Friday, December 8, 2017

“Ghosts, Talismans and Prophecies”: A recap of Season 3 episode 12 by your Aussie Blogging Lass.

Outlander Homepage originals by Susie Brown 

The penultimate episode of season three serves as an example of the fluidity of time. “Ghosts” from the past come back, both to haunt and to help; characters in the present face danger and uncertainty yet again, while a spoken prophecy hints at trouble in the future. There is a lot of ground to cover!

Indeed, the episode begins with a small jump back in time to the moments just after Young Ian has been taken by the Bruja. As Jamie and Claire’s desperate cries are echoing in the distance, he is being forced aboard. 

One of the sailors is going through the box, and Young Ian asks another of his captors what they want with him. They do not answer, but ask the captain if the box is what the Bakra seeks. It appears to be, the man tells them and then asks who Ian is. “He was holding the box,” the other man says and they begin debating what to do. One suggestion is to feed Young Ian to the pigs; something that seems to be being seriously considered and Young Ian starts to panic. He begs them to let him go, reminding them that they already have the box. A struggle ensues and Ian bites the hand of one of the men, drawing blood. The captain then tells them to keep Young Ian for someone known only as the Bakra, adding that the Bakra likes boys. Much to his distress and anger Young Ian is led away, calling the sailor a bastard and threatening to gut him. But it does no good, of course and he is forced below. 

Another time jump and the Bruja has reached its destination. Young Ian is pushed into a cell, his captor ordering the slave guarding the door to inform the Bakra that he has arrived. Left alone in the cell, Ian looks around in despair. A voice comes out of the darkness. “What’s your name?” it says. 

A boy around Ian’s age emerges from the shadows and introduces himself as Henry. Ian makes his own introductions and asks where they are.Henry says that he thinks they are in Jamaica, due to the information he had from another boy, known as Robbie. Another boy called Abeeku is with Henry. He speaks no English, but flinches when he hears Henry say the Bakra’s name. There used to be six boys in the cell Henry says and asks Young Ian where he was taken. Ian answers: “Scotland.” Suddenly he realises what Henry had said before. “What do you mean there were 6 of you?” he asks. Henry shares the story: there had been people there, he says, but one by one the boys had been taken to see the Bakra and they had never returned. “What’s the Bakra?” asks Young Ian and the scene changes once more. 

This time Ian is led to a chaise lounge in an ornate room and is ordered to sit. He does so and as he looks around, a blood soaked foot and leg appear . “I’m told you are Scottish” says a voice. “So am I.” Viewers recognise the voice immediately. 
“Are you the Bakra?” Young Ian asks. 
“I am,” she replies and emerges, naked from the tub and covered in blood. She looks back at him seductively over her shoulder. 

“But you can call me Geillis.” She moves towards him as a confused, yet aroused Ian watches. “Don’t worry,” she says, “it’s only goat’s blood.” The protein and iron in the blood keeps her skin young, she explains, tipping jugs of water over herself to wash it away. Another servant enters with food and drink and Geillis offers Young Ian some plum cake and pudding, adding that he must be starving. She sits down opposite him. 

“What do you do with the boys from the pit?” Young Ian asks, but she diverts his questions, telling him to eat first. Young Ian eyes the food warily, but eventually gives in. He is starving. As he eats a piece of the cake, Geillis pours him a cup of tea. He drinks, but it’s bitter. Geillis adds some sugar and begins her interrogation and seduction. Young Ian was holding her treasure box when he was found, she says, a box that contained 3 sapphires. 

There are now only two and Geillis wants to know if he has taken the third, as her sailors would never betray her. His mouth full of cake, Young Ian answers that he “didn’t have time to open the box before your ruffians grabbed me.” Geillis just responds by commenting on the dryness of the cake and pours him some more tea, watching him intently as he drinks. “Did you take my jewel, lad?” she asks. Again, Young Ian denies it, but then has a thought. He adds that perhaps Jamie has taken it. Immediately, he claps a hand over his mouth and his eyes go wide. He didn’t mean to say this!  
The revelation has an immediate effect on Geillis. She stands and moves closer. “Why do you think that?” she asks. Young Ian explains that Jamie is the only one who knew where the treasure was. The expression on his face indicates that he doesn’t know why he is saying this. “It’s the tea you’re drinking,” Geillis says and explains that she has a witch doctor make it for her. It forces anyone to speak the truth no matter what. Next she asks who Young Ian’s uncle is. It is obvious he is fighting the effects of the tea, but he cannot stop himself from saying, “James Fraser of Broch Tuarach.” 

Geillis reacts to this news. “Is he really?” she asks nonchalantly, wondering aloud why Jamie would want the jewel. Again, Young Ian answers against his will, explaining that Jamie had needed it to pay a debt. 

Geillis switches to more sensual methods of seduction now, telling Young Ian as she stretches her leg into his lap that her sailors had heard someone yelling for him and wonders aloud if this is Jamie.

“Aye,” Young Ian responds, “And he’ll be coming for me.” No doubt he means to sound threatening, but only succeeds in sounding like a young man who is very attracted to his interrogator. 

“I’m counting on it, lad,” Geillis replies. “Perhaps he’ll bring my jewel along with him.” She slides her body seductively across his lap.
“What do you do with the boys?” Young Ian asks.
“Oh, I have my way with them,” she replies. “Virgins have such power inside, but after that I have no use for them.” She pulls him down towards her. “Come,” she says. “It’s not such a bad way to go.” 

Despite the implied threat, Ian finds himself leaning in. Then he remembers: “I’m not a virgin,” he says. Geillis opens her robe, baring her breast to him. “Good,” she says. “You’ll know what to do.”

Claire and Jamie are arriving in Jamaica. Claire’s voiceover remarks that after months at sea, the bustling port is a welcome sight. Jamie seeks out Fergus, giving orders that once the casks are unloaded, Fergus is to tell Baxley to take the ship out of sight, in case Captain Leonard and the Porpoise are not far away. They can’t risk being in port should Leonard appear. Marsali suggests that maybe Leonard has already been and gone, but Jamie disputes this, saying that there wouldn’t have been time to refit the boat and hire new crew. Claire suggests to Jamie that the two of them split up, to speed up the search. She will take some of the sailors with her, she says. But Jamie refuses to be parted from her, saying that he won’t run the risk of losing her again and that they will search together.

