Saturday, September 6, 2014

REVIEW: 'Outlander' - Claire Sees Dougal Collect Money for Several Causes While an Upcoming Scottish Event Looms in 'Rent'

Starz's Outlander - Episode 1.05 "Rent"

Claire goes along on the MacKenzies' trip to collect rents, and witnesses Dougal using Jamie's scars to elicit sympathy for the cause of the Jacobites. Later, she realizes a momentous event in Scottish history is coming up fast.

The push and pull between Claire and Dougal is very much the chief focus of "Rent." This journey throughout the MacKenzie land was flung on Claire at the very last minute of last week's episode. And yet, the trip offered her a glimmer of hope. That she'll be able to escape from the Scottish men keeping her as their "guest." She didn't know how but she was open to any possibility. She sees first hand exactly how Dougal acts as war chief of Clan MacKenzie. He collects the rents from the villagers but he's also raising funds for another cause too. Claire suspects at first that he is simply just extorting more money out of these people for himself. To her, he is a criminal and she is isolated even further from the group. She's the member of this party with a good sense of moral direction. And yet, there's very little she can actually do. She was brought along to be a healer but all the men are behaving and not needing her services. She helps Ned with his asthma. But there's very little she's actually allowed to do.

And then, Claire learns that Dougal is not raising money for himself but for a rebel cause to fight back against the English and take down their protestant king. It's a cause that he wholeheartedly believes in and would die for. And that completely alters how she views her companions on this trip. Yes, she is still isolated because she has foresight knowledge that the forthcoming battle for their cause will ultimately lead to the death of the clan - a fact she just now happens to remember. However, she can now sympathize with their ideals. They are putting the needs of their community above the needs of themselves. So while each one of them will happily share a tale of being with a woman, these are fighting men ready to battle for their independence.

But Claire just can't help but try and talk some sense into the Scots. The English army is the most impressive force of the time and they will surely destroy any kind of opposition. But they don't care. This cause is unifying. It brings all of these communities and villages of Clan MacKenzie together because they all despise the English. To them, Claire acts as if it's a certainty that they will lose. Her confidence in the matter only makes her seem more suspicious. They all know that she is keeping secrets from them. They overreact whenever they can't easily find her. And yet, they will also fight for her honor. She is a guest of Clan MacKenzie after all. That title so far has largely just been seen as a prisoner of this clan. When the British Lieutenant first asks Claire - while in disguise - if she is okay, Dougal and Angus don't let her speak. She is powerless in her current position. And yet, all the men of her traveling party have some amount of respect for her. They may not trust her but they will protect her. And that should became a huge component of the next episode following the cliffhanger conclusion of Claire and Dougal surrounded by Red Coats.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Rent" was written by Toni Graphia and directed by Brian Kelly.
  • Claire working with the other woman in the village was a lot of fun - and funny. However, her bringing up the rocks was a little bit awkward.
  • I don't really believe that Claire would be that naive about how things would appear if Jamie stayed in her room for the night.
  • So "Rent" basically just teases an event that will be coming in three years. That's fine to be planning that far in advanced. However, this hour is largely just setting something up that will take awhile before it comes to fruition.