‘Outlander’ Recap/Review: Episode 111, “The Devil’s Mark”

Outlander 2014

[This is not a spoiler-free review/recap of the episode. If you have not seen the episode yet, read it at your own spoiler risk.]
Episode 111,“The Devil’s Mark,” Written by Toni Graphia, Directed by Mike Barker

Overall, I thought this was a GREAT episode and I think I need to revamp what I listed as my top three in Stephanie’s previous post to include this one. It was that good. Catching up on the two I had missed (hooray for being an Army National Guard Officer and always in training of some sort), I realized which episode mine was going to be and was super excited. And it definitely did not disappoint. This was one of my favorite parts in the book, too. That being said, there were some deviations from the text, but nothing that detracted from the story (in fact, the two parts I’m thinking of were strange to me when I read the book, so I think this may even be an improvement – forgive me, Ms. Gabaldon!). Okay, so to the recap:

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!

…You’ve been warned.

So the previous episode leaves us with Geillis and Claire being arrested at Geillis’ house, after she refused to run as Claire insisted she should. This one starts out with a startlingly different scene, one of a large flock of birds exhibiting their flying acrobatics over the top of a beautiful lake. (The point of this scene becomes apparent later on).

We are then torn from this scene to one of Claire and Geillis being thrown, not too kindly, into the thieves’ hole, bouncing off the rocks on their way down. Claire cries out for anyone else who might be down there, but all she finds are some very large rats. Both women pull back quickly to avoid these sizable vermin. Their initial fear wearing off, the blame-throwing begins, with both throwing accusations and fiery words at one another. Geillis is, understandably, suspicious of Claire’s timing, while Claire can’t believe Geillis wouldn’t flee when she told her to. Claire immediately recognizes who orchestrated her being there when Geillis was arrested, her blonde, teen rival for Jamie’s heart, and bed, Laoghaire Mackenzie. She explains this to Geillis, pointing out that the young girl had watched them being arrested, as well. Geillis, instead, accuses Claire of not having kept her secrets, which Claire quickly corrects by pointing out that the housekeeper knew her secrets, too. Geillis asks if Claire thinks she a witch, too, which she denies. She doesn’t pull punches, though, and points out that, while she’s not sure if she killed Duncan’s wife, she knows Geillis killed her husband, Arthur. This was through the use of poison, though, not witchcraft.

Geillis is silent and turns away, confirming Claire’s accusation. They sit for a few tense moments, not speaking to one another. Finally, Geillis admits her guilt, revealing that she had wanted Arthur gone before the baby had even started to show. The baby begins moving around and Geillis sits by Claire, taking her hand to place it on her belly so she can feel the child kicking. She remarks that the child will be a boy, again, as is Dougal’s other secret child, Hamish. Claire snatches her hand away and moves to another part of the hole, obviously not ready to be back on good terms yet.

At this point, the guard throws some bread down through the grate for them. You can see it still raining through the bars of the grate, as well. She calls for help, moving to where the guard can see her. She explains to him who she is and who her husband is, but the guard doesn’t believe her, remarking that, if that was true, then he’s King Arthur. Geillis makes a smart comment about this, a feeble attempt at a joke, as the guard stalks off, leaving Claire looking downcast. Geillis obviously feels guilty about the part she played in Claire’s being there with her and tries to reassure her. Claire continues to stare off, looking lost and hopeless. Is she thinking about the promise she broke to Jamie upon their parting? Or simply the fact that she might never see him again?

Geillis, unaware of what has transpired, insists that Dougal is going to rescue them. Claire, not very kindly, reveals the truth to her, that Dougal admitted their affair and the existence of the baby to Collum, and then was banished. “No one is coming, Geillis,” she tells her, as we watch that sliver of hope leave Geillis’ face. After a few moments, she picks up the bread and offers to share it with Claire, but she insists that she isn’t hungry. Again, I wonder if it’s because of the anger she still has towards Geillis, or if she is just worried sick and honestly has no appetite. Both of these would be legitimate reasons to ignore Geillis’ efforts at reconciling now.

