TV REVIEW: Outlander, S1, E10: By The Pricking Of My Thumbs

This was a bit of a snoozer episode – lots of setup for things to come in future seasons but there were some great moments, especially from Lotte Verbeek. Geillis makes a reappearance and you know that nothing good can come of that! The Duke of Sandringham has arrived and Jamie’s hoping that he can help lift the price from his head, while Claire attempts to save an abandoned child (and once more not listening to Jamie!).

WAKE UP CALL
Is it hot in here or is it just me? If you thought last week’s sex scene was sizzling (say that 3x fast), then the opening scene from this week will likely have you reaching for a fan. Jamie Fraser is a very thoughtful husband (but I guess so was Frank when he did this) and wakes up his wife by giving her a bath of sorts! A blissful way to start the day, at least that’s what it looks like Claire thinks. That’s one way to apologize for being an ass.

Speaking of those, we don’t get to see Jamie’s this time but Murtagh almost gets an eyeful as he bangs on the door and is subsequently embarrassed when he realizes what he almost interrupted. But he has important news – the Duke of Sandringham has arrived – the one person who might be able to get the price lifted off of Jamie’s head not only because of his title, but because he has an affinity for young men (and at one point, 16 year old Jamie).

At the sound of the name, Claire sits up and before speaking what she knows, she confirms that Jamie won’t question just how she knows this information – and let’s him know the disappointing news. Mr. Fraser is pretty naive in plenty of things so he has to tread carefully when engaging the Duke.

THE SLAP
While Jamie’s meeting with Ned Gowan to draw up his appeal to the courts, Claire has some business of her own to take care of. That of little Miss Laoghaire putting her wares on display to her husband and leaving a nasty ill wish under their bed. Stomping her way to the kitchens, Claire ignores Mrs. Fitz’s inquiry and asks to speak to her conniving granddaughter…alone.

When Claire confronts her, Laoghaire tries to play dumb and the older woman show some empathy at being hurt by her crush’s rejection and setting the record straight: “The truth is, he was never yours to begin with.” Oh, it’s on now! The young, annoying and delusional child (can you tell I don’t like Leghair – I mean LEERY?) lashes back by calling Claire “a cold, English bitch” who Jamie will only sleep with if he’s “swine drunk”.

Whoop! It’s the slap heard round the world, and one I’m sure many people would’ve loved to deliver themselves. Claire’s a better person than me and apologizes for the physical violence but the little brat deserved it! And that smack did loosen Laoghaire’s tongue – she confesses the truth and hoped that the evil talisman would make Jamie hate his wife as much as she does. “He belongs with me and one day it will be so…” I’ve raised my eyebrow at that one. Laoghaire reveals that Geillis sold her the trinket and with that Claire tells her to stay away from them. Me thinks this won’t end well.

SING ME A SONG
Going to Geillis’ abode, Claire finds her ill husband instead. He shouts that he doesn’t know where she is as his guts gurgle and he shouts out in pain. As she hurries out – Geillis’ maid Jennie whispers instructions on where to find her mistress.

Following instructions, Claire hides in the shadows as Geillis performs a summoning ritual – similar to the one she and Frank witnessed at Craigh na Dun. Half naked and writhing in the ground, Geillis creepily beckons to Claire that she can come out of hiding. Languid and relaxed, the witch reveals her bulging belly and who the father is – Dougal MacKenzie.

She mentions that the summoning she performed was to Mother Nature – to free both her and Dougal from the trappings of their loveless marriages so they can be together. She requests that Claire keep her secrets and also lets her know that she had no idea Laoghaire was going to use the ill wish on her. Walking through the woods, the two talk and Claire recalls back to the future when Frank and Reverend Wakefield discussed the Duke – and how he was close buddies with Black Jack and a suspected Jacobite. Tidbits for later!

Soon, Claire hears a baby crying up on a “fairy hill” – Geillis says it’s a changeling but our fair English rose doesn’t believe in folks tales and ignores her warnings. She climbs the hill but it’s too late – the poor baby dies from exposure to the cold. It’s a tough scene to watch and Jamie finds his despondent wife holding the baby and numb from crying. He gently puts the baby back and explains that Geillis told him where to find her. She lashes out at him and in a nod to last week’s punishment scene, tells her why people believe the things they do in that day and age. They have faith that their child is in a better place..with the fairies.

DUKE VERSUS FRASER
It’s not basketball but the game is all the same – let’s hope that it’s not the Duke who wins this time though! Claire hesitates to sign her name to the appeal letter but finally does and puts her first stamp in this version of history. If Frank knew what to look for, he’d find her but alas, he does not.

To be honest, a lot of the stuff with the Duke was pretty boring but the jist of it is that Claire meets with him before her husband does, and threatens to expose his ties to Black Jack if he doesn’t deliver the letter to the King. It works but not without Jamie having to pay back the favor (no one does anything without wanting something in return, Jamie!) by being the Duke’s second in a duel with the MacDonald’s. He gets stabbed for his effort – a painful lesson to learn, I’d say!

DIVORCE IS OVERRATED
Just wish your spouses dead! It appears that Geillis’ summoning ritual is working as Claire is summoned to the Castle to attend to a raging-in-despair Dougal, who’s just learned that his wife has suddenly died. In doctor mode, she slips a sedative into some liquor and Angus tricks him into taking it. Later, Claire delivers the news and is disgusted when Geillis is pleased – she knows something Mrs. Fraser doesn’t know about Mr. Duncan.

That he’s not going to last long.

At a dinner in honor of the Duke, Arthur Duncan chokes and falls out of his seat, foaming at the mouth. As horrified onlookers gasp, Claire tries to save the man, but he’s dead from cyanide poisoning and it’s soon apparent at who’s responsible – Geillis. Also, why her and Dougal dumb enough to exchange stares and smirks in front of everyone is beyond me.

Both Colum and Claire witness it and put two and two together – which has the lovely consequence of getting Dougal exiled and Jamie having to accompany him (to pay for the skirmish with the MacDonald’s) – which leaves Claire all by her lonesome. We know what tends to happen when Claire ignores Jamie’s wishes for her to stay put (and this time, stay away from Geillis), she gets herself into life or death situations.

This time is no different – she’s accused of witchcraft and it’s all thanks to the evil little bitch, Laoghaire. She likely figures that if she can get Claire out of the way, Jamie’s all hers. Oh how wrong you are youngin’!

How are Claire and Geillis going to get themselves out of this mess? Let us know in the comments! Ron D. Moore’s behind-the-scenes podcasts give great insight into choices made while filming the episode and only serve to add enjoyment to the series. Check out them out below:

BTS Episode 101 | BTS Episode 102 | BTS Episode 103 | BTS Episode 104 | BTS Episode 105 | BTS Episode 106 | BTS Episode 107 | BTS Episode 108 | BTS Episode 109 | BTS Episode 110 (NEW!)

Rating: 3/5
Author: Sharlene Mousfar

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