Episode 102: "Castle Leoch" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 102 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Castle Leoch".

I thought this episode was AMAZING! Wonderful. Absolutely riveting throughout, and very, very faithful to the book. <g> (By which I mean, it's a very effective adaptation, and where changes have been made, all of them make sense, IMHO, and add to the story rather than detracting from it.)

I liked this episode even more than the first one. And Sam Heughan is just perfect as Jamie. <g>


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









I thought the brief recap before the opening credits was a very effective way of summarizing the first episode for viewers who hadn't seen it. Nice to see Gary Lewis and Lotte Verbeek in the opening credits, and it's much easier to see Diana's name in this week's credits, with the white text against a dark background.

Wonderful to see Old Alec, even with two functioning eyes. <g> Love his dialogue when they arrive at the castle.

I love the first scene with Mrs. Fitz, especially the way she teases Murtagh about his stink. <g> It's great that they managed to keep so much of the dialogue from the book -- that's always reassuring.

Very effective use of brief flashbacks in the corridor. I like this technique, and the way it's used throughout the episode to show us Claire's memories.

The first sight of Jamie's back was horrifying, as it should be, but very much as described in the book.

"Why were you escaping in the first place?" "They were holdin' me prisoner." Matter-of-fact, and very much in character.

The whole scene at Lallybroch was just riveting, very tense and dramatic, extremely well acted. BJR rubbing his saliva over Jenny's face made me shudder with revulsion. I was NOT (at all) expecting the bodice-ripping, but it's fitting, in character for BJR (as is the way he forced Jamie to watch), and I have no problem with it. I am wondering how they'll reconcile this with Jenny telling the story later, where she "taunted him wi' [her] breasts", etc., but it's a really minor point.

BJR beating Jamie was hard to watch, but I kept reminding myself that it's only a faint taste of what's to come. I liked how unemotional BJR seemed through the whole thing.

"Your husband is a lucky man" - good way to segue into Frank's POV, but I'm glad they only showed a brief glimpse of Frank and the Rev. Wakefield in the present day, keeping the focus on Claire's story.

The first time Jamie holds Claire as she sobs -- it felt JUST like the book, to me <g>, and I just love the way they look into each other's eyes just before she says, "I'm sorry". We know that Jamie was falling in love with her there, and it shows.

The dressing scene is WONDERFUL, and I'll go back and watch this many more times, I'm sure. <g> Terrific idea to show all the layers, and exactly what's involved in getting dressed in 18th c. clothing. I was fascinated. And I laughed at Mrs. Fitz's reaction to the bra.

I love that they remembered the bird cages in Colum's room. <g> The first sight of Colum's legs is shocking, but I think they did a good job in portraying the "shockingly bowed and stumpy legs" described in the book. Very cool the way they did that! And his gait, too, is fascinating to watch.

I liked the little flashback with Frank on how to resist interrogation. <g> Very much as described in the book, but showing, not telling.

"Is there ever a good reason for rape, Master MacKenzie?" Good line, and her delivery was perfect! Score one for Claire!

The bit about the tinker coming in five days is of course not in the book, but I thought it was effective. It's realistic (in a place as busy as this, there must be wagons coming and going all the time, and why shouldn't Claire take advantage of that?) and it adds some urgency (and some suspense) to her desire to leave the castle. In the book, she seems to fall into a routine a little too easily in the beginning, IMHO, so I like this addition. It's plausible.

I love the first view of the exterior overlooking the courtyard. What magnificent scenery! Notice "Loch Lomond" playing very softly in the background? <g> The scene with Dougal and young Hamish is terrific, and the boy is very cute!

The dinner scene - The hall is very much the way I pictured it, and I liked the way everyone stared at Claire as she entered. Claire doesn't eat much in this scene (maybe one bannock?) but I couldn't help but notice that she's drinking an awful lot. I love the way Dougal stays quiet, saying almost nothing, but his eyes are watchful and it's clear he's taking in every single detail about Claire.

"With your father" -- OOPS!! Put your foot in the middle of it, didn't you, Claire? <g> This was effective, though, in explaining the situation to viewers without a lot of tedious voice-over. And I loved the way Hamish and his mother reacted.

That's quite an impressive kitchen - very realistic-looking! I'll have to go back and look closer at the details.

"She's just a girl with spirit, is all. That's always a good thing." - This line of Jamie's isn't in the book, but I love it! Clearly he's thinking of Claire when he says it. <g>

I like the stable scene. It feels very close to the book, even if it's not word for word identical. I had to laugh when Jamie squatted down, very carefully not giving the viewers a peek under his kilt!

