If anyone in the future ever reads this and wonders why there is a Favorite Scene AND a recap, weeeell, it’s because I didn’t start recapping the show until E4, and now am going back in effort to fulfill my #1 request from all the lovely people who took the time to read the other recaps.
Once upon a time, there was an intelligence officer who loved his wife very much. So much that he wanted to pull strings to keep her away from the front lines until she was all “OMG the privilege of the upper classes” and he was all “you are so sexy when you are stubborn” and they parted with longing looks and a solemn promise from the wife that she would come back to him.
Poor Frank. (Continued after the jump!)
None of us, however, can know what life holds, and it’s not Claire’s fault that she is destined to be the Jacobite Marty McFly. It IS her fault, however, that she doesn’t request her water be heated to minimum lukewarm before she takes her Fitzshowers.
After noticing that Claire is surprisingly unmarked and un-scarred for her age (anyone still want to travel back in time?), Mrs. Fitz casually remarks that her “next husband” will be a lucky man. This sends Claire right into emo mode, and she decides to come clean to the very nice 18th century woman about how her husband is still alive because she is from the future and traveled through time. Mrs. Fitz reacts pretty much how you would expect, if you know anything about the general populace of that time.
Couldn’t resist. No, it’s more like this.
And the more that Claire explains, the more it freaks Fitz out until she tries to tear out of the room in a panic. When Claire tries to stop her, this sexiness ensues.
Not that Fitz wouldn’t take her, but it’s all a dream that Claire is having while Mrs. Fitz puts some muscle into those curls. She thanks Claire “taking care pf the physicking” during the upcoming Gathering, a meeting of Mackenzies where they all Mackenzie it up and pledge allegiance to The Mackenzie, Collum. She also tells Claire that if she does well, she’ll be in in Collum and Dougal’s good graces. Claire interprets this was a way to be able to leave and get back to Frank.
Being a physician in this time may be a bit harder than she thought, however, because people used poop as medicine and there was generally a lot of illness that involved people dying quickly and painfully in ways that couldn’t be helped. She reads the old physician’s journal to get some idea of period-appropriate treatments, but it’s pretty bleak.
The past is so romantic, you guys. She looks through her supplies of bugs and eyeballs and what have you, and decides that her treatments must use 18th-Century medicine and equipment to avoid raising suspicion. As her treatments succeed, she hopes the Clan’s trust in her grows. It goes well, at first.
Except it bores her guards, Angus and Rupert, who stave off boredom in time honored-tradition.
Claire goes looking for them in the kitchen, and witnesses Collum’s chambermaid, Shaughna McNeil, break a glass and be kindly told to go home. Mrs. Fitz explains to a concerned Claire that Shaughna’s son, Lindsay, passed away the previous night. When Claire asks why she wasn’t called, Mrs. Fitz explains that it is because what ailed him had “no mortal cure.” With Angus and Rupert’s help, they tell Claire that Lindsay wandered up to the ruins of the old Benedictine monastery, called “the Black Kirk”, and was cursed by the demons that live there.
We also find out that Scots refer to Satan as “Auld Nick”, which has GOT to get confusing around Christmas. There’s a lot of crossing of selves that happens, and then Thomas Baxter, Mrs. Fitz’s nephew and a close friend to dead boy, appears to summon Claire to Collum.
Collum is upstairs quietly threatening a tailor for making his frock coat too long so as to hide his legs, and Claire witnesses this before he kindly drops trou and requests her healing touch. I’m pretty sure this is where the 70s porn track on permanent pause in my head hits play.
Turns out Danny Beaton, the deceased healer, used to massage his legs and it helped his movement. Claire pauses and tells him that she feels that it could be better to massage the base of his spine, and we get an eyeful of Collum’s backside and yes I paused it and looked and it’ll do nicely and no I won’t cap it because I am a lady, damn it. The best part about this part is Claire’s reaction to his bare arse. Observe.
That is the exact same expression I get on my face when someone argues that the TV version isn’t 100% faithful to the books. THAT EXACT ONE. But enough about me.
Claire asks Collum for boiled water and clean cloths, and this leads to him telling her that his chambermaid is out because of the death of her son, and his echo of the others’ belief that the child died as a result of a curse. He quietly confesses to Claire that he has wondered what he himself did to “make the devil punish [him] like this.”
Claire breaks through the gloom with a joke about the Scots, which Scots love apparently, and after admitting that she has helped alleviate his pain, Collum invites her to hear a bard sing that night in the hall. Claire accepts, hopeful that this is the first sign that she is winning him over.
That evening, Claire is self-medicating with some rhenish when Dougal decides it’s time for her regular dose of Getting Creeped The Hell Out by sneaking up on her and muttering darkly about how his brother is doing well and making it sound not good at all.
Claire makes her excuses when the singer appears and wanders off to sit by Laoghaire, the girl that Jamie saved from a whipping. It’s either the wine or the relief to be away from Dougal, but she is very enthusiastic.
Suddenly Laoghaire freezes and Claire follows her gaze to Jamie MacTavish. You can see the exact second Claire decides to have some fun with the situation.
She comments on his looks and the girl agrees, but says she’s not the one he fancies. Claire tells her that men rarely know what’s good for them, and that is what women are for. She waves Jamie over to sit between them, and nonchalantly asks him if he doesn’t think that Laoghaire looks pretty. His reaction should be all the hint they both need, but neither takes it.
The bard begins to sing and Claire confesses that even if she doesn’t understand a word, it’s beautiful. She asks Laoghaire how long he’s been at the castle, but it’s Jamie who answers her, revealing that he was there back when he was sixteen and spent a year at the castle. Laoghaire says she remembers him from then, and her ego takes another blow when he admits he doesn’t remember her.
It’s not enough that he admits that she didn’t make an impression on him, but he turns to Claire and makes a joke about how his self-important teenage self wouldn’t have noticed “a rabble of snot-nosed bairns” and Claire responds in the universal language of wingmen and wingwomen everywhere by smacking him in the shoulder.
Later that same evening, Jamie notices that Claire is tipsy and asks if she is drinking Collum’s rhenish. she admits that she’s had three glasses so far, and he comments that most that drink it are under a table after two, and expresses his admiration that she isn’t horizontal. I’m amazed they both aren’t, with the UST running rampant in this scene.
Claire offers him the rest of the wine and he drinks it. In a break between songs, he tells her to take a look at his dressing since it has been chafing him. He finishes the entire drink in one gulp and hands the glass to Laoghaire, asking her to dispose of it.
Turns out the story about the dressing isn’t true. Jamie, suspecting that she had had a bit too much to drink, had to go be a gentleman and escort her to the surgery, which doesn’t look romantic AT ALL.
Claire asks about his dressing and he admits that he didn’t need her to look at it, and she admits she may have “overindulged.” Oh Claire, you adorable lush. She says she should have guessed that he was lying because if the bandage bothered him, he would have ripped it off himself. He jokingly admits he didn’t because he was terrified of her reaction, and she laughs and it is FULL SCALE FLIRTING and I want to roll in it like a pig in mud.
She tells him that she could have looked at his wound the other day at the stables, and he admits that he did not want to do so in front of Auld Alec, who knows he was flogged but never saw his back. He fears that if he did, that he would no longer be able to see him without thinking of it.
“You don’t mind me seeing your back?”, Claire asks. “I don’t,” Jamie replies. “You seem to have a knack for letting me know you feel sorry for it without making me feel pitiful about it.” After this shared confidence, there is a lovely moment of quiet between them where I hug my pillow and imagine their babies.
Finally Jamie gets up and says he should go, and Claire stops him to take a look at his bandage. The following scene practically vibrates with sexual tension, and I may or may not have watched it for a solid half hour until I hyperventilated from sighing.
There is a single tense moment where they hold each others’ gaze and then break away, Claire demurely saying that she can take his bandage off in a couple of days and Jamie smiles, completely aware of his effect on her.
Oh my God, I want to slap them both and then hug them. Jamie leaves, turning back once while on the stairs to look at her, as she remains where he left her, exhaling slowly and closing her eyes.
