From Page to Screen: Outlander S1:E5, “Rent”

From Page to Screen: Outlander S1:E5, “Rent”

Let’s face it, I’ve thought that all the earlier episodes of Outlander have been fabulous. But “Rent” puts them all to shame. It’s certainly the best that I’ve seen yet. I can only hope that this trend continues.

The cinematography was absolutely breath-taking. All I could say was, “Oh, wow. Look at that!” over and over. This is the first time where the scenery is more than just an afterthought. It’s almost a character by itself. Take a look at this still. Isn’t it gorgeous? The green is so vivid. I wish I could find a photo of the streams that Claire stands by. It’s nothing short of magical. Outlander - Rent - Scenery

So I’ve heard a lot of moaning about the show not having subtitles for the Gaelic. Here’s the deal with that: the story is told from Claire’s perspective. We know what she knows. Since she doesn’t know Gaelic, we’re forced to figure things out as she does. For example, scene after scene Dougal gives impassioned pleas to the villagers to raise money for an army. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out what he’s doing. The clandestine meeting, the impassioned voices, the bold display of brutality on Jamie’s back. We don’t need subtitles for that. Claire gets it wrong the first time but eventually sees the truth. We’re meant to do the same. It’s one of those petty quibbles (like “Claire’s eyes aren’t whiskey colored”) that I keep encountering.

I’ve spent the last 4 episodes thinking that Angus is Rupert. I’ve had this issue for a while now. But now I know who is who now. Angus all but drags Claire away from the other women in the village. He also is the first to start a brawl fight when the villagers question her honor. As much of a jerk as he is some times, he’s certainly growing on me. I think the brawl brought them all together … which I’m certainly glad for because Claire’s isolation was making me feel all wibbly-wobbly inside. I’m glad she can crack a manhood joke and become one of the boys.

I mean, how heartbreaking is it that she knows the Jacobites are in the midst of a losing battle? There’s really nothing that she can do about it either. She either comes off sounding nuts or like a spy trying to put doubt in the ranks of Dougal’s men. It’s lose-lose for her. She’s with these living, breathing, passionate men and most of them are going to die. The parallelism with WWII doesn’t escape me. She’s a literal life saver and she’s just been transported to a time and place where she has the means to actually save men before they’ve been critically and mortally wounded. Of course she’s going to take that opportunity. Like Dougal says, “You’ve seen things.”

In any case, I smiled when Claire stepped on Jamie, sleeping at her door. The romantic tension is palpable now. Also, the cliffhanger ending. My husband predicted it, “Find out her answer next week!” said in a cheery television announcer’s voice. He was right. Of course, it isn’t really a cliffhanger for those of us who’ve read the book, but it was dramatic all the same.

Outlander just keeps getting better and better. I’m so excited to see next week’s episode, “The Garrison Commander,” mostly because it’s the last episode before THE WEDDING.

© 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.