Outlander: Rent   Books Included 
September 7, 2014 9:30 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Claire is brought along on the MacKenzie rent-collecting trip and discovers hidden motives.
posted by tracicle (13 comments total)
 
I liked this episode, although I thought the Angus-as-mean-guy was starting to get a little heavy handed before they finally started backing off with it near the end. I think seeing this story on screen is somehow making her connection to the entire community and culture more obvious to me than it is in the books. It was interesting and poignant seeing both her and the Highlanders grow more understanding and accepting of each other as the episode progressed.

I have to say, though, that sitting through all these pre-wedding episodes is making me feel like I did the last time I read Pride and Prejudice. Let's just get to the good stuff already!
posted by something something at 12:23 PM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


One thing I'd like to ask book readers. In this episode we see her actively trying to change the future (her present/our past so confusing). She doesn't seem to consider that 1. The past is fixed. This has already happened and therefore can't be changed. 2. If she CAN change the past, there would be ramifications and unforeseen consequences in the future. It's not that I don't understand her motives, but I wonder if in the books she is at all concerned about the ramifications of her behaviors. I know I would be especially if I wanted to get back to the future/present and have it be the same as when she left.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:01 PM on September 7, 2014


It's an ongoing question they deal with throughout the series, whether or not her actions can change things. There isn't really a clear answer, although certainly the big historical events continue to happen as Claire knows they "should." She does often try to keep people she knows and loves from suffering the consequences of larger historical actions (specifically Culloden and the post-battle famine that swept the Highlands in the following years, and other things in later books I won't mention to try to keep you relatively spoiler-free).
posted by something something at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2014


Yeah, her wish to change things seems to be largely limited to small groups of people. Like, she can't change Culloden happening, but she might be able to get the MacKenzies she knows to stay home and survive.

In other news, the TV adaptation is basically making Dougal my favorite character. He (and his actor) are phenomenal.
posted by olinerd at 1:49 PM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


"It's not that I don't understand her motives, but I wonder if in the books she is at all concerned about the ramifications of her behaviors."

This isn't a science fiction time-travel story. Not really. What it means to time-travel and the questions you raise are not explored in any real depth, except insofar as it relates directly to the people Claire cares about. She's worried about Culloden, but there's not much thought given to what it would mean to her future were Culloden avoided. Gabaldon is not at all interested in the implications of time travel, that's not the story she's telling.

I understand this and I think it's totally fine to not cater to those SFF genre conventions that care a great deal about the mechanics and implications of things. This is mostly a historical romance story with a time travel premise. Even so, I often found myself pretty frustrated about this -- someone in a past thread said that Claire sucks at time travel, and I chuckled at that. But, I don't know, I've only read through the third book, so maybe later this kind of stuff is more explicitly dealt with.

I should't overstate it, though. There's a number of worries and conflicts surrounding the possibility of changing the past. But it's not really handled the way that time travel is handled in time travel centric stories.

About this episode ... it's been a while since I read the first book (not so long compared to most, I bet, as it was only last year) but I really thought that Claire had understood pretty quickly what Dougal was doing and it wasn't that she thought that he was stealing from his brother, but that she thought he was doing this without Colum's knowledge or permission and, anyway, most of her ire was about his exploitation of Jamie's torture, which she knows is a Really Big Deal to Jamie. But it's probable that I've misremembered.

I, too, feel that this is all kind of slow. I really can't wait for Jamie to learn her story, it's driving me crazy.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:05 PM on September 7, 2014


Ivan, I've read the books lots and lots of times and I think your impression is accurate, because as I was watching I felt that ShowClaire was a bit dimmer than BookClaire not picking up on that right away. But I think the showrunners had her figure it out gradually to provide them with a way to educate viewers about Jacobites and the coming Rising.
posted by something something at 2:35 PM on September 7, 2014


Yeah, I am pretty sure that Book Claire figured out the Stuart money raising faster, and there was more of her being mad about what Dougal was doing with Jamie. Also, in the book, the big fight in the tavern scene was Jamie fighting the village dudes. I really liked how the show went off-book for this, though. In the book I didn't feel Claire's disconnection from the Scots all that much, and the show is doing a great job of making us feel Claire's outsiderness. I also like that they are developing Jamie and Claire a little more subtley. Or at least, it feels subtle to me knowing what is coming up!