Claire wonders aloud how long they’ll be there and Geillis reminds her about the trial and people she calls ‘The Examiners’. Geillis encourages Claire to lay beside her as they sleep so they can be warmer, but Claire lies down where she is instead, on some very uncomfortable-looking rocks. Geillis lets her sulk and curls up on her own, slightly-less-uncomfortable-looking stone slab.

Claire wakes the next morning, shivering, as children cry outside for the witches to burn. Geillis comments that it’s starting, trying to see through the grate, but all we see, and hear, are a crowd of unhappy people. Claire jokes about their fate as witches (i.e. burning at the stake) would be better than freezing to death. Her bravado seems to falter as a ladder is lowered into the hole and they are hauled, none too nicely, onto the street and cuffed. The townspeople are crowded around, jeering and yelling at them, as they are led to the courtroom. Some of the townsfolk are stacking wood for the fire and putting the stake into place on the platform while small children run through the streets as if nothing strange is going on. Claire is shocked when she sees it and doesn’t quite believe that all of this is real. Geillis comments snarkily that it’s not a maypole they’re watching being erected.

The courtroom is just as unfriendly towards the pair of women as the streets were. They are led to their box of the court and then read their charges. The man reading the charges mentions them both by name (so why did the guard earlier seem not to know her?) and that this is a Church’s Court. He says they are responsible for the pain, suffering, and death of the citizens of Crainesmuir through their witchcraft. As the narrator, Claire admits to seeing no one she recognizes, understanding that their chances of surviving a witch trial were highly unlikely. And yet, just as she is musing about this, Ned appears, giving both of the women hope again. He demands entry and then faces off with the two examiners.

Ned smiles at the women and touches his hat as he approaches the examiners. He seems anxious to help and insists that the trial is illegal based on the repeal of a witchcraft law (we assume this law made an allowance for this kind of thing). The crowd jeers, unhappy with Ned ruining their fun or revenge or whatever it is all these angry people are here for. The examiners counter that this trial is based on the Law of the Church. Ned then plays on their pride for their country by pointing out that they have disregarded English Law, but hoping they’ll still follow the traditions of Scottish Law. When the examiners agree that they are following these traditions, Ned points out that those accused of witchcraft are allowed representation, something England would not allow them, and then volunteers himself for this purpose. The crowd is jeering the entire time, but this comment quiets them. The examiners allow it and Ned smugly takes his place.

The first witness called is Geillis’ maidservant. She seems shocked to see her there. The girl moves quickly, but doesn’t appear to have any fear, of either Geillis or the court. She talks about having been their housekeeper for five years. She watches Geillis before surreptitiously selling her out to the court, talking about all of the women who had come to her for remedies and charms. She claims Claire was in league with Geillis, too, but when Claire moves to deny it, she hears the details the housekeeper is giving and realizes she isn’t lying. For almost an hour the housekeeper lists all the ways that Geillis and Claire engaged in supposed witchcraft. We come back in as she shows remorse for her employer’s death and mentions Geillis singing incantations outside his room as he slept. Geillis laughs, but is obviously trying to control herself despite the outrageous testimony. The examiners watch intently during the entire testimony, especially so when the housekeeper mentions that animals are afraid to go near the house, too. Ned seems like he’s trying not to laugh, but then jumps up and jokes about taking the testimony of a cat now.

Ned then cross examines the young woman. He accuses her of having been unhappy in her job, but she denies it. He refers to the time when she sought employment at the castle and insulted both of her employers while there. The girl appears visibly concerned and the examiners, both surprised and unhappy at this turn of events. The crowd laughs as they hear the names she called her employers, but she insists those weren’t the words she had used. She has obviously lost her credibility both with the crowd and the examiners. Ned refers to her testimony as “the grumblings of a malcontented maidservant.” They dismiss her with obvious disappointment.

