Episode 313: Eye of the Storm

JESUS H. ROOSEVELT CHRIST THAT WAS AMAZING.

SIMPLY AMAZING.

Let’s begin.

Warning- Contains spoilers from Outlander, Episode 313: Eye of the Storm.

Wow, my friends. I cannot begin to adequately describe how much I enjoyed this episode; it is easily my favorite of the series to date. The thing is- I KNEW they were going to make it. I knew Geillis would die and Claire and Jamie would rescue Ian. I knew they would survive the hurricane and wash up in the American Colonies. I knew all of this because I’ve read the novels and I STILL had to remind myself to breathe for a good portion of this episode. This was exquisite television.

As the producers discuss in the after-show, the cold open with Claire narrating her almost-death was meant to mirror Jamie’s experience at Culloden. And, if you pay attention, much is the same in the two scenes- from the lighting and art direction to the music score.

But this wasn’t the only “full-circle” moment in this episode. Far from it. In fact, the episode was almost entirely scene-by-scene acts of closure for nearly all of the major relationships: Claire and Geillis, Fergus and Jamie, Jamie and John Grey, Jamie and Yi Tien Cho, and Jamie and Claire.

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Claire and Jamie are literally and figuratively in the eye of every storm in this episode, but the theme goes a bit deeper than that. Like the wind patterns of a hurricane and its eye, so much of this episode is circular.

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And circles are the perfect analogy for time travel, are they not? Because if we believe in time travel, then we acknowledge that time is infinite and circular. If we are able to journey from the past to the future and from the present to the past, then we have to acknowledge that our present, past, and future are all happening at the same time. Time in this hypothetical universe is circular; eventually everything comes full circle.

With so much plot to wield into one hour the writers, actors, and director had a monumental task to achieve and they not only succeeded, they smashed it. Not a look, line, or action in this phenomenal episode was without concise purpose.

We begin picking up almost right where we left off last week, after Jamie was taken into custody by Captain Leonard. Claire has ditched the formal wear and is now hurrying to Geillis’s property to search for Ian. The carriage is briefly detained by a slave procession; the humming here is likely meant to foreshadow the humming of the portal.

Meanwhile, Marsali and Fergus return to the inn to find Claire and Jamie gone.  They learn that Jamie has been arrested and Fergus knows just the person to ask for a favor… more on that later.

Marsali insists on joining Fergus with whatever plan he has. It should be noted that she’s wearing Claire’s dress from La Dame Blanche (204):

Recall, this was an episode where Claire reasserts herself into Jamie’s political sphere in Paris. Marsali is being just as insistent here, so in a way the dress itself has come full circle.

Claire furtively explores the slave quarters at Rose Hall in search of Ian and comes across the body of Henry, the boy from last week’s episode who correctly predicted his own death. She is captured by Hercules and dragged up to the main house…

…where Ian has had just about enough of Geillis.

Geillis’s mind begins to show its cracks in these scenes, as she insists Ian and Jamie and Claire know of the importance of the sapphires and the Brahan prophecy. In a strange way this almost (very, very almost) makes her a somewhat pitiable character; she has been so hyper-focused for so many years on Scottish independence that her vision is pathologically narrowed and her obsessive mind is diseased. Compare this version of Geillis to the one of the first season. The undercurrent of deceit and manipulation has always been there but her once-amused personality has been replaced by manic paranoia.

Things are perhaps looking just as desperate for Jamie. BUT, just when Jamie is about to get tossed back to Scotland, some Redcoats show up to stop Captain Leonard.

“On whose order,” asks Leonard?

Is it a bird? A plane? Nope!

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IT’S THIS GUY. This gorgeous man giving the sexiest legal smack down in West Indies history:

I mean, WOW. That was SUPER fun to watch. And not only for me– Jamie gives just the barest flicker of a smile to Leonard while Lord John dresses him down with his super-hot legal and military brain.

By this time Jamie and John are losing track of whose turn it is to save the other’s life, although I think at this point Jamie is probably indebted to Lord John. In this way their relationship very much mimics their beloved chess games– I save your life, you save mine. Check mate.

Note: Fergus was the one who enlisted Lord John’s help. So, just as Jamie once saved Fergus from a British officer…

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…now Fergus has also saved Jamie from Captain Leonard. Full circle.

