Aw, yeah, people, it’s all getting real now. We’re getting down to crunch time. We’ve reached episode 11 of 13 out of our Outlander mock season three (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the whole series HERE).
So last week, the masks came off at the Governor’s ball, and we ended with a lovely moment of reconciliation between Jamie and Claire. And now that we’ve solidified our heroes’ commitment to each other and to their shared quest of finding Ian Jr. (remember that guy? He’s, like, the whole reason we’re here), let’s get down to some drama. Sound good?
Without further ado, here’s…
TITLE: ROSE HALL
THEME: Ghosts of the Past. Following up on last week’s them, Deception, we have now reunited Claire and Jamie with the truth about themselves; can they use their newfound faith in each other to unlock some more mysteries and find Ian?
BOOK CHAPTERS INCLUDED:
PART NINE (WORLDS UNKNOWN) STARTING WITH CHAPTER 60: THE SCENT OF GEMSTONES:
Including: The first visit to Rose Hall in which our heroes learn that Mrs. Abernathy is no other than Geillis Duncan (alive!) and that she definitely knows more than she’s saying about Young Ian; the revelation the Reverend Campbell is the Edinburgh Fiend, and his death; the revelation that Willoughby is the one who betrayed Jamie and then his departure.
So at the governor’s house, everybody was talking about Mrs. Abernathy of Rose Hall, and this week Jamie and Claire are going to meet her. Let’s start:
ON THE ROAD TO ROSE HALL
Claire and Jamie ride on horseback down the road. They pass boarded-up houses, ornamented with voodoo dolls and other “dark magic” tokens set up to protect them. Claire asks what that’s all about and Jamie explains that they’re protecting themselves from the murdering Chinaman—Willoughby.
So they arrive at the estate and pass the sugarcane and coffee fields on the way to the main house. They see black slaves working, but no white ones. They knock on the door and are let in, their presence announced officially. They are told to wait in the salon.
Okay, brace yourselves, ‘cause here’s where it gets weird. The room has all sorts of strange and, in some cases, anachronistic items spread about: fertility statuettes and Jacobite relics decorated with the white rose of the house of Stuart. And why is all this stuff in this random house in Jamaica? Well, we’re about to find out, because here comes the lady of the house:
Holy witch trial, Batman! What is going on here? Claire is wondering the same thing as she delicately asks: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but why aren’t you dead?” (It’s a fair question, really.)
So the three of them sit down for tea, during which Geillis explains that she’s not dead because she was pregnant at the time of being convicted of being a witch. (Remember, she had an affair with Dougal McKenzie.) Okay, so long story short: her burning as a witch was postponed due to her pregnancy, because burning a woman alive is totally fine, but a baby? What are they, monsters?
They stuck her in the thieves’ hole for three months, she had the baby, and then Dougal snuck her off to France to live under the assumed name of Madame Melisande Robicheaux.
At this point, were I writing this episode, I might go ahead and:
- Geillis escaping the burning by revealing her growing stomach.
- Geillis surviving in the thieves’ hole.
- Geillis giving birth with Dougal watching.
- Dougal sneaking her out of the house late at night.
- Geillis living as a French aristocrat, commanding servants.
- Geillis eventually boarding a ship for Jamaica.
Yes, this does take a short anecdote and turn it into an expensive headache for some poor line producer somewhere, but hey, otherwise it’s kind of confusing.
After all, if you just started watching this show this year, who wouldn’t have any clue who Geillis Duncan is!
Anyhoo, as interesting as all that is, Jamie and Claire really just want to know one thing:
“Have you seen Ian Jr. around here anywhere?”
Geillis claims she has no white servants at all, and even though Claire suspects she’s lying, there’s really no way to prove it right now.
Now before this scene ends, we need to meet Hercules, Geillis’ servant/bodyguard, who I envision to look like a black Andre the Giant. There’s a weird dead look in his eyes that leads Claire to ask, after he has left the room, whether or not he is a zombie. (More on this later.)
Geillis asks Claire to take a look at some of her servants who need medical attention, and this leaves Jamie free to explore on his own a bit.