"Try not to get flogged or stabbed today." "No promises, Sassenach." - I love that they're already teasing each other, even this early in their relationship. This exchange is terrific, and a good addition.

The scene between Claire and Rupert is great. I only wish Rupert had been introduced by name. We know who he is, but how will the audience know? (Unless I missed where Claire was told his name?)

Great confrontation between Claire and Dougal in the corridor. It reminds me of Jamie, many years later, saying, "Ye were always bolder than was safe." Her personality comes through very well here. Another good addition!

I like the fact that Claire is hearing 1940's music in her head ("Run Rabbit Run", etc.) just before she meets Geillis. And Lotte Verbeek is very good as Geillis! Looking forward to seeing more of her.

I liked seeing L's father, though I do have to feel a bit sorry for him. Having L for a daughter must be quite stressful at times! <g>

The whole punishment scene was just wonderful, and very faithful to the book, even though it's Rupert who actually administers the blows. I liked the drums in the background. And Jamie's face is very, very expressive. You can tell exactly what he's thinking in this scene. When Rupert hit him on the injured shoulder, I said, "Hey, that's not fair!!", and immediately recalled the much older Jamie saying (to Roger), "Dirty fighting is the only kind there is." So even though this is not quite the way it happened in the book, it definitely works, and it's plausible.

The scene afterward between J&C is pretty close to the book, except for the absence of the leeches.

I loved the series of "deja vu" moments as Claire enters the apothecary. And her confrontation with Colum was great, even if she did find herself outmaneuvered by him. <g>

"You mean I'm your prisoner, don't you?" "Only if you try to leave." - great line.

Notice the tears on Claire's cheek, just after the door closes. Very dramatic end to this episode!

I loved it and I really can't wait to see more!!

I hope you enjoyed this recap. You can see all my OUTLANDER episode recaps here.


Anonymous said...

The scene between Claire and Rupert is great. I only wish Rupert had been introduced by name. We know who he is, but how will the audience know? (Unless I missed where Claire was told his name?)

When they first reach leoch, Alec berates Rupert about the horse and says his name at the time.

Loved it too! Watched it twice, can't wait till next week. The preview shows that next week will be different than the book with mrs. Fitz slapping Claire.

Victoria thor said...

Great wrap up, as always Karen. I expected some minor changes putting the book to film, but I must admit to some disappointments. Exposing Janet's breasts was not necessary - just what cable does and I find it inexcusable. (Watch - there will always been more female nudity than male.) Gelli's hair is RED! I suppose Bree's hair will be brunette. Mrs. Fitz was not as jolly and warm as she should have been.

From watching the preview for the next show I'm already upset with the scene with Claire telling Mrs. Fitz about her time traveling - that didn't happen in the book. So we are going to see Mrs. Fitz calling Claire a witch. That is too big a turn away from the book and disappointing.

At least Claire's hair is getting curlier.

Unknown said...

Spot on! I loved this one better than the first one, I think (will now have to watch them one after the other.) Loved the apothecary and the betrayal at the end. I am just so happy that the show is all that we wanted it to be. I look forward to new "surprises" every week. Excellent recap!!!

Unknown said...

I was also impressed with how closely they matched the dialogue with the book. Loved Sam and am very happy that he was chosen to play Jamie. I will be watching until the end.

Unknown said...

I too, loved it! It's a bit different from the book, but not bad different and it's riveting! I sit and watch it with a ridiculous smile on my face! And I was oh, so horrified by Jamie's back, much worse than I had ever pictured it in my head. And they're doing such a great job of portraying those s.o.b.'s, MacKenzies!
Who is other guy guy supposed to be, though? The one that had to give up his belt in the cottage in Ep1? They keep showing him. Anyone know? I'm having some difficulty catching the names. I never knew Murtagh was pronounced with the "G", I just assumed it was silent.
Again Kudos to all involved in this, it's fantastic!

Anonymous said...


leaves on the Raney Tree said...

I agree, Karen, that this was a wonderful episode. I had some trouble understanding soft-spoken Jamie's accent, but since I'll be watching it numerous times, I'll decipher it. I found myself flinching every time he was punched. Wishing my life away by wanting each week to go by quickly so I can enjoy the next episode. Gave another 10 to this episode on IMDB (Internet Data Movie Base). A good place to see the age and sex demographics of viewership,too.

Lesharon said...

Hi Karen,

Great review! Love the snippets into the future as you compare events in this episode with what you have already read/know will happen in the rest of the books.

