Up until now, Claire has tried and abandoned various methods of escape from Castle Leoch, including an unsuccessful attempt to put her watchers to sleep with 18th-century herbal roofies. She hasn’t managed to find her way back home just yet, but she continues to make waves in her new world by healing the ill, butting heads with the men and doing good deeds around town - with a little help from the all-knowing Geillis and heartthrob Jamie.
Claire tags along as her captors collect the country folk’s dues to the Laird. They also use Jamie’s scars to raise some extra cash and tell crude jokes in Gaelic to exclude Claire. Feeling left out of the cool kids’ group, she picks some fights with Dougal and Angus, refuses to eat her dinner of perfectly good animal leather, and storms off to the river “to wash” a few times. (Let’s hope she washed after her afternoon massaging “hot piss” fabric with the womenfolk.)
Let’s talk about Claire’s stormy relationship with Dougal for a moment. If looks could kill, those two would eyebrow-glare each other to death. Does anyone else feel that she’s pushing her luck with this guy? We all love Claire for her principles and big mouth, but the pointed contradiction between her 1940s sass and every other submissive female in 18th-century Scotland is pretty heavy-handed. The comment “I’ve never heard a woman tell a joke before!” made me Picard-facepalm.
Finally, in a plot twist to endear the MacKenzies to the viewers once more, we discover the men are Jacobites. Their plan is to raise coin from poor folks to fund rebellions and restore the House of Stuart to the throne. So they’re not criminals, they’re the passionate, political men of history! Feel bad for judging them now? Claire does. Thus the Stockholm syndrome in the making marches onward.
In the meantime, Claire is inching closer to getting under Jamie’s kilt. Episode 5 gives us a brief, lingering hand touch. Oh, the tension! Someone wake me up when they actually get to first base.
Episode 5 ends on a pointed cliffhanger that finally gives Claire a semblance of choice in her fate. Will she choose loyalty to her Scottish captors, or potential freedom with the Red Coats?