The next witness they summon is a young woman who we find out is the mother of the baby Claire had found dead in the woods. She is plainly dressed and keep rubbing her arm anxiously. The woman claims to have seen Claire take the baby from the tree and speak dark spells over him, killing the changeling child and preventing the return of her own. She lunges at Claire and several people have to grab her and pull her away. Claire insists that she was trying to help the child, which one of the examiners take as a confession. The crowd immediately chimes in with cries of ‘witch’. Claire continues trying to defend herself, calling herself a healer. Ned comes close and hushes her, insisting she remain quiet and let him do his job. He expresses sympathy to the woman, who is now calmed down, over the loss of her child, but turns things on her since she did nothing to stop Claire from interfering. Rather than become upset over this, she relents, admitting her own guilt in the matter. He comforts her with the knowledge that her own child is with the fairies and that it was the changeling who had died in the woods. He even goes as far as to say that the townsfolk should be thanking Claire, instead. This witness is also dismissed and Claire and Geillis are more hopeful than they have been.

Claire wonders, though, why all of these people would be so eager to burn them as witches, as the next witness is called. This man claims that he saw Geillis out in a storm, calling the lightning down with her hands and the thunder with her voice. Claire is losing her patience again, but Geillis smirks at her, knowing how ridiculous this all is. The man goes as far as to say that the skies had opened up and he had seen Geillis fly through the air like a bird. The crowd is immediately on its feet, screaming over one another. Ned seems concerned and Claire, once more, loses her temper. She yells at the crowd while Geillis simply laughs at the absurdity of the proceedings. The examiners order Claire’s silence and adjourn things until the morning.

While they are being cuffed once more, Ned assures her that there is hope, reassuring the worried Claire. He admits to her that Collum would not be pleased to know he was there amid all of this and she realizes that Collum may have had a hand in her being there, as well. Ned won’t answer either way on this, but slips a flask in her skirt as she is led away.

Back in the pit with the rats growing bolder, Claire is drinking from the flask and staring at the hold above them. Geillis is holding her belly and the child within. She asks for the flask and Claire obliges. Geillis ruins the hope that Ned had tried to give Claire, insisting that they will be killed. She gives the flask back. Claire, curious and perhaps still harboring resentment towards Geillis, questions her about her choice of Dougal. It comes out that it wasn’t about money, but about politics, and that Geillis has been stealing her husband’s money for the Jacobite cause. She doesn’t even care that Dougal would be unfaithful to her, but talks about the dreams he has and what he fights for. Claire realizes that Geillis is genuinely in love with the man. Geillis, however, won’t admit it, but is clearly hurt by the fact that he followed his brother’s orders and left her and their child behind. When Claire offers her sympathies, Geillis refuses them, insisting that she would not have changed a thing, not once the Jacobite prince is back on the throne. Claire quotes Nathan Hale’s famous last words and something crosses Geillis’ face that she doesn’t catch (though those who’ve read the books understand perfectly). Geillis seems amazed at Claire’s words and laughs. When she asks her if she loves Jamie, though, she also does not answer.

The next morning, Claire wakes and hears some birds in the background. She approaches the grate, yanking on it uselessly, though it succeeds in waking up Geillis. They joke about using their witchcraft to escape. There is a bird visible through the grate and Claire watches it, a peaceful and almost happy expression on her face. She calls the bird a starling and then tells Geillis a story from her childhood about going to Brighton and watching the starlings cluster together as they flew (we are reminded of the opening scene of the show). She says that they do this in order to protect one another. Geillis comments that the two of them don’t make much of a flock, even with the accusations of flight. The jailor comes and leads them back to the courthouse. The women grasp each others’ hands, realizing it could be their last day alive.

Back in the courtroom, the first witness they call is Laoghaire. Things are not starting off well for them today. She talks about the love potion she had asked Claire for, playing up the emotions of things, claiming that Claire had then taken the potion herself to steal Jamie away. Again, Claire gets herself in trouble, trying to explain that the potion was not really a potion at all. Again, this is taken as an admission and the crowd there goes wild. Ned accuses Laoghaire of being jealous and broken-hearted, but instead of being silenced, she embraces these descriptions. She then brings up the fact that Claire had hit her when they had returned to the castle. The examiner asks Claire about this and she tries, unsuccessfully, to turn things on Laoghaire by mentioning the ill omen placed under their bed. Ned does not look happy with the turn of events and the crowd responds again. Claire begins yelling, blaming Laoghaire for everything. The examiner quiets her, insisting that she is embarrassing herself.

