For more Outlander goodness: Check out Jamie’s Top 30 Looks from Outlander Episode #105: RENT

The latest installment of Outlander Episode 105: RENT is by far the darkest in the series. Dougal (Graham McTavish) leads the MacKenzie’s on a rent collecting road trip. We are introduced to the character of Ned Gowan (Bill Paterson), a lawyer from Edinburgh, working for the MacKenzie clan. We also see a few new sides to well-established characters.


The darkness comes from Dougal’s usage of Jamie to raise funds for the Jacobite Rebellion in a humiliating and torturous fashion. Claire witnesses first-hand the tactics of the Black Watch as well as the heinous crimes against those considered traitors to the English crown.


The flashback to 20th Century Culloden Moor is heartbreaking. I visited the battle site many years ago and still recall the sadness I felt walking along the ground where the thousands of Highlanders fell and died.

There is very little humor in this episode which makes writing a witty review a bit difficult, but I’ll do my best. As usual, SPOILERS are ahead.

RENT welcomes another fine script, this time from co-Executive Producer Toni Graphia. It’s one of the heaviest storylines of the season, springboarding nicely off the drama of Ep104: THE GATHERING.


The first thought I had when the show opens was the outdoor air seems to be good for Claire (Caitriona Balfe). She looks more lovely than ever, especially in her new traveling duds by Costume Designer Terry Dresbach. I don’t know how Claire does it, but she dresses better on the road than at Castle Leoch. Maybe that’s because Mrs. Fitz isn’t picking out her clothing. Her wardrober is also not around to do her hair, thus Claire wears it down through most of the episode. With her curly locks blowing in the wind, she looks especially fabulous.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) contemplating her existence.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) contemplating her existence.

The other factor making everyone look splendid is the landscape – Scotland. Being a traveling show, we are awarded several breathtaking views of God’s own country. Amazingly, most of the day shots are bright and sunny, a bit of clouds here and there. It appears someone really was looking out for the production during those scenes.

Claire_opening_2 Scotland_4 Scotland_5 Scotland_6 Scotland_7

This episode is the most historical and political so far, introducing the Jacobite cause and showing where Dougal and the MacKenzie’s loyalties lie. For non-readers of the novel, the audience is led to believe – through Claire’s ignorance of Gàidhlig – that Dougal and the delightful Ned Gowan are thieves, shaving money off Colum’s rent collection.

One evening in a tavern, Claire is stoically outraged to witness Dougal use poor Jamie (Sam Heughan) as a prop for his supposed criminal activities. He rips Jamie’s shirt off to bare the scars on his back in order to collect sympathy pennies. Given Jamie’s extreme discomfiture regarding said scars, I found myself surprised we were not shown more of the humiliation he must have been feeling. The scene focuses almost entirely on Dougal and the horrified reactions of the bar crowd with only brief glimpses of Jamie’s face.

Dougal (Graham McTavish) rips Jamie's (Sam Heughan) from his back.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) rips Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) from his back.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) the politician.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) the politician.
Jamie's (Sam Heughan) back.
Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) back.

We all know how expressive Sam Heughan’s face is, as we are shown up close and personal in CASTLE LEOCH when Claire first sees his scars. It’s disappointing the same kind of coverage is not included in this edit. Regardless, each scene makes me mad, as they did reading the book. I wanted to knock Dougal over the head with a heavy stool.

There is a melancholiness to this episode as well – for Claire. She’s treated even more as an outsider within this intimate group. Her budding friendship with Jamie is almost nonexistant. He’s one of the guys in this episode, laughing at the crude jokes being told around the camp fire with occasional covert glances in her direction.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) sits outside the camp fire.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) sits outside the camp fire.

Angus Mohr (Stephen Walters) takes a bigger role in RENT, showing a new range of his character. He’s not a comical sidekick, but a grouchy firebrand who forcibly shoves Claire around and treats her very rudely because she keeps giving him the slip.

Angus (Stephen Walters) forces Claire (Caitrion Balfe) back to camp after finding her visiting with the village women.
Angus (Stephen Walters) forces Claire (Caitrion Balfe) back to camp after finding her visiting with the village women.

After several nights of Dougal’s campaign, Claire picks out the name Charles Stuart from his speech. With that, she figures out the MacKenzies are rebels, not thieves, and approaches Ned Gowan one afternoon in yet another tavern. She tries to convince him their Jacobite cause is futile – as is her attempt to persuade him. What did she expect? She comes very close to saying, “I’m from the future, and you’re all going to die!” Enter Mrs. Fitz to bitch-slap her again.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) tells Ned (Bill Paterson) the Jacobite Rebellion is a lost cause.

Meanwhile, a group of drunk villagers throw nasty stares at Claire and shoot their mouths off. She ignores them, but one doesn’t need to know the language to understand what they’re saying. Jamie has conveniently left to tend the horses, leaving it to Angus and the others to throw down with the villagers for insulting the honor of their hoor.

Angus (Stephen Walters) takes issue with the drunken villagers words.
Angus (Stephen Walters) takes issue with the drunken villager’s words.
The fights take off.
All the MacKenzies join in the brawl.
Dougal and Murtagh slam a villager into the wall
Dougal and Murtagh slam a villager into a pillar.

The brawl between the MacKenzies and the drunk villagers is an amusing action sequence. Claire scolds them for fighting until she learns they were defending her honor. Sheepishly, Claire and Angus make up. All his previous bad behavior is forgiven. I don’t think so. Angus is still a jerk, but I guess he’s her jerk.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) learns they were fighting for her honor.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) learns they were fighting for her honor.
Angus (Stephen Walters) gets first aid from Claire (Caitriona Balfe).
Angus (Stephen Walters) receives first aid from Claire (Caitriona Balfe).

My only disappointment with this scene is that the fight is taken away from Jamie. In the novel, he takes offense to comments being made about allowing himself to be abused by a “whey-faced Sassenach.” He takes on three men by himself, while Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) and the others place bets. We lose something of Jamie’s character by cutting out his big moment. In this episode, he is much too docile – a word I would never use to describe him.

The show does include an important scene between Jamie and Dougal – an argument overheard by Claire regarding Jamie’s fealty to the MacKenzie’s while his feet rest on their land. After Dougal stalks off, having won the argument, Claire follows Jamie and finds him taking out his frustrations on a tree. The scene is much shorter than in the novel, losing the playful camaraderie existing between Claire and Jamie at this point in the story. Jamie’s sense of humor comes out strong whenever he’s alone with Claire, but not in this episode.

Dougal (Graham McTavish) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) argue.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) argue.
Jamie (Sam Heughan) takes out his anger on an unlucky tree.
Jamie (Sam Heughan) takes out his anger on an unlucky tree.
Jamie (Sam Heughan) tells Claire (Caitriona Balfe) he picks his battles.
Jamie (Sam Heughan) tells Claire (Caitriona Balfe) he picks his battles.

In general, I observed a disparity in Jamie’s personality, particularly in the scene where Angus draws a knife on Claire. In every other episode, Jamie is on his feet and at her defense. For Pete’s sake, he risked his life for her just last week in THE GATHERING. In RENT, his reactions are slow & tenuous or plain absent each time she is shoved and threatened. Yes, these men are his kin, but they were also his kin at the castle. Who died and made Angus Dougal’s 1st Lieutenant anyway?

I suppose an argument could be made Jamie is guarding his reactions on the road because of his outlaw status. The last thing he wants to do is bring attention to himself. He also doesn’t want to provoke Angus into hurting Claire during the knife encounter. Following that scrape, Claire receives no sympathy from Jamie – only a reminder that she is an outsider, shouldn’t speak the way she does to the men, and oughtn’t judge what she doesn’t understand.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) calls Angus (Stephen Mohr) a thief.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) calls Angus (Stephen Mohr) a thief.
One of Claire's (Caitriona Balfe) many forlorn moments.
One of Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) many forlorn moments.

I suspect the writers are setting us up for what Jamie is forced to do to Claire later. Yes, the big spanking scene. Jamie has transitioned from blind love to respectful admiration to I’m still in love with this woman but what the heck is her problem? Sounds like they’re already married, eh?

Jamie and Claire do have one amusing chemistry-driven scene together when she finds him sleeping outside her bedroom door. As in the novel, Jamie is shocked at her suggestion he sleep in her room near the fire. Yeah, nice try, Claire. You really are a hoor, but then – aren’t we all for Jamie?

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) finds Jamie (Sam Heughan) sleeping in the hallway.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) finds Jamie (Sam Heughan) sleeping in the hallway.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) doesn't care about her reputation.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) doesn’t care about her reputation.

Claire’s 20th Century roots show more in this episode than any other. Perhaps her closeness to the standing stones makes her less cautious, thinking she’ll be away from her captors soon. She fights against 18th Century customs throughout the story even though she knows it’s a losing battle. In the scene where she tries to return the goat, she causes quite a spectacle in the village. I would have tried to return the goat, too – just not in front of Rupert (Grant O’Rourke).

