Remember the end of last week’s episode of Outlander when everything was great and sexy and no one was in mortal peril? That did not last long. And do you know what ruins that peace? Geillis Duncan bathing in a pool of goat’s blood.
If you have not read Voyager, the tropical lair of a woman presumed to be long-ago burned at the stake might not have been where you expected young Ian to turn up, but nevertheless, we have found him. This is Outlander, where the rules are made up and plot assumptions don’t matter.
Everything Is Awful
It seems Geillis, known here as the Bakra, is the ringleader of the pirates who kidnapped young Ian. Furthermore, those sapphires on Selkie Island were hers, and she’s mighty sore about one of them going missing. After toweling off her bloody skin regimen, Geillis plies young Ian with cakes and some sort of truth-serum tea. (She’s throwing off both some serious White Witch and Circe vibes.) Young Ian blurts out that his uncle Jamie took a sapphire from the island once. A small note of surprise crosses Geillis’ face at the name James Fraser. She’s clearly been set up to be sinister here, and the rest of the scene confirms that, ending with Geillis on the verge of raping the young man.
As I said, the good times are gone.
Meanwhile, Claire and Jamie have arrived finally in Jamaica. Fortunately, no law enforcement greets them at the docks, so it seems the intrepid Captain Leonard has not yet arrived. Instead, they’re greeted by one of Cousin Jared’s associates who invites them to a welcome gala at the new governor’s mansion.
This moment of levity is tempered by Claire and Jamie’s journey to the slave market in search of young Ian. It is predictably gruesome and ugly and awful, and it’s doubly gut-wrenching for 20th-century Claire. Witnessing a particular bit of public cruelty on the auction block, she can’t hold in her disgust any longer and disrupts the sale. (Claire’s justified in her wrath, but this may not have been the best way to keep a low profile while her husband’s a wanted man.)
To appease the powers that be and to rescue the slave at hand from further abuse, Jamie purchases the man in Claire’s name. They promise to free the man, Temeraire, “as soon as it’s safe to do so.” In the meantime, they ask him to circulate among escaped or freed slaves and ferret out any news of young Ian he can.
The governor’s party provides a jarring juxtaposition to the quiet moments with Temeraire. Of course, Claire and Jamie still cut quite the figures in formalwear, even if the style of the times now requires Jamie to try to pull off a powdered wig. It’s almost like we’re back in France again because everyone looks beautiful and yet everything is absolutely terrible.
As is custom, there are several ghosts from episodes past in attendance. For starters, do you remember Archibald Campbell and his sister, Margaret, the fortune teller who Claire tried to treat before she left for the West Indies? Well, they’re here and in the employ of Geillis—everyone is, apparently. Geillis herself makes an appearance, stalking the party like the cartoonish time-traveling villain she is.
On the other side of the room is the new governor of Jamaica: Lord John Grey! After some pleasantries and some exchange of information (young Ian’s been kidnapped yadda yadda yadda your son, Willie, will be here next month yadda yadda yadda), Jamie notices something glistening from John Grey’s waistcoat pocket. He’s wearing the sapphire Jamie gave him. That’s so sweet, so sad, and is so not going to end well.
While our main characters revisit many of their past foibles, Willoughby circles back to Margaret Campbell. In a tender moment in the gardens, he finds her alone and tells her what we all know: her brother is a dog and she deserves better. Their eyes meet and I find myself shipping this more than I expected.
Claire and John Grey have their own intimate moment, in which each word from Claire sends daggers through the young man’s heart. It’s always fun to run into your ex’s presumed-dead-but-totally-alive stupid-beautiful wife.
That interaction, however, is roughly 100 times less awkward than Claire’s ensuing conversation with Geillis. “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in the world,” Geillis greets her, before launching into how she’s still alive. Long story short: They waited to burn Geillis until she’d given birth. That gave Dougal time to bribe her way out, throw the kid in foster care, and get Geillis safely away.
Side note: The only person, I think, who’s truly dead on this show is Dougal. Everyone else could pop up at any moment.
Claire brings Geillis (really, Geillis saunters in with Claire trailing behind her) to see Jamie, who’s chit-chatting with John Grey. In the course of conversation, Geillis spies the sapphire hanging at his hip.
Why Geillis so wants that gem is somewhat vague and complicated, but the three sapphires have something to do with a prophecy about the Scottish king. (She’s got a one-track mind, that woman.) She orchestrates a complex public fortune-telling and maneuvers John Grey to the front of the line so Margaret can do her prophesying with all three stones in her hand.
Can Will Get Worse
The prophecy involves something about Scotland’s next king and a 200-year-old baby. Geillis gets frustrated and makes a Benjamin Button joke, but maybe we should be concerned because we know someone fitting that description: Brianna.
That’s drama for another day though, because we’re up to our eyeballs in it here: Captain Leonard finally arrives, as does Temeraire. While our crew flees the party and their Type-A pursuer, Temeraire shares what he’s learned from the other slaves in attendance. They’ve seen someone fitting young Ian’s description. He’s at Geillis’ place, obviously. Claire and Jamie drop off Temeraire at an enclave of escaped slaves just in time for Captain Leonard and his men to show up and take Jamie into custody. Weeeee.
With one episode left in the season, it looks like it’s all up to Claire to dispose of Geillis, rescue young Ian, and, subsequently, free Jamie. Just another day in paradise.