Outlander: Review: Series 1 Episode 5: Rent

OUtlander 1.5Claire accompanies Dougal and Jamie as they cross the clan’s territory, and starts to gain a new respect for the Highlanders…

You know it’s going to happen – all the rules of drama tell you that the episode is building towards a moment when the English officer who we met earlier on is going to ask Claire if she is with Dougal and the other Highlanders of her own volition, and you can be sure that it’s going to cut to black a moment before she says anything… And of course that’s exactly what it does. But (unless things really don’t go the way I expect, and the way they seem to be set up), you shouldn’t feel cheated: the episode, in keeping with the whole series, is a slow burn, with Claire jumping to conclusions and Bill Paterson’s canny lawyer not disillusioning her.

He’s doing that to protect her, and what Claire finally realises is that he’s not the only one. The bar fight – which, like all the fighting, is very well shot – is triggered by comments about her; the Mackenzies can insult her, but no-one else should.

The wider politics of the time reappear in this episode, sometimes in horrifying ways. A lot of the confusion plays off the fact that Claire still cannot understand the people around her the majority of the time, unless they choose to speak English (which they do seem to do at slightly odd times as required by the plot). This brings us into familiar Doctor Who territory – can and indeed should one change the past to prevent a massacre as is inevitably going to happen at Culloden in three years’ time?

Verdict: A chance to enjoy some gorgeous Scottish scenery as bonds start to grow. 8/10

Paul Simpson

<<< 4. The Gathering

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