TV Show Review

TV Review: OUTLANDER: Season 1, Episode 5: Rent [Starz]

Graham McTavish Sam Heughan Outlander Rent

Starz’s Outlander Rent TV Show Review. Outlander: Season 1, Episode 5: Rent was a changing of perception for many of the key characters on Outlander, Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) being chief among them. Throughout the previous episodes, it was difficult to discern the relationship between Claire’s captives and Claire. What was clear was that Claire was pretending affability, her captives could sense that Claire was keeping things from them, and her captives didn’t fully trust her.

This situation continued into Rent but added new elements of distaste on Claire’s part.

Claire was as wrong about her perception of Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) and his nightly tavern ritual on the road as the Machkenie clan had been of her since the beginning. It was an interesting juxtaposition: both of their secret movements and objectives were noble and non-nefarious unbeknownst to those that initially misjudged them.

What was strange was that Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) would let himself be used as a prop and a puppet during the nightly tavern ritual while on rent collection. Did he go solely to safeguard Claire or was he ignorant of what Dougal was planning and how he would use him?

If he knew and went anyway, that says much about his respect and hope for the Jacobite’s clandestine cause. If he went for Claire, that says even more about his interest in her.

Though Claire is seen as an outsider on many occasions, that is not the case with all of them. In many, people assume she is an English noblewoman of some kind but one willing to get her hands dirty. Being mired in blood and gore during World War I changed Clair, hardened her to the realities of the world. When presented with women using hot urine in the cloths-making process during Rent, she was not repulsed and did not shy away. A passersby would have thought she was kin to the other women at the table and in the shed during later moments of the episode.

Even as she integrated herself in the societal constructs surrounding her in Rent, Claire walked a moral tightrope to an increasing degree. Telling the MacKenzies what she knew would corrupt the time line (already done if  Edward Lorenz‘s Butterfly Effect is considered), and as the beginning prescient moment suggested, she might get branded as a witch. Her attempts at gently stirring the MacKenzies away from doom were admirable, though it would seem, ultimately fruitless.

Rent was also the culmination of all of Claire’s weeks with the MacKenzie Clan and all that she had done for them. Claire was aware that Jamie respected her and looked out for her well-being but she had no idea that the MacKenzie men respected her as well. This, most-likely, was a surprise to the viewer as well.

Not surprising was the singular harbinger that showed up early in the episode reappearing, beckoning Rent‘s concluding scene. That ending cliffhanger could give Ms. Randall what she has been dreaming and scheming over since Sassenach: her freedom. Because of the nature of her would-be liberators, that freedom now has a price tag attached to it.

The previous episodes of Outlander all ended with a voice-over, this episode’s ending was far more dramatic. Rent had the best concluding moment of the season so far, like the concluding chapter of an E.L. Doctorow novel, except the dramatic punch was in the viewer’s head, not on the screen.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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