A man approaches and asks if they have recently disembarked from the Artemis. Immediately, they are suspicious and ask who he is. The man apologises and introduces himself as Kenneth MacIver, an employee of Jared’s. Jamie and Claire share a relieved look and introduce themselves fully and honestly. Jamie adds that he has brought French wine and brandy. 

MacIver comments that while he hadn’t expected to receive goods until the summer, this is fortuitous as he is meant to bring 4 casks of wine to the new governor’s residence. The governor is holding a ball that evening and MacIver promptly invites them. Claire declines on behalf of them both, saying that they have more pressing concerns, so MacIver offers to help. Jamie asks MacIver to show them to lodging and he will explain the situation as they walk. 

While MacIver is sympathetic to young Ian’s plight, he can’t offer much by way of information. He does know that the Bruja has already passed through, but is unsure of the ship’s next destination. He is also unsure about whether any slaves were sold before it left, but suggests that Claire and Jamie check out the slave market to see if they can learn anything there. He leaves them at their accommodation, promising to have their things brought to them. 

The subsequent walk through the markets is an uncomfortable and distressing one. Claire walks with Lesley, who has bought her a parasol, in order to help her “look respectable” in front of the slave traders. At that, Claire promptly closes it, commenting that she doesn’t care what these people think of her. Back in the 20th century, she had seen her best friend Joe Abernathy deal with prejudice during their time at university - no doubt this is on her mind as she makes eye contact with the men and boys imprisoned behind bars. Hayes and Jamie are asking questions of the traders, to see if anyone has been sold a fair skinned boy. One of the traders says that he “only deals in savages” and it is a shocking comment to hear. Another tells Jamie that the Bruja only sold negro slaves, who in his opinion, were of an inferior quality to his own. He further comments that the new governor had bought the Bruja’s slaves and as a result, Jamie makes the decision to attend the ball after all, reasoning that some of the new slaves may know what has happened to young Ian. Suddenly he realises that he has been separated from Claire and begins to look around for her. 

Claire is further ahead, first watching in horror as a young woman is branded and then coming across an auction that is just about to start. The young man being auctioned is deemed unsuitable for farm work, but is being sold for “breeding stock”. One of the crowd asks for proof of the man’s virility, resulting in the auctioneer grabbing hold of the man’s genitals to prove that they are in working order. 

This is too much for Claire. She hurls herself at the auctioneer, telling him to leave the man alone. Jamie strides into the fray to find a struggle ensuing and he has to fight his way to Claire, who tearfully asks him to do something to help the young man. Jamie does the only thing possible in order to calm proceedings. He buys the young man for 20 pounds and Claire finds herself staring at a bill of ownership for the negro slave known as Temeraire. Claire tells Jamie that they have to free the man and Jamie agrees, but adds that they can’t let him go in Kingston as it will only result in recapture. Claire considers tearing up the bill of sale, but again Jamie is the voice of reason, telling her that the young man would then have no proof that he was in Claire’s employ and could therefore be resold or claimed. At least with them, Jamie reasons, Temeraire will be cared for and they will release him when they can do so safely. In addition, he might be able to help with the search for young Ian as the slaves at the governor’s ball would be more like to talk to Temeraire than to Claire and Jamie. 

Claire goes to Temeraire and wastes no time in telling him that she wants to set him free. “You buy me to set me free? Then I am free?” Temeraire asks in disbelief. Claire confirms this, saying that they have no wish to own him. Jamie explains that they want to leave the island soon, but that first they must find young Ian. Claire and Jamie ask Temeraire for his help in this regard, which he gives.

The next scene begins with an increasingly frustrated Geillis talking to Archibald and Margaret Campbell. She is particularly annoyed that the 3rd sapphire is missing, as the prophecy states that the seer must hold all three stones in her hand whilst giving the reading, otherwise they will be unable to decipher when the new Scottish king will arise. 

Geillis is still ardently fighting for the Scottish cause. She tells the Campbells that the stones had been passed down from father to son until they fell into the hands of Dougal Mackenzie, who had hidden them in a box containing family treasure that was buried on Selkie Island. Geillis calls Dougal a hero and explains to the Campbells that he had died at Culloden. Ever one to sniff out a deal, Archibald asks Geillis to confirm that she has no need for the rest of treasure. But Geillis is not so easily duped. She tells Archibald that he won’t see a penny until Margaret’s gifts are rendered.

A carriage draws up outside the Governor’s residence and Jamie, Claire and Temeraire get out of it. Temeraire is shown to the servant’s quarters to “be of service”. Claire and Jamie are wearing finery from their time in Paris, as are Fergus, Marsali and Mr Willoughby. Jamie, resplendent in powdered wig, reminds Temeraire to come and find them when he has news and Temeraire promises to do so.

Meantime, the others are teasing Jamie about his wig. He asks if he looks like a Scottish provocateur. Marsali suggest that he looks like a dandy, with Fergus contradicting her, saying that he looks like a Frenchman. “Same thing,” interjects Mr Wiloughby, prompting Fergus to comment that no one will be paying any attention to Jamie’s wig once they have laid eyes on Willoughby. Jamie agrees that Willoughby will indeed be a distraction. As they prepare to go inside, Jamie tells Claire that she is a vision and looks just like she did in Versailles. Claire smiles and says that that was a very long time ago. “You look as if ‘twere yesterday,” replies Jamie. The conversation is interrupted as they run into Archibald Campbell, who immediately addresses Claire as “Mistress Malcolm.” 

“It was,” Claire corrects, promptly introducing Jamie and enquiring after Margaret’s health. Claire seems genuinely pleased to see Archibald, whilst he looks less enthusiastic. They make small talk for a few moments, marvelling at the coincidence of finding each other on this island of the West Indies. 

Inside, Jamie and Claire wait to be introduced to the governor. He can’t stand to wait in line, Jamie comments, but the governor is the person to speak to about young Ian. He notices Claire looking with compassion towards the black slaves in the room and in hushed tones asks Claire when the slave trade ends. “Not for another 70 years in the British empire,” she answers, “and a hundred in America.” Another woman approaches them and asks about Willoughby. “Where did you find him, I must know!” the woman enthuses.  

Jamie formally introduces Willoughby as his acquaintance, Mr Yi Tien Cho, late of the Celestial Kingdom of China. The woman simpers, marvelling at the distance Willoughby has travelled and being astonished to discover that he speaks English. Claire shakes her head in disbelief, rolling her eyes at the giggling of the woman and her companions. But Willoughby turns away, hearing Margaret Campbell giving an impromptu reading to a slave, telling him that he will be free of the shackles that bind him.

As Willoughby watches, he sees Archibald approach and rebuke Margaret for telling fortunes without his permission. She looks away from her brother and her eyes meet Willoughby’s. They smile.

Marsali and Fergus are giggling and laughing. “Do you remember when we were like that?” Claire asks Jamie, “so obvious in public?” Jamie teases that she couldn’t keep her hands off him, but given that she had been holding onto him while they were sharing a horse, it couldn’t be helped. They laugh a little in memory, but the look that Jamie gives her smoulders with intensity. 

She returns it and suddenly they are every bit as obvious in public as Fergus and Marsali. Fan forums have made much of this look and with good reason. It is the perfect representation of what has been said many times - the bond between the two is so unusually, unbelievably strong. 

At last Jamie sees the governor and his breath catches for a moment. “Perhaps it’s because of you coming through the stones,” he says to Claire, “Ghosts that keep coming into our lives, drawn to us the way we are drawn to each other.” He approaches his particular ghost: Lord John Grey and bows low, greeting him as “Your Excellency.” John is overjoyed - and amazed - to see him. 

Jamie introduces Claire and we see John’s smile fade a little. “I thought-” John begins and Jamie finishes the sentence. Yes, he had thought Claire had died too, but she has been returned to him. John asks how and Claire remarks that it is a rather long story. Obviously keen to hear it, he suggests that they talk in private. Leaving Fergus and Marsali to fend for themselves, Jamie and Claire follow John through the crowded room. They are noticed by one guest in particular, but they do not see Geillis watching them as they walk past. 

John would clearly like to embrace Jamie, but restrains himself. Jamie asks if Willie has accompanied John, adding that Claire knows the story when John hesitates. 

Quickly, John updates him: no, Willie is not with him. He has only been there a month himself and Willie and Isobel will join him in the summer. Yes, Willie still rides. He is a fine equestrian and has been growing fast. When Jamie says that he misses Willie, John responds with a kind “And he you. He still remembers you”, before tempering this by adding “from time to time.” Jamie says that it does not matter, as long as Willie is happy, but the emotion and longing is there on his face for all to see. It is another example of beautifully nuanced acting from Sam Heughan. 

The two men continue to look at each other, each lost in their memories. The gaze has gone on a little too long for Claire’s liking and she breaks the mood, asking how John comes to be governor of Jamaica. He is disparaging in his response: the clammy isle is the terminus of a number of so called promotions. 

He asks his own question, how have they come to be so far from home? When Jamie tells him that Ian has been kidnapped, John’s response is immediate: what can he do to help? Claire asks if he could introduce them around to the people on the island who keep indentured servants. John agrees, but adds that this will be nearly all of them. Jamie says that his man servant is currently talking to John’s slaves in the hope of gaining some more information. John reiterates that he will do whatever he can to help and Jamie smiles, noticing the decoration that John has pinned to his pocket. It is the sapphire that Jamie had given to him at Ardsmuir. John explains that he wears it to remember their friendship, a reason that Claire does not buy for a moment. Taking his leave of them to return to his guests, John comments again how wonderful it is to see Jamie. Left alone, Claire looks at Jamie, puzzled. There is obviously more to this relationship and she is not sure what to think.

Back in the main room, Claire and Jamie are helping themselves to champagne, under the watchful gaze of Lord John, when Kenneth MacIver appears again, offering to introduce Jamie to a freemason who may have news of young Ian. Claire tells Jamie to go with MacIver, while she makes some inquiries of her own. 

Outside, Margaret Campbell is having a moment alone, when Mr Willoughby comes to join her. Holding out his hand to her, Willoughby says that Archibald is not treating her in the way that she deserves. Margaret looks back at him, calling him a rare soul and he smiles. 

“And you are rarer still,” he replies, giving her a name which means “Flower from Heaven.” She smiles sweetly back at him. This is a lovely short scene, different to the book, but one which offers a very satisfying alternative storyline for these two characters. It remains to be seen exactly how it will develop.

While Jamie is talking to the freemason, Lord John approaches Claire. He reminds her of their earlier meeting, back when he was a naive teenager defending her virtue. Each acknowledge the duping of his younger self, as Claire’s virtue had never been in danger. John confirms that Jamie has told her about Willie. “Yes,” Claire says, “and his mother. Your wife’s sister, I believe?” John comments that Jamie has told her a great deal. Claire changes the subject drawing attention to the sapphire. She declares it to be a beautiful stone and asks if Jamie had truly given it to John. John confirms this, but adds that he didn’t so much give it as surrender it upon his recapture. John states that Jamie had been looking for Claire, believing that she may have come back. “And now you have.” 
“Yes,” says Claire. “I have.” John replies that it is certainly a pleasure to meet the love that was Jamie’s every heartbeat. 

This is a marvellous scene, with David Berry and Caitriona Balfe doing a superb job of conveying the tension, accusations and warnings that all go unspoken. Claire is aware of John’s attraction and is basically telling him in no uncertain terms that she is back and Jamie is hers. John knows this, but at the same time, also senses that Claire is unaware as to the full extent of his friendship with Jamie and is in no hurry to tell her. His retelling of Jamie’s search for Claire is politely accusing - if Claire was Jamie’s every heartbeat, why has she stayed away so long? It is a wary relationship that has begun here, also different from the book, in which Claire had already met Lord John on board the Porpoise. There is jealousy on both sides and it will be fascinating to see future scenes between the two. 

