This is the inaugural posting for a new category called ‘Outlander From the Inside Out’. Each week we will bring you a more in-depth analysis of certain themes in the current week’s episode. So sit back and enjoy. And please feel free to post comments on the bottom; input is great!! 🙂
Now…on with the post!!
NOTE: This entire post centers on happenings in Episode 1.09 ‘The Reckoning’. If you haven’t seen it yet…what are you waiting for?!? Find a friend…stranger…neighbor…your local KFC (but only if you don’t live in Oklahoma)…and crash their pad; kick the family out. Do what you need to do to watch this episode!!
So…while the fans are talking about
Leghair, The Walking Lifetime Movie Laoghaire, a Certain Spanking Scene, and that HAWT makeup sex, I’ve been thinking intensively about the tense political climate of Castle Leoch.
Oh who am I kidding?
While the Castle Intrigue reminds me of the Real World, the Head Honchos have hit some rocky terrain. I’ll give you a rundown of the events first…
When the Happy Couple (happy my eye) return to the Castle, the Manse is happy to see them! Unfortunately the First Family of Leoch aren’t and certainly don’t hesitate to inform a confused Jamie of their not-so-felicitousness. Letitia is sharp with her tongue and her husband is anxious to get down to business but, aware of his responsibilities as Laird, lets his ‘politeness’ in front of the Castle drip with so much sarcasm I’m surprised nobody slipped and broke their neck. Good thing too…the NHS won’t be around for another 200 years and good insurance is so hard to find.
Wait a minute…what am I thinking? The Healer Has Returned! Huzzah!!
As it turns out Colum’s got three grievances against the ‘three weasels’…
#1. Who’s gonna pay for the train wreck that was Fort William? (“I will, I will!” says Jamie.)
#2. The rents? Oh gentleman, did you forget to tell me about this goodie bag?
But something surfaced in the discussion of the Jacobite money that stirred the already simmering pot of ‘Uh-Oh’… Dougal told his brother, to his face, that the restoration of Stuart transcends clan or man, something that Colum isn’t too thrilled to hear. He reminds them that he’s the Laird and he’s in charge. Of course Dougal, being Dougal the Hothead, passionately reminds his brother that he’s been faithful, even down to assuring Colum’s bloodline…
For a job well done, Dougal asks for the gold and this, understandably, pisses off the Laird who dismisses him emphatically. Aww…that’s so nice of you, Ned, to offer to ‘calm his distemper’. I have a feeling a lot of people have tried. Don’t feel bad, Mr. Gowan, if you can’t.
And… #3: Jamie! You went and married THAT SASSENACH and now nobody will support you as My Successor! (HUH? Since when?! (More on that a bit later))
We then see that it’s young Willie who ratted the weasels to the Mackenzie. He seems to hold Colum in esteem, as Laird, whereas the Scooby Gang reminds him that Dougal is the War Chief and what he says goes. Uh-oh. Loyalties have shifted. I thought it was Colum, as Laird, who was Supreme Master?
Because Jamie, as a natural peacemaker (despite his apparent destiny…or knack?…of getting involved in every battle raging on the planet), goes behind everybody’s back and approaches Colum. He suggests making peace; this doesn’t sit well with the Laird because he wants them punished. Jamie suggests giving the gold to Dougal as a gift but Colum thinks he’s crazy if he’ll commit treason by sanctioning a Jacobite army. Colum’s allegiance is clearly to his clan and not with a Scottish Royal living abroad who may, or may not, get off his fanny and take back power. He seems to think that Dougal’s actions are more akin to a hobby then something serious. I think Jamie sees this and points out it’ll come to nothing; there’s no army and the highlanders are too busy cattle rustling to care about going to war against the British. Besides, Charlie’s not leaving the luxury of Italy. “Let your brother play the rebel, as long as he does it quietly.” Jamie reminds Colum that while Dougal’s War Chief only Colum, as Laird, can declare war.
Colum calls another meeting and says to Dougal, “One day, brother, you’ll talk your head off your shoulders and onto a pike.” I smell a whiff of foreshadowing… Colum then reminds Dougal of his Oath by the Dirk but, to Dougal’s surprise, gives him the gold.
So that’s what happened onscreen…
…but there’s so much happening off that it can make your head spin. For a self-contained community, Castle Leoch has more secrets than the Kardashians have issues (and that’s saying a lot).
Given the fact that clans tended to be ruled by families, who do you fight more with, friends or family? Bingo. In the case of Clan Mackenzie, you have two brothers ruling the clan, Laird and his brother, the War Chief. Because Colum is infirm and unable to conduct a lot of the physical responsibilities of the clan, Dougal takes responsibility for it.
