'Outlander' Recap: Episode 4, 'The Gathering' & A Cameo From Diana Gabaldon

In Starz's "Outlander," Claire Beauchamp Randall's escape attempt landed Jamie in some seriously hot water.

And, as the drama unfolded in "The Gathering," oaths were pledged, boars were hunted and author Diana Gabaldon made her cameo as Iona MacTavish, a woman who clearly had a history with Mrs. Fitz.

Here's how things played out in "Outlander" Season 1, Episode 4 – "The Gathering":

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Escape Preparations

Running through the woods with the children of Leoch is more than a game for Claire Beauchamp in 1743. She's using it to tie ribbons to branches, marking her potential escape route for when the time is right.

Right now though, Claire's "shadows" – Angus and Rupert – want the games to stop. "Mistress Beauchamp, we're missing the festivities. It's not since I was a bairn we've had a gathering at Leoch," Rupert says, pleading at her with his big blue puppy dog eyes. Claire gives in, ending the game so the men can enjoy some of the activities and camaraderie now that The Gathering, where the men pledge their fealty to Colum and the MacKenzies, is here. Claire even finds a distraction for Angus and Rupert as they head through one of the camps – a woman who is eyeing the boys up.

Unsure who the woman is after, Claire turns it into a game – the one who picks the longer of the two sticks Claire holds in her hands wins. Angus is victorious, leaving Rupert to trail Claire to the stables so she can pick a horse for the upcoming boar hunt.

Inside the stables, Claire is surprised to see Jamie isn't around. "Best to leave Jamie to his own thoughts today, lass," Old Alec tells her. "I'm just saying it's best for all concerned if young Jamie's left to himself when The Gathering's on," he adds. On to the business at hand then -- picking a horse. A mare named Brimstone gets the honor. "She's sweet and can go for days. Only thing is, if you're not minding her every moment, she'll turn for home first chance she gets. I'll leave you two to get acquainted," Old Alec says.

After acquainting herself with the mare she plans to take somewhere other than boar hunting, Claire heads back to her surgery to check on her stockpile of food. She's surprised as Geillis pops up (once again) out of nowhere, before (once again) launching into a series of nosey questions, including one about why Claire has so much food. "Are you eating for two?" she asks. Geillis wonders if an illegitimate pregnancy is why Claire needs to get to France in a hurry. Insulted by the comment, Claire says she's never been unfaithful to her husband. "It's not unfaithful if he's dead. Is he?" Geillis asks, fishing for more. "He's dead," Claire finally tells Geillis. Talk then turns to the Valyrian root Claire is mashing up. Geillis admits she uses it herself to drug her husband, Arthur, into slumber. Eventually, Claire excuses herself so she can continue preparations for the hunt. Before leaving, Geillis shares another warning that seems to suggest she knows what Claire is up to: the Highlands isn't a place for a woman alone.

Needing just one more thing for her escape – a weapon – Claire heads to the kitchen where Mrs. Fitz diverts her from her course. "You're not wearing that to the ceremony are you lass?" Mrs. Fitz asks, looking over Claire's attire. She quickly drags Claire away to get dressed up for The Gathering.

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Herself & Mrs. Fitz

Mrs. Fitz leads a stunning Claire up the stairs and into the gallery where she runs into an old friend!?! It's Iona MacTavish (aka Herself, aka "Outlander" author Diana Gabaldon), standing there with a comment about the hall. Clearly not fond of Iona, Mrs. Fitz slings an insult. "Oh, that lovely dress again. You wore it so well to the last Gathering," Mrs. Fitz says with a sweet tone, before turning her attention to Murtagh.

