The season three finale is not the tearjerker of season two’s finale nor the horror of season one’s finale, but an excellent close to a great season of Starz’ Outlander all the same. There were some white knuckle and nail-biting moments that you’d expect from Outlander, and the wealth of information in the 1,000+ page book must have made transitioning it into a 13 episode season rather tricky. Personally, I think they did a great job with it. Things are never exact from book to screen. Slainte Mhath to Starz and the entire crew!
When we left off season three episode 12, Jamie (Sam Heughan) was being dragged away by British soldiers as he shouted for Claire (Caitriona Balfe) to continue to search for young Ian (John Bell). They had just found out Ian was on the plantation of Mrs. Geillis Abernathy (Lotte Verbeek). Season three episode 13 opens with Claire racing as fast as she can down a road through that very plantation in pursuit of young Ian.
Claire left via a side road that led down to the slaves’ quarters. She had apparently gone back to the room she and Jamie had at an Inn in town and changed her clothes. Her gold gown was lying on the bed along with a note to Fergus (Cesar Domboy). Fergus knows exactly what to do with the knowledge Milord has been arrested.
Claire quietly calls out for young Ian as she walks through the row of huts. She eventually comes to a small dog rooting at a pile of hay that has legs sticking out, legs that could belong to young Ian. She moves the hay aside to see another young fair-skinned boy with his throat cut. Just then, large arms grab Claire.
In the house, Geillis is still interrogating young Ian. Her manservant Hercules (Apolinhalo Antonio) gathers up Claire and takes her to see Geillis at the main house. The servants take Ian away as Claire’s brought in. Quite the production our modern-day Jacobite witch has going, ye ken!
Jamie’s on his way with Captain Leonard (Charlie Hiett) when they’re stopped by an island-based contingent of British troops. It’s nice to have friends in high places, especially when it’s the Governor and he’s in love with you, and raising your child.
Lord John Grey (David Berry) sits behind his desk, glaring at the young Captain because of his arrest of Jamie. The Captain tries to explain his case, but neither of the necessary legal papers – in the form of either warrant or sworn testimony – are in the Captain’s possession. (A technicality that works in Jamie’s favor this time.) Since Jamie was arrested on the island and not on a ship out of the Governor’s jurisdiction, Lord John Grey can force the Captain to relinquish his prize. He saves Jamie’s rather lovely backside once again.
Claire explains the trip to save young Ian, but Geillis is not satisfied. Geillis knows Claire’s from the future, just as she was. Geillis is full of wrong ideas about Claire and so Claire tries to explain the truth. Claire tells her she went back to her own time with their child when the uprising failed. She pulls out the pictures after Geillis doesn’t believe Claire traveled through the stones three times up to that point. Claire mentions that Geillis had met her daughter at the university before she left to travel through the stones. Geillis thinks Brianna (Sophie Skelton) is the 200-year-old baby mentioned in the prophesy she heard from Margaret Campbell (Alison Pargeter).
Claire’s taken away and locked in a room in the house. As she’s trying to find a way out, she sees Hercules taking Ian by the window and down a path toward the back of the property. Claire tries even harder to get out, but then sees someone coming from outside the door. She grabs a weapon and swings with all her might just as the figure enters the room. Thanks to the excellent reflexes of our dashing hero, Jamie manages to duck Claire’s swing and he’s not injured. Jamie quickly mentions Fergus got word to John Grey which is why he’s there to get her. They run out and follow the way Claire watched Ian go, toward the woods and the loud drumming.
As Jamie and Claire slowly make their way through the thick grass and trees, they come to a clearing. They watch a dance tha’s an obvious ritual being performed by natives. Claire has a flashback to the druid dance she witnessed on Craig Na Dun. The pair are discovered and forced into the clearing. The dancing stops at their arrival. Much to their surprise, Mr. Willoughby (Gary Young) comes to their defense and the ritual dancing continues. Margaret Campbell’s telling fortunes with the natives. It turns out Mr. Willoughby and Margaret wish to be together, so they had planned to leave together.
Margaret stops short at the sight of Jamie and walks over to take his hand. She sees him as he was in the field of Culloden and the lone rabbit that Jamie saw as he was at the point of death. Margaret then sees the moment Claire experienced watching a bird on her windowsill back in Boston while she thought of Jamie. She takes both their hands and then begins speaking as if she were Brianna. In the book, it played out a little differently and Jamie actually got to see Brianna as if from a vision in the fire.
Margaret sees a monster grabbing Brianna, and Jamie and Claire become afraid for her. Claire believes Geillis means to go back through the place on the island that functions like the stones on Craig Na Dun in Scotland. Claire notices one of the pictures is missing, the one Geillis took, and they know they’re close to the site of another time portal. The locals call the portal Abandawe.