Suddenly, Claire’s attention is pulled elsewhere. Geillis Duncan has strode through the room, catching her eye. Abruptly, Claire excuses herself from Lord John’s company, telling him she believes she has just seen a ghost. She heads outside and it is not long before she hears a familiar voice, quoting a 20th century film, saying, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world...” Claire is astounded. 

She tells Geillis that she had believed her dead and asks how she had escaped. Geillis tells her the story. She had been with child, so was kept in the thieves’ hole for the remainder of her pregnancy. Once in labour, she had been allowed to give birth to her son back in her own house. She had held her child, before Dougal Mackenzie had come to claim him, fearful lest anyone should discover he was the father. But Dougal had also bribed the locksman, so that the person burned at the stake the next morning was not Geillis, but an old woman who had died three days earlier. Geillis comments on how well the corpse had burned, adding that she wouldn’t have missed the event. How many people get to witness their own funeral, let alone their own execution? Once it was done, Dougal found a home for the baby and organised Geillis’ escape.

Claire asks why Geillis has come to Jamaica. She replies that after Culloden once she had learned of Dougal’s death, she had married a rich plantation owner. Of course the man is now dead, and we are left in no doubt as to how he met his end. Geillis tells Claire that she is now Mistress Abernathy of Rose Hall. She says that she had wondered after Crainesmuir if their paths would ever cross again and asks her own question: why is Claire in Jamaica? Claire explains about Young Ian’s kidnapping and Geillis gasps in horror when Claire mentions that he may have been sold into slavery. Viewers know, of course, that it is Geillis who has Young Ian, but she feigns concern, asking how she can help. It is a clever parallel to the previous scene with John - both offer help, and Claire makes similar requests of each. But while John is utterly sincere, Geillis is of course lying. Yet it is Geillis who Claire is trusting. Geillis comments on Claire’s necklace and Claire tells her it is black coral, a gift from Jamie. Immediately, Geillis asks to say hello to Claire’s “fox cub”, saying that perhaps he will have a wee bauble for her as well. This is a veiled reference to the Mackenzie treasure box that she has in her possession, and the comment that Young Ian had made about the possibility of Jamie having the third stone that Geillis clearly wants. Claire of course, knows none of this, so merely smiles, and the two of them head back inside. 

John and Jamie are sitting and talking, John obviously enamoured of his companion, when Claire and Geillis approach. Jamie greets Geillis warily and Claire asks her whether she has met the governor. 

Geillis begins to make small talk, when she notices the missing sapphire hanging from John’s pocket. Forgetting herself momentarily, she makes a grab for the jewel, asking where he got it. Disentangling the stone from her grasp, John seems amazed that it has been such a conversation piece and says that he should wear it more often. A look passes between Claire, Jamie and John that is noticed by Geillis. John continues, telling Geillis that the sapphire had been found off the coast of Scotland and had been given to him by a friend. Again, he looks at Jamie, who adds “given to you by a prisoner” and John replies that he tends to omit that detail.

But Geillis isn’t remotely interested in how the stone came to be in John’s possession, only that it is. All pretence of friendliness gone, Geillis stalks off, telling John that they will speak again soon. Once she has gone, John comments that she is a touch strange, to which Claire responds, “You have no idea.”

Geillis strides over to Archibald Campbell, telling him that she needs Margaret to do crowd readings immediately, angering when Archibald seems to hesitate. 

He says that he didn’t believe his sister’s talents were required this evening, but recovers quickly enough to ask if he might charge a small fee. Geillis is dismissive, saying he can charge what he likes. She pulls him into the line of sight of John, Jamie and Claire, saying that she is only interested in one reading. 

It doesn’t take long before Margaret has a crowd around her. She is giving the readings and Archibald deciphering them, with Geillis standing behind them, like a spider looking for its prey. Claire and Jamie are watching and Claire puts 2 and 2 together. The Campbells were going to the West Indies to meet a rich patron - it is clear now that that patron is Geillis herself. 

Lord John approaches and Geillis asks if he would like his fortune told. He tries to deflect, saying that he is fortunate enough. Geillis replies “Nonsense” and he agrees, “It is! I have guests to whom I must attend.”  So Geillis appeals to the crowd, implying that John should oblige them all by agreeing to a reading. There is a smattering of applause and so he agrees, with a resigned, “If I must.” And just like that, Geillis the spider has trapped her fly. 

Meanwhile, Margaret is distressed. She doesn’t want to do the reading, she tells Archibald. He admonishes her, saying that if she is prepared to give free readings to the slaves, she should be prepared to do the bidding of their wealthy patron. He gives Margaret her instructions, placing the remaining 2 sapphires into her hand. She is to add the 3rd stone and deliver the prophecy. But Margaret still hesitates. She wants only to help people, she tells her brother and she can sense that this prophecy will bring death. Willoughby has noticed her distress and is watching from a distance. Archibald tells Margaret that she will do the reading anyway, or he will get out the stick, a threat that has the desired effect, just as Geillis appears with Lord John at her side. 

In front of the crowd, Geillis tells John that Margaret will need something personal of his to hold and indicates the sapphire. From their vantage point, Jamie gives Claire a “what is she up to?” look. 

John is obviously unwilling, but unclips the sapphire and hands it over. He sits down and the reading begins. Margaret gasps, her eyes open wide and fix onto John’s face and her voice is harsh and rasping as she recites: “When twice 1200 moons have coursed, ‘Tween man’s attack and woman’s curse, And when the issue is cut down, Then will a Scotsman wear a crown.”  