In any case, her tenacity serves to increase the conflict between her and the MacKenzies and even Jamie. Her relationship with them balances between tentative and necessary. Over the next few episodes, I speculate we’ll see Jamie acting less patient with Claire’s willfulness and peculiarity.

It’s easy to see, this is definitely a Dougal MacKenzie episode. He is showcased in more scenes than anyone else, including Claire. At the end of THE GATHERING, Claire expresses her joy at escaping the confines of Castle Leoch, but it’s Dougal who is set free. At Leoch, he’s quiet and subservient. He drinks non-stop and lurks around every corner.

On the road, he is Laird, Master & Politician and out from under his big brother’s boot  – schmoozing and laughing with the villagers as if already their clan chief. He tells bawdy jokes and openly stares at Claire with a jealous wantonness he knows is foolish. He acts in a manner he’d never show in front of Colum.

Dougal (Graham McTavish) laughing with the villagers.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) laughing with the villagers.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) teases a villager.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) teases a villager.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) tells a bawdy joke.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) tells a bawdy joke.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) watches Claire and Ned.
Dougal (Graham McTavish) watches Claire and Ned.

My favorite scene in this episode is the flashback to 20th Century Culloden. It’s done in such a way we are literally jerked across time. It’s quite jarring and very effective when we join Claire and Frank (Tobias Menzies) at the memorial.

I’ve read reviews and seen several tweets where fans have admitted to crying at earlier scenes in the show. I have been moved but not to tears – until this episode. It’s impossible not to have watery eyes when looking upon the moor, even through a television screen. That’s the main difference between fiction and history – the impact it has on your spirit.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) on Culloden Moor, 1945.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) on Culloden Moor, 1945.
Culloden Memorial.
Culloden Memorial.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) on Culloden Moor, 1945.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) on Culloden Moor, 1945.
Clan MacKenzie grave marker.
Clan MacKenzie grave marker.

When we return to the 18th Century, we see the spark of change in Claire’s attitude toward the MacKenzie men, knowing their futures and finding herself helpless to prevent it. It’s emotional and frustrating for her and us.

I am immediately reminded me of Dragonfly in Amber and Claire’s search for information on the men of Lallybroch. This leads to her search for Jamie in Voyager – my favorite novel of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. This final scene gives me a taste of what I hope is to come in Season 2 and 3.

The episode ends with the biggest cliffhanger so far – nothing like the ending of An Echo in the Bone, but it made me laugh with surprise when the credits took the screen. In THE GATHERING, Claire gains Dougal’s respect then loses it in RENT. At the start of THE GARRISON COMMANDER, she will gain it back. Ep106 promises to be an even darker story than RENT and perhaps more dramatic than THE GATHERING, which remains my favorite episode thus far.

You can download Ron Moore’s podcast for Episode 105: RENT for free on  iTunes or listen to it here. He also gives us an inside look at the making of this episode:

Outlander Episode #106: THE GARRISON COMMANDER airs on Starz on Saturday, 13 September in the U.S.


  1. I agree about Jamie being relegated to the background more than he should have for this show, Candida. And he was definitely not our Jamie in this show. It was like their relationship/friendship took two steps back. That scene when he and Claire talk after the first ripped shirt episode is such a great interaction between them in the book and I feel we were robbed of it in the show. Not to mention we only hear the dialogue between he and Dougal from far away and some of it will be lost for the viewer who hasn’t read the book which is also a shame because it’s also a great interaction. And doesn’t he make a comment to her after she trips over him in the hall like “How much do you weigh, Sassenach?!” Leaving something like that in would have shown that closeness and camaraderie they’ve built up.

    I get that they’re trying to draw out the love story more because traditionally people lose interest after the protagonists end up together, but this is not your typical love story and it has been stated by more than one person including Diana and Ron, that this isn’t a story about how a couple falls in love but what happens after they do. Yes, they’re altering the story to fit a television show but when we lose snippets of the book that we all adore, it has me worried for what else they’re going to cut out or change in coming shows. For example, the end of episode 6 when she sees his name on the marriage certificate is NOT how she learns his name. To me that was a huge change from the book that wasn’t necessary and now we lose that special moment when he tells her his name for the first time which is strange because they’ve been building up to that with the omission of his name throughout the show. It’s minor to them but it’s huge to us and if they (with Diana’s guidance) have so little care for the lines and moments that we all love from the book, then it’s going to get to the point where we give up and stop watching. Like they better include the scene with him showing her how to catch a fish! 😉 They need to remember that while we love Dougal and Black Jack, we read the books for Jamie and Claire and they must keep them in the forefront. Yes, Tobias and Graham are great actors and wonderful men in real life but if they make them their golden boys and focus too much on them at the expense of Jamie and Claire’s story, they’ll be treading on thin ice imo. *rant over*

