**This is not a spoiler-free review of this episode. This is also a review from a non-reader and any comments revealing spoilers from the books will be deleted.**
Episode 312: The Bakra
Written by Luke Schelhaas, Directed by Charlotte Brändström
Remember how I said the shot of that snake slithering over Claire (Caitriona Balfe) was downright disturbing?
How young I was then, so naive.
That was nothing compared to the shot of GEILLIS DUNCAN (Lotte Verbeek) walking out of a literal bloodbath.
“The protein and iron keep my skin young.” She tells Young Ian (John Bell), assuring him it’s only goat’s blood. (Like that makes it ANY LESS CREEPY GEILLIS?)
This season has frequently relied on rewinds to scenes from previous episodes from another point-of-view. We finally get a taste of the turmoil poor Young Ian went through when he was captured by Portuguese pirates. God knows his lodgings on the voyage to Jamaica weren’t four-star quality.
At least they didn’t feed him to the pigs like one of his captors suggested?
Ian begs for them to let him go after they take the Silkie’s treasure from him.
“Take him. The Bakra likes young boys.”
The boy is thrown in prison with several other men from different parts of the world.
“How’d those Portuguese bastards get you?”
Fellow prisoner Henry (Joel Rosenblatt) freaks Ian out even more by telling him that other men went to see the Bakra and never returned. My mind immediately jumped to several assumptions. Was it some sort of religious group? Father Fogden’s evil twin brother? Never did the thought occur that the Bakra was GEILLIS DUNCAN.
“I am told you are Scottish. So am I.”
As creepy as it was, the shot of her walking out of the bath was one hell of an entrance. Bless Lotte Verbeek. She steals the show.
Young Ian looks intrigued and terrified by the bewitching woman. Geillis washes the blood off as her slave Hercules lays out a plate of food in front of Ian. Not so easily seduced by her nudity, Ian asks her what she did with the other boys.
While he may not have been swayed by her advances, Ian gives in to his hunger. Geillis tells him that there were supposed to be three sapphires in the silkies treasure but one is missing.
Ian fervently denies taking it, but mistakenly reveals that his uncle may have taken it. The tea he had sipped with his food was laced with truth serum.
The poor boy looks disgusted with himself. Geillis asks him who his uncle is and Ian is forced to tell her.
Ian is confident Jamie will rescue him. Geillis is all like, “Oh you sweet summer child, I know he’ll try.”
He asks her again what she does with the boys. Geillis admits to relieving them of their virginities and then killing them.
“I’m not a virgin.” He tells her.
“Good. Then you’ll know what to do.”
So…does that mean she’s not going to kill him?
Meanwhile, Claire, Jamie, and the gang have finally arrived in Jamaica as well. Jamie hopes that they have time to find Young Ian and sail away before Captain Leonard (Charlie Hiett) arrives. Claire suggests they split up in their search to cover more ground.
Jamie is like, “I am not spending another episode apart from you.”
The couple meets Kenneth MacIver (James McAnerney), who has stopped them to ask if they’ve disembarked from his employer’s ship the Artemis. Kenneth invites them to a ball that night being held by the new governor of Jamaica.
Kenneth tells them he saw the Bruja a week ago but that the ship had already left. He leads them to lodgings and promises to inquire about Young Ian.
They head to the slave market to see if Jamie’s nephew is being sold. Claire looks in horror at the slaves staring at her from behind bars. What’s truly terrifying is how everyone else sees it as normal.
Claire watches a slave woman cry out in pain as she’s branded. She finally loses it after a slave auctioneer is about to prove a slave’s virility to the interested customers. Jamie finds his wife in the midst of an all-out slave market brawl.
After begging him to do something, Jamie buys the slave in Claire’s name. Claire insists that they free him immediately, but Jamie suggests they wait until they find a safer place for him to be free.
The slave’s name is Temeraire (Thapelo J. Sebogodi).
“You bought me…to free me?” Temeraire asks, mystified. Jamie asks if he can inquire about other slaves and see if they’ve seen or heard of Young Ian’s whereabouts. They strike a bargain with Temeraire.
Their interactions could’ve veered dangerously into Jamie and Claire being “white saviors,” but this episode seems to steer wisely away from that problematic trope. I am glad that the writers did not ignore slavery and had the audience face it head-on.
