16 Days of Outlander - Day #2 Castle Leoch
I think I’ll keep posting my favorites based on where they occur within the episode rather than by what they are. Some of my categories are ones I’m going to try keeping consistent each day but others are definitely situational.
Anyway, diving into 01x02 Castle Leoch…
Favorite Book-to-Screen Adapted Scene: Claire tending Jamie’s wounds, Jamie explains his back, “You needna be scairt of me.” The whole scene flows so seamlessly and their chemistry together is undeniable. It carries the necessary dramatic weight but they hit the humorous notes perfectly as well (”Chickens are verra poor company.”) It’s one of the most important scenes from their relationship - especially in establishing their connection - and it comes very early in the episode, setting the tone for a lot of what happens. It’s clear to see the way his words regarding “You needa be scairt of me - nor anyone, so long as I’m with ye” play out. She is visibly more confident and relaxed when she’s around him or when she’s just been with him, slightly more anxious, nervous, and wary when he’s absent.
Favorite Performance: Gary Lewis as Colum MacKenzie. I’m going to try really hard to not have either Sam or Cait be my favorite performance every week - they knock it out of the park so consistently that I think that’s kind of a given. So for Castle Leoch, I’m choosing Gary Lewis and his performance establishing Colum MacKenzie as the Laird of Clan MacKenzie. The gears begin turning as soon as Claire arrives and tells her dubious story. He’s agreeable to her throughout the episode, inviting her to reveal more about herself and her circumstances than she intends and succeeding. The character of Colum is subtle and Lewis’ performance is as well, especially contrasted with Dougal. By the end when Colum decides she will not be leaving but rather staying as his guest, so long as she doesn’t try to leave, the full cunning of his character has blossomed for the audience and its clear he’s as much a force to be reckoned with as Dougal, perhaps more so.
Favorite Music Moment: Claire watches Dougal play with Hamish. As Claire looks out on the landscape from a castle parapet and then catches Dougal joining Hamish and his young playmates in a mock sword fight, the music just… I love the Castle Leoch theme here. It grounds her in the castle life in a way we don’t really see her grounded in the 1940s back in Sassenach. She looks genuinely content and pleased with where she is, even if it isn’t where she thought/wanted/expected to be and the music emphasizes that beautifully.
Favorite Line or, Favorite Foot-In-Mouth Moment: “I’ve made an error.” Given the affection with which she saw Dougal playing with Hamish and the fact that she is a stranger to Castle Leoch and its inhabitants, it isn’t such an offensive error for Claire to have thought Hamish was Dougal’s son but saying so aloud at dinner the way she does clearly hits a nerve and for once the MacKenzie brothers are shaken. Claire picks up on it immediately but instead of brushing it off lightly with a, “must be the family resemblance” or something along those lines, she turns quite self-conscious and responds with, “It seems I’ve made an error,” a statement true on so many levels.
Favorite Location: the paddock and stable where Jamie and Claire have their picnic. We don’t have many opportunities to see the grounds at Castle Leoch - the castle and courtyard, sure (and later we’ll see a bit of the woods) but not the open grounds of the place. The field as Claire walks to find Jamie is just gorgeous and the small stable structure away from the castle help to create the feeling of freedom Claire has with Jamie at this point in the episode. It isn’t a cramped area like the castle with shadowy corners for people to lurk and hide and watch her. It is open and she can see where she’s going and it’s pleasant weather and Jamie is there helping her feel safe.
Favorite Scene: Claire tells off Rupert. I liked Rupert in the books well enough but the way he and Angus have been adapted for the show is just amazing and I love Rupert’s dynamic with Claire. He’s more laid back in it than we will see Angus (he’s more annoyed) and the way he reacts when Claire confronts him about his spying on her is to basically just shrug and say “I’m just following my orders.” His line, “I am Dougal’s eyes, no his heid” is one of my favorites of the episode and then as he goes on to warn Claire about how she should be grateful when it’s him following her and watching her because Angus will be worse is perfection. “He willna ken what to make of that.”
Honorable Mention for Favorite Music Moment: 1940s music. Starting with Claire humming the music as she dresses for one of the intervening days before she’s supposed to leave with Mr. Petry, the 1940s music helps convey Claire’s mentality and goals with subtle brilliance. It is music that sounds like’s it’s being played on a record player or over a radio connection, with those slight imperfections in the sound quality. Then abruptly ending the track with Claire hitting her head after Geillis speaks unexpectedly becomes the perfect transition into Geillis’ introduction.
Favorite Minor Character: Geillis Duncan. Well, minor at this point in the game anyway. She injects a bit of levity to the second half of the episode with her immediate teasing of Claire that is so different from the teasing she’s received from Rupert, the immediate trust and friendship she’s found with Jamie, and the outright suspicion and awkwardness that have categorized her encounters with Colum and Dougal. Geillis offers Claire help in her own way when she invites her to the hall and translates the proceedings for her, even helping her to sneak out without causing too much of a stir. It was a presence Claire desperately needed at that point in the episode.
Favorite Jamie and Claire Moment: the look exchanged in the hall. It’s such a small moment of connection where they seek and find each other with no larger communication necessary. He immediately finds her in the crowd as Murtagh leads him out and as soon as she locks eyes with him, she starts to follow, heedless of anyone else in the hall. Luckily Geillis is there to help her escape in way that will keep gossip down. She is just so concerned for him and his expression is a mixture of “god I hope she’s impressed” and “please let me get to talk to her some more.”
Favorite “This wasn’t in the book” Part: Jamie and Claire exchange goodbyes. In the book there is no Mr. Petry. Colum never tells Claire that she can leave at the end of a week and continue on her way. It’s always clear that she is there until he says otherwise. As such, there is never a moment this early in Jamie and Claire’s relationship where a potentially permanent parting is imminent and so, no need to bid one another farewell. When Claire announces to Jamie in the episode that she’ll be leaving the next day, his face falls but with such subtlety as he tries to hide his disappointment. Claire is perhaps oblivious to just how disappointed he is, but we in the audience certainly aren’t (especially when you compare it to the look of impatience and reluctance that appears when Claire walks off to let Laoghaire have her word alone with him). It’s also - I believe - the first time Jamie uses Claire’s first name (instead of Sassenach or Misstress Beauchamp) and it comes out so tenderly (clearly something he wanted to save for a time in their friendship/relationship when they were more intimately acquainted but since it is probably the last time he’ll have a chance, he’s determined to use her first name at least once) and it’s his use of her first name that seems to give Claire a little moment of pause (regret?) before she puts on a polite smile again and leaves.
Favorite Costume: Claire’s “I’m supposed to be leaving” outfit. Much as I like the costume mirroring in the picnic scene, I really love Claire’s accessories here and the color of her bodice and sleeves (it’s just difficult to get a good still shot of this particular outfit). The fur neck piece just looks so warm and those wrist warmers are one of the many pieces of knitwear that I don’t really need but would love to have in my wardrobe nonetheless.