Outlander, Season 1, Episode 3: “The Way Out”
The official synopsis, courtesy of Starz:
Claire decides to use her medical skills to aid her escape from Castle Leoch – with Jamie’s help, she tends to an ill child. During an evening’s entertainment, a story gives Claire hope for her freedom.
We open on a train platform in the 1940s, as Claire and Frank, dressed in uniforms, say good-bye. It’s a typical wartime scene, except Claire is the one heading to the front. As the train pulls away, they share one last kiss, and Frank asks Claire to promise to return to him. “I will, Frank Randall. I promise.”
Quick-cut to the 1740s, and Claire is in Castle Leoch, once again being fussed over by Mrs. Fitz, who washes her hair and admires her purty skin. Claire is moved to confess the truth to Mrs. Fitz: Her husband isn’t dead. He hasn’t been born yet. Claire has fallen through time. She describes her journey through the stones and her need to return. Mrs. F. understands Claire’s meaning all right — she’s a witch! Slap!
But no, it was all a dream, and Claire realizes that she can never share her secret with Mrs. Fitz or anyone else at Leoch. Mrs. F. tells Claire that a big Gathering is taking place soon at Castle Leoch, during which the people of Clan MacKenzie come from all over to swear fealty to the Laird. It’ll be a big affair with tons of people, and they’re sure to need a skilled healer. Mrs. F. advises Claire to get in Colum’s good graces through her “physicking”, and Claire decides that perhaps if she’s successful at treating the illnesses and wounds of Colum’s people, he’ll be more inclined to treat her with kindness and allow her to leave. (Yeah, right…)
Claire sets up the surgery, sorting through all the odds and ends left behind by her predecessor (icky wood lice and ant eggs among the treasure trove) and finding some useful herbs and powders that she can use. Angus and Rupert are assigned to watch her pretty much round the clock, although they find her medical business horribly boring and tend to sneak off to the kitchen to drink whenever possible.
Claire finds out that a young boy has died, supposedly killed by demons after playing at the “black kirk”. Uh oh! Mrs. Fitz’s nephew Thomas was good friends with the boy who died. Young Thomas summons Claire to Colum’s chambers, where the Laird is busy terrorizing a tailor whose work was not up to standards. Colum then asks Claire to massage him in order to relieve the pain he experiences from his deformed legs. Claire complies, and the two share a less tense moment than they have so far. In gratitude for her skilled hands, Colum invites Claire to be his guest in the hall that night to hear a visiting singer.
At the hall, Claire hangs out with Laoghaire and tries to encourage the girl in her crush on Jamie, but Jamie isn’t especially kind to the poor girl, focusing on chatting with Claire instead. Claire has a bit too much of the Rhenish again and Jamie sees her safely back to her room in the surgery. Claire insists on checking on Jamie’s wound, and there’s a heated energy between the two as she stands very close to him to untie his stock and unbutton his shirt. Sparks and sizzle!
The next day, Claire and Geillis are picking herbs in the garden, and Claire hears that young Thomas is possessed by the same demon that killed the other boy. Father Bane is going to perform an exorcism! Claire is horrified, and Geillis tries to warn Claire away from interfering, but to no avail — Claire scurries off to the village and demands to treat the boy, earning herself a fierce enemy in the affronted Father Bane. The priest is a scary dude, forcefully splashing holy water all over the sick boy while Claire watches with dismay.
Back at the castle, Claire happens to see Jamie and Laoghaire stealing a kiss in the corner of the kitchen. Jamie sees Claire watching and gives her a look before diving back in for another kiss. Claire can’t help teasing Jamie about it over dinner later. It’s pretty hilarious, but Murtagh warns Claire off, saying that if Colum or Laoghaire’s father were to find out, Jamie could find himself stuck with a wife, and Laoghaire’s definitely not the wife he should have. (Well, obviously!)
Dougal offers to take Claire to the village with him in the morning to see Geillis so she can stock up on herbs and powders before the Gathering. Geillis’s workroom is half distillery, half witch’s lair, with potions brewing and a fire in the fireplace that backlights her just so — a slightly hellish symbolism, perhaps? A rabble gathers in the street as a young boy is dragged in for justice by — who else? — Father Bane. The boy is accused of stealing, but Geillis uses her feminine wiles to convince her husband, the judge in such matters, to be lenient. The boy is sentenced to an hour in the pillory and to have one ear nailed, which is just as gross as it sounds. Claire is again horrified by the local customs, and Geillis makes pretty clear that she knows that Claire is hiding secrets about where she came from and who she really is.
