The third episode opens up with a flashback of Frank bidding farewell to Claire as she boards a train for the frontlines. I loved that scene in which we get another glimpse into their relationship and add another layer to their characters. Besides foreshadowing, this scene solidifies Claire as a modern woman as she’s the one heading into action while her husband stays behind, which he’s none too happy about and asks her to promise him that she will return to him.
Fast forward to 1743 and Mrs. Fitz as she’s admiring Claire’s skin as she’s drying her off after a cold bath, and while Claire is imagining what would have happened if she confided in the woman [calling her a witch would have been the least of her worries, she concludes] but decides it may not be such a good idea.
Most of her days are spent in the bowls of surgery trying to acclimate herself to her new role of a healer. She seems to enjoy finding which things work and which don’t while trying to apply the 18th century remedies and reconcile them to her 20th century knowledge of healing. Her body guards, Rupert and Angus, seem to trust her more and their guarding duty is for the most part boring to both, as well as tiresome since the woman “never sits doon”!
Claire slowly but surely has the folks in and around the castle trust her skills as a healer, but they are still a bit weary of her. Colum however trusts her fully as he gives himself over to her healing touch and asks her to massage his legs. In the same scene prior to him asking her, we get to know the Laird a bit more as he shows his mettle as a Laird and master as he is having a confrontation with his tailor who assumed that Colum would cover his infirmity by a long frock coat. Poor tailor will never make that mistake again as the Laird schools him!
And while Claire is somewhat accepting Colum, she is definitely not a fan of Dougal. His remark to her [“It seems that the feral cat we picked up on the road is trying to pull in her claws.”] at the hall didn’t go so well with her!
At the hall she formally introduces herself to young Laoghaire MacKenzie, the chick that was accused by her father of ‘loose behavior’ and had Jamie step in her place to receive the punishment. Claire watches as “Leery” [that’s how you pronounce it, I think] eyes him across the hall and offers herself as a ‘go between’ these two young people. She waives the young Highlander over to join them and makes room for him between herself and Leery, hoping that he’ll get a clue. I was cracking myself up as I recognized the typical male obliviousness! He obviously has eyes only for Claire and is more concentrated on her than on the little blonde to his left, making a remark that he doesn’t even remember her when he was there last. Poor Leery!
Jamie notices that she’s a bit in her cups and asks if she would look at his gunshot wound since it had bothered him for awhile now, so she agrees and they leave in the middle of the entertainments, leaving sunned and baffled Leery holding an empty glass Jamie just finished, asking her to put it away [I'm still shaking my head].
In her surgery now, he admits to have used his discomfort as an excuse thinking to see her safe as she is three sheets to the wind. She admits to have indulged a bit too much. Both feel somewhat awkward but as Claire hits upon a reason why he didn’t ask her to change his bandages in the stables the other day, Jamie admits that even though Old Alec knows he’d been flogged, seeing it would be another thing altogether. He didn’t want to see the pity in the man’s eyes. He doesn’t mind Claire seeing the scars because she even though she is sorry for them, she doesn’t feel pity for him.
The next few days see our heroine traipsing around this time with Angus in tow, herb picking with Geillis; trying to convince Mrs. Fitz and her sister to let her tend to Mrs. Fitz’s nephew who it seems is being possessed by the Devil; butting heads with Father Bain as he is performing an exorcism on the boy; witnessing Jamie kiss Leery while making eye contact with her then grinning while continuing on kissing the wee loon [again, men are oblivious creatures and I'm left shaking my head and fist at the dude]!
That evening while sitting across each other at the Hall table, Claire just had to tease him with: “Your lips look a little swollen, Jamie. Did you get thumped by a horse?” He knew exactly what she was referring to and tried to play it cool and warn her with a look and his foot over hers, but she kicks him and makes him spill his drink all over Murtagh, excusing himself from the table after that. Murtagh reads the whole situation aright and warns Claire to be careful and not have the boy inadvertently chained to Leery. He believes that Jamie needs a woman and not a child for a wife. Later on she muses that she was jealous of their intimacy because she misses Frank.
The next day she’s off with Dougal to visit Geillis at her house and restock her herbs and medicinal stuff for the big event coming up at the castle. They are soon drawn to the noise from the street finding the priest bringing the tanner’s a boy to be judged by the fiscal, Geillis’ husband. He has been caught stealing food and the priest recommends that his hand be cut off. Well, Geillis sees that Claire isn’t so happy about it and convinces her flatulent husband to give the boy a lighter sentence, which he does. One hour and one ear nailed to the pillory.
As the girls are drinking port and talking, young Jamie walks in to fetch Claire as her escort, Dougal had to go about his business. Geillis wasn’t a happy camper to be interrupted just about as Claire was going to elaborate on her unusual upbringing. Exiting the fiscal’s house Claire asked him about the poor boy sitting in the cold still nailed to the pillory. Jamie told her that the boy’s hour has been up awhile ago and that he is working up his courage to rip himself free. As soon as Claire asks Jamie if his fingers are strong, he’s on to her and they’re off helping the poor bugger get free. Claire supposedly faints, distracting the crowd while Jamie rips the nail out.
Feeling she may trust Jamie, she asks him for one more favor. Can he take her to The Black Kirk, the place that everyone says is possessed by the demons. Jamie takes her there and reminisces about his own childhood and tells her more about his upbringing, his education, saying that despite it, he still is a born and bred Highlander who does not like to tempt fate or demons.He also mentions a plant boys used to eat, wood garlic, which when shown, Claire deduces that it’s not wood garlic but a Lily of the Valley and was brought over to Scotland by the Prussian monks [which she mistakenly calls german!] but people obviously didn’t know that this plant was poisonous and that young Thomas had probably ingested it. Claire makes a concoction of belladonna, an antidote and goes to visit the boy one more time. She finds the boy on a death’s door with a priest over him praying but convinces Mrs. Fitz to let her administer the concoction, and as the boy is revived and saved, Father Bain promises her that God will have the last word and leaves.
Later on while she keeps company with Jamie at the stables, he tells her that Mrs. Fitz called her a miracle worker and Colum is taking all the credit for keeping her on as a healer. Claire’s plan of doing her job well has backfired and she feels stuck at the castle with no way out.
She feels that people are now watching her even more and is lured out of her quarters only by Colum’s wine that would promise oblivion, and is drawn in by Jamie to join him at the hall as he translates for her a Gaelic folk song. The lyrics and the sound is haunting as she listens of a woman who touched the highest stone on the hill and was taken to another land, bided there awhile, made friends and lovers, then went back to the stones, touched them again and went back to the man who she left behind. Claire’s sadness was replaced by hope as she saw herself in her eye’s mind doing the same, watching Frank greets her at the stones. With renewed hope, she tells us and herself: “I must escape Castle Leoch and get back to the stones or die trying.”