This season has been quite a ride. There was heartbreak, drunken disillusionment, adultery, executions, imprisonments of the physical and emotional variety, Sworn Oaths Upheld, medical school, blackmail boning, regular boning, secret babies, secret marriages, angry children, placid beards, sewing, manual labor, treason, research, smuggling, de-virginizing, fire-starting, sailing, kidnapping, arguing, coughing, acupuncturing, prophesying, murder, surgery, contagion, escape, floating, shipwrecking, talking to a coconut, crying over spilled goats, a wedding, a ball, buying a slave, freeing a slave, bathing in blood, foot-seduction grieving, exposition, eye-sex, and barfing. I wonder if I’ve left anything out. It seems impossible and yet probable.

Oddly, the hour kicks off with what I think of as a narrative fallback tactic that you shouldn’t need in a season finale, because y’all, we are not tuning out at this point. Basically, those who watch the show (as opposed to just reading the recaps) know that at the end of the main titles, during the instrumental bit where they credit the director and writers and EPs, Outlander always picks a vague clip that hints at what’s to come — hands sewing a ball gown, sailors prepping a ship — but there’s only ever ambient noise, and none of the actors. This time, that piece is Claire drifting downward in water as she narrates that she feels at peace and relaxed, because she is dead. This departure from form is the equivalent of when shows drop you into a scene and then stop and cut to FORTY-EIGHT HOURS EARLIER, or whatever. There was a time when this was effective, but it’s quite overdone now, sadly, and seems to have become a narrative crutch mostly for shows that don’t have a zingy beginning or need like 90 seconds to hook people who don’t normally watch it (Alias did it for its post-Super Bowl episode, I believe). Why is Outlander doing this for its FINALE? And, weirder, for something that clearly isn’t going to be a problem in its finale? We KNOW shit is going to go down. But we know Claire is not going to die. So you’re not even teasing us with GOOD peril. Is there any peril worse than BANAL PERIL?

We rejoin the action with Jamie gone, having been dragged away by wee Captain Leonard of the HMS Jackface, and Claire being escorted away in her carriage. She gets cranky when they stop abruptly, and peeks out and sees a bunch of the local natives — as opposed to the transplanted “locals” who are colonizers — humming in a bass tone and marching past her with lit torches. (Someone pointed out that these are probably freed or escaped slaves, but wouldn’t they be more in hiding? I had thought they were the Jamaican residents who’d predated the colonists, but it could be either, or both.) They are non-threatening and don’t even really acknowledge that she’s there, other than to part around the carriage, but the driver has stopped to prevent injury. Claire gazes upon them, confused, and… it’s a really long moment of awkwardness for this show, which handles this aspect of Jamaica with this weird gawker’s glee that isn’t a great look for it, and I assume this procession is what becomes the party we see later.

Stop staring at us, please, my dear.
You clearly have nothing to fear.
What you do is your biz
Leave us to our shiz
Because long before you, we were here.

The carriage drops her at the edge of Geillis’s plantation, where Claire instructs the driver to wait for her until daybreak and then, if no sign of her, to inquire after her at the main house. She does not say please.

Apparently, we missed a part where Claire stopped at home to change and write a note to Fergus and Marsali. They find it, and after expositing for us that Willoughby is also missing, Fergus reads the news that Jamie was arrested. Marsali wants to rally the Artemis troops, but Fergus has a better idea and tells her to stay put while he does manly things. Marsali is like, “Um, NO,” which makes me like her rather a lot.

Ferg, don’t make me start a wee fight
But I’m your wife and as such I have rights.
Why should you get the fun?
Shove THAT up your bum.
Or you’ll sleep on the wood floor tonight.

Back at Batshit Cove, Claire is skulking around trying to find Ian, and I’m surprised Geillis’s magical crackpot powers don’t sense her there. She sees a dog nosing around the hay near a set of pale white legs, and shoos the dog away, only to discover that it’s a totally different dead boy (RIP, Somebody Else’s Young Ian). Before she can look for any other teenage needles in haystacks, she’s corralled by Geillis’s burly bodyguard.

Geillis has dragged Ian before her to grill him about Claire, whom she now believes was the real seeker of the treasure. See, you may not have gleaned this from the part where she bathed in the blood of a thousand goats, but Geillis is mad as a balloon and thrice as full of hot air. So she’s grown paranoid that Claire had heard tell of the same prophecy she did and wanted the sapphires to… I don’t even know. Beat her to the true Scottish king? Beat her to the new Scottish king and MURDER the new king, because Claire is English? Young Ian is not a tremendous actor, but in a way his cartoonish delivery is very effective here, because he is positively alight with indignance and defiance.


Also, has Geillis forgotten she has Truth Tea that works? You’d be a lot less DOUBTFUL if you drizzled some of that down his gullet, milady. But /Geillis is alerted to Claire’s presence, so she hustles Ian out of there and then pretends to scold Hercules, her henchman, for treating Claire roughly. Claire lies that she got lost trying to find the main house, and the circling they do of each other is tense before Geillis unconvincingly calls her a friend and deems her welcome. Claire explains that Jamie has been arrested, and fibs that she’s there to take refuge because she’s wanted as well, and the subtlety with which she and Geillis are glaring at each other is equal to if you picked up the reusable water bottle that might be sitting on your desk and swung it like a lasso and then drove it straight into your own nose.

Captain Leonard smugly leads Jamie back to the Porpoise, with Jamie cracking charming all the while (“Shame you couldn’tve lost your way and found Havana instead”). But JUST after he finishes full exposition about how they’re going to do X and Y before taking Jamie back home to stand trial, salvation comes in the form of an envoy from the house of none other than JOHN GREY, devoted friend to Jamie and Governor of Jamaica. And John lawyers the bejeesus out of poor Captain Leonard, slicing and dicing him like a kitchen gadget that also makes julienne fries. “What proof have you, Lieutenant Leonard? Forgive me. Captain Leonard,” he says, with dangerous politeness. “You must excuse my unfamiliarity with the somewhat liberal practices of the Naval service as far as conferring rank is concerned. I’m afraid the Army takes a somewhat more traditional stance in these matters, preferring to grant the title of command only when it has been earned.”SHAZAM. John demands proof of a warrant (there is none) and a sworn affidavit validating the crewman’s testimony (nope) and then thunders that it is positively crackers to arrest a British subject “on nothing more than the scurrilous gossip of the lower deck.” Leonard nervously tries to assert his satisfaction with the charge and with Jamie’s identity — I feel a bit sorry for him here because he is right, and though Jamie didn’t directly kill that one dude, he absolutely hid the body — and notes that as the senior Naval officer he is justified under the Articles of War to take Jamie into custody. John Grey points out, and he stands up slowly here for emphasis, that Leonard’s authority only extends to the high seas, and they are on John’s territory now. He then summarily dismisses a verbally disemboweled Leonard thusly: “Thank you, Lieutenant Leonard.”

Harry gif

John Grey, you are a master. I want nothing more than for you find some man loins to bring you love and comfort to the end of your days. I would even accept Jamie being like, “You know what, forget Claire, I AM into you. Let’s shoot her back to the sixties and make a love nest near Father Fogden’s Goaterie and Coconut Isolation Chamber.”

Instead, John and Jamie take a beat, then turn and snicker to each other like the best of chums that have underlying sexual tension, noting that seem to have a habit of saving each other. That’s basically the exact ending to Pretty Woman. Jamie thanks John, and they get another pregnant pause when they say goodbye.

I’m glad I saved you
So you can bed that woman. 
She seems… vagina’d.

Whatever you like.
Or, say, “Whatever. You like?!?!?”
Outlaw, be happy.

Just remember, I
will climb you like a treason
anytime you want.

Jamie does at least thoughtfully give John some REALLY good eyes before he leaves, which will stay with John forever. Or at least until they can ogle each other in the colonies because he and Willie are embroiled in the Revolutionary War, or somesuch. (I have not read the books, so I’m making that up.)

