Outlander recap: 'Castle Leoch'

Claire shrugs off her 20th-century shift in favor of an 18th-century corset; Jamie reveals a few secrets of his own.
Ep. 02 | Aired Aug 16, 2014

ROYAL WELCOME Claire and Jamie arrive at Castle Leoch.

Ed Miller/Starz

Now, if Claire is going to fit into 18th-century society for however long she's stuck there, it's high time she shrugs out of her white shift and slips into something less comfortable. Mrs. Fitz comes bearing all the requisite trimmings: corset, bustle, and arm warmers that she must have procured from a Brooklynite's knitwear store on Etsy.

Finally appropriately attired, Claire is taken to meet the Laird of the castle, Colum MacKenzie, a severely bow-legged man (he has Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome), who interrogates the Outlander. And, curiously, not so much about her untrue testimony (i.e. traveling to France to reunite with relatives) but about her big ugly truth (Randall's rape attempt).

"It's true Captain Randall has a certain reputation, but he is an officer, a gentleman," Colum says. "And you're saying a man bearing the king's commission decided to rape a stray lady traveler he came upon in the woods for no good reason?"

"Is there ever a good reason for rape, Master MacKenzie?" Claire responds (as we cheer). For what it's worth, I looked this passage up in the source material, and there's a marked difference between Diana Gabaldon's wording and what's said here. Was Ronald D. Moore making a very necessary point about the egregiousness of rape, especially in the context of sexual-assault-as-go-to-TV trope? Maybe!

With their conversation drawing to a close, Colum tells Claire that there's a transport leaving for Inverness in five days, and she'll be on it. But our Sassenach is still not beyond suspicion. At dinner, she's once again questioned by Colum—about the pronunciation of her name, where her relatives live, and more. Claire saves herself (or perhaps puts herself in even more danger) when she interrupts the talk, mistaking Colum's son Hamish as Dougal's. Awkward—for many reasons that we'll learn about later. She excuses herself and resolves to be much more careful in her final days at the castle.

A pair of scenes further paint an impressive picture of Jamie. In the first, Claire visits him at the stables to re-bandage his wound, and he tells her more about himself: how MacTavish isn't actually his last name, how he's a wanted man even though he's innocent, how he trusts Claire. Then, in the evening at the great hall, we see him offer to weather a pummeling punishment meant for a young girl (Mrs. Fitz's granddaughter), who's accused by her father of "loose behavior." Jamie, of course, takes it like a man, despite still being injured.

Jamie may not be Claire's only 18th-century ally, though. While picking mushrooms outside of the castle, she makes the acquaintance of another woman in the field, a Geillis Duncan. "They say I'm a witch," Geillis teases, telling Claire to come visit her sometime in the village for other herbs and medicinals.

And it looks like Claire will have ample opportunity to do just that as her trip to Inverness is cancelled by Colum. Dougal escorts her to the Sex Dungeon (you recall from the first episode, yes?), and Colum informs her that she is to stay on at the castle as his "guest," working as a healer since the previous Beaton ironically succumbed to illness.

"You mean as your prison, don't you?" Claire spits back.

"Only if you try to leave," he replies.

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