[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for “Outlander” Season 3 Episode 12, “The Bakra.”]
Unrequited, Requited Love
Following last week’s reunion, Claire and Jamie finally made it to Jamaica in once piece in Sunday night’s episode, where lush lands and plenty of potential danger awaited them, thanks to the Porpoise and its young captain who was still intent on arresting Jamie for murder. The couple had larger things to worry about, though, namely finding Ian and rescuing him from a life of slavery. Little did Claire and Jamie know that their nephew had other things to worry about, namely the one they called The Bakra and her penchant for young boys. We knew, though, thanks to a clever narrative switch at the beginning of the episode, which showed us Ian’s point of view throughout the whole ordeal.
However, thanks to a few more coincidental run-ins and a newly acquired slave, it didn’t take long for Claire and Jamie to learn the truth of the situation, and to take off towards The Bakra’s lands in order to find the boy. Unfortunately, yet another arrest stopped the duo from reaching their destination, as the captain caught up with Jamie and whisked him away despite all that Claire had done to save his crew. At this point, Jamie’s arrests are getting a little repetitive, and the scene marked yet another instance in which the Frasers have been ripped apart this season — by now it’s basically a drinking game. That left Claire to search for Ian alone on unknown terrain.
If Black Jack Randall is Jamie’s biggest adversary, Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek) is Claire’s. The character resurfaced after supposedly being burned at the stake back in the first season, alive and ready to continue her crazed cause for the Scottish revolution. This isn’t just a woman who bathes in animal blood and has her way with young boys before killing them — she’s got unfathomable income at her disposal and is armed with the same time-traveling knowledge that Claire has. That makes her one of the series’ most dangerous characters and someone that Claire obviously can’t trust.
Given the prophecy that Geillis learned towards the end of the episode — that a 200 year-old-baby must die before the next king can be crowned — we can only assume Brianna is Geillis’ next target. (Because how many other 200-year-old-babies do we know?) And now that Jamie passed the pictures of his daughter onto Claire for safekeeping before his arrest, it’s inevitable that Geillis will learn about the Fraser offspring in next week’s finale.
Speaking of familiar faces, the new Governor of Jamaica also happened to be one Lord John Grey — Willie’s stepfather and the man who still harbors a huge crush on Jamie, as was noted by the fact that he still carries the sapphire Jamie “gave” him back in prison. The fact that Grey surfaced with the gem just in time for Geillis to put two-and-two together and for Margaret to read the prophecy was all quite coincidental and somewhat rushed, leaving audiences no time to actually guess what was unfolding in front of them. That can be forgiven, since this episode had more action we’ve seen all season, but other than Grey bringing the sapphire with him it seemed like his character was somewhat wasted in those awkward scenes. Unless he can somehow pardon Jamie or help him to escape next week, it seemed otherwise pointless to bring him back at this point.
It’s one thing to hear about the slaves’ auction and another to witness it. Knowing what we do about Claire’s character, it made perfect sense for her to react when a man was being fondled in public to prove that he could “breed” with the other slaves, but her outburst paid off in the end when the man she and Jamie “bought” helped to find Ian’s location.
Speaking of slaves, it isn’t lost on us that Geillis and her slaves are going by the name Abernathy, which we also know happens to be the last name of Claire’s modern-day doctor friend, Joe.
An Unlikely Match
Something tells us this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Mr. Willoughby and Margaret, and to be honest we hope that’s a through-line that continues into the finale. After all of the tales of lost romance, and knowing what Willoughby gave up in order to keep his “manhood,” the guy deserves a love interest. Especially if that love interest is Margaret, who can’t seem to escape her greedy, opportunist brother.
By the Book
This episode veered the most from the “Voyager” novel, setting the Claire and Geillis reunion at the Governor’s estate rather than on Geillis’s home turf, and altogether omitting the shocking Willoughby murder scene. Even Jamie’s arrest wasn’t in line with how the search party went to rescue Ian from The Bakra, and Margaret’s seer abilities weren’t given tribal qualities the way they were on paper. Given how much ground the show had to cover in a mere hour these were all necessary changes, but the end result felt rushed over and a little too concise.
Considering how far the Frasers traveled in order to get their nephew back, it would have been nice to spend a little more time on his trail while actually in Jamaica. It also would have been more interesting to dig into the Willie reveal here than back at the halfway point when Claire and Jamie were first reunited, in order to maximize John Grey’s return and to showcase the two most significant relationships in Jamie’s life. Perhaps there will be more of that in next week’s finale, although with everything left to come, we’re definitely getting under the gun.
Next week: Claire and The Bakra face off. “Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz and on W Network in Canada.