippled Laird of the Castle and the brother of the faintly sinister war chief Dougal, vaguely promises her that she can leave, but it's apparent to everyone but Claire, that he intends no such outcome. However, the wait gives her time to become better acquainted with the life and customs of the people, and with Jamie's musculature.
As Claire tends his wounds, Jamie shows himself to be a pretty enlightened person. He became an outlaw by defending the honor of his sister (shown in a flashback that reveals, yet again, what despicable louse Black Jack Randall is). He bares his soul to Claire, placing his trust in her by telling her he has a price on his head. He steps in for a young woman who is about to suffer physical punishment at the hands of the Laird and at the request of her father for the sin of, shall we say, being a "lusty" lass. As Dougal directs Jamie's pummeling in the girl's stead, we have to wonder about his true opinion of the young man.
We are left no doubts as to his opinion of Claire, whom he is having watched at all hours. He tells her to her face that he suspects her of being an English spy. It is pretty clear that the men of the castle, with the exception of Jamie, harbor a severe distrust of the mysterious Claire, opinions that are not helped by her rather poor attempts to explain her appearance in her shift in the woods outside of Inverness.
The episode is most notable for its depiction of its assortment of women. In addition to the anachronistic Claire, who is too strong-willed, too confounding, and too English for her own good, there are about four other interesting women who figure in the episode. First, there is the maternal Mrs. Fitz, clearly the one who runs the castle, who sees to Claire's well-being as best she can, including the brewing of healing herbs. Then there is the townswoman, Geillis Duncan, who denies being a witch, in spite of her extensive knowledge of poisons and abortion-causing herbs, and her apparent inability to look anyone straight in the eye. The lady of the castle, despite her straight talk and proclivity to toss rolls as the dinner table, seems to be harboring a secret about her son Hamish, which may involve her brother-in-law Dougal. And the accused girl who is saved from a lashing by Jamie (and who visits him after hours to "voice" her appreciation - off screen, sadly), who is Mrs. Fitz' granddaughter. One is left with the distinct impression that the female members of the clan have many secrets up their tartan sleeves.
After Claire bids a bittersweet farewell to Jamie, a short scene that acknowledges the growing attraction between the two, but before she boards the wagon to Inverness, she is brought by Dougal into the same basement room where she and Frank had a romantic, if unhygienic interlude in the ruins. There, Colum informs her that the room is the castle surgery and that the castle is in need of a surgeon/healer, a role that Claire will fill, whether she wishes to or not. She is left abandoned in the dark surgery as the episode fades to black.