Confused, John leans forward and takes his sapphire back. Margaret gasps again and becomes herself. John stands and says to the crowd: “Well, what a peculiar past time!” There is general laughter as Geillis drags Archibald away. Outside Geillis asks Archibald what the words mean. Once it has been explained, it translates as 200 years passing between an act of love and the birth of a child. The death of this child will result in a Scottish king. But Geillis is unimpressed. “A 200 year old baby?” she says. “Do you think I’m an idiot?” She has wanted answers as to when the prophecy would occur, and this reading has not provided them. Finally, she sighs. Just because the prophecy is cryptic, she says, doesn’t mean it can’t be solved. Answering Archibald’s comment that it will “take time”, with a curt “Time, I have” she tells him to fetch Margaret as she wishes to leave. 

Marsali and Fergus are enjoying a romantic moment under the trees when riders approach. 

It is Captain Leonard and the two hurry to warn Jamie and Claire. The group makes a hasty exit just in time. Temeraire appears, so Jamie sends Fergus and Marsali ahead to get the carriages ready, telling the young couple to find Willoughby and meet them at the inn, while they ask Temeraire what he has found out. Temeraire tells them that the escaped slaves from the Bruja had seen Young Ian, but that the boy had stayed on the ship and had been taken to Mistress Abernathy at Rose Hall.  
“That’s Geillis’ place,” says a dismayed Claire. “She lied to me.” 
“I told you she had a wicked soul,” Jamie replies.

Temeraire asks if Jamie and Claire will keep their bargain to free him. He tells them that there are free men in Jamaica and that escaped slaves live in the mountains near Rose Hall. Jamie tells Temeraire to show them the place and that they will take him. But just as they depart, Captain Leonard appears. He looks after the carriage, thoughtfully. 

Under cover of darkness, they speed away, until Temeraire calls a halt. He has seen the mark carved into a tree and bids them farewell. 
“Be safe,” says Claire. 
“God go with you,” Jamie adds.  

Alone again, the two make plans. Once they get to Rose Hall, Claire will distract Geillis, while he searches the grounds for Young Ian. But just as they are about to get back into the carriage, riders surround them. It is Captain Leonard. Urgently, Jamie presses a wrapped parcel into Claire’s hand. “The portraits of the children” he tells her, “for safekeeping.” 

“Mistress Fraser, I see you found your husband,” Captain Leonard says, before formally charging and arresting Jamie with the murder of John Barton, exciseman. He looks smug, until an outraged Claire turns on him. “After everything I did for you and your men,” she says. “You bloody bastard. I’m the only reason that any of you survived.” Leonard looks shamefaced for a moment, before recovering enough to issue a formal “Madam” in farewell. The soldiers drag Jamie away, as he calls back over his shoulder to Claire. “Go,” he says. “Find Young Ian.” The episodes ends with a close-up of Claire’s distressed face.

The stakes were raised considerably during this hour, with the reappearance of ghosts from the past in the form of Geillis and John, as well as the unseen presence of the children: Willie and Brianna. Malevolence and danger are all around, not just from the prophecy and the latest separation of Jamie from Claire, but also shown in the treatment of Young Ian by Geillis, the slaves by the traders and Margaret Campbell by her brother. At the same time, there are the characters who would do anything to help those they love, in the form of Lord John Grey, Willoughby, Fergus and Marsali. And so the stage is set for a thrilling season finale!

This recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She was so happy to see Lord John again and can’t wait for more scenes with David Berry, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe! 

Friday, December 1, 2017

“Turtle Soup, anyone?” A recap of Season 3 episode 11 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals by Susie Brown 

In possibly the greatest tease to book fans since a sign bearing the name A Malcolm, the episode opens with a turtle swimming peacefully through the water. This swiftly changes to an image of Claire, asleep on her raft in the middle of the ocean, A wave sweeps her under the water and she is shocked awake, swimming desperately towards the shore. 

The waves finally dump her onto a beach where her pack of clothes is also miraculously waiting for her. She shakes out her sodden clothes and shoes, and spreads them to dry on the sand, before sitting down to take stock of her situation. Claire’s voiceover announces that while she is relieved to have found land, she has no idea where she is. She has floated too long and far for it to be Grand Turk and she has absolutely no idea how she can find Jamie. But not being one to sit around and wait, she starts to walk.

The sun is unforgiving. As she walks, Claire remembers the rule of threes. She has survived the first rule - humans can only survive 3 minutes without air and she was not under water for that long. The third rule - humans can survive 3 weeks without food is not of immediate concern. But the second rule is what is worrying her - humans can only survive 3 days without water and there is no water to be seen.  

She finds some that has collected in a large leaf, but it is barely a mouthful. Trying not to panic, she goes in search of more. As the sun continues to beat down, she uses her now dry skirt as a shelter, draping it over some branches to take refuge from the heat. She removes as many clothes as she can, trying to protect herself from the temperatures. 

Once again, the voiceover takes up the story. Claire has moved inland looking for a road, as this will bring with it civilisation and some form of town. Perhaps, Claire reasons, there may be a port on the other side of the island, where she could buy passage for Jamaica. 

She has also found a rock that will be useful for starting a fire and she collects sticks in her skirt, which she finally manages to set alight at sunset, with the help of the stuffing of her bum roll. Encouraged by this success, she adds more sticks and branches as the flames grow. Exhausted, she sits by the fire and finally goes to sleep.

But in the morning, she wakes to discover that she is lying on an ant hill. Desperately, she beats the fire ants off her legs, but she is covered in bites. Ripping part of her petticoat into strips, she ties some makeshift bandages and continues walking. But Claire is obviously weakening now. 

She is moving more slowly and holding onto the larger plants for support. The sun is continuing to beat down and still there is no water. The camera shifts in and out of focus, indicating her consciousness is also starting to waver. She comes across some coconuts, but cruelly, they are rotten and black, with the only fresh ones way above her head and out of reach.

Another night falls and Claire takes shelter under a tree, but there is no fire this time. No ants either when she awakes, but instead, she finds her body being used as a road by a large snake. 

