This week’s installment of Outlander was entitled Magic: The Gathering. This amused me because it meant I got to walk around pretending Claire was deeply into a card game which I enjoyed playing in my youth. Sadly, it was not a strategy driven card game that had her brow all in furrow, but rather, a plot to escape from Castle Leoch complete with items of her own clothing left as clues to aid her passage through the woods. Claire Randall was at her absolute best this week as she schemed, plotted, bludgeoned men with chairs, and eventually made her way out of the castle and came one step closer to sexing Jamie atop the craggy stones of the highlands whilst engaging in bigamy that was predicted during a palm reading in the first episode.
In other words, sha-wing!
While Claire’s urgency to leave this particular time and place were clear, her preparations to flee under cover of night were nicely underscored with a vivid picture of life for the clansman. It wasn’t all just swearing oaths of loyalty to freshly-shaven Lairds with Toulouse Lautrec syndrome, oh no. There were hookups galore and also pigs and chickens roasting away on spits.
I, for one, would’ve taken one look at the rotisserie chickens and been all, “Sorry Frank Randall, methinks I’ll stay.” Then I would’ve had my ear hammered to a stake for eating chickens that did not belong to me. By the time the episode was over, I wanted to swear an oath of fealty.
Jamie, however, did not quite feel the same way. We learned this week that everyone’s favorite flay-scarred ginger isn’t who he claims — in fact, he is Colum and Dougal’s nephew and is not technically a MacKenzie at all. When he thwarts Claire’s escape plan (this did involve rolling around in the hay, but not as much as I would have liked) and tries to help her get herself back from the stables and safe to the castle he’s cornered and has to swear an oath. It’s a tough situation politically, but Jamie manages to say the perfect thing and verily, there was much quaffing of ale.
But the celebrations and the sexiness lasted only so long. Claire was put on her guard and, for the first time, made to feel truly afraid — at least, that we have witnessed. The feeling of suspicion was nicely conveyed with Geillis Duncan’s subtle interrogation, sure. But that had nothing on what I will here-to-fore call “that time Claire was totally almost gored to death by a wild boar.”
There is more for Claire to fear in this strange new world than growling men in kilts who dig swinging their junk around — there are literal monsters. Claire and Dougal comforting the dying man during the boar hunt was an important moment because it finally made Claire part of the world around her. Also, she earned Dougal’s respect. Maybe if she’d done this instead of smack the dude into unconsciousness early on she might have gotten to leave the castle sooner. With Dougal as an unlikely ally and the castle at her back, Claire is entering a new chapter and I get all tingly just thinking about it.