Jealous, are ye?
I'm talking about Claire, who - in the course of Outlander Season 1 Episode 3 - shows the first signs of the green eyed monster when Jamie locks lips with the town whore (Laoghaire, who he saved from punishment in Outlander Season 1 Episode 2).
But let's start at the beginning of this solid episode, written by creator Ron Moore and directed by Brian Kelly, where the roots of this jealousy will become very clear. Overall, I liked the episode and while we don't take huge steps forward in the overall plot, seeds of what's to come are evident (and some not so evident).
First, was anyone else a bit surprised to see Claire and Frank in the top of the episode? Of course, it was a flash (back or forward? With this show, it could be either!) to where Claire in the 1940s is hopping a train and she and her husband are going to be separated.
Frank: Claire Beaucham Randall, promise that you’ll return to me.
Claire: I will, Frank Randall. I promise.
And I'm sure I wasn't the only one to notice that Frank says 'I love you' but Claire does not utter these three words back. The way I see it, I don't think she doesn't love her husband but it's a sign that their love may take second place in her heart. Thoughts?
And now we’re back in the 18th century and Mrs. Fitz is helping Claire bathe. You can tell there’s some friendly intimacy growing between the women, but is it enough for our time traveler to confide in the older woman? Claire takes the chance and tells her that Frank isn’t dead... and that he hasn’t been born yet...and that she traveled through time. Um...what?! Mrs. Fitz predictably freaks out and assumes Claire is a witch and...what a shock, we realize that Claire is simply imagining that she’s going to tell Mrs. Fitz everything and instead tells her nothing.
I’ve found that the dream sequence is a bit tired and overused by a lot of shows, but it’s important here because if Claire didn’t have this fantasy, we’d wonder why she hadn’t confided in anyone when she's clearly made some early connections. But, you know Claire, she’s smart enough to realize that everyone would think she were a witch more than a spy and she doesn’t say a word to anyone.
One of the threads of the episode accentuates the sign o' the times when word is spread to Claire that the son of Colum’s chamber maid has died due to demonic possession. Claire is distressed that a boy died when she can presume, as a member of the 20th Century, that is was more illness than Satan. Before she can find out more, however, we meet Thomas Baxter, a young boy who tells Claire that Colum wants to see her. Maybe this is her chance to get in better graces with him to get back home.
Upon entering Colum's chambers, Claire witnesses the man being fitted for a new coat but he - nor his pride - are satisfied and he yells at the tailor for making his coat too long than is standard because of his disfigured legs. (I remember liking this moment in the book very much because it gives us a further glimpse into Colum, a man who is proud enough to not hide his physical ailments. He is who he is.) The tailor is sent off to fix his coat to the proper length and Claire is told more than asked that as a medical professional she needs to give Colum a massage as the former doctor had done.
Colum only reveals his legs and Claire says she should massage his spine to help the pain caused by the legs. Colum raises his undergarment and, yes, it's true that the only arse we’re going to see in this episode is that of (gasp!) Colum! But MacKenzie does get his pain eased by Claire’s magic hands and he invites her to join for a performer’s concert tonight. Claire accepts hoping she's winning back Colum's favor and can soon get away.
Sometimes I wonder what I did to make the devil punish me like this.Colum
Dougal talks to Claire later and says that he heard he’s helped his brother feel better. Dougal insinuates that Claire is still up to no good so, instead of listening to him, she moves away and sits to enjoy the music. Leoghaire (the village ho) sits next to her and, remember, some of you might even assume that the she and Jamie hooked up after he took her punishment. But when Jamie sits between the two women, his attention is clearly more focused on Claire than Laoghaire. Hmmmm...
Claire: You don’t mind me seeing your back?
Jamie: I don’t. You seem to have a knack for letting me know you feel sorry for it without making me feel pitiful about it.
And who knew that checking the progress of a healing wound could create so much heat. Claire wants to look at Jamie’s shoulder but, as he’s become apt to do when the two are alone, he reveals more about himself and talks of not wanting her to check his wounds at the stables because he knows others (namely Alec), would see him differently if they actually saw the massive scars on his back.
