This weekend Outlander continued with its third episode, "The Way Out", following Claire on her journey to understand her new life in Scotland’s 18th century. Under the watchful eye of the castle laird, Column MacKenzie, and his brother Dougal, Claire is clinging desperately to her memories of Frank and the world she left behind. Attempting to make the most of her position as Castle Leoch’s healer, however, she sets about to observe and treat some of the curious maladies that cross her path. Claire’s 20th century medical prowess is not only stunted by the lack of technology and development, but also by the severity of religious superstitious and its hold on the beliefs of the villagers. When a young boy is deemed possessed by a demon, Claire is determined to uncover the truth behind his illness, but contesting the spiritual beliefs of the people around her and exercising too much medicinal intellect could raise dangerous suspicions.
] In the way that episode two (“Castle Leoch”) played upon details of daily life in the Scottish highlands, episode three is abundant with insight into the history’s cultural nuances. The show is quickly setting something of an intellectual pace, giving viewers time to soak in every aspect of the Outlander world and making each episode a steadily immersive experience. One of my favorite things to enjoy here is the dialogue on women and healing in this era; can a woman’s knowledge be trusted over the male-dominated authority of religion? It’s exciting to see Claire work through that question with her spirited obstinacy, and equally intriguing to see the impact that question has on the world around her, specifically on Castle Leoch’s cook, Mrs. Fitz, who is on tenterhooks with the idea of trusting Claire completely. There’s also the mysterious village healer Gellis Duncan. Claire seems both intrigued and wary of Gellis, and in this episode we see that tension of the relationship heightened while also exploring a bit of how and why Gellis does what she does – and how much of her principles she may be willing to risk.
Meanwhile, as Claire tries to kindle the aspiring flirtation between Jamie and Laoghaire, her feelings send her on a deeper emotional journey through memories of Frank; but more time – and a bit of conspiring – with Jamie gives us a glimpse at their natural chemistry and genuine spark. Claire continues to be an inspiring heroine in the way that she allows herself to be emotionally connected with her feelings for the people around her while also being steadfastly strong in her own will and independence. In all, I love the way Outlander is balancing the romance of the story with Gabaldon’s deeply-ingrained insight and her knack for drawing the marrow from the bones of history.
As ever, catch up on Outlander with the latest episodes available OnDemand or on the Starz Play app. Find more info about this episode and go behind the scenes at Starz.com.
Disclosure: Access to programming was made available for the purpose of review | Photos: © Starz