First, here’s the beer I was bribed with. It’s a Scottish IPA, which makes about as much sense as a show about time travelling nurses. Jen knows I’m not a huge fan of malty beers, preferring palate killing IPAs or floral Belgians, so this was an effort to sooth my weary soul as I was exposed to the first episode of Outlander entitled “Shadrach,” which is a pet name Jamie has for Claire born of their mutual love of the Beastie Boys.
So here I’ll start a bit of a recap that I’ll use to hang my thoughts on the episode off of. Don’t worry, my memory in impeccable.
We open with a voice over because that’s required for time travel fiction. The producers also shipped a camera crew up to the Highlands and managed to capture like the only sunny day in Scotland so they had to include that. So while the Scottish Tourism Board gets their backs scratched, Claire goes on about love or something like that before realizing that what her inner monologue needed was some consumerism so we get a shot of her looking at a vase in a shop window.
I’m sorry, Claire, that you didn’t have a vase. They’re pretty simple to acquire, so I don’t know why you are just standing there looking at one. I’ve never bought a vase myself, but for some reason we have like three of them in the house tucked away in the dustiest of places just in case I forget that flowers are best delivered to work so that the giftee gets to show off a bit.
I guess Claire is the same as Jen (I just got +2 Husband Points) in that regard, because we learn pretty quickly that she’s been spending the past several years working in the Allied Soldier Meat Processing Plant that is a battlefield hospital. Where this hospital is, though, is unclear. Judging by the fresh, gushingness of the meat it’s near a battlefield, but the cleanliness of the non-wounded soldiers puts it back in England at a Remembrance Day Festival and no way is Terry going to get any fake blood on his vintage uniform you tell them that!
We then catch up with her possibly estranged, definitely boring husband, Brutus From Rome, aka Boring Brutus. BB expositions all over the place to in theory catch the viewer up to why they are in Scotland, but in actuality it’s just to bore us and make us wish he was more a man of action. “Ungh,” we say as Claire tries to put the moves on him in their B&B room, “This guy sucks. He’s got a hot lady right there and he doesn’t want to do her! All he wants to do is draw hands rather than pounce on her! Claire would be better off with someone like that.”
THIS IS FORESHADOWING.
So after a squeaky night of making love while one of them keeps their clothes on (Didn’t we see BB’s wang in Rome? C’mon, Starz, spend the extra dash so lil Brutie can come out.) we follow the not really estranged at all couple head off to do touristy things. We learn that BB, as all men of action, loves genealogy and Claire, as all time travelers should, is totes into botany and the medicinal use of commonly found plants. Plants as medicine, you say, that would be a useful skill for a time traveller to show off with! They could just be like “Hey, look at my great posture and comparatively better teeth! Also, this plant will make you poop less!” “Yay,” the past proles would say if they didn’t already have a long tradition of folk remedies, “Thanks weird pale person whom we cannot understand! Also, here’s some smallpox!”
Anyways, they go to a castle you know will be important later on because Starz actually spent money on the set. The castle is full of old bed frames (last seen at the Allied Meat Plant above) because that’s how the Scots roll. “Aye,” they say, “We has a wee bit of metal here. Best to be storing it in a damp castle so it will rust faster.” The BB and Claire go down to the dungeon then Claire has BB go down on her dungeon.
WE DID IT, MOM. WE DID IT. A CUNNILINGUS JOKE WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF.
So after she’s sated, they wander around the castle some and she totally finds a note written by her future self from the past WAIT THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN BECAUSE CLAIRE IS BAD AT TIME TRAVEL. Jen is probably tired of my insistence on proper time travel preparation and she is definitely tired of me spending hours and hours at any historical site we visit painstakingly going over every inch to see I left a message to myself while stuck in the past. IT’S JUST GOOD PLANNING PEOPLE. Seriously! Some people that you should carry a Time Travel Go Bag strapped to your leg at all times, but I think those people are nuts because your future self (in the past) could tell your past self (in the future) to bring some extra luggage and maybe a few books on how to build a combustion engine next time you go to visit those ruins just outside of town hint hint.
Jeez. Where were we? Let’s skip to the best part of all Highland Sex Vacations: Tea With the Reverend. That’s where she bends over and grabs your left ankle with one hand and your right wrist with another while you stroke your hah hah no seriously you just go have tea with a Reverend. It turns out the Reverend is a time traveler himself. Hugo from Vicar of Dibley got lost one day and was sent back in time to just after WWII. Not knowing what else to do, he decided to follow in the Vicar’s footsteps and join the clergy. I’m sure he goes into this with BB, but we don’t hear it because Menfolk can’t have ladies hear them talk so the housekeeper takes Claire into the kitchen to freak her out by dumping tea all over everything and talking about her messed up palms.
Why Reverend Hugo keeps a kitchen witch around, I don’t know. He must actually be that thick.
Anyways, the housekeeper is a witch in that really annoying way that that one cute girl in high school was totally a witch and every interaction with her was a delicate calculation of cuteness vs talking about astrology. “Ungh, I don’t want to have to talk about star signs again but OMG SHE’S HOLDING MY HAND YESSSS.” Claire is as just as transfixed as I was as she learns that she’ll have two loves or something. I wonder why her life line didn’t end and restart somewhere up by her elbow.
