Droughlander Re-Watch: EP104 ("The Gathering")
*** SPOILER WARNING! ***
If you haven't watched all of OUTLANDER Seasons 1 and 2, there are SPOILERS in this post. Read at your own risk.
This is one of my favorite episodes of the whole series so far. What a pleasure to have an excuse to watch it again!
I like the opening scene very much. It's suspenseful, and I liked the way the dramatic tension is broken by the sound of children's laughter. Angus's sudden appearance ("Somethin' catch your eye there, lass?") made me laugh.
Rupert's accent is more difficult to understand in this episode than it will be later.
Claire is a pleasure to watch in this episode: intelligent and resourceful, and with a wry sense of humor that we haven't really seen in her before. I loved the fact that she spent much of this episode making detailed plans for her escape, and doing her best to carry them out.
The chemistry between Rupert and Angus is really starting to shine through in this episode, and they're very entertaining.
I had forgotten about the 1940's music, in the stable scene and especially during Claire's walk through the castle afterwards. I understnd that it's meant to show that she's still thinking like a 20th century person, but I found it really distracting, and much too loud -- to the point where it's almost impossible to hear what Geillis says to Claire as she enters the surgery. When I commented on this on Compuserve after the episode was first broadcast in 2014, Diana Gabaldon said, "I think you're right about the volume."
"With bairn" is a very awkward phrasing, and I found it jarring.
Notice that they're talking about valerian root. This is the same medicinal plant that Master Raymond recommends, in Season 2, to help Jamie sleep when he's troubled by nightmares.
"The Highlands are no place for a woman to be alone. You'd do well to remember that." Good line from Geillis. I also liked her line, "A promise is a serious thing in this country", with its foreshadowing of future events, like Claire's promise to stay put while Jamie goes off in search of Horrocks.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I like the way Mrs. Fitz startles Claire in the midst of her preparations for escape, making her jump.
Ron Moore looks very handsome indeed in 18th century costume! <g>
Diana Gabaldon's brief cameo is very entertaining, and fun to watch, no matter how many times I've seen it before. She did a great job! The part where she shushes Murtagh always makes me laugh. ("Hey! I wrote this. Be quiet and listen!" <g>)
The oath-taking is just magnificent, very close to the way I've always imagined it from the book (especially the scene where Dougal swears his oath to Colum). The costumes are gorgeous. I think it works well to have Murtagh up in the gallery, translating for Claire. He's not a MacKenzie, after all, and it's probably safer for him to be well away from the rest of the clansmen.
I love the scene with Claire and Angus. "It's a sedative." "Is that Spanish?" Hilarious!
It's hard to watch the scene with Claire and Laoghaire now, without thinking about what will come later. Laoghaire is actually being polite and friendly to Claire, and what does she get in return? A "potion" of dried horse-dung. LOL! Unfortunately, Laoghaire won't forget that anytime soon.
Once again, Claire is waylaid before she can make her escape. The use of Gaelic in the scene in the corridor is very effective as a means of escalating the tension. Bad enough to be accosted by several drunken clansmen, but the fact that Claire doesn't speak their language makes it even more frightening.
The bit where Claire hits Dougal over the head with a stool is not in the book, but I think it's a great addition -- a reminder that Claire is not a woman to be messed with, ever.
It's rather startling to realize that half the episode has gone by before we see Jamie. The scene in the stable with the two of them is very good.
"I may have walloped him over the head with a chair or something." Great line, and I believe it's the first time we've seen Jamie laugh in the series so far.
"It's me should be thanking you, for all your healing of my scratches." I like the way Jamie said that.
The scene where Jamie appears before Colum at the oath-taking is really good: well-written (the dialogue comes almost word-for-word from the book <g>), well-acted, and suspenseful. It's even better in the extended version of this scene on the Season 1 Blu-ray.
When Murtagh says to Jamie, "I'm gettin' too old for this," I thought, "You ain't seen nothing yet!"
The boar-hunt is dramatic and suspenseful. I love watching Claire in her role as medic, and I think Cait did an amazing job in the scene where she finds herself all alone in the woods with a dead boar landing literally right at her feet. She's practically gibbering, so frightened that she can't even catch her breath -- and then she hears the wounded man cry out, and you can almost see her nurse's training kicking in, as she pulls herself together and readies herself to face the latest emergency.
The scene with Geordie, the man fatally wounded in the tynchal, is very good, and I appreciated very much the use of Diana's exact words from OUTLANDER chapter 10, "The Oath-Taking":
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.Dougal is really good in this scene. Quite a refreshing contrast with the Dougal we saw toward the end of Season 2, that's for sure. I had forgotten that he also has a gentle and compassionate side, and it's heartbreaking to watch him tending his dying friend.
The shinty game was fun to watch, but it went on much too long for my taste.
I liked the final scene between Claire and Dougal quite a bit, and it leads very smoothly into next week's episode.
Please come back next week for my reactions to Episode 105, "Rent".