***Spoilers ahead - kind of. If you haven't read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and want to, you might not want to continue reading. If you've read the books, you know what's going to happen...the show is one interpretation. ***
***Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.***
You can watch the first episode for free until June 2015 on Starz play. Other episodes are only available with a Starz subscription.
Most of my "review" is written live while watching the episode and then edited for clarity.
We start out with a lovely poem quoted by Claire and Neg Gowen (the lawyer!) by John Dunn.
Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength,
Distance, and length;
Do what thou canst for alteration:
For hearts of truest mettle
Absence doth join, and Time doth settle.
The rest of the poem can be read here.
The information about smoking thorn apple/Jimson weed for asthma is interesting. Like Ned said, smoking a pipe for a cough? Whaaaa?! (Heh, looking at that link, it appears it is a hallucinatory "herb".)
Dougal's woman voice is great. I really like his acting out of his joke pushing up his lady boobs and all.
Ned can write quickly. My hand aches for him - well, it would if he had to actually do all that writing. Poor Ned had to take a live pig after all.
I thought they did wool waulking with their feet... eh, what do I know. I think they were just messing with her about needing fresh urine. Angus has great timing. Ha!
"Geronimo" *Snort* Whachit Claire.
Well, that kid figured out he was outnumbered quickly. Oh no, a Redcoat! Hey, wait. He looked like he was the blacksmith or something in the village. Why would a redcoat be working in a Scottish village?
(I found out! On Diana's site, she responded to others asking the same question. "Having seen all the daily footage, I can answer that one. His horse had thrown a shoe and he'd stopped to make repairs; he's borrowed the apron he's wearing from the local farrier. In the scene as shot, he introduces himself immediately as Lt. Jeremy Foster, and asks Claire if she's all right, whereupon the Highlanders menace him away. They cut the first part of the scene when they edited the episode, and then added that quick visual of him putting on his hat and coat, so we'd know he was a soldier, and recognize him when he shows up with his buds at the end."
Hmm. In my opinion, I think it would be better to show the why he was there so we weren't confused as to why a redcoat was in the village. I can't imagined it added to much longer to the show's running time.
During Dougal's first speech, there didn't seem to be enough sense of outrage and anger at what he was saying and seeing Jamie's back. It felt more like pity than anger. I am really hating Dougal in this episode. I think that is the point though, you are supposed to feel the outrage and frustration with Dougal that Claire is feeling.
Black pudding looks like poo.
Claire thinks she has it figured out. Dougal is such a horrible person that he is stealing money from his brother. I think Ned is obvious in his how he lets her think she has it correct. He acquiesced way too quickly and she is just so cocky about it she doesn't notice.
I liked the exchange she has with Ned, "You'd make a find advocate, yourself. It's a pity they don't allow women to practice law."
"We have a few centuries before that happens!"
Despair, hopelessness, frustration, anger - I think Claire is showing those feelings quite well this episode. She wants to get back to the stones and where she started out hopeful this trip would bring her close enough to escape, the men's hostility and distrust over her (and vice versa) is making things look very bleak for her.
I think showing The Watch looting and burning the farmhouse helped move our feelings along to the injustice people of that time faced.
"It doesn't matter where you come from, you're here." ~Jamie to Claire. I think that's a very poignant statement, not just for Claire/the show - but for all of us.
It seems rent collecting started out like an adventure and has become a chore and the stresses of being on the road has taken it's toll on everyone's spirits.
And after an entire episode hating Dougal for how he treats Claire, he seemingly selfish rent collecting, and his humiliation of Jamie for his benefit, it is nice to see his compassion and humanity for that family stripped of everything they had by the Redcoats. We needed to see that of Dougal, I think.
How much does Claire's sympathy for Jamie (with the Dougal and shirt ripping/back thing) help her develop her feelings for Jamie?
How much of her sympathies over all of the clan's fate help her relate to them? Now, it's no longer just history written down in the records being read and spoke about. The people that lived that history are no longer faceless names. She knows them; personally knows men, women, and children that will die for their beliefs and for what they think is right. Not - might die. Will die. Violently.
GAH! Scotland, stop being so breathtaking!!
Then, to further our Highlandish sympathies, and to align us against the Redcoats Sassenachs, we get the "traitors" on crosses. Yes, I put traitors in quotes. They were marked traitors by the Redcoats, they are not traitors to those they choose to follow. (Well, I suppose they could be, but I think the assumption is that they are not and that they probably just pissed off the wrong lobsterback.)
Dougal's speech following finding the persecuted is much more passionate. There is more anger, outrage, and patriotism in that one than all the others they showed. And the response is stronger. (And therefore the profit was greater.) And that's when Claire is really clued in; she knows enough Gaelic to understand "Long Live The Stuart"!
If you haven't read the books and are confused - here's a brief history lesson. The Scottish king, James Stuart, lives in exile. Scotland is ruled by King George, against their will. The British put down one attempted revolution in 1715 where Scotland attempted to put King James back on the throne. Now, 30 years later, his son Charles (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie), is being pushed to make an attempt to regain the throne. He lacks the funding to raise an army, so his supporters (*cough*Dougal*cough*) is raising funds themselves.
The show does a good job explaining the history as they go, but sometimes a little prior knowledge helps.
The scene where Claire steps on Jamie sleeping outside her door is perfection. It's made of the sexual tension the fans are dying for. We know it's coming, just get here already!
His scandalized reaction to her suggestion to come into the room to sleep is very believable and adorable. Sam (the actor who plays Jamie) plays that very well. And then they do a close up of her handing a blanket to him and he lightly brushes her thumb and you are supposed to feel the sexual tension (kudos to the music playing - Bear McCreary).
While watching that scene, Adam exclaims, "Oh no, not thumb action!" I reply, "Next thing you know and we'll see her ankle." Which sent him rolling in recollection of a post he saw on Tumblr and we had to pause the show to allow him to catch his breath.
The next morning - the looks they give each other are like they did something naughty. Geez, get a room already! And, well, go in it together.
Even though I'd still like translation for the Gaelic you can definitely get the gist of what those guys were saying about Claire. Those MacKenzie men kick some ass!
After, Claire is all repremanding them when - "We were defending your honor. You're a guest of The MacKenzie; we can insult ya, but God help any other man that does."
Claire is all, 'aaahhh - that's just so sweet!' (not an actual quote from Claire)
"I believe your left hand gets jealous of your right. That's about all I believe."
Oh, BURN! Go, Claire!
Jamie looks impressed with her.
Heh. Stand up fora lady's honor, have her make a joke to your expense, and poof she's respected more and trusted. Will Claire be able to make her escape now? (spoiler - no)
That's a good time to interrupt Dougal's interrogation - though bad group of people for the interruption.
"Tell me madam, are you here by your own choice."
And, I knew they were stopping there for the week before they stopped. The music was reaching a suspenseful crescendo, the expectant look on Dougal's face - begging Claire to answer appropriately for her safety and daring her to call him out because if she said he was holding her against her will, there would be a fight. She knows what the Redcoats mean to these Highlanders, what it would mean to the whole group - Jamie included - not just thorn in her side, Dougal.
Who's ready for the next episode already?!
Me me me me me! I am!
Do we hate Dougal, or respect him? Little bit of both? I've never been a fan of his - though in the books I totally respected him...not sure I do in the show...yet. I didn't get why the family with the baby that needed their goat for milk is less important than the family that had everything stolen. Children needing food does that to me though, no matter the reason. There's my compassion showing.