Then he calls the Father who Claire had crossed before with the little boy who had been poisoned. There is ominous music accompanying his entrance and he launches into what sounds like he’s giving a fire-and-brimstone sermon, the crowd listening with rapt attention. Ned calls him out on this very thing, but quiets once more when he is given only dark looks. The Father continues, talking about the boy he had tried to exorcise. He really plays on their emotions, conjuring the tears for them as he talks about being humbled and apologizing to them for not being stronger than this witch. A man in the crowd leaps to his feet, claiming that only a servant of Satan would be able to reduce the Father to this. The crowd agrees and Claire is on her feet, screaming at them. Ned asks the examiners for time to reassess matters with his clients and is granted it.

Claire looks angry, but Geillis seems genuinely afraid now. The women are taken through the angry mob into a side room. Ned admits that there is nothing left for him to do, and that their only option is for him to sacrifice one to save the other. It becomes quickly obvious which one he intends to get out of this alive. Claire doesn’t like it at all and argues with him. Geillis just watches wide-eyed at this exchange. Ned turns on Geillis with the accusations, suggesting Claire blame Geillis of bewitching her. He warns her that they’ll both burn if she doesn’t do this, but gives them a moment to talk it over.

Geillis demands to know why Claire is there, knowing she’s been lying about her past, the same as Dougal and Collum knew. She even claims that is why Collum won’t save Claire. Claire finally admits that she is there by accident. Geillis is saddened by this admission, realizing that Claire isn’t there for the same reasons she is (again, something confusing to those who haven’t read the books yet). Claire says she just wants to go home. Geillis admits that “It’s all for nothing,” before Ned returns to them.

Geillis seems pissed off now, but seems to agree to taking the blame for Claire in order to save her. When Claire is called upon to speak to the court, she hesitates, looking around the room and then at Geillis. Instead of saving her own skin, she refuses and sits back down. Geillis is surprised by this turn. The examiner sentences them both to death based on a verse in the Bible. The crowd goes crazy. Ned, rather than allow this to happen, pulls a gun on the court. Time seems to slow around them as Geillis pulls Claire in close. She tells her that it’s possible and gives her the number 1968. The gun goes off as Claire tries to decipher the meaning of these clues and the crowd pulls Ned down from where he’d been standing. Claire starts screaming at them all again (big surprise), her words seeming to be curses against them all. As punishment for this, the examiner insists she be ‘stripped and scalped’. This leads to the crowd grabbing her and securing her as they spread her arms to her sides. As they prepare to punish her, Laoghaire whispers that she will dance on Claire’s ashes after all is said and done. The man administering the punishment then rips open the back of Claire’s dress and begins to whip her across the backs of her shoulders.

Who should come at this point? Of course, it’s Jamie, once again saving Claire from troubles she, at least in part, contributed to. The examiner denounces him for interfering with the court, but Jamie insists that his promise to God when he married her trumps the rule of that court and pulls his sword to defend her. Geillis leaps to her feet, gaining the crowd’s attention. She claims Claire is innocent and that she herself is a witch. Claire begs her to stop, but she doesn’t listen.

Geillis goes into a full confession of the murder, ripping her shoulder down to show, what she calls, ‘The Devil’s Mark’. Most of us watching know that this is actually the scar from a smallpox vaccine (both of my parents bearing such marks). This is obviously not something a woman from this time period in Scotland should have. Jamie and Claire run as Geillis completely bares herself, revealing that she is pregnant, claiming that it is Satan’s child. The crowd carries her away while Jamie and Claire get out of the city, though we never see where they take her too or what happens.

