After last week’s bang-up start to this half of the season, we get a bit of a transition episode that’s building up to a huge episode next week! But fear not, this “quieter” episode is filled with castle intrigue, duels, make up sex, deaths and a witch’s dance in the woods! Never a dull day in Scotland!
Recap – Episode #110 “By the Pricking of My Thumbs”
Last week we left off with Claire and Jamie “making up” after some serious fights. This week we begin with Claire and Jamie still “making up” until Murtagh interrupts with the news that the Duke of Sandringham has arrived. Ah, the mysterious English Duke who has enough influence to get Jamie a full pardon – if he wasn’t allied with Black Jack Randall. Doh! But Sandringham has a, um, FONDNESS for Jamie perhaps that can be used to their advantage…
Ever resourceful, Ned proposes a legal path which basically says Black Jack is a bastard and should be court marshalled which should discredit the charges he filed against Jamie. Jamie would then be pardoned and free to use his real name and return home to be the laird of Lallybroch. Free at last!
Meanwhile, Claire is peeved off enough about the ill-wish planted underneath her bed that she confronts a bitter Laoghaire. The two get very territorial with some Dynasty-worthy bitch slaps over whom Jamie really belongs to. Claire is, of course, the one who’s married to Jamie, but Laoghaire doesn’t look like she’s likely to forgive or forget anytime soon.
Laoghaire also baits Claire by telling her that the ill-wish was made by Claire’s friend, Geillis. Claire seeks out Geillis who is spending the night, dancing nearly naked in the forest before the dawn (don’t we all?). The prancing in the woods at dawn reminds Claire of the Samhain ritual that brought her back in time so many months ago. During all the semi-naked dancing, Claire notices that Geillis is pregnant and Geillis confesses that her husband, the gassy Arthur, is not the father. In fact, she’s carrying Dougal’s baby (he seems to have a knack for this) and it’s true love between them, never mind that they are both married to other people. Hence the big ritual to get rid of obstacles in their way. Whoever said life was simpler in the past?
Geillis reassures Claire that she didn’t know the ill-wish was meant for her. As they head home, Claire hears a crying baby left alone in the woods. Geillis warns Claire to stay away since the locals believe a fairy has exchanged a human baby with a changeling and have left the changeling to die in the woods. It’s best not to get involved. Of course, Claire has to help a mewling baby, but it’s too late and the baby has died. Sadness!
Claire, determined to convince the Duke that he should help Jamie, makes a secret visit to Sandringham to blackmail him. This woman has no fear! Based on Frank’s comments in the Reverend Wakefield’s kitchen the day before she disappeared (good memory on our girl!), she suspects that Dougal MacKenzie is slipping the Duke the secret Jacobite funds he was raising during the rent collection. The Duke is a secret Jacobite! He’s a traitor to England! Ah ha! That’s the leverage to blackmail him to help Jamie. Mission accomplished!
Claire heads back to Castle Leoch where she and her potions are needed since Dougal MacKenzie has his full berserker-rage on. Dougal’s beloved-but-not-seen wife has suddenly died from a fever. Geillis’ spell at work? Hmmm….
Jamie and Murtagh make their formal visit to ask for the Duke to submit the legal papers to discredit Black Jack and to prove Jamie’s innocence. The Duke figures he might as well get something out of this favor/blackmail situation and asks Jamie to stand as his second in a duel with the MacDonald clan. Jamie won’t have to fight, but the Duke will have someone pretty by his side. Of course Murtagh isn’t so happy with this arrangement since it seems the MacDonald’s and the Fraser’s are in a wee bit of a feud.
That night, Castle Leoch is in full party-mode to honor the Duke when Geillis’ husband Arthur dies at the dinner table. Claire and Colum aren’t buying that the death is an accident since they’re both quite aware of Dougal and Geillis sitting in a tree…
The Duke’s duel is the next morning and while the duel goes peacefully, the trash talk afterwards (clan feud, remember?) triggers a brawl between Jamie and the younger members of the MacDonald party. The Duke is alarmed by the blood and the possible consequences of Claire’s threats so he speeds off with the promise to put the paperwork through.
