Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 3 episode “Eye of the Storm.” If you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet, go back through the stones and return once you have.
Greetings, sassenachs, it’s your Outlander recapper dropping in for the final time this season. Can you believe we’re already at the end? Just when it felt like things were starting to ramp up -- although there are a ton of surprises in this week’s finale, and I can’t wait to break it all down for you one last tiiiiiime. (Too late for a Hamilton reference?) Last week, Claire and Jamie ran into their respective ghosts at a ball, and they also got one step closer to saving Young Ian from the clutches of one Geillis Duncan. That’s right, people; the witch is back, and she is up to No Good.
This week: Well, it’s a LOT. I’d say there’s almost something resembling a happy ending, but this show doesn’t allow Jamie and Claire to be content for very long, so that would be lying on my part. Shall we jump into this together, then?
We begin with Claire, dead. (Let’s get one thing straight, show. You know she’s not really dead, I know she’s not really dead. Let’s call the whole thing off.) Somehow, somewhere, Claire is underwater and sinking down into the depths of the sea -- and yet, via voiceover, there’s nothing but peace. I can suspend my disbelief for a moment or two because there is a beauty in this, the tranquil expression on Claire’s face. But how does she get to this point? We’re going to have to find out by jumping back -- to the moment when Claire picks up the search for Young Ian after Jamie’s been hauled off by Captain Leonard. She’s had time to change between then and now, ditching her recycled France dress for (once again) a variation on the Batsuit skirt she cobbled together back in Boston. This outfit has gotten a lot of mileage.
The carriage finally makes it to Rose Hall (aka Geillis’ new digs), though Claire hops off to do some investigating at the slave quarters. She tells her driver to wait for her until sunrise; if she doesn’t return, he needs to ask after her at the main house. It occurs to me in this moment that even if Claire goes missing, Geillis could pull her lying lies out and there’d be nothing anyone could do about it. Meanwhile, Fergus and Marsali have gone to the inn (which has the coolest name ever, the Black Cat, and I’ve been remiss in not mentioning it up until now) to look for Jamie and Claire. Finding Claire’s yellow dress and a note she’s left behind, Marsali’s first instinct upon learning Jamie’s been arrested is to head for the Artemis -- but Fergus has a plan of his own.
Claire’s wandering around the grounds of Rose Hall alone, which doesn’t seem like a very solid idea. There’s no sign of Ian in the slave quarters, though both Claire and I nearly have a heart attack when we see some feet peeking out from a large pile of hay. They don’t belong to Young Ian, though; it’s the two boys we saw talking to him when he first arrived in Jamaica. Their throats have been cut -- perhaps they were an intended sacrifice, but for what purpose? (Are we sure the blood Geillis was bathing in last week only belonged to goats?) As for Young Ian, he’s holding up remarkably well under what I’m guessing has been some intensive interrogation from Geillis, and continues to insist that Jamie and Claire were only after the Jacobite treasure chest to pay some debts. Geillis, however, is so paranoid that she’s convinced herself Claire is out to stop her in some way. (I guess they’ve run into each other on too many occasions across time for her to think it’s just a coincidence -- or, more accurately, conjured up for storytelling purposes.) And, as if to add to the drama, Ian’s hauled out of the room kicking and screaming seconds before Claire is brought in by Geillis’ slave Hercules.
As for Jamie? Well, he’s being marched back to the Porpoise by Captain Leonard and crew, cracking jokes all the way. “You’re quite droll for a man in irons,” Leonard replies, but both Jamie and I know full well that this isn’t the first time he’s been in irons before. Probably won’t be the last, either, with this one’s track record. They’re halted by a group of Army officers, who inform Leonard they’ll be taking Jamie into their custody. On whose orders, you ask? Cut to Lord John Grey (aka Fergus’ Plan), who sizes up Leonard immediately as the young upstart he is and proceeds to give him one of the most eloquent dressing-downs I’ve ever witnessed. In fact, I made several noises throughout because of how excellently David Berry plays this -- not quite with contempt, and maybe with a little amusement mixed in. Grey even gets in a dig about “liberal practices of the naval services insofar as conferring rank” to illustrate that Leonard hasn’t really earned his title as captain, and it was all I could do not to pump my fist. If this conversation serves any purpose (other than making Grey look like a badass), it’s that Leonard has no real grounds for hauling Jamie off on charges of murder. He has no warrant, he has no affidavit, he has nothing save the word of a crewman whose motives are already selfish at the very least. His jurisdiction ends at “the water’s edge,” as Grey reminds him, and therefore Jamie will retain his freedom until Leonard is able to supply more concrete evidence of his guilt. Leonard leaves with his tail between his legs, and Grey proceeds to make some heart-eyes at Jamie before the latter also departs. Oh, John. The things you do for your unrequited bae.
Back at Rose Hall, Claire and Geillis fumble through a dance of pretense and politeness, sizing each other up all the while. They even go through the motions of having tea together as Claire recaps the plot of Season 3, but pretty soon Geillis is rolling her eyes and telling Claire the jig is up. She’s convinced she knows why Claire is really here -- to prevent her from ensuring a future that includes a Scottish king on the throne. “Why have you been after me all these years?” Geillis demands, and Claire’s like, what are you smoking, girl. She hasn’t even been in this time period until recently, and she’s got the pictures to prove it. Geillis, as well as the rest of us, finds it hard to believe that Claire would leave Jamie and go back through the stones -- but, as Claire reminds us, it was all to keep their then-unborn child safe. As Geillis looks through the photos of Brianna, two things click into place for her: one, she’s met this girl before. She was younger then, of course, and it was before she went through the stones for the first time. The second thing, and the thing of greater interest, is that Brianna fits part of the prophecy -- a baby born 200 years after its conception, the baby that needs to be killed in order to guarantee a new Scottish king. Geillis covertly pockets the most recent photo of Brianna and apologizes to Claire for not believing her. As soon as she departs, however, Claire doesn’t wait around to be shown to a guest room. She’s got to find Young Ian.
Most of the doors in Rose Hall are locked, though when Claire glances out a window she happens to spot Young Ian being hauled into the jungle by Geillis and Hercules. Jamie picks the perfect moment to show up, although Claire nearly whacks him with a candlestick in the process. They, of course, pause to hug, but then hightail it after Young Ian and the others, toward the sound of drumming. As the drumming gets louder, Jamie and Claire come upon some sort of ceremony, where people in masks hold torches and dance around a large fire. Watching the women in particular turn and spin, Claire’s instantly reminded of the witches’ dance at Craigh na Dun. Could it be that this is a similar kind of rite in Jamaica, since we’ve already heard whispers of a place called Abandawe being like the standing stones back in Scotland? The interspersing images of women dancing across time is a powerful one, but we’re ripped away from the parallels when Claire and Jamie are discovered and hauled out of the tall grass. An unexpected friend comes to their rescue, though: Yi Tien Cho is there, along with Margaret Campbell, whose abilities as a seer have been requested by the people observing this particular ritual. Unfortunately, he hasn’t seen Young Ian, but Claire wonders out loud if Margaret will be able to help them.
What they get from Margaret isn’t a clue as to Geillis’ whereabouts, but some interesting visions that allude to the past and maybe a little to the future. Taking Jamie and Claire’s hands in turn, Margaret manages to see both Jamie’s near-death experience on the battlefield at Culloden and Claire spotting a bird outside her window back in Boston. It’s enough to indicate that she’s super legit, especially when she starts behaving and sounding a bit like Brianna. Claire realizes what Geillis’ true intentions are -- to go back through the stones to kill her daughter. They’ve got to go to Abandawe to stop her -- which, as it turns out, is only a short distance away. No one will escort them, so Jamie picks up a torch before he and Claire head into the jungle alone. While that’s all going on, Archibald Campbell shows up to try and retrieve his sister -- but Cho’s not against fighting for his woman, and in all the chaos Archibald winds up with his neck snapped.
Claire and Jamie race towardAbandawe. Like Craigh na Dun, it consists of a circle of standing stones; unlike Craigh na Dun, Abandawe is actually the cave beneath the stone circle. As they head deeper and deeper inside, Claire begins to hear the same hum that she can sense whenever she’s near Craigh na Dun. If she gets pulled through, she may never be able to come back - but Jamie insists that she go if it means saving Brianna. There’s time for a quick smooch and then they head in, where Geillis is preparing to sacrifice Young Ian in order to go through the portal - a small pool inside the cave. Before they can get too close, Hercules pulls a pistol on Jamie - but Jamie, realizing that he can probably disarm the other man before he gets a shot off, takes his chance. As Jamie and Hercules wrestle, Claire edges closer to Geillis, trying to stop her before she drops a lit torch on a gasoline-soaked Young Ian. Geillis has gone full crazy eyes at this point, talking about sacrificing Brianna for the greater good and how she and Claire have the responsibility to change history. But when Geillis tells Claire that she must give up her child, Claire goes full mama bear and shoves Geillis about ten times harder than she did to Laoghaire after Jamie got shot. Geillis has her eyes set on that pool portal, but Claire’s picked up a machete in the process and wouldn’t you know it, there goes Geillis’ head as she tries to make a run for it. Jamie, who’s gotten the upper hand on Hercules in their fight, lets him go free.
Claire’s reeling so severely that when the hum of the pool begins to call to her, she starts to move toward it. A touch from Jamie snaps her back, though, and after freeing Young Ian all three of them decide it’s best to get out of Dodge. Standing in the jungle, machete still in hand, Claire recalls that seemingly innocuous conversation she’d had with Joe Abernathy over the skeleton of a woman found in a cave. If you’ll recall, said remains indicated that the woman’s head was nearly chopped clean off. Claire has the chilling realization that the bones she’d handled were in fact Geillis’, and as if sensing that she and the audience need a moment to breathe, Jamie takes both her and Young Ian into his arms for a long embrace. It’s time to go home, and they’re going to set sail for Scotland soon -- but first, hugs are sorely needed.
In the captain’s quarters aboard the Artemis, Claire, and Jamie are doing some serious chillaxing. Over the course of their conversation, we learn that Lord John has used his influence to withdraw the warrant for Jamie’s arrest, so there’s no need to worry about that anymore. Jamie starts soaping up his face to shave off his whiskers, but Claire discourages him from doing so. Claire, I know you haven’t seen Jamie’s full beard of mourning, but the rest of us saw what happened while you were away, so maybe it’ll be all right if Jamie keeps a beard trimmed to an acceptable length. These two proceed to do what they do when they’re left with some time alone: get frisky. Jamie gets the ball rolling by mentioning that there are things he wants to do to Claire when they’re back home, and Claire reasonably points out that he could just go ahead and do those things now. Jamie proceeds to get very verbally descriptive while he and Claire act out basically everything he’s saying, and I can’t repeat any of it on account of severe blushing, but at the end of the day it’s nice to see these two reconnecting (ahem) after a very stressful set of episodes.
Of course, of course Claire and Jamie aren’t permitted to even have so much as a moment of afterglow before the worst hits -- and by “the worst,” I’m talking about a terrible storm, the kind that hits seemingly without warning and leads to catastrophic results. Most of the characters we know and love -- like Young Ian, Fergus, and Marsali -- are tucked safe below deck. Claire’s logic is that, as the ship’s surgeon, she may be needed elsewhere in case anyone gets seriously hurt. Of course, she doesn’t consider the possibility of what could happen to her. Jamie and Claire are literally holding on for dear life when a giant wave rears up and sweeps Claire overboard -- and now we know why she thinks she’s dead at the beginning of the episode, at least in voiceover. The rope from one of the sails has wrapped around her body, and its weight is slowly bringing her down, down, down. We’re not left to ponder her fate for too long, though, as Jamie has already dived in after her. He uses the dagger at his belt to cut her free and swims back to the surface, but there’s no ship in sight; all Jamie can do is cling to a piece of debris and wait for things to subside as we pull back further and further to see that they really are in the eye of the storm. Claire, for the record, is still unconscious at the very least, if not dead for a couple minutes there. (In all her medical tips to Jamie, one would think she would’ve taught him the basics of CPR.)
Jamie wakes on the beach to a little girl poking him with a stick. Looking around blearily, he spots Claire lying a short distance away, and as he brushes her hair back from her face she coughs and takes a few breaths. We knew she wasn’t dead, show! They have no indication of where they’ve washed up, so it’s a good thing the girl’s parents are here to fill them in. What’s left of the Artemis has run aground a few miles down the coast, and there are survivors. As for where they are? Well, it’s not an island, as Jamie and Claire first suspect. They’re on the mainland, in the colony of Georgia. “America,” Claire tells Jamie, and it looks like next season of Outlander is officially going to kick off in the good ol’ U S of A.
- I don’t think I realized how hefty a tome Voyager actually is until I watched this entire season and realized how much of the story had to be condensed to fit into 13 episodes. Some of the changes were welcome, but some of the changes made the overall season feel unevenly paced -- to the point where it felt like the characters were being rushed through the finale to make it to the end goal.
- Fergus and Marsali continue to be adorable. When Marsali straight-up refuses to be left behind as Fergus hatches his plan to enlist Lord John’s help, it made me appreciate how much she’s grown as a character. Too bad we don’t get more of them in the episode, though I’m looking forward to the development of their relationship in Season 4.
- John Grey is SO GREAT. I’ve always been a fan of the character in the book, and in spite of his respective ~tensions~ with Claire and Jamie last week he’s becoming a great ally, not to mention a terrific presence on-screen. He’s another character I can’t wait to see more of in the future.
- This episode explores a little more of the mythos of the show’s time travel and what going through the stones entails. For Claire, a blood sacrifice has never been needed; for Geillis, it ensures safe passage. The common denominator seems to be gems of some kind, but apparently blood can work just as well? I’m sure this will get expanded on in later seasons.
- Favorite line of the episode? Hands down, Jamie talking to an unconscious Claire as they float together in the ocean. “Damn you, sassenach, if you die here now I swear I’ll kill you.”
That’s it for this season, Outlander fans! Feel free to sound off in the comments about your favorite moments this episode, as well as your feelings on the whole of Season 3, or tweet at us over at @Syfyfangrrls. It’s been a wild ride for sure, and we’ll have to wait to find out what happens when Season 4 premieres … sometime in the future!