At Batshit Cove, Claire has finished spinning her yarn to Geillis, but Geillis is deeply suspicious. She refuses to believe it’s coincidence that the only two known travelers keep appearing in one another’s lives. It is not a bad point. If only she understood that she’s in a book/show, it would save so much trouble. Geillis accuses Claire of not respecting their friendship or her sacrifice, and says she believes Claire thwarted her precious warm-balled Dougal and the uprising, and has chased after her all these years hence just to stop Geillis from getting a Scot on the throne. Claire denies this, and points out that they tried to give Prince Charlie his shot, and Geillis responds, “He’s water under the bridge… I’m talking about the new king.” Claire’s astonishment could not be more pure, but she lets Geillis keep ranting about how these are all LIES and Claire OBVIOUSLY knew about the prophecy and wants to keep her from returning her homeland to “its former glory, AS GOD MEANT IT.” Geillis would have LOVED the Referendum, then. Well, until she lost it.

Speaking of losing it, Geillis is so crackers and pushy that Claire starts spilling everything: that she left Jamie before Culloden, that she was pregnant when she did it, and that she only came back a few months ago. Trouble is, Geillis doesn’t believe anyone could go through the stones a second time, much less a third, and still survive. So Claire plays her trump card, a.k.a., photographs of Brianna. Geillis recognizes her, and Claire confirms that they did indeed meet in Inverness in 1968, and that they turned up at Creigh na Dun to warn her about the witch trials. Geillis realizes this means they saw her husband’s dead body. “He was one of my favorites. Handsome. Such a lovely cock,” Geillis says, dreamily. She is a freaking Hallmark card, this one.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Gosh your cock is lovely
But screw the rest of you.

More skepticism: Geillis insists a human sacrifice is needed for traveling, but Claire angrily points out that she never had one. “I think it has…. something to do with who’s on the other side drawing you to them,” she says, but isn’t that SLIGHTLY bogus? When Brianna gave her the gem at Christmas, the implication was — if not the outright intention — that Claire realized she’d had a gem each time and might need another. Besides, who was drawing Claire back through the day of Culloden? Not Frank. I suppose circumstances might’ve been? Whatever; it’s not a theory I’m warm for, basically.

Geillis surreptitiously tucks a picture of Bri in her bosom before giving the stack back to Claire. “A two-hundred-year old baby,” she says. “Imagine that.” She then muddles through an apology, all about how she can clearly see now that forces greater than them all keep bringing her and Claire together, and says Claire can sleep in a guest room. I loved Lotte Verbeek in Agent Carter as Jarvis’s wife, but her bad accent as Geillis is such a distracting problem that I think it makes all her scenes take on a level of absurdity separate from what’s meant to be there. Also: I noticed that they did appear to have a tea service in this scene, so maybe the quiet visual implication was that Geillis DID give Claire the truth tea but then… thought it wasn’t working? She knows her Truth Tea is really good, though, so maybe she didn’t use it. Maybe she blew through all her rations and can’t make another batch until a virgin bleeds below a harvest moon.

Cut to: Claire trying to escape, but she’s been locked inside. Through the door she sees Ian being dragged away, then hears someone fumbling at the lock from outside; she takes a mighty swipe at the intruder, but it’s Jamie, and luckily she did not knock his beautiful block off for John Grey to mount on his office wall. They set off after Ian together “toward the drumming,” which we can’t actually really hear. Oh, but we will. WE WILL.

The next bit is… a thing to behold. They stumble upon the natives performing a ceremony, or just having a dance party, around a giant triangular pyre. The show commits to this scene with fetishistic relish. Claire and Jamie hide in the reeds and watch as the people bow and shimmy and shake; there is drumming and shrieking, so much writhing, tons of masks, and a dude wearing the head of a crocodile as a hat. Chickens are bled, and things are thrown onto the fire, and we ogle and ogle and OGLE the shenanigans throughout all of the next bits. It feels like the living embodiment of a Wikipedia entry rather than any kind of thoughtful cultural exploration. Claire flashes back to having seen a very similar dance in Scotland — it’s in the opening credits, very ethereal and eerie — but since I was a casual viewer of Season 1, I can’t recall if it was at the stones when she first went through or something she saw Geillis doing/organizing, or what. The point is: Here, I thought perhaps Geillis had orchestrated this as part of her obvious plan to time-travel again, but then Jamie and Claire are rumbled and the ritual stops and the only person who can save them now is… JOHN GREY, wearing the rest of the crocodile.

