‘Outlander’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4: ‘The Gathering’

Outlander 2014
Tonight is the night that Claire finally makes her great escape from Castle Leoch! Maybe? Probably not.
Credit: Provided by Starz

Och, lads and lassies! ‘Tis time for another “Outlander” recap, titled “The Gathering” — aka “Jamie Thigh Watch Hour” aka “Highlanders Know How To Party.”

This episode is centered on, well, you know, a gathering — it takes place at Castle Leoch, a much-hyped event for the MacKenzie clan wherein all those loyal to Colum come and pledge their allegiance. And then they get really drunk. It’s kind of like the 18th century equivalent of a college frat party and also a perfect opportunity for Claire to escape.

Operation Escape Castle Leoch Phase 1: Gathering Supplies

This episode, we learn that Claire’s mapped out an escape route, but she still needs to shake the two clansmen who follow her 24/7 to make sure she doesn’t cause any Sassenach trouble. Turns out they’re both not the sharpest dirks in the sheath, so this doesn’t prove too much of a hassle, and we get a cute little scene where she points them in the direction of a pretty lass they’re both ogling. Once they’ve been taken care of, she’s off to find a horse under the pretense that the lairds have requested her presence during the hunt.

Mode of transportation acquired. Next on the agenda: Supplies. Claire heads back to her surgery, where she’s accosted by her creepy (but kind of sexy) bestie, Gellis. (Anyone else think Gellis’ outfit is kind of off today for someone who usually looks so fierce in capes and cloaks?) Anyway, Gellis has brought along the port Claire requested, and then flat-out asks if she’s pregnant, pointing to the suspiciously large basket of food Claire’s hoarding. JESUS H. ROOSEVELT CHRIST, GELLIS. GO AWAY.  Claire assures Gellis this is not the case, and that she’s never been unfaithful to her husband. Gellis jumps on this: “It’s not unfaithful if he’s … dead.” YEAH WE ALL CAUGHT THAT DRAMATIC PAUSE, GELLIS. “Is he?” Anyone else get the feeling that Gellis isn’t who she says she is?!

Because Claire is the worst liar this side of Europe, she answers vaguely “He’s not … alive.” This is pretty much the most terrible answer possible you can give when you’re a woman from the future living undercover in 1742 and being relentlessly questioned by a potential witch. I’m just saying. Conversation moves on to how to effectively roofie an army with valerian root (purely hypothetical, of course) and then Gellis takes her leave with a super subtle warning about how the Highlands are no place for a woman alone. JUST TELL US WHO YOU ARE, GELLIS.

While Claire is in the kitchen looking for a weapon to presumably hide under her bodice, Mrs. Fitz interrupts her, demanding to know if she’s going to change into something more presentable for the ceremony. (Claire’s answer: No. Mrs. Fitz’s Response: WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT.)

Outlander 2014
Claire is trying to be sneaky but every single actor on Starz’s payroll has to make an appearance and interfere with her plan.
Credit: Provided

Operation Escape Castle Leoch Phase 2: Distraction and Getaway

Claire’s cleavage game is on point in her new outfit, which might make slipping from the castle undetected a little more difficult, but that doesn’t seem to worry her. She finds a quiet place to stand while Colum walks across the hall to the screech of bagpipes, ready to accept his clansmen’s oaths. There’s a lot of shouting in Gaelic, so we take this to mean that this is a Big Deal.

(It’s worth noting that we’re about 20 minutes into the episode without any sign of Jamie Fraser yet. How are you all holding up?)

After successfully handing off her spiked port to one of her stalkers, Claire’s off! Annnnd she’s interrupted again. This time by Laoghaire, who’s looking for Claire to brew her up some kind of love potion (for Jamie, duh). CAN’T THESE HIGHLANDERS EVER LEAVE CLAIRE ALONE FOR 10 MINUTES? Apparently not. Running back into her surgery and throwing together a few ingredients for said love potion, Claire sends Laoghaire off on her way, while she herself gathers her escape gear and attempts (again) to leave.

By now, we’re not surprised to see that Claire is accosted once more by a trio of drunken Scotsman who attempt to have their way with her. Luckily (maybe?) she’s rescued by Dougal, who violently kisses her in payment for his service. Claire manages to escape his clutches too (by smashing him over the head with a chair, no less) and finally (FINALLY) gets out to the stables with jaunty Scottish music ringing in her ears.

Outlander 2014
When he’s all cleaned up, Jamie Fraser is even more tempting to fall for. Or fall over, as is the case with ol’ stumble-foot Claire.
Credit: Provided

Operation Escape Castle Leoch: MISSION ABORTED

Claire doesn’t even make it to her horse before she trips. Over Jamie. Literally falls head over heels on top of him. IT’S ABOUT BLOODY TIME. He explains that there’s no way she’d get two miles from the castle without half of Clan Mackenzie dragging her back kicking and screaming and so, crestfallen, she agrees to let him escort her back to the castle.

Neither of them get very far before another group (gang? gaggle? pride??)  of MacKenzie clansmen set upon them, though this time they’re looking for Jamie. Turns out, he’s been hiding in the stables to avoid taking Colum’s oath. It’s all awkwardly political, but basically if he takes the oath, it means he’d be in line to become Laird – which means he’s likely to find himself dead by Dougal’s hand. If he doesn’t take the oath, he’s likely to end up dead before morning anyway. It’s a lose/lose situation for poor old Jamie Fraser. (We’ve gotta say though, he looks SMOKING HOT in his complete Scottish regalia.)

It’s a pretty sticky situation, but Jamie manages to talk his way around the oath in a way that would make any lawyer green with envy. Smoking hot AND clever? YES PLEASE.

Outlander 2014
I mean, this is a guy you’d want to party with, right? Well too bad, you don’t have a choice, peon.
Credit: Provided

Sassenachs for PETA!

With Operation Escape Castle Leoch well and truly dead in the water, Claire finds herself following the men out into the woods for a boar hunt the following day. (Caitriona Balfe is really rocking the woolen bolero this scene.) The activity is all rather barbaric, and Claire is sure to lecture them all as she bandages up a man’s gaping wound. There’s a cry from somewhere else in the woods, and after nearly being gored by a pig herself, she comes across a dying Scotsman, literally ripped apart by a boar tusk. We see a softer side of Dougal as the man dies in his arms.

The next scene isn’t really worth mentioning, except that Jamie plays some hockey, so feel free to add “sporty” to “clever” and “smoking hot” to the growing list of Why Claire Needs To Get Into Jamie’s Kilt Immediately.

The episode closes out with a conversation between Dougal and Claire – he reveals to her that he’s taking her on a wee bit of a road trip in order to visit neighboring villages to collect taxes. What adventures lie in wait for her out on the road? Claire hopes it’s the Standing Stones and a way home, but we rather hope it’s Jamie’s well-muscled embrace.

Check back next Saturday for the next “Outlander” recap!


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