Outlander: The Way Out (1×03)
Synopsis: Claire begins to heal the people of Castle Leoch, but a startling revelation in the village leads her to face off with the superstitions of the Highlands.
I’m enjoying the way this show is picking up pace slowly. While the Castle Leoch episode was a little slow, it was a necessary episode in order to introduce the slew of main characters who would be populating the show for the rest of the season. But now that we have been introduced to Castle Leoch and its inhabitants, we’re starting to get into the meat of the story.
Stereotypical storytelling will tell us that Claire will eventually fall in love with the young Jamie MacTavish. The chemistry that Balfe and Heughan has alone would be enough to convince me of that. But those who know Gabaldon’s story writing will know she’s not always a woman of convention and we can’t rely on stereotypes to judge her story. It’s already colored outside the lines.
Therefore, you’ll forgive me, early shippers of Claire and Jamie, if I say that it’s incredibly hard not to root for Mr. Frank Randall. The episode begins beautifully, bringing us back to the 1940’s, with Frank and Claire first separating before the war in an emotional and loving farewell. If there was a doubt that Frank and Claire indeed love each other, there shouldn’t be. Despite her flirtation and electricity with Jamie, her mind remains on returning back to Frank for the meantime.
But in a superstitious time like the 18th century in Scotland, Claire quickly realizes that confessing her true origins would more likely lead her ostracized at best and dead at worst. In fact, this entire episode reiterates to Claire that not only does she have few people she can trust, but those numbers dwindle down to one. Jamie.
While her fast friendship with Geillis seems to continue to grow close, it is also becoming obvious that Geillis is more than just a curious woman. She is slowly prying and hinting at Claire’s previous life in a way that seems to creep slowly on Claire as opposed to Colum’s and Dougal’s interrogations. It’s clear from the interaction with Geillis and her husband Arthur, that she is not a woman to be trifled with, wielding manipulation like a brandished blade.
Same goes for her friendship with Mrs. Fitz, who seems to want to trust Claire, but is often times blinded by her own superstition. Though granted, the woman does eventually rely on the trust she has in Claire over that of the priest. Meanwhile Colum extends his comforts to Claire after she gives him a massage on his spine to help with his ailment. Although it seems to give her only a limited amount of respect, by the end of the episode Colum has no reason to regret his decision of keeping Claire at Castle Leoch.
It’s been whispered last episode, but this episode we got a full force of the suspicions of sorcery and demonic possessions. And while Claire slowly begins to accept that there is possibly more out there than what she can touch and see, she spares no time in putting herself in between a priest and his exorcism in order to protect Mrs. Fitz’s nephew from death. We see her abilities not only as a healer but also as a woman who is very good at thinking on her feet. In no time, she is branded as a most gifted healer.
And while she is being accepted as the healer of the Castle, she still remains a sassenach. However, Jamie remains at her side throughout the episode. He not only grounds her into the society for a brief moment but also brings out her true nature. In an attempt to make friends with Laoghaire MacKenzie, Mrs. Fitz granddaughter, Claire tries to direct Jamie and Laoghaire towards each other, but only finds herself becoming the object of Jamie’s attention. However after a heated moment, leading to a lot of lingering looks, it’s not much later we find Jamie in the arms of Laoghaire and Claire missing her distant husband, Frank.
Still, despite this moment, Jamie remains at her side. When a local boy is nailed by the ear to the pillary for stealing and must rip his own ear out to free himself, Jamie is willing to risk rumors and hushed voices in order to help Claire save the boy. He comes with her to the rumored haunted grounds in order for her to find out the source of the poisonings happening to young boys who are being interpreted as possessions.
There’s no doubt of Jamie’s heart of gold, not to mention his attachment to Claire. In the end he is the one who translates the folk song sung by the harpist revealing a story of a woman’s encounter with Craigh na Dun much like her own, giving her hope that a return is possible in her future back to the 1940’s and to Frank.