Drew – Episode 5: Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Lashings

This week, Claire and the Gang literally take the show on the road. Clan MacKenzie is in need of money having discovered that while their income in promises sworn earnestly on the blade of a knife is quite high, currency can actually be exchanged for goods and services. So Uncle Mythbuster leads a touring company of Scots around the countryside staging a wildly anachronistic production of Rent. His rendition of ‘You Okay, Honey?’ is tear-jerking, provided you can listen past all the bagpipes.

One of the first things all Good Parents tell their kids when they come of age is that, should you get locked up in prison, you should immediately find the biggest, scariest prisoner and just go grapenuts crazy on them. You’ll probably get hurt real bad, but at least the rest of the prisoners will know not to mess with you.

Claire clearly received this advice and applied it in the shape of a stool swiftly to Uncle Mythbuster’s head last episode. That seems to have been completely forgotten as she receives no comeuppance for beating up the second most powerful noble in the region. Instead, she’s on vacation with him and acts pretty much like a teenager rolling their eyes at the family road trip to go see the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota. So ungrateful! I mean, slave ownership was legal in Scotland until the 1770s. Just say’n, Claire.

Still, Claire tests out her place in the travelling band’s pecking order by cornering an out of place nerdlinger, Ned. Dude even has glasses, asthma, and recites poetry! He’s pretty much Milhouse. Of course, Claire can only make friends with people who either sick or injured or have a relative who is, so she wins Milhouse over pretty quickly by getting him stoned on some wacky weed that cures his asthma. Go go plant knowledge!

Oh, hey, this is me remembering that Claire was able to put the mickey on like half the clan with Valerian root last episode. Gee, wonder if she could try the same thing here? No? Forgot all about that? Oh. Okay.

So instead of escaping into the countryside over the slumbering bodies of poisoned Scots, Claire instead endures them talking foreign around her and not letting her join in their impromptu Mumford and Sons jam sessions. Jamie and Milhouse take some pity on her, but it’s private pity. I mean, they could sit down and talk with her at dinner time (all dinners on the road are morsels plucked off a roasted thing), but since Claire’s favorite topics are all “you’re doing it wrong” and “let me go” that’d get old real fast.

The gang rumbles into a village that has had their Neatest Village in Scotland application “lost” in the mail seven years running. All the locals line up with an increasingly hilarious supply of tribute to pay off the MacKenzie for reasons. Coins, small sacks of grain, chickens, geese, goats, and even pigs! “Here is my rent, Mister Landlord! It’s a living thing that will cost you my neighbor’s rent to feed. Don’t want to do that? Guess you could slaughter it and literally feed three people with it.” No wonder Uncle Mythbusters has to do a late show story hour to raise extra coin – the stuff he is being paid in can literally constitute a large meal. Imagine that – your rent for an entire year is a breakfast buffet for three.

While the gang haggles over the quality of geese, Claire wanders off. Good guard job, Angus! Hey, Claire! Maybe Angus would like you more if you didn’t disappear at every opportunity! Maybe what he thinks wouldn’t matter if, when you wander off, you keep wandering off, so as to escape? Nope? You got distracted by an all inclusive Interactive History Experience? Oh, okay. I’m still trying to gauge your commitment to getting back to the stones here – it seems to rank below “Hang out with strange women who smell like wee.”

Angus, understandably frustrated at his inability to do his only job, shows up and interrupts Claire’s fun. He drags her off to the gang who is getting ready to leave. I guess the town was small enough that they only needed to be there for half a day. Claire gets in a snit (who am I kidding, Claire is drunk again) and tries to free a goat to return to the villagers who need it to feed a baby. The town is small enough that it only has the one goat, I guess.

Goatgate causes a big stir in the village and locals come from literally yards around to gawp at Claire’s tantrum. Claire is shocked that her attempts to steal tax revenue do not go over well. Luckily, her hero shows up and in a strong, clear English accent, asks if she’s okay. Hah, yeah, it’s not Jamie. It’s Some Dude. At first, I thought he was a blacksmith as we saw him shoeing a horse, but after his attempts to be a White Knight are rebuffed by a bunch of glaring Scots, he leaves in a huff, screwing a fedora on his head and a redcoat over his shoulders. “I’ll leave such a negative review of this town on Yelp!” he wuffles through his tears.

Wait, a redcoat? In town? A town so small it only takes a few hours to collect taxes from every citizen. Where did he come from? How come none of the locals let Uncle Mythbusters know there was a redcoat about? Or even an Englishman? This would be big gossip for One Goat Mudloch. You’d think that he’d want to know that, seeing as he’s got a suspected English spy with him. Prolly want to make sure those two don’t meet, better make sure Angus keeps a better eye on her GODDAMMIT

Bah, we’ll probably not see that dude again, so no worries. I mean, it’s not like Uncle Mythbusters is also collecting funds for a rebellion against the English or anything. Oh, wait, of course he is. That’s what Jamie’s here for – to have his shirt ripped off and flogging scars exposed like a hunk of meat! Every night! Two shows on Saturdays!

I note Jamie’s bullet wound has healed up quite well. How much time has passed again?

This explains why one of the big items collected for taxes were clean shirts. They’re going through at least one a night. Jamie claims he can mend them himself, but at each rip we see, it’s a fresh shirt. I mean, if Jamie could actually sew, he probably would have put together a Mario Balotelli-style ‘Why Always Me?’ shirt to wear under the white one.

If Claire is a suspected spy, why would Uncle Mythbusters bring her along to witness his straight up treason?

So the Scarcapades get old and Uncle Mythbusters decides to freshen up the act. The Gang comes across a pair of dead men who have been strung up on big ole Xs (St. Andrew’s Cross!) with Ts carved into them. “T for Traitor!” they exclaim, but I suspect it’s the work of Torro.

Uncle Mythbusters immediately workshops a solid ten with the new ‘crucified on a hill’ material. He rolls it out at the next open mike they come across and it’s a huge hit.

I wonder how Jamie feels? He used to be the Man of the Hour, the Main Event, but now it’s “murdered victims” this and “slaughtered innocents” that. Sure, he complained about being used as a spectacle, but deep down I know he liked it. While Uncle Mythbusters kills it with his new act downstairs in an inn, Jamie slinks off to sleep in front of Claire’s door.

Jen says this is super romantic that Jamie wanted to protect Claire’s virtue by sleeping on a doorstep, but to me it only points out that Jamie Frasier is essentially a sketchy hobo:

  • Fact: Jamie never sleeps in a bed – only on the ground, in barns, and across doorsteps.
  • Fact: Jamie has problems with the law he tries to explain away as not his fault.
  • Fact: Jamie has no permanent job, just a series of part time positions.
  • Fact: Jamie has Family Drama, but can’t disentangle himself from them.
  • Fact: Jamie goes by a false name.
  • Fact: Jamie has made out with underaged women.
  • Fact: Jamie immediately latches on to any new, unattached women in his social group.

If your bestie brought to a party a new beau who exhibited two out the above seven Jamie Qualities, you’d take her aside and be all Real Talk with her within 30 minutes. “But he’s so sweet!” she’d say. “How many times has he come to you bloody?” you’ll reply, arms crossed. She’d look into your Serious Eyes, sigh, and say, “but i’m so lonely.” You two will cry a bit, talk about Old Times, and hope that her soon-to-be-ex hobo lover would pick a fight with someone and get tossed out of the party.

Speaking of picking a fight, that’s exactly what the gang does! Some Other Dudes are totally ragging on Claire in Gaelic at the inn the next morning. The Gang doesn’t like this for macho reasons and bloodshed ensues. Thus, Uncle Mythbusters is proven right about the need to have a healer even though it was because of the healer that people got hurt in the first place. Nobody thinks too hard about it and they all have a good laugh as they get ready to head off into the distance and OH SHIT IS THAT REDCOAT GUY BACK AGAIN I TOTALLY DID NOT SEE THIS COMING BACK WHEN HE LEFT PRACTICALLY TWIRLING A SINISTER MUSTACHE

The episode ends of a cliff hanger – will Claire escape with the redcoats? – that is promptly answered by the Next Time On Outlander segment that shows that yes, Claire went off with the redcoats.

Sigh.

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