Episode 104: "The Gathering" (SPOILERS!)
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
I love the mist rising from the ground in the opening scene. You can almost feel the cool, damp air of the Highlands -- very evocative! Very tense moment to open with, and I was riveted from the beginning.
Angus's "Something catch your eye there, lass?" made me laugh out loud. Priceless! <g>
I liked seeing the kids. Other than Hamish, there are no children mentioned at Leoch in the book, but it makes sense that Claire would have encountered them. (Love their costumes!) I like the fact that Claire is so focused on escaping, and making detailed plans for exactly how she's going to do it, leaving her ribbon on a tree, etc. The point here is that she's intelligent and resourceful, and not just sitting around waiting for someone to rescue her.
Fascinating to see the encampment -- I love all the little details of 18th-century life, the cooking utensils, the clothing, etc. I saw at least one woman wearing an arisaid.
Rupert and Angus crack me up. "It's all your w@nking gives ye that much speed of hand." (Angus, to Rupert)
"Uncle Lamb had taught me to ride, during the years we lived in Ireland" -- this detail is not in the book but I think it works very well, as "insurance" in case Cait's accent starts sounding too overtly Irish at some point in a future episode. It's plausible, and a good idea, IMHO.
About the 1940's music. I think it would have been fine if it had been played much softer, just barely audible, so it would be clearer that it's only Claire hearing this in her head. I thought the music itself was OK, but it was much too loud.
I liked the whole scene between Claire and Geillis. "I can assure you, I've never been unfaithful to my husband" - not YET, anyway! <g> Using valerian as a sedative was a good idea, and asking Geillis to bring the port is more proof that Claire has thought her plans through, in detail.
I liked that Mrs. Fitz found Claire a suitable gown for the oath-taking. That's not in the book, but it works very well here. They have rearranged some of the order of events from the book, but it all WORKS, it's plausible, and it increases the dramatic tension on Claire's part considerably, so I'm happy with the changes.
I love Ron Moore's costume! The embroidery on the coat is just gorgeous! And he looks very handsome and dignified. <g>
I just LOVED Diana's cameo!! Beautifully done! The gown is gorgeous, as is that hairdo. And I loved the interaction between Iona and Mrs. Fitz.
"I see you have the place looking brrrrrright as a new pin."
"Oh, that lovely dress again. You wore it so well to the last Gathering."
I think Iona is a bit of a snob, and Mrs. Fitz's line is the perfect comeback. <g>
Colum looks very different -- younger, more dignified -- with his hair tied back.
Iona shushing Murtagh made me burst out laughing.
I liked Colum's speech -- both the content and the delivery were just right. <g>
I watched the oath-taking absolutely mesmerized, hardly even blinking through the whole thing. What a spectacle! It was very close to the way I've always imagined it. The quaich they used looked suitably ancient, which I was glad to see. And I think it makes sense for Murtagh to be up in the gallery explaining things to Claire, even if that's not the way it's done in the book. It's plausible -- Murtagh is, after all, a Fraser, not a MacKenzie, and he'd want to be out of the way during the oath-taking.
I love Claire's gown. Gorgeous!
"Can ye see fit to stay, at least until I bag a lass for the evening?" - This line of Angus's made me giggle. And the bit about the port ("It's a sedative." "Is that Spanish?") was hilarious.
So Laoghaire wants "a potion that would open a lad's heart to a lassie" - good luck with that one! Claire's horse-dung potion and the Wizard of Oz reference ("there's no place like love") were just priceless. LOL.
The scene with Dougal and the others in the corridor was very well done. Again, the changes from the book were very effective and I have no complaints about the way this was handled. I really didn't expect her to bash him in the head with the chair, but it works very well, reinforcing the idea that Claire is not a woman to be messed with. Ever. <g>
I liked the scene in the stable with Jamie. "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!". "No, Sassenach, just me." LOL! I didn't expect Claire to take offense at being called a Sassenach, but I thought this was an effective way to remind the viewers what the word means. And Jamie did apologize right away. <g>
I loved the way Jamie laughs when he hears what happened to Dougal. "I hope ye left a good mark so he'll remember his error in judgment" -- good line.
I flinched at the sight of Jamie's scarred back.
"How's your head?" "Fine. My sister Jenny says it's harder than an iron pot." - good line.
I love the way Jamie looks right at the camera when he says "Je suis prest".
Murtagh's explanation of Jamie's situation was really effective. Here's a slightly more detailed explanation from Diana on Compuserve a couple of years ago.
As Jamie prepares to take the oath, the hall goes completely silent. I liked that. Not easy, with such a large crowd! I missed Colum's reply to Jamie from the book, but I love the way he smiles at Jamie as he hands him the quaich.
I liked the look that passed between the MacKenzie brothers afterward. Also Murtagh's "I'm gettin' too old for this" -- my first thought was, just wait, you ain't seen nothin' yet! <g>
The tynchal was handled very well. There were more boars than I expected. Wonder if any of them were real, or were they all CGI?
"Score one for the pig. Maybe next time you'll think about going fishing." - good line
One minute Claire's alone in the woods with the boar lying dead at her feet --you can see she's absolutely terrified, almost gibbering -- and the next minute, faced with a medical emergency, you can almost literally see her nurse's training kicking in, as she becomes calm, level-headed, confident. I thought that was fascinating to watch.
Geordie's wounds were suitably bloody and gruesome, especially the belly wound. <shudder> I thought the whole death scene was done very well, very much as it is in the book. I liked that they used this bit from OUTLANDER Chapter 10:
A better death, perhaps, was what Dougal was giving him--to die cleanly under the sky, his heart’s blood staining the same leaves, dyed by the blood of the beast that killed him.That's such an evocative bit of writing. I wonder if hearing bits like this in the TV show might encourage people to read the book for themselves?
I liked the added bits with Claire and Dougal comforting Geordie as he lay dying. Very powerful and affecting.
The shinty game was a lot of fun. Good way to illustrate the conflict between Dougal and Jamie. I liked the look on Jamie's face when he finally knocked Dougal down -- "Ye taught me well."
The final scene with Dougal and Claire is very good. "Mrs. Fitz would have you sit for a portrait, if it was up to her" -- good line.
And I liked seeing the men ride out at dawn the next morning. Good place to end this episode!
I think this might be my favorite episode so far. It's highly entertaining, full of dramatic tension, but there's a lot of humor as well, and the costumes and details of 18th century life are utterly fascinating, at least to me. And Diana's cameo was just wonderful!!
I hope you enjoyed this recap. You can see my comments on the previous episodes here:
Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
Please come back next week for my recap of Episode 105!