Jamie comes to bring Claire back to the castle, rescuing her from Geillis’s prying, and Claire convinces Jamie to help her free the boy while she distracts the crowd. After pulling this off, she asks for more help — they visit the ruins of the Black Kirk, and Claire realizes that the possessed boy was poisoned by a plant that grows there. Claire to the rescue! She bursts into the boy’s sickroom and provides an antidote, earning the love and devotion of Mrs. F and her family and the eternal hatred of Father Bane.
Once again listening to the singer that evening, Jamie translates a song for Claire, all about a woman who traveled through stones on a fairy hill to a time not her own, spent years there, but finally came back to her own husband. It’s an extremely literal version of Claire’s story, which made me laugh, but Claire took it to mean that others had been through her experience before and made it back to their own time.
By the end of the episode, Claire is more determined than ever to escape the castle and find a way back to the standing stones.
Some intense looks were shared by Jamie and Claire as she opened his shirt to check his wounds. Can you say sexual tension? Claire may be too consumed with the need to get back to Frank to pay too much attention just yet, but Jamie sees to be very much aware of Claire’s awesomeness.
There’s also the Jamie/Laoghaire kiss, but let’s pretend that never happened, shall we?
So many gorgeous outfits in this episode! Mrs. Fitz seems to have a never ending supply of pretty lady clothes, as Claire looks terrific in every scene, dressed in lovely dark colors that set off her beautiful skin and rich brown hair.
Geillis takes the prize for this episode, though, with that crazy furry top of hers (that she seems to keep petting)…
… not to mention those amazing red shoes.
Major facts that the episode gets on the table:
- Do not judge Colum MacKenzie’s appearance or try to cover up his legs. He’ll shiv ya.
- Geillis is sly and manipulative, and seems to know an awful lot about Claire. Claire had better watch out around that one.
- Jamie and Claire seem to be clicking. They have an easy connection and trust between them already.
- Laoghaire seems like a lovestruck girl so far.
- Murtagh is protective of Jamie, and make no mistake about it.
- The Gathering, in the next episode, will be a big deal.
- Claire’s healing skills are earning her the respect of the MacKenzie brothers, but this only makes them less willing to let her leave.
- Father Bane is not an enemy you want to have, Claire. Watch out.
Father Bane: “I smell the vapors of hell on you.”
Claire’s teasing of Jamie at dinner, after witnessing the kiss:
“Your lip looks a little swollen, Jamie. Did you get thumped by a horse? […] Those fillies can be dangerous.”
And Murtagh’s reprimand to Claire:
“That’s no the wife he should have. He needs a woman, not a lassie. And Laoghaire will be a girl until she’s fifty.”
Jamie, after freeing the boy nailed to the pillory:
“Ye wouldn’t expect me to be less bold than a wee Sassenach lassie, would ye?”
After an evening of drinking way too much wine:
Claire: “Are you implying that I’m intoxicated?” Jamie: “I’d be impressed if ye weren’t.”
Claire is making a name for herself as a healer, and although she doesn’t want to stay there, it seems as though she’s adapting to life in the castle and getting some satisfaction from being useful and doing what she’s good at. She seems to have earned herself a loyal supporter in Mrs. Fitz, but she’s also gaining enemies, and that’ll come back to bite her.
We see more sides of Jamie, who lets Claire learn a bit more about his background (he seems to want her to know that he’s an educated man, not just a roughneck). Jamie’s appears to be attracted to Claire, but he’s also a healthy young man, and with Laoghaire throwing herself at him, I suppose we can forgive Jamie for sneaking kisses.
Colum has a streak of violence that’s perhaps less obvious than Dougal’s, but he certainly knows how to threaten without ever raising his voice.
Claire hasn’t made much progress in gaining the MacKenzies’ trust, but she is establishing herself as a lady and a healer and has earned some grudging respect. Her high hopes of escape seem like a pipe dream, though, but Claire isn’t one to give up easily.