Sunday, December 31, 2017

The History of Hogmanay

 Hogmanay in Scotland

Historic U.K. by Ben Johnson...
For more

Only one nation in the world can celebrate the New Year or Hogmanay with such revelry and passion – the Scots! But what are the actual origins of Hogmanay, and why should a tall dark stranger be a welcome visitor after midnight?

It is believed that many of the traditional Hogmanay celebrations were originally brought to Scotland by the invading Vikings in the early 8th and 9th centuries. These Norsemen, or men from an even more northerly latitude than Scotland, paid particular attention to the arrival of the Winter Solstice or the shortest day, and fully intended to celebrate its passing with some serious partying.

In Shetland, where the Viking influence remains strongest, New Year is still called Yules, deriving from the Scandinavian word for the midwinter festival of Yule.

It may surprise many people to note that Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and virtually banned in Scotland for around 400 years, from the end of the 17th century to the 1950s. The reason for this dates back to the years of Protestant Reformation, when the straight-laced Kirk proclaimed Christmas as a Popish or Catholic feast, and as such needed banning.

And so it was, right up until the 1950s that many Scots worked over Christmas and celebrated their winter solstice holiday at New Year when family and friends would gather for a party and to exchange presents which came to be known as hogmanays.

There are several traditions and superstitions that should be taken care of before midnight on the 31st December: these include cleaning the house and taking out the ashes from the fire, there is also the requirement to clear all your debts before “the bells” sound midnight, the underlying message being to clear out the remains of the old year, have a clean break and welcome in a young, New Year on a happy note.

Immediately after midnight it is traditional to sing Robert Burns‘ “Auld Lang Syne”. Burns published his version of this popular little ditty in 1788, although the tune was in print over 80 years before this.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

An integral part of the Hogmanay party, which is continued with equal enthusiasm today, is to welcome friends and strangers with warm hospitality and of course lots of enforced kissing for all.

“First footing” (or the “first foot” in the house after midnight) is still common across Scotland. To ensure good luck for the house the first foot should be a dark male, and he should bring with him symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a wee dram of whisky. The dark male bit is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your door step with a big axe meant big trouble, and probably not a very happy New Year!

The firework displays and torchlight processions now enjoyed throughout many cities in Scotland are reminders of the ancient pagan parties from those Viking days of long ago.

The traditional New Year ceremony would involve people dressing up in the hides of cattle and running around the village whilst being hit by sticks. The festivities would also include the lighting of bonfires and tossing torches. Animal hide wrapped around sticks and ignited produced a smoke that was believed to be very effective in warding off evil spirits: this smoking stick was also known as a Hogmanay.

Many of these customs continue today, especially in the older communities of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. On the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, the young men and boys form themselves into opposing bands; the leader of each wears a sheep skin, while another member carries a sack. The bands move through the village from house to house reciting a Gaelic rhyme. The boys are given bannocks (fruit buns) for their sack before moving on to the next house.

One of the most spectacular fire ceremonies takes place in Stonehaven, south of Aberdeen on the north east coast. Giant fireballs are swung around on long metal poles each requiring many men to carry them as they are paraded up and down the High Street. Again the origin is believed to be linked to the Winter Solstice with the swinging fireballs signifying the power of the sun, purifying the world by consuming evil spirits.

For visitors to Scotland it is worth remembering that January 2nd is also a national holiday in Scotland, this extra day being barely enough time to recover from a week of intense revelry and merry-making. All of which helps to form part of Scotland’s cultural legacy of ancient customs and traditions that surround the pagan festival of Hogmanay.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

“The Power of Love” - a recap of season 3 episode 13 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals by Susie Brown 

There are many parallels to past events and seasons cleverly woven throughout the action of season 3’s final episode. It is not surprising to discover that the hour was co-written by Toni Graphia and Matthew B Roberts, who also did double duty as director. In their hands, the finale is definitely one to remember - a fitting ending to what has been an amazing season. 

As the episode opens, Faith’s theme music is playing. If that wasn’t omen enough, the melody is accompanied by Claire’s voiceover saying, “I was dead”, together with the shocking image of her seemingly lifeless body sinking to the bottom of the ocean. 

No explanation is given as to what has happened, and as the voiceover ends in an image of bright white light, the time jumps. Claire is in a carriage, urging the driver to hurry. The last time we saw Claire alone in a speeding carriage was back in season 2, when she was racing to try and prevent the duel between Jamie and Jack Randall. That particular mission resulted ultimately in Jamie’s arrest and the miscarriage of Faith, so this parallel journey certainly heightens the tension from the outset. 