The Gathering

Cue the bagpipes. Everyone is at attention and in their finest as Colum MacKenzie slowly walks past the clansmen and into the Hall. "Tulach Ard!" he says. "Tulach Ard," the clan shouts back in unison. Colum (in Gaelic) addresses the crowd. Upstairs in the gallery, Murtagh translates for Claire. "Shush!" Iona (Diana Gabaldon) tells him. He ignores her and keeps translating Colum's words. "He couldn't hope for a better lot than stands before him today to defend the clan's honor," Murtagh explains to Claire.

Colum's speech now over, Dougal steps forward and kneels before his brother, pledging his fealty to Colum and the MacKenzie Clan. They both share a drink from a chalice, as the crowd cheers. The pipers start up again and the men line up to pledge their oaths too. Claire makes her excuses and attempts to head to her surgery. Angus is not pleased. "Dougal's standing orders are to stay with ye. Mistress, can you see fit to stay -- at least until I bag a lass for the evening?" he asks, trying a sweeter approach. She gives in and offers him some wine (laced with Valyrian root). It immediately starts to take effect on the clansman, giving her an out.

With no time to spare, Claire gathers her things in the surgery and runs straight into Laoghaire, who is standing at the door in need of a "wee favor." "I was wondering if you had a potion that might open a lad's heart to a lassie?" she asks. "You didn't appear to need much assistance the last time I saw you two together," Claire replies (referring to the Jamie/Laoghaire kiss). "Well, not for that. It's for moving his heart forward," Laoghaire says, looking all innocent. Knowing the clock is ticking Claire runs back inside the surgery, grabs some dried horse dung and tells Laoghaire to sprinkle it on Jamie's hearth, click her heels together three times and repeat, "There's no place like love."

Leaving the teenager behind, Claire runs down hallway after hallway on her way to freedom. It's a group of drunk clansmen who stop her and pin her against a wall. Her luck's run out. Or has it? A drunk Dougal jumps in and saves her. "Thank you, I should go. I shouldn't be here," she tells him. "Aye, you shouldn't be here. But since you are, there's a penalty to pay for that," Dougal says, kissing her and reaching his hand under Claire's dress. She knocks him back and slaps him. "Get ye gone lass, before you pay a greater price," he warns. But it's Dougal who pays the price. Following the direction of Claire's eyes, he spots her escape bag on the floor. She uses the moment to grab a stool off the floor and clobber him with it, knocking him out cold.

Running through the stables, Claire nearly reaches Brimstone when she trips. "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!" she exclaims. "No, Sassenach. Just me," a previously hidden Jamie replies. He figures out she's attempting to escape, and lets her in on some bad news. "That's a very sound plan, Sassenach, or would be did Colum not post extra guards throughout the woods tonight," he says. Claire's plan foiled, Jamie offers to escort her back to the castle. There's the small matter of Dougal though, Claire notes. He was, "being forward with me and I may have walloped him over the head with a chair," she says. Fret not, Jamie laughs. Dougal won't be eager to tell people he was knocked out by a woman.

Under the cloak of darkness, Jamie takes Claire to a secret entrance to the castle. "You don't want to miss your turn in front of Himself," a man tells Jamie, as clansmen surround the pair. Another man asks if he can keep Claire for himself. The breach of honor enrages Jamie who hits the clansman, knocking him out. Bad luck for Jamie. He's knocked out too from behind -- by Rupert.

Jamie's Oath?

"You didn't have to hit me so hard. I was willing to come," Jamie tells Rupert as he puts on a new shirt inside Leoch's walls. "Aye, but I didn't want you maiming half the clan while you were making up your mind," Rupert replies. Among the clothes is a broach Jamie says he can't wear. "I'm not a MacKenzie," he says, referring to the metal MacKenzie clip, and asking Claire if she knows his own family words. "Je Suis Prest," he tells her. "I am ready," Claire narrates. "But ready for what?" she wonders.

Moments later, in the hall, she finds out as she stands alongside Murtagh. "If Jamie pledges fealty to his Uncle Colum, then he'd be in line to succeed as Laird. He'd be part of Clan MacKenzie," Murtagh explains, noting Jamie could be made Laird if enough clansmen support him. Claire doesn't understand why that would be a bad thing. "His other uncle, Dougal, might disagree with you on that point, lass. He's been holding the honor for himself when Colum dies. If Jamie takes the oath, Dougal will not let him breathe MacKenzie air for long," Murtagh says. The British have a price on Jamie's head and, "the only safe place in Scotland, is here at Leoch. Until now," Murtagh adds. "If Jamie had just stayed hidden until The Gathering was over, Colum and Dougal wouldn't have pressed the matter any further." It all sets in – Claire's escape attempt helped put Jamie in grave danger. She watches as he steps up to Colum and kneels.

The wind in the Highlands is the only audible sound as Jamie kneels before Colum. The young Highlander then stands, prompting Dougal to grab the hilt of his dagger.

"Colum MacKenzie, I come to you as kinsman and as ally. But I give you no vow, for my oath is pledged to the name that I bear," Jamie tells his uncle, as the sound of metal echoes through the hall as the clansmen grab their daggers. "I give you my obedience as kinsman and as Laird and I hold myself bound to your word, so long as my feet rest on the lands of the clan MacKenzie."

After a tense moment, Colum smiles and hands Jamie the chalice. Dougal looks down and away. Jamie drinks it all and the hall erupts with cheers from everyone but Dougal. Dougal downs another drink. Jamie walks up to Murtagh and the two smile and walk off.

The Boar Hunt

The next day, the boar hunt is on and Claire is quickly forced into action as healer, tending to a young man who was pierced by a boar tusk. As she criticizes him, she hears a sound off in the woodlands. Something is terribly wrong. After running toward the sound, Claire finds herself disorientated and right in the path of a wild boar. A shot rings out and the beast stops charging. Claire turns to see Dougal. There's smoke coming off of his gun barrel. After composing herself, she runs to the side of a man named Geordie. He's bleeding profusely as Dougal cradles him in his lap. "Dougal, is it bad?" Geordie asks. "You'll be fine," Dougal replies. Claire looks over the man's wounds. The one to the leg isn't bad, but his ripped open abdomen is a fatal cut. She shakes her head at Dougal, who supports his friend, telling him the pain will stop soon. Geordie takes the moment to find out if Dougal "bed" his sister, Doreen. He did. "She was a bonny lass," Dougal notes. As the man starts to worry about being unable to feel his leg and hands, Claire steps in, asking him to tell her about his home. Peacefully, and with thoughts of his home, he passes away.

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Letting Off Some Steam

There's a dark cloud over the men as they arrive back at Leoch, having lost one of their own. They arrive to see Jamie, Murtagh and other men from the castle playing a game of shinty. Dougal drops his kilt and joins in, knocking people to the side – including Jamie -- to get in the game. "I taught you this game, lad," Dougal says. "That you did," Jamie smiles. It's a brutal game as men knock each other to win. Dougal is out for blood. In the final moments, everyone watches from the side as uncle and nephew try to take each other down. It's Jamie who ends it, picking up his uncle and throwing him over his shoulder. "You taught me well," Jamie says, extending his arm out to help Dougal up. "Aye, too well," Dougal says, getting up and stomping off.

A New Adventure

"You've seen men die before, and by violence," Dougal says as he walks around Claire's surgery the next day with a new respect for the outlander. "Many of them," she answers. He thanks her for what she did for Geordie. "You took him to a peaceful place and that's all any of us could ask as we pass. So, thank ye," he says.

Because of her actions, he's decided to bring her on the road as he heads out to collect rents. "I think it would be wise to have a healer along, especially one who does well under strain, and there's a lot of that on the road," Dougal tells Claire.

The next morning Dougal, Jamie and some of the men ride out at first light and Claire once again begins dreaming of her escape to Craig na Dun.

"Outlander" airs Saturdays at 9 PM on Starz.

-- Jolie Lash

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