This Outlander Recap contains spoilers for S03E13 “Eye of the Storm”.
Outlander’s previous two season finales have been nothing short of amazing: the season one finale is so disturbingly well-made that I still have not been able to watch the whole thing. Last season’s finale was not as intense, but in my opinion, it is one of the best episodes of the third season. “ Eye of the Storm ” is a good episode, but it falls victim to the ridiculousness of its plot. Luckily for the series, the show’s characters are so compelling that all fans will sit through a lot of shenanigans for them.
But Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, what the hell is going on?
The episode begins with one of the series’s favorite narrative devices that has been surprisingly absent from the season: a good ‘ol prolepsis.
Claire is drowning, and via voiceover is describing to us how peaceful she felt in that moment. Someone also told the sound department that Faith would be allowed to play in this moment. because episodes should start with the audience in TEARS.
The flash forward is a brief one, and we immediately jump back to where the last episode left off: with Claire about to visit Geillis Duncan, in search of her nephew, after Jamie had been arrested.
Her carriage is interrupted by a group of presumable slaves that seemed to be on their way to starting a ritual of sorts.
After arriving at Geillis’s home, Claire immediately asks the (I assume and hope) servants driving the carriage to direct her to the slave’s quarters. Fergus and Marsali had returned to the inn to look for Claire and Jamie. In the time between this episode and the last Claire had returned to the inn, ditched her glamorous dress for the batsuit, and left a note for her 18th-century children Fergus and Marsali, informing them of Jamie’s arrest. Fergus comes up with a plan, and he tells Marsali to stay behind and wait for her. Marsali doesn’t miss a beat before telling him that she is his wife and she’s going to go with him. God bless this show for women who speak their minds.
She tries to look for Ian and finds the corpse of a man that, for a second, looked like it could be Ian. Fortunately, for Claire, this is not her nephew. Unfortunately, for Claire, at that exact same moment, she was found by one of Geillis’ slaves *cringes*.
While all of this was happening, Geillis was questioning young Ian, asking why he had forgotten to mention that Claire was in the picture as well. Since the last time we saw him, it seems that Ian has gotten really tired of Geillis’ shit, based on the way he tells her once again that the sapphires were stolen to pay a debt (same, young Ian, same).
Geillis seems to be under the impression that Claire had also been aware of the prophecy, and like she had been trying to solve it. Welcome to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix everybody.
Poor Ian is very fed up, and Geillis has him sent away. In that moment, a slave *cringes* informs Geillis that an intruder has been found, and Claire is brought in to see Geillis. Claire pretends that she had been on her way to visit Geillis and had gotten lost. Claire tells her that Jamie has been arrested and that she was being looked by the authorities as well.
Meanwhile, Captain Leonard is escorting Jaime away. For this being the 45,000 time in his life he is unjustly imprisoned, Jamie is taking it particularly well: he’s even making jokes about Cuba. But before they can take him anywhere, the Jamaican authorities show up and declare that they will now be taking care of Jamie.
Of course, our favorite cinnamon roll that is too pure for this homophobic, racist century, is here to save the day. He not only has taken Jaime into his custody but refuses to hand him back to Captain Leonard. As it turns out, Leonard had not actually procured any of the legal documents that were necessary for Jamie to be arrested, or the witness statement against him to be considered a valid accusation. Since the arrest had been made in Jamaica, Leonard had no jurisdiction to arrest Jamie.
I propose that a screenshot from this scene be turned into a meme called “Check your sources”. My heart also breaks so much for John, who is so desperately in love with someone he knows will never love him back in the same way.
Back in Geillis’s house, our favorite and least favorite time travelers are talking. Geillis reveals that she doesn’t believe Claire’s story about being in her house. Geillis believes that she and Claire have a unique and powerful bond, by virtue of their traveling skills. But despite all of Geillis believes that Claire betrayed their bond by virtue of sabotaging her plans to have another Scottish king on the throne. This is the moment when Claire realizes what the rest of the audience already knew: that Geillis is batshit crazy and probably did some weird hippy drugs back in ‘68.
Claire tries to leave but is stopped by Geillis’s slave *cringes*. Geillis insists that Claire is somehow trying to sabotage her, and Claire’s response is to say “I’ve not been in this time for 20 years, GTFO.” Geillis doesn’t believe this, rightfully assuming that Claire would never leave Jamie, not even for war. Claire tries to tell her that she did it because she was pregnant, but this also fails to convince Geillis– who doesn’t believe it’d be possible for Claire to survive all those journeys through time. But luckily, Claire has evidence of this: the photos that Jamie had given her shortly before being arrested. Claire also tells her everything that happened in the last season finale: of Bree and Geillis meeting, of Claire meeting Geillis’s husband, and Claire trying to stop her from traveling back ([me, at Claire: STOP TALKING)
Now if you’ll remember the prophecy from the last episode, you’ll remember that it mentioned something about a 200-year-old baby. While at first, this had seemed a riddle, Claire’s tale confirms to her that there is, indeed, a 200-year-old baby, and her death would certainly bring the rise of a new Scottish king. Geillis pretends to be apologetic and offers Claire a guest room before she retires, having carefully taken one of Bree’s photos that Claire had given her.