Just kidding. It’s Willougby, wearing all of Willoughby. “They are with me,” he tells his crew, and everyone’s like, “Right, cool, cool,” and they hurl themselves back into their ceremony with reckless abandawe — oops, I mean abandon. So if Willoughby was kinda chilling out with these dudes, then maybe it’s a regular party and not a performance that’s connected to Geillis’s forthcoming ritual? I don’t know. Willoughby says he’s just there because the natives got wind of Margaret’s gifts, and they wish for her to read their futures and fortunes. Claire is surprised about Margaret; near tears, Willoughby confesses that she is the first women to see him for himself, and vice versa, and she and Willoughby plan to move to Martinique and make a life together in solitude (until Jamie and John Grey decide to chuck it all and join them).  Jamie and Claire are like, “WTF? I mean, sure.”

“You really can’t stay?”
“Jamie I’m cold inside.”
“You’ve got to go away?!?”
“My urges are old inside.”
“These past months we’ve seen…”
“You know how alone I’ve been…”
“Some SHIT.”
“It’s time to get my crotch to it.”
“Scotland said no no no.” //  “I’m ready to go.”
“I’m glad you found a lady who’ll try.” // “I’m feelin’ this deep in my thighs.”
“You really can’t stay?”
“Nope. I’m ’bout to get BOLD inside.”

Then, another Culturally Awkward Bonfire Dance Montage, which feels superfluous. Claire goes to say hello to Margaret, noting with pleasure how calm and competent she seems now compared to in Edinburgh, and Margaret is totally fine until she spots Jamie. She grabs his hands and essentially describes to him the scene at Culloden as he lay blood-caked and dying, and glanced over at a rabbit before hallucinating Claire; she then grasps Claire and describes how Claire would see a bird at the window and hear Jamie in its song. Then she takes one hand each, closes her eyes, and then opens them wide and grins, “I knew it was you! My father! I’ve been dreaming about you! I love you. You too, Mama!” She’s clearly imitating Bri, in an attempted American accent, but Jamie and Claire look at her like she’s speaking gibberish hoodoo. In Bri’s voice, she starts to panic: “The monster! Don’t let it take me!” When Claire grabs here again, Margaret hisses, “ABANDAWEEEEEEEEEE.” Honestly, she might have the most fun part in the show, and basically she’s not going to be on it again. She has also given me a way to exit conversations I don’t like. Twitter trolls, you’re on notice.

Archibald comes by to wrangle Margaret back into her prison of service, add Jamie coerces the prophecy out of him. Claire immediately realizes it’s Brianna and puts together (or had she already?) that Abandawe is another Creigh na Dun. She riffles through her photos; sure enough, there is one missing, and Jamie doesn’t have it. The game is afoot. Archibald takes that moment to try and drag Margaret away, and a fight ensues. We see Crocodile Fundee wring dry another chicken and drink its blood with a delighted primal scream. They keep cutting back to all this throughout the next bit, which I think is to create a scene-setting feeling of frenzy and a buildup of hysterical energy, but it comes off like tee-hee voyeurism that I really don’t like.

Prince Attends The 2014 French Open

Anyhoo, Willoughby and Archbald brawl until Willoughby snaps his neck. The natives converge on him and rip off his wig — one of them puts it on immediately, which is just good sense; ask Dolly Parton and she’ll no doubt tell you never to waste a free wig — and Claire and Jamie are shown where to walk to reach Abandawe. They are near the passage. Jamie grabs a torch and they run through the dense brush without, somehow, ever lighting anything on fire. Also, Jamie takes a good two seconds or so to look back behind him at everything before committing to his run. They have him do this a lot on Outlander. He likes nothing more than to take stock when he’s supposed to be in a hurry.