The next day, Claire is looking through the garden for herbs with Geillis Duncan in the scene that sparked a million knitting needles and crochet hooks.
Gellis tells Claire that she was stuck walking over with Father Bain. He is going to perform an exorcism on Mrs. Fitz’s nephew Thomas Baxter, who went to the Black Kirk with Lindsay McNeil and “is now seized with the same evil.” Claire asks what she means and asks if he is sick. Geillis says that he isn’t sick, but possessed, and asks Claire if she doesn’t believe in demonic possession. Claire asks her the same thing, to which Geillis replies that she believes in magic, in “powers beyond our ken, beyond what we can hear and see and touch.”
She asks Claire if she has never been in a situation that defies explanation, and Claire avoids answering, saying that it is possible that he is sick, not possessed. Geillis answers that people believe him to be possessed, and if Claire challenges that, she does so at her own peril. She will not go near him, and advises Claire to do the same. Claire being Claire, we can all guess what she does next.
Inside Chez Fitz, the child is tied down in case he should get violent, and his mother has gone to fetch Father Bain.
Claire catalogs his symptoms and tries to narrow down the cause. She suspects poison and tries to cut him loose when Father Bain comes in. He looks a bit less kindly and a bit more Nosferatu than your average angel of mercy.
It soon becomes apparent that he cares less about the child than keeping his authority over all things demon. Claire says she believes she can alleviate Thomas’s suffering but Mrs. Fitz, intimidated by the priest’s presence, asks Claire to leave and let the priest work.
Claire reluctantly leaves.
Back in the castle, Angus is interrogating Claire about whether or not she could feel any of the signs of possession when he notices Rupert and his new drinking bro. He tells Claire to hold down a bench while he goes to grab a drink look into it, and she does, musing about Thomas. She is certain Mrs. Fitz will let her see him, but worries if she can do something for him, even so. Suddenly, a noise distracts her.
Jamie notices her watching and gives her perhaps the worst look you can give one woman while kissing another, but Laoghaire quickly pulls him back down and out of sight so she can keep encroaching on his tonsils and thank God. His face while he’s smooching her disturbs me.
Claire is as stunned as the rest of us, despite the fact that she handpicked the coals for this particular fire, and the look on her face breaks my heart.
Oh Claire, you poor lonely sexpot. Angus comes back and after a quick sexist comment, she flounces off back to the surgery.
At dinner that night, Claire sits across from Jamie and Murtagh, and she can’t resist teasing Jamie about what she saw.
Jamie, with an eye on Murtagh, plays along and says that the horse swung its head when he wasn’t looking and Claire jokingly warns him that “those fillies can be dangerous.” Jamie glares at her over his cup, and then steps gently on her foot under the table to warn her off. Meanwhile, Murtagh gets suspicious.
Claire takes advantage of Jamie’s distraction to kick him under the table, and he jumps, spilling water on Murtagh, who calls him a clumsy dolt. He is caught off-guard, mortified and Claire is loving it.
Jamie suddenly gets up and excuses himself, and Murtagh turns his gimlet gaze on our heroine. He tells her that if Laoighaire’s father or Collum finds out about Jamie, he could get more than a bloody nose. “Like a wife?” Claire asks, unperturbed. Murtagh, who no one should ever screw with and knows what is up and sideways and below, answers her in a way that says he knows exactly what she’s up to, and tells her how he feels about it:
Maybe. That’s not the wife he should have. He needs a woman, not a lassie. And Laoighaire will be a girl until she’s fifty. I’ve been around long enough ta ken the difference verra well-and so do you, Mistress.
He gets up and leaves and Claire, ashamed and lonely, steps outside for a voice over and a cry. She muses that she teased Jamie because she was jealous, not of Laoighaire herself, but of their intimacy. “I missed my husband,” she says in the voice over as she remembers their kiss goodbye when she deployed. Suddenly, a noise startles her.
It’s Dougal, who offers to take her to visit Geillis tomorrow so she can restock her shelves in preparation for the Gathering, and she accepts. They both know she’s been crying, but neither one mentions it.
