Warning: This article contains spoilers from Men in Kilts Episode 5: “Culture and Tradition.”
Oh sheep, Sam and Graham did it again. In the latest episode of Men in Kilts, Outlander’s Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish take on culture, tradition, sheep, and mosquitos in Scotland. Let’s just say it turns into a total sheep show.
This episode has it all, tweed, midges (the European term for mosquitos pronounced “midgies”), basket weaving, and herbs. Plus, we meet the woman behind Claire’s (Caitríona Balfe) herb-healing skills – coincidentally also named Claire. Dum dum da dum.
Two tweed guys
The first stop for Sam and Graham is Stewart Christie tailors, the oldest tailor in Scotland, founded 300 years ago before the battle of Culloden. In Outlander time, that’s a few years before Claire drops in through her magic rock. (“She’s just Claire from the rock, used to have a lot, now she just has a little frock.” Sung to the tune of J.Lo’s “Jenny from the Block.” You’re welcome, it’s Grammy-worthy). Sam and Graham get some snazzy tweed suits made and hear all about the history of the tailors. They also encounter giant scissors. And Sam morphs into Edward Scissorhands. And Graham looks scared.
“Mo neighean donn”
Next up is a little Gaelic lesson in an outdoor classroom that does not go well. In Outlander, Jamie Fraser and his whole Highland clan fam, with the exception of Claire, speak fluent Gaelic. All of the Outlander actors had to learn the language in season one. Sam reveals that only one percent of the population actually speaks Gaelic. Jamie’s term of endearment for Claire is a Gaelic phrase, “Mo neighean donn,” which means, “My brown-haired lass.” He gave her this name on their wedding night. Got a case of the swoons there, Fraser. Well done.
Sam reveals that while he learned Gaelic in season one, Graham needed “dummy boards” (cue cards). Graham defends himself saying he had a six-page speech. They then flashback to that very scene in Outlander, which finds Claire watching Dougal give a speech in Gaelic as Jamie’s scarred back is revealed. Team Graham here. Sam goes on to say because Graham needs glasses, they had to write in huge writing on the boards. Oh Sam, people in tiny glasses shouldn’t throw stones. (Jamie Fraser rolls deep in reading glasses in Season 3).
So Sam and Graham’s Gaelic garden lesson is short. And stressful for Sam. There are hundreds of midges, swirling around their heads. Graham is unbothered. Sam is the opposite. In fact, at one point he puts on a mosquito net head covering. Sam Heughan being attacked by midges is repeat watch-worthy. Thanks to Twitter fan @displaceintime, you can do just that. Also, note, there are so many midges that at some point you will psychosomatically think 1,000 mosquitos are flying around your head, too, as you watch this.
— Elle 🍀 (@displaceintime) March 14, 2021
After they leave their midge-filled Gaelic lesson, Sam admits the midges were too much for him. Graham replies, “I delighted in watching you slapping your own face.” The best line of the show. Periodt. (In Gaelic, that would be, “Stad-phuingT.”)
Will the real Claire please stand up?
Ever wondered how Claire Fraser knew how to use all those medicinal healing herbs? While Caitríona Balfe is good at playing an herb lady on screen, it’s Claire the herbalist advisor on Outlander who taught TV Claire all she knows. And Sam and Graham meet up with her in an herb garden, of course. We get another Outlander flashback of Claire frolicking among sheep and picking herbs and weeds and shrooms. Peak Claire.
Herbalist Claire tells us that the bulk of medicines are plant-based. Garlic used to be used a lot before there were antibiotics. The first plant she shows them is St. John’s Wort, which she explains was a pain reliever, and the first herb to appear in Outlander. Claire used it to treat Jamie. Jamie to Claire: “You had me at St. John’s Wort.”
After she shows them which herb can keep away the midges and Sam pockets a few, he declares she is a witch. And Graham gives him the most “what the Fraser are you talking about?” look ever. But Sam stands by his declaration explaining that in the old days, like Claire, herb Claire would probably be considered a witch with all her herb knowledge. Agreed, Sam. Sam then spots some lavender and they all decide to skip it. Probably because lavender oil was pretty traumatic in Outlander seasons 1 and 2. Let’s not talk about it. Back to flowers, Sam asks what might make hair grow and looks directly at Graham’s bald head. And then Claire says, “A raw onion on your head brings circulation to the surface… “ Sam looks at the onions and then Graham. “Don’t even think about rubbing an onion on my head.” Okay, that’s the second-best line of the episode. There should be a hashtag #ShitGrahamSaystoSam.
After robbing herbalist Claire of all her herbs, they stop to weave some baskets. Sam reveals his uncle is a basket weaver who made the stag in Season 4 of Outlander and the fiery cross in Season 5. Basket weaving skills may have started and ended with Sam’s uncle, because when Sam attempts it, he pokes Anna the nice basket weaver in the eye with a twig. Graham eats a potato as if it’s an apple and shows his weaving skills are better than Sam’s.
Sam & Graham vs. sheep
Things get pretty sheepy for Sam and Graham when they attempt to herd sheep. Basically, the sheep win. Even though Sam and Graham have high boots and herding canes, they are no match for those four-legged running pillows. Sam and Graham end their sheep workout with some Sassenach whisky leaning against a tractor. That’s how I like to end all of my workouts, too. Race some sheep, drink some whisky.
There are only three more episodes left of Men in Kilts. Oh no. The Droughtlander is coming again. Though the Outlander cast dropped exciting news today: The show has been renewed for a seventh season. Next week on Men in Kilts, Sam and Graham go rock climbing. Looks like Sam might push Graham off a mountain. In Outlander, Sam’s character offed Graham’s character; here’s hoping Men in Kilts has a happier ending for Graham!
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Before you go, check out the all-time best ‘Outlander’ episodes you need to watch (or re-watch).