On this week's Outlander, Claire proves her skills as a healer, but it does not have the intended effect. Also, she meets the fire-and-brimstone, mysogynistic Father Baine; Geillis becomes more enigmatic; and Claire teams up with Jamie for some ear-saving and plant-investigating.
The title shot says it all! Claire plans to use her time trapped in the surgery of Castle Leoch to win Colum's trust and respect as a healer, thereby earning her way out - of Castle Leoch, of 1743, of her lonely predicament. Does she succeed? Well...yes and no.
Before we proceed: A moment to reflect on the beauty of this series. The cinematography, the costumes, the props, the Scottish scenery...it's so gorgeous. Every shot is beautifully framed and each set or location is sumptuously detailed. Even simple things like this shot of Claire looking out the window, they make interesting. I just love it.
Ok, I'm done gushing. (For this recap, anyway. I could probably fill a whole post on Claire's costumes alone.)
Claire applies herself with gusto to her new role as castle healer, believing that in this way, she will gain her freedom. She seems to adjust reasonably well to using 18th century herbs and plants to treat patients. Claire's first clash with 18th century medicine has nothing to do with medical supplies, but rather with the superstition and medical ignorance of the residents she must treat. When a couple of boys in the village get "possessed," Claire seems determined, beyond just a desire to prove herself to her captors, to find an "earthly" explanation for their illness.
In the process, Claire meets the illustrious Father Baine, a pure delight of a man, who oozes charm and charisma out of his very pores.
J/K, he's terrible. He's a new kind of antagonist for Claire - not working against her desire to get back to the stones, but working against her as a healer and as a strong woman. It takes the combined wills of Claire and Mrs. Fitz, and some amount of desperation for the boy's life, to drive Father Baine out of the cottage so Claire can work her magic. (Read: Medicine.)
Naturally, Claire's treatment works, and rescues the boy from certain death (much to the chagrin of Father Baine). Unfortunately for Claire, her success becomes renowned - she is called the "miracle worker" - and Colum is not likely to give up his prized healer. Though she accomplished her goal of proving herself an able healer, she did too good of a job, and it seems she is more trapped than before.
Claire in her loneliness is latching on to any friendly company she can find. One such friend is Geillis Duncan, she of the red shoes and feminine wiles.
Geillis continues to be a bit enigmatic. She is very interested in Claire, and seems to be probing for more information about where Claire came from and who she is. Claire is keeping her at arm's length, which is probably a smart move. (Claire doesn't seem to contemplate telling Geillis who she really is, in the way that she does with Mrs. Fitz.)
The other person Claire doesn't mind spending time with is Jamie, our resident horse-tamer.
And we're starting to get the sense that maybe Jamie doesn't mind spending time with Claire, either. He downright ignores Claire's attempts to hook him up with Leoghaire, intent instead on escorting Claire safely back to her chambers after she's had a little too much of the Rhenish. Although, he's all too willing to sneak off into remote corners of the castle with Leoghaire in his free time...which serves as a harsh reminder to Claire that she is still very much on her own, 200 years away from Frank. So, maybe she takes it out on Jamie a bit...
(This was one part where the voice-over helped to explain why she teased Jamie - not, as it appeared, because she was jealous of Leoghaire, but because she envied their intimacy.)
Still, she and Jamie recover and seem to get along well. The next day, he helps her 3 times in a row - first, saving her from the inquiring mind of Geillis Duncan; second, sharing in her scheme to save the tanner's lad from certain mutilation; and third, taking her to the Black Kirk where the boys from the village supposedly became possessed.
From the beginning, this episode has an undercurrent of examining gender roles. Claire is sent to nurse soldiers at the front lines, not Frank; Father Baine thinks he is above all women, even after Claire succeeds where he fails; Geillis, though not in an overt position of power, is able to bend her husband to her will. Can our 20th century woman fit into this 18th century moral landscape? How does a woman exercise strength and power in this time? Claire's approach is more headstrong and confrontational; Geillis is more wily. Which is better? More effective?
This week, Claire's plan backfired. Next week, we'll see if her renewed hope drives her to develop a new strategy to get back to the stones.
"A man's beliefs are how he makes sense of life. And death. Take that away, and what do you have left?" - Jamie
"This is my sister's house, and my father's before that. We will decide what happens under its roof!" - Mrs. Fitz
A few times in this episode, the devil is referred to as "Old Nick" (or "Auld Nick"). Some quick research shows that the origin of this term for Satan is a bit vague, though it did appear in the poem "Tam o' Shanter" by Robert Burns, written in 1790, and is believed have been in common use in the 1600s before that.
Scotland Picture of the Week: