Outlander "The Way Out" Review: Jealousy Is the Best Motivator

By Lily Sparks

Aug 24, 2014

Outlander S01E03: "The Way Out"

Outlander broke with the books this week with an entirely original B-plot that ramped up both Claire’s healing skills AND her notional association with the devil. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s start right at the top: with Frank putting his wife on the train to the front lines as he prepared to hold down the fort at home.

This was exactly the kind of beige supporting-player nonsense we’ve come to expect from Frank, an exasperating “conflict character” who exists only to give Claire a sense of urgency with regard to going home. If she didn't feel like Frank was being inconvenienced, why would Claire bother leaving her current situation/Jamie, especially considering her sweet gig as a cozy castle doctor who’s a good 200 years better at her job than everybody else on the planet? 

Then again, Claire probably didn’t have to give a thorough butt massage to any of the soldiers she treated on the front lines. It’s not all mead and bannocks at Castle Leoch.

In return for Claire’s healing touch, she got invited to listen to the bard whisper and strum his auto-lute in the great hall, where she had a little too much Rennish and started trying to play matchmaker with Jamie and Laoghaire.

This is such a uniquely female impulse, to “place” a guy you’re interested in into a relationship with someone else. I can remember my own intense ferocity in trying to set up my own hubs with a college roommate a decade or so back—and really, what was I thinking? Probably whatever Claire was thinking, as she all but mashed Jamie and Laoghaire’s lips together during the zither recital. But despite Claire’s best efforts, Jamie only chatted with Laoghaire and then asked Claire to go change his bandages in the castle cellar. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: These two have hotter chemistry than a million periodic element charts crackling in the flames of a billion Bunsen burners.

From there we segued into a storyline that never happened in the book: A kid who went up to the “Black Kirk” got sick. Everyone said he was possessed by the devil, but Claire was like, “Or we could try to figure out what’s actually wrong with him?” She hastened to the village to see the lad—who, like everybody, was related to Mrs. Fitzbibble.

The mom and Mrs. Fitzpibble were like, “The Priest has got this. Continue with your regularly scheduled program, Nosy Buttinsky.” Claire went home heavy-hearted, and on top of feeling like she could do nothing to save a dying child, she ALSO glimpsed Loaghaire and Jamie making out in a corridor. BUMMER!

Claire later tried to passive-aggressively tease Jamie about what she'd seen, and his gruff stable boss Angus unleashed an Ann Landers column of relationship advice on her: “Stop teasing the boy about Loaghaire or he’ll be pressured into marrying her, when in fact he needs the partnership of a wife who is a grown woman, not a light-minded teenager, considering the fact he is an outlaw dealing with a lot of personal trauma. He needs an older, knowledgeable, possibly professionally driven doctor-type woman. You see what I’m saying, Claire?” I'm paraphrasing, but that's basically what he said. It was like, "DAMN Angus, let’s take you back to the 1940s and set you up as a marriage counselor." Who knew rugged Highlander warriors had such searing insight into each other’s romantic needs? So cozy.

Still, Claire took in only the admonishment, and in a fit of pique escaped to the castle gardens to have a good cry. The voiceover told us she was jealous of Jamie and Loaghaire’s intimacy and she missed Frank. Okay, sure, that’s it. Whatever you have to tell yourself, Claire.

Claire was cheered up the next day by a visit to Geillis Duncan, the wise woman who serves as a primitive Walgreens to Castle Leoch. The party abruptly stopped when Claire looked out the window to see the 18th century happening in full force: A child who’d stolen a loaf of bread was about to get his hand lopped off.

Luckily, Geillis was married to a textbook Falstaffian buffoon who happened to be presiding over the child’s case. Gyllis performed a wee bit of a lap dance and her husband was able to lessen the boy’s punishment to a mere, “Nail his ear against the stocks and he can leave whenever he feels like tearing his head free.” Naturally, Claire was horrified. When Jamie arrived to escort her home, they cooked up a little plan: She would distract the ghoulish mob that was watching the boy cry, and Jamie would remove the nail so the kid could leave the ordeal with only a medium-sized gauge in his ear. The plan worked beautifully, although if i were a villager and had an excuse to stare at Jamie, no amount of toppling Sassenatches would pull my attention away from the gingery planes of his face.

On a roll, Claire then asked Jamie to take her to the Black Kirk. This was another scene that didn't happen in the books, but it was delightfully picturesque (did you enjoy the visible breath as they spoke?! It must've been FREEZING when they filmed!). When Jamie told Claire that kids who visited the Black Kirk liked to eat the “wood garlic” that grew around the ruins, she realized Mrs. Fitznibber’s nephew was suffering from plant poisoning and somehow threw together an antidote from Geillis Duncan’s curative essences, then hastened back to the village to show up a beastly priest.

When Claire’s hastily-thrown-together medicine actually cured the boy, the village priest was weirdly angry about it (if you are a Black Adder fan, maybe you recognized this glowering cleric as the otherwise-delightful actor Tim McInnerny, who played Lord Percy). Clearly, there will be a reckoning, but in the meantime, Claire is suddenly the castle’s new “Miracle Worker.” Speaking of working miracles, Claire was also apparently able to whip together a passable curl cream from Geillis Duncan’s essences before the next evening session of whispery lute-playing.

