Outlander Season 1 Review “Castle Leoch”


“All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.”

That may be the all important quote from Battlestar Galactica yet it applies perfectly to Outlander as well. “Castle Leoch” proved to be a case of deja vu for Claire. Except that everything that happened before for her happened in the future, and everything that’s happening again is occurring in the past, which is her future (time travel yay). The extra time spent with Frank in the 1940s now allows us as the viewers to experience that same jolt of difference Claire feels when walking down the halls and passageways of the castle she’s previously visited. The vacant, abandoned Leoch that she first encountered is now teaming with life and activity (and very muddy). The walk with Jamie and Mrs. Fitz to her bedroom is now lighted by torches. And to end the episode, Claire finally makes her way back to that hidden location behind the wall, which turns out to be the working room of the castle’s previous healer. The place of her sexual experience with Frank, one that she initiated, is now a prison of sorts given to her by two other men. Claire’s reintroduction to Castle Leoch was a vital first step in showing her acclimation according to a new time. And if and when she does return to the future, “it will all happen again.”

It’s all happening again in regards to Claire’s blossoming relationship with Jamie as well. “Sassenach” was primarily devoted to our heroine, and she still got the majority this episode, but it also became ever apparent that Jamie is good man and ideal match for her. And Sam Heughan’s Jamie just leaps of the screen. He’s intelligent, kind, strong-willed, brave, sensitive, and as Derek Zoolander might say, really really good looking. There’s an intent to him that’s so genuine, and it flows out when he’s telling a story or even listening to Claire. It’s not to say that Frank was never like that, but his post-war self seem more preoccupied. And again, that could just be his way of readjusting to a life that he’d been away from for five years. Claire and Jamie have an undeniable chemistry though. This is due in part to Diana Galbaldon’s original story and Moore’s adaptation, but also Caitriona Balfe and Heughan. Like I said, last week, casting is integral in a story like this, and not just for the individual characters. Balfe could be perfect and Heughan could be perfect, but if they’re not perfect together then everything falls apart. Thankfully, Outlander has a strong anchor in the two of them, an eclectic supporting cast (see more below), gorgeous scenery, and a stunning score. No wonder it’s already been renewed for Season 2.

More Thoughts as I Pick Poisonous Mushrooms:

– Tobias Menzies made his second appearance as Black Jack Randall revealing what a true piece of work he is in whipping Jamie and then raping Jamie’s sister.

– Geillis Duncan was charismatic, knowledgeable, and very friendly to Claire which makes me think she’ll be a problem down the road. That’s not to say two intelligent, gorgeous women can’t be friends, but Duncan was almost too accommodating to this stranger who just appeared randomly.

– We also met the Laird of Castle Leoch and Clan MacKenzie, Colum (Gary Lewis). And the tension between Colum and Dougal is palpable. The whole interrogation scene of Claire while dining was sufficiently awkward in their back and forth without Claire mistaking Hamish as Dougal’s son (which he probably is). Also add Jamie to Dougal’s list of people he has tension with. First he makes the poor guy work in the stables over dinner and then extends Jamie’s beating (in place of Laoghaire) longer than necessary. I didn’t notice any issue between Jamie and Colum though (which makes me think Dougal may feel threatened by Jamie).

– Jamie told Claire he didn’t want to see the poor girl beaten in public, but is there more to why he took Laoghaire’s place? Perhaps it’s due to his sister’s experience with Black Jack. Or maybe he has some feelings for the girl (I’m going based on the preview for next week which showed the two of the kissing. Though it could be Laoghaire was just trying to kiss him). Either way, it was a noble thing for him to do.

– I loved all the work shown in dressing Claire properly for 1743. And the excuse in saying the bra was French was hilarious. Weird clothing is always from France!

– The meeting between Claire and Geillis by the huge true looked beautiful.

– “Is there ever a good reason for rape?” We’re only two episodes in, but so far I’ve been impressed with how Outlander has approached the subject without being gratuitous (a problem with most shows on television today, especially those on premium cable).