Outlander, Season 3 – STARZ hit television series with Episodes 12 and 13 has come to an end. Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and his wife and healer Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) have battled against the odds and stormy seas to come to the point they have arrived at now.
Episode 12 began with Claire and Jamie entering the city quarter in Jamaica where the slave trade is active with daily auctions. Claire was appalled as knowing it happened historically and then seeing it happening before your very eyes were two very different realities, and she came out fighting.
Set in the early eighteenth century, it would be a while before English abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) also reflected on his thoughts as a young man, “So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”
Jamie and Claire purchase the suffering slave, promising he is a free man. They want his help to find Jamie’s nephew young Ian Murray (John Bell). They are in a race against time.
They need to leave before the young British Captain Leonard (Charlie Hiett) of the ship Porpoise, who had imprisoned Claire while she looked after the crew who had contracted typhoid fever, arrives to arrest Jamie whom he believes is wanted for murder back in Edinburgh.
Don’t Read Any More Unless You Want Spoilers.
Their trail leads them to the Governor’s Ball where dressed up to the nine’s and with Jamie almost unrecognisable in a white ‘wig’, they suddenly find themselves on a queue to greet the new governor.
It turns out it is Jamie’s friend and champion Lord John Grey (David Berry) as the man himself, which is quite a shock to the system for all.
He’s equally astonished to see Jamie in Jamaica and the awkward moments they spend fighting back their affection for each other are not entirely missed by Claire, who is sure to ask Jamie to elaborate more about their relationship in private.
The chemistry between the two men is undeniable – it’s all that passion they both have in abundance that links them forever.
Lord John is looking as dashing as ever, wearing as an ornament a stunning blue sapphire from the horde young Ian was fetching from the Island for Jamie and Claire when he was captured.
Jamie had given it to Lord John after originally being guided to the horde by a dying prisoner. He gave it to his captor for treating him and his fellow Scottish prisoners well after the Battle of Culloden. If it hadn’t been for Lord John, Jamie knows he would not be alive to tell his tale now or to keep moving his life forward.
By co-incidence everyone they couldn’t possibly imagine would be at this ‘ball’ is there including Archibald Campbell (Mark Hadfield) and his psychic sister Margaret Campbell (Alison Pargeter).
Getting over that co-incidence first then Claire and Jamie are stunned to come upon another old acquaintance Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek) who Claire knows is a time traveller like herself and obsessed with a prophecy.
The death of a two-hundred-year-old child will allow a new King to arise in Scotland. Although Claire doesn’t know it yet, that child is destined to be her and Jamie’s daughter Brianna.
Geillis, known to the locals as The Bakra, already has the other two blue sapphires and the rest of the horde in her possession. Unbeknown to Claire and Jamie, it is she who commissioned the Portuguese ship’s captain to fetch it.
Geillis needs to bring all three blue stones together and have psychic Margaret Campbell chant a spell and break a curse so she can pursue the prophecy. How she manipulates this to happen before everyone’s eyes at the ball is unexpected.
The Bakra is feared in the local community as she bathes in blood to keep her skin youthful. Jamie and Claire also do not know it yet, but she already has young Ian captive.
Whether he is alive or not is what we’re left wondering, because her reputation is that she usually kills the men who share her bed.
Episode 13, the finale opens with Claire in a carriage on her way to find Geillis, to find out what her role is in what is happening. She finds out much more than she bargained for. She explains to a disbelieving Geillis she has been back in the future for twenty years, showing her the photographs of Brianna as proof.
Not knowing Geillis has pocketed one of them, Claire is invited to stay the night. Locked into her room she sees young Ian in bonds being led away down a pathway and tries to break out to follow him.
In the meantime, Captain Leonard (Charlie Hiett) having arrived in Jamaica comes to the Governor’s Ball and while Claire and Jamie having been warned and are fleeing, the young man outsmarts them both and arrests Jamie.
Just when Claire thinks all is lost Jamie arrives to save her – how did he escape?
While she has been with Geillis back at the Governor’s residence Lord Grey (David Berry) has summoned the ship’s captain with his prisoner.
In probably one of the best scenes in both episodes, Lord Grey challenges young Captain Leonard’s authority to arrest Jamie as they are not on the high seas, the only place where a ship’s captain has jurisdiction.
On land as head of the army Lord Grey does, so he cleverly secures Jamie’s release and sets him free, with them both acknowledging how much they owe each other before Jamie dashes into the night.
Pursuing the sound of drums in the jungle, Jamie and Claire come across the natives in the middle of a blood curdling ceremony and are saved because Mr Willoughby (Gary Young) Jamie’s friend and colleague is there with Margaret Campbell and he vouches for them both. It’s all very unsettling.
Leaving and going in pursuit of Ian with a native to guide them, they find him in a cave with Geillis and her manservant Hercules (aptly named – Apolinhalo Antonio), and she’s about to make Ian a human sacrifice before diving into a pool, which is the portal back to the future.
Realising she is going back to kill Brianna Claire does what any self-respecting mother would do, while Jamie is fighting for his life with Hercules, she grabs a knife and cuts Geillis’s throat, nearly severing her head.
Now we know, Geillis is the body of the future Claire had back in her laboratory at university in Boston.
The next day they board the Artemis and set sail for Scotland… where finally at rest and at sea away from prying eyes and what they hope are further dangers, Jamie and Claire make love. However there is yet another storm to come…
They are caught at sea in a hurricane and Claire is washed overboard and is unconscious peacefully descending into the depths and death when Jamie arrives to save her just as the ‘eye of the storm’ passes over them.
Washed ashore, they find themselves on a beach in Georgia and Claire knowing they have arrived in America feels safe. So is this where they are to forever reside? Is this the place where all their dreams will come true.
Season 3 overall for me was a touch unsettling, often piecemeal and patchy, going from truly excellent script writing and performances to being only just so so in some episodes, particularly Episode 12 my least favourite. I found it left me unsatisfied, as the producers tried to cram too much story into too short a period of time.
Am hopeful they will all get their mojo back next year. Something to look forward to… the story between Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Lord John Grey perhaps enough to draw us back into what is happening!
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017