Previously on Outlander: Claire found out that Geillis was having an affair with Dougal, resulting in a secret pregnancy and prompting Geillis to pray to Mother Earth for the death of Dougal’s wife (granted), followed by the poisoning of her husband. Jamie stood as Sandringham’s second in a duel that resulted in a brawl with another clan, so to punish him Colum ordered him to accompany Dougal home for the funeral of his wife. Left back at Castle Leoch, Claire did the one thing Jamie asked her not to do and went to go see Geillis, allowing them to be arrested for witchcraft together.
‘Looks like I’m going to a f*cking barbeque.’
The two women are literally thrown into an underground cell together to await trial. There’s some blame throwing between the two women, and Claire tells Geillis that Laoghaire ratted her out, and furthermore, maybe this wouldn’t have happened if Geillis had attempted to keep a slightly lower profile. Like Claire’s one to talk. Claire accuses Geillis of murdering her husband and Geillis cops to it, saying she started white arsenic a few months ago, hoping to kill Arthur off before she started to show, leaving her free to marry Dougal. Geillis does that creepy giggle and tries to get Claire to feel the baby’s kicking, but Claire’s not interested. When someone comes by with a crust of bread for them, Claire tries to tell him that she’s the wife of the laird’s nephew, but the man doesn’t listen. Geillis reassures Claire they won’t be there long, because Dougal will come for them. Claire informs her that Dougal’s been banished, so he’s not coming to anyone’s rescue anytime soon. Geillis’s face says, ‘oh, shit.’
The women wake the next morning to the crowd outside chanting about burning the witches. The ladies are brought out and marched off for their trial, passing by a stake that’s being built. So, I guess we can’t expect a fair trial, then? Gosh, and I had such high hopes. The accused are brought into a courthouse, where a panel of clergymen have gathered to stand judgement. Claire observes that there were no familiar faces in the crowd, nobody from Leoch. Really? Word of a witch trial didn’t make its way to the castle? I find that hard to believe.
The door opens and in comes Ned, so apparently word did get out, thankfully. He’s there to act as lawyer for the accused. He starts by pointing out that the Witchcraft Act was repealed almost a decade ago, making this trial illegal. Unfortunately, this is an ad hoc proceeding under the administration of the church, and apparently the church can just do whatever the hell it wants, so the trial’s going forward.
The first witness is Jeanie, Geillis’s housekeeper. She testifies that Geillis dispensed charms and amulets and things, and Claire went out gathering herbs with her and creating potions. Nobody seems to remember that Claire is the castle’s official healer, and herbs and potions are sort of necessary for that. Oh, and she heard Geillis singing! No, not singing! Ned reveals that Jeanie tried to get a job at Leoch, because she didn’t like the Duncans, dismissing her as a malcontented employee. And that’s it for her. Nice job, Ned.
The next witness is a woman named Robena. She’s the mother of that baby left in the woods that Claire found. She claims that she and her husband kept watch from a distance, waiting for their true child to be returned, but instead they saw Claire come, take the child, and speak words to it. At sunrise, they found the changeling child dead on the hill, with no sign of their own child. Again, has anyone found ‘their’ child returned? This is so bizarre to me. The woman lunges at Claire, who shouts that she was only trying to help the baby, because she’s a healer and couldn’t abandon a dying child. Ned hushes her, then turns to Robena, offering sympathy on the death of her child. He then gently asks why she didn’t stop Claire from interfering with the work of the fairies. She says she was afraid. He takes her hand and urges her to take comfort in knowing that the changeling died, and her own child is healthy. She nods. He continues that perhaps they should thank Claire, then, instead of condemning her. The woman is dismissed. Claire is starting to take heart, but looks around the room and realises these people have come for a burnin’, and that’s what they’re gonna get.
A man named Alastair comes forth and claims he saw Geillis standing on the battlements during a thunderstorm, calling down lightening, and then she leapt into the sky and flew. Oh, so people can just make shit up now. Great. Claire, unable to keep her mouth shut, screams that this is preposterous. She’s ordered to keep silent and the court is dismissed until the following day. Ned rushes over for a word and tells Claire he thinks they may have an outside chance here. Oh, Ned, ever the optimist. She asks if Colum sent him and Ned says he didn’t. She then asks if Colum had her arrested. He says no and gives her a flask to help her stay warm overnight.
Back in the pit, Geillis asks for a sip from the flask, and Claire gives it to her. Geillis has a drink and then tells Claire that they may as well drink, because tomorrow they die. Claire asks if it was Dougal Geillis wanted, or his position and money. Geillis tells her she didn’t need money, because she’s been squirrelling away plenty over the past couple of years, intending to give it to the Jacobite cause. Claire snorts that it was politics that brought Geillis and Dougal together and asks Geillis if she realises he’s not exactly faithful. Geillis doesn’t care, because as Claire herself just noted, it’s politics drawing these two together. Geillis admires him for fighting for Scotland and all of its people. Geillis almost starts to get teary when she muses that Dougal left when ordered by Colum. Claire sincerely says she’s sorry, but Geillis tells her not to worry about it, because when the uprising comes, she’ll know she helped. She’d do it all again in a moment. ‘I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,’ Claire quotes.
Geillis asks Claire if she loves Jamie. Apparently Claire’s been saying his name in her sleep. Claire doesn’t respond.
Claire wakes the next morning and tries rattling the grate locking them in. Obviously it doesn’t move. She and Geillis joke about how it’d be nice to be actual witches right now. Claire looks up at a starling flying over and remembers going to Brighton in November and seeing them gather in a massive flock, swooping in a beautiful cloud. Geillis wonders why they did that and Claire says it was to protect themselves from the falcons. Safety in numbers. Shame these two don’t have numbers on their side right now.
The warden fetches them and they’re taken back to the courtroom.
Of course, it’s Laoghaire’s turn in the witness stand. She tells the court she went to Claire for a potion to open Jamie’s heart. She brings up some crocodile tears and says that Jamie was meant to marry her. Um, if you needed a potion to get him to love you, then clearly he was not. The lead judge asks Claire if she concocted such a potion. The correct (and true) answer, Claire, is ‘no, I didn’t. I gave her some dried horse dung to make her go away, because I can’t make love potions.’ But Claire’s not thinking clearly, I guess—let’s blame stress and sleep deprivation—and stammers about just trying to help the girl. Laoghaire says that Claire hexed Jamie and Ned points out that this is clearly a jealous ex with a broken heart. Laoghaire then mentions Claire slapping her and the judge asks Claire if she did so. Again, the correct answer is: ‘Yes. She’s my servant and was being insolent.’ Striking an insolent servant was totally not a big deal at the time. In fact, I think it was pretty much recommended. But again, Claire can’t be direct and instead says that Laoghaire put an ill wish under her bed (procured from Geillis, so way to almost throw your friend under the bus there, Claire) and tried to seduce Claire’s husband. Laoghaire keeps up the tears and the crowd starts calling for both women to be burned. Claire says that Laoghaire tricked her into going to see Geillis but the judges tell her to shut up. Ned’s starting to look nervous.
Father Bain is called forth next. Oh, this should be good. He intones that Claire is clearly the whore of Babylon, but then she managed to do what he could not: save that poisoned kid, when he had given up hope. He falls to his knees and confesses he failed young Tammas and everyone else there. God too. And he’s no longer worthy of serving the people of the parish. He begs them to let him leave and everyone just stares at each other for a while, then someone stands up and yells that this is just another evil ploy of Claire’s, because only the devil himself could drive away a man of God. Wow, these people really are determined to see these women burn. Do they need entertainment that badly? Can’t they just nail another kid’s ear to the stocks? There’s not much Ned can think of to do here. The judge tells Bain he’s not to leave the parish and gets ready to deliver a judgement. Ned begs for a brief recess. Bain turns to Claire and gives her a quick, creepy smile before he goes. Wow, what an evil bastard.
Claire and Geillis and Ned are taken to an antechamber and Ned tells them there’s nothing else he can do. Only one of them can be saved at this point. There’s too much mistrust in the community for Geillis, but if Claire denounces her and says she was bewitched into being Geillis’s friend, he may be able to save Claire, at least. He gives them some time to discuss it.
Geillis starts pacing back and forth while Claire babbles that there must be another way. Geillis asks Claire what she’s doing in Scotland. She knows Claire’s been lying all along and wants to know the truth. Claire says she’s there by accident, not for any reason. Geillis looks like she’s been slapped and mutters that Claire’s not there to ‘change things.’ Claire whimpers that she just wants to go home. ‘It’s really all for nothing,’ Geillis whispers. Ned pokes his head in and says he can’t delay any longer. ‘Looks like I’m going to a f*cking barbeque,’ Geillis says as she marches out. Wait, what? I’m pretty sure they didn’t have barbeques back then.
The ladies retake their place and Ned announces that Claire has something to say. She stands there, with Geillis looking both defiant and defeated at her side, looks at the judges and her friend, and then says Ned is mistaken, she doesn’t have anything to say. Geillis grabs her arm and asks if she’s crazy. The judges pronounce both of them guilty and sentence them to death. The crowd screams for them to be burned, because apparently none of them realise how screwed they’re going to be once they don’t have any healers left. Good luck the next time your abominably stupid children poison themselves or you get a broken arm or a cough or something, folks. Know you brought this on yourselves.
Ned manages to buy some time by pulling a pistol, which gives Geillis the chance to say ‘1968’ to Claire, which just confuses her. Claire screams that the people are all murderers and will burn in hell. The judge orders her ‘stripped and skelped’. Two men hold her arms as the back of her dress is torn open and she’s whipped. Jesus, people, you’re already burning her to death, what’s the purpose of this?
