Recap: ‘Outlander’ – ‘The Devil’s Mark’ has saved countless lives, you fools!

donna-dickens
Deputy Entertainment Editor
04.18.15

Starz

By the end of last week”s episode of “Outlander,” it had become clear that sexual frustration ruins lives. Scottish Santa”s need to ‘get jolly” might have gotten his wife killed. Colum”s inability to perform got Dougal and Jamie banished because if the Laird ain”t getting laid, nobody is. And Leery”s teen angst got Claire arrested for witchcraft.

Nunneries are looking better all the time. Will Geillis and Claire survive 18th century justice? Since the show doesn”t end here, I”ll assume so. Time to find out how!

*****

Without preamble, Claire and Gilly are tossed into a Thieve”s Hole. The locals could”ve at LEAST asked the Goblin King to install some Helping Hands™ to cushion the fall.

It takes approximately two seconds for the women to turn on each other out of fear. Gilly accuses Claire of selling her out and I”m gesticulating at the screen in disbelief when Claire puts on her genre-savvy hat and says everything I was thinking. Girl, you killed your husband and told everyone you were dancing naked in the forest while performing rituals. It”s a miracle you weren”t burned in the middle of town ten times over by now.

Claire scoffs at the idea her friend is a witch when it”s obvious Mr. Duncan was killed with good old-fashioned poison. Geillis seems shocked to be called out but recovers quickly. After all, what”s a little murder with witchcraft accusations in the air. Once Gilly admits she tried the long con with tiny amounts of poison but it was taking too long, I wonder if all Mr. Duncan”s ailments stemmed from the cyanide.

For some reason, Claire is not consoled by this admission. Seems slow, deliberate cold-blooded murder is a hard line for her. Prude.

After a night spent on the cold, hard ground, the women are hauled out of the Thieve”s Hole to a horde of unwashed peasantry. The commons loves a good show. I much prefer Geillis”s (probably feigned) annoyance to Claire”s baffled fear. Corralled into the defendant”s box, both ladies are charged with witchcraft and are on trial for their lives. Somewhere in the background, I imagine a man yelling “SHE TURNED ME IN TO NEWT! … I got better.”

Just when it seems the “trial” isn”t even going to have a veneer of impartiality, Budget Ben to the rescue! How he heard the ladies were in trouble is a moot point. He comes in wielding the law like a club and bludgeons the judges with it. In Scotland, witches get lawyers. Otherwise they”re no better than England. Ew.

First witness! Of COURSE it”s the housemaid. I knew Gilly couldn”t trust some backwater country bumpkin to keep a secret about dancing naked in the pale moonlight. Knowing which herbs won”t kill you is enough to cause suspicion in this time period, never mind getting your Woodstock on once a month.

Geillis”s face implies that if she really were a witch, this little sellout would be dead on the ground with worms crawling from her mouth. Luckily, Budget Ben knows exactly what to say to negate an hour of testimony. The maid was discontented with her job, and even came to Castle Leoch to disparage her employers and look for work. In a time before tape recorders, hearsay can work both against and FOR the defense.

Second witness! I knew that abandoned baby was gonna bite Claire in the ass. The parents were off-camera, eagerly awaiting the death of their baby return of the fairies. But then Claire appeared and cursed the changeling child and scared off the fairy folk and clearly she”s evil. To drive this point home, the mom flings herself at Claire with intent to scratch her eyes out.

Unfortunately, trial by mud wrestling combat is not an option and some men break up the fight.

Budget Ben works his lawyer witchcraft and gets the mom to admit her cowardice killed her own baby and they should all be thanking Claire for killing the changeling so the human baby can live forever with the fairies. The defense is an absurd offense?

Third witness! Who is this pompous cretin? And just what did Gilly do to piss him off? Because that is the only explanation as to how he can stand there with a straight face and say Geillis Duncan called down lightning from the sky with blood-red eyes and then turned into a bird and flew away. Either that, or he was tripping balls.

No one bothers to point out that it is awfully kind of Geillis to withstand the indignity of this trial, what with the powers of Thor at her disposal. Somehow that never seems to come up at witch trials. These women have PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER, and yet they are not lording over you like the pitiful ants that you are? Please.

The judges break for the day and Claire wants Budget Ben to thank Colum for helping. Except Colum has no idea BB is helping and would be cranky if he did know. Colum”s cockblocking efforts truly know no limits.

Determined to power through their ordeal, Gilly and Claire drink themselves into amicable conversation via Budget Ben”s contraband. I”d worry about the baby, but fire is more of an immediate hazard than fetal alcohol poisoning.

Over the course of shared misery, Geillis let”s it slip how she met Scottish Santa: she”s been funneling money to the Jacobite cause. Over a thousand pounds embezzled from Arthur”s nest egg over of the course of two years. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! That”s the equivalent of about £190,000 in today”s money, or nearly $284,000. Just how much money does a Scottish public prosecutor make that he wouldn”t notice this dent in his fortune?

It might have started as strictly business, but it”s clear Gilly was after neither wealth or ennoblement when she took Dougal to bed. She”s obviously head over heels, but oh no, she won”t say it. She won”t says she”s in loooove. She will admit to being extremely practical. Sex isn”t love, and clearly Gilly believes being faithful in the heart is true fidelity.

Between the confessions and the liquor, Claire has softened towards Gilly”s murderous ways. “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” Claire quotes. Is that a look of recognition in Geillis”s eye? I think it was. But if she”s from the future as well, Gilly must know the Jacobite Rebellion is doomed to failure. Is she trying to change history?

Girl, no.

