'Outlander' episode 2: 'Castle Leoch' cements Caitriona Balfe as Claire

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outlander-castle-leoch-caitriona-balfe.jpg "Outlander" is only on its second episode, but already it has been renewed for Season 2 on Starz -- rejoice, fans!

"Castle Leoch" sees Claire Randall being brought by the Highlander patrol that found her to the titular castle, where Laird of the clan MacKenzie, Colum MacKenzie, resides. He is the older brother to Dougal and afflicted with a degenerative bone disease. But what Colum lacks in physical abilities, he more than makes up for in mental ones. He rules his area of the Scottish Highlands with a keen intellect and an iron fist, aided by his brother to act as his body out in the field and Mrs. Fitzgibbons to run the castle.

Big props to both the production value and the actor in regards to Colum MacKenzie. His legs are striking, as is his steely gaze and pride from actor Gary Lewis. He's certainly my favorite new face of episode two.

However, it's this episode that truly cemented Caitriona Balfe as Claire for me. Nothing against Cait as a person, she seems lovely. But I had a picture in my head of what Claire is, and Cait differs from that enough that the first episode wasn't sufficient for me to get past it. However, in the episode two scene where Claire stands up to Dougal in the castle hallway, I had my moment where I thought, "There it is. There's Claire."

In my mind's eye, when I read the books, I still have a shorter, curvier Claire in my head, but I can now enjoy both.

geillis-duncan-outlander-castle-leoch.jpgAs far as casting goes, however, we also meet Geillis Duncan and Laoghaire in episode two and both of them are excellently cast. Geillis is perfectly mysterious and mischievous, with an air of danger around her.

Conversely, Laoghaire has one of the faces that just kind of perpetually looks like trouble, which is perfect. We don't get to know her very well in this episode, but I have a good feeling about how much I'm going to love to hate the character and actress that plays her.

In other activities, there were a few changes from the books that surface in this episode that I quite like.

The first is that there is a small flash of Frank and Rev. Wakefield in the future, arriving at the stones to look for Claire. There's also a "flashback" on Claire's part where Frank is talking about interrogation techniques.

I sincerely hope both of those things continue in the series here and there. As I said in the premiere recap, I like that the TV series seems to be working hard to flesh out the Claire-Frank relationship so that we understand why she is so desperate to get back to him in 1945 -- an area where I think the book is actually lacking.

I also was always curious what Frank was up to once he found Claire was missing. Obviously, he was searching for her, but I wouldn't have minded if the text took us to 1945 to see his experience. I like that the show did, however briefly. I'd like to see more of that, honestly.

What did you think of "Castle Leoch"?
Photo/Video credit: Starz