While Claire heads into the kitchen to remove the “loa-loa” worm from behind the eyeballs of a poor servant—a scene which you better believe I am NOT going to skip because it’s awesomely gross and terrifying and fascinating, and I love that stuff—Jamie is MIA. Claire sterilizes the knife for the incision into the eyeball, and just as she’s about to cut in his eye, let’s cut ourselves to…
Under the guise of repairing a broken sugar press—something Jamie actually does do, but finishes rather quickly—Jamie frantically searches the grounds looking for Ian Jr.. But of course, just as Geillis had said, there is no sign of him.
Jamie mutters something under his breath about “Geillis the awful witch.”
Let’s cut to that witch’s face, smiling and pleased with herself. This is all a game to Geillis, one she knows she will win.
Back in the sitting room, Geillis shares some of her work with Claire. She shows her the medicine she uses to keep the servants in a “zombie-like” state. (So Claire was right about Hercules!) She shows her the gemstones she’s been collecting as well. Remember, Geillis believes there is quite a bit of mysticism about traveling through the stones, and she needs these magical gems for that reason.
What she doesn’t realize is that Claire knows the stones must be from the French treasure stolen from Silkies’ Island. And if Geillis has them, then that means she probably has something else from the island, too.
They talk about traveling through the stones, and Claire admits that she was able to come back here because she had “a point of fixation” to aim for.
Okay, this is a crazy long scene and I’m trying to condense it, but there’s another moment we have to see before we can split—Geillis finds Brianna’s pictures in Jamie’s coat pocket. Claire catches her and tells her, reluctantly, about Brianna. And Geillis hands the pictures back. (Cue the “Jaws” theme here.)
So they leave Rose Hall and get caught up in a storm on the way back. They are forced to take shelter under an improvised lean-to of palm leaves, as you do, when Jamie reaches into his pocket for Brianna’s pictures. Not finding them, he begins to panic, until Claire reassures them that she’s got them, safe and sound. She hands him the pictures and he begins thumbing through them.
And one of them is missing.
Just as they’re figuring this out, who should come riding down the road towards Rose Hall but Reverend Archie Campbell? Geillis had mentioned a parson was coming, but we didn’t know it was him.
But one thing is clear: Jamie and Claire will have to return to Kingston to gather up a crew of men. Because they’re going back to Rose Hall.
The crew, including Lawrence Stern, who has met Geillis before and was quite smitten with her, make their way by boat down the river towards Rose Hall.
The men sneak off in the dark towards the house, and Claire is supposed to guard the boat with a pistol for protection. And Claire is totally going to stay by the boat all night because she’s really good at following orders and not getting into trouble. (That was a joke.)
Actually, pretty much immediately, Claire spots a tall, angular shadow of a man in the window of the house, and since Jamie and the men are already gone, she decides to go investigate herself.
She approaches the house and sneaks along the veranda. The house is weirdly abandoned. No servants, no Geillis. The door is open, yellow rose petals splayed across the floor. But at the door to the salon, hark! The sound of pages turning by a crackling fire. The shadow of a tall man.
“Ian,” Claire hisses, desperately hoping it’s him. But she looks inside, and who does she find?
Archie Campbell, of course. (Honestly, probably should have seen that coming. I mean, we knew he was there, right?) Okay, so Claire asks if he’s seen Ian Jr.; he hasn’t; she starts to excuse herself. When suddenly, he grabs her by the arm.
Archie knows that Claire’s husband isn’t “Mr. Malcolm.” He has learned from Geillis that their name is Fraser, and therefore that Jamie is the man who broke his sister Margaret’s heart years ago before the Battle of Culloden. (Hang in there, folks. There will not be a test on this later.)
Claire begins to explain that Margaret hadn’t been in love with Jamie, but with his cousin. Archie’s not buying it, however, and he begins to grow violent, demanding to know where Jamie is. Just as Claire is running out of ideas about how to escape this lunatic without rousing the attention of the sleeping slaves, she sees something odd out of the corner of her eye:
Ping An, to be exact. Willoughby is here!
Claire attempts to distract Archie with some small talk about where exactly Geillis might have gotten off to when she notices what he’s been working on—a paper lying on the table, headlined “The Frasers of Lovat.”