Back at Rose Hall Claire and Geillis circle (for lack of a better word) around each other in the same wary dance in which they’ve always engaged. If you re-watch Season One they deliver nearly all of their lines with caution and suspicion, always wanting to tell the truth or ask the truth from the other but never fully committing until Geillis comes clean at the witch trial.

And, in a direct call-back to that episode, Geillis asks “Why are you here?”

This time it is Claire who is fully honest and we’ve come (dare I say it?) full circle. She tells of going back to 1945 and giving birth to Brianna and then coming back through the stones only recently.

Please just hand over some Emmy awards to Caitriona Balfe and Lotte Verbeek for this wonderful scene. Claire’s face as she watches Geillis’s near-delusional conviction transforms from one of confusion to one of the shocking realization that this is a truly deranged and dangerous woman standing before her.

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In the course of Claire’s confessions Geillis realizes that Brianna is the two-hundred year old baby whose death will bring the rise of an independent Scottish nation. Although Claire is perhaps the most honest she has ever been with Geillis, Geillis once again slips into the manipulative liar we know her to be.

Geillis is surprised and disbelieving that Claire has never needed blood or murder to travel through the stones. I personally believe that the message being conveyed here is that love is stronger than hate; Claire has never needed to sacrifice anyone because she has love pulling her through to the other side, no matter which way she is traveling. Geillis has never had love. She has had seduction, lust, and passion but never love.

Claire nearly clubs Jamie as he comes to Rose Hall and helps her escape. Together they rush toward the light and commotion outside to save Ian…

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…whereupon they encounter slaves performing a ritualistic dance. Even though most of us probably figured out this was supposed to be a call-back to the series premier episode (Sassenach, 101), they remind us that the dancers here resemble the druids at Craigh na Dun. Additionally, the shots of Claire and Jamie in these scenes match those of Claire and Frank almost perfectly:

Claire and Jamie are caught trespassing and for a minute things appear dicey. Not to worry because who comes to their defense this time?

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THIS GUY! This kind, wise romantic soul of a man. Yi Tien Cho informs Jamie and that he and Margaret Archibald see the truth in each other and they plan to marry and live in Martinique.

And we have yet more circling on another relationship; Jamie and Yi Tien Cho’s story begins and ends with them rescuing each other from strangers.

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Go to Martinique, my poetic friend. Live your dream. (But also be careful because that island is about to get swept up in all sorts of political drama)

But before she escapes to Martinique, Margaret imparts one more prophecy on Jamie and Claire, calling forth images of Culloden and Claire’s life in Boston. Margaret also invokes Brianna’s voice, jolting Claire into realizing that Brianna is the prophesied child whose life is in danger; Geillis intends to time-travel again to murder Brianna.

Prophetic visions notwithstanding, Margaret is much more lucid than she was when we first met her in Edinburgh, suggesting that Archibald was keeping her heavily drugged.

In any case Archibald doesn’t have quite the happy ending compared to Margaret. Yi Tien Cho kills him in self-defense and Archibald’s body is left to the mob.

Claire and Jamie realize they must get to Abandawe and the portal immediately. Not to worry, it’s conveniently right next to Geillis’s house. Imagine that!

As Jamie and Claire enter the cave they realize (almost too late), that they may lose one another yet again. Claire might slip through the portal and either one of them might be killed. No time for standing stone goodbye sex this time, although they do get in some passionate, adrenaline-fueled kisses. Good enough.

“We lost Faith, we will not lose Brianna.” Did you catch the double meaning there? It’s a bit rushed, but here in the cave Jamie and Claire have essentially promised to never again lose “faith.” Mother Hildegard, perhaps you were the true prophetic.

Show time. Jamie battles Hercules while Claire deals with Geillis and poor Ian is bound and writhing around, hoping to not be barbecued.

Ever noticed the irony that Geillis was almost burned on the pyre and the terror of that experience in no way makes her empathetic to the men she has killed and burned in the name of time-travel?

Don’t worry, Ian, you’re dying for a great cause! I had to laugh at that line because it totally reminded me about an episode of Bigfoot Hunters (don’t judge) where they couldn’t understand why Bigfoot just wouldn’t turn himself in and be a martyr for his species in the name of science. “You’re dying for a great cause” is probably the least comforting thing you could say to someone you’re about the kill.

Instead it is Geillis who is killed for a great cause- that of family. Claire, in a fit of mama grizzly, decapitates Geillis and diffuses the threat. Jamie and Claire have rescued both Ian and Brianna.

