Need to catch up? Check out the previous Outlander recap here.
Claire, may I humbly suggest that you never set foot on a seafaring vessel ever again?
If the vagaries of 18th-century sea travel aren’t tough enough on their own, this week’s Outlander caps a season in which Mrs. James Fraser was pressed into service as a ship’s doctor, was forced to live aboard a boat full of men dying in extremely disgusting fashion, jumped overboard to escape said boat and then wound up on another ship and weathered a seriously scary storm before nearly drowning when the broken collection of barnacles inadvertently tried to kill her.
And though of course Claire doesn’t die in the season finale — after all, we’ve got six more Diana Gabaldon books to go! — washing up on the shores of the New World is a harrowing process for both the sassenach and her soulmate. (Though probably not as harrowing as Droughtlander 2018 will be for the rest of us.)
Read on for the highlights of “Eye of the Storm.”
ON A MISSION | “I was dead,” Claire voiceovers as we watch her sink toward the bottom of the ocean, rope threaded around her torso. “Everything around me was a blinding white, and there was a soft, rushing sound like the wings of angels.” Well, that’s upsetting. But before we can figure out exactly what’s going on, the action flashes back to the night of Jamie’s arrest, as Claire — who has changed out of her yellow gown and is back in the remnants of the Batsuit — looks upset and urges the drivers of her carriage to hurry. When the coach stops, Claire impatiently looks out to see a large crowd of black men and women passing by. Some are carrying torches. Most are humming. This must be the community of freed slaves Temeraire mentioned. After they clear the road, Claire’s drivers continue.
She’s dropped at the path to the Rose Hall slave quarters, where she and Jamie believe Geillis is hiding Young Ian. She walks down a row of cabins, whisper-shouting “Ian!,” to no avail. And when she sees a little dog nosing around a pile of straw, she investigates… and finds another white teen boy, dead from a slit throat. Before Claire can react, a large man grabs her from behind.
CAUGHT! | In her bedroom, Geillis interrogates Ian, thinking that Claire had Jamie procure the sapphire because she knows about the prophecy. But he angrily claims innocence, and when Geillis learns that Mrs. Fraser is on her property, she has Ian removed from one door moments before Claire enters via another. Hercules, Geillis’ manservant, dumps Claire in front of his mistress, and La Dame Blanche has all of three miliseconds to come up with a cover story. She says she got lost trying to find the main house, which is second only to “I was in the colonies!” on the believability scale, but Geillis already doesn’t believe her, so it doesn’t much matter. “You’re welcome anytime,” the witch says after an abnormally long pause. “We’re friends.”
After Geillis dismisses Hercules, Claire fills her in on Jamie’s circumstances. And then… things go really downhill. But let’s check in on James Alexander et cetera Fraser first, aye?
IN HIS ELEMENT | Capt. Leonard and his men are near the docks when some Redcoats interrupt them, informing the young officer that they’re going to take custody of Jamie. “On whose authority?” Leonard demands. Cut to our next shot: THE NOTORIOUS LJG.
In his office, Lord John politely demands to see the warrant for Jamie’s arrest. When Leonard admits that he doesn’t have one, Grey asks for the sworn affidavit from the crew member who claimed Jamie was a murderer on the lam. When Leonard also can’t produce that, Grey is haughtily incredulous. “Surely you do not mean to arrest a British subject on nothing more than the scurrilous gossip of the lower deck?” he sniffs. As you know, Capt. Leonard doesn’t have any documentation at all, but I give him credit: He holds his ground as Lord John genteelly yet forcefully chips away at his claim on Jamie.
After Grey mocks Leonard’s rank (c’mon dude, you’re winning — no need to gloat), he neatly shuts down any further argument with this: “Your authority ends at the water’s edge, which is precisely where my authority begins.” And that, as Leonard leaves in a huff, is basically that. (Side note: Grey’s efficient and incredibly crucial dismissal of the murder charge, not to mention the very commanding way he makes it happen, offers us a great new insight into a character we’ve mainly seen as an in-over-his-head novice warden and a lovelorn piner. I dig it. And based on the look of admiration on Jamie’s freckled face during the exchange, he’s seeing a new side of his friend, too.)