Now that we know Geillis is a time traveler like Claire, so much makes sense, including her last comments. We can decipher that she was telling Claire that it is possible for her to return home and that she herself came from the year 1968. Jamie and Claire are now seen in the woods as Jamie dabs at her back with a damp cloth. He comments that the cuts are shallow and won’t scar. He respects her secrets, but asks for her honesty, which she readily agrees to. He asks her if she’s a witch, recognizing the scar on Geillis’ arm as being on Claire’s as well. Claire is hurt by his doubt, but denies the accusation. She worries he won’t believe her, though, when he learns the truth.

Claire tries to explain vaccines to him and the protection it offers her, as well as her knowledge of Black Jack and the Jacobites. The only way she can explain all of this is to admit that she is from the future. He looks away, thinking, as she desperately tries to get him to believe her. He denies thinking that she’s crazy and that, though he doesn’t understand yet, he trust her. Claire is relieved as he promises to believe anything she tells him. We then see a montage of them talking as the voice over tells us that she is explaining the whole story to him. This is where I suddenly realized that our kilt-clad hero is actually wearing pants for some reason and that Claire is half-naked the entire time she is explaining herself (fixing her dress an impossibility, I suppose).

Her previous attempt to run from him (which he punished her for) makes sense to him now. He is both apologetic for how he treated her afterwards and upset that she wanted to leave him for her old life and husband. She begins to cry and he comforts her. He is clearly thinking about something, though it’s unclear what. He jokes that it would’ve been easier if she’d been a witch. They kiss.

We go into another montage, explaining that they ride for days, the previous conversation seemingly forgotten, or at least ignored. Jamie seems peppy, talking about Lallybroch and their future there. Claire is still trapped in a funk, though. Then we see Jamie watching her as she sleeps and kisses her gently, not waking her up. She stirs and begins to look excited, though, as he runs his hand up into her skirts. She really gets into it and asks him to be with her, but he says that he wants to watch her instead. In fact, he seems very excited by the prospect. It’s obvious through the scene that follows that he enjoys watching her as he teases her to her end.

He is then watching by the water the next morning. She’s smiling for the first time in the episode. He asks her if she’s ready to go home and, thinking he means Lallybroch, seems genuinely happy at the prospect. They kiss and he nods her in the direction of a small hill, telling her to look. At the top of the hill, though, she sees the traveling stones. She doesn’t seem happy anymore, though she fakes a smile for him. Jamie leads her by hand to the stones, drawing his sword. She stares at the stone she had traveled through before as he checks things out and then returns to her side, putting his sword away. She tells him she’s not sure how she made it work before, but reaches towards the stone, transfixed. Before she can make contact, though, he snatches her away, pulling him into his arms instead. They share a tender moment. After he apologizes for not letting her go, he admits to not being ready. She agrees that she isn’t ready either.

He tries to send her away, knowing that her home is on the other side of that stone. She begins to cry, but Jamie knows she is safer in her home time than with him. He walks away from her, but lets her know that he’ll stay near until night so he knows she’s safely home. Claire calls to him and says goodbye. He leaves amidst very dramatic music.

Claire stares at both of her rings, side by side, deciding which life to live. She looks back at the smoke of his camp, but she can hear the buzzing of the stones now and approaches the one she must touch.

Jamie is at camp asleep when we hear Claire’s voice ordering him to his feet and we realize that she hasn’t left after all, but has chosen to stay with Jamie in this time period. She asks him to take her home to Lallybroch and they kiss passionately.

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 Review:

As I said, a GREAT episode and very well done, in my opinion. The reason this was my favorite part in the book is because it’s where she finally makes that choice to stay with Jamie. Before this, she was always half with him and half in her home time with Frank. But now, though she loved Frank, she knows that this is where she really belongs. Let me know what you thought of this recap/review and the episode in general! Happy watching!!

  • aquarianjayne

    The way Sam Heughan played every scene in the last ten minutes as a form of Jamie goodbye to Claire was just devastating. He would smile when she was looking at him and then crumble when she looked away. And of course the tears when she came back to him. As a book-reader, I knew this was coming, but it still had my heart breaking.

