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Outlander S01E02: "Castle Leoch"


As of “Castle Leoch”, Outlander is literally a bodice-ripper. Whereas once I thought “bodice-ripper” was a cheeky way to reference a certain lusty, historical-romance sensibility, in Outlander we quite literally saw Jamie’s sister Jenny Fraser get her bodice ripped clean off, and it did not look easy. With all that stiff fabric, tearing a bodice must be like trying to rip a phone book in half. Props to the actor playing Black Jack Randall for managing that one-handed, though I suspect a break-away bodice was involved. 


But I’m getting ahead of myself. Claire arrived at Castle Leoch with Jamie after two days of hard riding, and she was now disoriented enough that she had no idea how to get back to the standing stones, assuming they would even get her home. Luckily the castle was outfitted with a cozy woman with a heart like a teapot (warm, yet breakable): the lovely Mrs. Fitzsimmons, who ran out to meet the Highlanders at the gate and most importantly encouraged Claire to help Jamie go and take his shirt off get his bandage changed.




This led to the nasty reveal that Jamie’s back looks like a roast cooked with the string wrapped 'round, all criss-crossed with deep, juicy scars. Jamie explained that he got them trying to defend the honor of his sister from Black Jack Randall and his crew of extremely inappropriate redcoat soldiers.

Not five minutes later, apparently hungry for the spotlight, Claire was swept away imagining what Frank was going through now that she’d been gone for two days (a book about genealogy, I’d imagine) and started weeping. When Jamie asked why, she choked out, “My husband!” 

“Is he not alive?” asked Jamie, and Claire was like “Actually... no... I’m single. I’m so, so single!” 


The two embraced, and then remember they’d been on the road for two days and both needed showers and reluctantly parted ways. For Claire, it was time to get some rest before her big 18th-century makeover curtesy Mrs. Fitzgibbert, which would involve her bra getting some major side-eye, but when it was all done Claire looked EVEN HOTTER:

Knit gauntlets and an up-do suit her well. She was made presentable for an audience with the Laird MacKenzie and used her time in his study to rummage around his papers to figure out the actual year was 1743 before the Laird shows up at the door, surprising her with both his abrupt entrance and CGI legs.


Seriously, what in the world? The special effects here are maybe a little extreme, but sure. Let’s roll with it. The Laird MacKenzie grilled her on how she managed to wander into a battlefield wearing a dress made out of a fabric I don’t think had even been invented yet and Claire rapped out a cockamamie story about journeying to France to live with relatives there. She received a lot more side-eye from the Laird, but he told her he could arrange transportation for her as far as Inverness, in five days' time. Claire had five days of vacation in the 18th century whether she liked it or not. And maybe she liked it, after all.

It turns out that plucking mushrooms, wearing bodices, and watching Jamie train a young spirited horse to surrender to his touch are not the worst ways to spend a week. Claire was going above and beyond in terms of diligently changing those bandages, and Jamie was not complaining. The two even managed a picnic lunch date during which Jamie forgot to cross his ankles and also told Claire there was a price on his head. He is a wanted man in every sense.


Unfortunately there was also the fact her bullshit story to the Laird wasn't really fooling anyone. MacKenzie got a few glasses of wine in her and everything started falling apart. She also put her foot in her mouth in a very big way by mistaking the Laird’s heir for the Laird’s brother's son. When she innocently said to the boy that she saw him playing with his father Dougal, everyone got extremely quiet and angry, like you do when someone makes an honest mistake, and it was all so awkward and she was so drunk that she had to fake a stomach bug just to get out of the room. Dougal had her followed the rest of the week, and it became clear that her half-baked story and overall unaccountable appearance in the 18th century were not going over very well. 




On her last night in the Castle Leoch, Claire attended the stately tradition of the Hall, where the Laird MacKenzie shimmied in on his CGI legs to sit in state and and dole out judgement on all the complaints, requests, and cases of his clan. Mrs. Fitzbibbins had even managed to scrape together an elegant beaded choker for Claire, so it must've been quite an event.

When a young girl was pulled before the Laird to receive harsh justice for like, winking at gentlemen or something ridiculous, she was condemned to a whipping, but Jamie came forward and offered to take the beating for her. We were then treated to the sight of Jamie, who just last episode was shot and had his arm broken, getting pummeled mercilessly in full sight of everyone he knows. Claire was horrified and chased him down after the ordeal to firmly chasten him for putting his perfect pectorals at risk again... and also to tell him she would be leaving the next day.



