This week, we're treated to a huge gathering at Castle Leoch, where all the warriors of the clan come forward to swear fealty to Colum MacKenzie (Gary Lewis) in a solemn ceremony. All the warriors, that is, except Jamie (Sam Heughan), who's hiding out with the horses in order to skip it entirely. If he swears loyalty to Colum, he's painting a target on his back and declaring himself in line to be the next laird instead of Colum's young son, and as Randall's already made sure there's a price on his head, Jamie can't afford another one.
The safest plan to him was to wait for the whole thing to blow over as it's made clear that Colum and Dougal (Graham McTavish) would simply overlook it as long as he laid low.
Unfortunately, this is the night Claire (Caitriona Balfe) has chosen to make her escape. As carefully as she's planned everything, she's thwarted from the get-go, first with an interruption from Laoghaire, then three drunken MacKenzie men with rape on their mind, then a drunken Dougal. She thinks she's home free when she's made it to the barn. Until, of course, she trips over Jamie, who manages to gently dissuade her from making a break for it. He's careful with her, not judgmental, for as much as he likes her, he understands why she needs to at least try and make her way home, and as frustrated as Claire is, she can't help but be charmed by him.
Once she confides to him about the near rape, however, Jamie decides he'll be escorting her safely back to the castle. It's a small thing for him to risk his safety, but as always, he puts someone else's needs before his own, and if it weren't for some smooth talking when he was eventually dragged before Colum, he could have been killed that night. The relief in Claire's eyes when he finagled his way out of the situation was palpable. She cares for him in spite of herself.
Dougal finally seems to make a tentative peace with Claire this week, as well, in the aftermath of the wild boar hunt in which his friend Jordy is fatally wounded. Claire realizes right away that there's nothing she can do — the man's stomach has been gored wide open. She and Dougal soothe him into his death together, Dougal's arms wrapped around him and Claire softly, sweetly asking him to tell her about his home. Dougal realizes that she's no shrinking violet, that she's been around death and battlefields before, and when she agrees that it's the truth, his respect for her grows. Grows enough, in fact, for him to agree to take her on the road with him and his men at the end of the episode when they'll be wandering about MacKenzie land to collect rent and tariffs.
Claire sees this as another opportunity for escape and this time, she doesn't mean to fail.
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