Grey and Jamie share an amazing smile after Leonard leaves, Jamie says he’s even more indebted to him, and then Jamie takes off. Lord John thinks, “Not even a hug? Oh. OK, then,” but merely bids his bestie adieu.
IN WHICH GEILLIS’ PLAN SOLIDIFIES | Back at Rose Hall, Claire is setting a land speed record in Giving An Enemy Information She Can Use Against You. Granted, she’s fighting off Geillis’ crazy accusation that Claire is stalking her in order to prevent another Scottish king from rising, but still. In the space of one heated conversation, Claire tells the witch: that she went back to 1948, she did so because she was pregnant, the location of her 1940s home, the name of her daughter, the fact that Brianna met Geillis at the University of Edinburgh, how she returned to 18th-century Scotland and the fact that you don’t need a human sacrifice to make it through the stones unscathed. “I think it has something to do with who’s on the other side, drawing you to them,” Claire muses. And since Geillis has secretly stolen one of the Brianna photos Claire shows her to prove her story, she now has a clear visual of “a 200-year-old baby,” she purrs to an oblivious Claire. “Imagine that.”
Before Geillis skips off to prepare to head back to the 1960s and kill Brianna, she pretends that Claire is a guest who can stay as long as she likes. But Claire soon finds out that means that she’s locked in the house. And when she sees Young Ian trussed up and carried across the yard, she fights desperately to get out. Just then, Jamie breaks in, thanks to some intel from Fergus and Marsali, who found an explanatory note Claire left when she hastily changed after the party. So Jamie and Claire head toward the sound of drumming in the wilderness, convinced that that’s where they’ll find their nephew.
THE WILD PARTY | The drumming, as it turns out, is accompanying some of the freed slaves as they dance around a fire. One of the men is wearing a crocodile (alligator?) head as a headdress. Jamie and Claire gawk from the shadows until they’re pushed out into the open, and if you can imagine the 18th-century version of a needle skipping off a record, that’s roughly the effect their presence has on the event. The music stops. They are eyed warily. But just when it looks like it might get bad, Yi Tien Cho steps out and vouches for them, and everyone goes back to their dancing and drumming and such.
The Frasers can’t quite figure out what’s going on, so Yi Tien Cho fills them in: He’s there with Margaret, the fortune-teller, who is an invited guests at this party. Oh, and yeah — they’re a couple. “She is the first woman to see me, the man that I truly am. I see her. We wish to be together,” he says, which is sweet and all, but didn’t they meet three hours ago? He adds that they’re planning to make a home in Martinique, and Jamie’s like, “Mazel tov UM HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEPHEW?” The answer is nope.
Margaret seems rather happy, herself… until she grabs Jamie’s arm and has a vision. “I see you in an orchard of death, sewn with blood. I see the rabbit,” she says, referencing the bunny we saw hop past him after the Battle of Culloden in the season premiere. “Christ,” Jamie whispers, yanking his hand away and looking more discomfited than I think we’ve ever seen him look. Margaret also tells Claire she saw the bird singing to Claire “when you were sorrowful,” aka when she was pregnant and staring out the window in Boston.
A MESSAGE FROM BREE | But then Margaret does the creepiest thing yet: She takes both of the Frasers’ hands and channels Bree, American accent and all. “I knew it was you, my father. I’ve been dreaming about you!” she says, and Jamie may not know exactly what’s going on, but Claire is losing her stuff as her daughter’s voice and mannerisms come through the older woman. “I love you. You too, momma,” she says before Margaret’s voice deepens and she throws out a mention of Abandawe, saying “The monster is coming!”… just as her brother Archibald arrives on the scene.
Archie is mad, but he’s also there for expository reasons: When he breaks down the prophecy for Jamie and Claire, and Claire notices that a photo of Bree is missing from the pile, they immediately realize that Geillis is planning to go back through the stones to kill their daughter. So they take off for the cursed cave.
The gathering they leave devolves quickly, particularly after Yi Tien Cho steps in to stop Archibald from taking Margaret with him. “I know what you’ve done to her,” the erstwhile Mr. Willoughby says ominously. And when Archibald hit his sister, Yi Tien Cho breaks his neck. Then someone slits a chicken’s throat, and there’s lots more frenzied dancing, and eventually Archibald is hoisted high above the crowd and wow, that got out of control quickly.