Lacking teenage boy hormones and an object(s) to fixate on, Claire gets bored and heads home. BB decides to chill with Reverend Hugo for awhile. On his way home, he practises walking all trenchcoat cool through the rain just like he might have done if he was any sort of interesting spy during the war. “Still got it,” he thinks. He tries to show off his technique to some drunk dude pissing on a monument in the town square but the Pissing Ghost ups and vanishes. Duh-dun! According to Jen his story will be continued later when a green van with ‘Mystery Machine’ turns up in town. (Spoiler: It’s Old Man MacDougal, owner of the old Standing Stone Amusement Park just outside of town!).
So BB goes upstairs to his room and somehow turns “Oh snap I just saw a g-g-g-ghost!” into “I assume you slept around with other dudes during the war. I’m both okay and sad with that, but mostly remember that I’m okay with you getting it on if you’re far from home. It’s like a Hall Passport.” I guess they then do it again but by now I’m not even noticing all the sex. I’m starting to wonder if my libido is broken. BB sets an alarm clock so they can get up early to have more sex.
Also, see a Stevie Nix interpretive dance troop.
They sneak up on this ancient coven of witches who flail around like the sexy aliens from Space Mutiny, waving torches at a bunch of rocks. Because this ancient order is staffed only by nubile teens and the witch housekeeper, keeping out of sight is not a problem. The housekeeper does no dancing because ew I guess, but she sort of stands aside and nods at the dancers. The sun rises thanks to their valiant efforts and lo on that day Stevie Nix is born. BB and Claire go to investigate and BB gets to employ his SUPER SPIEZ SKILLZ by hiding behind a rock when one of the dancers comes back to the hill to have a smoke or something.
BB and Claire depart and have some more sex I guess, but then Claire, who has been studying botany, wonders what a Forget Me Not flower – a basic and well known plant – is and after looking it up in her Big Book of Flower Pictures For Our Audience heads back up to the stones to pick a flower CSI style when OH SNAP SHE TOTES FALLS BACK IN TIME
Of course, Scotland of 200 years before looks a lot like Scotland of now, so it takes a lot of her wandering around the woods being all like WHA before she starts to figure out something up.
Oh, yeah, and there’s some dudes with muskets firing off at random. Luckily no musket can ever hit something on screen and since the camera stays on Claire, she’s pretty much invulnerable. (The ‘pretty much’ part is that she can still get cold owing to her leaving her shawl behind where she woke up CLAIRE IS BAD AT TIME TRAVEL).
So Claire runs around and meets someone who looks just like her husband. Her face immediately falls because the dude is dressed as a redcoat and if there is anything more tedious than a genealogy loving husband is a historical reenactment loving husband. But she quickly realizes that this man is not her husband when he actually shows some sexual interest in her.
THIS IS WHAT I WAS FORESHADOWING. WE WERE ALL LIKE ‘CLAIRE, DITCH THE LAME-O AND GET WITH A RAPE-O!’
Luckily she is saved by a Scottish Ninja who falls out of a tree and beats Rapey Brutus (RB) up. If RB is the main badguy, why didn’t the Scottish Ninja just kill him then? Seems like that would have solved a lot of problems. Instead, he just bonks her on the head and takes her to his stinky lodge where men wearing blankets all gargle at each other. She meets their approval when she helps pop one of their shoulders back in place (silly primitives have never seen Lethal Weapon. All you need is a desk!). She quickly susses out which of the Scotts is low haggis on the caber pole and takes his belt and gives it to Ole Shoulder Wound.
This is Claire and Jamie’s Meet Cute. She steals a belt for him.
Anyways, their long ride turns into a bit of horse golf (a long ride, ruined) when Claire suddenly remember that BB said that the English would hide by a really obvious rock and ambush folks. This news excites the Scots who never thought that possible before. Claire then reveals that the pointy ends of swords should go in the other guy and they all nod sagely and pretend to take notes on potatoes or something. I feel I’m running out of Scottish stereotypes here.
So the Scots ride off to apply their newfound knowledge of ambushes and swordpoints to the English. Just then, the second unit director yells ‘Action!’ at the English soldiers who have been hiding waiting for the Scots to get ready for them and there’s some more musket play. Claire wanders around some running? hiding? walking in a circle? when Jamie returns to collect her. He’s covered in blood but claims it’s more of the other guy’s which raises even more questions if you think about how the soldiers were shooting at them in the first place.
The gang gets back together and Claire’s one of the gang until Jaime falls off his horse. His Ole Shoulder Wound is acting up again and has developed an acute case of the musket balls. Claire shouts at everyone one and takes the Lord’s Name (Teddy Roosevelt) in vain. Even though she has caught on to the fact she’s back in time, she still demands a bunch of Future Medicine from the Scots who only really have alcohol and she knows that so why not ask for it in the first place?
Ole Shoulder Wound is dealt with until the next time Jamie walks into a seagull or a wagon wheel or something and they make it to the castle where Claire and BB dined out in earlier! What a surprise! Claire immediately sets at carving a message to her future self in the rocks OH WAIT NO SHE DOESN’T BECAUSE
CLAIRE IS BAD AT TIME TRAVEL.