These episodes feel like chugging to the top of a rollercoaster, I feel like the back 8 episodes are going to have to be nonstop action to fit in the rest of the book. I'm actually like nail-bitingly nervous about how on earth they're going to fit everything in so few episodes.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 2:39 PM on September 7, 2014


SPOILER:



In An Echo in the Bone Claire meets Benedict Arnold and likes him.

When I went to the VT Maritime museum they said one of the reasons why he went over to the Brits because he wasn't getting adequate supplies for his troops.

Claire and other time travellers can change small things but not large ones.
posted by brujita at 2:57 PM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


For me, Claire is Bad At Time Travel because she never seems to think how she could set something in motion in the past that would keep her from travelling back in the future. She could even test it - while locked in her Herb Dungeon she could carve 'Claire Beaton 1743' on the wall where she would have seen it when she visited in the future. If she does that and Nothing Happens (she does not remember seeing it, she's still in the past) then she knows she can't change the events that lead her to her captivity. If she carves it and suddenly remembers seeing it, then she knows that some alteration is possible.

I understand the point that this isn't a time travel story so much as a historical romance with a time travel MacGuffin, but the idea that someone presented as being as clever as Claire hasn't tried to test her boundaries irks me. Same way she blows off all superstitions - she just fell through time due to magic stones, don't be so quick to scoff at peasant beliefs!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:05 PM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wonder if in the books she is at all concerned about the ramifications of her behaviors.
Possible spoiler: It's been a while since I read Outlander, but it seems to me that there is a critical scene later in the book in which something bad may have happened to Jack Randall and Claire worries about the implications for Frank. She looks at her wedding band as proof that Frank is still OK.

I think it's reasonable that Claire is more focused on surviving - and about the survival of Jamie - than she is about the ramifications of every action on future generations. Also, keep in mind that Claire came from the 1940s - theories like the Butterfly Effect hadn't yet been dreamed up. (I may be showing my ignorance here because I really don't know when the Butterfly Effect was theorized!)
posted by kbar1 at 9:43 PM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


I found Claire fairly irritating and fighty in the first half of the episode. I was siding with the McKenzies: "Why can't she just roll with it, already?"

The wool waulking scene though was lovely, and it was nice how, even though they were clearly suspicious of an outsider, they accepted her. It looked mighty awkward when Rupert came in to fetch her because it looked like she was yanked off the bucket mid-stream.

The last scene was a little different from the book, enough that I'm really not sure which way they're going to go. I suspect she'll say she's a guest of The McKenzie, but that Dougal will escort her for questioning. That seems most in line with the book.

I also like that they are developing Jamie and Claire a little more subtley. Or at least, it feels subtle to me knowing what is coming up!

There's ShowFrank's likeability for a start; if Claire is too attracted to Jamie then viewers might think the writers are being lazy or cliche. Then she has to be resistant to the wedding; she has to do it from desperation/need for safety, not for attraction/love. I think, given how harsh her relationship with the McKenzies in the show, they will make the wedding seem way, way worse than it seems in the books.

Having said that, there has clearly been some attraction for a while, definitely since Jamie walked her back to her surgery and she, er, "checked his wound". I think they've shown well that he's been interested in her for longer than she realises.
posted by tracicle at 10:27 PM on September 7, 2014


She does at one point also discuss the ethics (though not the mechanics or "science") of time travel with a priest a bit later on. It's not that it never occurs to her... I'd argue that at this stage she's just still a bit shell shocked about what's happened and is convinced it's only temporary, so she hadn't thought though all the implications or possibilities yet.

But yeah, I kinda thought she should have picked up on the Jacobite thing earlier, though I do understand why it may have been done this way for the show.
posted by olinerd at 10:29 PM on September 7, 2014


but it seems to me that there is a critical scene later in the book in which something bad may have happened to Jack Randall and Claire worries about the implications for Frank. She looks at her wedding band as proof that Frank is still OK.

Yeah, I recall that as well.
posted by corb at 4:56 PM on September 9, 2014


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