Meanwhile, GEILLIS HAS THE CAMPBELLS IN HER EMPLOY.
Because of course.
In spite of how damn creepy she is in this episode, I love when Geillis talks about Dougal with love and admiration. (When will they see Murtagh again?)
Geillis tells Archibald (Mark Hadfield) they won’t get paid until Margaret (Alison Pargeter) renders her full services.
Claire looks positively gorgeous in her gown from season two as she and Jamie make their way to the Governor’s ball. I love the purple flower tucked in her curls. Jamie’s just like, “It’s like we’re back in season two but without the looming threat of a doomed battle and that simpering St. Germain.”
I love the repartee between Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and Jamie when they get a look at each other in their finery.
“You look like a Scottish provocateur.”
“Eh. You look like a dandy!”
I think I love Marsali more than Fergus (Cesar Domboy)!
As they walk up to the entrance, Claire recognizes Archibald Campbell. The ball begins to morph into a twenty-year class reunion.
I’m sure Claire would’ve been more skeptical about Archibald’s assurances that Margaret was thriving if she wasn’t so focused on Young Ian.
I am glad that this episode doesn’t let us forget that slavery was very much a part of everyday life in the 18th century. Jamie asks Claire when the slave trade finally ends as they look at the countless slaves in white powdered wigs on the sidelines.
As if to illustrate how racism was alive and well, a woman interrupts their conversation and inquires about Yi Tien Cho (Gary Young) like he’s Jamie’s pet.
“Goodness! He even speaks English!”
Margaret Campbell is prophesying to one of the slaves across the hall.
“We’ll reach distant shores without quarrel. And one day we’ll be free of the shackles binding….”
Isn’t it utterly symbolic that she’s interrupted mid-prophesy by Asshole Archibald?
Yi Tien Cho gazes at Margaret with admiration.
Claire and Jamie watch Fergus and Marsali, and remember when they used to be in their “honeymoon phase.”
My heart skipped a beat in the next shot. Jamie just stares at Claire like he still couldn’t believe he’s married to the most beautiful woman in the world.
Jamie breaks free of his lovelorn stare and realizes that the new governor of Jamaica is none other than JOHN GREY (David Berry)!
(I just want it to be a long running joke that whenever Jamie meets John, John is the new leader of something. Warden of Ardsmuir? Check. Governor of Jamaica? Check. Next, he’ll be president before George Washington.)
Dare I say that David Berry’s Grey successfully pulls off the powdered wig look a smidge better than Jamie? (Please don’t hate me y’all!)
John asks if they can speak in private. The trio exits to a private room as the camera does an epic 360 reveal on the face of GEILLIS DUNCAN.
My apologies for the profuse use of caps lock in this review. My heart couldn’t handle the various twists and turns.
The first thing Jamie asks John is if Willie is with him. I love how Willie’s soft melodic theme plays as they talk about Jamie’s son.
I do wish Jamie would be more considerate of Claire’s feelings though. I love how Balfe plays it like she’s trying to be okay with it, but clearly, it still hurts her that he doesn’t talk of Brianna with the same vigor.
Jamie and Claire enlist John’s (Lord John now!) aid in finding Young Ian.
I FORGOT JAMIE HAD GIVEN LORD JOHN THE THIRD SAPPHIRE!
Claire watches skeptically as Lord John hastily proclaims he kept it as a symbol of their friendship.
“Your brother…he does not treat you as you deserve.”
Yi Tien Cho was positively dashing with Margaret. He calls her “Flower from Heaven” in Chinese and for the first time Margaret smiles. I just want them to be safe and happy.
John Grey reminds Claire how they’ve met before. Claire observes how beautiful the sapphire is Jamie gave John as a gift. John realizes that Claire sounds a bit jealous and lets her know that Jamie surrendered the jewel to him after attempting to escape from Ardsmuir in an attempt to find her.
“He believed you might have gone back to him, and now you have.”
Do I detect a hint of jealousy from John as well?
Claire FINALLY sees Geillis and is like, “HOLY SHIT.”
She confronts her and asks her in the nicest way possible how the hell she isn’t dead.
Geillis reveals that her pregnancy saved her. They let her live in the thief’s hole until she was ready to give birth.
