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‘Outlander’ Review: The Sweltering Jamaican Heat Leads to a Lukewarm Season Finale

In Season 3, Episode 13, “Eye of the Storm," Geillis and Claire have their final showdown in a neat and tidy season finale.

Outlander Season 3 2017

David Bloomer

[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for “Outlander” Season 3 Episode 13, “Eye of the Storm.”]

Unrequited, Requited Love

Three seasons in and it’s very likely that Claire and Jamie have as many lives as a cat, given the various arrests, witch hunts, and enemies they have out to do them harm. Yet every single time they seem to escape with barely a scratch, as was the case in this season-ender. Despite being dragged off by the overeager Porpoise captain and arrested at the end of last week’s penultimate episode, Jamie managed to predictably finagle himself out of being hauled back overseas thanks to a quick intervention by Lord John Grey and Fergus. As such, he was able to return to Claire and help her secure Young Ian’s safe return, and the entire Fraser clan made it out alive, albeit with a few more emotional scars than when they first entered that cave.

Since that all went down in the first half of the episode it left plenty of time for a long and luxurious Claire and Jamie reunion on their voyage back home, quelling the action for a few moments and allowing fans of such things to be swept away in the romance of it all. Naturally, that romance was short-lived when the seas had their way with the Artemis, but for a few brief moments, it was the happy reunion ending before the storm (and subsequent secondary happy ending) that has been missing all season long.

The Bakra

Outlander Season 3 2017

There are few actual coincidences in “Outlander,” and those old bones Joe Abernathy and Claire dissected from a Jamaican cave were bound to resurface sooner rather than later. As it turned out, the finale was the time to discover those bones actually belonged to Geillis, and that Claire was the one who nearly severed her head with a machete when she threatened to sacrifice Ian, jump in the pool, and head to Claire’s present day in order to kill Brianna. Oh the things some will do for their royal causes, huh? The entire scene marked a swift and fitting end for the one-time witch and fellow time-traveler, bringing an end to Claire’s greatest foe a little too quickly for our tastes.

Of course, there was still some awkward lead-up to that moment, including Claire spilling all about her daughter, a very anti-Claire move considering how smart the character typically is. But hey, when you’re fighting for your life and a crazed politico holds all the cards, you do what you have to do.

Tribal Awakenings

While Margaret’s fortune-telling abilities weren’t anchored in the sacrificial tribal dances happening outside of Geillis’s residences as they were in the book, she and her brother were still present for the ordeal. Why they were there, specifically, and the purpose of such a scene in general actually remains unclear, but it did lead to some new revelations about Willoughby, who was also present. He followed his new potential love to the fires, where he had his final (and equally brief) showdown with Archibald Campbell and freed Margaret once and for all.
It was a quick detour from the rest of the action to be sure, and equally confusing given Willoughby’s former disdain for white women. We suppose we’ll chalk it up to the curious and poetic side of him being interested in Margaret’s abilities, since there’s no other explanation given how far this onscreen character has veered from the one originally presented in the book.

Outlander Season 3 2017

The Tides are Turning

This season skipped over plenty of potential big scenes for time or budgetary reasons (the Artemis crashing the first time comes to mind), but the magnitude of the storm that hit the ship in the finale certainly made up for it. It was obvious that a fair portion of the VFX budget went into that sickening crash, leading to one of the most exciting scenes of the entire season. When you sign up for episodes at sea, that’s the kind of turnaround you expect. Although to be fair, it’s also a huge suspension of belief that both Claire and Jamie were able to survive such a thrashing overboard, but there you have it. Another cat life down, folks.

Welcome to America

Considering that there’s still a warrant out for Jamie’s arrest it didn’t make sense that the ship could actually sail back to Scotland and return Ian with Jamie on board, so the fact that the entire (unharmed) crew landed in the Americas was probably a blessing in disguise. At the very least it gives Claire and Jamie the opportunity to face new foes in an unfamiliar terrain next season, setting up plenty of new story going forward.

By the Book

Outlander Season 3 2017

Given Jamie’s status with the law, a fair portion of “Voyager” was dedicated to Claire and Jamie discussing where they could live, with Claire suggesting America and Jamie being against the idea. That’s why the shipwreck that eventually landed them there was slightly fortuitous. Meanwhile, Grey’s involvement in helping Jamie escape was understated in the episode—it was his ship and money that helped Claire and Jamie get off the island unnoticed by the Porpoise in the first place.

Speaking of, the entire Porpoise chase before and during the storm was absent here, meaning that Jamie still has plenty of enemies seeking him out. Then there’s the entire Willoughby storyline, which has yet to play out. Perhaps the writers have a larger role for him next season, but whatever the case is, he’s very much still a part of this universe, with stronger ties to Jamie than ever.

For now, we’ll just have to be content in knowing that this couple has earned a small respite of happiness before they embark on whatever adventure next season brings.

Grade: C+

Outlander has been renewed for a fourth season and is expected to return sometime next year. “Outlander” airs on Starz and on W Network in Canada.

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