Claire Randall's adventure continues in the first season of what is sure to be a long-running series on Starz based on the beloved historical fiction/fantasy/romance series by Diana Gabaldon, and we are so ready to recap and then discuss every single moment of it.
This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Outlander, including Saturday night's Season 1, episode 3, “The Way Out.” Enjoy!
Claire and Frank traverse a crowded train station, both in uniform. Frank insists what they’re doing is backwards, and it should be her seeing him off to the front lines. “Welcome to the twentieth century,” she answers without missing a beat. Frank elicits Claire’s promise to return to him, and next thing Claire knows, she’s dashed over the head with a bucket of cold water, as Mrs. Fitz helps her bathe.
Claire insists she really can bathe herself, she tells Mrs. Fitz, who insists on helping her anyway. Off with her shift and on with clean clothes. Mrs. Fitz proclaims that Claire’s next husband is going to be a lucky man, which prompts Claire to come clean. Her husband isn’t dead, exactly. It’s more that he hasn’t been born yet, because Claire has fallen through time. She’s not an English spy; she’s from the future. Though Mrs. Fitz has heard some strange tales in her time, this one rattles her. She abjures Claire as a witch, or so we think until reality intrudes. In reality, Mrs. Fitz calmly brushes Claire’s hair and natters on about the upcoming gathering.
If Claire can get in Colum and Dougal’s good graces by then, maybe she can secure her release and make her way back to Frank with all due haste. She sets herself toward this goal, intending to mix the best of both worlds and practice twentieth century medicine, using eighteenth century resources. Ambitious, our Claire, but if anyone can get the job done, Claire can. She’s so bent on her task that he guards start spending their time in the kitchen while Claire tends her patients. Things seem to be going well until Claire hears of a boy who died in the night, but nobody came to get her to tend him. Why didn’t then send for her?
Apparently, there was nothing Claire could have done, as the boy’s malady came from nosing around the Black Kirk, where demons lurk. Before Claire can make sense of this, she’s summoned to tend to Colum, who is furiously upbraiding his tailor for making a coat too long. Does the tailor think Colum’s legs need hiding? No, no, of course not, one regular length frock coat coming right up. Dismissing the tailor, Colum asks Claire if she can sew. Only flesh, she replies, and Colum positions himself on the table for his massage, hiking his shirt up over his bare bum when Claire announces it’s his spine and not his legs she needs to touch.
Later, in the great hall, Laoghaire sits next to Claire as they both admire Jamie’s fine figure, Laoghaire bemoaning that she’s not the one Jamie fancies. This, of course, is Jamie’s cue to join them, in time for the Welsh harper to begin his set. Claire, tipsy on Rhenish, can’t understand a word, but the music is haunting and beautiful. A lovesick Laoghaire can only watch as Jamie makes calf eyes at Claire, eventually handing Laoghaire his empty cup and traipsing off with Claire to her surgery and check on his shoulder.
Once alone, the flirtation increases. Claire supposes if Jamie’s shoulder were really bothering him, he’d have ripped off the bandages himself. Claire is in charge here. Jamie admits that when people see his scars, they see only the scars and not Jamie anymore. It’s fine if Claire sees them, though. Jamie turns to go, but Claire still hasn’t actually looked at his shoulder. (What, intense sexual tension isn’t enough?) Claire starts by untying Jamie’s neckcloth (isn’t that how it always starts?) and pronounces that his wound is scabbing over nicely, with no drainage. They’ll be able to remove the bandages in a few days. Sizzling eye contact ensues. Sure, they’re all “Mistress Beauchamp” and “Mr. MacTavish” now, but we know where this is leading.
The next day, Claire sets off to gather more herbs, her guard in tow. Does she never sit down, the guard asks, but his day is about to get even worse, because Geillis Duncan joins them. Geillis informs Claire of the exorcism planned for Thomas, the boy who’d accompanied the dead boy to the Black Kirk. Claire presses Geillis to explain exactly what she means when she says the boys were “seized by evil.” Geillis, in return, asks if Claire believes in the power of magic, maybe found herself in a situation where there’s no earthly explanation. Does Geillis know more than she lets on?