However,, when Claire undoes the top of Jamie's shirt to reveal his shoulder wound, you can see both of them distracted by the other, though nothing happens...yet. And did anyone else catch that big sigh that came from Claire after Jamie had gone? Girl, I sighed, too!
Claire and Geillis meet up and the ginger lass tells her that young Thomas Baxter (Mrs. Fitz’s nephew, who we met earlier) has taken ill much as Colum's chambermaid's son and he needs to be exorcized of the devil. Claire is disturbed and tells her the boy is probably not possessed but just very ill, which Geillis doesn't seem to buy but we know despite any warnings not to get involved, that's exactly what Claire is going to do.
Demon, Fairy, devil. It doesn’t matter what name you put upon themGeillis
Claire finds Thomas is tied up to the bed and clearly very ill. Mrs. Fitz is there and Claire quickly deduces that Thomas is showing signs of being poisoned, probably from something he’s eaten but her efforts to find out more are thwarted by buzzkill Father Bain. Yes, in these times the clergy could easily overrule a medical practitioner and, well, Father Bain is a prickly son of a bitch so, for now, Claire doesn't stand a chance at doing anything.
Later, Claire is back in the Castle Leoch and it's here see comes upon seeing Jamie kissing Laoghaire. She doesn't seem particularly bothered by it - maybe embarrassed to have caught them - but it does give her opportunity to tease Jamie at dinner that his lower lip is swollen. Jamie doesn't seem to take the teasing very well and leaves.
And just as we're wondering if maybe she was hiding some hints of jealous, Claire's voiceover admits that she was indeed jealous but more because she misses intimacy and misses her husband. But I suspect she also has had more than a few thoughts about being the one to kiss Jamie, don't you?
The next day, in Geillis' lair getting supplies for The Gathering, Claire is still concerned about the Baxter boy, Claire is warned that Father Buzzkill thinks all women are temptresses so he won’t take kindly to Claire trying to save Thomas Baxter. But they’re interrupted by a ruckus in the square. Another boy is up for a punishment for stealing bread and Claire tries to convince Arthur, the man who sets the punishment, not to chop off the boy's hand as some believe is the proper retribution.
Also in this scene, it dawned on me that Geillis is basically the Claire of the 18th Century. She is clearly wise but also understands the world she is in and knows she does have some power with her buxom figure, which she uses to convince Arthur to lessen the punishment. Instead of his hand chopped off, Arthur decides to nail the boy's ear to a pillary in the middle of the town square. Yes, this is seen as a lesser punishment! Ouch!
As we've seen many a time now, Claire can’t not do anything when she sees someone in disservice and the boy whose ear is nailed to a piece of wood is another example. (Not an easy scene to watch, was it?) Claire enlists Jamie’s help to release the boy. Together, they create a distraction with Claire pretending to faint at the sight of the boy’s ear and when everyone moves to help her, Jamie removes the nail and the boy is released. This is less about the boy and more about Jamie and Claire getting more and more in sync. It also is another prime example that Jamie can do pretty much anything. Swoon!
I smell the vapors of hell in you.Father Bain to Claire
In spending time with Jamie again, his talking of his childhood leads Claire to figure out the poisonous plant that is probably plaguing young Thomas Baxter. She returns and, again, Father Buzzkill is being his bitchy, self righteous self and is furious at her presence and tells her to leave. Claire stands up to him and Mrs. Fitz, perhaps taking a cue from Claire, does the same. Claire gives Thomas a remedy, knowing she was taking a chance. Thankfully, Thomas wakes and feels better. Father B is still not won over and vows God will have the last word.
That night, Claire is greeted with a round of applause at having performed what people see as a miracle and she realizes instead of helping her get away, she’s now more bonded than ever to this place and the people in it. Jamie brings her to sit with him to hear the music of a singer and whispers in her ear what the song is about. Essentially, the song is a folk tale but it's Claire's tale of touching the rocks, traveling back in time but, in the song (again, as told to her by Jamie), a return to the rocks does return the time traveler to their proper time.
Claire: She came back to the stones?
Jamie: That she did. They always do.
Claire envisions happily seeing Frank again at the stones and, unlike the hopeless conclusion of the last episode, Claire is filled with hope that she can get home and she knows she has to get back to the stones or, as she says, die trying.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.