As I mentioned before I'm nearly done with DIA but I do have an observation: Don't you think the scene in this episode with BJR and Jenny is eerily similar to that of Jamie and Claire in DIA? It now almost feels to me that Jamie remembered this for its shock value to do it during that scene in DIA. What do you think?

And now that we know Season 2 will be based on DIA it will be interesting to see if they will include this scene and/or how horribly similar or effective it will be compared to Jenny's.


Rolling Joe said...

Here's Ron Moore's podcast for episode two, this time with episode audio in the background.


stephbo93 said...

I agree with Victoria. Mrs. Fitz is Claire's ally and genial in the book. Her presentation threw me a bit in this episode.

And I absolutely adore Rupert! Great casting job for him!

Beth said...

Great assessment Karen! I think Mrs. Fitz was honestly portrayed in this episode. It was the teaser for the upcoming week that had me a little put off. Mrs. Fitz was an ally and liked Claire. It seems as if they've demonized her character a bit with the witch bit.

Otherwise, the show was riveting.

Pygmymommy said...

I might be crazy, but I think BJR ripped Jenny's bodice in the book. I don't have my book (I leant it out), but when Jenny is describing the scene to Jamie, she says something about spreading the ripped pieces to taunt BJR. I would be money, I'm almost that sure. :)

Meg French said...

I loved those gorgeous Renish wineglasses! Does anyone know if they are being reproduced and if so, where to get them?

Leeann said...

Why does Jamie dismount his horse by swinging his leg in front? I thought that was strange in episode 1 and he's still doing it.

Lynn said...

Hi Karen, love your recap!
I found some changes that were made quite significant to the story, such as Claire's mishap with Hamish and the following reactions . . I wondered about the sideglances of Rupert and Angus - first, weren't they too far away to hear and second, should Hamish's real parentage be so widely known as to be common gossip?! Also, shouldn't at least Hamish be a little less tense about it . . he should be the last one to know, no?
The other addition I liked was the way the punishment was carried out - first the change of person - Rupert is Dougal's man, everybody as read the books knows it.
Also the way that Dougal doesna let off after blood was drawn - Rupert's face was so expressive - I was worried that he'd be in deep s**t afterwards if Dougal were to see him. The way he looks at Jamie before he punches him in the shoulder - so good! Also Jamie's facial expressiveness is so great - none of that garded mask he will adapt. I loved this interaction and the tidbit about Murtagh, too.
This scene particularly stuck with me as there are so many relations already made obvious pretty early on - the uncle that sees Jamie as a danger to his ambitions and Murtagh who steps in to set an end to the beating. Enough is enough, looks at Dougal with that look - try that again!
My only real regret is the scene at Lallybroch - and I seem not to be alone in that!
First I would've really liked them to give Jamie longer hair - it's a flashback to a time before France and his headwound, so he has long hair and it would've been so nice to have been made obvious. I liked the way the beating was changed to a horsewhip . . I always had problems imagining BJR in a 'red fury' being so careful as to hit only with the flat of the saber . . but Jenny's reactions were NOT as hotheided and feisty as described and I was disappointed that they decided only a 20th century woman could give the men their fair share . . hope that this scene will be told differently from Jenny's point of view!
So, can't stand the suspense till the next episode . . love to join in the discussion Lynn

Happy Katy said...

I'm completely mesmerized. Have read every book. Could barely wait for the premiere. I think they did a splendid job of cast selection.

Anonymous said...

I've lost track as to how many times I've watched this first half of the season. Looking back, I'm confused about Jamie's kilt in the flashback scene with Jenny. He wasn't an outlaw at that time, was he? Why isn't he wearing Fraser colors? Just curious. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi! I know it's a year later, you may not see this, and I've not even read the books, but I do know about riding and if you dismount facing the horse you are leaving yourself vulnerable to being taken from behind by an enemy. A seasoned fighter would never leave himself/herself vulnerable to capture that way.

Anonymous said...

I have a theory about Jamie's encounters with Laoghaire.

Regarding why Jamie took the beating for Laoghaire. I think Jamie, in addition to working out some teenage issues (his last beating), wanted to impress Claire and knew that after the beating he would have occasion to see her again.

I think it was pretty obvious Jamie was drunk when he kissed Laoghaire in the alcove. I think he was pretending Laoghaire was Claire, which is why Laoghaire felt the kiss was so meaningful.

Were it not for the whole ill-wish/trying to get Claire burned as a witch thing, I would actually feel sorry for Laoghaire.

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