Sing me a song of two men in a boat. One is humming and annoying the other. Outlander’s Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish float in a boat, or rather row, into the third episode of Men in Kilts, which is all about the music and dance history of Scotland. And yes, we get to see them both (attempt to) dance against the backdrop of some amazing bagpiping.
In the first scene, Sam is rowing Graham, and a huge Scottish castle is in the background. Sam hums creepily and makes very intense eye contact with Graham in an effort to annoy him. It works. Graham tells him to stop, which is the theme for this show. Are they humming the Outlander Skye Boat theme song in a boat? We’ll never know. (Well, someone out there knows, I just am not sure). I think I heard, “A lass that is gone.” But it was so bad, that I wished I were a lass that was gone.
Let’s get to the dance highlights of this episode and also a little update about Outlander’s seasons 6 and 7, and maybe even a spinoff! What?! Settle down.
Bagpipes are the best pipes
Sam Heughan loves bagpipes and if you don’t, this episode might change that. Their first guest is Galbridge McMillan, who’s keeping traditional Scottish music alive, and who had a role in Outlander. Remember when Claire and Jamie were sitting and listening to a music man play a song about a lady who falls back in time? Claire’s all, “It me.” And Jamie’s all heart eyes at Claire, “It you.” And Laoghaire’s all, “What about me?” And then Jamie says to Laoghaire, “Hold my drink.” He does, he actually does, so he and Claire (Caitríona Balfe) can run off and she can medical him. So that music man was McMillan!
They meet McMillan by a campfire, and Graham is just hanging out eating porridge, as one does. And then McMillan sings them a Gaelic song and they all sing along.
As Sam and Graham head to their next meet-up, Sam admits he can’t sing or dance. And they drop an Outlander flashback from Season 2 of Jamie saying, “I need help,” in France. Graham proudly admits he had to sing in Outlander; Sam rolls his eyes. And another flashback of Dougal singing on a horse is shown. Men in Kilts is a very good cure for Droughtlander.
Doune Castle — Outlander’s Castle Leoch
As they pull up to Doune Castle to meet up with a bagpiper, Iain MacGillvray, Sam and Graham reveal this is the castle which was Castle Leoch in Outlander. They flash back to Jamie and Claire getting their “Castle Leoch” on, if you know what I mean, all over the castle.
MacGillvray explains that bagpipers were originally sent to the battlefield to put fear into the enemies. Not gonna lie, if I was headed to war, and my enemy sent a fleet of cello players, I too would be scared. And confused. And maybe that was exactly their intention. MacGillvray revealed there was a piper who stormed the beaches of Normandy playing his pipes. And the Germans stopped shooting at him because they thought he was insane. Great battle hack, Mr. Piper man.
Then we find out through a Men in Kilts-DNA 23 and Me-mashup that Graham and MacGillvray are distantly related. Family reunion! “Reunited and it feels so bagpipey.” Then he plays a song on the ol’ pipes for Sam and his newfound second cousin-uncle-once removed, Graham.
Graham’s hips don’t lie
While driving to their next destination, Sam tells Graham, “I’ve seen you dance. You’ve got rhythm, that’s for sure. You’ve got hips as well.” Graham admits he can indeed dance, and his ballet years were especially stand-out: “You’ve never seen a dying swan like it.”
And soon we see that Graham’s hips don’t lie, but they definitely almost make Sam cry. They flash back to a fan event with Sam watching Graham’s hip dance in horror. Seems like Sam and Graham have a history of Graham performing said dance, which really involves his hips and Sam wincing in the background. This episode is no different, except this time Sam joins in.
Next up they meet Cerys Jones, a Highland dancer who’s going to teach them a sword dance. Sam and Graham are decked out in kilt tuxedos and ready to dance. Kitlxedos? Is that a thing? It should be.
Jones tells them that original Scottish dancing was for soldiers to get fit for going into battle. Specifically, the Dance of the Swords. What a great pre-battle workout! (Cut to me dancing around a butter knife in my kitchen. Same thing. Less dangerous).
The sword dance was no joke. In fact, back then it had a lot of meanings. If soldiers didn’t touch the sword, it meant they were going to win. If they touched the sword, it meant they were going to be injured. And if they kicked the sword, they would die in battle. Dum dum da dum. Sam admits he performed the sword dance in Outlander’s Season 5 episode. And it was not easy…
Jones sets up the swords as she gets ready to teach them the dance. The swords look very sharp! This is extreme dancing (or extremely dangerous dancing, however you want to look at it).
Graham looks scared and asks if the dance is complicated, and she basically says, no little kids perform it. Then she shows them how to do it and like TikTok dances, only children should be doing these. It’s too hard for non-dancer adults! Graham echoes that sentiment, except he phrases it differently, “Absolute balls, I’m completely awful.” He’s not totally wrong. Then Graham accidentally kicks the sword and Sam has never looked happier. “You’re going to die in battle!”