The next day at Geillis’s house, she and Claire are picking out herbs and chatting while I covet everything in the room.
Geillis asks about Claire’s visit to Thomas Baxter, and Claire complains about Father Bain.
Geillis warns Claire to stay away from him, because “there is no mercy in his Bible or in his heart.” He believes all women are “born temptresses who should be beaten daily by their husbands to keep evil at bay.”
Claire dejectedly comments that she feels like a stranger in a strange land, and canny Geillis says that it “can’t be easy being a Sassenach in the Highlands”, assuming that’s what she meant, and Claire avoids answering her by commenting on a sudden noise in the streets below.
A young boy, the tanner’s son, has stolen bannocks, and will be bought to Geillis’s husband to be judged. She idly comments that if his breakfast had agreed with him, he would likely have gotten off with a whipping, but now will likely lose his hand because that’s what being constipated does to justice.
“That’s appalling,” Claire says, before they are interrupted by Arthur Duncan, farting his way up the stairs to get some peppermint from his wife. Claire takes the opportunity to try to get him to go easy on the boy, but he’s confessed, and in any case, he doesn’t seem inclined to listen to her, even if she comes from the castle. Probably gassy ears.
Claire shoots a desperate look at Geillis, who rolls her eyes and proceeds to wheedle her besotted husband so expertly that he concedes to “one hour in the pillory, and one ear nailed.” Geillis coos her thanks at him and he leaves, while she smirks at Claire. “The man has no notion of guile.” Claire, worried, asks about the punishment, and when Geillis clarifies that it’s exactly what it sounds like, Claire rushes to the window to witness the boy’s left ear being nailed to the pillory while Father Bain lays his hand on his head and absolves him.
I hear ya, kid. The French know how to treat their bread thieves. Back in the constable’s house, Geillis casually comments that they should set the herbs to steep and have a nice port in her parlor because Geillis really could care less about anything.
Later that day as Claire contemplates the boy out of the Duncans’ parlor window, Geillis says she is confused by her, as it seems they don’t have punishment where she comes from.
When Claire comments that it is different, not only in Oxfordshire but because she was brought up in lots of places and had a “rather unusual childhood.” Geillis presses her for details.
She is saved from providing them by the arrival of Jamie, there to pick her up in lieu of Dougal and to bring her back to Leoch. Geillis tries to invite him in to hear the tale of Claire’s “unusual upbringing,” but a minute shake of Claire’s head in the negative and he refuses politely.
Outside, Claire asks Jamie about the boy and is surprised to hear he can leave whenever he likes now that his hour is up, but that he has to get the courage up to tear his ear from the nail and free himself. Claire meaningfully asks Jamie if his fingers are strong, and with a glance at the pillory he responds in kind. “Aye.”
Jamie walks up to the boy and starts teasing him, making fun of how “a wee jerk of the heid and it’s over” and takes him by the hair, offering to help him rip his head off. In that moment, Claire faints theatrically and as a crowd forms around her, Jamie pulls the nail out of the boy’s ear and he runs off.
Gellis watches from her window as Jamie walks over to collect Claire and they both walk off. Claire thanks Jamie for taking the risk, but he comments that she couldn’t expect him to “be less bold than a wee Sassenach lassie” and I LOVE THIS 18th CENTURY BONNIE AND CLYDE ACTION.
Claire asks Jamie if he would be willing to help her again, and if he knows the Black Kirk.
At the ruins of the monastery, Claire is surprised at their beauty, and Jamie comments that the devil would have a problem luring unsuspecting souls if he made his traps in bogs and tunnels. These caps won’t have anything to do with plot because this place is stupid pretty.
Claire, surprised, asks if he really believes that demons live there, and he answers that Lindsay and Thomas are not the first two boys to sicken when they went there.
Jamie tells Claire that he came there as a boy, and that surviving the ruins was a way of proving your manhood. He was untouched, but his cousin was sick a full week.