They arrive at the mouth of the cave, and as they venture inside, Claire can feel the hum. She stops short and tells Jamie that if whatever is in there takes her, she might not be able to get back again. He gulps and says that if anything happens to him, she must promise to go: “We lost Faith. We will not lose Brianna.” Then they stop to kiss a little, because whatever, Young Ian can wait for tongue.

Geillis is making her Witch Circle with a photo of Brianna and the stones. Ian is bound and wailing. Geillis’s guard Hercules blocks Jamie and Claire from intervening — a pool of water seems to separate them — and Geillis threatens to have him shoot Jamie if they try and stop her. Here’s a thing: Maybe just have him shoot Jamie? Why would she have any need to keep him alive? She claims she’s letting him live “because Claire’s fond of you,” which HAS to be solely because she doesn’t want to kill another traveler. Geillis isn’t a lover of Claire, and frankly would be nuts to keep EITHER of them alive because by now Claire knows Geillis’s plan is to kill their child. Oh, wait: Geillis IS nuts, so there you have it.

As she douses Ian with kerosene, Jamie knocks Hercules’s pistol away and Claire scoots back behind them across a convenient little passageway.  Geillis grabs a torch as Claire tries to talk her down. “A life for a life, sweet Claire,” Geillis says. But she doesn’t mean Ian’s: She means Brianna’s, as a trade for sparing Claire at the witch trials. “I have to, Claire, for the greater good,” she says. We pause long enough for Claire to Network-Note-Narrate, “It was then I realized that the POOL was the portal,” and you’ll see why in a second.

“We’re chosen, you and I,” Geillis says. “We have a responsibility to change history.” Geillis says she gave up her child for the cause, and now it’s Claire’s turn. With a gutteral scream, Claire charges her right into a wall. With Geillis sprawled out, Hercules gets distracted enough for Jamie to turn the tide and get a knife on HIM, and Claire feels around and finds a machete propped conveniently against the wall. I guess… in case burning Ian didn’t work? Maybe it’s just good practice to stock all your mystical caves with machetes. Geillis takes stock and realizes she’s not going to kill Young Ian, and Hercules is neutralized, so her only hope is to pray that Claire is right about not needing blood to travel. “This is GOD’S WILL,” she intones, before sprinting for the water. “NO,” Claire screams, swinging the machete.

Poor Geillis’s head was a-cloggin’.
Too much batshit witchcraft in that noggin. 
So Claire reared up with a scoff
Nearly sliced it clean off
And gave me some fodder for bloggin’.

For her country G plotted and strove,
And herself into madness, she drove.
Goat’s blood can’t help her now
Perhaps she should’ve tried cow?
Farewell, Crackpot of Batshit Cove.

Everyone just sort of stares at this for a second, because it’s not every day you see a surgeon behead someone while Stefano DiMera’s theme plays. Jamie instantly tells Hercules he is free now, and Hercules bolts gratefully. Claire just stares at stares at the poor replica of Geillis that is now leaking from its pretend-throat, but is increasingly drawn to the Power Puddle nearby. Jamie stops cutting Ian free long enough to drag her away, and the two of them reclaim the photo of Brianna before escaping.

Once outside, Ian stops and pants, “I knew you’d come Uncle Jamie. But you left that a bit late, aye?” Then he throws himself into Jamie’s arms, and Jamie gives him a kiss on the head. It’s quite cute, actually. Claire is not faring so adorably, though. She is trembling through a recollection of having touched Geillis’s dead skeleton when it sat on Joe Abernathy’s table, not all that long after she watched “Gillian” go through the stones in Inverness. Jamie takes her into his arms, and says they’ll return to the ship. “But first, I must hold you both,” he says, and they group hug for a bit as the camera pulls back and up, with Jamie gazing skyward for literally no reason other than because the director said, “Sam, we need to see your eyes, so just follow the jib.”


Reader, we are only thirty-six minutes into the episode.

