Previously on Outlander:
But enough about Chest(s); it’s time for the MacKenzie Gathering! Which Claire is preparing for by…being chased about by MacKenzie Children!
But it’s not just fun and games and charming the wee ones she’s after. No, you see, our Intrepid Claire is looking for a way out of her Highland prison, so she’s pulling a MacHansel and Gretel and leaving breadcrumbs behind.
If only she could shake those two guards of hers! So she fakes a love interest for them, in the shape of a comely lass tending a pot on the fire.
“I’ll just be setting my cock to roost in that tonight,” says Angert. But Rupus wants some, too, so Claire has them draw sticks for her.
Rupus wins, and promises to “save some pie” for his co-hort.
Side note: What is it about these accents that makes the most sexist grody things sound charming?
Meanwhile, back at the castle, Geillis continues her Crusade of Being Weird by trying to figure out why Claire has so much extra food and packing things in her Medical Lair. What are you, pregnant? No? What are you, having trouble sleeping? No? OK, well, let me just warn you that the Highlands are no place for a woman alone, so you should get you a flatulent husband like I have.
Geillis pretends to believe Claire’s explanations (I’ve read the book, see, so I know what’s up).
Then it’s Mrs. Fitz ruining Claire’s day by accosting her with another fancy outfit so she can attend Magic: the Gathering, and the Oath-Taking in the hall.
Which features the best cameo ever by Diana Gabaldon herself, as a bitchy clanswoman who has it out for Mrs. Fitz.
“That’s a lovely dress, Iona,” Mrs. Fitz replies. “You wore it so well to the last gathering.”
SICK BURN, FITZY.
Colum approaches the throne on hobbly legs, and he is unrecognizable because he has showered and shaved.
Claire listens attentively to his Gaelic speech, even though, you know, she don’t get it. Fortunately, Murtagh is there to translate. Welcome, says Colum. Now pledge your oaths and stuff. Dougal is first, and, like all things Dougal does, there’s always a second where you think he might slit your throat instead. But he don’t.
Then the Highlanders line up to say the exact same thing to Colum (the aforementioned Oath), and Claire is all, Snooze, I’m going to finish escaping I mean JK go do something else. Rupus is on guard, though, and he’s all, what, you’re leaving now? “Can you not see fit to stay at least until I bag a lass for the evening?”
How can Claire resist that charm?!! She can’t, and she even shares her port, which is not at all full of sleeping potion.
Rupus is ready to PARTAY, so Claire scurries back to the Lair where she gathers her Stuff, but her escape is thwarted by Laoghaire. You remember Laoghaire?
Laoghaire wants a love potion! For Jamie! So Claire gives her dried horse dung to sprinkle over his threshold (“sprinkle over his threshold”) (what?), which will give Claire a laugh to imagine Jamie stepping in dried horse dung while she is stepping in wet horse dung on her way out of the castle.
But her way is once again thwarted, this time by rapey Highlanders who are all, hey, a woman! Let’s put our wieners in her! But they say it in Gaelic, so it’s more menacing.
Don’t worry, it’s Dougal to the rescue! He shoos the Rapey Highlanders away with a swift kick of his boot, but then he’s all, hey, that thing they said about wieners, not a bad idea! But Dougal is drunk, and Claire is able to best him with just a wee tap with a chair.
And then she’s in the barn and her escape will continue unimpeded – nope, wait. One more. But this time Jamie tackles her and she’s all, well, maybe I won’t escape just yet. JK, she’s like, I’m trying to escape, can you just? And he’s all, listen, Sassy-nach, the trackers will be after ye, let’s go back to the castle. And she’s all, um, well, I may have hit Dougal with a chair.
And he laughs.
And I die.
So he shows her the secret passageways to his heart and the dungeon, but not before they are set upon by more Highlanders (you’d think there was a clan gathering or something!), who are like, oh, hey, Jamie, you forgot to go take your oath. And then they’re all, oh, and let’s put our wieners in this woman. So Jamie head butts them!
But he still has to take the oath.
But first he takes his shirt off.
He can’t wear the Clan MacKenzie brooch, though, because his clan has a different motto, which is:
Which translates to “I just got Sarah pregnant.”
Claire goes back to the hall and is all, what’s the big? Fortunately, Murtagh is there again to explain it to her as she watches Jamie approach Colum and Dougal, who apparently found something else to do with his wiener. Also, he has a headache.
See, if Jamie pledges his oath to the MacKenzie, he will be next in line to be Laird, even over Hamish and even over Dougal. Because…I guess because the MacKenzies would vote for him. And if he becomes next in line, Dougal will so totally kill him, because Dougal is a jerk. And Claire is all, why doesn’t he go live somewhere else? And Murtagh is all, because there’s a price on his head. And Claire is all, so why doesn’t he just skip this part? And Murtagh is all, well, he was supposed to stay hidden. And she’s all, so this is all my fault. And he’s all, yes, bitch. ‘Tis.
If she was not from two hundred years in the future, I would say Claire is Too Stupid To Live.
So Jamie steps up to swear his Oath and Sign his Death Warrant, but instead he’s all, JK, listen, I’ll just be obedient to you while I’m here but I’m still in my other clan with the other motto, OK? And Dougal’s face is all, I can’t wait to kill this bitch, but Colum is all, OK, let’s drink!
I think Dougal actually rolls his eyes at this.
Which probably hurts his head.
The next morning, there is a miraculous lack of hangovers, which is good, because it’s time for the Boar Hunt! Yay, says everyone but Claire, who is so over this patching-up-Highlanders bullshit. But then the Rodents of Unusual Size are rousted from their nests, the squire is gouged, and Claire is all, serves you right for getting gouged, hunting is for jerks.
She goes in search of another injured Highlander, leaving her be-speared guard, Angert, behind. Which is too bad, because here comes a boar! And also, here comes Dougal, not with his weiner, but with a gun, which he uses to shoot the boar like six inches from Claire’s tender flesh.
But he is too late for Geordie, an extra who got not only a speaking part, but also groovy special effects along the lines of spurting blood and exposed intestines. Geordie is dying, see, of a boar-gouging. And Dougal cradles him gently, because he is nice to men, and Claire is also nice, but she’s like, I can’t save him. So she comforts him by engaging him in conversation about his home, and Dougal comforts him by admitting that, yes, he slept with his sister. Geordie dies; Dougal cries.
They make their sad way back to the castle, dragging a dead boar and also dead Geordie. (Geordie is on a horse, though.) They come across a game of what is that, field hockey? Shirts vs. Skins. JK, I wish. But Dougal is all worked up from the bloodlust and the tears, so he rips off his coat and enters the game like an avenging savage.
And the game (actually called shinty), which was pretty violent to begin with, gets all brutal and shirts are ripped off. No, but Angert gets a stick to the nuts, poor guy. And Dougal and Jamie are fighting mercilessly and violently over the ball as if there is some kind of subtext. But Jamie wins, because he is hotter, and he laughs about it which does not piss Dougal off at all.
Later, Claire is in her Lair, Grinidng Stuff as per usual, when Dougal comes in. He’s all, thanks for helping Geordie. And she’s all, OK, no prob, don’t rape me. And he’s all, listen, I have to go on the road to collect the rents and such. And we need medical personnel because the “and such” is not dodgy at all. You’re coming with us. We leave at sunrise. Wear something fabulous.
But maybe she can get to Craigh Na Dun, thinks Claire, who has not read ahead to the next chapter.
Next time: A Disappointing Lack of Nudity, but Some Excellent Plot Progress.