Outlander Recap: Witch Crafty

Outlander Claire Geillis Arrested Season 1 Recap

Claire Fraser has a whole lotta problems, and a witch is one.

This week’s Outlander finds Jamie’s inquisitive wife getting caught up in Geillis Duncan’s murderous drama, and it’s no real spoiler to say that Lady Broch Turach’s plight will get much darker before it gets better.

Because with Jamie away on a Colum-ordered mission and Claire getting hauled into a police carriage with her accused murderess of a pal, life at the end of the episode is nowhere near as bonny as it is at the start.

Those first few moments, by the way? Quite, quite bonny.

Let’s take a look at what goes down (yeah, I’m a 13-year-old) in “By the Pricking of My Thumbs.”

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LIP SERVICE | Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… especially if you’re Claire, and your husband has a tongue accustomed to wrapping itself around Highland “rrrrr”s. At first, we only see Mrs. Fraser, naked, wrapped in sheets and enjoying life; a series of shots inform us that Jamie is closer to the foot of their bed and, ah, seeing firsthand how things are in Glocca Mora. A knock at the door distracts, but does not dissuade, young Fraser from his appointed duty (good lad); only when Claire has seen Brigadoon does he rise from the bed to admit a testy Murtagh.

Jamie’s godfather wonders what took him so long to answer the door. “Have your marriage duties made you sluggish?” he gruffly asks. Hold it right there, eternal bachelor Murtagh: Speed is not always an admirable trait in a husband. Anyway, the older man tries to ignore the scent of sex in the air and the fact that Claire is purring among the pillows like a calico in a sunbeam, and instead conveys the news that the Duke of Sandringham has arrived in the area.

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HOPE SPRINGS ANEW | Jamie is psyched: The duke has the kind of power and influence that can help clear Fraser’s name of the murder charges. But Claire, flashing back to visiting the Rev. Wakefield with Frank, recalls that her first husband suspected that Sandringham was Black Jack Randall’s wealthy, secret benefactor. And seeing as how Horrocks told Jamie that Randall actually is responsible for Jamie’s alleged victim’s death… “You mustn’t trust him,” she says, snapping out of her post-coital reverie.

Jamie accepts his wife’s declaration as fact but still wants to try. If he’s free, he explains, they can return to Lallybroch. The puppy-dog joy in his eyes must be too much for Claire, because she agrees to help him. So they meet with Ned Gowan, who draws up a petition saying Randall is a slimeball in the hopes that the duke will have the captain reassigned somewhere far away. Once that happens, Ned says, he can argue Jamie’s case in court and likely get him pardoned. (Phew.)

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Outlander Claire Geillis Arrested Season 1 RecapTHE DUKE’S DUEL | Unconvinced that the petition will work, Claire sneaks away to the duke’s lodging and prettily threatens to out him as a Jacobite (aka traitor) if he doesn’t ease Jamie’s troubles. It works. Later, when Jamie and Murtagh arrive to formally present the document, Sandringham acknowledges that “shielding [Randall] from the consequences of his misdeeds sometimes feels like a full-time occupation” and asks just a little favor in return: that Jamie serve as his second in a pistol duel against Andrew MacDonald, to whom he has a giant, unpaid debt.

Against Murtagh’s wishes, Jamie agrees. And though the duel itself ends peacefully (both men miss their marks, likely on purpose), MacDonald’s hothead sons want the duke to pay his debts. Failing that, they just want to taunt Jamie about Sandringham’s preference for the male form. And before you can say “clishmaclaver,” Jamie is engaged in a swordfight with the three MacDonald boys. He represents himself admirably — dishing out a back-o’-the-knee gash that makes me a little lightheaded to watch — but winds up gasping on the ground, bleeding from a wound near his ribs.

The duke, wanting to avoid controversy, promises the bloody young Fraser he’ll see to the petition then skitters away. Back at Castle Leoch, Claire is full of quiet fury as she stitches her husband’s side. Anyone else getting the feeling that, had Claire not arrived in time to constantly patch him back together, Jamie eventually would’ve been reduced to a couple of Fraser molecules held together by rakish charm?

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BAIRN BUSINESS | Before we reach the episode’s big climax (well, its other big climax), let’s back up a bit. While Jamie is dealing with Sandringham, Claire arrives in the castle kitchen with her hair up and her keep-it-real caplet on: Yep, she’s there to see Laoghaire. The teen at first fakes ignorance about the bad omen left under the Frasers’ bed, then slides right into referring to Claire’s husband as “my poor Jamie, trapped in a loveless marriage.” Claire slaps her (I don’t usually condone violence, but yes!) then offers the entirely unbelievable, “I shouldn’t have done that. Sorry.” (Side note: Something about the way Caitriona Balfe bites off “sorry” makes me giggle.) A spitting-mad Laoghaire admits that she bought the bundle of charmed sticks from Geillis; the shock of betrayal on Claire’s face is visible, but she recovers sufficiently to warn Laoghaire to stay far away from Jamie.

I’m going to skip the part where Claire has an interlude with Geillis’ gassy husband Arthur (you’re welcome) and go straight to where Claire finds her odd pal dancing, nearly naked, in the woods. The moves are reminiscent of the ceremony Claire and Frank witnessed at Craig na Dun in the 1940s, except Geillis is a lot less clothed and a lot more pregnant than the modern-day women were. When the rite is done, the redhead makes an inappropriate comment about her “nepples,” claims she didn’t know Laoghaire was gunning for Claire and reveals that the bairn growing in her belly isn’t Arthur’s — it’s Dougal MacKenzie’s. The dance Claire witnessed was a “summoning” to ask Mother Nature to arrange things so Geillis and Dougal (both wed to others) can be together.

A baby’s cries interrupt their walk home. Claire wants to go help it, but Geillis warns that the child is likely a sick one left for fairies by superstitious parents. Jamie later finds Claire cradling the dead baby to her and crying. “You’ve a kind heart, but you have no idea what you’re dealing with,” he tells her sympathetically, putting the tiny corpse back in its tree.

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MOTHER NATURE DELIVERS | Back at Leoch, Dougal is raving in a fit of grief over the sudden death of his wife, Mora, at their estate — news that makes Geillis rather happy to hear. And later, at a big dinner for the duke, Arthur starts to choke and then collapses while all of Castle Leoch watches. Claire’s efforts to help him are in vain, and as he dies, she happens to catch Dougal and Geillis exchange a look of extreme pleasure. Oh, one more thing: Colum notices the look, too.

So the clan chief sends for Dougal, who claims to be in love with Geillis and happy that she’s carrying his child. Too bad, dude: You’re going home under guard. Guess who’s part of that guard? Jamie, who kisses Claire passionately and warns her to stay away from Geillis while he’s gone. (Side note: No, seriously. Will someone knit me those armwarmers?)

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED | But Claire, who clearly has forgotten what happened the last time she ignored Jamie’s directive to stay puuuuuuuut, gets an emergency note from Geillis and runs to her side. Problem is, Geillis didn’t write the message. The witchy woman, who Claire confirms poisoned her husband to death, also doesn’t want to leave home… so she’s an easy target when the wardens come to cart her away on suspicion of witchcraft. And because Claire’s there with her, Mrs. Fraser is roughly taken into custody, too.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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35 Comments
  1. specialka says:

    I loved your recap! But you forgot the worst part- Laoghaire’s nasty smirk at the end! I hate her!

  2. Diane says:

    I’m not sure I like the differences from the book. Some of them don’t even make sense. I was also looking forward to the Duke sounding like Mickey Mouse, big disappointment there!

    • Alichat says:

      I remembered his voice being described as high pitched as well, but I think it would have made him too comical. I liked Simon Callow’s performance. I thought he embodied the Duke well.

      • tsevca says:

        That was the point. Someone with his power…

        I don´t deny, the first scene almost made the same response in me just watching Jamie/Sam do it but the rest of the episode… That changes didn´t do it justice.
        For putting the whole drama with the duke there, they cut out so many of my most favourite parts… There are so many great parts between them coming back to Leoch married and the trial and they just cut it out. And for what? Why couldn´t they stick with Jamie planning to ask the duke on the hunt? How will they explain why nothing ever happened from this now? And didn´t Diana make it pretty clear in the books, that no court would accept Claire´s testimony, as she is a married woman? So why did she sign it?
        And the scene with Jamie saying goodbye to Claire the night before leaving for the hunt… I grieve for that one. Not only it has one of Claire´s best jokes (I waited so eagerly to see Claire´s face saying it.), but their behaviour… It was heartbreaking to read it. And he was leaving for hunt just for few days. I looked forward to see it so much…

        The arrest doesn´t make sense. In books, all the servants left the house and when they come for Geillis, they simply take everyone in the house with her. The trial and the arrest was orchestrated by Colum. He wouldn´t help Claire, but he wouldn´t intentionally do that to her either. So why did they took Claire and not the servant? Because Laoghaire had her hands in it? It was orchestrated by the laird himself, but they listened to a disgraced maid who to arrest next? Sure, that sounds realistic…
        And it was Dougal, who sent Ned to help Claire. If he loved Geillis and originally wanted to be with her, who would Ned, so loyal to Dougal in the show (he is loyal to Colum in the books), rescue in the trial?

        • Alichat says:

          “So why did they took Claire and not the servant? Because Laoghaire had her hands in it?” Yes. And they consider her a witch….or sorceress as they called her…..because of the changeling baby. If Claire had remained in Castle Leoch, she wouldn’t have been arrested……even though they wanted to arrest her and felt she was a sorceress. They’d never go into the domain of their Laird and take his healer. Behind the walls, she is under his protection. But she was outside of the Castle walls, therefore they could take her. And in the book Ned came of his own accord to help Claire. Dougal didn’t send him. Mrs Fitz badgered Colum to go and save Claire, but he wouldn’t, so Ned suggested he go. Colum didn’t object.

          • tsevca says:

            How did they know? This is something people find out at the court, when the mother of the baby says she came back and saw her there. But how would those guys know? Claire wasn´t in the village many times, treated only family of Mrs. Fitz. People don´t know her there, they might hear about suspicious woman at the castle, but they don´t know who she is. It would be awful coincidence to have someone who knows her doing the arrest, when Colum planned it only for Geillis. Since he obviously had no intention to include Claire, the most logical would be to have people who don´t know Claire in it, so the trial wouldn´t go there with accusations. No reason to unnecessarily make enemies in the church and village because of refusing to give him Claire.
            And you still have no explanantion why would people listen to Laoghaire in it.

          • Alichat says:

            tsevca……The parents of the changeling baby made an accusation against Claire, which …yes….viewers will see in the next episode. In the book, readers….and Claire….didn’t find out about those charges until the trial. I don’t know what you mean by people listening to Laoghaire or why you call her a disgraced maid. As revealed in the book, which I believe you stated you have read, Laoghaire overheard Colum orchestrating Geillis’ arrest, and arranged (via the fake note) to have Claire at the house so she would be arrested as well.

  3. Ian says:

    Hmm… Im losing a lot of love for this show, unfortunately.

    I thought we were supposed to believe Jamie was too in love with Claire to ever be tempted by anyone else, let alone the likes of Laoghaire, so Id compromised and told myself that even though the epic romance aspect had been killed for me, that I would still enjoy the show for the plot, but now theyve gone the way of perversing both of the only LGBT characters with Randall and now the Duke. Im very irritated. Maybe if Id read the books prior, i could have put them down and just never bothered to watch the show in the first place.

    Next week looks awfully intense and dare I say interesting though….

    Sigh. I just wish Claire could get home to Frank!

    • Don’t give up yet! Later in the series a strong, kind gay character is introduced. I think it may help if you regard “Outlander” as a saga. I have had my patience challenged by the plot at any given point, but in the longview, I have been very satisfied by the storytelling.

      • Nan says:

        And Diana Gabaldon even wrote a series of books with that gay person as the central character. Very different from the Outlander series, but very good.

      • tsevca says:

        Don´t even start about him! Why does he have to be so much in the original series, when he has his own? I hate his character. Not because he is gay, nothing against homosexuals, he is just annoying as a person.

        • I, otoh, find LJG endlessly charming, witty and clever. And all around a great character. Couldn’t get enough of him in the Outlander series.

          • tsevca says:

            That´s exactly it. Everyone finds him charming, everyone likes him. No person is liked by everybody. So with every other character liking him, I start disliking him more. And what I find the most annoying is how he acts like he had some right on Jamie, like he knew him better than Claire, like they were closer than Jamie and Claire. And he isn´t even close. He is a friend, good friend, but Jamie had many friends in his life and still has that have closer relationship with him than John.

    • Char says:

      BJR is a sadist; there’s no way not to make him perverse. And he’s an equal-opportunity one – male, female, he doesn’t care. As for the Duke, he’s a horrible person (as we shall see), but his sexuality has nothing to do with it.

      And as others have noted, later on, a major character is introduced who is gay and probably the most popular character in the entire series.

      And as for Jamie, of course he’s tempted. And he resisted temptation. Which makes him more human (he’s not perfect; nobody is), and more admirable than if he’d never been tempted at all.

      • Winter says:

        Seriously he’s my favorite character even when we’re only getting letters from him.
        And yeah people keep wanting Jaime to be some perfect Romance novel hero and that’s not what he is. He’s profoundly human character who tries very hard to be good and honorable, but he’s by no means perfect.

        • tsevca says:

          The opposite! How many times Claire half jokes about, half complains about how Jamie is perfect at everything? And just because he doesn´t consider adultery, he isn´t some unrealisticly perfect hero existing only in romance novel. He is strongly catholic, has huge respect for what his father taught him, those things effect every single part of his life and his father had no apology for a man having sex with a woman without at least intending to marry her, and knew Claire is the one from the moment he woke up after falling from the horse the first night he met her. Just because she was angry at him at the time, he wouldn´t consider their marriage over. He is stubborn Fraser and wanted her the whole time, now he finally has her. Thinking of cheating because she threw him out of her bed once would be giving up way too easily. Plus he will be tempted much more in the future and in one case he says that only the idea to touch one of these women made him sick.

      • Paula says:

        The actor that played the Duke was quite entertaining, although it seems like the Duke is playing Jaime like a fiddle while Jaime has a wide-eyed longing (blinded) to get back home. I liked the fight scenes, although Dougals was a bit long for my taste. I wish they would have cut the dead baby part out of of the episode to replace with something else – way too long, although we book people know why the writers put it in the episode. Surprise that nobody in the hall went after Geillis right away after her initial lack of reaction to her husband and death was right after Dougals wife. I guess Colum has his own timing of plans for the parties that are disobedient in this episode. Surprised that he showed so much of his wrath.

  4. kelly says:

    This is the best show on TV. I have not read the books so maybe I look at it differently but I love everything about it. And I definitely do not want her to get back to Frank.

    • July Lark says:

      Well, I am glad to hear that because (spoiler alert) Frank turns into a regular douche in book 2 and 3. There was no great triangle and its annoying for Frank to take up so much screen time. I do agree with other posters that Lord John is my fave character after Jamie and Claire, of course.

      • tsevca says:

        Except the lord John part, I totally agree, Frank is beside his, as you put it, douche moves such an unimportant character and the screen time they gave him was annoying. Finally someone sees Frank for what he is. Can I ask if you read book 8?

