[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 207: “Faith”
Written by Toni Graphia, Directed by Metin Hüseyin
We open on Claire sitting in a library with her red-headed little girl and reminiscing about Scotland over a picture of a particular bird. Despite the years that have passed, Claire continues to wear both of her wedding bands.
Transition to the hospital after Claire’s collapse at the end of the previous episode. There are flashes of blood and surgery, with Mother Hildegarde by her side. As we move away, we see Claire, knees spread in a very undignified manner, on a bloody bed as they clean her up. It is far more blood than can be good for either her or the baby.
Claire awakens some time later to realize that she is no longer pregnant. Looking around frantically, she begins to ask for her baby. Mother Hildegarde does her best to calm Claire, but reveals that the girl was still born. At first she is, understandably, in shock at the news. As the horror of it sinks in, she insists on seeing her baby and becomes hysterical, accidentally knocking a statue of the Virgin Mary to the ground as she fights to get out of bed.
Her poor mental state is quickly followed by physical concerns, as we see her clearly pale and clammy. For the sake of the child’s soul, Mother Hildegarde has already had the baby christened with the name Faith and buried near the hospital. She has also brought a priest to speak the last rights over Claire, as a precaution since her fever is high and has been dragging on for several days. Claire asks for Jamie, but there has been no word of him. Mother Hildegarde leaves Bouton with Claire to watch over her.
He is a very poor guard dog, however, as Master Raymond sneaks into the hospital to see Claire during the night. There is an element of mysticism to his work, as he asks her what she sees and and he interprets ‘blue wings’ to be a good sign, the color of healing. As his hands move across her body, she says she can feel a ‘white hotness’ flushing through her, the bacteria poisoning her dying off under his ministrations. She understands that part of the placenta had not been birthed with the rest, and so causing the toxemia she is currently dying from. He has her call out to Jamie as his hands rest on her womb. The pressure he is putting there is clearly painful, and she cries out for Jamie. Master Raymond slips off before the nuns can catch him there, but she is clear of the fever.
When Mother Hildegarde comes to her as requested, she asks for Jamie again. The Mother admits that Jamie has been arrested and is being kept in the Bastille because of the dueling, though it would have been worse if he had actually killed Captain Randall instead. She tells her that Randall is still alive, recovering back in England. Claire knows this means well for Frank’s future, but is still too caught up in grief over Jamie and Faith. She feels betrayed by Jamie because of his need for revenge and refuses to forgive him.
She eventually returns home with Fergus, though she still moves gingerly. There is formality among the servants as they line the walk from the carriage to the door. An air of loss and grief hangs over them all. Her handmaid can not contain herself, and bursts out crying, unable to say anything. The head of the servants, though, who we have seen assisting Jamie with his dressing needs before, welcomes her home. Claire is barely able to maintain her composure.
Later that evening, Fergus is brushing her hair for her as she sits by the fire. She thanks him and when he places the brush on her side table, something bothers him and he runs off without explanation. Claire does not immediately follow him, but is swallowed up in grief for her lost child. She spies the box of heirloom silver spoons and shoves them under the bed, out of sight. Pulling on a robe, she rushes into the hall where she sobs as quietly as she can. There is a sound, though, and she finds Fergus in the middle of a nightmare. He refuses to tell her what is wrong, at first, but eventually he confesses that Randall forced himself on him in the brothel and that is what started the fight between him and Jamie. He feels it is his fault and is ashamed, but Claire reassures him that it was not. Fergus grieves for the loss of Jamie, and it is clear how strong his attachment has grown, even in this short time.
Claire, now fully understanding Jamie’s reason for challenging Randall to a duel, petitions Mother Hildegarde for an audience with the King. She wants to ask him to release Jamie from the Bastille. Mother warns her about what the King’s expectations will be, and Claire insists she is willing to do whatever is necessary to save Jamie.
Despite her bravado, she seems nervous as she enters the King’s quarters. He seems pleased to see her, and offers her some refreshment. She does her best to seem polite and pleased by his offers. She tells him what her request is and explains Jamie’s reasons, insinuating not too subtly how grateful she would be to him. As he is considering her request, he notices her two rings, and comments on her loyalty for still wearing the ring of her first husband. Of course, it is this loyalty that had put her and Jamie at odds in the previous episode. He asks her for a favor in return and she agrees, thinking he is leading her to the bed, in part because of how physically intimate he is being with her. Instead he mentions the name of La Dame Blanche and whisks her away through a secret door.
Beyond this door is a hall with masked guards and a room with a ceiling filled with pinpricks of light that look like stars. He wants her skills, and she feels a sense of foreboding with the King’s executioner present, as well. Guards lead in Master Raymond and the Comte, both accused of practicing the arcane – or dark – arts, based on evidence found in Master Raymond’s shop and the Comte’s house. The King offers a brief lecture on using evil for gain, and the temptation of it. He also comments on her purity of heart as La Dame Blanche, and how she will be the one to pass judgment and that the evil one – or both – will be executed. Having no other choice, she agrees.