Claire brushes off her guard’s warnings that messing with spirits is a bad idea and goes to see Thomas for herself. A priest once told her that the ability to heal is itself a gift from God, which is a good thing, because Thomas, tied to a bed in a close, dark room, can use all the help he can get. Claire’s examination suggests poison. Priest arrives, pretty sure it’s spirits, and begins the rites while Claire insists the boy needs to be untied and breathe fresh air. Nobody is listening to Claire, so she leaves. Claire is certain that Thomas’s illness is of this world, not the spirit, but even if she can make a diagnosis, can she find a cure?
Back at the castle, dinner in the hall means more Jamie, more teasing and flirting, and even a stolen moment of Jamie-induced footsie. Claire receives a stern warning not to tease Jamie about Laoghaire, or he’ll wind up with more than a bloody nose. Like a wife, Claire asks, and she’s not that far off. She’s ashamed of the way she teased Jamie, but she was jealous of the intimacy he and Laoghaire seemed to share. Claire misses Frank, misses him bad. Soon enough, Dougal encounters Claire while she’s missing Frank in private, and asks if she’d like to visit Geillis the next day. Claire certainly would, so in the morning, off they go.
Geillis wants to know how the exorcism went, but Claire can’t tell her, as she left before it was over. It’s pretty clear that this priest is not a proto-feminist, but that discussion is cut short as a vociferous crowd, led by the priest and a small boy winds through the street and past Geillis’s window. Geillis fills Claire in; the boy was turned in for stealing. He’ll probably lose a hand for the crime, but that’s how it goes. Geillis’s husband, Arthur, the magistrate, seeks her out before Claire can respond, seeking peppermint for his stomach complaint. When Claire asks to hear the evidence, Arthur tells her they don’t need it; the boy confessed. Judgment hasn’t yet been passed, so there is still hope. It’s Geillis, not Clair, however, who becomes the voice of reason. If the child were hers and Arthur’s, would they want him to lose a hand? Well, no, An hour in the pillory, with one ear nailed should suffice. Claire still finds this barbaric, but it is better than losing a hand.
Just when Geillis starts to ask Claire some picky questions, Jamie comes to her rescue to fetch her back. Claire convinces Jamie to unpin the boy’s ear and asks him if he’d risk helping her again by taking her to the Black Kirk. Jamie, of course, agrees, and there is some intense flirting through the frame of an ancient window. Both educated and a Highlander, Jamie can see the benefits of reason and faith, and he used to visit the Black Kirk as a boy himself.
This piques Claire’s interest. What exactly did Jamie do when he came? Jamie admits to eating wood garlic, which Claire discovers looks exactly like Lily of the Valley…which isn’t Scottish. Were the monks who built the Black Kirk from German..uh, Prussia? They were? That’s all Claire needs to know to concoct her antidote of belladonna. The priest isn’t too keen on that idea when Claire races to the boy’s bedside, but Mrs. Fitz comes to the rescue. This is a family matter, and as family, she wants Claire to try her cure. It works, and the boy’s mother pronounces it a miracle, and Claire a miracle worker. Great. Now they’re never going to let her go.
The Welsh harper plays again in the hall that night, and Jamie translates for Claire’s benefit, giving her chills. The song is an ancient folk tale about a woman torn from her love in a circle of standing stones, but does make it back, at last, to the man she left before. Could that mean Claire will go home as well? Her heart lightens. She can no longer wait for permission or assistance. She has to get back to the stones as soon as possible or die trying.
Quote of the week: “Woe betide the man who stands between you and what you set your mind upon” —Frank
Jamie/Claire 'shippy moment of the week: Flirting through the window at the Black Kirk.
Next episode: “The Gathering”
The Outlander party never stops at H&H—visit our official collection for Diana Gabaldon's Outlander to read a Beginner's Guide, What to Read After Outlander, In Defense of Laoghaire, 5 Things the TV Series Shouldn't Change, all the latest news, and so much more.
+Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series in Reading Order:
|2. Dragonfly in Amber|
|4. Drums of Autumn|
|5. The Fiery Cross|
|6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes|
|7. An Echo in the Bone|
|8. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood|
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.