Welcome to our “book vs. show” discussion of “Outlander” episode four, “The Gathering,” which aired on Saturday (Aug. 30.) As we’re doing in these discussions, we’re outlining any of the changes that have been made from the book to the show, and if they’ve changed or enhanced anything about the original text. This episode was a biggie, as the oath-taking and gathering are much-loved scenes, so let’s review, shall we?
Claire’s falling in love with Castle Leoch isn’t keeping her from making plans to escape, and that story, for drama’s sake, is much more prominent in this episode. She’s stocking up on food, tracing a path in the woods, and keeping a poker face when questioned by Geillis.
Jamie being forced to appear at the oath-taking, and the political undercurrents swirling between he and his uncles, was dramatic, frightening, and then, finally, joyful. It would be easier for the MacKenzies to just get rid of their nephew and everyone knows it. But we can’t get rid of Jamie, now, can we?
Just as a note, very little changed from the book to the screen in this episode, from the oath-taking to Dougal’s accosting of Claire in the hallway to Jordie’s death in the woods, and I’m very glad for that. They were beautiful to see onscreen and to hear the Gaelic. Goosebumpy indeed. Yes, sure, knocking Dougal unconscious was different, so it’ll be interesting to see if he does actually remember that moment in the future. Perhaps the trust Claire earned during Jordie’s death will carry through during the rent trip.
The dramatic moments in the book are finding a heightened sense of drama onscreen, and that’s good when we’re being fed only 50 minutes of story at a time.
Oh, hullo Diana
Admittedly, I stood and clapped when Diana Gabaldon appeared on screen (the author of “Outlander” was Iona, the well-to-do woman wearing, as Mrs. Fitz remarked, the same dress again and who then shushed Murtagh). Having Mrs. Fitz as was the one who took her down a notch was quite funny. Only Mrs. Fitz could do it!
I’d never thought about it while reading the books, but of course, Claire’s earworms (songs stuck in her head on a loop) must have been big band, 1940s songs! So when that song first started playing in the background as Claire walked through the stable, I actually gasped and thought the song was coming in from outside.
So much has been written about how the music in this show is the additional character we didn’t know it needed. This moment powerfully drove home Claire’s otherworldliness, reminding us that even though she’s looking and acting the part well, she’s not of this time, and neither are her pop culture references. The songs felt like ghosts.
- Kudos for Sam Heughan’s first “Jes Suis Prest” moment. Nice.
- Can someone make an “I’m being followed by Angus and Rupert” T-shirt? I’ll be saying “pourt” for days.
- Dougal (Graham McTavish) continues to win the Battle of the Beard. That man has the best beard.
- Shinty! Hooray for shinty! (Scary field hockey, that is.)
The Zap2it Sassenachs will be enjoying the last moments of summer on Monday (Labor Day, Sept. 1) but look for us the following Monday (Sept. 8), and we’ll discuss “The Gathering” and next Saturday’s (Sept. 6) episode, “Rent” as well. Have fun at the pool!
“Outlander” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.