Suddenly, the carriage stops. Claire calls out asking why, but the reason soon becomes obvious. A group of slaves is marching past them, chanting and carrying lit torches. 

They pay no attention to the carriage or its occupants, merely walking around them and continuing on their way. It is an eerie interlude, with Claire, the driver and footman all unnerved by the experience. Once the group has passed by, the carriage continues its journey, finally stopping at the grounds of Rose Hall. Claire asks for directions to the slaves’ quarters. She tells the driver to wait for her at the bottom of the road, adding that if she doesn’t return by daybreak, he is to ask for her at the main house. 

Meantime, Fergus and Marsali arrive back at their accommodation at the Black Cat Inn. They see Claire’s fine dress and realise that she has already been there. Fergus comments that he hoped Mr Willoughby would be there, as he fears for the man’s safety. But Marsali reassures Fergus: Willoughby is a clever man and since they don’t know the island, there is nothing they can do for him.

Fergus sees the note that Claire has left behind, letting them know that Jamie has been arrested by Captain Leonard. Marsali suggests heading to the Artemis to get help, but Fergus has another idea. He tells Marsali to wait behind for him, but she refuses. She is his wife, she tells him, and is coming with him. It is a nice little parallel with Jamie and Claire: these two will go through everything together. Fergus takes her hand and they leave. 

Claire is creeping through the servants’ quarters, whispering for Ian, when she comes across a dog that is preoccupied with something hidden under some straw. She shoos the dog away and is horrified to see two dead bodies - the two boys who were with Ian when he first arrived. 

As viewers are left to wonder whether this means that the blood bath Geillis was taking had actually been goat’s blood or something more sinister, Claire is captured from behind by Geillis’ slave, who clamps a huge hand over her mouth to silence her protests.

Geillis is interrogating young Ian, asking him why he had never mentioned his aunt. But the frightened, aroused young boy has gone. This Ian is defiant and angry. As Geillis tries to get him to admit that Claire knew about both the sapphires and the prophecy of the Brahan Seer, Ian tells her that he’s tired of her blethering. He launches himself at her, calling her a bitch and promising to gut her, but is restrained by another slave. Perhaps, as the only survivor of the boys who were captured and despairing as to whether Jamie will arrive in time, Ian figures that he has nothing to lose. He is a Fraser Murray after all, and not one to give up without a fight. But another slave enters, whispering to Geillis. Telling the slave to take Ian away quickly, Geillis barely has time to rise before another door opens and a new prisoner enters: Claire, who is pushed into the room by Hercules. 

Immediately Claire begins a story. She was left at the end of the road, she says, and had gotten lost trying to find the house. Geillis walks towards her. She is staring intently as she apologises for her man servant’s roughness and declaring them to be friends. Yet she doesn’t smile when she tells Claire that she is welcome anytime, asking instead why Claire has come. Claire replies that Jamie has been arrested for murder, a crime of which he is entirely innocent, and that she is now in danger as well. Geillis replies that Claire must be exhausted, inviting her to come and sit. Claire is wary: it is the start of an excellent cat and mouse game between the two. 

A smug Captain Leonard is leading Jamie back towards the Porpoise. Jamie remarks that it is a shame that Leonard hadn’t lost his way and found Havana instead, a comment that results in Leonard remarking that Jamie is quite droll for a man in irons. He admits that they had had difficulties finding their way, short handed as they were. But just as Leonard tells Jamie that he will soon be transported home to face trial, red coats appear. They address Leonard as Lieutenant, rather than Captain and announce that Jamie will be taken into their charge. Leonard is annoyed and asks under whose authority.

The next scene shows exactly whose authority: that of Lord John Grey. This is a magnificent scene, with David Berry the undisputed star. 

Lord John wastes no time in reprimanding Leonard, who has neither warrant nor affadavit from a witness to prove his claims of Jamie’s guilt. Given that Leonard’s authority over Jamie had ended once they reached land, Lord John can now overrule him, which he does, repeatedly referring to him as Lieutenant and commenting on the liberal practices of the naval service to confer rank on someone who has not earned it. Until he himself is satisfied as to the validity of the charge, Grey says, then Jamie will retain his liberty. Leonard is beaten, and he knows it. With one final look at Jamie, he stalks out of the room. 

Alone now, John and Jamie look at each other. Jamie comments that he is indebted to John once again, for saving his life. John replies that they have been indebted to each other so many times that he has lost count. 