I loved this shot of Jamie calmly pulling Claire back from the portal. Contrast this to last year’s season finale when he was emotionally pushing her toward one. Full. Circle.

Hmmm. Where did we last hear about a two hundred year-old skeleton of a female murder victim in the Caribbean? Claire has a little freak out moment when she realizes she has held Geillis’s skull in the future. And this is where there is so much beauty in the concept of time travel. Claire holding the skull is in 1968, so it is both in the future and in the past. Time is circular and infinite.

Group hug. Me too, me too! Don’t we all deserve a hug from Jamie Fraser?

Claire gets more than a hug later on. Not really much to say here except it was beautiful and playful and perfect.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Afterward Jamie notes that the weather is turning, which is the ultimate understatement of the season. Not only is it turning, it’s a full-blown hurricane ripping apart the Artemis.

Enter the most beautiful two minutes in Outlander history.

Claire is knocked from the ship and is sinking unconscious, trapped in the ropes from the broken mast. The piano solo playing here is the same one that played in Faith (207) when Claire came home from the hospital after the still birth— the last time she felt like she was dying.

Jamie couldn’t rescue her then but he can rescue her now. He dives down to Claire and cuts her loose from the ropes, metaphorically freeing them from all that has been weighing them down this season.

They wait out the storm, trapped in its eye, and it’s clear that Jamie is convinced Claire has died or will die.

And perhaps she does. The camera pulling away up through the storm and into the heavens could arguably be Claire’s soul leaving and looking down on the world.

But, as with the portal, she is pulled back by love.

Jamie and Claire awaken on the shore, where they are overcome with relief to see each other alive and know that the Artemis survived the storm.

And where did they end up?

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America.

This is a cinematic shot we have seen many, many times but it never fails to move me. As an American I easily get swept up in the romance of a vast, open land full of possibilities, however flawed that emotion may be.

As Native American drum beats enter the soaring musical score we push in on the American horizon. This is a new land and a new chapter for our characters. I simply cannot wait.

Slàinte.

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Thank you for reading! Blogging has been a fun experience for me and I hope to do some retrospective recaps during the break. Suggestions for other shows? Sell me on Poldark- is it worthwhile? Let me know in the comments. Happy Holidays to all around the world.

27 thoughts on “Episode 313: Eye of the Storm”

  1. Ah, wonderful. I love your recaps. Droughtlander will be harder to live through without visiting you every week. Most of your wishlist items were present. No Murtagh, and no Season 5 renewal as of yet. The 20th century was referenced through a few flashbacks, though. I’d say everything else was checked off, though (since Claire was wearing a different dress in the Season 4 teaser! I’d say that counts).

    One thing: Geillis may be as obsessed and crazy as they come, but she’s also a dab hand at research. Is it any wonder she found a sugar planter to entice (not to mention, murder) who lived really close to Abandawe? No surprise to me! I wonder how many husbands she managed to off during her witchy career. We know of at least three, not including Dougal, who she never did manage to marry but certainly ensorcelled. Nice to know Greg Edgars was one of her favorites, probably because he had a nice . . . appendage.

    Thanks, as always, for your incredible images. I look forward to following you next season.

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    1. So true that Geillis probably chose to intentionally marry a man close to Abandawe. She’s nothing if not a good planner.

      I guess we will have to wait a few months to see Murtagh again. Sigh.

      Thanks for reading and have a wonderful holiday.

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  2. I hope you don’t mind, but I thought of something else you touched upon in this excellent recap/review. It’s about all those circles closing or, quite possibly, beginning.

    At the very beginning of the first book and season, Frank saw the ghostly apparition of a Highlander, looking up at Claire’s window, just before she went to the stones and was thrown back in time to 1743. Diana Gabaldon has promised to let us know what all that meant in the last book (probably the 10th, she’s said). But when you speculated that it was love that drew Claire through the stones without harm, it struck me that although Claire and Frank had visited the site of Culloden and spoke of the end of the Highlander culture, she didn’t actually know anyone who was affected by this at the time she fell back in time through the stones. While it might have had something to do with Black Jack, who was discussed by the Rev. Wakefield and Frank just before Samahain, there could be another reason she landed where she did, and not by chance. What if Jamie’s ghost was calling her to come to him?