Claire approaches and surveys both men, putting on a show for the King. She accuses the Comte of having darkness, prodding him for information about the attack in the street that had resulted in Mary’s rape. The Comte loses his patience and accuses her of witchcraft instead, pointing out how he poisoned her and she had lived. She is not bothered by this, as ‘La Dame Blanche’ is, of course, a white witch. The King backs her up, though somewhat uneasily, pointing out that Claire is not the one on trial. Despite his admission, Claire is reluctant to cause the Comte’s death, and so points out that his darkness is a “normal” darkness, that lives in all men, even the King.
Not liking this answer, he insists on making an example of one of the men, and brings out a venomous snake in a glass tank, stating that a true believer can handle snakes and not be harmed. Knowing this would end badly for the man who had just saved her life in the hospital, she proposes an alternate test, one of poison. The King allows this, and so she prepares the bitter cascara that was among the items brought from Master Raymond’s shop. This would make both of the men sick, but not kill them. She asks for their release if they live, but the King is not amused by her insisting, and urges her to proceed.
Master Raymond, understanding what she has done, drinks from the cup and doubles over in pain. After a moment, he recovers and hands her back the cup. However, as she is turning to the Comte, her white necklace turns a deep black, to both of their horror. She realizes that Master Raymond had slipped poison into the drink, and if she hands it over, it will kill the Comte. He realizes this as well. The King presses them to continue, and after some final words, the Comte, knowing his fate, drinks the poison and dies.
The King, after this show, allows Master Raymond to live and has him immediately escorted out, while taking Claire in the opposite direction, back through the secret door to his chambers. Having returned to the bedroom, the King lays her on the bed and takes his payment for Jamie’s release. It is over quickly, and they fix themselves, back to their former cordiality. He offers her and Jamie a return trip to Scotland, as well. Curtsying, she takes her leave, as if nothing had just happened. It is clear on her way out, though, that she is both stunned and unsure of the events that had just transpired.
Jamie returns home that evening, disheveled and with a long growth of beard. He has been in the Bastille for some time. He asks her about the baby, but she cannot answer him at first. Finally she tells him about Faith. Jamie insists he tried to keep his promise to her, and she tells him about Fergus’ confession. He asks her if she hates him, and she admits that she did.
Claire tells him, as well, about getting to hold their daughter so that she would not be left with just her imagination. She talks about Faith’s red hair and the slanted eyes, like her father’s, and we hear her singing a lullaby to the child in her memories. Louise comes to see her, now later in the evening, and Claire is still holding and singing to the baby. She asks to hold Faith, and we see the insanity drain from her, knowing that handing over her child means admitting she is dead. As soon as she hands her to Louise, Claire becomes inconsolable once more.
Claire knows that she pushed Jamie to do what he did, that she put Frank ahead of their family. In fact, she blames herself for what happened to Faith, because she followed him out there, despite knowing it was not the best for her child. Jamie says he has already forgiven her for that, and anything else she could ever do. Testing this, Claire informs him about sleeping with the King to secure his freedom. Jamie, instead, equates it to how he gave himself to Randall to save Claire. They both know that they cannot be the same now as they were, and that the only way they will survive is to bear it all together. Claire, in tears now, begs Jamie to take her home to Scotland. Also in tears, he readily agrees.
The episode ends with them at the grave of their daughter, regretting they have to leave her behind in France. Jamie lays one of the silver heirloom spoons on her grave before taking Claire’s hand and saying their good-byes to Faith.
For me, this was a very heavy episode. By the time I finished watching it, I could not even write up this article; I had to go find something uplifting to watch instead. There are some minor things that I could pick at, such as Jamie’s beard at the end of this episode, or the lack of clear build up to Master Raymond’s arrest (we haven’t seen him do anything strange to warrant this), but I thought overall that this episode fulfilled its purpose. You see this couple who has been through some horrible stuff, truly hitting rock bottom. And not just because of outside influences (like the evil Captain Randall), but what they have done to one another, now. A situation which would normally tear a couple apart, they instead pull together, recognizing that they need each others’ strength to survive this new, emotional baggage. I think that those working on this show have continued to fulfill their promise to follow the books as closely as possible, and have given us something just as beautiful and heartbreaking as the stories Diana Gabaldon gave us.
Next week’s episode, titled “The Fox’s Lair,” airs May 28th on Starz.
“Claire and Jamie call upon Jamie’s grandsire, Lord Lovat, in an attempt to elicit support for the Jacobite cause. However, a visiting Colum MacKenzie has other plans, and Lord Lovat’s manipulative machinations ensure that no matter what, his own interests will be served.”
Source (Photos and Clips): Starz