“Until the next time, then,” says Jamie. “Goodbye, John.”
“Goodbye, Jamie,” John replies. “And good luck.” 
Jamie leaves, as John stares wistfully after the man he loves. 

Back at Rose Hall, Claire is just finishing her story as to how she and Jamie have arrived in Jamaica. Geillis is losing patience, telling Claire that she has omitted one detail. “Why are you here?” she asks. 

It is the same question she asked back in season 1 and she still hasn’t received a satisfactory answer. Fate has continued to throw them together for 25 years, she comments. As fellow travellers, they share a unique bond, one that even Jamie and Claire do not. 

Geillis says that she had sacrificed everything for Claire, yet Claire has come to her home and lied. It was Claire, Geillis insists, who poisoned Colum’s mind against Dougal and the rising and Claire who is still trying to stop her now from putting a Scottish king on the throne. Claire tells her that she has done no such thing, and that Charles Stuart had his chance. But Geillis is not speaking of the Bonnie Prince. Her focus is now on the new King and the prophecy of the Brahan Seer. As she starts to accuse Claire of stopping her from freeing her people from England’s tyrannical rule and returning her homeland to its former glory, Claire rises, saying that she had better leave. But Geillis won’t let her go, telling Hercules to stop her, which he does. Claire asks Geillis what it is she wants to hear and Geillis answers, “Why have you been after me all these years?”

An exasperated Claire replies that in fact she hasn’t been in the same time period for the past 20 years, a claim which Geillis refuses to believe at first. But Claire continues, telling how she had left right before Culloden and returned to her own time. Geillis comments that there was no way that Claire would have left Jamie, and that not even war would have parted them. So Claire tells Geillis that she was pregnant and that she had left for the safety of the child, so that she could raise her in Boston, in her own time. 

Once her daughter was old enough, Claire says, she had returned to find Jamie. Still Geillis is disbelieving - how has Claire travelled three times and survived? Turning away, she tells Hercules that he can have Claire, to do what he wants with her. Desperately, Claire pulls out the photographs. How can she be in the photos, she asks, if she isn’t speaking the truth? Intrigued, Geillis recognises Brianna and Claire confirms that Geillis met Brianna at the university, adding that they were both there the night that Geillis had gone through the stones in 1968. 

“That was you shouting my name,” Geillis says and Claire comments that she had wanted to warn her about what would happen at the witch trial. They discuss the fact that Claire had seen the burnt body of Greg Edgars, with Geillis saying that a sacrifice had been necessary. Claire disputes this, admitting that she doesn’t know how she travelled without one, other than that it had “something to do with the person on the other side drawing you to them.” Geillis comments that while that may be so, she would rather have blood, as a girl can’t be too careful. She looks down at the photos. “A 200 year old baby,” she says, with a hint of a smile. “Imagine that.” Viewers realise that Geillis has just connected the prophecy to Brianna and that Claire has unknowingly put her daughter in danger. Geillis puts one of the photos inside her gown, before returning the rest of the packet to Claire. Suddenly, she is contrite, apologising and commenting that she now sees that the two women have been drawn together by powerful forces. Embracing Claire before retiring, she says that Claire will be shown to a guest room and given everything she needs.

But later in her quarters, Claire realises that she has been locked in. Through the windows, she sees a bound and gagged young Ian being carried by Hercules. She tries doors and shutters, but it is no use. 

Suddenly, the door rattles from the other side: someone is trying to get inside. Grabbing a candlestick, she swings as the man enters. Fortunately, she misses - it is Jamie. He explains that Fergus had gotten word to John Grey and they share a brief, relieved hug. Claire tells him that she is fine, but that Geillis has Ian. They run outside, and Jamie asks Claire which way they need to go. Claire points in the direction of drumming that can be heard in the distance. 

Carefully, the two creep through the jungle towards the noise. A tribal ceremony is taking place, with drumming and trance-like dancing around a fire. Jamie and Claire crouch in the reeds, watching. It is reminiscent of the way Frank and Claire watched the original dancers at the stones in the very first episode of season 1 and indeed, as Claire watches, the figures morph with the women she had seen back then. 

Her reverie is abruptly interrupted however, as Jamie and Claire are discovered by one of the slaves, and brought into the centre of the ceremony at knife point. But just as they appear to be in grave danger, a man shouts Jamie’s name. It is Willoughby. “They are with me,” Willoughby says to the leader of the slaves. The man nods and the slaves disperse, leaving a shocked Claire and Jamie to ask Willoughby what he is doing there.