Her eyes wide and not daring to breathe, she remains still until it is has passed over her. The adrenaline spurs her into action once again. Her ant bites are red raw now and she scratches at them painfully. She stumbles past an animal skeleton and we understand that she is at the end of her endurance. This is the 3rd day and by the rule of threes, her life is now in danger. Finally, she stumbles into a clearing and sees a priest, arms outstretched giving a sermon to what appears to be a flock of goats. Not sure if she is actually seeing another human being or hallucinating, Claire cannot go another step and loses consciousness, collapsing onto the ground.

She awakes to find herself lying on a bed. There is a cup of water nearby and she reaches out to take it, only to discover that she has been tied down. Another woman enters the room, telling her that she has been tied to the bed for her own good, as it was the only way to stop Claire from scratching at her legs, which are now covered in a thick paste of some sort.  Claire gasps for water. 

It is the first word she has actually spoken aloud in the first 16 minutes of the episode, yet viewers have been in no doubt as to the despair she has been feeling. It is a clever parallel to the opening episode of the season, where a delirious Jamie lay on the battlefield. In each case, much was conveyed purely with looks and ragged breathing and this latest display of non-verbal emotion is a testament to Caitriona Balfe’s acting skill. 

The woman pours water into Claire’s mouth and she drinks hungrily, choking and gasping, as she asks to be untied. But the woman does not do so, saying that Claire needs to rest. She takes Claire’s clothes away to wash, with a confused glance at the 20th century zipper of Claire’s corset.

Some time later, Claire wakes again, to find an English man sitting by her bedside. He explains that his dog, Ludo, had found her and that Ludo had been most concerned for her wellbeing. Introducing himself as Father Fogden, the man welcomes her to Hacienda de la Fuente and unties her. He helps Claire sit up and gives her more water, encouraging her not to drink too fast. Claire tells him that she knows this, as she is a doctor. 

He is confused by the idea of a female doctor, but soon compares her to St Brigid, the healer of the sick. Father Fogden then heralds Claire as some sort of miracle worker, telling her that her arrival coincided with the successful birth of a new baby goat and asking how she came to be there. Claire asks, “Where exactly is here?” and is told that she is on the island of Saint- Domaigne. Claire says that she needs to reach Jamie and Father Fogden begins suggesting possibilities, one of which involves getting to a village a day’s walk away, followed by a boat journey taking another 2 days. Claire thinks this might be just enough time, if she leaves the following morning, but Father Fogden tells her this is not possible. “Coco says it is far too dangerous,” he tells her.

He picks up a coconut from a shelf nearby, informing Claire that Coco has also reminded him of the likelihood of an attack by escaped slaves, known as maroons. Father Fogden asks if she had encountered any maroons or pirates on her way, interrupting Claire’s answer to admonish the coconut for staring. Father Fogden agrees that Claire is indeed a pretty lady, although not as pretty as his Ermenegilda. He calls out for the woman Claire had seen earlier and addresses her as Mamacita. He asks if there are any clothes that Claire could wear, suggesting a dress of Ermenegilda’s. But Mamacita declares the dress “too small for that cow” and tells Fogden to give  her one of his old robes instead. Mamacita tells Claire that she stinks and that it is time for her to wash. Claire is led to a wooden tub outside, and despite the strangeness of her surroundings and the troubles she has had to get here, she clearly relishes the chance to have a proper bath. She allows herself a small relieved smile, as she tips a jug of water over her head and sinks down into the water, ignoring the animal skull above her. 

Later, washed and dressed in one of Fogden’s robes, Claire joins Father Fogden and Mamacita for a meal of plantains, manioc and red beans. It is good and as they eat, Claire asks how Father Fogden has come to the island of Saint-Domingue. He tells her that he had gone to Cuba 15 years ago to do the work of God when he met and fell in love with a woman called Ermenegilda. 

Claire comments that it must have been complicated for him, given the fact that he was a priest. Fogden agrees and adds that the couple had run away from Ermenegilda’s husband. As it happened, England had invaded Cuba on the same day, meaning that the couple could not be found amongst the ensuing chaos. They had made their way by ship to the current island, but sadly theirs was not destined to be a happy ending. Ermenegilda had fallen ill and died. Claire expresses her sorrow, which is gratefully accepted by Fogden. He then offers Claire some yupe, adding that it can make one feel quite euphoric. Claire declines, but takes the opportunity, once Fogden has inhaled some of the smoke to ask again about the village he had spoken of earlier. She wants to reach it. But Fogden says that it is far too dangerous for her to travel alone and that he and Coco will accompany her. Claire is touched, but her gratitude soon dissipates when he adds that they can leave next week or perhaps in a fortnight, citing that she is not yet well enough to undertake the journey. Frustrated, Claire utters a “For Christ’s sake”. As a doctor she is more than capable of assessing her health. But her comments have upset the Father, who admonishes her for her language. 

Meanwhile Mamacita is growing impatient. She wants Claire out of the house, stating “That whore must go.” As Fogden and Mamacita begin a heated argument in Spanish, during which Mamacita accuses the Father of attempting to replace her daughter Ermenegilda, Claire leaves the room. Her voiceover tells us that she is desperate to reach the village of St Louis de Nord and she begins to make her own plans, beginning by pocketing a small mirror. 

Father Fogden finds her, commenting that she must have been drawn to this particular room by the dress which is hanging in prime position. 

It had once belonged to Ermenegilda. He is entranced by it and it is obviously that he is missing his love. Fogden apologises for the argument that Claire witnessed, commenting that Ermenegilda had been Mamacita’s only child and that the pain of losing a daughter never leaves. This is something that Claire can identify with and we see her thinking of both Faith and Brianna, as she tells Fogden that she understands. He continues to defend his mother-in-law, explaining that she fears that he will forget her daughter, which of course, he will never do. He touches the sleeve of the gown, saying that when you love someone as much as he had loved Ermenegilda it never leaves you. Claire understands completely, confirming Fogden’s suspicion that she too has loved someone for whom she would risk everything. Claire tells him that she needs to get to Jamaica and that if she doesn’t she may lose her husband forever. “Then you must be reunited,” Fogden says, taking her hand and we see the relief on Claire’s face. She asks if they could leave for St Louis du Nord the following morning, an idea that Fogden calls a wonderful notion. But just as Claire has begun to think that they are about to search for Jamie, her hopes are dashed again when Fogden adds that he will consult Coco to see if the time is right. 

