Okay, faithful Outlander fans, we have reached the penultimate episode of our mock season three. And if you thought this season was strange so far, it’s time to fasten your seat belts. Because we’re about to go off the rails.
Outlander has always had a lot of fun with superstitions and mysticism. From the beginning, Diana knew that part of the appeal of the concept—modern medical woman is thrust back in time to pre-Industrial-Revolution Europe—was pitting an enlightened sensibility against the pagan rituals of people who lack medicine.
It came to a head at the end of last season, where Claire had to put on her “White Witch” hat in order to save Master Raymond in Paris. Remember him? And now we’re going to see how the natives of Jamaica, egged on by the queen witch herself, Geillis, have found their own window into the supernatural.
So let’s get started.
TITLE: LA VOYANTE
THEME: Dark Magic. Claire’s history as a “White Witch” will come into play as she confronts the island’s black magic. The title of “La Voyante,” French for “clairvoyant,” refers to Margaret Campbell’s role as a medium to other souls. However, voyante can also mean “a warning,” which we will be getting a few of in this episode.
PART FIVE (YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN), CHAPTER 20: DIAGNOSIS
In which Claire and Joe Abernathy examine the skeleton from the Caribbean.
PART NINE (WORLDS UNKNOWN) STARTING HALFWAY THROUGH CHAPTER 61: THE CROCODILE’S FIRE
Including: the whole crazy scene where the reverend’s sister Margaret is being used by Ishmael and his men as a medium to the dead after they kill the crocodile.
First things first: let’s open with a flashback:
BOSTON, 1966 (OR SO)
Claire is hanging out with her friend and colleague Joe Abernathy in his office at the hospital. Maybe they’re talking about romance novels or something. And then this happens:
PS: When Horace walks in and asks for Dr. Abernathy, Joe says, “Call me Ishmael.” When I first read this, I thought that was just a clever reference to Moby Dick. Didn’t realize how relevant it would become!
Joe toys with Claire a bit, getting her to venture a guess as to the body’s origin. But he knows all along that the body is from a cave in the Caribbean, and that it is 150 to 200 years old. Joe has a laugh at Claire’s expense, and we cut back to: THE SKULL.
ROSE HALL, 1767
Picking up where we left off last time, Willoughby—sorry, Yi Tien Cho—has just fled; Claire has found the slightly burned picture of Bree in Geillis’s workshop, apparently having been used in some magical ritual; and now Claire has run from the house looking for Jamie.
So let’s meet up with her in…
Running for her life, Bree’s picture in hand, back to the river where she hopes to find the men by the boat. But they are not there.
And now: a faint singing from the distance. Torchlight from the house. And more torches approaching. Claire turns to look… and is struck in the knees and forced to the ground. She covers her nose to protect it from a reeking smell, and she begins to crawl. But something has a hold of her foot.
She struggles free and stands to run—but is immediately stopped by a large man who drops his torch. It lands in the water with a hiss. The man is a slave, who recognizes Claire from her earlier visit. They both turn to see what struck her—a wounded crocodile. Still alive, but suffering, several men surround it, poking it with sticks.
Claire stands back as all the men wrestle the crocodile to submission. One man, clearly the leader, lassos the reptile’s neck and commands the others to grab the tail. He jumps on its back. And Claire sees that the man is Ishmael, the slave who escaped from the Bruja earlier and who Claire and Jamie released with Temeraire in exchange for information about Ian Jr.
Claire is in shock, barely able to stand, as Ishmael looks up, recognizing her, and the crocodile is killed.
Half-conscious, Claire is vaguely aware of being carried through the brush. Her eyes struggle to open as she sees that she’s been brought to the slave huts.
“Jamie,” she whispers.
IN THE HUT
Left alone, Claire opens her eyes and peeks out a window, only to see the men cheering over the corpse of the crocodile. She leans in closer, when suddenly the door to the hut opens and she lets out an involuntary squeal.
It is only Ishmael. Or at least, she’s pretty sure it’s him, because he is wearing the crocodile’s huge bloody head over his own. Ishmael now confirms—through the crocodile head—that “Missus” has gone away, and taken Ian Jr. with her. As he says, “Missus likes boys.” (Great, we hadn’t had a rape in a while. So I guess it was time. Oh, Diana.)
Anyway, just when this scene couldn’t get any weirder, Claire gets even more company:
MARGARET CAMPBELL shows up. What??
Margaret Campbell, everybody’s favorite Fruit Loop, thanks Claire for coming to visit her. Ishmael gently says to Margaret, “You ready, bebé?” He reminds her that “the fire is waiting,” which isn’t at all creepy, and then they both head out. Claire, dumbstruck, follows them into…
THE DARKNESS OUTSIDE
Now those of you who have been reading my stuff for a while probably know what I’m thinking. That’s right: THIS EPISODE NEEDS A “B” STORY!
So just for fun (and also because we haven’t seen her in a while), let’s cut to…
BRIANNA IN SCOTLAND, 1969
I know, I know. A lot of you are looking at me like this right now:
Yes, you’re absolutely right. Brianna is not in this story at this point. Except in my version, she is. Because this is my blog and I am Zeus here.
So Brianna and her boo Roger are hanging out at Craigh na Dun or whatever it is they do for fun, and Brianna feels strange. Something is coming over her. Roger looks at her, concerned.