THWARTED! | As Jamie and Claire enter the cave, she tells him that she can feel it humming a la the stones, and that she’s not sure she’ll be able to come back if she get sucked in. But he reminds her that she’ll have to go through if Geillis does, because, “We lost Faith. We will not lose Brianna.” They kiss, she nods, and they move forward.
Inside, Geillis is dressed in ’60s garb and is doing some gem mojo that involves Bree’s photo. The portal, Claire informs us via voiceover, is in a nearby pool in the cave. Ian is tied up nearby. Jamie quickly gets into it with some of Geillis’ armed guards, while his wife takes on the nutjob herself. Geillis’ eyes are at peak crazy as she talks about how she and Claire are “chosen” and says they have “a responsibility to change history.” Geillis is just about to leap into the pool (and through time) when Claire grabs up a blade that’s been dropped nearby and slices at her former friend, nearly decapitating her.
Jamie sees what’s happened and tells Geillis’ men they’re free. Claire is just about vibrating from the shock of what she’s done. And Ian’s face is broadcasting “WTF?!” fairly well for someone with no lines in this scene.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL? | Jamie rescues his nephew, who cries as he hugs his uncle. Meanwhile, Claire is moving toward the water like a moth to a bug zapper. But Big Red grabs his wife before she can take the plunge. Then he grabs the picture of Brianna and they all move outside, where dawn has broken.
While Jamie and Ian joke and cry a little about what a close call that was (Side note: I loved Jamie’s kiss to the boy’s head), Claire has a flashback to the bones Joe had in his office, and how she just kinda knew what had happened to the woman. (Another side note: If you haven’t read the books, did you have any inkling that those were Geillis’ bones? I’m curious to know if any Newlanders caught on.) They’re just about ready to leave, thanks to Fergus’ preparations, “But first, I must hold ye both,” Jamie says, pulling his wife and his nephew to his (aformentionedly broad) chest as they sob.
GOING OVERBOARD | Back on board the Artemis, Jamie and Claire turn a shaving session into a Ye Olde 1-900-Number chat, culminating in the kind of activity these two are known for. As they wake from a short doze afterward, Jamie notes that rain is brewing… AND THEN THE STORM FROM HELL IS UPON THEM.
Jamie and another man are doing all they can to steer the ship. Fergus, Marsali and the others are getting plunked around belowdecks. And Claire, as ship’s surgeon, feels it her duty to be on deck even though there’s more water being dumped on the boat than there is underneath it. And when the mast breaks after a particularly large wave, it takes Claire overboard with it.
She sinks, like we saw in the beginning of the episode… until Jamie dives down and cuts her free from the rope, giving her a much-needed mouthful of air and then dragging her back to the surface. He finds a piece of driftwood big enough for both of them, ROSE, and drapes her over it. “Damn it Sassenach, if you die here now, I swear I’ll kill you,” he says, crying over his wife’s unconscious form. Um, Jamie? Ye might want to pull her face out of the water, given that water up the nostrils isn’t the best way to keep someone alive.
MEET THE NEW WORLD | They eventually wash up on shore, where a young girl discovers them, waterlogged and covered in sand like two sugar cookies dunked too long in milk. Jamie wakes up first and belly-crawls to Claire, who’s still out. He thinks she’s dead, and he starts to cry a little as he kisses her, but PSYCH! She wakes up. “I told you I’d never leave you again,” she whispers.
Then a man and a woman accompany the little girl to the beach. They introduce themselves as the Olivers, and off of Claire’s inquiry, they inform the Frasers that, “You are not on an island at all. You’re on the mainland, in the colony of Georgia.”
Jamie is confused, but Claire clears it up. “America,” she says, and the Frasers put their foreheads together and sob because they’ve been awake for all of 90 seconds and damn it has been a bit of a day already. As the Olivers peace out to give the shipwrecked pair their space, a fife and drum plays us out of Season 3.
Now it’s your turn. Grade the finale via the poll below, check out my quick video on the episode below, then hit the comments with yer thoughts!