A beautiful poetic moment amongst the bawdiness of the Scottish clansmen opens up this new episode of Outlander. Claire finds a like-mind in Ned Gowan, the MacKenzie clan lawyer. Ned is there to help Dougal with collecting the rent and receipts, since he’s the only one Dougal trusts with the money. Both intellectuals establish a friendship immediately, as Claire not only provides smart conversation but comes to asthmatic Ned’s aid by curing his bad cough.
Claire and the men are on the road, chanting along. Claire is curious why Ned took up work in the Highlands, especially with his impressive qualifications. Ned admits that his taste for adventure led him to the Clans, Colum’s father specifically. Claire smiles at Ned, calling him a man of the law with the soul of a romantic.
Despite her new kinship with Ned, our girl once again reminds us that she’s still focused on escaping to get back to Craigh na dun.
Anyway, things aren’t all that great being on the road for Claire. The men speak lewdly and are frequently telling each other crass, silly jokes. That doesn’t both Claire as much as the fact they purposely speak in Gaelic to exclude her. The social interaction she experienced daily at Castle Leoch is gone. Her loneliness and helplessness make her agitated, and she stops trying to hide her frustrations. Jamie is sympathetic, assuring her that she shouldn’t worry about what the men are saying.
The next day, they stop by one settlement to collect rents in the form of coin, livestock, and crops. The men are merry, and Dougal is happy to see everybody, inviting them for a drink later in the evening. Bored with watching the rents being paid and documented, Claire takes a walk around the land and follows the sound of the singing women. She meets one of the women, who invites her to help them settle the dye in wool, which they do using urine. Watching the urine slosh around the tables as they move the fabric is gross, but the merriment and song of the women manage to make it a quite joyful scene. Later, they offer Claire a strong drink. They discuss the tales of Craigh na Dun, after Claire asks the women what they know of the place. Nothing vital is imparted, only that it’s quite far away from where they currently are. They then offer Claire a pot for her to urinate in, so they can continue the settling the dye. She goes right for it, feeling good to be around these women. As she crouching over, Angus, one of her guards, barges in and angrily drags her back outside.
She’s fighting Angus, who is mad because she didn’t stay outside and in sight. As they’re walking back to the men, she notices the goat and goes to untie it. During her conversation with the women, one mother explained that her husband had given up their goat for rent and no longer have milk to feed their baby. She decides to rectify the situation. The men stop her, and she goes to Dougal and angrily asks him to give up the goat. He won’t give it up, and to all the onlookers, he dismisses Claire as a drunk Sassenach. What they do not expect is an Englishman to come along and ask Claire if she’s okay. The men threaten the Englishman. Clearly outnumbered, the Englishman backs off knowing he won’t win this fight. Out of the other’s sight, we see that he’s actually an English soldier as he puts on his red coat uniform.
The evening brings the drinking with the townsmen, and Dougal is working the crowd. He begins a powerful speech in Gaelic to convince the men to support him against the English. He rips off Jamie’s shirt to shock them with his scarred back and gain sympathy. To Claire, he pocketing the extra money for himself. Appalled, but unable to do anything, she silently watches as Dougal does the same thing in every town they stop in. After confessing that he feels self-conscious about his scars, Jamie is not happy about the situation.
Claire decides to tell Ned that she’s on to Dougal’s fraudulent practices. Ned doesn’t agree nor disagree, but compliments her perceptiveness. A silent conflict with Dougal raises more tension as they continue to travel throughout the clan’s lands; Claire believes his trust in her diminishing. As weeks pass by, her helplessness grows, and she begins to reconcile that she may have to live with strangers for the rest of her life.
Claire has had enough of everything. She refuses to get along with any of the men, rejecting the dinner they offer her. Jamie acts as mediator when Angus angrily takes a knife to her. (Angus is bit testier these days.) Jamie goes to Claire to ask her why she’s acting this way. “Angus can kiss my English ass.” Oh damn, girl, you tell him. “Those are fighting words.” Jamie tells her that she’s not to judge things she doesn’t understand, which we find out that he meant literally. Claire can’t just stand by and say nothing like Jamie suggests.
The next town they visit is much quieter and somber than the other ones. Many of the men can’t afford to pay their full rents. Dougal asks one of the men what’s going on. The man reports that the Red Coats came and raided them. Now, they don’t have enough to feed their families. Dougal takes his goods from his supply to feed the town. Claire doesn’t trust to Dougal’s motives and makes sure he knows it.
Later that night, the same show goes on again. Dougal’s speech, Jamie’s back, the people donating their last funds. However, this time, Claire catches a part of Dougal’s speech that she understands: Long live the Stuart. Flashback/forward to 1945, where Frank and the Reverend tell her about the Jacobite rebellion. The doomed Jacobite rebellion rallied to get their Scottish king back on the throne. That’s what Dougal is funding. The money is for the rebellion, for a political cause. A major puzzle piece clicks into place.
Dougal confirms Claire’s new revelation when she eavesdrops on Jamie and Dougal arguing; Jamie is sick of Dougal’s antics with his back. Jamie is angry because he can’t win with his uncle. He starts punching a tree, sort of like an angry little boy. Claire confronts Jamie to ask him why he doesn’t fight harder with Dougal. “A man has to choose what’s worth fighting for.” Both of their temperaments have calmed down. Claire seems more at ease now that she sees the men as rebels, not criminals.