Archibald Campbell (Mark Hadfield) comes to take his sister away and Mr. Willoughby defends Margaret to the point of killing her brother to stop him taking her.
Jamie and Claire realize Geillis intends to go back to kill Brianna, so now they must save both Ian and Brianna from Geillis. Jamie asks one of the natives where Abandawe is located and learn it’s down the path. Jamie and Claire are able to find the entrance to the cave. Tulach Ard!
The natives take Archibald’s body and add him to the ritual they’re performing. All right, does anyone else think all this is rather crazy? All the time this rather nutty stuff is going on, the drums are beating in the background. I am amazed at the power of music to heighten or calm a difficult scene.
As they enter the cave, Claire reveals she can hear the hum of the portal. They stop long enough to make plans as to what to do next. Jamie instructs Claire she must save Brianna, even if that means following Geillis through the portal. As they get into an open section of the cave, Jamie and Claire spy Geillis setting up her ritual circle that includes the picture of Brianna and several gems from the treasure box. Ian’s tied and laying behind her as Geillis intends a sacrifice of blood to go through the portal. Hercules steps out with a gun pointed right at Jamie’s temple.
Several things happen at once. As Geillis is pouring liquid on Ian so she can set him on fire, Jamie knocks the gun out of Hercules’ hand. Claire runs around the scrambling men to confront Geillis. As Jamie has a rather difficult fist fight with Hercules, a name well earned given his size, Claire has the more treacherous part of stopping Geillis.
Just as Jamie’s grabbing his dirk from where it fell on the ground and getting the better of the large servant, Claire lunges to stop Geillis. Claire pushes her away from the portal, which is a pool within the cave. Geillis makes a dash for it and Claire grabs a machete and almost takes off Geillis’ head in one massive swing of the blade. At the death of his mistress, Hercules stops fighting Jamie.
Jamie runs to untie Ian as Claire looks at Geillis lying dead on the ground. The pool continues to call to her and it takes Jamie grabbing her hand before Claire wakes from the call of the portal. They make it outside and Claire stands there, shaking. She remembers the skeleton Joe Abernathy (Wil Johnson) investigated back in Boston. Everything comes full circle, doesn’t it? Jamie’s so relieved to have both his loved ones back, he takes them safely in his arms for a moment before they head to the Artemis.
Once back on the ship, they set sail with the intention of returning to Scotland. Here comes one of my favorite scenes in the book… I know the Turtle Soup scene was a fan favorite, but this is one of my personal favorites, even over that one. Jamie starts to shave and Claire stops him. The scene is intimate and comical at the same time. Jamie mentions he dreamed of a time when he could have her alone, naked, and just the two of them. Claire reminds him they’re alone now, and the naked part she can fix really quick. Jamie stops her and explains his desires to have her to himself, body and soul. Jamie takes her over to the bed and finishes the instructions. I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but the narration of events was what caught me so funny.
As they’re wrapped up in each other’s arms, they hear a storm beginning to blow up. The next thing they know they’re in the middle of a horrible, rolling, blowing, monster storm. The crew tries to keep the ship upright as Claire tries to remind all of Jamie’s people to remain below. Claire does what she always does, she heads up anyway with the expectation of being the surgeon and rendering aid. Jamie’s distressed to see her come up on deck because he’s doing all he can to keep the ship upright. It takes two men to keep the wheel steady in the storm.
One of the sailors breaks his leg, so Claire and another sailor try to get the man below. Just then the mast breaks and a massive wave knocks Jamie to the rail and Claire overboard. She’s wrapped up in some of the broken rigging. It’s a miracle the boat doesn’t overturn, and Claire’s taken deep underwater because she’s tied up to the broken, sinking mast.
Jamie dives in and swims to her rescue. He has his dirk so he’s able to cut her free of the rope attached to the mast. Jamie brings her to the surface and finds a piece of floating wood. Claire’s still unresponsive and Jamie’s afraid she’s dead. Naturally, he has no notion of CPR. (And he’s in the water anyway.) The scene pulls back to reveal they’re in the eye of the hurricane.
The next thing Jamie knows he’s face down on a beach. He crawls over to Claire who remains unmoving. As Jamie leans down to kiss her cheek, Claire lets out a cough. They sit up and embrace, thankful to be alive but fearing they survived yet their loved ones on the Artemis have probably died. A local man, Joseph Oliver (Brett Williams), arrives and explains the Artemis did survive the storm – at least most of it. They ask where they landed and Mr. Oliver explains they’re in the colony of Georgia. They made it to America! And we made it to another Droughtlander…sigh. Alas, all things must ebb and flow. Regardless, I’m sure Jamie’s happy to be on solid ground again. Next season we will see what Jamie and Claire make of 18th century America. Tulach Ard!!
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
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 12 “The Bakra” Recap
– Outlander Season 4 Episode 1 “America the Beautiful” 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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