I rarely watch a show as it airs, but I’m making an exception for Outlander. I’ve really enjoyed this series by Diana Gabaldon and am eager to follow the TV adaptaion. Since I’m both excited and opinionated, I thought I’d share my thoughts after each episode. This will be a running commentary, so I’d expect some spoilers. With that in mind, I’ll plan on doing these posts on the Thursday afternoon after the episode has aired, giving a fair amount of time to watch before reading. I’m not a professional television reviewer or critiquer by any means, so know that all views come from a bookworm enjoying one of her favorite series coming to life on the screen. Enjoy & feel free to weigh in 🙂
“The Gathering” S1:E4
Episode Synopsis: Claire plots to escape during the Castle’s Gathering ceremony, but encounters with Jamie and a drunken Dougal alter her plans.
Original Air Date: Aug 30, 2014
Length: 1 hour 4 minutes
Overall thoughts about “The Gathering”
“The Gathering” was an episode of highs and lows for me. The pacing was a bit slow for me at points and there were definitely some moments where that voice-over got annoying. But for the most part, I really enjoyed it and thought they did a good job keeping to the book – even though there were some additions, they FELT right. All in all – a solid episode.
I rate “The Gathering” a 4 / 5
The Nitty-Gritty on “The Gathering”
I loved the way this episode started. Got you worried that Claire’s in trouble – though my BF said, “she’s dreaming,” so we weren’t completely fooled – but Claire playing with the kids as a way to find her way out was great. Claire’s clever and yet, she’s clearly having fun with the kids. And they’re having fun with her. So I loved this insight into Claire’s character. And once again the voice-over actually made sense! Yay!
Watching all Claire’s preparations moved a bit slowly, but not in a bad way. I think it was the only way to show us without giving us way too much voice-over later on, so I’m satisfied, despite the slower place. I don’t recall Geillis suspecting what Claire was up to in the book, but if they did add it (remind me if you know), I think it was a nice audition. For one, it allowed for another nice reference back to Frank. And secondly, it added a bit more tension to a fairly slow moving intro. And it gave us more of Lotte Verbeek (Geillis)! Lotte has been a surprising treat and I’m looking forward to her BIG scenes coming up (I guess it will be next year though?)
So we finally get to the Gathering. I loved seeing Claire all dressed up (though anyone else wondering if the amount of clothes Claire has access to is a bit unrealistic?) and…. did you see it?!? I knew that Diana Gabaldon was going to be appearing in an episode, but had totally forgotten about it. So I squealed (yes, a bit like a pig) when I saw her. My BF jumped and said, “What? What happened?” because he, of course, had no idea who she was. She had a few lines even and I have to say, she just FIT. My BF would have been clueless that an author, not an actor, delivered those lines.
One of the main thoughts going through my mind during the Gathering was how painful it must have been for poor Colum to stand for hours during these oaths. Thank goodness for the wine! They did a good job showing just how long this process was – we leave for quite a bit with Claire and then come back and as my BF said, “They’re STILL doing that?” And yeah, he was right. It was long and, had we been stuck there any longer, way too boring. It felt very much like the wedding you feel obligated to attend, get all dressed up for, but then can’t wait to leave.
So I was very happy when Claire made her escape. And her method was fantastic! Drugging her bottle of port was genius (again, not something I remember from the book, but it’s been a while) and provided some fun comedy.
Laoghaire’s appearance as Claire tried to escape surprised me as much as it did Claire. I REALLY don’t think that was in the book. I’m like 99% certain it wasn’t. But I think it should have been, because it certainly lines us up really well for some future episodes. And I can’t help but wondering is Laoghaire sincere in her request? I’ll be interested to see how that story line continues. I didn’t expect to enjoy her so much, but Nell Hudson is really nailing the role.
Claire’s narration of her escape, on the other hand, was very annoying. I didn’t need her to tell me how she was going, I could SEE it! I had forgotten all about Dougal’s “saving” Claire and subsequent advances. I thought it was done really well though, and Graham McTavish is just nailing Dougal for me. I particularly loved Claire nailing him over the head though 🙂 That was great!
He then proceeds to crush poor Claire’s hopes – but probably saves her life, so forgivable. Sam has Jamie down perfect, in my opinion too. I absolutely loved the interaction between Claire and Jamie in the stable. It was so right!
Of course, Claire has now landed Jamie in a mess that she doesn’t even understand. I thought they did a pretty good job explaining a fairly complicated scenario quickly. The way they had everyone looking on and partly drawing their swords really amplified the intensity. And I loved the explanation and affirmation that yes, it was all Claire’s fault. Good think Jamie’s smart and a smooth talker 😉
And then there’s the hunt. I really don’t get putting oneself in danger like this – why weren’t they on their horses? And why the noise? I think it was well done though – I’m guessing very accurately – but I will never enjoy scenes where people chase after poor animals and then get injured (or killed) in the process and the animal sort of becomes the bad guy. It did lead to a very sad moment, but also one that showed Claire’s WWII nurse training really coming in handy. Dougal certainly appreciated her in that moment and it did provide the impetus for her to leave Castle Leoch. And since I know what’s coming, I guess the boar hunt was all worth it. Because the next couple weeks should be really great!
Oh and although it didn’t really have much purpose in the episode, I know you enjoyed watching the hockey (that was hockey right?) game! Well I sure did 😉
My final thoughts on “The Gathering”
In some ways, this felt like a transitional episode. But there was definitely some excitement and all sorts of things happened that are going to be really important in future weeks, particularly in character development. I’m really excited to see things on the road this upcoming week – if I remember correctly, that’s when things started getting REALLY interesting.
What did you like most about “The Gathering?”