It’s about to get all spoilery up in here, sassenachs. If you haven’t watched the newest episode of Outlander, “Faith,” avert your eyes now and do not travel through the stones.
The end of last week’s Outlander was the opposite of optimistic. All signs pointed to Claire losing her baby, and they didn’t shy away from confronting the miscarriage and the basket of emotions that accompanies such a tragedy. Then again, shying away isn’t a tactic Outlander ever takes. They gave us a bit of hope before facing Claire’s grief, though, and it was like receiving a hug saying, “It’s going to be okay.”
“Faith” starts in 1954 Boston. Claire is with her redheaded daughter; readers of the books by Diana Gabaldon know her to be Brianna. The transition back to Scotland feels forced–Brianna saw a heron in a book and her asking Claire about the bird prompted her memories to flood with the sad events after the duel.
Caitriona Balfe deserves an award for the deep, gut-wrenching emotion displayed in every part of this episode. The image of a blank-faced, crying Claire lying on her back while hospital workers buzz around her is burned into my brain. Balfe was the very portrait of the word stricken, and it hit like a fist in the face. Outlander isn’t precisely a cheerful show, but this installment in particular was hard and made me want to hide under a comforting blanket.
The baby was born dead. Mother Hildegarde broke the rules and baptized Claire’s dead daughter so she could be buried in the cemetery, all proper-like. She named the baby Faith. Claire was hysterical, as you can imagine. Since Jamie was in jail for illegally dueling, she had to process the miscarriage alone. On top of all the misery, she was also carrying anger and hatred for Jamie because she didn’t know why he broke his promise not to duel Randall.
Claire, borderline delusional, persuaded Hildegarde to let her see her dead daughter and then proceeded to cradle the baby all day. Claire tried to show off her beautiful girl to Louise–who I have to give credit to. By visiting the hospital and assisting Claire, she proves herself to be a true friend. She wasn’t only hanging out with Claire for the sake of society and appearance. I misjudged her somewhat.
All of those extreme sentiments weren’t enough of a burden, though. Claire was also plagued by an infection from placenta that wasn’t expelled, and she was nearing her own death. She burned with fever and only healed when Master Raymond busted into the hospital under the cover of night to apply his particular set of healing skills. He practiced a certain kind of art and was able to cure Claire; everyone at the hospital called her recovery a miracle.
Thankfully, Claire finally left the hospital for the more comforting environment of home with Fergus’ help. Yet her homecoming continued the heartbreak–especially the small but meaningful moment she exchanged with Magnus to reassure him. Her being home also led her to a big discovery about Fergus: the utterly terrible Randall molested him. The young boy screamed and cried, and his upset voice caught Jamie’s attention, and we know what happened after. Poor Fergus was ashamed to tell Claire and felt responsible for all of it. I thought my heart was worn out at this point, but I was overwhelmed with pity for Fergus and could totally grasp Jamie’s desire for vengeance.
Claire could too, and she did what was necessary to get Jamie out of prison; she went directly to King Louis and asked for him to pardon Jamie. She expected the king to ask for sex in return because she was warned about it. Instead, or I should say in addition to that form of payment, Louis had heard about her reputation as La Dame Blanche and wanted her to pass judgment on Master Raymond and Comte St. Germain.
That scene was layered and heavy and twisted. They gave it a ton of room to breathe with spectacular effect, turning the tension so far up. Claire had the power at her fingertips to stop St. Germain, her and Jamie’s biggest rival in Paris, but couldn’t bring herself to condemn him to death for spite. Resourceful as ever, she told Louis she only saw the usual amount of darkness in both the men. It wasn’t enough; the king wanted blood.
Again, Claire figured out a way around Louis’ demands. She grabbed an herb from the supplies the king had confiscated from Raymond’s shop and administered it. The liquid was one that would cause pain but not death. Raymond passed the test but in an instant, he poisoned the innocuous drink so St. Germain would be killed. Yes, Raymond deserves to have a membership at the Magic Castle. His move was cruel and underhanded, but I sort of respect Raymond for taking advantage of the situation.
Jamie was released from prison. His and Claire’s reunion wasn’t a joyous, run across the room and embrace each other kind of scene, and it shouldn’t have been. It was Claire admitting she hated Jamie for a time, as she remembered holding their dead daughter in her arms. It was her blaming herself for going to the woods after Jamie. It was her telling Jamie she slept with the king. It was her admitting she wanted to go back to Scotland. France has been poisonous for them. She probably feels defeated in every way.
What are your thoughts on Balfe’s performance and Claire and Jamie’s decision to go back to Scotland? Share all the feelings in the comments.