The episode closed with Jamie translating the ballad to Claire; it was a folk song about a woman who was torn from the man she loved at the standing stones and ended up in a faraway land, but then returned to the man she loved by going back to the standing stones. Claire, on a bit of a Nancy Drew tear, decided then and there that she was done earning brownie points from Collum and the other Scots in the distant hopes of them one day taking her back to Craigh Na Dun. She was going to sneak there herself or die trying! Guess a little folklore and seeing your crush make out with a teenage airhead will do wonders for your motivation, eh Claire?


... Have you or someone you’ve known ever set up a guy you sort of liked with someone else? 

... Gyllis’s husband: exactly right or a little overdone with all the farting?

... Book fans: What did you think of the new storyline? Does it make you more excited for new material going forward, or uneasy about potential inaccuracies in upcoming plot points?

  • Comments (73)
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  • dphoadley Nov 24, 2014

    It was Murtagh who rebuked Claire about 'Loghair', not Angus!

  • teknomom Sep 02, 2014

    A few things, although not specifically about this episode:
    1. Claire has been flirting with Jamie at least since the 2nd episode. She is supposed to be missing her husband, but she is immediately interested in Jamie. Why is she so flirtatious and coy with him?
    2. Why does Claire dress better than anyone else? Fur collars? Especially since she is very tall and she is obviously borrowing clothing. Who from?
    3. Why is her personality so combative and obnoxious in a strange and frightening place? She is rude and argues with almost everyone. Kind of silly.
    I have read the books and I don't remember Claire immediately displaying that rude and combative personality. I don't know if I will continue to watch the show, the actress somewhat ruins it for me. In my opinion, she's not believable.

  • Cuttlefish Sep 08, 2014

    1. Have you SEEN Jamie? Everyone falls in love with him in the books; men, women, children, animals.
    2. Maybe they're Ellen's old clothes? She eloped, so I guess she left some stuff?
    3. Agreed. A lot of her more abrasive comments are just her thoughts in the book. She gets pissed but doesn't say anything because she's not an idiot.

  • teknomom Sep 08, 2014

    1. Haha, yes he's cute, but to me her interactions with him are odd and unrealistic especially considering the time period she is in, of which she is aware. She always has a coy smile on her face and her back and forth interactions with Jamie just don't ring true to me.
    2. I don't remember Ellen's character, which probably seems odd considering we are only on the 5th ep.
    3. That's exactly it, the book made more sense to me because of course she would be thinking and wondering some of these things to herself, but she actually says them, usually to the men many of whom don't seem particularly friendly to her.
    4. I'll add this, after thinking more about it, I think it's the actress. She just isn't capable of pulling off the proper demeanor. For some reason, I find her very annoying. She is trying to become the Claire of the books and she can't do it so her comments and actions are jarring. She seems hateful a good deal of the time. The only exceptions are when she is caring for a patient and some of the time she spends with Jamie.

  • left4dead Aug 29, 2014

    Never mind all that, have some heartbreaking Nicola instead...

  • debster111 Aug 28, 2014

    Loving the funny reviews!! Eff this effing century ha ha. I am enjoying the series and its production quality. More juice than a medieval pork knuckle. Read most of the books and couldn't get my head out of them. I think they are doing quite well with the plot considering the need to condense for TV.

  • tidus1117 Aug 28, 2014

    Is it me or sometimes I feel there are scenes missing?
    After episode 2 she tells Jaime she is leaving then say goodbyes. Then episode 3 is like they never talk about her staying and the reason she did not left. I assume that some time happened.

    The same when she was teasing Jamie, Jaime left the table but never mentioned anything about the tease of the table after...

    Its minor stuff But im curious about everything! I love this show, I want more :)

  • CharlotteTrom Aug 27, 2014

    Yes, I have tried to set up a guy I like with someone else..... more than once!

    As I overanalyse everything, I think it's a combination of wanting to spend more time with them (plotting to set them up), a way to get closer to them without being obvious that you like them and risking rejection and testing them to see if they like you as well (rather than the other person). It has worked though and I have ended up with the person eventually so not a bad ploy really!

    I loved that she did that. I wasn't sure about the character to start with (I think the voice overs didn't help) but now I really like her as she acts just like I would in those circumstances .... protest, argue, drink and flirt!

  • left4dead Aug 27, 2014

    Boreathon, sorry

  • Red_Diamond Aug 27, 2014

    I love this new show! The story is so simple yet so meaningful.

  • BregetteMagdoza Aug 26, 2014

    funniest review ever! ahahahaa

  • songokou77 Aug 26, 2014

    Two things:

    I get that the ballad somehow told her what was happening to her and she got all excited that the second part of it told of how she could go back to normal. Cool, I get why she was excited, She recognized the beginning as her own, and wanted the ending to happen, but did she forget all about the middle? The part where the story said she met new lovers and new friends and spent a time with them etc etc. She will be sorely disappointed and it's her fault rally .

    The other thing. I'm sorry but since watching Little Nick I cannot look at another tall bald priest and don't think about Tarantino's character in that movie.

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