Recap: 'Outlander' - 'The Gathering'
At the end of the last episode, Claire’s plan to secure her freedom by being the best prisoner ever blew up in her face spectacularly. Turns out when you act like you want to hang out with your captors, they are less likely to let you leave. Funny that.
But undeterred, Claire hatched a plan. A plan based on a folk song. A folk song that she disregarded pertinent information from (I blame the Rhenish). So, yeah. This should go well. Can Claire escape “The Gathering”?
As the credits fade, scaffolding appears. No, not quite. It’s men with guns in tree stands. Out in the open. Where any snipers in the opposing tree line could pick them off like fish in a barrel. Good job, guys. These astounding strategists are guarding Clan MacKenzie from all sorts of enemies…like giggling children. Calm down Trigger Jim, unless you really fear a gaggle of unwashed children and a lone time-displaced woman. Actually, I’ve watched “The Walking Dead.” Fear them.
Claire’s giggling on the ground while swarmed by plucky bairns is interrupted by an unwanted look up STILL not Jamie’s kilt. When the offending guard asks Claire if something caught her eye, she is forced to resort to basically saying “gross” because these miscreants wouldn’t get any insult involving magnifying glasses and toothpicks. The 18th century can take a lot of things from a modern woman, but relinquishing scathing insults is just too much to bear. Yet Claire soldiers on.
Turns out playing with children serves an ulterior motive. Our heroine has been scouting the terrain. Over the past few days (weeks?) she’s learned the lay of the land, finding not one but TWO possible roads to freedom. Smart girl. But she’s also been leaving behind bright white strips of ribbon to lead her back to the mapped out escape routes. Oh honey, no.
After torturing her guards by keeping them away from the beer (by the way, these two have got to be wondering who they pissed off to keep having to watch this persnickety woman who doesn’t seem to grasp the prisoner/guard dynamic), they finally pout hard enough that we are taken to the Annual Gathering of Scottish Santas. I am so excited!
OH GOD NO, IT’S JUST CAMPING. I’ve been tricked. No one said anything about camping! And there’s not even a bevy of flowing white face-tresses. UGH.
Speaking of being tricked, Claire has realized she’s basically being babysat by Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Hagrid, which means she could pretty much escape at will. But instead of just throwing something sparkly in one direction and running in the other, she’s opted for an elaborate plan. Involving getting her guards distracted by sexy camp ladies and/or getting them exceptionally drunk. Preferably both. This plan has approximately 100% chance of working.
Just an aside here, exactly how worried should I be about inbred babies? Aren’t all these people related? The family tree needs to branch, y’all!
Once the Tweedle Twins are sufficiently diverted, Claire is off to the stables. Apparently Uncle Lamb taught her how to ride when she was a girl and dammit that was a great place for a flashback but no. Instead we get a dumb old stable guy who ALSO isn’t Jamie. But wait, do you hear that? The music changed to 1940s bluesy jazz.
I’m so distracted trying to figure out the lyrics and why they’d add such an anachronistic mood now I almost miss that Jamie isn’t in the stables because he’s hiding from his family. What is he, the moody teenager avoiding Aunt Edna’s lipstick kisses at the family reunion? Claire — and the audience — are disappointed but at least Claire has her getaway horse. The plan is coming together.
The strains of 1940s pop music follow us all the way back to Claire’s dungeon/office. To be honest, I’m half expecting a radioactive wastelander wearing a human flesh mask to jump out of the shadows. “Fallout” truly ruined this era of music for me.
Which is why Gilly should be grateful she scares the ever living hell out of Claire and not me because she’d be halfway into the fireplace before the Pavlovian response wore off. And then where would the port she brought be? In the fire, wasted.
The background music finally stops as Gilly starts in with another round of “Questions I Know The Answers To Just Tell Me You’re From The Future And End This Charade Claire.” But while our red-headed witch is asking things like “are you knocked up with Jamie’s lovechild?” and “what’s with all this food that looks like it’s prepared for an ill-advised escape?” and “so is your husband dead or what?” we find out a few interesting bits about Gilly herself. She came to this part of Scotland with nothing (obviously because time-travel stones don’t let you check bags) and married Arthur for security and plays him like a fiddle so she can do as she pleases. Claire is suitably impressed and I have suspicion whiplash over whether Gilly is trustworthy or not.
Also, poor Frank is totally Schrödinger's husband.