Then they dance. Sam is definitely better than Graham in this dance-off. Graham looks like he’s walking on hot coals in heels blindfolded. Karma gets Sam pretty quickly, and he steps on the sword and almost falls over.
This episode is a bit like a Scottish version of So You Think You Can Dance? Except Sam doesn’t think he can dance. After he finishes the sword dance, he’s out of breath and says it was really difficult. And this is someone who probably goes to the gym more in one year than most people go in their whole lives. Sam asks Jones, “Would Graham get any points for freestyle?” “Probably not,” she replies. Sad. Stick to your hip dance, Graham. It’s a winner every time. You don’t need this sword dance.
I just finished watching #MenInKilts “Song and Dance.” Thoroughly enjoyed it. It included many of my favorite sites and sounds of Scotland. It should be titled “Men of Hidden Talents” (very hidden 😜) 🕺🕺🏴
— Deborah Kennedy 🏴🇮🇪 (@DebsterPA1) February 28, 2021
Sam & Graham lead a band and lose a band
En route to their next destination, we learn a random road-trip fact. They both loved the Flintstones. So much so they burst into the Flintstones theme song. Bagpipes going off now wouldn’t be the worst thing. Another random fact we learn from their road banter: Henry VIII wrote the song “Greensleeves,” for his wife Anne Boleyn. Ahh, so he really loved her, before he beheaded her. What a guy.
Cut to Sam and Graham leading a marching band. They come marching around a corner. Sam has a big stick with a ball on the end. (Honestly show, this is a real theme — see last episode). And Graham is pounding a giant drum. Soon Sam starts to do bicep curls with his big ball stick. And then the bagpipe band just stops and leaves them. Sad. Did not know this episode would be a drama. But here we are. They are later reunited with the Glencorse Pipe Band who perform for them, and seem happier that Sam and Graham are just watching.
Lairds of the dance
Back on the road again to their final dance destination, Sam admits that although he’s driving a lot, Graham keeps him entertained with his voices. Graham then morphs into some character, and we get another Outlander flashback, of Dougal telling a joke around a campfire, as Caitríona Balfe’s Claire looks on wholly unimpressed.
Sam explains what a ceilidh is, which was depicted in Season 1 of Outlander. It’s a gathering or celebration with music, dance, and drinks. And the flashback they show is peak Claire. She’s throwing back a huge bottle of alcohol, and Angus looks on impressed.
They arrive at Borthwick castle to get their ceilidh dance on. Finlay MacDonald Lockie is a ceilidh dancer who explains the history of ceilidh dancing. It was invented by a prisoner of war in World War II to stay warm. It was also a gesture of defiance. Sam admits he hated ceilidhs when he was younger, but then figured out they’re just parties and now loves them. Ceilidh dancer, Sophie Jessop Støer, teaches them how to do the dance. Sam likens it a bit to a “Do-si-do.” And then Graham whips out his hip. “There it is,” Sam winces as he watches Graham show his hip move off.
Okay, for a guy who says he doesn’t like to dance, Sam Heughan likes to dance. He screams, “My shoelace!” (He even stops to tie his shoelace like a kid in gym class and can’t wait to get back on the dance floor). This entire scene is an actual joy maker. Watch it twice, if only for their facial expressions.
The next morning, Sam and Graham look like they’ve had a rough night. Sitting on the ground barely able to sit up against their camper van, they are “Hungover in Kilts.” And what’s the best cure for a hangover? More drinks!
A Scottish bar is saved by Jamie, Claire, & Outlander fans?!
Speaking of drinks, the bar in Scotland, Red Lion, where Sam revealed he and Caitríona shared their first drink in costume, thanked Outlander fans and the cast for helping raise money so it could stay open. The bar promptly delivered a photo of the exact moment Sam referenced in his tweet. Look at that: Outlander cast and fans saving Scotland one bar at a time.
Relieved the bar wouldn’t be closing, Sam said he was looking forward to Caitríona buying him a drink soon. He’s still waiting for a response. Oooh, Balfe burn.
Yazzz!! Best fans! Look forward to Cait buying me a drink there soon… 😉 https://t.co/4TtXnvUy0A
— Sam Heughan (@SamHeughan) February 22, 2021
Outlander Season 7
As for Outlander, the cast is back at work filming Season 6. And on a recent podcast, Ron Moore revealed that Outlander season 7 is being discussed. “Conversations are underway on both season seven and on a spinoff and I think we’re going to have good news on both those fronts before too long so I feel very optimistic about it. I agree that I would’ve been happy to see it happen sooner than this but everything happens in its time. I think both those things are probably going to happen and hopefully we’ll be able to say something about it before too long.” Cannot come soon enough. For now, we still have five more episodes of this kilty adventure. Next week, it looks like Sam and Graham attend a topless campfire party. They do. It seems like it’s a pretty spooky episode, where they hang out in cemeteries, and I imagine Sam scares Graham.
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Before you go, check out the all-time best ‘Outlander’ episodes you need to watch (or re-watch).