Willoughby explains that he is with Margaret Campbell, indicating that the people had heard of Margaret’s gifts and had asked her to come. He indicates behind him, to where Margaret is standing, talking to one of the slaves. “She is the first woman to truly see me,” Willoughby continues, “the man that I am. And I see her. We wish to be together.”   

Willoughby tells them that after tonight, he and Margaret will go to Martinique and make a home there. Placing a hand on Willoughby’s shoulder, Jamie asks if he has seen Young Ian. Willoughby says that he hasn’t, prompting Claire to suggest that perhaps Margaret has, explaining that Ian is with Mrs Abernathy. 

They walk over to Margaret. She is friendly and pleased to see Claire, who remarks that Margaret looks well. 

But when Margaret sees Jamie, she changes. Taking his hand, a vision begins. “I see you,” she says, in an altered voice. She describes the battlefield of Culloden as an orchard of blood and mentions the rabbit that Jamie had watched in his delirious state. He wrenches his hand away, with a shocked “Christ”. He has told no one of the rabbit and this unnerves him. Then Margaret turns to Claire and describes the bird on the windowsill. It is the bird that Claire had told Jamie of, the one that she used to imagine was him.

Again, there is no way for Margaret to know this and Claire is similarly unnerved.  But then Margaret takes both of their hands and it is the voice of Brianna that she is channelling. She tells Jamie that she knew it was him and that she loves him. He smiles, despite the strangeness: this is what he longs for. Then Margaret kisses Claire on the cheek, saying “You too, Mama” and Claire is similarly moved. But then Margaret looks frightened, talking of the monster and saying “Abandawe”. Claire remembers that this is the cave that Margaret had spoken about before, but before she can get any more information, Margaret says that the monster is coming, as Archibald Campbell strides towards them. 

While Willoughby tells Archibald that he is not welcome, Campbell admonishes his sister, asking her if she has forgotten about their wealthy patron, Mrs Abernathy. Jamie asks Archibald what he has to do with the woman who has his nephew. Campbell replies that he knows nothing about young Ian, but is only concerned with the Brahan Seer and the prophecy of the 200 year old baby. At this, Claire looks shocked. 

Campbell explains that according to the prophecy, a new king will rise upon the death of a 200 year old baby and Claire realises the danger that Bree is in. She moves a short distance away, to check the photos and calls for Jamie. She asks Jamie if he has the photo of Bree with the dog, but he hasn’t. 

Against the backdrop of the tribal ceremony which has recommenced, two scenes happen simultaneously. First, Campbell is telling Margaret that they are leaving. But Willoughby defends his true love. When Archibald attempts to grab hold of his sister, Willoughby pushes him away, saying that he knows what Campbell has done to her and that he is not worthy of her. 

Next, as the ceremony becomes more frenzied, Claire tells Jamie that Geillis must have taken the photograph. She explains how she had told Geillis of Bree and the fact that Geillis had met her in 1968, leading Geillis to believe that Bree is the 200 year old baby. 

Campbell is holding the stick, threatening Margaret. But this Margaret is stronger. She stands up to Archibald, telling him that he had forced her to tell fortunes in riddles, but she won’t do so any longer. Campbell lunges for Margaret, but Willoughby grabs him.

Claire and Jamie realise that Geillis is going to go back to 1968 to kill Bree. Jamie says that they need to find Geillis immediately and Claire tells him of the cave that both Father Fogden and Margaret had mentioned: Abandawe. It is a place like Craigh na Dun, where people disappear, she says. 
“Abandawe,” Jamie echoes.

A slave bites off the head of a chicken and drains the blood into a bowl, at the same time that Willoughby snaps Archibald’s neck. 

Jamie and Claire reemerge in the clearing to see Willoughby comforting Margaret, the tribal leader drinking the chicken’s blood and a group of slaves converging on Archibald’s body. Death is everywhere. Jamie asks one of the slaves about Abandawe. “A bad place,” the slave replies. Jamie asks the man to take them there, but he refuses. If the boy is there, the slave says, he will die, as will they if they follow. Taking hold of Claire’s hand, an undeterred Jamie takes the torch from the slave and heads in the direction that he had pointed, turning back briefly to see Archibald Campbell’s lifeless body being lifted high by the slaves, as Willoughby and Margaret look on. What happens next can only be imagined, as the attention now is on the fate of young Ian. 