Claire asks if he thinks demons are responsible. He answers in the closest thing to a complete character summary:
I’m an educated man, mistress, if I may be so bold. Maybe no’ as educated as you, but I had a tutor. A good one, who taught me Latin and Greek and such…and childhood stories of fairies, devils, waterhorses and lochs. But I am also a highlander, born and bred. And I dinna believe in tempting fate by making light of Auld Nick in his verra own kirkyard.“
Claire asks what he did as a boy to tempt the devil, and he says that they’d caper about, climb walls, pee on the stones to tempt the devil and maybe find some berries or wood garlic to eat.
Claire asks to see the wood garlic, and when she does, identifies it as lily of the valley, native to Germany Prussia and poisonous if eaten. Jamie confirms that the monks in the abbey were Prussian, and the mystery is solved. Claire rushes off to Mrs Fitz’s cabin.
Once there, she finds the priest giving Thomas the last rites, and tells his mother and aunt that she thinks she can save his life by giving him something quickly to counteract the poison.
Father Bain asks “What blasphemy is this?,” and Claire tries to explain that she does not mean to blaspheme, but he shouts her down, asserting that she is not the Lord’s disciple, nor is she ordained to drive out the demon.
He tells her to leave, but Claire stands up to him, saying that the problem is poison, not a demon, and if she cannot tend to him, Thomas will die. This finally prompts Mrs. Fitz to speak up, asking the Father to let Claire treat Thomas. Father Bain snaps that he won’t be told what to do by a woman, that Thomas is a slave to Satan and must have his soul purged or be damned, and Mrs. Fitz Fitzes him something awesome, growling in his face that “This is my sister’s house, and my father’s before that and we’ll decide what is done under its roof.”
She tells Claire to tend to the boy, but Father Bain detains her on the way and tells her quietly that he smells the vapors of hell on her.
Claire shakes his arm off and feeds Thomas a decoction of belladonna, briefly worrying internally about the dosage, which if wrong, could kill him just as quickly. As they all watch, Thomas opens his eyes and weakly calls for his mother. Claire has saved him.
His mother declares it a miracle, and Mrs. Fitz blesses Claire. Everyone is pleased except for Father Bain, who warns them that “Satan likes to make a fool of God, but God will have the last word. I promise you that,” and grump-flounces his way out. I’m sure nothing will come of that ever.
Later that day, Claire talks to Jamie about Father Bain, saying that she thinks he would have rather Thomas died. Jamie wisely tells her that a man’s beliefs are how they make sense of life and death, and once you take those, what do they have left?
He tries to make her feel better by saying that Mrs. Fitz has taken to calling her “the miracle worker” in Gaelic, and Claire comments that she hopes it’s earned Collum’s trust. Jamie tells her that he is taking credit for bringing her on as a healer, and doubts that he will let her leave any time soon, which understandably upsets her.
Later that night Claire’s voice over tells us that she almost stayed in her room to avoid the hopelessness caused by the “mixture of awe and suspicion” with which people looked at her. Thankfully for us, Collum’s rhenish is downstairs so we got one more scene.
Claire muses that her so-called miracle didn’t earn her freedom, but instead bound her closer to Leoch, and even if she did get away, the stones perhaps would send her even further back in time. It is during this that a smiling Jamie comes to fetch her to sit with him, joking that he almost re-injured his arm waving at her.
As they listen to the Welshman sing, Jamie translates the song for Claire.
The song is about a man listening to a woman sing sadly about being stolen by the folk again, wind rising and placing her hands on a tall stone that took her “to a distant land, where she lived for a time amongst strangers that became lovers…friends…” and how one day the wind rose up again and she once more touched the stones and took up with the man she had left behind. Ring any bells?
Claire’s face is rapt, and she excitedly asks if she went back through the stones. “Aye, she did. They always do,” Jamie answers. Claire thinks that even if it is a folk tale, half already happened to her, why not the other half? As Geillis said, there are things in the world that can’t be explained. She smiles openly as she realizes that she must not wait for permission or assistance, but plan her escape, “or die trying.”
Thank you all for reading! For more Outlander fun, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv.