Outlander photo recap, S1E4, "The Gathering"

Because this is the third time I’ve had to attempt this since my computer decided to %$#@! with me, this’ll be quick and dirty on the commentary. TRUST MY RAGE.

Open on the fields, where trouble seems afoot.

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But no, it’s not trouble, it’s Claire, playing with the kids and getting the scarring of a lifetime from Angus Mhor.

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Turns out he and her other “shadow” Rupert want to go back to “tha festivities” of The Gathering, the likes of which have not been seen since Rupert was a wee lad with a tiny, tiny beard. Claire is okay with returning, mostly because she was using playing with the kids as a way to reconnoiter not one, but two ways to escape tonight. Now to dispose of her guards…. but how?

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BEWBS is how. She has them draw straws, and Angus Mhor wins and the buxom lass loses and Rupert gets to escort her back while he shouts sweet nothings at her and tries to get her to lay down so he can show her what’s under his kilt. Who says romance is dead?

Auld Angus, that’s who. Claire is at the stables to get a mare for the boar hunt, which she is to attend the next day in her capacity as healer but really she wants a sweet horse she can run away with. She asks for Jamie only to find he’s not there.

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Auld Angus is like “quit sweatin’ Jamie” and she is like “did he say that?” and he’s all “OMFG STFU and here is your horse”. He tells her Jamie is best left alone until after the Gathering, but pairs Claire with a horse.

She heads back to the surgery to pound herbs, stash food and probably listen to Etta James when Geillis surprises a year off her life and hands her some port, her back story and some advice, in that order.

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Turns out Geillis came to the town alone with no prospects, seduced her “nothing” husband for his position and his fine home, and now drugs his tea with valerian and sleeps like a sociopathic baby secure in her ability to give zero fucks and do as she pleases. She notices Claire’s valerian, food and reluctance to attend and slyly tells her the Highlands are no place for a woman alone. We know. It’s called Episode 1. (CLAIRE: WATCH IT.)

Claire decides that mebbe a knife would be good, and sneaks off to the kitchen to try to get one. On the way, she sees that Angus Mhor is as good with the ladies as we all expected.

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Go on, Rupert. She almost gets a knife when Mrs. Fitz sees her and decides it’s time for another makeover. (WHERE ARE ALL THESE CLOTHES COMING FROM?)

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Still, Claire looks like a stone-cold fox. I can’t hate.

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And she’s secretly happy to be with Mrs. Fitz because it makes people less suspicious she’s up to something. During their walk, we are treated to the two cameos by Ron Moore and D-Gabs.

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Don’t call attendance if you’re not ready for school. Gabaldon. FITZ IN THE HIZZY.

So Claire and Queen Fitz are up in the balcony with all the ballers and shot-callers, and the Gathering begins. It’s like a giant shout-out circle jerk where the Mackenzies talk about how awesome they are, swear to be bros4life, and drink from a saucer LIKE MEN DO. Murtagh translates the opening speech for Claire, and then first up to the bro-up is Head Bro Dougal.

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Claire says what we are all thinking, mainly “How many more of these do I have to sit through?” She excuses herself and almost makes it out when Angus Mhor sees her and tries to get her to stay. Claire isn’t new to tha game, though, so she offers him expensive wine with cheap valerian root, which he happily downs.

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Claire advises him to share with his friends and sneaks downstairs to grab her things, only to have her momentum (and our show) brought to the screeching halt that is Laoghaire.

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She wants some dude (won’t mention him by name but his name rhymes with Schmamie) to like her, and YES WE KNOW and Claire is so obvs over her she puts some horse dung in a bottle and tells her to say a line from the Wizard of Oz and sure, this will NEVER COME BACK TO BITE HER IN THE ASS goddamnit it Leer.

Claire runs out to the hall with her food pack and promptly gets almost-raped by three drunk Mackenzies, only to have Dougal rescue her and then ALMOST RAPE HER TOO WTF.

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She has the presence of mind to slap the sh*t out of him Molly Hooper style, and he steps back and tells her to leave before something worse happens. I don’t know you ass, that was pretty bad.  When she glances down at her fallen food pack, however, he notices and Claire breaks a stool over his head, knocking him out and running to the stables where….

She trips over a lump. A SEXY lump who kinds of tires to stab her and then doesn’t. She found Jamie!

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But it’s not as happy an occasion as it could be, mostly because Jamie proceeds to poke holes in all her carefully laid out plans and, when she says she will go anyway, rightly points out that when they find her she will be a prisoner in all ways. Claire is frustrated, and says it shouldn’t matter because she is just ‘an outlander’, a sassenach, and Jamie’s apology is swift and unadorned and lovely.

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He offers to take her back, but she comes clean and tells him about her recent adventures with the drunken Mackenzie libido. Jamie’s jaw clenches here are monologues, and someone who is better than me at giffing things needs to gif them for me please.

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They are so cute together. i wish it weren’t always pitch dark for these scenes. In the end, he takes her to the garden, where there is a tunnel to the cellars where she can come in unseen, and it’s all good until they get caught.

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And lest we forget that Jamie is a) a gentleman and b) KICKASS, he proceeds to stick up for Claire when yet ANOTHER young Mackenzie tries to get rapey. All well and good until Rupert clocks him in the back of the head with his sword and knocks him out.

It’s REALLY IMPORTANT that Jamie GET DRESSED UP. No arguments here. He and Claire flirt and are generally adorable.

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He tells Claire he can’t wear the Mackenzie badge (Motto: “I shine not burn”. Unofficial motto: “I take guests,not prisoners.”) because he’s not a Mackenzie. He asks Claire if she knows his clan motto, and she admits she doesn’t even know his clan. That is when we get our first listen at Jamie’s French, and it is puuurrfect.

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Look, it’s even lit well so you KNOW it’s important! He asks Claire to find a place in the hall and as she walks away, she translates his motto for the audience: I am ready. For what? This.

The hall is full, but there is a noticeable hush when Jamie enters.

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Haha, sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

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So Jamie comes in, and Claire is all, “Oh yeah Jamie is here” and Murtagh is all “NOO WTF he should have hid” and Claire is like, “yeah, that was me” and Murtagh is all “CLAIRE YOU ARE THE WORST.” Turns out that if Jamie pledges fealty, he would be for all intents and purposes a Mackenzie proper, and if the clan wanted, they could vote him Laird when Collum passes, jumping both over his son and his brother. This is how Dougal feels about that:

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If he doesn’t swear his oath, he may end up kicked out of the castle and hunted by the English without the protection of the clan. 

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It is a Sophie’s choice of suckiness, and much diplomacy is needed. Jamie starts out by kneeling, but promptly gets up and says though he considers Collum both kin and an ally, he can’t swear an oath because he already owes one to his own name (not McTavish). The reaction shots are PRICELESS.

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Everyone is sure he’s-a-gonna-get-it, but then he looks his uncle in the eye and charmingly, sweetly promises him his obedience as kin and laird, and to do his bidding as long as he is on Mackenzie lands. Collum isn’t made of stone, y’all. He hands him the saucer and Jamie, ever the showman, downs it in one go and walks out to the cheers of everyone present.

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Everyone seems happy with the outcome except Dougal, who still glares at his nephew as he walks out.

Next day, boar hunt. Claire didn’t think she would be here, and it shows in her piss-poor attitude.

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She mocks the highlanders for hunting “little pigs” and Rupert rightly says she must have never seen one. She is so disdainful she walks leading her horse and berates a youngster with a slash in his leg before being attacked by a boar, saved by Dougal, and then having him scared off by a scream coming from deeper into the woods.

The screamer is Geordie, who has a gashing leg wound that Claire proceeds to tourniquet only to find that his entrails have been gored. She speaks to him of his home while Dougal holds him, undoes her tourniquet, and lets him bleed to death while hiding the true extent of his injuries from him. He dies, Dougal cries and it is awful. The entire scene is 4:35 of reminding you that LIFE IS GONE LIKE THAT and it sucks.

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These scriptwriters are magnificent sociopaths and I love them and I hate them.

The hunting party comes back to the castle sad and subdued, so in true y chromosome fashion, Dougal decides to make himself feel better by beating the crap out of other dudes through the magic of sport. In this case, shinty. Jamie is only too happy to oblige, and you get the feeling that these two have been waiting to have a go at each other for quite a while. This has to be seen in glorious motion to be properly appreciated.

In any contest of new buck vs. old, there comes a point where only a body slam will get your point across.

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Jamie leaves with his ever-permanent smile, but Dougal isn’t amused.

Later that day he shows up at Claire’s surgery to try to thank her for what she did for Geordie. She says she didn’t do anything and wishes she could have done more, but he tells her that she gave him a peaceful place to be and that is more than most get. She admits to seeing many men die violent deaths, and he offers to take her to “collect rents” because he might need a healer along. This makes ZERO sense and despite the fact that I saw him get his ass beat and cry, I still don’t trust Dougal. Neither does Claire, if looks are anything to go by.

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But at least maybe we can get better-lit sets next week.

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If you made it all the way to the end, drop me a comment! It would be much appreciated!

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