For those of us who’ve read the Outlander books, we know that Claire is a person of strong will. And for those who haven’t, you’re probably well down the path to figuring that out. But, if you hadn’t caught on yet, the beginning of The Way Out showcases this part of her character in neon lights. Frank is seeing Claire off at the train station. He has the connections to keep her relatively safe in London, with him, but she won’t hear of it, and insists that everyone must do their part for the war. So instead of Claire seeing Frank off to war, it is the other way around, and Frank is the one left on the station platform waving goodbye.
This is one of the many things I love about the Outlander series of books. Claire is never the damsel in distress. She doesn’t hide behind a man, or anyone, even if it would be better for her to do so. It’s a continuing theme throughout the series, the reversal of the traditional role of women.
Mrs. Fitz is helping Claire wash and dress, even though Claire persists that she doesn’t need the help. Claire is uncomfortable being naked, but Mrs. Fitz seems to think nothing of it, even remarking on what beautiful and unblemished skin Claire has. While Mrs. Fitz is attempted to tame Claire’s curls, Claire drifts off into a daydream where she tells Mrs. Fitz how she fell through time. As you would imagine, such an admission ends badly, with Mrs. Fitz declaring she’s a child of Satan. Thank goodness it was only a daydream!
While in the kitchens, Claire learns that Colum’s chambermaid’s son has died the previous night. Mrs. Fitz believes it was because the boy visited the ruins of Black Kirk and was possessed by an evil spirit. Of course, this peaks Claire’s interest, but before she can investigate further, she is summoned to Colum’s chamber. His physical condition causes him great pain, and he tells her the former doctor used to massage his legs.
Picking berries and herbs, Geillis tells Claire about Mrs. Fitz’ nephew, Thomas Baxter – a friend of the boy who died, and with him at the ruins – who has succumbed to the evil spirits and is possessed. Claire, a product of the twentieth century, is appalled by such stupidity, but Geillis asks her in her sing-song voice, “Did you ever find yourself in a situation with no earthly explanation?”
Now isn’t that a quandary for Claire. A person of logical mind, and not a shred of superstition about her, sent back in time. If you’d asked her if such a thing were possible just a few weeks ago, she would have laughed. But now, knowing what she does, she isn’t so sure of things anymore. I think this is why she immediately goes to find the ailing Thomas Baxter.
The boy is delirious and tied to his bed. Claire wants to release him, but Mrs. Fitz and his mother object, afraid the evil spirit inside him will harm them, and him. They’ve called for the priest, a Father Bain, to come and exorcise the demon. He comes in, a fearsome and heartless looking man, nothing like Reverend Wakefield, and immediately begins to pelt the boy with holy water while reciting Latin. Claire objects, stating that she can help, that he’s sick and not possessed. The priest whirls on her as if he would strike her. Claire implores Mrs. Fitz, but she asks Claire to leave.
Because Claire has eased Colum’s pain with her massage, she’s invited to listen to a singer perform in the Great Hall. Dougal tells her how much better Colum is feeling, and, in his own slightly scary way, how indispensable she is now to the Laird. Oh Claire, in helping others she’s made it just that more difficult to escape.
She sits beside Laoghaire Mackenzie, the girl that Jamie saved from thrashing. James comes to sit with them, sandwiched between the two women. Laoghaire is infatuated with Jamie. Who wouldn’t be? He’s ovary exploding handsome, and he saved her from humiliation. But Jamie only has eyes and ears for Claire. Basically, he snubs the poor Laoghaire. Claire has taken a liking to Colum’s Renish wine, and admits to having a few too many glasses. Jamie looking for an excuse to get her alone takes her back to the dismal surgery. He says his bandage has been chafing him. Actually, I could care less, it’s a joy to see the two of them together. Claire and Jamie have such chemistry on the screen. There is a moment, while Claire is checking his gunshot wound, that I thought they might kiss, but it passed….dammit.
During this episode we get to know a bit more about Geillis Duncan. While Claire and Geillis have completely different personalities, they are both strong women who use what means they have to get what they want. Geillis plies men with her beauty to get her way. She is intrigued by Claire, and I’m not sure that is a good thing. She even gets Dougal to extend an invitation to Claire to visit Geillis’ home, and escort Claire there. Interesting…Dougal doesn’t seem the type to do a woman’s bidding, but then Geillis is exceptionally beautiful and manipulative.
We see Geillis using her skills of manipulation on her husband, Arthur. Our introduction to him is interesting….He’s not well, has stomach trouble, and asks Geillis for something to ease his discomfort. She gives him something to drink and he immediately starts farting. I couldn’t help but laugh at this scene, because the sounds affects were something that adolescent boys would conjure up. Before his odiferous entrance, Claire was disturbed to see Father Bain dragging a boy through the streets. Geillis explains that he stole food, and has to be punished to save his eternal soul. Claire asks what the punishment will be. He’ll probably lose his hand, Geillis responds. Claire is very disturbed by this. He’s just a boy, she insists. Geillis shrugs, it makes no difference to her, but for Claire’s sake, or just to show she can, she persuades her husband to be lenient on the boy. Her husband, being the magistrate or judge, leaves to inform Father Bain of the punishment.
Geillis, though a healer like Claire, is not like Claire at all. She seems to have not a shred of empathy about her. Whether the boy’s hand is chopped off, or a boy dies because of superstition, it makes no difference to her. She only drapes herself with the cloak of compassion to get what she wants. Which leads me to believe that he interest and skill with herbs is only for her own benefit.
The boy is to have his ear nailed to the pillory. Given what it could have been, it’s not too harsh. Geillis is puzzled by Clair’s attitude regarding the punishment. “You would think they don’t have punishment or pillories where you come from.” You can almost hear Geillis’ mind whirling with questions, and she directs Claire to sit, so they can talk more. This scene made me worried, because we know Claire wants to tell someone her story, and who better than maybe another healer. But thankfully, Jamie interrupts them, and says Claire must return to the castle.
On the way back, Claire asks Jamie for a favor, to take her to the ruins of Black Kirk where the boys were possessed. She thinks they were poisoned, and roams around looking for a plant or berry or something that could have caused their illness. Jamie isn’t alarmed by her lack of belief in spirits and demons. He tells her he’s a learned man, knowing Greek and Latin. That it’s a rite of manhood to sneak up to the ruins and spend the night. That even he did so. After Jamie speaks of eating berries and some sort of wild garlic, Claire finds the plant, and realizes what is wrong with the boys. It’s not garlic, but Lily of the Valley they’ve eaten, a highly poisonous woodland flowering plant.
She makes her way back to Thomas’ home where Father Bain is tormenting the poor boy. Mrs. Fitz and the boy’s mother are resigned to his death, thinking that his only hope is to have his soul saved by the Father before he dies. Claire tells Mrs. Fitz that he ate something poisonous and is not possessed. Mrs. Fitz believes her and tells her to try and safe him. Why does Mrs. Fitz believe her? Perhaps because Colum was so impressed by her skills as a healer. Also, why does Mrs. Fitz, and not the mother, decide what is to happen to the boy? Mrs. Fitz has to all but throw Father Bain out of her sister’s home. He leaves, but not before glaring at Claire. She has made a powerful enemy in a place where superstition holds sway. Claire administers a concoction and the boys revives. Yet another nail in Claire’s coffin. How is she to ever leave, and return to the stones, if she keeps making herself indispensable.
While in the kitchens Claire spies Jamie and Laoghaire kissing, and at dinner she teases Jamie about it. He’s very uncomfortable and leaves the table. Murtagh admonishes Claire, telling her that Jamie could be forced into a marriage with the girl. That Jamie needs a woman, and not a girl, and that Laoghaire will be a girl until she’s fifty.
That night, she attends another performance by the folk singer. In a voice over she explains that everyone thinks she’s a miracle worker, and as she walks to find a bench, they all watch her. Jamie grabs her hand and takes her to sit, and as the performer begins singer he interprets the Gaelic for her. It’s a song about a woman who disappeared through the stones and traveled back to a different land and time. Where she found friends and lovers, until one day the stones called to her, and she touched the large one again, and was transported back to her own time, and to her true love.
Claire wasn’t sure if she could return the way she came, but after hearing the song, becomes convinced. She asks Jamie, “She came back through the stones?” He nods saying they always do. So now she must escape the Castle, must get back to the stones, and back to her own time, and Jack.
Claire now knows the way home…the stones…if she can get to them.
Claire saved a boy from having his hand chopped off. Eased Colum’s considerable pain. Saved Mrs. Fitz’s nephew from death and, hopefully, created an ally in Mrs. Fitz. Jamie is clearly enamored with Claire. Laoghaire wants Jamie and sees Claire as an impediment. Father Bain will be out for revenge upon Claire. Geillis is far more than a beautiful face, and probably very dangerous. Angus and Rupert, Claire’s bodyguards, are hilarious, and add that little touch of fun to each episode. A tad disappointed there was no Black Jack Randall, he’s so deliciously bad.
Lovely site by the costume designer, Terry Dresbach, with images and explanations about the costumes.
Pinterest sight with loads of screenshots and images. My go to place for pictures.
Previous of Episode Four, The Gathering.
And, Behind the Scenes for Episode Four