This seems to be working fine but, really, who has never NOT argued with their sibling, especially when one of them is, well, Dougal Mackenzie? Growing up I made a sport of it; the more vicious and loud I could yell at my brother the better it would be.
And who hasn’t been mad that you do all the work while your sibling takes the glory? I think there is a lot of simmering resentment and anger between the brothers but, for the sake of the clan, it seems to either be ignored or dealt with passive-aggressively. As a result, intrigue, lust, power struggles and, well, universal grumpiness seems to be the norm.
Happy bunch, those Mackenzies, aye?
Let me just interject here to comment on the amazing depth of Diana’s material and the wonderful job that Moore & Co have done in conveying the struggle in this episode. The tension is very heavy, weighed under by history and family.
Anyway, when the group gets back to the Castle, Colum is, inexplicably, upset by the happy news. Meanwhile Letitia, First Lady of Castle Leoch, is upset…because they hadn’t had a wedding at the Castle in oh so long. Seriously Letitia? You’re upset because the wedding wasn’t at the castle?! I mean I can understand but a proper perspective would be nice. (The first time I watched the episode I immediately thought of Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet’s mother, from ‘Pride and Prejudice’)
Or have I misinterpreted her biting tongue as a statement of fact?
But poor Jamie was so confused. He was congratulated and cheered by the populace when they returned (except by
The After School Special Laoghaire but I won’t address that Lolita) and he expected the same from the Mackenzie. After all, Dougal orchestrated the marriage; why wouldn’t Colum be happy, or at least more accepting? (Well, Dougal did that for Claire’s sake, certainly not for Jamie’s) It’s not like Jamie pledged to Colum; he made his position very clear with regards to that situation.
**PLOT TWIST JAZZ HANDS**
…it turns out Colum wants Jamie to be successor. Since when? This news surprised every book!fan who instantly recognized this was a show!thing and not a book!thing. I have since learned that it was used to forward storylines but…that doesn’t surprise me. After all, this is a television adaptation versus the book; things will be different.
What it did was get me thinking about the underlying tensions and power struggles within the family.
We know that Book!Jamie can have the visage of a rock; unlike his wife Book!Jamie can be extremely hard to read. I am loving Sam’s interpretation but does this surprise anybody else that he’s not acting surprised? I don’t believe Colum would react badly by Jamie’s surprise so I don’t think there’s a danger there. Why hasn’t he told Claire? Because they are fighting? Does he want to keep this close to his vest? Or did we run out of time in this episode? Jamie’s a very smart, instinctive lad so I will trust his judgment about keeping it quiet; I know that Jamie always has a reason for everything he does. Makes one wonder though…
And what about Dougal? Learning that Colum might not want Dougal as successor takes the tension during The Gathering and The Oath Taking in a whole new direction. Colum smiled when Jamie promised his loyalty but not his oath during the Taking. Now he wants him to be Successor? Was Colum smiling because Jamie avoided getting killed by his brother, there in front of him? Or is there something else?
Dougal’s resentment is bubbling to the surface. I have many reasons to be leery of this War Chief; he’s a difficult man to like, in my opinion. But I can see why he’d be upset. He goes to battle for the family; he collects rents and deals with tenants for the family. Heck, he even slept with Leticia to ‘assure his bloodline’.
(I’m now convinced that Hamish wasn’t an intrigue but a plan. That would make quite a bit of sense, given Colum’s inability to procreate.)
In Dougal’s mind he deserves SOMETHING for what he does for his family, though asking for gold in exchange for being faithful is a bit below the belt if you ask me. Given that Dougal’s resentful when he asks explains the way he asks. After all, Dougal’s second fiddle to an infirm brother (though he’s loving the power and a ‘promise’ of Laird when Colum dies); resentful of the nephew he fostered (but married, and currently bedding, the Sassenach he lusts after). Life is looking pretty sad for the War Chief.
I don’t want Dougal to discover what Colum told their nephew but…I have a feeling it will happen. The moment Dougal does all bets are off and Jamie would, most certainly, have to flee. If Dougal would’ve killed him in front of the crowd at the Oath Taking, it’s guaranteed he would’ve offed him anywhere.
So…let’s just hope our Divided Castle isn’t built on Sand…
HONORABLE MENTIONS OF AWESOMENESS…
*Angus, the little fart, standing there all high and mighty as you question Jamie’s loyalty. You, sir, are a wienie but I can’t help adoring you.
*Murtagh. You say so much when you say nothing at all; in this episode your spittle speaks volumes. You are fast becoming a very great favorite of mine. Love the tall, dark, silent ones… And hats off to Duncan Lacroix for being the best Murtagh I could’ve asked for. You rock.
*Gary Lewis for being an awesome Laird.
*Mrs. Fitz. Need I say more??
Now…who’s ready for Episode 10??