    It also could have been that she’d “lived” back then already, even though she didn’t know it at the time. After all, when Claire picked up the skull that turned out to be Geillis’, she “felt” somehow that the bones were of a murder vicitm. While in Claire’s own conscious lifetime, her killing Geillis to save Brianna and Ian hadn’t happened yet, chronologically speaking, it HAD already occurred. Was something like that happening from the very beginning? I notice the producers have dropped many other storylines from the book, but that one remains and, in fact, was referenced extensively in “Both Sides Now” on the show. They’ve emphasized it. I’d say it means it’s vital to the story going onward.

    Love your exploration of all of these circles in time. It’s a great way to end the season.

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    1. I think you’ve nailed it. In writing this recap I’ve convinced myself that it is the fate of their love that pulled her through the first time. I guess only DG knows for sure 🙂

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  3. I’ve enjoyed your blog as the season has progressed. Sad that the season has come to an end! As for Poldark….I keep trying to like him/it, but frankly he’s an ass and the acting a a bit strange – and I generally like all things British/PBS….Look at Broadchurch instead on Netflix….

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  4. I have a question for the “bookies”…did Claire discuss w/Roger (since he is the Historian) & Bree about clues she could “send” them via maybe a notice in a particular paper, a secret hiding place somewhere, where they would know she made it thru the stones, info about her life w/Jamie, etc?

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  5. Great re-cap. I loved it. I just have one question. The people who found them on the beach, this couple who has just been washed up, are wet and sandy and exhausted…and they walk off and leave them alone without a word???

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  6. Thank you for your insightful comments.

    Re: Poldark. My husband and I have faithfully watched all episodes. The series was enjoyable during the first season but, frankly, has become monumentally depressing since. Perhaps covering two books per season is the culprit. The characters never seem to learn from either mistakes or misfortunes. If you cheated, your partner must cheat. If you want to improve life for the people in your community, do not become involved with politics. PTSD is concerning now, soet’s work it into the plot. I’ll wager I’d appreciate it more after reading your comments.

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    1. I think I’ll start with the books? That seems to be the general advice. It will be difficult to not automatically compare it to Outlander, especially considering how high the bar is. But I will give it a go. 🙂

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  7. Great blog, thanks. Try Poldark – he’s a much more flawed character than Jamie Fraser but therein lies the interest. The acting is every bit as good as Outlander, the storyline more rooted in reality perhaps and the scenery fabulous.

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  8. Am I missing something or aren’t Brianna and Willy the same age and can both be the last King Of Scotland? Of course Lotte didnt know about Willie.

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    1. They are about the same age- Brianna is a few years older. I think the clincher is that Brianna was conceived in 1746 and born in 1948, so she’s the two hundred year old infant from the prophecy.

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  9. They are about the same age- Brianna is a few years older. I think the clincher is that Brianna was conceived in 1746 and born in 1948, so she’s the two hundred year old infant from the prophecy.

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  10. Interesting analysis – Jamie as the ghost seemed obvious from the beginning but just could not figure out why or how. Explanation above makes sense. Go for Poldark! It’s a different kind of Cinderella story with a not always charming, but very human Prince and a wonderful, earthy, engaging Demelza. There are many Interesting, well acted characters, and the Cornwall scenery is beautiful.

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  11. Loved your “full circle” analysis. I need to add, though, that during the panoramic shot of what passes as coastal Georgia the music is not a native American drumbeat but the fife and drums of colonial America most reminiscent of the Revolutionary War and it’s soldiers. Think Yankee Doodle. I would bet, and hope, that since the lead up to this war is again (Culloden? Full circle, right?) a theme to remaining books, we will hear that fife and drum music in opening credits music next year or at least maybe when book 5 or 6 are brought to life.

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    1. Oh interesting. I definitely recognized the music during the end credits as fife and drums but I thought I heard some hand drums at 53:19. But it would make sense that they are military drums leading into the credits.

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  12. Beth Lamberth….another circle: do you remember when Claire returned to Frank? She was with Mrs. Graham when military jets went overhead. Her reply to this was, “There’s always another f…war.” Now the fife and drums are heard!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have so enjoyed your smart, insightful recaps of this season’s episodes, and I hope you will continue as long as Outlander continues. In the theme of coming full circle, I watched the first episode of Season 3 while awaiting an impending hurricane — Hurricane Irma. The show was a welcome distraction from the worry and fear. I don’t know if my heart was pounding more from the season opener or the hurricane, but it was definitely pounding. And even more so for the season finale. Now, on the Droughtlander and bingeing the previous seasons.

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