This scene, as well as establishing an understanding between Father Fogden and Claire, also shows what can happen to someone who has lost the person closest to them forever. Fogden has made a life for himself, but he is not complete. He lives with the memories and mementos of his dead wife, dulling the pain with drugs such as yupe, and talking to a coconut for companionship. We wonder: if Claire does not succeed in finding Jamie, would her despair lead her to a similar fate?

The next morning, when Claire awakes, she notices two things. Firstly, the ant bites on her legs are much better and secondly, Mamacita has brought her clothes back, freshly washed and folded. It is a fairly definite message: Ermenegilda’s mother does not want Claire there any longer. She catches a glimpse of the coconut on a shelf above her and comes up with her own plan. 

Soon afterwards, Fogden discovers Claire deep in conversation with Coco. In an acting performance reminiscent of an English pantomime, Claire proclaims loudly that she is feeling much better, that she will be very careful and that Father Fogden will look after her. 

When she finally “notices” the Father, she tells him that Coco has told her that it is a good day to travel. But just as it looks like he might be convinced. a cry from Mamacita takes her outside. Mamacita is carrying the bloodied skull of a young goat, Arabella and tells the Father that a Chinese soldier had killed her and roasted her on a spit. Reverently, Fogden puts the skull onto a box, before pouring a handful of beetles over it, so that they can clean off the flesh. He tells Claire that the beetles are voracious creatures from a sacred cave known as Abandawe and Claire is immediately reminded of the warning that Margaret Campbell had given her back in Edinburgh.

Abandawe is a place of great power, Fogden continues, saying that it is hallowed to the natives of Jamaica and that people can disappear there. This is not what Claire wants to hear, but the next comment is: Fogden laments again that his poor Arabella has become nothing more than a feast for a Chinaman. Claire reacts at once: a Chinaman? The coincidence must surely be too great. Mamacita had seen the Chinaman on the beach and Claire asks about the ship the sailor had been on. What else had Mamacita seen? “Many sailors and broken sails on the beach,” she is told. Claire wants to be told how to reach the ship, but Fogden is lost in his grief for the goat. It is Mamacita who tells her the way, pointing and gesturing in her attempt to explain that Claire needs to go to the right, then straight ahead. As the music builds, Claire runs back through the jungle towards the beach.

Now it is Jamie’s turn to sit on the sand looking out to sea. The Artemis has been wrecked,  and men have been lost, Captain Raines, Master Warren and the cook, Murphy, amongst them. As Jamie and Fergus discuss the dangers of the sea, Fergus comments that even experienced sailors should be wary of uncharted shoals. Jamie adds that the gale hadn’t helped matters and they were lucky that the hull is still in tact, with only the foremast snapped. 

Fergus admits that he does not mourn the men, having wished Raines and Warren dead himself at various times throughout the journey. Meanwhile Lesley and Hayes are complaining about the heat. Jamie tells them not to worry: the foremast will soon be fixed and they will be on their way to Jamaica, but comments that if they had worked as hard as they talked they would already have been underway.

Jamie makes a deal with Baxley, the next sailor in charge after Raines. It is interesting that all animosity towards Jamie has now gone and he has once again assumed his natural role as leader. Baxley says that while he will be in charge of the helm, he is leaving the men and the captain’s quarters in Jamie’s hands, both of which he is happy to accept. 

The repairs continue and all the while Claire is running as fast as she can towards the beach. She gashes her arm badly, but keeps going. Everyone is now back on board the ship, with the plan to sail in the evening, when it is cooler. Finally, Claire reaches the beach. 

She screams out to Jamie, then remembers the mirror she had pocketed earlier. She holds it into the sun - and it works. Jamie looks towards the flickering light and asks Baxley for the spy glass. At last he sees her. The Jamie and Claire theme music soars as Jamie sprints back along the beach and into Claire’s arms. The relief on both of their faces is beautiful, Jamie muttering “Thank Christ” before kissing her passionately. “I feared I had lost you again,” he tells her, before noticing her arm. Kudos once again to Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe here - it’s a special and thoroughly believable scene. 

Hayes and Lesley are commenting on Claire’s ability to just show up in the most unlikely of places, as Willoughby sews up the gash in her arm. Jamie is commenting on the generosity of Father Fogden, but adds that he still can’t believe she jumped from the ship. 

Claire replies that she had to tell him about the warrants for his arrest and Jamie rues the fact that the man in the cask of creme-de-menthe had been found. Willoughby adds that they should have cut the body up so there would have been nothing to find. Claire tells Jamie that Captain Leonard is a young and ambitious man who won’t stop looking for him, but Jamie replies that he won’t stop looking for Young Ian. He is not particularly worried; he has been a wanted man for quite some time. 

Willoughby finishes his stitching and Claire compliments him on the job. Jamie tells Claire that he has given his blessing to Fergus and Marsali, telling Claire that Fergus loves Marsali, just as he loves her. 

She smiles at him and they finish the bandaging of her arm. They need to wait for the foremast tar to harden, Jamie says, and it would be nice to find a bit of joy after all the death and destruction. He has a wedding in mind, but to do that, they need a priest. As it happens, Claire says, she knows someone who could help with that.

In a brief but assuming scene, Willoughby is apologising to Father Fogden, for the pain and suffering he has caused. He did not know of Arabella’s importance, he says. Where he comes from, goats are not revered as they should be. He asks Fogden to forgive his ignorance and humbly presents a chicken in a wooden cage, his head bowed. Fogden is moved by his speech. “There was a time when I was a stranger in a strange land,” he says, “much like you are now.” He forgives Willoughby and offers him some yupe, which Willoughby accepts. 

It is getting dark. Marsali is getting dressed for her wedding, fumbling with her stays. Claire offers to help, asking the younger woman if she is nervous. Marsali denies that she is, but nevertheless allows Claire to help. Claire says that she was nervous on her wedding day, as there was much she didn’t know. 

