Outlander Recap: Let's Get You Out of That Cravat


This week on Outlander: Witch Watch went to DefCon 1, Claire continues to banter with Jamie without realizing she wants to jump his bones and I really want a whole closet full of tasteful fichus.

The episode opened with a reminder that Frank exists and therefore Claire has a reason to resist the lure of Jamie’s beautiful, beautiful arms. (We’re gonna need it, because Mr. MacTavish isn’t getting any less appealing.) It’s World War II again and the Randalls are striding purposefully towards a train, both in uniform. “What I want is my husband at home with me, but I can’t have that right now,” Claire announces with determined pragmatism as it becomes clear that, in fact, she’s heading to the front while Frank does his part back in London.

Aaaaand then we’re back in 1743 with a literal bucket of cold water dumped on Claire’s head. She’s trying to convince Missus Fitz she can wash and dress herself; Missus Fitz ain’t having it. Freezing and stressed, she begins telling the kindly older woman where she’s REALLY from (not Oxfordshire), only she flips and begins abjuring her as a witch.

Except, thank God, we’re just in Claire’s head. Whew. Not sure I could bear Missus Fitz’s enmity.

Now that we’ve all been reminded of Claire’s perilous predicament, time for a little old-fashioned physicking. First she’s got to get the surgery in shape, chucking the dung and the bugs and the spider’s butts and whatever else passed for medicine before the advent of the FDA. She pops into the kitchen and learns that a local boy has died due to… demonic possession? Seems he made the mistake of venturing up to the Black Kirk, a ruined monastery now said to be the Devil’s territory. HIGHLANDERS ARE VERY SUPERSTITIOUS. ARE YOU GETTING THIS IN THE BACK? SHOULD I BE LOUDER?

Fashion side note: She does this in a very jaunty fichu. After three episodes of this show, I’m getting major fichu envy.

She briefly drops by Colum’s quarters to massage his painful legs. She leaves with a personal invitation to attend a performance by the castle bard. Operation Charm the MacKenzie Laird is proceeding as planned.

So Claire is chilling in the back of the party (her fichu stayed home) with a glass of something presumably severely alcoholic when Dougal’s goatee creeps into the frame, followed by the man himself. “Seems that the feral cat we picked up on the side of the road is trying to pull in her claws,” he comments on her healing skills, dickishly. Instead Claire goes to sit with Laoghaire, who—surprise, surprise—has a crush on our boy Jamie, who joins the pair and spends the performance flirting with an oblivious Claire. Welcome to Castle Leoch High!

He finally asks if she might change his bandages and they scurry out of the hall. Sorry, Laoghaire, your opponent doesn’t even realize she’s in the field and you’re still outgunned. Once they’re back in the flickering firelight of the surgery (like Pavlov’s dog I’m now conditioned to expect pectorals in this light) Jamie admits that actually, he just figured he’d escort her back home since she’s totally toasty. (So, no pectorals.) She checks his wound, anyway, unwrapping his cravat (hot) and then breathlessly whispers some sexy little nothings:

“It’s scabbed-over nicely. There’s no drainage.” Romance!!

The next morning, Claire meets Geillis for plot-advancing exposition herb-picking and learns that Missus Fitz’s nephew Thomas has also fallen to demonic possession and the local parish priest will be performing an exorcism. Claire doesn’t think much of that plan (which is funny, when you consider she’s living proof that the supernatural is real).

No fichu this time, but she’s rocking a really promo chunky-knit infinity scarf. Who knew there was an H&M in 18th century Inverness?

So she marches over to the boy’s home and determines he almost certainly ate something poisonous. But before she can get any further we’re introduced to the extremely unpleasant Father Bean, who is obviously a great hulking bully and doesn’t seem particularly open to a more mundane explanation for young Tommy’s ailments. And even if she can House this shit, she’s not sure she’ll have access to an antidote.

She’s processing all this when she looks up and sees Jamie smooching Laoghaire in the mud room. Obviously this is too golden an opportunity for teasing to pass up, but she gets a scolding from Murtagh (one of the many gruff, scruffy soldiers): If Laoghaire’s father hears, Jamie will be hustled to the altar and they’re all wrong for each other: “He needs a woman. Not a lassie. And Laoghaire will be a girl until she’s 50.” It’s a rap across the knuckles, sure, but I think it’s also a compliment and a wink-wink, maybe.

Claire feels terrible: “I felt ashamed of the way I teased Jamie, and if I was being perfectly honest, i did it because i was jealous. Not jealous of Laoghaire. Jealous of their intimacy.” Riiiiiiight. Right.

Time for another visit with Geillis. This time it’s a walking tour of the local patriarchy. She warns Claire off Father Bean, who considers every woman a born temptress “who should be beaten daily by her husband to keep the devil at bay.” Charming. We also meet Geillis’s husband Mr. Duncan, the magistrate, and watch as she charms her flatulent husband into dispensing a more lenient sentence for a tanner’s apprentice caught stealing bread. (He’ll get his ear nailed to the pillory instead of losing a hand, at the instigation of Father Bean. Fucking Father Bean).

“The man has no notion of guile,” she chirps once he’s gone. I can’t decide how the show wants us to read this moment. It comes off as manipulative and perhaps a warning sign about Geillis’s character—especially considering the increasingly leading questions she’s asking Claire about magic and where she’s really from. Then again, marrying an easily manipulated rich man seems like really the most sensible course of action for a woman in this world. I want to believe in you, Geillis, you anachronistic Urban Outfitters cashier.

Seriously, Claire’s hair looks amazing. After a week in historical Scotland I’d be deep in the worse stages of shampoo withdrawals, and yet she looks brunch-ready.

Jamie arrives to escort her home. But first, an errand of mercy: “Mister MacTavish, your fingers. They’re quite strong, I suppose?” EH? EH? EH? Actually she wants him to rip the nail out of the poor kid’s ear, because otherwise he’s expected to jerk himself off the pillory. Escapade accomplished, she thanks him and we get another cheesy line magically transformed into something charming by Sam Heughan: “You wouldn’t expect me to be less bold than a wee Sassenach lassie would you?” Oh, Jesus.

Moved by his bravery, she drags him off… to play epidemiologist at the Black Kirk. Dammit. Turns out Thomas ate what looked like wood garlic—but it’s actually lily of the valley, which will kill you stone dead. Claire can save the kid, after all! But first she has to face off with walking misogynist stereotype Father Bean, who informs her that “You are not ordained to drive away the demon,” and “I will not be ordered about by a woman.” Turns out Missus Fitz isn’t quite so quick to abjure as Claire worried—she tells him to buzz off, the cure is administered, and Claire is the hero of the hour to everyone but the priest, who informs her: “I smell the vapors of hell on you.”

That’s just this old damp wool cloak!

Unfortunately, as Jamie points out, this sort of miraculous stunt only makes Colum keener to keep her close. Claire sulks until she attends the bard’s apparently nightly performance and hears a ballad about a woman time-warped through the standing stones who’s ultimately zapped right back home. No doubt bolstered by Colum’s very fine liquor, she resolves to escape, come hell or high water.

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