It only took one episode of Outlander for things to go from confusing and strange to impossibly difficult for Claire Beecham. And that’s not just due to the new corset she was forced into wearing, either.
Sunday’s second episode (“Castle Leoch”) spent the entire evening getting Claire and viewers well acquainted with the ins and the outs of the very same castle we were introduced to last week, something that you may have believed pointless what with Claire’s hopes of leaving as soon as possible. But thanks to her proven healing powers and that English accent of hers, it seems like Claire has doomed herself to the Highland castle lifestyle for the time being.
There always seems to be a fine line between proving yourself enough to garner a favour and making yourself too valuable to be let go, the predicament Claire found herself in thanks to Castle Leoch’s man in charge, Colum MacKenzie, and his untrusting brother, Dougal MacKenzie. In all honesty I don’t blame either man for being suspicious of Claire, given her pretty terrible, made up description of her family and that ridiculously inconvenient accent. And although I don’t agree with forcing Claire to stay against her will, at least we were given a rundown of the castle and its characters inside, including Mrs. Fitz, portraying the classic motherly figure to each of the Clan MacKenzie boys, and the mysterious Geillis Duncan, who could be either an ally or foe in the future and totally seems like a witch despite her denial. The most enjoyable part of the entire ordeal was undoubtedly seeing the parallel flashbacks between 1945 and 1743 as Claire walked through each room, particularly when Claire realized exactly where Colum was leading her by the episode’s end. Claire also quickly learned, in quite the painfully awkward dinner scene as Colum’s guest, that perhaps she should focus on keeping the small talk with anyone but Jamie to a fair minimum until she learns more about the castle’s inhabitants and gets a better background story straight.
In a particularly graphic flashback from Jamie, we also learned that the Red Coats, specifically our devious Captain Randall, flogged Jamie once upon a time for, well, not really any much reason at all. The scene not only fuelled the steaming tension between Claire and Jamie that’s already starting to boil, but further emphasized the fact that Claire may technically be married to Frank Randall, but in the 18th century it’s the Outlanders who are her real allies. As if I didn’t already think him a dashing hero enough, Jamie also took another beating to spare a castle girl the punishment after she had a little too much “fun” around the castle (excuse me while I give thanks for being born in the early 90s). You can safely bet we’ll see Jamie sticking his neck out for Claire more than a few times in the future after what he’s already done for those minor characters, especially when he finds out that Claire will be sticking around much longer than he was first told.
- Does anyone else find the opening to the show ridiculously cheesy for some reason? I don’t know what it is but every week I cringe through it.
- The exhausted and confused-looking Claire wrapping a blanket around her body is a look I’m quite familiar with. Some things stay the same no matter what century.
- No matter how you feel about Claire’s narration (I don’t mind it), you’ve gotta be thankful for the rundown of what exactly was going on in history during 1974.
- I really hope Claire gets acquainted with the customs fast, because although she’s a strong female lead, watching her get burned for trying to change the way things are done in the time period will grow old fast.
Outlander airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showcase and Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.
Thoughts on the episode? Let us know in the comments below.