Marsali comments that there is one thing she herself doesn’t know - how to avoid pregnancy. Claire is surprised: most young women want children, she says. Marsali clarifies, saying that she does want them one day, but for now, she just wants to enjoy it. Fergus has told her that he knows what to do and that Marsali will like it fine but she is not sure if that is true. Showing the first vulnerability we have seen so far, she admits to Claire that after Jamie had married her mother, she had watched Laoghaire shrink away from his touch. By contrast, Marsali had noticed Claire and Jamie on the ship and it had looked like they enjoyed being together. “Yes,” says Claire, “we do.”
 “I want to be happy with Fergus,” Marsali says, “like you are with Daddy, without having to worry about a bairn. You being a wise woman, I thought you’d be worth asking.” Claire smiles.  She promises that when they get back to the ship, she will explain how it’s done. “So there is a way,” says Marsali and Claire nods. Marsali smiles. “Maybe you’re not the devil after all,” she says. The relationship between the two women has begun and the whole scene was beautifully acted by Caitriona Balfe and Lauren Lyle. In the absence of Brianna, Claire is able to show a bit of maternal affection towards the younger woman and it is heartwarming to see. 

The wedding begins, with Father Fogden officiating. The ceremony gets off to a confusing start however, with Fogden assuming that the sailor Manzetti, not Fergus, is the groom. Once corrected, he is surprised.  “Him, are you sure? He’s missing a hand! Will the bride mind?” Marsali indignantly replies that she will not and Fogden decides that perhaps it is less of an impediment than if Fergus happened to be missing a far more intimate part of his anatomy - and promptly asks if he is anatomically in tact! 

Again, Marsali tells him impatiently that if he’d hurry up, she could find out! Fergus apologises, but adds that the fact that Marsali speaks her mind is one of the things he loves about her. Jamie and Claire look at each other knowingly - it is a similarity they share with the happy couple. Next, Fogden becomes distracted by the beauty of Marsali’s name, to the bride’s ever growing annoyance. But finally, they get down to the formalities. As Fogden struggles momentarily to recite the whole of the ceremony, Marsali cuts him short with a hasty “I will.” Fogden turns to Fergus and asks for his full name, stating that he cannot marry the couple properly without it. This is a problem, as Fergus has never known his surname: he is simply Fergus. But as the couple look at each other, worried, Jamie steps in. “Fraser,” he says. “Fergus Claudel Fraser.”

Book readers knew this moment was coming, but the look of love and respect between the two men is still breathtaking. A ring is hastily presented and Fergus and Marsali are married. Father Fogden makes the sign of the cross above them, saying “May God bless your union”, before walking over to Jamie and Claire and repeating the blessing to them. It is another moment of understanding that is also bittersweet. Father Fogden has lost the love of his life, but rejoices in Claire and Jamie being reunited.

A pause here to acknowledge the wonderful work of Nick Fletcher, in the role of Father Fogden. He depicted the eccentricities of the character perfectly, leaving viewers in no doubt that although he was an eccentric man, Father Fogden was also dealing with his own dueling emotions of loss and loyalty, whilst continuing to practise his profession. 

Back on the Artemis, Claire is carefully ladling soup into a bowl - probably to the unheard chorus of “At last!” from all the book readers! Jamie enters the cabin with her case of penicillin, asking why she hadn’t taken it with her on the Porpoise. There wasn’t enough to treat all the men, she explains, and it wouldn’t have been effective in treating typhoid fever anyway. Claire comments on the soup, saying that it is delicious. Jamie says that Willoughby would be pleased, as he had made it for her especially. He kisses her, but is concerned - she is burning up with fever. Claire replies that she knows and it is why she needs the penicillin. She opens the case with her teeth - she is drunk, but doesn’t realise it. 

She tries to prepare a dose one handed, as Jamie watches with increasing amusement. Eventually, Claire agrees to his help, giving him detailed instructions. The time has come for Jamie’s revenge, should he wish to take it. Claire pulls up her shift, ready to receive the shot in her behind, just as Jamie had done after being shot at Lallybroch. But Jamie can’t do it and Claire is forced to inject herself, with Jamie pushing the plunger down to administer the dose. 

Once done, Claire’s attention is drawn to more erotic matters, but Jamie tells her she should keep her strength up. She returns to the soup, asking what it is. Jamie replies that it is turtle. Manzetti had caught one the previous evening and Willoughby had put it in the pot. Claire remarks that she has not had turtle before, but that it is meant to be an aphrodisiac. She pulls Jamie towards her again. He teases her about her behaviour when she is supposed to be a respectable married woman. Claire begins to crawl across the table towards him telling him to bolt the door. He displays mock indignation at the thought that he would take advantage of a woman who not only wounded and fevered, but drunk. Claire argues that she is not drunk, as it is not possible to get drunk on turtle soup. Jamie replies that it is entirely possibly if Willoughby made it, as it has an entire bottle of sherry in it. Claire tries one last time: Jamie had told her once that you are not drunk if you are standing. She is more swaying than standing, a fact that Jamie points out, but he is more than willing to oblige the amorous feelings of his “burning she devil”. She bolts the door herself and the lovemaking begins in earnest.

But suddenly there is a knock at the door. It is Willoughby, asking if Claire has enjoyed the soup. 

He declares it to have been a fine hawksbill turtle and wants to know if Claire would like more, as he has made a fresh pot. Jamie and Claire have not halted proceedings, with Claire biting Jamie’s hand to stop her moans being overheard. Jamie calls out a strangled “Good night, Willoughby” and with a knowing smile, Willoughby moves away from the door.  

This was a wonderful episode, cleverly incorporating all the essential plot from the book, but occasionally altering the way in which the details appeared. Throughout the hour, viewers watched the characters portray the full gamut of emotions: from despair, grief and frustration to nerves, relief, respect, love and finally, gratification! As the Artemis heads for Jamaica, the setup to the season finale is beginning.

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She loves the fact that she both laughed and cried in this episode and even though she knew what would happen, her heart was pounding at all the appropriate moments!