It’s one loooong road trip with Claire ‘Are We There Yet’ Beauchamp traveling with the MacKenzies on their annual trek to collect the rent. We open with Claire standing by a lake reciting John Donne’s “Absence” as she is joined by Ned Gowan who recites along with her. Mr. Gowan, the lawyer for the MacKenzies’, is having breathing problems, so she gives him a few hits of thorn apple for his pipe which relieves his asthma and also causes him to change into a tie dyed shirt and sing the Broadway soundtrack from ‘Hair’. Claire has made a friend! He says he works for the MacKenzies because although he had a city office with lace curtains, he longed for adventure. Claire says he has the ‘soul of a romantic’. Personal note: I decide of all the characters in the books, I am most like Ned Gowan.
Around the campfire, Dougal has morphed into ‘Captain of the Middle School Football Team’ and is telling dirty jokes. Angus saunters over to give Claire her dinner fresh off the grill with the fur still attached. I gag, but she doesn’t. What nauseates hers is being excluded as the men are speaking Gaidhlig. Jamie brings her a bannock and tells her not to worry, the men don’t hate her they just don’t trust her. She asks Jamie if he thinks she’s a spy and he says he does NOT but ‘there are things you’re not telling us and you’re still thinking about running away.’ She stomps her foot, runs up the nearest tree and slams the door.
We’re in a farmyard and the villagers are lined up to pay their rent with livestock, grain and money. Dougal is slapping backs, kissing babies and charming the populace. Claire notices Ned putting money in two different bags, but she is also bored and wanders off. She hears singing and follows the sound and meets the village women who are waulking the wool. This is a disgusting process where dye is set in wool by pouring ‘hot piss’ over it and rhythmically rubbing it in with their bare hands, since they’re out of rubber gloves. The women sing songs to break the monotony and their voices are beautiful.
They take a quick time-out for Scottish mojitos and the homeowner’s baby begins to cry. She says he won’t nurse and she can’t bottle feed because her husband gave their goat to the Laird. She then asks Claire to pee in a bucket, as one does with a first-time houseguest, for the next batch of wool waulking.
Claire squats over the bucket and the door flies open, Angus storms in, grabs her and shoves her out the door. He’s in big-time trouble for losing her and a shouting match ensues which culminates with her having a tug of war over the goat with Rupert. Speaking of the goat….Rupert may finally have made a ‘love connection.’
Our hero, Jamie, watches with his jaw around his chest as he mentally calculates Claire’s hotness quotient vs. her cray cray. Suddenly a handsome Englishman approaches and asks in a cultured voice ‘Madam, may I be of service?’ As a thank you for his kindness, he is immediately surrounded by MacKenzie men reaching for knives, swords and grenades and since he doesn’t have a death wish, he leaves.
That night the villagers are gathered at Ye Olde Applebee’s and Dougal gives a rousing speech in Gaidhlig which ends with him ripping Jamie’s shirt open exposing his scars. Everyone is shocked (especially Jamie) and when Ned holds out a bag, they all drop money in. Jamie is frozen in place for a loooooooooong time until the last person leaves. Dougal tells Claire to fix the shirt and Jamie finally comes back to life, grabs it and storms out.
Next morning on the banks of a beautiful river, Ned Gowan brings Claire ‘blood pudding’. #Ew Claire thanks him by asking how Colum would feel if he knew Ned and Dougal were stealing from him. Claire just can’t seem to keep her mouth shut. Later they come upon a traitor’s home being burned by The Watch/Scottish Mafia. Jamie high tails it out of there as The Watch would sell their grannies for a nickel and they don’t give a rip that he’s our hunkalicious hero. The Watch gives the MacKenzies’ their share of the confiscated food. Later around the fire, Angus offers Claire some meat. “I have no stomach for stolen food and I won’t sit with thieves!’ shouts the least popular girl in school. Angus hauls her up, points a knife in her face and says ‘I will not be judged by an English hoor’ when our hero intervenes, “All the more for us, Angus”? Angus lets her go and Claire storms off. Jamie follows and asks ‘what’s gotten into you woman?’ She replies “Angus can kiss my English ass”. Jamie scratches his head and along with the rest of us wonders if ‘Aunt Flo’ has come for her monthly visit.
That night instead of letting Dougal tear his shirt for the umpteenth time, Jamie removes it himself. (How many shirts does he own? Are they made of magic material or is he a master seamstress?) During Dougal’s speech, Claire recognizes the phrase ‘Long Live The Stuart’ and flashes back to one of Frank’s endless Youtube Instructional videos which reveal their knowledge of the Jacobite rebellion. Claire realizes the MacKenzies actions are political not criminal.
Next morning as she watches them close up the camp, she sees them, not as criminals but as rebels who are fighting for a lost cause. Later they come upon two men strung up with the letter ‘T’ for Traitor carved in their chests. That night in the next village, Dougal tells the story and instead of ripping Jamie’s shirt off, he just slams down a collection plate and people throw in their money. Later Claire is laying in bed, not sleeping, (she doesn’t sleep or eat, my theory is she could be a vampire as well as a time traveler) when she hears a noise outside her door. She grabs a heavy candlestick and opens the door to investigate, ‘Miss Marple’ style, and trips over Jamie who is catching some shut eye on the filthy hallway floor. He explains he is protecting her from the drunks downstairs, so she invites him in her room to sleep and he is appalled at her strumpet-like behavior asking if she be cray-cray? They compromise that he will take a blanket from her bed, as she hands it to him their fingers touch and burst into flames.
Next morning Little Miss Sunshine comes down to ‘not eat breakfast’ as Jamie heads out to take care of the horses. At a nearby table, men speaking Gaidhlig are calling Claire the town hoor when suddenly Angus opens a can of whoop ass on them. Both teams charge the dugouts and a brawl ensues. Afterwards Claire is simultaneously caring for and berating them for fighting, as Murtagh explains they were defending her honor not having a random beat down. Later they’re getting ready to leave as Rupert regales the men with tales of past romantic conquests involving Sweaty Nettie, and Hairlip Krissie when Claire pipes up ‘the only thing I believe is that your left hand gets jealous of your right’. The men burst out laughing as Rupert proclaims he’s never heard a woman tell a joke before. He must not have cable. Jamie mentions they’ll be riding to Culloden Moor and Claire flashes back to Frank’s Youtube Instructional videos about Culloden, the battle where 2,000 Scots will be wiped out in under an hour and the Clans will be all but obiliterated.
That evening Claire is by the river when suddenly Dougal is towering over her, ‘Who are you? You’re sewing the seeds of doubt, plus Mrs. Fitz tells me you have strange undergarments!’ Claire responds, “I am trying to save your life!” Suddenly, they’re surrounded by red coats lead by the persistent Lt. Jeremy Foster. “Madam, Once more I ask you, is everything alright?” Dougal says, ‘Back off dude’! Foster counters with ‘Tell me madam, are you hear by your own choice?’ Claire gives him a long unanswered stare ‘All My Children’ style as we fade to black. Dum dum dum! What will happen? Will Claire turn her back on the MacKenzie clan after they’ve provided her with a 5-star wardrobe, food & shelter not to mention the pleasure of Jamie’s company? Stayed tuned till next week’s show!