A few fun facts about our be-kilted hero Jamie: He’s eaten grass (“It doesn’t taste bad, but it’s not very filling”), MacTavish isn’t his real surname (it’s a nom de guerre, if you will—and the reason no one ever seems to know who Claire is referring to as Mr. MacTavish), and he’s wanted for murder (which isn’t so much fun as potentially fatal, but let’s not start splitting hairs just yet). If Starz weren’t so intent on giving each Outlander episode such absurdly literal titles, “Castle Leoch” could have alternately been called “Bringing Up Jamie” or “Rebel With a Cause” or a much better hunk-specific pun than I can think of right now.
But the episode episode begins with that literal place, as the clansmen and Claire ride into Castle Leoch. They’re greeted by the formidable Mistress FitzGibbons (Mrs. Fitz for short), who tends to the household—she’s essentially the 18th-century version of Mrs. Hughes. Now, if you look up “side eye” on Urban Dictionary, the earliest listed definition dates back to 2006, but Mrs. Fitz perfected the art centuries earlier as she looked disheveled Claire up and down, promising to find her “something to wear that’s a bit more, well, a bit more.” Claire protests that she needs to tend to Jamie’s injuries, and once again Mrs. Fitz’s eyes are the window to her soul. “You mean to say you know what do for that?” she asks skeptically. “You’re a charmer then? A Beaton?” “Something like that,” Claire responds, unsure.
As Claire and Jamie make their way into the stone structure, we flash back to Claire walking the same path with Frank—a nice narrative device used throughout the episode to keep Frank at the fore, just as he must be in Claire’s mind. With Jamie’s top doffed for Claire to tend to his shoulder, she gets her first good look at his back, which alarmingly resembles one of those packaged honey hams from the deli counter at the grocery store. He explains that his scars are from a Redcoat flogging. Two, actually, in the span of a week, administered by Jack Randall. You see, Randall paid a visit to Jamie’s family’s farm a few years before, attacking Jamie’s sister, Jenny, and exacting punishment on Jamie, who tried to protect her. Randall gave Jenny an ultimatum: Watch her brother continue to get beaten (probably to death) or take good ol’ Black Jack inside for “better entertainment.” She obliged, and Jamie was carted off.
When present-day Jamie comes out of his reverie, he thanks Claire for her good touch and says her husband is a lucky man. At this, Claire breaks down into tears.
“Is he not alive?” Jamie asks, to which Claire answers honestly: “No, actually, he’s not alive.” Jamie wraps her in an embrace, and as they pull apart from one another, well, electricity wasn’t en vogue just yet, but you get the idea. Claire quickly comes to her senses and apologizes for the lingering look.
“You need not be scared of me, nor anyone else here as long as I’m with you,” Jamie assures her.
“When you’re not with me?” she asks.
“You must never forget that you’re English in a place where that’s not a pretty thing to be.”
NEXT: Cue the makeover montage!