    1. I am hoping, stress hoping, Jamie’s character will have a bigger role from ep107 on. The producers/writers have expressed they feel his character grows in strength after the wedding, so I’m hoping the light will shine on him – as it should – rather than Angus. I don’t mind screen time for Dougal and BJR because they are fascinating characters. Angus is not and should not have been given Jamie’s screen time in RENT.

      1. I hope so too. And I will admit that I do LOVE Tobias’ BJR, so I have no problems with him being featured more. I think I’m mostly sick of Dougal’s same facial expression and one-note character so I’m a little burnt out on him. Although they have started showing a different side to him with the last two episodes which is refreshing and I hope they keep it up. It does seem like the writers and producers have taken a liking to Angus and given him a lot of screen time which I don’t have a problem with when we get plenty of Jamie in return but that wasn’t the case with Rent. Like you said, they really should have shown more of Sam’s reaction to being humiliated especially since that was the scene when Diana said Sam disappeared and it was just Jamie on the screen.

  2. Love your blog and comments are more in line with my feelings than most. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere is that this script also loses Colum and Dougal’s real reason for bringing Claire along and with the introduction of the soldier Claire’s second meeting with Black Jack will be different and possibly less shocking and that set up the wedding. It will be interesting to see how they will handle this now, and I will try to he patient, but I liked Diana’s set up better so far. I also like the voice over, don’t think the pace is too slow and am fine with the gaelic and the changes up until this episode, love costuming and set design and…Bear’s music is fantastic and his blog is a treat to read. Also love Ron and Terry’s podcast…though more show and less costumes would be better for me.

  3. I’m reading these and feeling pretty amused: if we’re this upset at Jamie being a bit sidelined, how are we going to react to his night at Wentworth? I know I called Angus a name when he punched Jamie in the shoulder at Leoch- can’t imagine what will come out of my mouth on Wentworth Night.

    1. Lol. It was actually Rupert who did the beating on Jamie at Leoch – much bigger than toothless Angus.

      Unfortunately, at Wentworth, he won’t be sidelined – he’ll be the main attraction!

  4. I also think there needed to be more of Jamie in this episode. It is a wonderful adventure story, history, etc., but to me there is nothing like the true love/romance between Jamie & Claire – not equaled anywhere else. They may not stress it being afraid of being labeled romance, but it IS the greatest romance story.

  5. I also agree that Jaime seems put aside. I was hoping for more connection with him and Claire by now. And like others said, dialogue left out that would pull people in more to care. I also don’t like the fact that there are different writers for the episodes. I think it lacks a flow and cohesive development of relationships, choppy….

    1. One other reviewer made the comment, she wouldn’t know who Claire’s love interest in the show is supposed to be if she hadn’t read the novels. I countered with a joke (of course) and said perhaps they are changing the wedding to marry Claire & Angus rather than Claire & Jamie. Angus took the role of hero in RENT. Her relationship with him was developed more than her friendship with Jamie, imo. They (producers/writers) obviously have a plan for Angus, or why give him Jamie’s screen time?

  6. Candida First I want to say again how much I enjoy your site. There are dozens of Outlander fan sites out there right now but your entertaining and thoughtful posts (and pics/captions) are among the best. Also, your readers seem to be true fans of the books and the Starz series and their comments are not only enjoyable but thought provoking. It’s refreshing to be able to share ideas and opinions other than “I love Jamie/Sam” (which of course, we do! :). All I can say is I’m glad it’s not me that has to make decisions on exactly what scenes and what lines are kept and which are left out from the books because I would be producing a tv series that would have to be on every week for the next ten years!

    1. Right on Barb! I just found her because of Diana’s post yesterday on FB and I really enjoy her site too. I am a true fan of the books but following on Showcase in Canada………I wasn’t sure we were even going to get the program at first so I was happy to hear that Showcase was going to carry it in Canada. The UK is still waiting!

    2. Thank you so much, Barb. The comments on my blog so far have been wonderful. I haven’t received a negative one yet (knock on wood)! I must admit, I don’t visit many other sites – no time. I started this one in an attempt to offer something different from what I did see in the beginning. Most post news/updates, pictures and videos. Some are of a very personal nature. I try to make my postings creatively unique, and I’m thrilled with the response.