  • Guest

    This was a very pivotal episode and

  • Lori

    This was a very pivotal and important episode and it was brilliantly done. Ones like this, with so many possibilities in story direction, make me wish I had not read the books. This episode would have been a real nerve stretcher for someone who has not read them. I liked the changes to the trial and Bill Paterson was incredible…like an 18th century Atticus Finch.

    My favorite part of the book has always been the return to the stones. The emotional torture of that for both Claire and Jamie is palpable and while I believe it could have been expanded a bit more on screen, it was still nicely executed. I did miss some of the book’s dialogue here such as Claire telling Jamie, making him promise, to stay away from Culloden and when he told her there was nothing there for her but danger and violence, I waited for her to give him the line from the book. I do hope that the next episode includes some of the conversation from the book where Jamie asks why she stayed. There’s some great stuff there, particularly from Jamie.

    I was most impressed with Caitriona’s delivery of the story of being from the future. She perfectly played the fine line of being afraid to say the words and needing to blurt them out.

    Best line of the episode? That had to be the bbq line from Geillis.

    Agreed, this one goes down as a favorite episode.

    • Ginger

      I agree, one of my favorites so far. Also agree about the BBQ line. I would have liked to hear more of Claire’s descriptions of the future and Jamie’s reactions. But even knowing the story, I cried when he took her to the stones as I did in the book. The quality and acting has gotten even better if that’s possible. Amazing

  • Mary Studdert

    Fantastic entertainment , thoroughly enjoyed the episode , high standard of story telling., and acting , I will be sad when the series finishes,

  • Jody Proctor Smith

    Jamie seemed to “grow up” in this episode. He showed how much he loved Claire by letting her go. This was one of my favorite parts of the book, also. It can only get better from here!

  • Carolee Luper

    Absolutely one of the best episodes of the series! Fantastic acting by all the cast, stellar performances by Jamie, Claire, Gellis and Ned Gowan actors! Great directing also! Can’t wait for next week!

  • von

    Though altered to suit screen; I thought the witch trial well executed and very tense. Both Cat and Lotte were amazing and gave strong performances. Ned’s part also diluted but well delivered. The judges seemed less fierce than I expected. Loved the crowds reactions and Sam’s entrance was pure Jamie!!
    My only grievance was the stones scene being less emotional than I recall from the books. Having read them all many times; that scene and the one before Culloden especially, always has me in tears. This screen version was good but too short and the hesitant goodbye from Claire was lacking the extra words that indicated how torn she was about leaving Jamie.
    However to compensate, Cat’s performance throughout was very strong and her upset and doubts about telling the truth very well delivered. As was the wonderful reactions from Sam. He has such a gift for emitting his feelings by facial expression and body language alone and that marks him as great actor for me.
    The scene by the camp fire where he wanted to watch Claire receive the pleasure he was giving her, was possibly both sensual and sad because it was part of the many ways he had been trying to memorise her . We had seen him doing the same thing when Claire bent down near the stream just before she turned to him and he asked her if she was ready to go home.
    We get this on Sundays in the U.K. but I wait till just after Mid night on Saturday to tune in because I cannot wait to see each episode.
    Lallybroch was always one of my most favourite times in the book. So much to look forward to. I,m hoping Ron keeps the Jenny & Jamie argument about her pregnancy in and the wonderful scene when Jamie declares his true feelings for Claire. The mill pond scene is definitely in. Bits I’ve seen so far look great.
    Overall this was a very watchable episode and I am so please Ron Moore is giving this whole project so much respect and love because it shows.

  • DrBlueFrogPhD

    This easily has to be my favorite episode so far (finally, The Garrison Commander gets knocked out of the #1 spot! I have such a love/hate relationship with that one). I’m a book reader, but even I was on the edge of my seat during this episode, partly because you never know what twist Ron Moore & Co. are going to throw in and partly because this is such a pivotal point in the story. There’s so much to love in this episode and Toni Graphia did a masterful job with the script this week (and thanks for fighting for the scene at the fire!).

    Lotte Verbeek’s performance this week was breathtaking! You could see Geillis’ brave facade just crack and crumble as Claire revealed to her that no one was coming to save them. And the look of realization when Claire quoted Nathan Hale was almost ominous, as if she was trying to figure out a) When that was originally said, b) If it was possible that Claire could have come up with it on her own, and finally realizing c) Could Claire be a traveler as well – it would certainly explain a lot – and if so what was she doing here. (side note: Maybe one of the UK commentators could answer this question for me, but being as Hale was an American Revolutionary War hero and not British, would she have necessarily recognized that quote?) I also loved Geillis finally breaking down when Claire was being whipped. She looked absolutely devastated, as if she was thinking “No! Stop! She’s an innocent in all of this!” (so in a way, Geillis’ “confession” really was a confession – Claire was innocent, Geillis really did trick her – and everyone else). And is there any doubt that Geillis got the best line of the night with “Looks like I’m going to a f*&^ing barbeque!”

    Caitriona Balfe did a wonderful job of showing just how close Claire was to her breaking point. Being forced into the thieve’s hole, tried as a witch, “scalped” for trying to defend herself was all too much and you could see that when she was finally away with Jamie that she was just hanging on by a thread which was absolutely severed when Jamie asked if she was a witch. The look on her face when she said “Are you serious?!” was spot on in its delivery of what I call “the visual record scratch” (one of two this episode). With everything going on in her head at that moment, especially trying to fully understand Geillis’ revelation, you could almost hear her inner monologue go “screeeeeeeeech” as she processes what Jamie just asked her. When she finally tells him (with absolute fear in her eyes) and when he says he believes her, though he doesn’t understand it, you can see the look of relief. She almost looks at peace as she’s finally able to tell someone, and thankfully it’s someone she loves, everything. A true unburdening of the soul moment.

    The second “visual record scratch” moment goes to our King of Men, Jamie. Sam’s range of emotions during the scene with Claire in the woods was master class level acting, he goes from determined to ask the question and get an answer, to bracing himself for the “yes, I’m a witch,” to confusion when she’s explaining the scar on her arm, and finally absolute befuddlement when she says she’s from the future. I really think he would have been less surprised had she said “I’m a fairy.” His blank stare, full of almost fear – like he’s trying to figure out what it means for him, for her, for them as a couple, and finally his acceptance of “ok, I have to come up with a plan.”

    I think montage leading up to the stones showed Jamie trying to figure out what Claire wanted, without actually asking her. As if he didn’t want to burden her with anymore decisions to make, but he could tell she was distracted and distant which is why I think he made the final decision to take her to the stones. He knew that she had been trying to get back there, so as much as he knew he could ask her to stay or even make her stay by not taking her to the stones, he knew that wasn’t his right to make that decision for her. The best he could hope for was to let her make her own decision and he would live with the consequences whatever they may be.

  • Richard Johnson

    Not having read the book, I have to judge the series on its own. I’m a great admirer of it but am staggered by the current developments’ lack of credibility. Claire is much too intelligent to ignore completely Jamie’s warning to stay clear of Geillis and especially to take at face value the message purporting to come from Geillis. I doubt there are many (if any) viewers who didn’t immediately strongly suspect that the note came from Laoghaire—yet Claire is clueless. Also, what is the motivation for Claire’s unwillingness to take the out pressed by Ned? Even if sacrificing herself might save Geillis (and it wouldn’t), why would she do that for a cold-blooded murderer who’d killed her husband so she could be with her lover? Is she just too embarrassed to lie to save her life? Or does she think lying in court is too great a “sin,” even to avoid execution on bogus charges? Here again, I can’t imagine any sensible person who would take that course. All in all, this installment is an immense disappointment.

