Outlander Recap: Episode 1.11 — "The Devil’s Mark"

Last week on Outlander: The Duke of Sandringham visited and our wily Claire persuaded him to take Jamie’s petition to London. We found out that Geillis: 1. is pregnant, 2. bones Dougal on the regular, and 3. dances under the full moon naked. Oh, and she successfully killed her husband. Farewell, Arthur. Colum exiles Dougal and sends Jamie to accompany him back home. Laoghaire, aka Leering Creep, got both Geillis and Claire arrested for witchcraft. So it’s trial time!

After their arrest, Claire and Geillis are tossed down into the Thieves’ Hole, which is — as you might guess — a hole in the ground. Their only company are some large rats. Cheer up, ladies. In New York City, you’d pay $750 a month for these accommodations. 

No sooner do they land in their new digs than Geillis and Claire start sniping at each other. Geillis accuses Claire of turning her in, but Claire sets her straight quickly — this is all on Leering Creep. Claire also points out that Geillis has been more than a little indiscreet with her late-night wanderings since Geillis’ maid, Jeanie, knew that Geillis would be in the woods at the full moon. Claire doesn’t think Geillis is a witch, but she knows Geillis is a murderer. Geillis doesn’t deny this — in fact, she blithely describes how she poisoned Arthur over the course of several months, so that she’d be free to marry Dougal and give birth to his son openly. 

Disgusted, Claire rattles at the metal covering of the Thieves’ Hole and tries to explain that she’s Claire Fraser, married to the nephew of the laird.

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But, surprise! The attending guard doesn’t care. Geillis tries to calmly reassure Claire that Dougal will spring them both soon enough, and then Claire finally tells her that Dougal’s been banished. Claire? That’s the information you should’ve LED WITH when you were trying to convince Geillis to leave. 

Finally realizing the severity of their circumstances, Geillis and Claire ease their hostilities and cuddle up together for warmth. My reaction is both “aww” and “sniffle.” The next morning, the ladies are awakened to cries of “burn the witches!” because if there’s anything old-timey Christians love, it’s the perverse satisfaction of executing perceived sinners. As Jesus would’ve done. 

Passing the construction of stakes (eek) on the way in, Claire and Geillis are led to their trial. In the court of Cranesmuir, the charges are read and while Claire frets about not seeing any familiar faces, a very familiar face appears. It’s Ned Gowan! Salt of the earth that he is, Ned’s here to defend Claire and Geillis. He plays on Scottish nationalism (and antipathy toward the English) by pointing out that Scottish law — unlike English law — allows an accused witch to have an attorney. “Yay Scotland, Boo England!” is essentially how the crowd responds.

Following the time-honored tradition of TV judges essentially saying “I don’t like it…I’ll allow it,” the arbiters here let Ned step in. 

First up testifying against the accused is Geillis’ treacherous housekeeper, Jeanie. One of the things Jeanie mentions is that women approached Geillis for potions and spells, which…only reflects poorly on Geillis? All of these women trying to benefit from witchcraft are definitely NOT morally suspect…I guess? Give me a b. 

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After an hour of Jeanie lying her lying ass off, Ned points out that Jeanie is a dissatisfied servant seeking vengeance — apparently she inquired about a job at Castle Leoch and insulted the Duncans pretty egregiously in the process. Sharing these fairly humorous insults with the crowd, who roar with laughter, you can tell why Ned is an excellent lawyer, though all of these people just seem highly suggestible and likely to agree with whatever they’ve heard last. 

Next we hear from the mother of the dead “changeling” baby Claire cradled last week. After leaving the ailing changeling in the woods for the fairies to replace with her own child (SIGH), the mother crept back the next morning and saw Claire with the baby, having interrupted the switch. This is Too Much for Claire, who jumps up immediately and proclaims that she’s a healer who just wanted to help the child. Ned calms Claire, and then launches into his cross-examination. 

Whereas Ned was dismissive and lightly mocking toward Jeanie, here he changes tack and gives his condolences to the grieving mother. He gently persuades the mother into admitting that her fear, which kept her from stopping Claire from “contaminating” the changeling, is what truly prevented the fairies from completing the switch. He then reminds her — and the court — that at least it was the CHANGELING child that died, not hers. Her baby is alive and well, living with the fairies. “Perhaps we should thank this woman, instead of condemning her.” Wow, Ned. Wow wow wow. You’re possibly TOO good at this?

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Brief sidenote: Does this mean that there are a ton of successful fairy/changeling switches? Are people constantly bringing their sick babies into the woods? Is this the only time this hasn’t worked? What the HELL is going on in Scotland right now? 