“What is it?” he asks.
“I feel something,” she responds. She says she doesn’t know why, but it’s as if she feels she’s being called away. She sees an image in her mind—her mother. Her mother is in trouble. She has to help her. (See what I’m doing there? That’s right, people, it’s called foreshadowing.)
Claire follows Margaret and Ishmael through the woods to a small bonfire. Men are gathered around. The crocodile has been skinned and its meat is cooking on skewers. Claire is frightened by the surreal scene. It’s like a quinceñera for that kid from The Omen or something.
A drumbeat begins.
The scene that follows is bizarre, to say the least, but suffice it to say that there’s a very detailed ritual involving little girls in white, crocodile headdresses, flaming alcohol, and a sacrificed rooster who meets its untimely demise when Margaret Campbell bites its head off, letting the blood spurt into her cracked teacup. I can’t make this stuff up, folks.
Claire is made to drink some liquid from a horn, which she pretends to do while carefully keeping her lips sealed.
Ishmael begins to sing, and though his face is covered with the mask, Claire thinks she knows the voice. “Joe?” she asks.
And now we see something that Claire, who is rapt with these proceedings, does not see:
JAMIE. (Oh thank goodness, I was afraid we wouldn’t get to him in this episode.)
Yes, Jamie is here, hunched nearby in the woods, eyes on Claire, mind whirring with new information and a rescue plan. (I’m not sure how you film a “whirring mind,” but I’m sure Sam Heughan will figure it out.)
And here’s where it gets weird. (No really, this time.)
“Ils sont arrivées,” Ishmael says. “They have arrived.”
Claire is feeling drunk. Some herb in the rum had permeated her skin, despite the fact that she didn’t drink. Faces blur in and out of focus. The crocodile head comes to life before her. She blinks.
“Aya, gado,” says Margaret Campbell, but in the voice of an old native woman. She is channeling a dead woman. One by one, the natives approach her to hear their beloved departed talk to them through Margaret’s body.
Ishmael takes his turn, and the woman speaking through Margaret mentions “The Maggot dies in three days,” and says that the “others” might as well go with Ishmael. Claire doesn’t know what it means.
BRIANNA IN SCOTLAND
And now Brianna faints. Roger catches her, deeply concerned. He calls out to her, and she stirs in his arms. “Daddy,” she says.
“Daddy,” says Margaret Campbell. The voice is undeniable. Claire stands up, eyes like saucers.
“Bree?” she asks.
She whips around and sees Jamie standing there, listening to Margaret. He is terrified.
“Brianna?” Jamie asks.
“Daddy,” says Margaret, with Brianna’s voice. “I knew it was you. I’ve been dreaming about you. Don’t let Mama go alone. You go with her. I’ll keep you safe.”
Brianna (well, Margaret) kisses Claire, and then fades away. Margaret is Margaret again.
Claire runs to Jamie’s arms, overwhelmed.
Margaret, feeling fine and unaware of what has happened, is sent back to her hut by Ishmael to rest. Ishmael then turns to Claire and Jamie. He tells them that since the loa—the spirit—talked to them, they are safe from Ishmael. He respects them because of it. But they must leave before the others come.
Jamie insists that they won’t go until Ishmael reveals where Ian Jr. is, and Ishmael explains that the Maggot (Geillis) took him to Abandawe. But he implies that Geillis is going on a kind of trip where Jamie and Claire won’t be able to follow her. Claire mentions that Geillis was planning on time traveling again.
So where is Abandawe?
Well, Claire knows. It’s a cave. It’s the place Lawrence Stern was looking for. And Claire knows that it’s on the island of Hispaniola.
Ishmael warns Claire that, if she still gets her period (which she does), then the magic won’t work for her. The magic only works for old women in menopause. He says that if they follow Geillis to the cave, when she dies in three days, Claire will die too.
The drums continue throughout this scene, growing fainter.
Claire points to the hills, “Jamie, look!” The buildings are on fire. The trees, too. Jamie seems calm about it. The drums continue, calling the other slaves down from the hillside, all turbaned.
Margaret Campbell is one of them. Jamie stops her and asks if she recognizes him. “Aye, I ken ya,” she says. She asks about his cousin Ewan, the one she had loved. Jamie, realizing it is all he can possibly give her, lies and says Ewan is well. He kisses her, on Ewan’s behalf, and she smiles, telling Jamie to let Ewan know that she’ll be with him soon.
Margaret walks off with the others. Claire and Jamie, realizing they have a very short window to find Ian Jr., run for the boats.
Lawrence Stern is waiting there for them.
“Where to?” he asks.
“Abandawe,” Claire says, stepping onto the boat. Stern is concerned, knowing perhaps what that means. He and Jamie look to the main house of Rose Hall, now set ablaze.
BRIANNA IN SCOTLAND
Bree comes to in Roger’s arms. “What happened?” he asks.
“I saw my father,” she says.
They both look off to Craigh Na Dun in the distance.
Okay, so this was a LOT of action. Honestly, it’s a bit hard to follow in the book, which is why I’m really excited to see it onscreen. Action scenes like this are often easier to track when you can actually see them. And I have a feeling Ron Moore and Co and going to have a field day with all the crazy visuals and rituals in this episode.
Next week, lots of seafaring drama. Tune in then, and then let’s start the countdown to the real season three!
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry