Outlander EPISODE 101 Recap and Synopsis
At the opening of the episode, we see Claire pondering what he life could’ve been if she had made different choices. In the form of a voiceover, she speaks to the audience directly about the transient quality of her life and never having bought a vase like the one she’s examining because she’s never lived anywhere long enough to need one. We then see a flashback of Claire working as a nurse in a field hospital during WWII, bloodstained, as she dealt with brutal realities of war, injury and death, and then as she hears the news that the war is over in Europe. She drinks a bottle of champagne, alone, to celebrate.
Next the episode shows Claire and Frank riding in Frank’s convertible sportscar through the Scottish countryside as they journey towards Inverness for a “second honeymoon” to reconnect after being separated for many years during the war. We see them arrive at Mrs. Baird’s Bed and Breakfast where they will be staying as they notice the blood on the doorways of the homes around them, and as they register then discuss the superstitious ritual with Mrs. Baird. The audience is made aware that Samhain is near. Claire and Frank go to their room and their obvious awkwardness in getting reacquainted with one another is finally relieved a bit through playfully jumping on the bed then actually making love. Later, on the way to explore the ruin of Castle Leoch, which becomes of even greater importance later in the episode, Claire’s voiceover discusses her unorthodox upbringing in which she was raised by her Uncle Lamb, an archaeologist. A great flashback of a pre-teen Claire at a dig site with Uncle Lamb where she lights then takes a drag off of his cigarette as she delights in a discovery he has made illustrates this point. Claire’s VoiceOver talks about Frank’s new interest in his genealogy, which isn’t a stretch since he’s a Histiry professor, and her budding hobby in learning Botany, and the medicinal uses of plants. Frank and Claire then arrive at Castle Leoch and explore it as Frank ponders whether his ancestor, Black Jack Randall could’ve walked those very halls. They end their exploration with another lovemaking scene in the Castle’s apothecary.
Afterwards they go to the Reverend Wakefield’s home, where Frank is seeking his aid in researching his genealogy. As the men drone on about the intricacies of records, Mrs. Graham, the housekeeper, invites Claire to the kitchen for a cup of tea. Following her finishing the tea, Mrs. Graham reads her tea leaves and finds an odd, self-contradictory message in its design. To better understand its meaning, she asks to read Claire’s palm. It is here that she tells Claire that it appears that she will have two marriages, but that neither marriage ever ends. This discussion is interrupted by the men entering the kitchen, and Claire deciding to go back to the B&B to wait on Frank.
As Frank is walking up to the B&B later that evening, he sees Claire brushing her hair at her mirror, in their room, from the road. In walking towards the B&B, he notices a large man in Highland dress watching Claire from another place in the street. When Frank approaches the man, he vanishes. A very disturbed Frank returns to their room and recounts this experience to Claire. After the insecurities of their time apart rise to the surface again, with Frank asking if Claire had engaged in any trysts during the war, they reconcile and make love again. Claire’s voiceover makes the point that sex was their bridge back to one another in the midst of the uncertainty and frustrations of reuniting after their time apart.
The next morning they rise early to go to a circle of standing stones, Craigh na Dun, to secretly watch druids perform a ritual to celebrate the beginning of Samhain. In watching this ritual, Claire’s voiceover describes the eery, beautiful scene and says that she felt like an interloper and wanted to run, but was too fascinated to do so. Following the end of the ritual, Claire goes to retrieve a rare plant that she saw for her botany collection but is forced to leave when one of the druids returns. Later, after Claire and Frank have returned to their B&B room, she tells him of her intent to go back for the plant, and he declines to join her, saying that he needed to go to the Reverend’s home for more research. She returns to Craigh na Dun, but when she reaches to grab it, she hears the stones groan. Frightened, she touches the stones, which make a vacuum-like noise, and then the screen goes blank. She likens being thrown back in time to being awoken during a car crash in terms of the confusion and sickening feeling she experiences. Soon after coming to on the ground, she witnesses British soldiers in 18th century, Redcoat uniforms, firing live ammunition as they battle rogue Scottish Highlanders in traditional dress of the same period.
Scared and confused, her mind tries to make sense of the seemingly anachronistic scene taking place, and she wonders if this could be part of a movie being filmed… until she runs into Black Jack Randall at the water’s edge. AT first she thinks he’s Frank, but quickly finds out otherwise as BJR attempts to rape her after she insults him. Murtagh, one of the Highlanders, rescues her from BJR and takes her back to a crofter’s cottage where the other Highlanders are resting. Suggestions are made about her identity, and as to whether she is a whore or not. Much Gaelic is spoken, of which Claire understands none. Claire intervenes when one of the Highlanders is about to force another dashing young Highlander’s dislocated shoulder back into joint. She relocates the joint successfully and demands a belt to make a sling from one of the men. He balks but Dougal, the obvious leader of the group orders him to give her the belt. She is forced to go with the crew of rough men on horseback and rides with the young man she helped. He shows his kindness in attempting to shield her from the rainy cold with his plaid. They ride all night until the reach a place that Claire recognizes. Frank had pointed it out as a place that the British Army liked to stage ambushes, and she warns the Highlanders. An ambush had, indeed, been lying in wait, and her warning allowed the Highlanders to be ready. During the fray, Claire tried to escape by running away but Jamie, the young man she had helped and ridden with came after her and forced her to come back with him. A serious battle of wills ensued and Claire’s stubborn nature is at its zenith. Jamie threatens to carry her over his shoulder if she won’t come with him voluntarily. She begrudgingly ends up riding back with him on his horse.
At some point in their riding during the night with the crew of Highlanders, Jamie passes out and falls off of his horse. Claire enlists the help of the other Highlanders as she assesses his injuries and discovers that he has, in fact, been shot. She asks the Highlanders for iodine and other modern medical tools to treat his injury, and upon realizing they have no clue what she’s talk about, she asks for alcohol and one of them hands her his flask. She pours this on Jamie’s wound and he wakes out of his fainted stupor. She scolds him for being hurt and not telling her so that she could help him, and he said that “It didn’t hurt much at the time”. We, as the audience, can begin to see the chemistry and budding attraction between the two of them, even if they are not test conscious of it themselves. After mending him, she declares that he must have rest and cannot go on riding horseback all night again. Dougal states that they must move on and will leave Jamie if he can’t ride. Jamie says that if he must stay that he wants a pistol, so that “he may determine his own fate”… Knowing that BJR will be after them again. He confides to Claire that he had dealings previously with BJR and that he wouldn’t leave anyone or anything in that evil man’s care. Jamie and Claire climb back on the horse and continue riding.
As dawn breaks, the party arrives at Castle Leoch, which creates an eery feeling of déjà vu, as Claire had only been there two days ago with Frank, but 200 years in the future. Via her VoiceOver, she ponders whether something in the future of her current present could have actually taken place. The episode ends here, and leaves the audience dying to see more.