Okay, this is kind of confusing, but basically Geillis has for years been studying Scottish prophesies, trying to find a leader to restore Scotland to independence (now that her whole Jacobite plan has fizzled out). And she’s concluded that the house of Fraser is destined to be that family. All the references Geillis made earlier in the day to calendar dates in which time travel is possible, and stones needed for travel (the stones which, you’ll remember, she has been gathering)—it all starts to become clear.
Geillis is planning on time traveling again. And this time, it’s to find the heir (or heiress) to the Fraser name who is destined to restore Scotland to its former glory.
And she has Brianna’s picture.
Frankly, I don’t know how you convey all this information in a scene without talking the audience’s ear off, but a lot of this information is indeed going to come out right now in this scene.
Maybe we’ll do a little montage here. Shall we?
-Geillis talking about the stones earlier that day.
-Geillis’s notebook, seen by Claire last season in episode 213 at her old house in Scotland, with her notes about time travel.
-The picture of Brianna—the one Geillis stole.
Okay, back to the action:
Claire looks up to see Willoughby perched in the window. He looks starving and exhausted, his pajamas ripped. “Most holy fella,” he says. Archie whips around, spilling rose water all over the papers. Archie curses, calling Willoughby a murderer.
But Willoughby outs Campbell: “You are murderer, not me.” Willoughby—who demands to be called Yi Tien Cho, so that’s what we’ll call him from now on—saw Campbell murder the woman at the Governor’s ball.
Claire takes out the pistol she has been hiding in her pocket and points it at Campbell. And now Claire puts the rest of the puzzle together—Campbell didn’t just kill the woman at the party. He was living in Edinburgh the whole time prostitutes were being killed.
Archie Campbell is the Edinburgh Fiend!
But now Campbell has his own bomb to drop—remember how Jamie suspected one of his men had betrayed him to Percival Turner, and he was trying to figure out which one it was? Well, Campbell knows, because Turner told him. It’s Yi Tien Cho!
Claire doesn’t know who to believe. Who should she be pointing this gun at, exactly? (PS, if you’re still following all this, you get a cookie.)
Before she has to decide, Campbell lunges for her. She fires, missing him, but creating a black plume of smoke. When it clears, she sees Campbell taking out his knife—the knife he clearly intends to use to kill her just as he did the prostitutes. She braces herself for pain, but none comes.
Because Yi Tien Cho has just smashed Archie’s head in. A bulge forms on his cranium, turning purple as Archie dies.
Claire confronts Yi Tien Cho. “Why did you betray Jamie?” And so he explains:
In a drunken stupor one night, feeling resentful of Jamie’s treatment of him (calling him Willoughby instead of his real name probably didn’t help matters), he had betrayed his friend. “He eat my soul, Tsei-mi (his name for Jamie). I am no more, Yi Tien Cho.”
But Yi Tien knows that he cannot stay after what he did to Jamie. Before departing to try to forge a life for himself in the wilds of Jamaica, he offers up the following admission, which is also our THEME ALERT of the week:
Let’s end the episode with Claire frantically searching for something. She looks through all of Geillis’s things, through her workroom. The smell of burning mercury makes her cover her nose with a handkerchief. The lines of a pentacle char the floor.
And in the middle: Brianna’s slightly burned photograph.
A flashback: Claire telling Geillis earlier that day that she had been able to travel to a specific time and place by having “a point of fixation” to aim for.
Claire grabs the charred photograph, whispers Jamie’s name under her breath, and runs for the door.
END OF EPISODE
Whew! I don’t know about you folks, but I am exhausted. Yes, that was a very long episode, and a LOT of long-gestating storylines finally found some closure. (Hello? The Edinburgh Fiend? Um, haven’t though about him in weeks.)
But closure we have, people. And we are officially one step closer to finding that crazy cat Ian Jr.. Tune in next week to see where all of this is going.
Let’s be kind.
Fun Fact: There really is a Rose Hall plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The featured image of this article is an engraving from James Hakewill‘s A Picturesque Tour of the island of Jamaica, from drawings made in the years 1820 and 1821 (1825).
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry