Outlander season three episode 12 is full of old ghosts, old wardrobes, and old unfinished business. If you watched this episode’s preview, you already know some of what I’m referring to. And if you read the book, you know the rest of what I mean.
We start with young Ian (John Bell)…poor, dear young Ian. We finally get to see his side of events as we begin this twelfth episode of season three in Starz’ Outlander series, “The Bakra.” The word Bakra means boss. Just who do you think that might refer to in this long grocery list of characters? Let’s find out, shall we?
We already know young Ian was snatched by pirates. We begin by seeing him dragged off the island holding the chest, right back to where Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are shouting from the shoreline. Ian doesn’t go without fighting his captors, but he’s forced aboard the Bruja, very harshly treated though not hurt, and delivered to Jamaica.
Ian’s thrown into a cell where he finds other young men hiding and locked up. Ian’s told a tale of other young men who were in the same cell, but were taken to see the Bakra and never returned. Of course, Ian asks what a Bakra is. When next we see him, Ian’s having his meeting with the aforementioned Bakra.
A slave servant named Hercules (Apolinhalo Antonio) takes Ian to a room and sits him down on a bed. He promptly leaves the room as Ian contemplates his fate, based on what the other prisoners told him. The next thing Ian sees is a blood-coated foot rise in the air to catch his attention. He hadn’t noticed the figure in the bath directly in front of him, bathing in goat’s blood. And might I add, YUCK!
A Scottish female voice joins the foot, and if you have a keen ear you might hear a familiar voice along with it. The view turns so that we can see the back of the woman, nude and coated in blood up to the neck, stepping from the bath. She turns to look over her shoulder and announces her name as a ghost from the past: Geillis (Lotte Verbeek), the cat with nine lives. She comes around to stand in front of Ian and starts pouring water on herself to wash away the blood. As a young man, Ian’s both aroused by a naked woman and repulsed by the rest of the scene before him.
Hercules arrives with a tray of cakes and tea. Naturally, Ian’s hungry so it doesn’t take much prodding to get him to eat and drink from the tray. Geillis starts asking about a sapphire jewel that’s missing from the box. Ian blurts out that he thought his Uncle Jamie took it. He then claps his hand over his mouth, eyes flying wide open as he looks suspiciously at the tea cup saucer holding the tea she gave him. She admits she spiked it with a witch doctor’s potion to make him tell the truth.
Geillis is surprised to find Ian’s the nephew of James Fraser, but she also knows that Jamie will come for his nephew. Let the plotting begin.
Geillis continues her seduction of the young man and reveals she uses young virgins to get their power, then discards them when she’s done. Ian informs her he’s not a virgin, to her brief surprise. She pulls him closer using her toes on his shirt. Her long, slender toes work just like fingers. I found this particularly funny because I know two people in my life with toes like that, ones that could pinch or pick up things like a hand would. But I digress… Ian and Geillis get down to business as the “Skye Boat” song starts our episode.
(There are a great many things that are different from the book in the show, as we have seen this season. The main items do continue to move the story in the proper way, so don’t worry.)
Jamie and Claire make it to Jamaica with Fergus (Cesar Domboy) and Marsali (Lauren Lyle). They must first tend to the cargo that allowed them to journey to Jamaica on the Artemis, then the next order of business is to find Ian. They need to get things done before the Porpoise arrives with the skeleton crew, who Claire saved, and a captain determined to find and arrest Jamie. Jamie meets the contact who’s to receive the cargo and is offered an invitation to the Governor’s Ball to celebrate the new Governor of the British territory.
They get settled in and start combing the slave market to see if young Ian was among the stock of the slave traders. Claire’s naturally appalled at what she sees. She also knows there’s a time when the horrible trade of humans will be put down.
Jamie speaks with the slave traders in the hopes of finding Ian and discovers the Governor’s house had purchased the entire lot of slaves from the Bruja. It was lucky that Jamie and Claire were given an invitation to the ball after all. The search continues, but at least they have a bread crumb to follow.
Jamie turns around and is looking for Claire – of course she has wandered off – and our dear Sassenach is overcome by what she witnesses going on in the slave market. She lashes out, of course.
Claire watches as a young slave woman is branded with a hot iron. There’s one slave on the platform being auctioned, and one prospective patron looking at the poor man for breeding stock. He wants proof of the slave’s virility, so the trader is attempting to stiffen the poor slave’s resolve to demonstrate and Claire simply loses all control. She lashes out and hits the man, starting a massive fight in the market. Jamie comes to her rescue. (We know our Sassenach cannot suffer injustice like that.) Jamie does the only thing he possibly can do, he purchases the man.
Claire’s now the not-so-proud owner of a young male slave named Temeraire (Thapelo J Sebogodi). Jamie and Claire both agree he will need to be freed. They contemplate how and when to do it safely so that he won’t land back in that market or dead. Plus, Temeraire might come in handy at that.
They need to go to the Governor’s Ball, so they ask Temeraire to help them by speaking to the other slaves of the house. Jamie cannot speak to them, but another slave can do it discreetly. They explain they intend to free him when the opportunity is safe and ask if they have a bargain in discussing their need to find young Ian with the other slaves. Temeraire is shocked by the blunt knowledge they want to free him, but agrees to help with the inquiries about Ian.
At Geillis’ plantation, she’s now known as the widowed Mrs. Abernathy and is hosting Archibald Campbell (Mark Hadfield) and his sister, Margaret Campbell (Alison Pargeter). This is the reason the Campbells journeyed from Scotland after Claire visited them in Edinburgh.
Geillis needs the sapphire Jamie took from the treasure box to see about a third Scottish uprising in the future she was told about by a different fortune teller. If you recall, Jamie gave the jewel to Lord Grey – or, more correctly, it was confiscated while he was in prison. Geillis is beside herself because she still has no knowledge of the stone. Archibald asks how she came to know of the treasure. Geillis became aware of the family treasure of the MacKenzie clan through Dougal MacKenzie. Margaret must hold all three sapphires to see and speak the prophesy.
The Fraser party attend the Governor’s Ball later that night. I’m sure some are liking the wig that would make the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) pleased that sits atop Jamie’s head, but do not count me among them. I like the red hair, but of course I’m partial because I have dark auburn locks myself. I get he has to go incognito, so the covering of the signature red hair is prudent. But…meh!
The Governor’s Ball allows us to see some of the previous French attire trotted out for the occasion. Even Yi Tien Chow/Mr. Willoughby (Gary Young) is present and wearing one of Jamie’s French outfits as well.
Jamie and Claire reminisce about the clothes and their time at Versailles. As they walk up the entrance steps, Claire’s surprised to see Archibald Campbell. They chat briefly, then Claire and Jamie join the receiving line to see the Governor. As they’re surrounded by slave servants, Jamie asks Claire when the slave trade will end. Claire knows it will be 70 more years before Britain stops the practice, and 100 years before what will become the United States of America will no longer have slaves.
As Jamie and Claire wait in line, some women become intrigued by Yi Tien Chow standing just behind Jamie. Yi Tien Chow finds the entire encounter amusing and indulges the ladies. He then turns to see Margaret Campbell telling a slave of his imminent freedom. Margaret and Yi Tien Chow share a glance across the room, and a brief smile. Yi Tien Chow is not happy with how Margaret’s brother continues to treat her.
Jamie and Claire remark about Fergus and Marsali giggling and imparting affection without being TOO obvious. Newlyweds can hardly contain themselves completely in public, and Claire remarks how she and Jamie were once that way. They joke a little but then share a deeply intimate and longing glance. Apparently, they’re not entirely away from the ‘newlywed’ behavior, ye ken.
All at once they’re close enough to see the new Governor. Enter the dashing Lord John Grey (David Berry). The shock and pleasure on his face is astonishing. Jamie’s pleased to see him too, and to introduce Claire to him. Lord Grey’s exceedingly surprised and asks how she was restored to Jamie. Claire just says it’s a long story without elaborating. Understatement of the multiple centuries.
Lord John Grey leaves the line and leads the couple into a quiet room so they can talk in private. If I was Claire, I would have butterflies trying to overtake my pounding heart at that point. Across the room, Geillis sees the pair walking with the Governor.
Lord John asks Jamie if he’s well but Jamie only wants to hear of his son, Willie. In the book this was the time Jamie was presented with the painted medallion by Lord John and eventually told Claire of the boy. As we know, the show revealed that surprise much earlier.
Jamie and John share a far too long glance and it isn’t missed by Claire. They speak briefly about the boy and eventually get around to why Jamie’s on the island at all. Jamie notices the sapphire that then Major Grey took from him mounted in a token on his hip. Lord John explains he made it into the token and he wears it as a remembrance. He takes his leave of the couple, and Jamie’s left to gather his feelings with Claire looking on.
Back out in the crowd of attendants to the Ball, Jamie and Claire mingle trying to find word of Ian. Jamie goes one way and Claire goes another.
Yi Tien Chow finds Margaret Campbell sitting quietly outside near a fountain. He explains he didn’t like how her brother treated her and calls her a flower from heaven. As she touches his hand, she says he’s a rare soul. I sense a connection here, but that is just a wild guess. They both are too cute. I always liked the Yi Tien Chow character.
Lord John Grey approaches Claire and mentions he did meet her before the rising. They joke a little about the events when he was a 16-year-old boy who attempted to kill Red Jamie. Claire mentions that Jamie had told her a great deal about all the events involving his son and Lord John’s wife’s sister as the boy’s mother. Claire changes the subject to the sapphire and Lord John explains Jamie gave it to him while he was a prisoner. Lord John mentions that it was good to finally meet the love who was Jamie’s every heartbeat. Claire smiles and looks across the room for a second to see Geillis. Lord John notices the surprise, and Claire excuses herself abruptly to follow Geillis outside.
Claire finds Geillis outside and of course the first question is how she survived the fires after the witch trial. Geillis explains that the pregnancy saved her life. They had to let her survive long enough to deliver the child. The child was an innocent and its death would constitute murder. Then Dougal came and took the child away to another family. He helped her to escape by putting an old woman who passed three days before into the cloak Geillis was to be burned in. Clair’s surprised by all of this.
Geillis reveals she eventually married a sugar plantation owner and is now Mistress Abernathy. She asks Claire why she’s in Jamaica, like she didn’t already know from Ian. Claire explains they’re looking for young Ian, and Geillis fakes support and concern.
Geillis wants to go in and find Jamie, so Claire takes her in to find him. He’s sitting with the Governor when Claire locates him. Jamie stands at her approach and is shocked to see Geillis approaching behind her.
Geillis notices the token with the sapphire and abruptly leaves to get Archibald Campbell. She tells him to do readings for the crowd and manipulates Lord John Grey into a reading. The sapphire finds itself in Margaret Campbell’s hands and she provides the prophesy Geillis wanted to hear while Jamie and Claire look on with deep suspicion.
The reading’s cryptic and Geillis runs outside with Archibald Campbell to understand what Margaret said. He tells Geillis it meant that a new Scottish king would rise when a 200-year-old baby was killed on the day of its birth. Riddle that one out, if you can.
Fergus and Marsali are outside gushing about being married when they see the entrance of British troops, led by Captain Leonard (Charlie Hiett). Jamie and Claire immediately leave and actually run into their new servant, Temeraire, while heading for the carriage. Temeraire did find Ian and explains he was taken to Mrs. Abernathy. Claire realizes Geillis was lying to her.
Jamie promises to take Temeraire to the escaped slaves he asked to be left with for his freedom. As they ride to bring Temeraire to his freedom, the British soldiers find Jamie and Claire on the road. Jamie gives Claire his children’s pictures just before he’s taken by the soldiers. Claire cusses the Captain out for taking him away after she saved all their lives. Jamie’s still taken away, Claire’s left on the road with the carriage, and we’re left with just one episode remaining in this season. The season finale awaits. Je Suis Prest!
More on Outlander:
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 1 “The Battle Joined” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 2 “Surrender” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 3 “All Debts Paid” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 4 “Of Lost Things” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 5 “Freedom & Whisky” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 6 “A. Malcolm” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 7 “Crème De Menthe” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 8 “First Wife” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 9 “The Doldrums” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 10 “Heaven and Earth” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 11 “Uncharted” Recap
– Exclusive Interview on Season 3 with Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore
– One-on-One with Sophie Skelton
– Richard Rankin Interview on Outlander Season 3 and Playing Roger
– Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies Q&A
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