  5. Alichat says:

    First……I believe we all can agree, Murtagh has terrible timing! Way to ruin a moment ya crazy Highlander!! Second, that moment……whew…..I’ll be in my bunk. Third, yay!!! They referenced the honesty pledge…..finally! I shall shut up about it now. Fourth, Laoghaire was smacked! It was needed. So, while I enjoyed this episode, there were things I would have liked for them to do differently. I wouldn’t have minded the changes to the story so much if there’d been a bit more realism and depth to them. I think there needed to be a few lines or points of reference to convey that some time has passed. As it was, it appears that this episode took place over a few days. In the book, Jamie and Claire have been living at Leoch for months. They get into a routine, fall in love, and everyone treats her affectionately…..except for Laoghaire. I would have liked to have seen some acknowledgement of time passing. It would help make sense the events of the next episode. All they needed was a character here and there to make a comment about time…..like Mrs. Fitz commenting that Jamie has only been gone for a few weeks….he’ll be back soon, or something like that. And Claire confronting Laoghaire…….it seemed like the next day from them finding the ill wish, but there’s no way they can send a missive to Sandringham inviting him to a banquet, have Sandringham reply that he will attend, Sandringham arrives, rents a place, and makes his presence known in less than 24 hours. So I feel like Claire’s confrontation of Laoghaire should have followed her finding perhaps another ill wish, or Laoghaire doing something else harmful……then Claire’s approach was to say ‘I know you left the ill wish under our bed a few months ago’ or ‘it’s been months since we returned to Leoch married. You must let Jamie go’…..something to register that they’ve been at Leoch for months. And also, I felt that the note “from Geillis” should have said she was sick. Claire wouldn’t have broken the promise to Jamie unless Geillis was deathly ill, so either the note needed to say that, or Mrs. Fitz’s nephew should have conveyed that. Lastly….I think I like book Colum better than TV Colum. Book Colum is a much nicer character….still a strong Laird, but a nicer, less angry person.

    • Shannon says:

      I agree with the acknowledgment of time passing. I was pretty confused because on the road Dougal makes a pass at Claire and is very obviously infatuated with her. Then all of a sudden they are back, Geillis is at least 4 months pregnant and she and Dougal are madly in love?? I haven’t read the books so your post really cleared that up for me! I was thinking, but I thought they were on the road for months?? How was there TIME?!

  6. JAO says:

    Loved your recap… Brigadoon!! I really don’t mind variations from the book. My husband loves the series so we are both enjoying as the story unfolds on the show. Getting into comparisons can make one lose the present beauty or enjoyment.

    • Fayola says:

      I totally agree with you. If you continously compare the book and the show you would always be disappointed..

      For the most part the show stays true to the book except that some events occur earlier than in the book..

  7. ? says:

    Not that I’m complaining overmuch but I really doubt men of that time would have considered it, umm, Christian to use their tongues like that . . . well, I guess Jamie wouldn’t know about that anyway and would just do what Claire told him to.

    . . . which is just more proof she’s a witch! Heh.

  8. Laurie says:

    Can I just say in Claire’s case the best part to waking up definitely isn’t Folgers. Plus breakfast is the most important meal of the day. *is 12 too*

    • Susan Watson says:

      Too funny! That situation is probably the only one that would make me give up a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. . .Jamie is better than substitute sugar!

  9. Christine M says:

    Kimberly, I really love your recaps. Yours is the only one I’ll read for Outlander because of your obvious knowledge and love of the books.

    I don’t mind the differences from the book either. I think they are made to move the story along briskly and maybe make some things clearer for the viewer, like the discussions between Colum and Dougal about the Jacobite rebellion. So far, I have loved everything in the episodes, especially Jamie and Claire.

  10. Winter says:

    Now that is a great way to wake up in the morning.

  11. LaLa says:

    Gotta admit, I’m a little miffed at the changes from the book. I believe that this is one of the only series that could conceivably follow the book almost line for line. That being said, serves me right for rushing to read all 8 books after catching the 1st season of the show, because now I’m stuck constantly comparing the book to the TV show.
    Besides the deviations, I did enjoy and am enjoying the show. I, too, had hoped to hear the high pitched voice of the Duke, but I’m just enjoying having Jamie and Claire brought to life so convincingly.

  12. Patricia says:

    I am still blushing about the episode opening. And I am a tough cookie. I was fine with Spartacus, The White Queen, and even HBO’s Rome. But I am blushing…the book just did not prepare me. I was thinking that somewhere in the world men were being dragged in front of the televisions and told to take notes.

    I digress, the Changling baby was a bit to take. And Dougal was difficult when he told his brother he loved Geillis.

    I loved the Duke. The only other actor who could have pulled that off would be Eddie Izzard. And he was so “Fond of Jamie”. I was laughing because Jamie wore pants in this episode. LOL!!!

    I wish the preview would be a bit more.

  13. lizzie says:

    Try Etsy for the arm-warmers. That’s where I got my scarf just like Claire’s.