By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

Two Takes: Outlander “Castle Leoch” 

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Since we’re both enjoying this show so much, our plan is to weigh in on every single episode together. We want to talk about all our favorite scenes and moments and hash out anything we don’t agree on. One thing that we’re in absolute agreement on? That the producers and writers are doing a great job adapting the book and that the two episodes we’ve seen so far have been highly enjoyable. We love that the show is spending time in the “present” with Frank. We’re incredibly invested in Claire and Jamie, but we want to make sure Frank and Claire’s struggle to return to him isn’t forgotten.

Kara: One of the things I love about “Castle Leoch” and something I loved in the book is that Claire is such a strong woman. She speaks her mind, even when she knows she shouldn’t. Her opinion is particularly unwelcome in 1743 Scotland, but she is going to make these men know how unhappy she is anyway. Dougal doesn’t believe a word of her cover story and admits that he thinks she’s an English spy. He’s tasked one of his men to keep an eye on her and promises her constant surveillance until she either tells him the truth or convinces him otherwise. Never one to keep her opinion to herself, Claire calls her watcher out. She also decides she needs to keep a low profile until Saturday, when she’ll leave Castle Leoch – and Jamie – behind forever. She needs to get back to Craigh na Dun and hopefully her life and her husband.

Tina: It’s pretty wonderful to be introduced to the world of Castle Leoch through Claire’s eyes. This show so far is doing a great job of capturing what we’ve read in the book and bringing it to life. I love the little flashes of Claire’s old life with Frank as she travels through the Castle. They do it a few times and it’s effective. I am particularly grateful when she wonders about Frank and what he’s going through in his time. We actually see a little glimpse of him finding her car. Everything is from Claire’s perspective so, in the book, we never get any sense of Frank’s plight. And we do not get much here, but I still love that little bit that we did get. Claire really is handling everything with this amazing strength. I don’t know how she’s keeping it together. She has to be careful with what she says. She has to concoct a story that won’t leave everyone suspicious. And even though it does leave Colum MacKenzie (Laird of Castle Leoch) very suspicious, I commend her for doing what she needs to do to survive.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: And she makes a friend in Geillis Duncan. I mean, Jamie is on her side and she can count on him for protection – from Randall and maybe even from his uncles Colum and Dougal Mackenzie – but I wouldn’t call them friends. In Geillis, Claire finds someone who is also headstrong, an independent thinker and knows her way around herbs and medicines. Geillis is invaluable to Claire at The Hall, where she explains how grievances are brought before the Laird and settled. It’s not great that Geillis is also a suspected witch, but Claire really can’t be picky right now. Because the chatter in the village and around the Castle paints Claire as a spy, she really does need as many friends and allies as she can get. Let’s talk about that interrogation scene for a moment. Even though Claire knows what Colum is doing, she falls for it anyway. She’s clearly hitting that wine a little hard, but she’s nervous and knows how important it is to choose her words carefully. Maybe she figures some liquid courage will help her get through it. Again, we get flashes of her life with Frank, this time telling her how he and his team used to collect intel. Dougal was already suspicious of Claire because she knew that the English used Cocknammon Rock as a place to ambush Scottish rebels. Now the Laird and his wife Letitia are suspicious too when Claire assumes their child and heir Hamish is Dougal’s son. Of course her intention to leave the castle is thwarted when Colum “invites” her to stay and be their healer. But it’s not like she has a choice.

Tina: First of all, how great is Lotte Verbeek, who plays Geillis? I love it when an actor or actress commands my attention from the second he or she is on the screen. Lotte impressed me right away. Much of the Outlander cast has done this so far. I can’t wait to see more of her. Part of me wants to go back and binge watch Showtime’s The Borgias to see what she was like on that show. She has this presence about her. I really enjoy the interactions between Claire and Geillis, even though, as you mention, she’s a suspected witch. And she doesn’t do much to dispel that theory, either. As for that dinner/interrogation scene, I felt the tension. It’s a very suspenseful, very awkward, kind of scary scene. You can see Colum trying to trap her and Claire’s about to fall through that trap. Downing all the wine is probably not the best way to deal with the Laird’s questioning, but I don’t blame her. I did think she was naive for believing she was going to escape Castle Leoch so easily. Of course Colum figured out a way to keep her right there where he can see her. At least until he figures out who she is. And, selfishly, I’m glad she sticks around because I can’t get enough of the Claire/Jamie scenes. Chemistry much, anyone? I wrote down my favorite quote:

Jamie: You need not be scared of me, nor anyone else here, as long as I’m with you.

Just another swoon-worthy moment from Jamie. There are going to be a million of those I’m betting.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: Ok, I’ve got a wee confession to make (I think I’m going to start throwing Scottish terms into my everyday speech just for fun). Even though I LOVE Jamie and Claire, I feel like a little bit of their scene in front of the fire was forced. Wait, let me explain. I think it’s so smart that Claire chooses to “kill off” Frank to fit with her invented past. It’s just a savvy decision. Otherwise, everyone would be expecting her to go back to her husband. And in that moment, Claire really feels Frank’s absence and I think she’s mourning that. What if she never gets back to her present? What if, like she says, Frank assumes she’s run away with another man? She doesn’t want Frank to go through that kind of heartache and heartbreak. So she cries for herself and for her old life. After she’s taken some comfort in Jamie’s big, strong, deliciously muscled arms, she realizes how inappropriate their proximity is, but still can’t help lingering for a moment. That moment is a bit too much for me. The sexual tension between them is palpable, I don’t need to be hit over the head with it.

Tina: The way I see it, is that their sexual tension was so palpable…it took Claire by surprise. And was totally something she didn’t expect to be experiencing at that point, especially since she was just grieving over the loss of Frank. So I don’t think it was too much. And it then led to my aforementioned favorite quote. So I am on board with this moment. Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan continue to sizzle. Their chemistry seeps into every scene they share.

Kara: It is a great moment. So great. I mean, I’m rooting for these two and also rooting for Claire to return to Frank. I love that even though I already know what happens – because I’ve read the book – I’m still fully immersed in this story. I still wonder if the characters are going to make the same choices they do in the book. We know that sometimes writers have to change details to be true to the story they’re telling on the big or small screen. Sometimes we like those choices and sometimes we don’t. So far, I’m completely on board and correct me if I’m wrong, but they’ve remained incredibly faithful to the source material so far.

Tina: I have to go back and check the beginning of Jamie’s story about Randall and Jamie’s sister and the way he ended up at Fort William. I can’t quite remember every detail of his recollection. Although we do know there’s way more to that story that’s about to head our way. But for the most part, I feel like they’ve remained faithful and found a way to put their own touches to make it their own. So far this journey has been highly enjoyable.

Want to know more about Outlander’s music and the sound of the show? Check out our exclusive Q&A with composer Bear McCreary.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9/8c on Starz.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.