The stone circle reminiscent of Craigh Na Dun comes into view and Claire knows that they have reached Abandawe. As they enter the cave, Claire can hear humming. 

She realises that the portal is nearby. If it takes her, she tells Jamie, she mightn’t be able to come back. Jamie replies that if anything happens to him, she must go through, to save Brianna. They lost Faith, he says, they won’t lose Brianna too. He kisses her and she nods. Determined, they push on, hand in hand, Jamie drawing his dirk in readiness. 

Geillis is making a circle with salt, gemstones and Bree’s photo. Ian lies behind her, moaning through the gag. Geillis tells him not to worry, as he is being sacrificed for a great cause. 

Jamie and Claire appear, Jamie calling out to Ian. But Geillis warns him not to come any closer, and Hercules appears, with a pistol aimed at Jamie’s head. Jamie drops the knife and Geillis turns, dousing Ian in liquid ready to set him alight. Hercules looks away momentarily and Jamie takes his chance, knocking the pistol from the man’s hand. The two begin to fight and Claire heads towards Geillis, who approaches holding the burning torch. “A life for a life, sweet Claire,” she says. “I saved you from the pyre after the witch trial. You owe me a life.”

As Hercules starts to choke Jamie, a desperate Claire tells Geillis that Ian is just a boy. 

But Ian is just fodder for the passage, Geillis replies. It is Brianna’s life that she wants. “I have to, Claire,” she says, “for the greater good.” Claire realises that the pool in front of them is the portal, as Geillis tells her that the two of them have a responsibility to change history. Geillis had given up her child for the cause; now Claire must do the same. 

It is the moment of reckoning. Claire lunges at Geillis, knocking her to the ground and grabbing a knife. Jamie finally overpowers Hercules and does the same. As Geillis looks at the pool, she tells Claire that it is God’s will and lunges towards her. With an almighty swing and a primeval scream, Claire swings the knife, which slices into Geillis’ neck. She falls, lifeless to the ground. 

From the opposite side of the pool, Jamie immediately frees Hercules. “Go,” he says. “Go, you’re free.” The man staggers away and Jamie races to young Ian, cutting his bonds and pulling him into an embrace, telling his nephew that there is no reason to be afraid now. Claire is looking down at Geillis’ body, but the hum of the pool starts to overpower her and she begins to walk towards it, as if in a trance. Jamie notices just in time, taking hold of her hand as he says her name and breaks the spell. “Let’s get out of this place,” he says. He picks up Bree’s photo, as young Ian thriftily gathers the gemstones and the three of them leave Geillis’ body behind in Abandawe. 

It is daylight as they emerge. Young Ian turns to Jamie, and says tearfully, “I knew you’d come, Uncle Jamie. But you left it a bit late, aye?” 
“I did then,” says Jamie, “and I’m sorry.” He pulls an emotional Ian towards him as the young man cries and kisses the top of his nephew’s head. “But we’re all right now.” The tears turn to relieved laughter and Jamie looks back to Claire. 

But Claire is shaking with shock. The bloody knife still in her hands, she is remembering Joe Abernathy and the skull of the murdered woman they had examined together in Boston, realising that the woman was Geillis and that she, herself, was the murderer. 

Gently, Jamie walks over to her. He takes the knife from her hand and tosses it into the leaves, before gathering her into his arms. He tells her that they will go to the ship; that Fergus will have gathered their things and that with Lesley and Hayes, they will sail home. 

“But first,” he says, “I must hold you both.” He puts an arm around both young Ian and Claire, looking to the heavens in relief as he comforts them. It is a beautiful moment. 

A few days have passed. Jamie and Claire are in their quarters on the Artemis and Claire remarks that it was very generous of Lord John to use his influence to withdraw the warrant. They talk of how it will be lovely to be back home. Jamie says that they will take Ian straight to Jenny and Claire comments that he might not want to return after all the adventure. Jamie replies that he doesn’t care if Ian wants to or not: he will deliver his nephew to Lallybroch if he has to stuff him into a hog’s head to do so. 

Throughout this conversation, Jamie has been preparing to shave. But at the last minute, Claire stops him: telling him not to shave his beard. She comments on the few white hairs she can see at his temples and he replies that he’s surprised he doesn’t have a full head of white hair after the past few months. Claire runs her hand over the stubble of a four day old growth, saying that she likes it. It feels different on her skin, she says, when he kisses her. Jamie replies that she has very fine skin, like pearls. She has a lot of fine skin, in fact, if that is what she has in mind. It is precisely what she has in mind, she tells him. 

So begins a long seduction scene, a favourite amongst book readers, in which Jamie tells Claire how he has given a great deal of thought to what he wants to do to her once they are on dry land. 

Here though, viewers have the added advantage of seeing him begin to do just what he had planned! It is perfectly acted by both Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, who show yet again how in sync they are as actors, bringing this scene to life with exactly the right mixture of humour and sensuality. After the drama of the previous scenes, it is a delight to see some joyous sex! 

But of course, the joy is shortlived. Afterwards, the two are lying in post coital bliss when thunder rumbles in the distance. 

Jamie remarks that cooler air will be a relief after the heat of the island and opens a window. Then, in one of the biggest understatements uttered thus far, he says, “The skies are turning.”  

In the next scene, the ship is caught in the middle of a hurricane. Jamie and the rest of the crew are trying desperately to keep control of the steering as the storm lashes the deck. Down below, Claire is telling Ian, Fergus, Marsali, Lesley and Hayes that they must stay below and let the experienced sailors do their job. Ian does not want to stay put, but Claire tells him he has no choice. She turns to leave and when Ian asks her where she is going, she replies that she is still the ship’s surgeon. 

The scene on deck is grim. Jamie screams to Claire that it is too dangerous, but she hears the cry of an injured sailor and goes to help him. With another sailor’s help she manages to get the man below. The mast snaps. 

They are losing the battle against the storm and the decision is made to get below. Everyone starts to leave the deck, as Jamie attaches a rope to the steering wheel in the vain hope of trying to keep it secured. He heads towards Claire, reaching her just as a wall of water looms above them. They look at each other as it hits. Jamie is knocked off his feet, but when he sits back up, Claire has gone. 

We are back at the opening moments of the episode. Claire’s voiceover tells us once again that she is dead. Yet she feels peaceful and bodiless. She is free of terror and rage, but filled with a quiet happiness. Her body is sinking, as we see Jamie swimming desperately towards her, cutting her free from the ropes that are pulling her below. 

Putting his lips on hers, he tries to breathe air back into her lungs as they return to the surface. They break the water and he drags them to a floating bit of wreckage. “Claire!” he calls, his voice breaking. “Damn you Sassenach, if you die here now, I swear I’ll kill you.” But she is still unconscious. He bows his head, shaking and crying as he holds them both above the water. The camera pans upwards and we realise that they are actually in the eye of the hurricane, a moment of stillness amongst the chaos and destruction.

A young girl is running along a beach. She holds a stick, which she pokes at an object on the ground. 

The object grunts and she runs off. It is Jamie. He looks around desperately for Claire and sees her lying a little way away. He crawls to her, but she is not moving. “Sassenach,” he whispers brokenly, stroking her hair. He moves to kiss her and she coughs. “Thank Christ,” he breathes, “I thought you were dead.” 
“I said I’d never leave you again,” she whispers, her voice hoarse and he smiles.
Painfully, they pull themselves up. 
“Where are we?” Claire says, but Jamie doesn’t know. “The Artemis?” she asks, but Jamie doesn’t know that either. Grief stricken, they embrace. They do not know if anyone else has survived. 

A man and woman approach, together with the little girl who had poked Jamie with the stick. 

The man asks if they are all right and Jamie replies that they have all their limbs. When the man comments that they must be from the ship that has run aground nearby, Jamie asks if there are any survivors. The man confirms yes, that the survivors are being cared for. Jamie and Claire embrace in relief as the couple introduce themselves as Joseph and Patsy Oliver. “James Fraser,” Jamie responds, “ and my wife, Claire.” He then asks where they are and Patsy replies that they call it Le Perle. Claire asks what island it is and Joseph tells her that they aren’t on an island at all. “You’re on the mainland,” he says, “on the colony of Georgia.”
“Georgia?” Jamie repeats.

“America,” Claire says and he nods. The Olivers walk back down the beach as Jamie and Claire embrace, the tears streaming down their faces in relief. The music soars, the camera pans past both them and the littered wreckage, towards the American landscape and a new future. And just like that, Droughtlander has returned once more!

Expertly tying together elements of the past, present and future, this episode encapsulated what is the essence of Jamie and Claire’s story: theirs is a love that transcends danger, loss and death, a connection that truly endures throughout time. 

This recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She has learned so much about the process of adaptation throughout this season and is filled with admiration for everyone involved with bringing this wonderful story to life! 

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!