However, Colum is in his own fit of berserker-rage which manifests in a tongue-lashing and banishment for his targets. Dougal is exiled to his house in the country, away from the now-available Geillis.
As punishment for unsanctioned fighting with the MacDonald’s, Colum sends Jamie to make sure Dougal really does stay in the country. Claire is to remain at Leoch to make sure Jamie complies. Just as Jamie and Claire have made up! The couple parts with Jamie warning Claire to stay away from Geillis. Colum is on the war path and Geillis doesn’t have her influential dead husband or Dougal to protect her anymore. That sounds like a reasonable request, right? Guess where this is going…
Claire receives an urgent letter from Geillis requesting her presence and Claire can never refuse someone in need. She heads to Geillis’s house where Geillis is surprised to see her. And who should arrive, but the local wardens who are there to arrest Geillis AND Claire for witchcraft. Doh! That NEVER ends well for the accused! As Claire gets hauled off in the paddy wagon, she sees a self-satisfied Laoghaire smiling as she’s taken away.
Reflection – what did we think?
Erica: Well, how’s that for castle intrigue? Claire and Jamie have finally made their peace with each other, but the rest of the world has gone a little nuts!
Alicia: Sorry…what was that? I’m still trying to recover from the beginning of this episode. Whew! 😉
Erica: Need a cold shower? Lol! Yes, this is a cable show…
Alicia: It does seem that things are unraveling around Leoch just a wee bit. And how sweet of Dougal to remember how wonderful his wife was now that she’s dead (and that is meant with all sarcasm).
Erica: Lotte Verbeek’s portrayal of Geillis is so vivid and quirky that she’s fun, cunning and unapologetic at the same time. She’s so much more lively than I originally pictured from the books. She says so much with just her giggle!
Erica: It was great to see Simon Callow, even if he was buried in an Isaac Newton wig. He can say just about anything and soak it with humor and irony.
Alicia: It is an epic Isaac Newton wig! And you’re right. He is a delight as the Duke and plays him so well I never trust anything that comes out of his mouth and yet I believe it all.
Alicia: LAOGHAIRE!!!!!!! Nell Hudson is doing a fabulous job playing her. Ohhh…that smile at the end of the episode…I wanted to throw something at her. She’s made me hate her so much already. Wonderful acting!
Erica: Nell actually read for the role of Claire way back in the audition process. It’s hard to picture anyone but Caitriona in that role now, but Nell is terrifically vulnerable and scheming as Laoghaire.
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Erica: Nice job of trimming the story down to fit all this into an hour! The biggest chance was Claire’s immediately knowledge that Laoghaire was behind the ill-wish and that Geillis didn’t try to probe Claire about her origins with the herbal smoke. They also edited out Colum’s wedding gift to Claire – the jet rosary which is kind of important in the next episode – so I’m guessing they have another solution for proving she’s not a witch.
Alicia: Hm. It seems this half of the season is all about keeping the ‘essence’ of the book while taking some big strays. I don’t mind, they do a good job of it, but there are things like the wedding ring and now the (possibly) missing rosary…guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Alicia: I’m really liking the show, but there’s more of a disconnect from the book I feel now. It’s not a bad thing, just that moment where you really separate the two entities in your mind. I still love both, just in different ways now. Maybe it’s just me…
Erica: Yes and no. Caitriona has a very different energy from what I pictured from the books. The book Claire is earthy and warm and Caitriona is more poised and cooler in some ways. So I think I’ve had them separated in my head since the beginning. I don’t mind the edits and tweaks since they are generally true to the book’s spirit…it’ll be a different matter if people start dying or living when they shouldn’t or something like that!
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
You’ve read what we think, but how did you like this episode? What was your favorite part?
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