“It doesn’t matter where you come from. You’re here now.”
This episode is a pivotal one. Some important, long-ranging themes are introduced in this episode, and if you haven’t read the books before watching the series you had better have been watching carefully.
Rent, the episode and the payment, belonged to Dougal. He’s quickly becoming my favorite character and his scenes in Rent were mesmerizing. We see all sides of his character, and learn a lot about him—he’s easily the most complex character in the series. The first time I read the book I thought he was going to be Claire’s love interest, and right now part of me wishes he were going to be.
We were given a good dose of Scottish history, and every bit of it will be important to the storyline and the characters not only in this first season, but also in seasons to come. The Jacobite Rising of 1745 colors much of Claire’s story. And in this episode we see her dawning realization that she is not on the road with a bunch of criminals, but with Jacobites. Rebels. Men who are ready to fight for a cause they deeply believe in, but which Claire knows is doomed to fail. Just two years into the future, thousands of Scottish men will die in the horrendous Battle of Culloden. Surely some of the men she’s traveling with will be among those killed.
This knowledge presents Claire with the first of many quandaries that will present themselves to a time traveler. Does she tell them? If she does, does that change history? Perhaps not for the better? We see her try to warn Dougal, and then later very openly tell Ned Gowan, though he, of course, assumes she’s speaking from a political belief. Well, she tried.
Scotland! Some of the actors tweeted before the show that the star of this episode was Scotland, and they weren’t kidding. We were treated to one spectacular view after another. But the scenery was juxtaposed against the hardscrabble lives of those living within Clan MacKenzie, and the dreadful treatment they deal with from both the British soldiers and The Watch.
We get to see Jamie beginning to watch out for Claire. Yay!! There were lots of lingering, almost smoldering, looks he gave her. I’m not alone when I say the scene in the book where she discovers Jamie sleeping outside her door—to protect her—was one of my very favorite, and the scene in the show did not disappoint. He is so gallant, and yummy, and you can just see a flicker of interest in Claire’s face as the scene unfolds. It’s becoming apparent that she isn’t entirely immune to Jamie’s charms.
Ned Gowan!! Rarely have I seen such perfect, spot-on casting. The actor IS Ned Gowan. My friends and I have been eagerly awaiting his arrival to the show (he’s a favorite of most if not all readers!), and as we watched on Saturday night we all cheered that he is the personification of the character as written in the books. Yay!
TODAY’S REGULARLY SCHEDULED RANT ON CLAIRE’S WARDROBE:
The woman is on the road! She is sleeping outdoors most nights! Conditions are dirty and unpleasant. But she is dressed like she’s on her way to Camelot for her marriage to King Arthur! No, no, no. She should be dressed like the various village women are dressed—in simple, well-worn clothes that can take the beating living on the road is surely going to give them. And she should be dirty. With plant matter often stuck in her hair. Which is how she’s depicted in the book. END OF RANT.
Only three more episodes this half-season! Next week’s will be a painful one, but the outcome of it is what we are all looking forward to. From what I have read we will get to see, before the mid-season break, what we are all eagerly awaiting!