“Rent” is episode five of season one of Outlander.
In the previous episode, “The Gathering”, Claire’s plan to escape from Castle Leoch during the titular gathering and make her way to the standing stones, in the hopes of getting back home using what she heard in the folk song in “The Way Out” didn’t go to plan. Jamie stopped her, saying that the guard posts had been increased during the gathering, and people were on a much higher level of alert – otherwise it would have been a fine time to attack.
During a wild boar hunt, Claire also managed to earn Dougal’s respect as a healer. She was able to easily sit with a man who was clearly dying and help make his last minutes more comfortable. Dougal realised that she was no stranger to violent death (Claire was a battlefield nurse during World War II after all). So Dougal is taking her with his party when they go to collect rents due to the MacKenzie (Colum not being able to go himself, due to his illness). Saying no wasn’t an option, but Claire sees this as another chance to get home (the fact that Dougal thought they needed a healer whilst collecting tax should have been a concern to her). The episode ended with them setting off.
This episode opens with Claire standing by a loch reciting some John Dunne when a man joins in as well. Some of the men with them are teasing another, who is on the road for the first time, quite crudely. The man who also likes Dunne is Ned Gowan, the clan’s solicitor. According to the solicitor, the rents collected are often not in money, but this year he draws the line at live pigs (Ned also sounds a little unwell). Claire also thinks Ned’s cough sounds a bit bad, and he says that it’s something in the air round there. She has a solution; Claire thinks he has asthma, and what she gives him helps. Claire seems to enjoy Ned’s company. She is still planning to escape. Jamie realises that Claire is keeping secrets and is still thinking about running. Even if he doesn’t believe she’s an English spy.
Everything seems to be going quite well and pleasantly, with everyone happy to see each other. Even though they are paying taxes (which is rarely popular with anyone). However, the rent is a hardship on some of the families, and Claire does not appreciate that. Which causes conflict between Claire and Dougal. The latter also seems to be using Jamie’s whipping as a means of whipping up cash, apparently to line his own pockets. Which seems more than a little underhand. Dougal still doesn’t seem to be terribly fond of Claire. Claire has figured out that Dougal is doing – but there is more to his actions than meets the eyes at first glance, which Claire later puts together. Her knowledge of the future doesn’t really help in some ways.
Claire is not happy with some of the things she sees on the journey, and lets her feelings be known. Of course, the most important question to consider is: Why did Dougal think they might need a healer?
A bit of a cliff-hanger ending for once.
Yet more Scots Gaelic, much of it lacking a translation. This time, some of it is being done to deliberately exclude Claire. Not just the audience. More narrating from Claire and a few clips from the future, Claire’s past.