Her newfound sympathy comes with a price. The guilt she feels over knowing the outcome of their doomed rebellion. She wants to warn them that they’re on the losing side. But how can she tell such passionate men something that is impossible to explain? On the road, they stumble across two crucifixions of Scottish men, clearly done by the Red Coats. A new fiery is ignited in the men. It renews their efforts to create a rebellion and fight the English. There’s a new, stronger power in Dougal’s speech that night. He doesn’t need to show Jamie’s back anymore, for what they saw on the road is something even more impactful.
For once, the men are staying at an inn, but Claire hears noises outside her room’s door. With a candle holder as a weapon, she opens the door and emerges only to trip over Jamie, who is sleeping outside her door to protect her from the angry, drunken Scottish men.
She apologizes for stepping on Jamie and offers to let him sleep inside her room. Jamie refuses because her reputation would be “ruined.” Claire finds this amusing (and so do we). She asks how sharing a room can be any different than them sleeping outside in the same area. But Jamie insists it’s not the same thing. He looks a bit… bashful? It’s too adorable. Claire sees he won’t change his mind and gives him a blanket to use to sleep outside her door. As she hands him the blanket, their hands touch, and they have a MOMENT.
Claire heads down to the dining area of the inn in the morning and sits with Ned to ask why he let her think she was right about thinking Dougal was stealing. Ned sort of brushes it off. So Claire decides to sort of warn Ned about the rebellion, saying that the British army is the strongest in the world. But Ned says that may be the case, but the Scottish have more heart. “You’re going to lose,” Claire insists. “That’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it,” replies Ned. She pleads that it is a fact and history won’t record another Stuart king. “History be damned” is all Ned has to say.
As they speak, men at another table are making loud comments in Gaelic, which are bothering Dougal, Angus and the other men. A brawl quickly begins when Angus loses his cool. The aftermath has Claire admonishing the men, fixing their fresh wounds. Murtagh reveals that she was their excuse for the fight. The other men called her a whore, and Angus, Dougal and the others were defending her honor. Murtagh explains that she’s a guest of the MacKenzie; they can say whatever they want about her, but any other men cannot. Well, that’s nice, I guess?
The revelation surprises Claire, since she believed the men didn’t really care for her at all. It moves her and she puts an end to her hostile behavior. As they’re getting ready to leave, Claire makes a crude joke of her own that the men appreciate. The situation is looking brighter for her with the MacKenzie men.
Jamie mentions Culloden, which leads us into another flashforward for a history lesson with Frank. He basically tells us how bloody and a big of loss the Battle of Culloden caused. The aftermath destroyed the clans and Scottish culture. It will all happen in 1746, three years from the time Claire is living presently in the past. Claire wonders how many of these men will die on that battlefield. The stirs of change are just beginning.
That friendship with Ned has seemed to diminish as Claire’s non-faith in the rebellion is now known to him. Claire steps away alone from the camp, with permission, to wash. Dougal chooses the moment to confront her alone. He finds it odd that she has such strong political opinions. It looks like Ned shared their conversation with Dougal. He questions her because he doesn’t understand it. She may not be a spy, but she’s creating doubt around them, which is obviously the opposite of what Dougal has been trying to do. Claire defends her actions that she’s trying to warn him, but she can’t explain, only that she’s trying to save his life.
Right at that moment, a group of Red Coats approach them. The same Englishman we saw earlier is back to ask Claire if she’s alright. The tables have turned, now that it looks like the English outnumber the Scottish. They’re surrounded. The Red Coat climbs off his horse and asks Claire, “Are you here by your own choice?”
Well, that’s a loaded question.
Final thoughts on this episode:
- Claire is FEISTY in this episode. I really liked how she didn’t take anyone’s shit because even though we eventually find out that the men do care about her (in their own weird way), they weren’t treating her very nicely. It was nice to see her fighting back against them.
- My favorite scene of the episode is when Claire hangs out with the women, settling the dye, drinking, peeing…. There is something sort of whimsical to the scene. I felt transported into the era. I also love that it shows how powerful and interesting women were back then, despite the gender oppression. After all the scenes with the men, this is a breath of fresh air.
- Dougal is still a bastard. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again.
- Jamie has a crush. The bedroom scene is the first real romantic moment between Jamie and Claire. Jamie being a man who is so chivalric and respectful is another breath of fresh air. The scene is both amusing and sincere. I think this is the part fans will be re-watching for the next week.
- The ending changes up the episodic structure Outlander has been utilizing in the past four episodes. The cliffhanger is effective because we have NO idea how she’ll answer. I even read the book and don’t remember how this part ends up playing out exactly.
This is my longest review/recap for Outlander so far. This episode was PACKED with exposition. Many important things are mentioned that will play a bigger impact later on. From this point, they are setting up this story for the long haul. If you aren’t invested yet, get ready. Je suis prest.
Re-watch the “Such Attentions” scene from this episode below:
Outlander is rated TV-MA. It airs Saturday nights at 9 ET on Starz.