But look! Jamie’s arrived to save her! Again! He starts throwing punches until he reaches Claire’s side and insists he swore an oath in church to protect this woman, and if any of them think that their opinion is greater than an oath sworn to the Almighty, well, they’re wrong. Several men pull swords, and so does Jamie, warning them that the first to step forward is the first to die. Nobody’s willing to fall on that particular sword, if you will, so they just stand there. Then Geillis cries that Claire is no witch, but she is. She confesses to bewitching Claire for her own purposes, but Claire does not serve Geillis’s master. Geillis pulls down the sleeve of her dress, revealing the scar from a smallpox vaccine, which she claims is a Devil’s mark. Claire suddenly realises that Geills, too, is from the future. From 1968. Geillis tells Claire to run, then distracts everyone by tearing open her dress, revealing her pregnant belly, and announcing that she’s carrying the devil’s child. This is really nice of Geillis to do for Claire, but I can’t help but wonder…why? This is a hell of a favour to do for a friend. The crowd rushes forward and grabs Geillis as Jamie hustles Claire out of there. The judges scream for Geillis to be covered up and cloth is torn down to drape over her as she’s carried to the pyre.
Outside, Claire watches as Geillis is carried past. Jamie gently urges her to come with him. Well, that’s a shame. I was kind of interested in Geillis. Though, to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wriggles out of this, at least for a time, because during this period a pregnant woman who had experienced the quickening (the child moving her womb) as Geillis has was exempt from death until the child was born.
Jamie gently bathes Claire’s wounds, once they’ve gotten to safety, and reassures her the cuts aren’t deep, so she won’t be marked. He sits down and asks her, honestly, if she’s a witch. Claire’s like, ‘seriously? You too?’ He says he’s seen the same scar as Geillis had on Claire’s arm, so if it’s a devil’s mark on Geillis, then… Claire swears she’s not a witch, but it’s time for him to know the full truth. She says she can never catch smallpox, or a number of other diseases, because she’s received a vaccine, something he’s never heard of because it hasn’t been invented yet. She goes on to say that she knows when Jack Randall will die and how doomed the Jacobite cause is, and she knows all of this because she’s from the future. She was born October 20 1918. Jamie takes all this in for a few seconds, then reassures her he doesn’t think she’s crazy. He totally believes her, because this is absurd fantasyland where someone can just say they’re a time traveller and super superstitious country people will just shrug and say, ‘eh, I thought there was something off about you. May as well be this.’ He goes on to say that he trusts her and trusts that there’s truth between them. So he’ll believe whatever she tells him. Curiously, he doesn’t ask for more info on Jack Randall’s death. I sure would have. Instead, he asks about her history, and CVO tells us that she shared her whole story, from childhood to stones. Oh, and she also tells him all about how the Scots are going to be destroyed at Culloden, because who cares about possibly irrevocably altering history? Jamie realises that when she ran off and got captured by the British, she was trying to get home, not just out for a walk, as she claimed. He feels badly for having beaten her for it, though the fact still remains that she was reckless and almost got a lot of them killed. He tells her how sorry he is and she weeps that he couldn’t have known. He comforts her and urges her to rest for a bit.
They spend the next few days riding as far as they can, Jamie talking about Lallybroch (hey, hang on a sec, isn’t he supposed to be accompanying Dougal? Is that just…off now? Isn’t Colum going to be super pissed off when he hears about all this?) CVO says she tried to invest in Lallybroch as her home, but she just can’t seem to get into the idea.
At night, beside the fire, Jamie decides to exhibit some apparently amazing bean flicking skills. Either this guy is some sort of sexual savant, or he and Laoghaire were up to quite a bit of naughtiness before he married Claire.
The next day, Jamie asks if she’s ready to go home, and shows her the standing stones of Craig na dun, which are just the next hill over. She’s surprised, since she clearly thought he was going to show her Lallybroch, and she just stands there, trying to take it all in and gather herself, face leaving this man and this life, which did have its good points as well as the bad, forever. She and Jamie walk to the stones hand in hand and he goes to the largest stone, asking what she did the last time. She says she didn’t really do anything, she heard a buzzing and wind whooshing and touched the stone. She reaches for the stone, but Jamie grabs her away, holding her close and saying he wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. She nods, understanding. He pulls himself together and says he’s ready to part with her now, because it’s her own time on the other side, and Frank. On this side, there’s nothing for her but violence and danger. And good sex, Jamie! That’s worth something! He tells her he’ll make camp nearby for the night, to make sure she gets home safely. He says goodbye and starts to walk away. She calls after him, then whispers goodbye. He disappears over the hill.
Claire sits in front of the stone, looking at her two wedding rings. She looks up at the stone, then turns and sees the smoke from Jamie’s fire off in the distance. There’s a rumbling sound and a whooshing, and she stands up and moves toward the stone…
…But we have a lot more books to go through, so it’s no surprise that she appears at Jamie’s fireside, waking him and asking him to take her to Lallybroch. It’d be nice to know just what led her to come to this particular decision, but I’m going to go ahead and assume that she realised every time she looked at Frank she’d see Randall, a man who once threatened to slice her nipples off, amongst other things, and that’s going to put a serious damper on their relationship.