There was a tinge of regret when Claire told Jamie she was leaving, and then the young girl, Laoghaire turned up and Claire, fooling no one, was like, “Excuse me, someone wants to talk to you hahaha I’ll make myself scarce so you two unattached kids can go at it” and went back to her room to, I’m guessing, write down all the reasons she loves her hubby Frank until her quill or her hand (or her heart) broke and then sob herself to sleep, whispering Jamie’s name as she finally drifted off. Anyhoo.

The next day Mrs. Fitzibble comes through with a FUR RUFF for Claire’s journey to Inverness—which, whoa, very decadent. Claire had a basket all packed and was ready to return ( to the future!) when Dougal showed up and said Laird Collum needed to see her.



Claire immediately sensed this was not good news and besides, the tinker was on a tight schedule as there were metal items up and down the land that needed tinkered with and she didn’t want to get left behind. But Dougal was insistent, and he led her through a labyrinthine hallway Claire remembered to a dark, drafty surgery basement, where the Laird revealed to her that she would be staying indefinitely as his new doctor. It wasn't so much a promotion as a nightmare for Claire (no more lunch dates in the stables?!), but the Laird MacKenzie told her that until he knew for a fact that she wasn't an English spy he had no other choice. 



He said something like, “You have secrets, and whether they’re the kind of secrets every woman has in her heart or something more, I’m not letting you leave until you find out.” (As a woman, my secret is that I CAN’T get drunk on Fireball Whiskey. Believe me, I’ve tried! I don’t know what it is. I should figure out some way to make it work for me. Like go into the CIA and question people after we’ve both had a few shots of Fireball. CIA, direct message me for details.)

Ahem. Still, as viewers, we have to be a little relieved that Claire isn’t going anywhere yet. The real story is with handsome, captivating, wronged outlaw Jamie, and the closer she is to him, the happier we’ll be. Sorry, Frank.


QUESTIONS:

... What are your secrets?

... Did the special effects team get a little too extreme with the Laird’s ankles, or did the computer rendering seem accurate to “Toulouse Lautrec syndrome”? I’m no doctor, but would he really be able to walk smoothly if his muscles were that displaced and atrophied?

... If you were Claire, would you want to return to the 1940s or would you be down to stick around for a little bit?

... How much do you bet this is Loreena McKennitt’s favorite new show?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 7/9/2016

Season 2 : Episode 13

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If I had been Claire, I would want to get the hell out of Dodge. There is no man on this earth that would induce me to hang around a period some two centuries before my time. Sorry, but I'm just not that romantic.
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Oh yay - I am so glad you are recapping/reviewing this one, Lily!
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I am So happy that they are keeping the dialogue and pretty much everything the same from the book! I'm not interested in another True Blood series (where everything went off book.. ). Fingers crossed they keep going in this direction :)
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One last last thing lol why aren't you guys reviewing The Knick? Besides Outlander which I am liking very much I truly have fallen in love with The Knick. The camera work, the soundtrack, the actors, the overall interesting plot( even if it somehow falls into 18th century House, which is both fair and unfair)
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Whatever else The Knick is, it doesn't strike me as anything at all like House. (It's early 20th century, as well, not 18th.) Despite my difficulty watching some of the premiere episode, I LOVED it. Episode 2 was considerably more underwhelming, but I have hopes for the series...if I can stand to keep watching. Early surgery is just gruesome.
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I mentioned House because I saw a bit of the diagnostics play in a part of the episode, but I'm loving it. The music is weirdly modern and everything looks great.
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Also I think I haven't seen the actress playing Claire before, she is wonderful, but for a long while she looked to me as a slimmer Anna Torv aka. Olivia Dunham lol

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Do you guys even Ken? hahahaha I was lost a bit at first, but love that they stick to language this well.
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I would be going right back to the 1940s. I know enough about grooming habits and bathing in the 18th century that I wouldn't want to be there very long.

I love how she totally bactracked out of having a husband though. Very funny.
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I agree about the odors of 18th-century life. Gabaldon mentions it early in Claire's time-traveling but—probably since it would be tiresome to keep reminding her readers—she more or less lets it fall away. Perhaps we need scratch-and-sniff novels...and television. I suppose for those living in it, unlike Claire who knew otherwise, it's just the way life smelled, in the same way people who live in New York (or other major cities) aren't bothered by most urban smells and people who live in farming areas aren't bothered by the smells of most livestock.