Exposition: John has arranged for a withdrawal of the warrant, because I guess Governor of Jamaica is powerful enough to do that? Sure. As a reward for all that hard-charging weirdness of the past few hours, Jamie decides to sit down without a shirt on and shave his scruff. Claire, though, is horny, and decides she likes the tickle of the stubble. And what begins is a lengthy and satisfying seduction full of slow kisses, breathy sweet nothings that increase in their horny hunger at exactly the right pace, and ever so much detail about what they’re going to do to each other once they’re alone in a field in Scotland without anyone in earshot — all while, of course, they do those things to each other alone in the Captain’s quarters with a couple people in earshot but who cares because they all know these two are banging like drums. If anyone on this ship was EITHER of these two, they would be spending ALL their time having sex with the other one, and they know it. But it’s a deliriously languid, sultry, hot scene — in which they even pause to wipe the forgotten shave soap off his face, and the spots where he transferred it to her, and even THAT is an erotic festival — and they have earned it. More importantly, so have WE. From beginning to end, the scene is just shy of 7 minutes long.

Reader, that means we are still only 43 minutes into the episode.

Apparently what I assume was their mutual thunderous release triggered the sea god, because the heavens have opened, and a Perfect Storm has erupted. While Jamie and the sailors struggle to keep the Artemis upright and steer her through the worst, Claire has rounded everyone else up below decks, lecturing them that only experienced sailors should be up there. But then she decides to head upstairs. “I’m STILL the ship’s surgeon,” she shouts at Young Ian when he questions this.


So this utterly asinine turn of events sees Claire deciding that being underfoot, and distracting Jamie from the vital work of holding the wheel of the ship in place, is way more important than staying down below. She and another sailor decide to drag a guy down below who might’ve broken his leg, a job that could have been done with her RECEIVING delivery instead, and of course in the middle of that the Artemis starts to fall apart. Masts fall and crush people. Riggings are toast. Jamie gives up on the wheel and goes to try and drag Claire down below, but then they look up and see that they are parallel to a gigantic wave. It knocks them asunder and when Jamie stands in the ensuing calm, he realizes she’s gone.

This is where Claire announces that she’s dead and peaceful and hearing the flutter of angels’ wings. Fortunately, Jamie is equipped with a sonar, which may actually be his penis, because he has dived over and swum to precisely where Claire is sinking. He cuts her free from the rope that dragged her, and they swim up and he settles them both on a big piece of the broken mast that’s bobbing in the waves — which are, in a miraculous twist, suddenly not strong at all. In that microscopic amount of time, the sea is calm again. Jamie can’t get her to open her eyes, and so he clings to her and sobs. There is no one around them in the water.

Reader, there are still six minutes left.

The camera pulls back through the weather system that is apparently still present but no longer actually doing anything, which… okay. Jamie wakes up on a beach when a little girl in a bonnet pokes at him with a stick. The second he stirs, she flees, and Jamie takes stock — it’s a lovely day, his stubble is longer, he’s not sunburned — and sees Claire slumped nearby. She isn’t waking up, so he sobs and sobs over her likely death, until true love’s cheek-kiss brings her back to life. She sits up, dazed, as they see the girl’s parents crossing a dune toward them. “The Artemis?” she whispers. Jamie shakes his head. Jamie and Claire clutch at each other sadly as the family of three approaches. The man, who sounds Irish, tells them that a ship did wreck a few miles down — close enough that when we backed out to see Jamie and Claire alone in the ocean, we should have seen The Artemis somewhere. There are survivors being tended to as they speak.

They are Joseph and Patsy Oliver, and Jamie introduces them on Claire’s stunned behalf. Jamie then has the wherewithal to ask where they are, and the answer is: The colony of Georgia. “America,” breathes Claire, and they gaze into each other’s eyes and touch foreheads, then start crying and hugging. The Oliver’s are kinda like, “… We’re… still here? Guess we’ll go, hope you can find your way back.” And the camera sweeps across the beach to the mainland. We don’t see civilization, so… hopefully Jamie’s crotch sonar is also a compass.

And here is where your recapper leaves you:
On the shores of a setting quite new.
Thanks for digging my rhymes; 
See you sometime,
O readers, White Witch, and MacDubh.

Tags: Outlander