This episode opens with Claire and Geillis about to be tried for witchcraft. I’ve always been fascinated by histories regarding witchcraft. It seems a stretch today that witches were believed to be true, but when you look at the plethora of paranormal tv shows, movies and books, it’s clear that it strikes a chord with our psyche. Many cultures were superstitious, but the Scottish take it to a whole new level. Fairies, standing stones, changelings and so on were an entrenched part of the culture.
Back before our delightful diversions of books, technology and travel, there was very little entertainment for the masses. They didn’t have professional sports teams or stage productions to visit at the drop of a hat. When I watched this episode and I saw that every single person who lived in the village was at the witch trial, I realized that this was their entertainment. Their lust for blood has been well documented in history. The frenzy of a trial, the whispers, the slander and gossip would be too titillating to escape. The Tower of London executions were well attended, as was Madame Guillotine during the French Revolution. One could suppose that maybe it was a lack of education or worldliness or mob mentality. When you look at some of the horrible things people do when incited by each other, it becomes relatable why witch trials happened – but not excusable.
Bravo to Geillis. Her performance was outstanding as usual. I am really sad that this character won’t be returning. Not only has she been a friend (sometimes) to Claire, with her droll wit and canny observations she brightens all her scenes. The final moments when she rips her own clothes and bares her body to the crowd were mesmerizing.
The trial was such a farce. Poor Ned Gowan trying to reason with the ignorance abounding. When the priest smirks at Claire even my husband was aghast. Alisha Ray wrote on Twitter last week, “Laoghaire MacKenzie, I accuse you of BITCHCRAFT! Also, I’m the judge and jury so youre hereby convicted of bitchcraft.” I howled with laughter at her comments, but really, it’s so true! Laoghaire has no respect for human life and can’t see past her own feelings. When Jamie rescues Claire, I wanted him to threaten Laoghaire or something. Of course, since I have read the books, I know what is coming and I AM NOT FEELING IT. Back off Laoghaire!
How beautiful did Claire look as she told Jamie her big secret. My husband was asking me a hundred questions during her speech and upon the promise of pain of death I shut him down. What a consequential scene. The truth finally comes out. For Jamie to believe Claire, he must believe in the other hocus pocus as well. When he recriminates himself for beating her for trying to get to Craig na Dun, I realized that if she stays, they would have the kind of marriage that Claire demanded.
So one issue I had with this episode is that we didn’t see Jamie until more than half way through! I know that events had to play out accordingly, but really?? When Jamie lays by Claire in front of the fire, he is so hauntingly beautiful. When he watches Claire sleep and find her passion, it felt like he was memorizing her face.
In the light of day when he gives her the choice to go home, it seemed so simple and yet so heartbreaking. When he tells her there is nothing in Scotland for her but violence, it was as if he was acknowledging that he wasn’t good enough for her. Claire takes all day to ponder her choice. The editing of the show is great as you are left with a few cliffhangers regarding her choice.
When the episode draws to a close and we see Jamie, alone and crying by the fire, it is clear how much he cares for Claire. He hasn’t left yet and moved on which he told Claire he would. It was as though he couldn’t bear to believe that she was really gone. When Claire comes back to his arms it was so rewarding. What a relief!
What did you think of the episode? Did Claire make the right choice?
Next week it’s home to Lallybroch…