  7. Very interesting comments so far. I also was a bit disappointed about the fact that Jamie was somehow put aside. The scene with Claire after the argument with Dougal was way to short, a let down to me, too. But I agree that Jamie could not show his protection for Claire openly, that one felt right by me, even the darker, very angry Angus was plausible in my eyes- now Dougal could control him with his own eyes and see, that Claire is not always following orders, him being stressed that way is understandable.
    Another thing some people mentioned on forums, is the fact that Jamie looks too well (in his face) – no beard growing (it does look like a 3-day-beard), but he can’t be shaving his face every other day, can he? At least that’s something strange.
    Well, on the plus side, the womens’ waulking scene was great, wasn’t it? Why did nobody mention it before?! The song was so beautiful and very easy to sing along. Must find it. Any suggestions what’s it called?

  8. Oh, thank God- I keep reading other reviews of this episode talking about how great it was, when for me it was a big letdown. Glad to find you all understand. The whole time, I kept asking, “Where is Jamie?!” And by that I mean, even when he was around, he wasn’t truly THERE. “Passive” is a word I’m seeing a lot, and it fits. I couldn’t believe how alone he let Claire be or his lack of fire about the back exposure. While I’m glad the show made time to introduce Culloden- I’ve been there and it made me tear up to see it again- they did it at the expense of some important Jamie moments- unacceptable, especially when Sam Heughan has been SO on the mark (and maybe in danger of stealing the show?). This was especially disappointing to me given last week’s incredible “Je Suis Pret” moment when I finally felt like I was seeing Jamie in all his power and command. To go from that moment, which made my blood sing, to this week’s “He’s my uncle”- what a comedown.

    I also think that an important point was glossed over that Colum doesn’t know what Dougal is doing with the fund-raising. It was mentioned, but quickly and quietly, easy to miss. Luckily so many of us tend to watch these episodes several times. This is the first one where I don’t feel the urge to do that, though. Still hopeful for future episodes, think they’re doing a great job overall (or I wouldn’t be so bothered about this one) just would like to see the consistency improve.

    1. Thanks, Kristin. I’m glad you enjoyed and agreed with my review. It’s painful to scrunch our noses at a show we all love. I continue to have faith in the production. I surely hope something interesting comes out of Angus’ mega screen time at the expense of Jamie’s. I’ve been making the joke perhaps Angus and Claire are getting married instead.

  9. I didn’t like this episode as much as the others either. Clare seemed to be challenging everything and was less diplomatic and more judgmental than usual. It was surprising to me that Clare tried to return the goat to the tenant when I expected her to attempt to treat the baby’s gums instead. The hostile attitude of the clansmen seemed extreme compared with previous episodes. That being said, in general I LOVE this series. The casting is very good, and they’ve captured the feel and the look of the period.

  10. People seem to be puzzled about why Jamie didn’t do more in “Rent” to defend Claire and/or make her feel more accepted. I think it was because he couldn’t do that in front of all the clansmen…couldn’t show support for her. He did shoot furtive glances her way and seemed disturbed by their treatment of her, but there was no way he would risk suspicion from the others when they already didn’t trust Claire. That kind of behavior would have raised too many questions from Dougal and the others.

    1. Well, I’m hoping they go somewhere interesting with this adaptation of Jamie’s character. They’ve strayed away from the book, but I believe things will get back on track on ep107.

    2. First intelligent reply on this issue…..why is there such a distrust of the producers et al and Diana Herself saying that she is pleased with the TV adaptation of her books…..I am sure it must be hard to decide what to choose for a TV series with a limited amount of time and still stay relevant and not to mention newcomers who may not have ever read the books. For those who think the shows aren’t long enough…….I just read Bear McCreay’s blog after Diana posted it yesterday and it is amazing how they are creating the music to flow with the show….why they choose each melody and what instruments to convey certain feelings that a scene evokes… will have to go back and watch episodes just to listen the music and how it FEELS……..

    3. Jo Ann, I think you make a very good point here regarding Jamie’s distance in “Rent.” I think this issue was one of the “adaptation” decisions made that did not necessarily follow the literal tone of the book. In the past few episodes, in the moments Claire and Jamie have connected and started building their relationship, they have been in fairly private encounters (i.e. treating Jamie’s wound on arrival, the two stable scenes, the Surgery, the Black Kirk, etc.) Now they are 24/7 with Dougal and the other clansmen, and although I think Jamie is constantly aware of where Claire is and what she is doing, to intercede too much at this point would be a problem. First, his defense of her to the others, especially when she doesn’t understand the situations, would pit him against the MacKenzies who are not only family but the group protecting him from the British. Secondly, calling attention to Claire’s behavior could not only make a bad situation worse, but could give the men more than a hint of his already strong feelings for her. It wouldn’t be a good idea for the clan to think Claire and Jamie are “partnering up” at this point. So……although I too missed more “white knight” Jamie screen time…the story line makes sense to me.

      1. I am enjoying this discussion you ladies have going. If I may chime in, my main “problem” is not the storyline at all – loved it. My issue is with the change in Jamie’s overall personality. His feelings regarding Dougal’s use of him are not explored or developed as in the novel – seem to be cut short. I also feel the scene between him & Claire near the tree was important to show how close they really are, but it too was cut short. True, they have many difficult decisions to make regarding adaptation, and I have not lost faith in this production one iota, but I’m eager to see where they are going, especially with Angus’ character who, frankly, had more screen presence than Jamie in this episode.

      2. I agree with your assessment of the episode, but what I missed most was Jamie’s response to Claire wondering what the men would think to find him sleeping outside her door – that they would just think he was waiting his turn! I anticipated the line and was disappointed to not have it.
        I also am always conscious of how many clothes Claire has and how beautiful they are ( as Sam says, he only got a kilt!). This is totally unauthentic but, given how gorgeous they are, I love seeing them.

  11. The hallway scene: First of all, she didn’t fall on top of Jamie, as in the book. 😦 Also, they didn’t do anything to establish why she was in a bedroom instead of in a tent, before the scene, and the other scenes didn’t really show Jamie being protective of Claire consistently. It was a nice Easter egg for fans, but as part of the overall episode, it kinda stuck out like a sore thumb, for me.

  12. I’ve liked the show thus far, even with some of the alterations, until this episode. So different than the book that the charm was gone. They’ve taken far too much from Jamie’s life and given it to other characters. The charming interactions between Claire and Jamie were almost completely gone. Ned Gowan was the only bright spot in the episode. That was the one character that stayed true. I’m definitely tired of Thing One and Thing Two being center stage when they were only peripheral characters in the book. We seem to have gone from “the story of Jamie and Claire” to the story of “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”. I’ll leave it to you dear readers as to which one of Angus and Rupert are Alice and which is Ted.

    1. I agree completely with your assessment. Too much was missing and there were too many unwanted additions. This is the first episode I haven’t totally loved. Love your calling Rupert and Angus “Thing One” and “Thing Two.” 🙂

  13. I don’t know how to photoshop, but we totally need a picture of Jamie with the words “No one puts Jamie in a corner!” after reading Laura’s comment 😉

  14. I’m with you! Scotland was beautiful. However, It seemed a big leap to have Angus suddenly be so aggressively hostile to Claire and he gets to draw a knife on her? WTH?! And then Jamie does nothing throughout the entire episode to defend her? Double WTH?!! It doesn’t even make sense that Dougal would let that go unchallenged. Jamie was far too passive. Even the part where she asks him if he was going to continue to let Dougal use him that way and instead of saying, “For now.” he goes with “He’s my Uncle?” I think changing that line was a mistake. “For now,” implies that Jamie is not a victim to Dougal.

    It’s possible that they are underscoring the fact that she and Jamie are still largely strangers so that the marriage will play out in a more significant way, but based on the books, we know he’s already in love with her at this time, whether he hopes to act on it or not, so it just didn’t feel quite quite right for me. I suppose those little breaks in rhythm are the price you pay for having to have different writers and directors taking the lead.

    I felt they were very successful in establishing Claire’s sense of isolation, which would continue to fuel her desire to return to her own time. And you certainly made the transition with her when she realizes that these men are doomed by history and that they are fighting for their sovereignty in the only way they know how.

    Loved that they kept the scene outside her door at the inn! That worked. But they seemed to sacrifice the Jamie and Claire relationship when they didn’t have to.

    Ned Gowan was perfect and the cliffhanger just wrecked me! I must now see Scotland in this lifetime!

  15. I agree mostly with your review. Jamie was a big let down. He didn’t tell Dougal off about the way he was being used and didn’t finally get into a fight to end it.

    I think the episode totally missed the boat with respect to Claire and Jamie. In the book, this is where they become friends and he protects her from the guys. It wasn’t necessary for him to become a jerk so he can spank her. It happens in the book too, but I think one of the reasons it was easier to get past it for Claire is because of the relationship they had built. I don’t understand without his usual playfulness and ease with Claire how we go from this complete turn around from The Gathering and get to an happy place with the wedding. I don’t see how their friendship is strong enough for him to say “there’s the two of us now.”

    I do agree that Claire came off like a jerk, in part, because again, unlike the book, she doesn’t understand what Dougal is doing. In the book, she hears “Stuart” in the first speech.

    There also was a hostility from the guys that was weird and made them much less likeable.

    1. Regarding Jamie & Claire’s distance, I was simply trying to come up with a justification for the writer’s doing what they’ve done to their relationship. The filmmakers have striven to make the show about the history and the story, not the romance. I’m okay with that as long as the romance is not short-changed, as it was this week. Or rather, their friendship was lessened.

      It’s disappointing because at this point in the novel, their friendship is very strong – the attraction secondary. We want things to simmer so they can explode the night of the wedding.

      I have faith the characters will get back on path, and still believe the pros of this show greatly outweigh the cons.

      Thanks for your feedback!

      1. I love your reviews because you’ve read the books too and understand the characters so well! I know DG reviews all of the scripts and they value her opinion. I wonder if she raised the issues raised here because they have been raised in blogs and Outlander groups since last night.

        1. I would be curious to hear her opinion on this divergence in Jamie’s character from the novel as well. I don’t peruse discussion groups, so have not been part of any discussions outside my own blog.

    2. Head meet nail. That scene by the tree bothered me because it was Claire who told him to hit the tree and Jamie realized that he did feel better.
      The thing the producers are missing about Jamie is how different he is from the other men, which is why Claire is attracted to him. Here, he’s almost worse than the other men because he just ignores her or tells her it’s her own fault. It was really weird to watch, I have to say.
      Also, ghosts of the end of Season 2. That’s where Claire really bonds with the men; Book 1 is all about Jamie.
      I’ll be curious to see where this goes.

    3. Anne, I totally agree with your observations. I’m not a purist by any means, and the additions and deviations from the book have made the story flow well before now. But they missed the boat, in my opinion, by having Angus go from comic relief to bastard in one fell swoop. I don’t like that they had him manhandling her and threatening her with a knife, then all is supposed to be forgiven with a fight for her honor and a bawdy joke? When the credits rolled, I was left thinking, how are they supposed to be married two episodes from now when the whole group has been so hostile toward her and Jamie has practically been ineffective in making her feel better about her situation? We’ll see…

  16. I choked up at flashback of Culloden and like you, immediately was recalling Voyager and Claire’s emotional reaction and concern for the men who may have survived. That single scene made me “get it” like the book could not. The visual was powerful; I had tears. I cared and felt Claire’s caring. If the series keeps delivering moments like this one we should have an amazing ride.
    Agreed – Jamies passivity was not a plus and seemed out of character. In this episode he’s not her champion. Camping by her door is perhaps on a par with taking the beating for Learie. It makes him a good guy and perhaps young and unsure. The book never made me think that.
    I hated Dougal and Angus in this episode. I think we were supposed to. Dougal is a self centered pompous arse and Angus. The “pot calling the kettle” retort was perfect and deserved. My heart broke for Claire many times in this episode. Acting is top notch.

    1. Very glad they added the Culloden scene – powerful and emotional, perfect as Claire looked around at the men who would one day fight and die there. They aren’t names carved on a rock or written in a book. I did notice Jamie was not included in Claire’s stare around at the faces.

  17. Really enjoyed your review, this episode was thrilling, but I also agree that Jamie seemed distant, and I really want the romance to HURRY UP!! xx

    1. Thank you, Sally. I am fine with a slow burn up to their heated night together, but RENT was a fizzle in the friendship department. They gave us a few sparks, but I wanted to see them share more camaraderie as in the book.

  18. Loved Culloden scene also. Thought Jamie was pushed aside also. Hope they can remedy that. They have not let us down so far so I am hoping things will be OK. Bill Paterson is a gem! This is Claire’s story which they did tell, but they might do better to understand we watch for Jamie also.

    1. I more consider it Claire AND Jamie’s story told through her eyes. At least, that’s how I read the books. Was quite shocked by Jamie’s background status in this episode. Was fine with Dougal as the star, but did not care for Angus having more screen presence than Jamie.

  19. Wonderful review & I so agree with your observations about Jamie – that is the only bone I have to pick with this episode – that was so beautifully filmed & directed. It was very much out of character for Jamie not to have defended Claire at least just a wee bit more than was done. I did enjoy the “Spark” between Jamie & Claire… Finally ! Bill Paterson is perfect & I loved the added insights of the other characters.

    1. Thank you! Yes, this was a very different Jamie. Not liking road-trip Jamie so far. I have high hopes for the next two episodes. Hopefully, he read my review and will shape up!

  20. Does anyone know why Jamie blesses himself with his left hand rather than his right as is traditional? This is the second time he has done this.

      1. Yes, he is – but Catholics always bless themselves with the right hand – forehead, heart, left shoulder then the right. He does it the opposite!

    1. I noticed the same thing, Margaret. Being Catholic, the ‘backwards crossing’ is uncomfortable to see. I know plenty of left-handed Catholics: they cross themselves with their right hand.

        1. I actually did some research. The left-handed sign of the cross is Eastern Orthodox, and using the right hand is the Roman or Latin form. This does not explain Jamie ‘s habit (in which he also doesn’t complete the cross to his right shoulder) since he is not only a Scots Catholic but has lived in a French abbey whose abbot is his uncle. It is a puzzling anomaly is a project as deeply researched and accurate as this one!

  21. I agree with your review as well and that of those who have already commented. The emphasis on Claire’s relationship with Dougal that was hinted at last week takes center stage this week, leaving little time to develop the growing affection between Jamie and Claire. In fact, I found Lt. Foster’s concern for Claire more compelling than Jamie’s, which surprised me no end. I’m sure that’s due to how little we are seeing of Jamie’s emotions. You also made a good point about how the show is preparing viewers to accept the strapping Jamie gives Claire, since that has to be handled sensitively to keep viewers coming back to the series. My husband, who had watched the first three episodes with me, grew bored last week and had no interest in watching this week. But I’m still in it for the long haul and look forward each week to reading your reviews.

    1. I am rather shocked to hear THE GATHERING bored your husband, being my favorite episode so far. Further, the men I encouraged to watch the show were equally pleased with EP104. It strengthened their interest in the show. One even commented, “My wife is ga-ga over Jamie, but he’s more than a pretty face.” They come to me at work each Monday to discuss the show and ask questions about the novel, without asking for spoilers. They are also in it for the long haul.
      Is your husband not necessarily interested in history? Just curious.

      1. No–My husband is very interested in history, and as a career military guy, he is drawn to shows that depict battles or even looming battles. He watched the first episode because I asked him to, but he watched EP 2 and 3 on his own. But he got bored watching The Gathering, in part because he feels the actors mumble and make it difficult to understand what’s going on. The mumbling last week made it unclear to him why Jamie’s oath-taking was such a feat of diplomacy, and he feels he shouldn’t have to watch a show with subtitles when the actors are speaking English. Fans of the books don’t need so much explanation, but a non-reader might. But those are his objections. I don’t mind watching episodes again and again, with subtitles and without. Still, I confess that this was the first week when I looked at the clock more than once to see how much time was left in the episode. To me, this is a sign of uneven directing and a problem with the script. The first two episodes were penned by Ron Moore, and they had a pleasing unity. Since then, the scriptwriter has changed with each episode, and I think there is some unevenness as a result.

  22. Totally agree with your review. Jamie was pushed too far to the side in this episode. We should have seen more of his reaction to being used by Dougal. Also, I think that any episode that doesn’t capitalize on the amazing connection between Jamie and Claire suffers as a result. On the plus side, I thought that Bill Paterson as Ned Gowan was excellent. The casting choices on this show are amazing.

    1. They did seem to shy away from the romantic elements, but we didn’t need them to fall in love – just not avoid each other. I am most disappointed by the scene of Claire & Jamie following his argument with Dougal. So much potential, fallen flat.

  23. Candida, you nailed it again. As a fan of the novel, this episode had some wonderful surprises and scenes where “sight and sound’ made the story vibrantly alive. The locations, the cast and the acting, the costumes – all a feast for my Fan eyes and ears.
    And then… my disappointment is with how Jamie is put further ‘in the corner than in the book,’ and with the re-emergence of TV Stupid Claire, who speaks with little finesse or thought much too much of the time (it’s like her TV-blunted brain makes her mouth a blunt object). Those aspects of this episode’s depictions diminish both these characters.
    Very glad that the Lenny & Squiggy portrayal of Rupert & Angus notched down; that was making Dougal look ridiculous (his top being idiotic jokes, instead of canny clansmen).
    Most of all, very glad to have Outlander on the screen – as you know, it has my full support (or else I wouldn’t have tweeted vociferously for #Outlander for 6 hours yesterday)!

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