Outlander is a show that is genre-busting. It has drama and comedy; romance and adventure; heroes and villains. It is a romance. This week, it added legal procedural to the mix. It worked. Wow, did it work.
The courtroom drama was intense and frightening. In real danger of being burned alive, so many things that at the time seemed harmless (the love potion, young Thomas Baxter’s illness, the baby in the woods), became fodder for the prosecution. Ned Gowan was brilliant, but even he knew when he was beaten. The twist with Father Bain appearing to be on Claire’s side, but knowing that the people would turn against her, was unexpected and made me gasp.
More compelling, however, were the quieter moments between Claire and Geillis. As their fate draws closer to the inevitable, the truth begins to emerge. And, what a reveal it is. Geillis is from 1968 -- even further out than Claire.
What makes this reveal so exciting in terms of the story is that it fundamentally changes everything. While Claire came through by accident, Geillis did not. She purposely came through to change history. Does this mean that there are other time travelers around? Could Claire, if she chose, bounce back and forth between her two worlds? If she can, will she?
She won’t. At least, she won’t right now. The second part of this episode, while much quieter and more intimate than the first, was just as dramatic and exciting. Claire finally tells Jamie the truth.
I loved his reaction. Instead of thinking his wife has completely lost her mind, he believes her. Not only does he believe her, he takes her to the stones so that she can go home. Jamie’s grief as he says goodbye to Claire was hard to watch. I cried through it and silently begged Claire to either stay or take him with her.
She stayed, much to my relief. But again, her staying has now changed the story a great deal. Claire has chosen to stay; she has chosen to remain with Jamie; she has chosen to be the lady of Lallybroch. Everything that has happened up to now happened because of something she hadn’t meant to occur. Everything that happens moving forward, Claire will have a level of responsibility for.
I can’t finish this review without praising the acting in this hour. Caitriona Balfe played just about every emotion there is, and did it beautifully. As she says goodbye to Jamie, she can’t look at him. A wonderful choice that said more than any words.
Sam Heughan managed to make Jamie’s choice to let Claire go heartbreaking. When she comes back at the end, his face is tear-stained and he is obviously emotionally exhausted. Yet, her coming back brings him to tears again.
The performer of the week, however, was Lotte Verbeek. She managed to make Geillis a fascinating character that I hope we will see again. Her defense of Claire and her reveal of the scar were magical moments. Verbeek deserves to be nominated for every award there is this year. She won’t be, but she should be.
In a single hour, we saw the two most important relationships Claire has formed in Scotland change dramatically. The best episode of a show that has had few missteps. If I had to guess, this will be the episode I watch again and again between seasons.
Bits and Pieces:
-- I want to avoid spoilers for those who have not read the book. To discuss differences between the book and the show, foreshadowing, or anything else that might spoil the story, head over to my review of the novel.
-- The opening shot of the thousands of birds in flight was one of the most visually arresting things I have seen in a long time.
-- If Jamie could return, why couldn’t Dougal? And, how much did Colum know about what was happening to Claire?
-- Claire was born in 1918. In 1945, she would have been 27 years old. Do we know how old Jamie is?
-- The shot of Claire looking at her rings was a brilliant way to show her indecision about which life to choose.
Claire: “Is that what I think it is?”
Geillis: “Well, it’s not a maypole, Claire.”
Claire: “As I looked around at these good people, I wondered what made them so ready to watch us burn.”
Claire: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Geillis: “Nicely put.”
Claire: “Isn’t it just?”
Claire: “If you really are a witch, now would be the perfect time to use your powers.”
Geillis: “Aye. Same to you, my friend.”
Geillis: “I think it’s possible.”
Jamie: “Are you a witch?”
Claire: “Are you serious?”
Claire: “Do you really believe me?”
Jamie: “Aye. I believe you, Sassenach. Although, it would have been a good deal easier if you’d only been a witch.”
Once again, Moore is joined by the writer of the episode, Toni Graphia. For such a great episode, the podcast is a bit run of the mill. It’s not bad; it’s just there. No great discussions or reveals.
ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.