Last week’s midseason premiere was mostly clouded by the controversial spanking scene. By the end, the characters have moved on and so have we, ready to embark on the next part of their adventure.
To say Outlander has some of the best sex scenes on TV is an understatement. We’re used to seeing nudity and sexual acts on TV, but most aren’t done as well as the ones in Outlander. They’re sexy, passionate, and tasteful. You almost want to say it’s gratuitous, but after more than a couple viewings, you really can’t say that it is. It’s the intense intimacy between the two characters that almost makes you uncomfortable enough to look away and give them their moment.
There are several little plots at play in this half of the season, but the show balances them all in surprisingly entertaining way. We first learn of Jamie’s chance to receive a pardon from the Duke of Sandringham. Claire has a memory from the past/future of when Frank mentioned that the Duke was working with Black Jack Randall. Claire warns Jamie not to trust the Duke, but Jamie is too excited by the chance of clearing his name and returning home to Lallybroch. Claire agrees to let him try, but that doesn’t stop her from paying a visit to the Duke first to make sure he doesn’t mess around with Jamie.
Claire is a formidable woman when it comes to Jamie. It’s great to see the lengths she goes to protect him. He may not know about her interference in the matter with the Duke, but I still like that Claire won’t become a docile creature and hide behind the protection of her new husband. Even after all she’s been through, she’s still fearless.
The Duke isn’t the only problem for Claire. Laoghaire’s unrequited regard for Jamie is causing trouble. Claire confronts the girl about the ill-wish she had left in her and Jamie’s room. Laoghaire strongly believes that Jamie loves her, and Claire tries to rationally explain the matter to her, but it leads to a heated argument. Claire slaps Laoghaire, but quickly apologizes. Honestly, the girl deserved it.
Claire reconnects with her friend, the mischievous Geillis Duncan. Geillis is quite over the top, which is sort of distracting. We find her dancing and chanting in the forest, twirling a torch around, much like the dancers in the credits sequence and from the pilot episode. Obviously, Geillis is somehow connected to those women, but we don’t find out how. In fact, we find out that Geillis is pregnant with Dougal Mackenzie’s child, and that they’re in love. It’s a bit inconvenient because both Geillis and Dougal are married to other people, but Geillis just performed a summoning to wish her and Dougal’s freedom. Okay.
On their way out of the forest, the women hear a baby crying. Claire runs toward the sound, but Geillis tells her to stop. It’s a fairy child. The townspeople believe that their healthy child was replaced with a sick, fairy child, and bringing it to the fairy hill will mean that the sick child will be replaced their healthy one again. Claire doesn’t believe it for a second and runs to the baby. She’s too late though. Holding the dead baby and apologizing, Jamie finds Claire later in the forest and explains why people believe in such superstitions, even though he knows they shouldn’t. Still heartbroken, Claire asks Jamie to take her home. This scene is easily one of the most vulnerable moments we’ve seen from Claire, more so than when she has had a knife to her neck.
It seems like Geillis’ summoning worked. The next day, Dougal finds out that his wife died of an illness. Outraged and grieving, he causes a ruckus, and Claire needs to sedate him. Later on, at a dinner in honor of the Duke, Geillis’ husband falls dead. Claire detects traces of cyanide on her husband, knowing that it was Geillis’ work. The slow-motion look between Geillis and Dougal as her husband fell dead is so deviously good. I love how Claire didn’t just notice it, but Colum as well.
Colum is outraged over his brother’s behavior and exiles Dougal from Castle Leoch. He won’t let Dougal carry on his affair with Geillis or claim her child. Because of an unintended skirmish with another clan, Colum orders Jamie to take Dougal to his home and make sure he follows orders. As punishment, he needs to leave Claire at Castle Leoch. It angers Jamie, but he can’t argue with Colum.
Claire is angry that the Duke ended up involving Jamie in his duel and getting him hurt as she silently stitches Jamie’s wound together. Now, she needs to say goodbye to Jamie for a time. Their goodbye is loving and sad, and even though, they haven’t said ‘I love you,’ you can see it in their eyes.
Claire is interrupted by an urgent message from Geillis. Despite Jamie’s warning to stay away from Geillis, Claire goes to see her anyway, never being able to resist a call for help. When Claire arrives, it’s to Geillis’ surprise; she never sent a message to Claire. Since she’s there, Claire warns Geillis to leave before Colum goes after her, but Geillis refuses, believing that Dougal will protect her and the baby. She’s immediately proven wrong when the warden bursts into her home to arrest her for witchcraft. They also arrest Claire under the same charge. As they’re pushed into the wagon, Claire looks through the bars to see Laoghaire looking on with a grin. Oh, that bitch.
You have to admit that just when you think Outlander has everything it adds a little “Law and Order” to the mix. I am looking forward to next week’s witch trial. Will Jamie come back in time to save Claire or will she need to find a way to get out herself?
Outlander is rated TV-MA and airs Saturdays at 9/8c on Starz.