"Outlander" returned on Saturday night, following combat nurse Claire Beauchamp's struggle to keep her head down among the Highlanders of 1743, while working to find a way back to her own time. And although her mouth got her into a few sticky situations with members of Clan MacKenzie in Episode 2, Claire's healing touch helped grow her relationship with Jamie. She also made some new acquaintances at the castle.
Here are 10 big moments we were engrossed by in Episode 2 ("Castle Leoch") of the Starz series:
10. Claire's Return To Castle Leoch's Cellar: When Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) first visited the strange room at the bottom of Castle Leoch during her 1945 day trip with Frank (in the series premiere), she paused before going in after getting an eerie feeling. A similar feeling came over her when Dougal MacKenzie brought her down there (right before she was going to leave), and to his brother, Colum. Once inside, Claire learned that not only was she going to be staying at Leoch, but she's been tasked with taking over the "surgery" as the new healer. We can't wait to see what happens next.
9. Claire's Mouth Getting Her In Trouble At Dinner: After traveling back in time, getting assaulted by her husband's Redcoat ancestor, and being taken prisoner by some Highlanders, you'd think Claire would work harder to keep her wits about her. But, she let her guard down as she downed dram after dram of Rhenish. Her loose tongue revealed to her MacKenzie hosts (captors) that she didn't even know her French relatives. Then, she really stuck her foot in her mouth when she assumed that wee Hamish was Dougal's son, not Colum's, insulting every MacKenzie within earshot. "J.H.R.C.," we exclaimed at our TV sets.
8. Meeting Mrs. Fitz! There aren't a lot of scenes that could be classified as "adorbs" in "Outlander," but meeting Mrs. Fitzgibbons fits the bill. She gleefully greeted the clansmen as they returned hungry, dirty, tired and weary to Castle Leoch at the opening of the episode, at once all things cuddly, delightful and warm. So adorable, even Murtagh turned the charm on the Leoch granny, trying to give her a kiss on the cheek after she told him he smelled, "like a rat that's been dragged through sheep dung." And, she warmed our hearts a little further when she took to Claire. "Everybody calls me Mrs. Fitz. You may also," she said. Awww!
(Annette Badland as Mrs. Fitz | Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Television/Starz)
7. Rupert The Watcher: Rupert (Grant O'Rourke) could take a lesson or seven in the art of spying from Claire's husband, Frank. The Highlander flat out failed at going unnoticed as he followed Claire around the grounds at Castle Leoch, and we cracked up when she confronted him outside of the stables, demanding answers. He finally responded, amusing us anew by revealing he wasn't the brains behind this or any Highlander spy operation. "I am but Dougal's eyes, not his head. And let me warn you mistress: These eyes won't be turning their gaze from you until the head orders me to!" And don't even get us started on his description of Angus.
6. Dougal Gets One Over On Claire: After after rubbing it in Dougal's face that she was leaving in four days, and then rubbing it in his face again when she found out he didn't know that fact (Colum hadn't shared the information), the end of the episode provided Dougal the opportunity to get his own back. We may be Team Claire, but Dougal secretly delighted us when we saw the crack in his usual stoic expression as he put on a little grin before telling Claire (as she was preparing to leave Leoch forever), "Colum wishes to see you." Dougal knew his brother was about to tell Claire she was staying put. And while it was another blow to Claire, it meant a lot more of Graham McTavish's Dougal for all of us to watch in the weeks ahead.
5. The First Scene Between Jamie & Black Jack Randall: When Jamie confided in Claire the truth about his scars (read further down for more on that), the show flashed back to when the Highlander first encountered Captain Jonathan Randall. Their initial interaction showed Capt. Randall in an unforgivable light from Jamie's perspective, as he watched the Redcoat leader hold his sister, Jenny, in front of their ancestral home of Lallybroch, at gunpoint. "When Randall comes out, Tobias [Menzies] plays it so well. He really is terrifying," Sam Heughan told Access Hollywood. The meeting of the two men broke our hearts and infuriated us as we watched Randall turn the moment into pure villainy.
4. Bewitching Geillis Duncan: While trying to stay occupied as she waited for her ride (to Inverness) to reach the castle, Claire ventured into the fields for a little harvesting. It was there that she met a most intriguing woman – one Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek). "They say I'm a witch," the redheaded beauty told Claire. Immediately, we found ourselves both wanting to know more, and worried at the same time (she did joke she was, "aware of how wood betony can transform toads into pigeons").
3. Jamie Calls Claire 'Sassenach' Again: Claire was enchanted while watching Jamie run a horse around a ring at the stables, urging the filly on in Gaelic. But, Jamie charmed us at home as well as we watched him grow closer to Claire, trusting her with the story of how he became an outlaw (and revealing the steep price on his head) before calling her "Sassenach" again on her way out.
2. Jamie Taking Laoghaire's Punishment: No one, it seems, is more interested in looking out for the lasses in 1743 than Jamie McTavish (cough, cough, Fraser). In just the one episode, Jamie promised Claire his protection, took lashes (in a flashback sequence) while trying to save his sister Jenny, and took a beating in front of the MacKenzie clan for Laoghaire. After watching the pretty young blond get dragged in front of his Uncle Colum, where she was accused of inappropriate behavior by her own father, Jamie gallantly stepped up and volunteered to take her punishment, saving Laoghaire years of shame.
(Sam Heughan as Jamie | Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Television/Starz)
1. Jamie Trusts Claire With The Story Of His Scars: Actor Sam Heughan nailed the moment from Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" book when Jamie confides in Claire the true story of how he got the deep scars on his back. As Claire dressed his wounds by the fire, Jamie shared a real moment of emotional intimacy with her, telling his story in a way that showed off so many of Jamie's layers. "It felt like the first time we got to really just be in each other's company. And that's what that scene feels like, I think," Sam told Access Hollywood of filming the interaction. "It's quite tender. ... Anyone else, he wouldn't reveal the stuff about his back. There's something about her that he can. It's her way, it's her demeanor. ... She's a nurse. She doesn't judge him." And before they parted, Jamie made Claire a promise that gave us chills: "You need not be scairt of me, nor anyone else here, so long as I'm with ye."
"Outlander" airs Saturdays at 9 PM on Starz.
-- Jolie Lash