As for Frank, there's certainly a "convenience" in losing her husband in time, though I suspect her reluctance to tell people about Frank stems from her instinct to keep as much about her personal life as she can to herself, like her last name.
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1. Nothing concerning CIA.

2. Don't know, I've never seen a person affected by that disease.

3. With all the strength I have, I would want to go back to the 40s. The 18th century doesn't seem like my place, I just doubt I can live with all that mud.

4. Not much.
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Brilliant! Love your review! Too funny! I am soooooooo addicted to Outlander!
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... Not telling! cause they are all boring and involve dirty books
... Thank G I wasn't the only one thinking that the Laird shouldn't be able to walk! I mean I am no expert but still it seems unlikely that a men that old with those legs would be walking as fast as the Laird was.
... If I were Claire I wouldn't be as half as comfortable as she was specially with the corset and lack of shampoo and make up. So nop I wouldn´t stay around unless Jamie´s fabulous abs were infront of me *sigh*
... er nothing?

So Claire is a suspect of being a spy - assassin and they left her in charge of being the castle's healer.... No wonder people's life expectancy was really low.
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Why did they show her nude for no reason. Could have at least had her hide her boobs. If you're going to show a main actor nude it should be a purpose or good scene. save it not waste in second episode pointless scene.
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But the nudity in itself is the purpose, is it not?
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Is it just me or is it really sloooooooooooow?
Even after 2 episodes, we did not even get to all the events depicted in the show basic description (2 sentence).
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It didn't seem slow to me at all. I thought the ending came too quickly and I wanted MORE! Can't wait for the next episode! I am totally in love with this show and just can't get enough!
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Usually I am a BIG complainer when it comes to slow pacing...but for some reason I find the pace in Outlander adequate. So far I'm enjoying the series although I do hope Claire develops some allies soon. I hate it when a protagonist has to go it alone all the time.
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I like to call it "Tom Bombadil Syndrome," the strategy of easing the character and the reader/viewer into a world before throwing them over the cliff. Being totally uninventive with the episode titles, Episode 1 "Sassenach" established the time-traveling premise, and Episode 2 "Castle Leoch" sets up her new circumstances and the central cast of characters. I—and it seems others—have been enjoying the pace of Outlander, but those who generally like it but find it a little slow may find it more conducive to binge-watch On Demand in chunks. (It's how I recommend a few comics series I read to new people. Some things are better appreciated in strings.)
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I understand you and I would agree if the channel's basic show description, that you can read everywhere, would not include info that has not happened yet, after 2whole episodes and I suspect, not even in the 3rd one (from the description "she is forced to marry Jamie" was considered to be a premise, not something that would by reached by the middle/end of the season). Maybe it's not the show but the promo info to blame.
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Oh wow, I hadn't realized just how much they'd let on in the promo description!

To give some general plot perspective, if you want it: the aforementioned marriage takes place roughly 1/4 of the way into the book, shortly after leaving Leoch following the Gathering, which appears (based on episode descriptions) to take place in Episode 4. Then again, I don't recognize anything in the description to Episode 3, which looks like it might be synthesizing and dramatizing some of the progression that the book achieves in summarizing narration. (I generally favor this.)

Speaking of pacing, I know the release schedule for the episodes have split the season into two halves of 8 episodes with three months in between, but I have no idea at what event they've decided to pivot the show around. Maybe Lallybroch?
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"the lovely Mrs Fitzsimmons" I saw what you did there, Lily :)
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!!!!BOOK SPOILERS!!! I wonder how they are going to do season 2. It is based on Dragonfly In Amber and for those of us whom have read most/all the books know that there are time gaps between events. 21 years, so are they going to recast for actors 20 years older or they going to slap a bunch of makeup on these actors?
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Well, *same spoiler* since the actors are just about midway between the ages they're supposed to be in Outlander and the ages their supposed to be in Dragonfly in Amber, they might not have to do too much. Maybe a little gray in the hair, a few deeper lines around the eyes.
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I have a few problems with this episode and how they set the tone for some characters - not Jamie, he's fine and perfect in every way- but Mrs. Fitzgibbons should have been a bit more friendly/cheeky, Claire should have been quicker on her feet, and Column and Dougal are much more "charming" and sly in their agenda with Claire. There is no Mr. Petrie the tinker to take her away in 4 days time, no being forced to become their castle physician, arguing and then locking her up in the "dungeon." Claire is granted "extended MacKenzie hospitality" at the Hall and understands that this their way of saying she must stay for the time being.
I know they are trying to reinforce that Claire is a modern, head strong woman who refuses to be confined to the misogynistic ways of 18th century Scotland, but it feels a little too forced right now...
They are also jumping the plot just a little by having Claire be so careless about revealing Hamish's paternity. Claire is supposed to suspect that Jamie is his father for 1/3 of the book, and later reveal to Colum in private that she knows it must be Dougal...and then shortly after she is tried as a witch.
I think I am most looking forward to the 4th episode when they start their journey on the road and we meet the wonderful Ned Gowan who will (hopefully) regale us with his life story! And Claire and Jamie really start to get to know each other :)
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Claire mistook Hamish's father as Dougal, not Murtaugh. When in fact, Colum thought he was his child!!!!
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I'll correct! Whoop.
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Seems it's slowly coming along to be interesting to watch after a slow start of the 1st half of episode 1. :)
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Loved it! Mrs. Fitz is exactly as I imagend her while reading the book.
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ye traveling from England to France during the war of the Austrian succession is gonna raise a few eyebrows, also at that time, being "high born" and not knowing in excruciating detail your family line will, at best, make people think you're thick.
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Sorry to ask. Is this a time traveler show? or is is always at the same time period?
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*SPOILER that answers your question, highlight for text* The first book (and therefore the first season) of the Outlander series takes place almost entirely in 1743-1744, though it plays significantly on Claire's status as a woman out of time. However, based on some (admittedly vague) descriptions of upcoming scenes in the show, it seems like they've managed to incorporate some more scenes with Frank in 1945, whether or not they're "real" or part of Claire's imagination of him. *end of SPOILER*
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Thank you :))
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I don't know anything about the books, but from what I gathered she just stays where she is (=1743).
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Thank you for the great recap, your doing an excellent job with this great show.
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I really hope they start to show the Scots in a negative light as well, rather then just going "Redcoats are BAAAAAAD".

It was the 18th century people, everyone was a giant dick. Armies molested the people, it was a way of life.

Then again, American production, so likely it will be English bashing all the way.
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Claire becomes increasingly sympathetic to the Scots, but also the conflict becomes more personal and less national. It isn't merely that "redcoats = bad!" but that Black Jack Randall specifically is a psychopath, and that his failings are not culturally motivated but he specifically is just a sadistic crazy person.
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Well, after "Castle Leoch" I'm not entirely sure how you can come away thinking the Scots aren't already being cast in a compromised, if not outright negative, light. Despite the veneer of hospitality, the MacKenzie brothers have kidnapped Claire and are now holding her prisoner at Leoch, partly because she's simply an unknown quantity but mostly because she's an unknown English quantity. They've provided thin protection for her (mostly from their fellow Scots), but they've equally threatened her life to compel cooperation. And though their reasons for being so circumspect about him, it seems they are also rather brutal to Jamie their (unjustly?) outlawed nephew, employing him in the stables to keep him out of the castle and wordlessly instructing their enforcer to target his pre-existing wounds in his beat-down in the hall. Colum and Dougal are wily, powerful, and in many ways ruthless men, not exactly villainous but most definitely violently formidable.

It also seems the show, like the novel, is permitting significant opportunity for the audience to employ their own moral judgment on actions that it doesn't specifically condemn. Jamie readily admits to spending over a year cattle-rustling along the border, an occupation he seems to regard more as mischief than crime. While we don't see English perspective in these cases, it's not difficult to imagine.

Conversely, so far we've only seen the English in association with "Black Jack" Randall, unquestionably the villain of the first two episodes. But for Murtagh's interference, he would have raped Claire. He sexually assaults Jamie's sister Jenny under threat of Jamie's life, and whips Jamie for defending her against his men. While English policy (including the levies, for instance) might have struck the Scots as unjust, it is the specific representative of the Redcoats that makes them seem particularly nefarious.
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I think you'll be disappointed. This is going to be pretty much from a 1743 scottish POV so therefore "Redcoats are bad".
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You're bang-on about the point of view, especially as our surrogate Claire becomes increasingly inveigled in Scottish politics. However, I would argue there's a much higher specificity to that point of view. It's not just the English against the Scottish, though in the larger scheme of the Jacobite Rebellions it more or less takes that shape; it's also clan against clan in a centuries-old network of family bonds and bitter feuds. Claire's perspective into this political mess is very narrow, barely extending beyond the MacKenzie and Fraser families.

Likewise, her experience with the English army is equally narrow for most of the first novel, characterized by the very personal vendetta with Captain Randall, though I look forward to later episodes which may help complicate the moral dynamic between these two perspectives.
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yeah this was much better than the first episode... but I kept thinking man, I wish Karen Gillan had been the 'witch' instead of getting the seemingly awful show on ABC that'll probably be this season's version of Super Fun Night.
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With luck, they'll use Karen Gillan in Season 2, she'd be better suited as one of the main characters in Book 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8... I see her much more clearly there. Geillis is important too, but in more nefarious ways and as a person/thread that recurs in each book...
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And the Quickest Rebound in History Award goes to Claire Beecham who five seconds after realizing that she's single? widowed? widowee? was shirtless hugging the hunktagonist (TM). For the most part in that scene they seemed carried away by the chemistry as opposed to completely unaware of the concept 'too soon'.
Aside from a few tears, Claire is adjusting pretty damn well, she's not curled up in a ball muttering to herself and she is able to understand and make herself understood despite the variances in languages.
Although she probably shouldn't have been getting crunk while being questioned by the Laird on a story she'd come up with on the fly, especially when her husband's advice had been to stick to the truth and she'd just gone absolutely fanfic crazy with embellishments. No wonder everyone thought she was a spy.
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While I think it's hugely important to the credibility of the eventual love story that Claire and Jamie have solid chemistry, I am also a little (but only a little) surprised by just how thick Outlander was laying it on this episode. It was basically "accurate" to the novel, but unlike the first episode in which Claire's physical contact with Jamie was much more professional, for lack of a better word, in "Castle Leoch" it was an awful lot like fondling.

All of this seems particularly relevant because *minor book spoiler,* despite their obvious romantic and especially sexual chemistry, Claire isn't meant to come around to this idea for a while. She may genuinely value Jamie's friendship, but she also sincerely misses her husband and longs to go home. As a point of reference, it would be interesting to see her caring for the wounded WWII soldiers, not just suturing a femoral artery in the throes of a crisis. How did she touch the others?
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Considering the sheer number of soldiers she had to have treated I hope she didn't all handle them the same way as Jamie otherwise she would have spent the pilot walking bowlegged.
The issue with novel-tv transference is that we're able to dip into Claire's head and understand her growing attraction where the actors have to portray it on screen and quickly as well to keep viewer interest.
Although at this point it's hard to feel as though she's missing her husband, she has the same frame of mind one would feel about being away from their houseplant.
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Why should she? She has just reconciled with her husband that she hasn't been with for the past 8 years. The whole reason behind the trip was to get to know each other , again.
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Surely because she loved him enough to remain faithful (to our knowledge) for eight years and remained married to him? She was quite happy and excited to be with him when we saw them together and that can't have been thirst alone
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episode was fantastic, the show on a whole is great
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This is more like what I expected. Much better pacing than the slow first episode. I'm hooked. Mrs Fitz was so perfect:)
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Great review, but you're confusing Murtagh with Dougal...
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Thank you! Fixed.
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In a position like that guy's he might force himself to walk no matter the intense pain it may cause him to show he's not completely disabled. Looking that weak in front of your subordinates is never a good thing.
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That, and his special Rhenish wine... it's how Claire got so futtered so fast... ;)
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"You've done such a great job of healing Jamie that I'm going to hold you hostage... until I find out... um... something. Can't have you going about your own business can we? ... and that's what makes me Laird - clever thinking see? Even around corners ;-)"
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Well, I said I'd give it a couple more episodes but can only manage the two. This is not for me.
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the third one is very cute though, I will say. like, maybe stop after the third one.
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Fine! Third one. I don't -hate- romance and all that. And I dislike when people don't give shows their fair shake, so I'll watch another episode for you and see if it hooks me like the others haven't.
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Better than the premiere, such an excellent new show.
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Better scenery that in the Dome anyway... tho of course the Dome is kinda limited on that front, being inside a Dome and all that... but the script and acting certainly gives it a run for its money...
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Colum's brother is Dougal (played by Graham McTavish). Murtagh (played by Duncan Lacroix) is a Fraser.

The CGI'd legs look like what they're supposed to given the ailment that Colum has.
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Your 3/4ths right. Colum and Dougal are MacKenzies, their sister was Jamie's mother, Ellen. And that makes them Jamie's uncles. on his mother's side. Murtaugh is actually a Fitzgibbons (and related to Mrs. Fitz) and a Fraser, and is Jamie's godfather.
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I was aware of all of that, but I didn't think it was necessary to say as much when simply correcting Lily's mistake in the review given as none of that's been revealed in the show yet
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