“He was as warm as his father’s balls.”
In spite of how utterly messed up Geillis is, you can always tell that she drops her guard down around Claire.
Fearful someone might find out the baby was his, Dougal came for Geillis. She convinced him to bribe the locksman to make sure the hooded figure going to the pyre wasn’t Geillis.
“Why are men such fools? You can lead them anywhere by the cock for a while. Give them a bairn, and then you have them by the balls again. But you’re the same thing to them going in or coming out: a cunt.”
I would appreciate her feminist tinged rant more if she wasn’t HOLDING YOUNG IAN HOSTAGE.
Geillis tells Claire she married a plantation owner after learning of Dougal’s death at Culloden. “I’m Mistress Abernathy now, of Rose Hall.” Our intelligent heroine must still be in shock over her fellow time traveler’s appearance. That has to be the reason why Claire doesn’t seem to notice she has the SAME last name as her bestie Joe Abernathy.
(Seriously show, this is not the way I wanted Joe back! Be careful what you wish for I suppose?)
Claire tells her that she never had the chance to thank her for saving her life at Cranesmuir. On the surface, this scene looks like a lovely reunion between two friends.
And then I had to remind myself that Geillis HAD HELD YOUNG VIRGIN MEN HOSTAGE, SLEPT WITH THEM, AND THEN KILLED THEM.
She tells Geillis they’re looking for Young Ian. Feigning ignorance, Geillis offers to help.
Claire reacquaints Jamie and John Grey with Geillis. Bakra Geillis notices Grey’s sapphire and rushes off to Archibald, who is taking advantage of the complimentary alcoholic beverages. She orders him to have Margaret do readings for the crowd, wanting one fortune told in particular.
“She’s a touch strange isn’t she?”
“You have no idea.”
Geillis politely forces Grey to have his fortune told. Poor Margaret doesn’t like what they’re forcing her to do. “I want to help people.” Archibald places the other two sapphires in her palm.
“This will bring death I can feel it.”
I just want Yi Tien Cho to slap Asshole Archibald back to Edinburgh and take Margaret to a more peaceful place.
Of course, Geillis has Grey hand Margaret his sapphire as his personal effect that she needs to tell his fortune.
“When twice twelve-hundred moons have crossed, between man’s attack and woman’s curse, and when the issue is cut down, then will a Scotsman wear a crown.”
Did Grey forget to get his sapphire back?
Campbell interprets the fortune as meaning that a new King of Scotland will arise upon the death of a 200-year-old child.
Geillis scoffs at his translation of Margaret’s fortune. She, of course, had no idea that Claire went back through the stones, pregnant.
I’m terrified what she’ll do if she finds out.
Fergus and Marsali provide a welcome dose of cuteness but even that moment is interrupted by the arrival of Captain Leonard. Fergus warns Jamie immediately, and the four of them make a hasty exit. They run into Temeraire who found out that other slaves had seen a white boy with yellow hair at Rose Hall. It dawns on Claire that Geillis lied to her.
Temeraire tells them that there are freed slaves that live near Rose Hall. He completed his part of their deal and reminded them to finish their part of the bargain. Jamie and Claire drop him off near a marked tree and Temeraire makes his way to freedom without hesitation.
Jamie and Claire are just about to go back inside their carriage when Captain Leonard’s soldiers grab Jamie. Claire reminds the bloody bastard that without her they’d all be dead. Leonard decides to occupy the other resident asshole position of the episode. He arrests Jamie for the murder of the exciseman and for printing treasonous pamphlets.
“Find Young Ian!” Jamie pleads with Claire as he’s taken away.
So much for them not being separated again.
I am utterly at a loss as to how they’re going to wrap things up in the final episode of the season. I do wish there were a few more episodes to cover more narrative ground, but alas! Only one more review to write.
I’m so ready for it.
What the heck is a bakra supposed to be anyway?
Until our final episode Outlander fans!
NEXT WEEK, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10TH AT 8 PM ET: EPISODE 313 (SEASON FINALE): “EYE OF THE STORM”
“Claire is forced to play a game of cat and mouse with an old adversary as she searches for Young Ian. The Frasers race through the jungles of Jamaica to prevent the unthinkable.”
Clips and Photos courtesy of Starz.