Outlander: Rent (1×05)
Synopsis: Claire goes on the road with Dougal as he collects rents from the tenants. She meets the clans solicitor who is riding with them. She also becomes aware of Dougal’s involvement in trying to raise money for the Jacobite rebellion.
If I could give this episode a rating higher than five stars, I definitely would. This was hands down the best episode of Outlander so far. Claire goes onto the road with Dougal and his men, along with their lawyer Ned Gowan to collect rent for Colum with the tenants. This is a big point in the story, because we get to see not only history unfolding, but through the eyes of Claire, who, like us, is from a future where she already knows the results of their efforts.
It starts like many of the episodes have started, with Claire on the outside. More so now than ever before, as she does not have Mrs Fitz or Geilis on her side to help her translate as the men ostracize her with their Gaelic. While the men keep their distance, Claire observes Dougal and Ned as they collect rent. Dougal seems friendly with many of the tenants on their land, and warmly invites them all to drinks and food after collecting rent.
Upon stepping away, we get to see Claire once again interact with some of the women in the village. They work on dyeing wool with hot urine (which I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say ‘hot piss’ so gracefully) and there is a general state of camaraderie that Claire definitely hasn’t felt in a few days. However she is rudely interrupted by a furious Angus who drags her back into the center of the village where Dougal and his men are. A little tipsy from drinking with the women, she attempts to take one of the goats given as rent back to the women who have babies that need milk.
Getting into a row with Dougal and his men they are all interrupted by a British man. This attractive (though probably evil) man’s name is Jeremy Foster, or rather Lieutenant Jeremy Foster of His Majesty’s Army. Yeah, I don’t know if this redcoat was just chilling in the village undercover or if they knew it was him, but we definitely do not see the last of him as Dougal and his men force him to back down.
Later that night, Claire witnesses Dougal in a passionate speech in Gaelic before ripping off Jamie’s shirt to show it to the villagers. He collects money from them and Claire deduces he is lining his own pockets with more money from the villagers. It’s only many nights later that she hears words in the Gaelic speech that allows her to understand that Dougal is rallying for the Jacobite cause and an army of his own. I really commend the writers for this, as I always have. The unsubtitled Gaelic forces us to maintain an outsider position, and like Claire, only garner what we can from their body language and speech inflections.
I seriously shed some tears as we flash back to Frank and Claire talking about the failed Jacobite revolutions. Claire herself realizes they are fighting for a lost cause, and that many of the men will die when they plan their revolt in three years. The episode is tumultuous as Claire is kept on the outside and forced to come to her own conclusions, many of the time these conclusions are wrong.
But when she realizes the reality, her warnings only make her that more suspicious as an outsider. Dougal continues to be highly suspicious of her after she warns Ned of their doomed fate.
After a night of drinking in one of the villages, Claire finds Jamie sleeping at her doorstep, protecting her in case any men though to sneak up to her bedroom. It’s endearing watching Claire interact with Jamie, especially when Claire invites Jamie into her room where it is warm and he refuses because of her reputation. As crude as the men can be, they do show some loyalty to Claire the following morning after getting into a brawl defending Claire’s honor against some other men
Throughout the episode Claire’s opinion of the men changes, from thieves into hopeless revolutionaries. And it definitely helps her make her decision about these men when the redcoats come upon her and Dougal near the river. The episode cuts off before she is able to answer if she’s being held against her will, but I’m willing to bed she’ll say no.