The next witness is some rube named Alistair Duffy who spins the most ridiculous story of Geillis standing around on the battlements with red eyes, bringing down lightening (v. cool, if true) and flying away. The crowd LOVES IT. They’re eating this garbage up. These are the same people who, if alive today, would willingly pay $14 to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. So they definitely, definitely should be the ones to determine whether two people live or die. 

As the crowd screams “WITCH!,” the judges decide to reconvene the trial in the morning. Before they’re led away, Claire asks Ned if Colum sent him; the answer is “hell no,” if you were wondering. Claire then asks if Colum had something to do with the arrest; Ned’s answer to that one is basically: ¯_(ツ)_/¯. But he does slip Claire a flask before they part, so that’s something. 

Back in the Hole of Punishment (no, not you, Laoghaire), Claire and Geillis share some whiskey and, as drunk girlfriends often do, they start talking about men. Claire wonders if Geillis was just using Dougal for money and power, which isn’t an unfair conclusion based on how Geillis has behaved thus far. But apparently Geillis is much more stouthearted than we could’ve guessed: she’s in love with Dougal because he’s a proud Jacobite rebel, fighting for the cause on behalf of all of Scotland, not just the MacKenzies. And Geillis? Had been skimming a fair amount of Arthur’s money to donate to the Jacobite cause. She’s a believer in Bonnie Prince Charlie, too! So this isn’t merely an affair between two oversexed scoundrels — Geillis and Dougal are two revolutionaries who fell in love! 

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When Claire alludes to Dougal’s sexcapades with numerous women, Geillis reveals that she doesn’t really care. His loyalty to Scotland — not her — is what she loves about him. “He’s a lion,” she says breathlessly. “You actually love the bastard,” Claire replies, mirroring Colum’s incredulity toward Dougal last week (“You actually love the bitch!”). 

Even in spite of Dougal following Colum’s order to leave, Geillis has no regrets. She’s content to die for her cause. Geillis then asks Claire if she truly loves Jamie, since she calls out his name in her sleep, but Claire doesn’t say anything. Damn, girl. This woman just poured her heart out to you, and you’re not giving her anything! You’re cold as ice.

At the trial the next morning, the first witness is ol’ Leering Creep herself. She tells the court about how she approached Claire for a love potion to use on Jamie, because SHE’S the one who Jamie is supposed to be with.

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Like, who decides that, Leering Creep? You? Sure, you’re half of that equation, but guess what? Jamie gets a say, too. And if you needed to seek out a love potion to FORCE him to love you, maybe you’re actually NOT the one. By your own admission, you’re only angry that Claire supposedly used it first! I REST MY CASE, YOUR HONOR. ONE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS IN THE HOLE OF PUNISHMENT FOR LEERING CREEP.

So yeah, Leering Creep lies about Claire drinking the potion, stealing Jamie, that Claire struck her for being a bitch (true but understandable), yadda yadda yadda. Claire goes off on Laoghaire, about how she’s fabricated all of this to get Claire out of the way; Ned calls Laoghaire a brokenhearted girl trying to exact revenge, and the judges…have had enough. Time to move on.

The last witness is Father Bain, who moves through the courtroom like Darth Vader. He begins by demonizing Claire and her ~*witchy*~ healing, but then pivots and, in a shocking moment, actually credits her with saving young Thomas Baxter’s life. He falls to his knees and metaphorically self-flagellates about his own failings as a priest, and says he wants to leave the Cranesmuir parish. A man in the audience jumps up and shouts that only “Satan himself could drive a man of God away.” So, yeah, this was all a dramatic ploy by Bain to make Claire look even guiltier. As Jesus would’ve done.

During a brief recess, Ned says he can only save one of the two women. He advises that Claire should claim that Geillis bewitched her, because there’s no way both women are walking free. Ned gives them a moment to consider things, and Geillis immediately asks Claire why she’s here in Scotland — and Geillis doesn’t want to hear any more lies. “It was an accident!” Claire yells. She doesn’t get into specifics, but it seems like Geillis already knows that Claire means she accidentally fell through time. Very good powers of deduction, Geillis! “So you…didn’t want to change anything?” Geillis asks, already knowing the answer. She’s stricken. “Nothing. It’s all for nothing.” Geillis whispers. Oh, oh. What…does that mean??

Ned breaks into the conversation and says it’s time. Claire will have to decide what she wants, and how much Geillis’ friendship really meant to her. Back in the courtroom, Ned announces that Claire would like to address the court. She glances back at Geillis, who refuses to make eye contact with her, certain that betrayal is imminent. But Claire can’t do it. She tells the court she has nothing to say. The judges sentence both women to death.