Sidenote: Claire reminisces about childhood Novembers in Brighton and dammit! I just want to watch a show about young Claire traveling the world with her eccentric uncle!

Day two of the trial opens with the mob baying for blood and it strikes me that this is entertainment to them. Witches aren”t people, so watching them scream as they crackle and pop on the pyre is nothing to feel remorse about. This is merely 18th century reality TV.

The star witness takes the stand: Leery has come to put the final nail in the coffin of her rival. She speaks of the love potion and how Claire obviously drank it herself because Lord forbid Jamie be sexually attracted to someone other than her. Not a bad word is spoken against Leery for REQUESTING the potion and that rubs me the wrong way. Here are these people, asking Gilly and Claire for potions and spells and help, and getting none of the blowback. Witches are merely and outcropping of capitalism: supply and demand, people! But peasants can”t be expected to shoulder the brain power needed to grasp concepts beyond planting, harvest, repeat.

Just when the proceedings are about to wind down, the SURPRISE star witness appears! Frankenstein”s Monster…no wait. It”s the Creepy Priest™, come to condemn Claire for the crime of saving a little boy”s life. He calls her the Whore of Babylon and speaks on how he warned them all not to let this temptress into their midst. Oh, so that”s it. Claire makes Creepy Priest feel funny in his no-no place, so obviously she”s a witch. I have a friend this priest should meet.

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Suddenly, a wild PLOT TWIST appeared. It”s super effective. Creepy Priest drops to his knees and repents. He failed God by thinking Claire meant the child ill and must renounce himself. The crowd is stunned. And it was a TRIPLE CROSS! He knew the people would never allow him to quit and would see it as the work of the Devil to bring a man of God so low. That is a serious Machiavellian con, this dude is gonna be a longterm problem.

With the crowd set against them, Budget Ben calls for an emergency timeout. He”s got a Hail Mary play ready in the wings. All Claire has to do is throw Gilly under the bus. BB leaves to keep the bloodthirsty villagers at bay and Geillis demands to know what she”s dying for. The women dance around admitting they”re both time travelers but when Budget Ben returns for an answer, Gilly outs herself by declaring “I guess I”m going to fucking BBQ.”

Claire can”t bring herself to send another woman to the pyre in her place and refuses to speak against Gilly. The latter declares she”s from 1968 but Claire is too confused to put two and two together. I am also confused, but only because the late 1960s were a time when Scotland was attempting to break free of British rule. Why would a hippie want to assert the divine right of kings?

I can”t wonder too long because Budget Ben has pulled a gun. Literally. He is VERY committed to his clients but is it gallantry or ulterior motives? Despite his bravery, age works against him and BB is quickly put down. For daring to speak up at her own trial, Claire is sentence to being lashed right then and there.

To add salt in the wound, Leery pushes forward to say she”ll dance on Claire”s grave. With her arms supported by her captors, I quietly will Claire to kick Leery straight in the teeth but alas, it is not to be.

For what I”m sure is not the last time, Jamie deus ex machina”s in to rescue Claire in (almost) the nick of time. With more honor than self-preservation, he pulls his swords on the crowd and threatens to take all-comers. It”s only a matter of time before the mob realizes they outnumber him and attack, so of course Gilly commits witch seppuku to save the Frasers.

Tearing open her dress, Gilly reveals the mark of the devil..aka a smallpox vaccination scar. Realization dawns on Claire too late and Geillis reveals her pregnancy (among other things) as proof she”s had intimate relations with Satan.

That”s not a very nice thing to call Dougal!

The Frasers flee in the confusion as Gilly is overtaken by the mob, who politely cover her naked body from the camera before taking her to the pyre. We don”t watch her burn though, so I”ll assume she”s fine. With “fine” being relative.

Truth-telling time has finally arrived. In the safety of the forest, Jamie points out Claire also has the mark of the devil. With a leap of courage, Claire finally spills the whole story. The time travel, Frank, everything. At the end Jamie believes her and I believe that he”d believe her. The show has done a good job of setting up magic to be as common to the 18th century Scots as science is to us.

What”s that? Jamie realizes Claire only ran away because she was trying to get back to the stones and her husband and NOT because she was being willful? What”s that? He”s admitting that he beat her for it? And that he was a GIANT JERKFACE TOOL FOR DOING SO? Yaaaaaassssss!

Exhausted from finally alleviating the burden that is “I fell through time and that makes me sound like a lunatic,” Claire tries to be committed to Sparkle Motion and Lallybrook but it”s just not happening. Until Jamie, like any man who suddenly realizes he has a rival, reassures himself that Claire still wants him by making her have an orgasm.

The next morning, Jamie reveals they weren”t headed for Lallybrook but back to the stones. He”s going to let Claire go home. But he did it after a night of awesome sex because he”s not above a little manipulation and/or just wanted a happy memory to remember her by.

But, I mean, there”s no way this is gonna work. There have to be the right conditions, right? If anyone touching the rocks fell through time, people would be popping in and out of the timestream willy-nilly.

Also, I hope Geillis is alive if only so she can explain the free love of the 1960s aka polyamory to these people and we can avoid 18 seasons of drama. The boys can learn to share.

No tears are shed but it is a despondent farewell. Claire and Jamie have bonded over the last few weeks (months?) and are in the beginning stages of falling in love. But Frank is waiting. Claire steadies herself, head towards the stones, and…fade to black.

I seriously think the episode will end there but no. It ends with Claire returning to Jamie and saying she”s ready to go home to Lallybrook. But what does it mean? Did Claire opt not to go back? Or did the stones not work? Or did she go through for an indeterminate amount of time and then return?

Have to wait until next week to find out!

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