    • DrBlueFrogPhD

      I agree with you that it seemed a little odd that Claire would have completely disregarding all the warning signs on a note that was rather bland in it’s request. In the book, Laoghaire (who is not quite as villainous) tells Claire that Mistress Duncan is very ill and is begging for Claire to come attend her – which was a more plausible reason for her to run to Geillis (no matter her personal feelings, Claire would never abandon a sick or injured person). I’m not sure why the writers chose to go with “Come Quick!” as opposed to something along the lines of “Very Ill. Need Attention Now!” The result would have been the same and it would have been a more credible reason for Claire to ignore Jamie’s warning.

      As for not renouncing Geillis in court, I think the basic gist of it was that in Claire’s mind it just wasn’t right. To her, the whole “witch trial” was a farce and renouncing Geillis would have meant a) Admitting that she thought Geillis was a witch – which she didn’t, b) Giving credibility to the whole proceedings – which she thought was outrageous, and c) At that point they had made the decision to stick together whether out of friendship or an alliance against a common enemy. The trial wasn’t about Arthur Duncan’s cause of death, of which Claire knew Geillis was guilty; it was about witchcraft and Claire was far too modern to believe in witchcraft (or fairies or waterhorses or other superstitious nonsense). Claire is stubborn and unwilling to compromise her belief in right and wrong (she’s a very black and white person in a world where there is quite a bit of grey area).

      • Richard Johnson

        BlueFrog, you make some good but far from convincing points. At first I read your “in Claire’s mind it just wasn’t right” as “Claire’s mind just wasn’t right,” and that in my view would have to be closer to the truth. I ask you, no matter how you personally felt about a friend who would be killed regardless (murderer or not) would you give up your own life [for a horrific death!] just so you could continue to “stick together”??

        Regarding the other point (taking at face value the note from Geillis), I’m afraid you’re judging the book and not the TV show. There’s no other way to reconcile your opinion that this is your “favorite episode so far.”

        • DrBlueFrogPhD

          Considering that the note appeared in the episode 110 (which I thought was a good episode in that it set up future episodes which is really the only purpose it had), my assertion that episode 111 was my favorite so far still stands. You may not share the same opinion, and that is okay by me. I believe we can still co-exist peacefully on this comment board with differing opinions.

          As for throwing someone to the wolves to (possibly – there really was no guarantee that it would work, but you’re right it was probably better than trying to discredit already preposterous accusations) save my own skin, no I couldn’t do that. Maybe I lack the self-preservation gene or maybe I’m morally self-righteous (my sister would say the latter), but I don’t think I would sacrifice a friend, acquaintance, stranger, whomever to save myself. Call it maternal instinct, or whatever but I’d like to think I’m more likely to sacrifice myself to save someone else.

    • Natresa

      Claire went to the aid of a mother and her unborn child. Plain and simple.

      Her refusal to renounce Geillis was about integrity.
      Geillis was definitely going to die, and that’s one thing. But to send the woman to her death damned and convicted is another, and that’s not something that Claire will have a hand in.

      • Richard Johnson

        Natresa, maybe you should re-watch the episode. Claire wasn’t going to anyone’s aid; Geillis was going to be killed regardless.

        • Natresa

          What am I misunderstanding? Claire thought Geillis needed medical attention. And when it turned out she didn’t, Claire urged her to flee with her baby.

          • Richard Johnson

            All that happened before. We were talking about Claire’s decision in court not to “throw Geillis to the wolves” (as phrased well by BlueFrog).

          • Natresa

            Did you read my “integrity” bit?

            My “mother and unborn child” bit was about the note Claire received.

          • DrBlueFrogPhD

            As you said before, Geillis was as good as dead and Claire did say that her knowledge of witch trials showed that the accused rarely went free. It could simply be that Claire figured she was as good as dead as Geillis was so what was the point of falsely denouncing her to save her own skin when it won’t work anyways. Like I said before, personally, I would rather die with my integrity intact than live knowing that I condemned a person to death who was innocent of the charges they were accused of.
            I saw a video yesterday where Catroina Balfe described Claire as “so relying on her confidence in science and reason that she’s almost arrogant.” Personally, I don’t think she’s “almost” anything. She does think she knows more than these ignorant people and that she can make them see reason if they would just listen to her.