Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: The Garrison Commander


Oh hey! Things are finally really happening on Outlander! I mean, with that said, a) I didn’t really mind the slow pace of this first half of the season; I’ve just found it sort of baffling, and b) even here in “The Garrison Commander,” where a lot of ground is covered, most of the scenes still felt slow and deliberate.

So, we left off last week with the English asking Claire whether she was with the MacKenzies by her own choice, and at the beginning of this episode, Claire perhaps smartly dodges this question a bit, as there’s really no good answer that will keep both Claire and the MacKenzies out of trouble. (Not that Randall really needs excuses to get people in trouble.) One interesting point, which I’ll admit had not occurred to me until Claire articulated it, is that, for her, it’s not just that the English are her people in general, but rather that she feels specifically safe and at home with the British army, given her recent twentieth century experiences.

Of course, she quickly realizes that she’s not really safe, and once again, she doesn’t exactly . . . help herself with the way she talks to the powerful men around her. To be fair, there was probably no way this could go that would lead to her and Dougal both walking out of there free and unscathed, and, as I’ve said before, I know that her spunk and her refusal to accept traditional limited women’s roles are part of why this character is so popular, but I continue to get annoyed when she seems unable to rein that in at all even for her own self-preservation. At the line “I must say, madam, I find your sympathies extraordinarily puzzling,” I found myself agreeing, and I wrote “Claire, SHUT UP” at least once in my notes. Ah well.

It doesn’t really matter, though, because we learn in this episode that Black Jack Randall is a sadist, and however frustrating I find Claire’s behavior at times, I am in no way saying she deserves his treatment. He creepily enjoys telling her about how much he loved whipping Jamie – and I’m curious to what extent he knew/guessed that she knew who he was talking about. “It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” The fact that Randall enjoyed talking to Claire about this was perhaps even more disturbing than the actions themselves. Thankfully Dougal manages to get her out of there – these MacKenzies are really not that bad, Claire, especially compared to pretty much everyone else.

Dougal and the lawyer cleverly figure out that the way to keep Claire safe from British “justice” is to make her a Scottish citizen/MacKenzie clan member – by marrying Jamie. (Though I’m not completely sure why they’re so determined to help her here. I’m also curious how they picked Jamie – maybe it’s partially because his marriage prospects are so dire?) Claire is hesitant, as you would be, really, but it’s hilarious that she still hasn’t noticed at all that Jamie is totally into her and that this would not exactly be a hardship from his point of view. “Doesn’t it bother you that I’m not a virgin?” she asks. “No. As long as it doesn’t bother you that I am.” Hee. So here we go – the epic romance the show has been advertising is finally getting properly underway – with an arranged marriage of convenience. I’m curious what viewers who haven’t read the book thought of that not-precisely-romantic development.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “If you wished to hear Londoners speak, perhaps you should have stayed in London.”
  • It’s coincidental but interesting timing watching all this with the Scottish referendum coming up.
  • “You’re putting the claret at risk.”
  • I wanted to roll my eyes at the chances of Claire happening to come across the Randall who happened to have the exact razor that was later handed down to her husband, but really, that moment gave me chills.
  • “The boy would not beg.” I love that as an encapsulation of a side of Jamie that Claire hasn’t seen much of so far.
  • “You’re a healer. Surely you believe in the powers of magic.” I’ve written about the complexity of this science/magic interplay before, so I’ll just say I’m happy they’ve kept mentioning it.

What did you think of this episode? Are you excited about next week’s wedding?

Outlander Clip from The Garrison Commander + Highlanders Promo

OutlanderReady for Saturday’s episode of Outlander, “The Garrison Commander”? Here’s a clip to tide you over, called “A Most Enjoyable Surprise” and featuring John Heffernan as Brigadier General Lord Oliver Thomas along with Caitriona Balfe as Claire. I’m very curious to see how Claire’s interactions with the English go this week. In a way, that seems even trickier for her, because she’s supposed to be one of them – at least with the Scots she could blame oddities on her foreignness.

And here’s a little promo focused on the Highlanders:

Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: Rent


There was a bit more going on in this week’s Outlander, thank goodness, as Claire traveled around with Jamie and some of the MacKenzies collecting, as the title suggests, rent. While I was glad that things were happening – they were moving around geographically, at least, and getting into some of the political stuff – I also got frustrated with Claire. I get that a lot of the popularity of the character is based on how bold she is and how she takes no nonsense, but when it gets to the point of working against her self-preservation, I get annoyed. Sure, it’s great that she’s objecting to a goat being taken away from a family who needs it, but this is how the system works and objecting to it in ways that would never really occur to someone of her supposed station at that time is not a good way to stay under the radar and figure out how to slip away.

And her whole thing with being upset at the men speaking Scottish to keep her out of conversations – well, first of all, my impression was that some of it – especially the sex talk – was stuff they wouldn’t want to say in front of any “nice” woman, so stop taking things so personally, Claire. And Jamie’s right – they simply don’t trust her, and why should they? She’s so breathtakingly upset by the idea of corruption, as though that has been completely eradicated by the twentieth century. I loved that they let her think they were corrupt rather than risk exposing their political activities to an English spy, but come on, Claire, stop telling them what’s going to happen. You just sound like Cassandra.

