Three things to take away from this episode, in order of appearance:
1) Mrs. Fitz.
3) Claire’s knitwear.
OK! On to the plot.
This episode is called “Castle Leoch.” Appropriately, we begin with The Smelly Highlanders entering Castle Leoch, where they are greeted by the jolly Mrs. Fitz, who scolds them all to go take a daggun bath already, you stinkers.
But then she notices Claire.
Claire has no time for getting fully dressed, though. She must tend to Jamie’s wounds. Och, young Jamie’s injured? Yes.
So she tends his wounds.
He has no shirt on.
I shall now provide you with a picture.
Because Jamie Fraser is the Most Beautiful Man in the World.
But his physical perfection is marred by vicious, lashing scars all over his strong, wide…strong….strong back. And Claire is all, oh, no, I didn’t notice a thing. But Jamie is all, let me tell you a story. You see, once I was a farmer, which is how I got all these muscles. One day I was out in the fields, doing stuff, when I heard screams.
You see, it’s our old frenemy, Captain Jonathan “Blackjack” Randall, aka Not Frank, who has come to collect basically whatever he wants, because he is English and the Scottish are Scottish, and that’s how it was back then I’m sorry to say. But Jamie does not want to willingly hand it all over, especially when “it all” includes his sister, Jenny.
And so Jamie fights the English soldiers, but Black Jack rips Jenny’s dress open anyway, and then ties Jamie up and whips him. And, I mean, Jamie has his shirt off, but it’s so totally not fun.
So he takes the beating, and he warns Jenny not to go inside with Black Jack. So BJ knocks him out. And then. I mean, you can figure it out.
Let’s get back to Jamie with his shirt off.
But Jamie is Jamie and so he cannot go twelve minutes without flirting, so he tells Claire that her husband is lucky. And she’s all sad because her husband is not alive, as she puts it. So Jamie, with his busted, naked shoulder, holds her close while she weeps.
And then he promises to protect her when he’s around, but reminds her that she is English, and Scottish people are not super-into the English at the moment, what with the rapes and the beatings and all.
He tells her this with his shirt off. Here, I’ll show you:
And then she sleeps.
In the morning, she wakes up to Mrs. Fitz bustling about to feed her and get her ready to meet himself.
PS she puts Claire in full 1700s Highland gear, including four hundred layers of underwear.
Himself is Colum Mackenzie, laird of the castle with totally weird legs. Claire discovers that she is in 1743, and that Moustache Dougal is Colum’s brother, and that there is no good reason for rape, even if it is a Captain of His Majesty’s Dragoons. Colum agrees to get her a ride with the traveling tinker or something, who will be heading to Inverness in five days. OK, thinks Claire, I can fake it for five days.
Ha ha ha ha, good one, Claire.
Fit-In way #1 is to join everyone for dinner. Don’t worry, nobody stops everything to stare at her as she walks up to the head table. (JK!) Colum invites her to sit between him and Dougal, then plies her with wine.
Claire, being Claire, drinks a whole bunch and does her best to fake-answer Colum’s questions about her (fake) relatives in France and why she pronounces her name “Beecham” instead of “Bow-chahm.” (Because she’s going by her maiden name, so as to pretend and also so they don’t think she’s related to a certain long-haired English raper.)
The tension is broken by Hamish, who is a cute little lad who Claire saw playing in the courtyard with Dougal, his father. Except tra la la Dougal is not his father, it’s Colum. So Claire is all, obv I’m too tired (aka drunk) so I’m going to peace out.
The next morning, she goes off in search of Jamie’s bandage so she can change it. There he is, taming horses in the horseyard. Claire makes a noise the horse bolts and Jamie falls on his shoulder. But because she is Claire, Jamie is all, hey, no prob. “She’s just a girl with spirit is all. That’s always a good thing.”
At this point, my pants fell off.
They eat lunch (clothes on, boo), and we learn that Jamie has eaten grass, that he is wanted for a murder he did not commit, that Colum and Dougal are his uncles and so are harboring him, and his real name is not MacTavish.
As Claire heads back to the castle, she notices a guy in a frigging bright blue hat hanging around.
Yup. He’s following her. Claire, doing a great job fitting into the 18th century, confronts Dougal about why he is sending his Smelly Highlanders to spy on her. Well, he thinks she’s an English spy. Fine, I’m leaving soon, anyway, she says.
So she lies low (lays low?) – this time she really means it! She walks around picking stuff for Mrs. Fitz, and on one of these mild foraging trips, she meets Gellis Duncan, the Original Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But, like, literally Manic.
She knows all the herbs for abortion. Escandaloso! Claire likes her. They become besties, and they sit next to each other at the Hall.
This is the time when all of the villagers bring their grievances before the Laird, who doles out justice with humor and wisdom. Or we must assume that, because it is all done in Gaelic. A guy brings a gal forward, and he’s like, this is my daughter and she’s been acting like a hussy. So Colum is like, OK, you can whip her.
But Jamie is all, hold up. I’ll take her punishment. Because apparently that is a thing that can happen.
So one of the Smelly Highlanders punches Jamie a whole bunch. And Jamie is bleeding and injured, but Dougal keeps saying, OK, one more hit. Then the SH hits him in the shoulder, and that’s it. Jamie’s ouchies are too much.
Don’t worry. Claire will tend his wounds. And they will flirt madly the whole time, despite the fact that Laoghaire, the Alleged Hussy, is waiting to thank him properly. If you know what I mean.
He just did it because he hates to see a person flogged, and his pride can handle a beating better than hers can. Claire is all, flutter flutter flutter, but I’m leaving tomorrow, it’s been real, brah.
The next morning, Claire is ready to get on the tinker truck to Inverness.
But before she can put her bustle in the cart, Colum would like to see her. He would like to see her so he can ruin her day. Because remember that room where Claire and Frank got down to business in Episode 1? Well, that’s the castle surgery. And since the MacKenzies currently have no healer, wouldn’t it be terrific for Claire to stay and take care of everyone’s injuries? No? You don’t think it would be nice? Well, too bad.
Don’t worry, she’s not a prisoner! Unless she tries to leave.
Next week: Will Jamie take his shirt off? And will he leave his shirt off?