Outlander recap: 'The Way Out'

Claire gets a lesson (or two) in 18th-century superstitions and customs.
Ep. 03 | Aired Aug 23, 2014

Neil Davidson/Starz

With their thrilling scheme complete, Claire asks Jamie for one more favor: To go to the Black Kirk to investigate those supernatural rumors. There, we're informed that the hunky Scot isn't just a pretty face—he's educated too. Sure, he grew up with the fairy tales and fables of the Highlands, but he also had a tutor who taught him Latin and Greek. He, better than most of his clansmen, understands newfangled thinking. He goes on to tell Claire that he paid a visit to the Kirk as a lad, to prove his manhood, admitting that—in addition to marking their territory, so to speak—he and his chums would eat the surrounding berries and wood garlic. When Claire examines the latter plant, she discovers it's actually Lily of the Valley, which is poisonous. Claire returns to the Baxters', and this time her efforts are allowed: She gives Thomas an antidote, to Bain's chagrin, and she's dubbed a miracle worker by Mrs. Fitz.

To the best of my knowledge, this story isn't in the books. Perhaps it was added to establish an antagonistic relationship between Claire and the priest—one which will come to bear later on if the source material serves—but cramming the episode's two main events (the exorcism, the pillory) into one hour feels like overkill. Claire's a fish out of water—we get it. Where this episode really succeeds, though, is further establishing the growing rapport between Claire and Jamie. They had a couple really great exchanges, the best of which was no doubt at the dinner table, after Claire spied Jamie kissing Laoghaire (whom he seemed very uninterested in earlier in the episode).

"Your lip looks a little swollen, Jamie. Did you get thumped by a horse?" Claire asks.

"Swung his head around when I wasn't looking," Jamie answers as he presses on her foot under the table.

"Aw, those fillies can be dangerous," she replies coyly.

Jamie awkwardly excuses himself, leaving one of MacKenzie's men to give Claire a gentle scolding, saying that Jamie could get "more than a bloody nose" if Colum finds out he's snogging Laoghaire.

"Like a wife?" she replies.

"Maybe. That's not the wife he should have," he answers. "He needs a woman. Not a lassie. And Laoghaire will be a girl until she's 50. I've been around long enough to ken the difference very well. And so do you, mistress."

In one of her now-patented voiceovers, Claire explains that she teased Jamie because she was jealous, not of Laoghaire but of the pair's intimacy. (Even in the 1940s, though, I doubt kissing in a hallway could be deemed "intimate." But okay.) Coupled with a flashback to her and Frank in happier times, it's easy to believe Claire. Almost. But, in this case, she seems an unreliable narrator. Her treatment of Jamie is classic schoolyard teasing. How would embarrassing Jamie make her feel better about Frank? It wouldn't.

Though humbled by their exchange, Jamie doesn't seem to be too upset about the drubbing, as a few nights later he grabs Claire's hand and leads her to a seat next to his as the bard plays. He explains the meaning of the pretty Gaelic tune: It's about a woman who disappeared through stones on the hill. She traveled to a distant land where she lived among strangers who became friends and lovers. And then one day, she passed back through the stones to her home.

"She came back through the stones?" Claire asks breathlessly. "They always do," Jamie responds.

And despite nothing more than the encouragement of a folk song, Claire is buoyed: She resolves to find her way home without help. Or die trying.

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