Ned responds by PULLING A PISTOL ON THE ENTIRE COURTROOM. Ned, you’re gangsta as hell. Damn! Meanwhile, Geillis — amazed by Claire’s sacrifice for the sake of their friendship — reveals that she’s from 1968. YESSS!! I knew it! Claire’s momentary shock is broken by the pistol firing as a crowd of men tackle Ned. 

As Claire’s dragged off, she shouts at the crowd that they’re all going to Hell. The judge doesn’t take kindly to this so he orders her to be stripped and strapped with a belt. Leering Creep tells Claire that she’ll “dance upon [her] ashes” and any remorse I might feel about wishing pain and suffering and death on Leering Creep is gone forever. 

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Claire’s back is bared and she’s strapped soundly while Geillis, and the cheering crowd, watches. But then! Jamie breaks into the courtroom! JAMIE! OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD. He starts smacking and punching his way through the crowd and then DRAWS HIS SWORDS (yes, plural) on the fools trying to get at him and Claire. He says he swore an oath to God to protect Claire and that the authority of the court isn’t greater than God’s. He also says he’ll cut down anyone who tries to get past him.

Before the court can reply, Geillis takes responsibility for everything, confessing that she killed Arthur using witchcraft, and claiming that she bewitched Claire. Revealing her vaccination scar, she dazzles the crowd with her “devil’s mark,” and strips naked, mouthing at Claire to “run.” Since this trial, like many others, is 100 percent theater and 0 percent justice, the crowd goes wild. They rush at poor Geillis, pulling her naked body down among them. As Jesus would’ve…you get where I’m going with this. 

Jamie urges a weeping Claire away while the crowd carries Geillis to be burned. Later, safe in the woods, Jamie asks Claire, quite seriously, if she’s a witch. She has the same vaccination scar that Geillis does, the one Geillis called the devil’s mark. Claire assures him she’s not, but, on the edge of tears, she tries to explain what vaccines are. 

Then, while my heart begins to race, Claire tells Jamie EVERYTHING. She tells him she knows about Black Jack Randall, Sandringham, the Jacobite rebellion  — and its failure. Because she’s from the future. First, Jamie goes silent. Sam Heughan plays this moment beautifully because it really seems like he thinks Claire is…well…

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“You think I’m raving mad, don’t you?” she asks. A small smile plays across his face as he says, “I believe you, Sassenach.” He doesn’t understand it, but he believes in the truth between them. He asks to hear more and she recounts the entire story of how she traveled through the stones at Craigh na Dun and about her life. And about the battle at Culloden that marks the end of the highlander life. Yiiikes.

Jamie now realizes why Claire ran off when they were in the woods, that she was running for the stones and that she was trying to return to her life — and to Frank. He’s even more ashamed that he spanked her as punishment. 

Jamie and Claire ride off, making stops along the way, headed for Lallybroch. They share a very intimate moment by the fire when Jamie puts his hand underneath Claire’s skirt, happy to pleasure her while wanting nothing in return. 

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The next morning, Jamie approaches Claire with a sad, thoughtful expression on his face. “So, Sassenach, are you ready to go home?” “Yes,” she smiles. But when she climbs the nearby hill, she doesn’t find Lallybroch. It’s Craigh na Dun. Jamie wants to give her what she’s always wanted — to go home. Jamie asks what she did to travel through and Claire walks toward the center stone as she explains that she didn’t do anything, just touched the stone. 

With her arms outstretched, Claire’s close to touching it once again, but Jamie pulls her away. He swiftly apologizes. “I wasn’t ready.” He urges her to go back — to her life, to her home, to her husband. To a time where she’s not at risk from such violence. Claire nods, but it’s clear her heart is breaking. Mine too, Claire. 

Jamie lets her know that he’ll stay at the camp until nightfall to make sure that she’s safe. They say goodbye. Tears are cried. Mine, obviously.

All alone, Claire studies her wedding rings, no doubt thinking of her two husbands, her two paths. With a glance back at the campsite, Claire walks toward the stones. She reaches out. CUT TO BLACK.

Back at the campsite, Jamie is dozing when we hear “On your feet, soldier.” It’s Claire and she does want to go home. To Lallybroch. They kiss. I cry. Credits.

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Next week: We get to see Lallybroch! But it seems like Colum may not be the only jerk in Jamie’s family. More Redcoat drama! But at least no sign of Leering Creep? Let’s take what we can get, guys.

How are you liking Outlander so far? You can find all of RT’s Outlander coverage, including my recaps, here.

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