If there is something that doesn’t work in this episode, it’s Geillis. As a villain, she is a confusing one: She lacks the monstrosity and depravity that Jack Randall had, and her actions are too extreme and serious for the pettiness of St. Germaine. Somewhere along this series, Geillis Duncan went from being a slightly-creepy yet captivating woman to being a straight-up Disney villain. Because of this, these scenes achieve nothing for me as an audience member. When Claire had one-on-one scenes like this with, say, Black Jack, these were always tense and fearful moments. The scenes with St. Germain and Sandringham leave more of a “witty banter with a side of evil” feeling, but by the time these characters gained prominence as foes, these men had sort of been a secondary plot.
Geillis is our season’s main antagonist, and the only thing Clare and I are thinking is that she is batshit crazy. And a batshit crazy which doesn’t cut it for me as an interesting villain.
Of course, after their conversation, Geillis locks Claire in a room and takes away Young Ian as her sacrificial lamb. Now that Geillis has put together all the pieces in the puzzle, she intends to travel into the future so she can kill Bree, and thus bring a Scot into the throne.
Luckily, as she’s trying to escape, someone breaks into her room: It’s none other than Jamie, and the two run after Geillis and Ian.
The two of them follow the sound of the drums, and they find the slaves that Claire had previously encountered performing a dance by a fire. I invite anyone with more knowledge than I do on Afro-Caribbean religions in Jamaica to share with me how accurate or inaccurate these rituals are. I’m guessing that it isn’t, based on the fact that Claire notices a lot of similarities between the dances of the Druids in Season 1.
Claire and Jamie are discovered by the performers, but they are promptly rescued by Yi Tien Cho.
For a moment I expected him to say “Don’t worry guys, these are good white ppl”
Yi Tien Cho was there accompanying Margaret, who had been invited for her wonderful talents. Yi Tien Cho tells them about how in love they both are with each other, and how they are the first people to look at one another without prejudice, and the two are planning to escape to Martinique. This seems a little extreme since they just met, but I still ship this a lot, so YAAAY for Margaret and Yi Tien Cho.
Claire and Jamie don’t have much time to process this since they are still on their search for Ian. Yi Tien Cho had not seen her, but it is possible that Margaret did know. However, the moment she spots Jamie, she has a vision of him while he was half-dead, lying next to bodies after Culloden. This then becomes a vision of Claire seeing a bird on a windowsill in the same episode. While I’m certainly not opposed to the idea of these animals being representations of Bree and Jamie, I think they needed a little bit more fleshing out before they made it out onto the scripts. On the other hand, my editor @beka has been saying for quite some time that: THESE DUMBASS FLASHBACKS ARE CRAP ADAPTATION.
Margaret then starts “speaking” with Bree’s voice. Bree is telling her parents that she loves them but quickly begins to cry out that the monster was going to take her.
At that moment, Archibald returns and tries to take his sister away. With his arrival, Claire and Jamie are able to figure out the missing pieces of Geillis’ plan: They found out about Geillis’s patronage of the Campbells’, and about the prophecy. Claire and Jamie figure out that Geillis is going after Bree, and that the portal she will be using will likely be the cave Abandawe. Yi Tien Cho kills his girlfriend’s abusive brother, which is pretty awesome.
While all of this is happening, the show felt it necessary to show us how the slave ritual included the killing of a chicken and the drinking of its blood. And again, I am no expert in Afro-Caribbean religion in Jamaica, so please excuse me if I am incorrect. But these scenes had no purpose on the show, and they ultimately imply that these rituals are savage and evil. This only gets worse when they pick up Archibald’s body and begin to put on his wig and toss him around. This is peak exoticism for this show – in the books, this is also not great, but at least the ritual is sketched out a little more and it is about the maroons rather than Geillis’ slaves. It seems to be clearly poorly researched and meant to shock/scare the (white) audience and our heroes, but all it does is make the audience recognize the biggest flaws within the books/show itself within its treatment of their POC characters.
Claire and Jamie ask a young man who tells them how to get to Abandawe but warns them that they will die. As they approach the cave, Claire can already hear the humming of the portal. Claire warns Jamie that if it takes her, she might not be able to return. Jamie tells her that if something happens to him, she needs to go. He tells Claire that although they had already had lost Faith; they would not lose Bree.
(I didn’t cry at that. At all. I WAS DEAD.)
They find Geillis all ready for her journey, wearing some boots and a dress that don’t really fit the 1760s. Jamie tries to attack Geillis, but her slave *cringes* Hercules, is ordered to step in and attack him. Geillis doesn’t seem to understand that Claire doesn’t really care about Scotland. Of course, she loves the country since Jamie is from there, but her priorities are more along the lines of “Is Scotland a safe country for me to live in and have lots of sex with my husband?”, and not necessarily “Is Scotland an independent kingdom ruled by its own Scottish King?”
The Frasers are eventually able to gain the upper hand: Jamie by beating Hercules and Claire by grabbing a machete from the ground, with which she proceeds to kill Geillis.
With that, Young Ian is finally free! Both he and Claire are very shaken afterward. Claire specifically is shaking, since she is now able to figure out why, when she had touched a skull in her shared office with Joe, she immediately was able to determine how the person had died: she had been the one to do it.
Jamie attempts to both comfort them both, and himself, by hugging the both of them. This is a very small moment in the episode, but definitely one of my favorites. And as Jamie looks up during this scene, I’d like to believe he was thinking of the other family member he had nearly lost that day. This was a great pull from the book, where this scene basically plays out the same]
Immediately we see the Fraser back on the Artemis, already on their trip back to Scotland, thanks to cinnamon roll John who had managed to get Jamie’s warrant removed.
Jamie is about to shave his beard, but Claire tells him she shouldn’t get rid of it since she likes how the bear feels against her skin (ALL of her skin, in case we needed clarification).
Jamie takes this opportunity to inform Claire of everything he was planning to do to her once they were in the land, with Claire naked, willing, with enough room and no one to hear them. Claire immediately points out that she’s willing, they’re alone in a huge cabin, and the naked part is easily resolved. Jamie continues to explain his plan, this time including Claire’s possible reactions (squeaking noises, moaning encouragements, panting, and making ‘wee’ noises). Like the turtle soup from a few episodes ago, this scene was incredible; not only because it was sexual, but because it was cute and humorous, and it showed us how much these two not only want to bone each other but care about each other. Another great pull from the book that I thought we wouldn’t get I WAS BLESSED.
But, you know that if Claire and Jamie are having sex in the middle of an episode, then something bad is going to happen soon.
And, indeed, the Artemis gets caught in a storm. All of the Fraser gang (minus Yi Tien Cho who I hope is happily in Martinique, causing Margaret Campbell make some noises that have nothing to do with visions) are hiding below deck. The exception is Jamie, who later on is joined by Claire on deck, as they try their best to make sure the Artemis survives. The storm is too much for the boat, and the mast is lost once again. As they are hit with a particularly big wave, Claire gets thrown overboard.
This takes us back to the beginning of the episode, with Claire being dragged underwater by a piece of the boat she had accidentally been tied to.
Jaime swims down to save her, and he manages to get the two of them overwater and floating on a piece of wood.
However, Claire isn’t giving any signs that she is breathing.
Jamie stumbles down next to her. It is then that the camera zooms out and we see that our protagonists are in the eye of the storm.
Also, can we talk about the shade being thrown at Titanic?
We then see a young girl playing on a beach. She is using a stick to wake Jamie who had drifted onto the shore. He quickly heads over to Claire, still believing she might be dead. But to his happiness, she begins coughing. Claire reminds him she had told him she would never leave him again. Neither of them has any idea of where they are, and for a few minutes, they believe that everyone on their crew had died.
The girl returns, this time with her parents in tow. The girl’s parents immediately figure out that they’ve survived the crash; they also inform them that there are other survivors of the ship. While the family stands there rather awkwardly, Claire and Jamie are so happy: happy to be alive, happy to be together, and happy that their family on the boat was also alive. They proceed to ask where exactly it is they are (what island, specifically). But their rescuers inform them that they are in no island, but in the mainland, specifically in the colony of Georgia. The camera then zooms out, showing the Frasers embracing each other around the sand and Green colors of “Georgia”. This family is also like guess y’all don’t want help you’re just going to sit there hugging???
While the episode was a cray one at a best, it does show us some beautiful moments between Claire and Jamie. And perhaps most importantly, it leaves us waiting to see what’s going to happen to our favorite couple once the show returns…next year.
I hope that my review of this season was, at the very least entertaining. I also would like to give a special shout-out to @beka for being an amazing editor/ Outlander book consultant/ Fellow critic in everything regarding this show, from the history to the talking coconuts. And do not worry if the #Droughtlander ahead of us might seem long; your resident Sassenachs here at the Nerd League will make sure to fulfill your Outlander cravings.