I like the way they are making Jamie seem very sane and reasonable, being extremely honest and trying to explain things when Claire is reacting ridiculously, while making clear that he doesn’t think she is ridiculous. He’s delighted by her – “You’re a witty one.” – even as he doesn’t always understand her, and I really like the way their dynamic is evolving. And, yes, I swooned a bit when she discovered he was sleeping outside her door to protect her. Of course, she also discovers that the other MacKenzie men are protecting her, to an extent: “Any excuse for a fight.” “You were the excuse.” Heh. “We can insult you, but God help any other man that does.” Not . . . great, by modern standards, but for the time? She could do much worse.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • Donne! Good girl for quoting something that existed at the time!
  • Re: My objection about the jazzy music in the 18th century scenes last week – my friend Alex connects this with Claire’s trauma, and that explanation works for me.
  • It was nice seeing some more of the traditional women’s work/music/culture – I hadn’t really realized until then how much time Claire has been spending in men’s spheres.
  • “It’ll be a few centuries before that happens!” CLAIRE.
  • “It doesn’t matter where you come from. You’re here.”
  • “You’re not to judge things you don’t understand.”
  • I like Claire remembering history lessons and making connections, and the flash forwards to Frank’s lectures provide some nice information to the viewers, too.
  • “History be damned.”
  • “Are you here by your own choice?” Cliffhanger!

Agent Carter to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. & More Guest Star News

Hayley AtwellShe’s getting her own show at midseason, but first, Agent Peggy Carter (played by Hayley Atwell) will appear on the season premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is set to air on September 23rd.

And in other recent guest star news . . .

Mamie Gummer will appear on Elementary.

Frazer Hines, the Doctor Who actor who partially inspired the Outlander books, will guest star on the Outlander show. Nifty!

Eddie McClintock and Lolita Davidovich will guest star on Backstrom.

Bernadette Peters will appear on Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.

Outlander Preview & Clip: Rent

OutlanderReady for Saturday’s new episode of Outlander? Here’s a preview and clip from episode five, “Rent.” (And now they’re talking about war, which makes me even more confused by the whole “la la la, peace is great” thing last week that I mentioned in my post.) Also, Claire, I know you want to help people, but maybe questioning the entire rent system is not the best way to stay under the radar.



Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: The Gathering


“The Gathering” aired this weekend, and again, I enjoyed it, but . . . boy, Outlander is still moving glacially slowly, isn’t it? This week: Claire tries to escape and . . . doesn’t. One of my favorite moments was another example of the weird tension between her disdain for the Scots’ superstitions and her belief in the magic that she thinks will get her back to her own time. When asked for a love potion, she makes something up based on the heel-clicking in The Wizard of Oz – but that “There’s no place like home” is basically her real plan for getting home herself.

One thing that confused me a bit was the way the leaders were talking about their people being “unencumbered by the trauma of war.” Weren’t they fighting the English, like, last week? I’d like to know more about the whole political situation in general, really, both within and between the clans – like Jamie’s complicated oath-taking situation – and between the Scots and the English.

Other thoughts and favorite lines:

  • The tiny child saying “fichu!”
  • It completely distracts me every single time they use WWII-style music in 18th century scenes.
  • “He’s not alive.” “So he’s . . . dead, then.” I like how Geillis totally sees through her. I mean, not quite to the point of figuring out the time travel, yet, but way more than anyone else does.
  • “Oh, that lovely dress again! You wore it so well to the last gathering.” Perfect.
  • “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.” “Nae, sassenach. Just me.” Hee. I really love their chemistry and interactions so far, and especially the way he’s so pleased by how spunky she is.

What did you think of this episode?

Outlander Preview: The Gathering

OutlanderIt looks like things will be picking up a bit on Saturday’s episode of Outlander, “The Gathering,” as apparently Claire will be trying to escape. That seems like a bad idea if she doesn’t have a really good plan – because at least where she is she’s somewhat protected and not wandering the dangerous woods alone – but what do I know?

Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: The Way Out


I continued to really enjoy Outlander with its third episode, “The Way Out,” though I’m still surprised by how slowly it’s moving, and am not sure exactly when that will start becoming a problem. Claire is also very oblivious to Jamie’s interest in her – though to be fair, she does see him kiss someone else – but come on. He’s being extremely obvious, and while her cluelessness was cute here, that will also get old quickly. But for now, everything’s pretty adorable, especially when she makes him help hapless children.

I still think Claire’s way too blase about the whole time travel thing – especially since her reaction to things like possession was an out-of-hand dismissal of the possibility of the supernatural. That’s a hard balance to strike, and I’m curious to see how her reactions to some of the supposed superstitions change as she spends more time in the eighteenth century. And this, of course, goes right along with her fascinating quest to give these people as much benefit from her modern medicine as she can – no Prime Directive here, clearly – while working within the parameters of what they will accept (and, obviously, the technological limitations).

Other thoughts:

  • It’s interesting how they’re using Frank flashforwards to set up Claire as a stubborn person in general, rather than risk implying that it’s merely a cultural/time period clash.
  • “Your next husband’ll be a lucky man.” Heh.
  • “I’m not an English spy. I’m from the future.” I’m glad Claire figured out that this would just get her called a witch before she actually said it, but it was still hilarious.
  • Of course someone happens to sing a folk song that describes exactly what happened to Claire. (Though I’ll admit I’m a sucker for the whole “translate this song/poem into my ear” trope.)

Did you watch? What did you think?