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Two Takes: Outlander “The Devil’s Mark” 

Two Takes: Outlander “The Devil’s Mark”
Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

What a great episode. Actually, it’s our favorite episode of the series so far and we’ve enjoyed every single installment that’s come before “The Devil’s Mark.” Now that Geillis and Claire have been arrested and charged, all that’s left is a farce of a trial before they’re burned at the stake. With so much on the line and so many secrets still between them, it’s easy to think they might turn on each other. Well, it’s easy to think one of them will be desperate enough to do what they need to in order to survive. But they get a brief reprieve before things truly turn dire. And what about Jamie? Can he get to Claire in time? And, if so, how will they get out of this latest predicament together?

Kara: My emotions are all over the place right now.

Tina: Same here. When I finished the episode this morning, I had to decompress a little bit before getting ready for my day.

Kara: There’s so much to talk about and while I kind of just want to rejoice over the fact that Claire chose Jamie over Frank — yeah, you read that right Tina — I think we’ve got to start with the witch trials.

Tina: Of course, I read that right. There’s no other outcome for me. Sorry, Frank.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: The most surprising part, for me, has to be when Father Bain makes his appearance.

We knew he was going to be bad news, but the way he goes about condemning Claire is GENIUS. The fact that this man of God knows exactly how to play to this crowd just proves how intelligent and vindictive he truly is. When Claire was able to determine that Thomas Baxter was poisoned, she undermined Bain as a man, as someone who commands respect and as a servant of God. Now that he’s got his chance to get rid of the woman who challenged his authority, he seizes it. And by “confessing his sins” and admitting that it was Claire who helped the boy, instead of him, Bain gets these people to believe she bewitched him, that she used the power she got from the devil to humble a man of God.

Tina: It’s a well done passive aggressive move. He knew what he was doing. And while it condemns Claire even further, it also solidifies his status as the people’s Man of God. The bastard.

Kara: While Ned is able to discredit every other witness, this performance truly turns the crowd against her and Geillis. There’s no coming back from this. And can we talk about these people for a minute? Why are they so eager to see someone die? They don’t even know Geillis or Claire, but they are positively gleeful at the thought of watching these two women burn.

Tina: The mob mentality is disgusting to witness, to be honest. But it’s human nature, I guess? I don’t know how to explain their abhorrent behavior. Speaking of abhorrent behavior, Laoghaire is especially cruel. She tells Claire that she’ll “dance on her grave.” They really upped this character’s villainous status in the series.

Kara: Yeah. Although, I like that Claire and Jamie have another nemesis. Black Jack Randall has been making Jamie’s life hell for a long time, and now that Claire’s in it, he’s making her life hell as well. As for Laoghaire, I just hate that she’s so freaking flippant about taking a life. Well, not even flippant. She’s actively trying to “eliminate” her competition. It’s despicable and there’s no way this show will ever be able to redeem this character for me. Nothing excuses this behavior.

Tina: She’s not even worth another second of my time. Moving on. I’d like to focus on the MVPs of “The Devil’s Mark.” Jamie Fraser’s one of them, of course. We’ll get to him in a bit. The other, in my opinion? Ned Gowan. He’s EVERYTHING in this episode. He goes behind Colum’s back to defend Claire and Geillis. He discredits most of the witnesses, viciously or with care, depending on the witness. And when all of that doesn’t work, he wields a gun to protect his clients. So amazing.

Kara: I even love it when Ned is trying (“trying” being the operative word here) to make Claire be quiet while she’s on the stand. Nothing she says is helping her case. In fact, her outbursts are hurting her and preventing Ned from doing his job. AND when all is lost, he whips out his pistol. What? I’ve always liked Ned Gowan. Now I love him.

Tina: He even comes up with a plan to get Claire out of these charges. Basically, she needs to sell Geillis down the river. And when the two are consulting each other on this, poor Ned tries to light a fire under their asses because the egotistical judges and the unruly crowd will only wait so long. But Ned’s dealing with some strong women. They don’t care who’s waiting. They’ll come out in their own time. And, come on. We all knew Claire wasn’t going to put all the blame on Geillis. She’s much too honorable a woman to do that. Nothing’s ever easy with Claire, is it?

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: We learn that Geillis is also from a different time — specifically 1968 — and she came back to influence history. She’s a Jacobite and it’s that cause that led her to Dougal. While Geillis had been holding out hope that Dougal might swoop in and save the day, I think her illusions are truly shattered when Jamie, and only Jamie, shows up at the ad hoc courthouse for Claire. Jamie makes them stop lashing Claire, but it’s clear the crowd needs and wants blood. Geillis knows what she must do. She confesses to be a witch, clears Claire and rips down the sleeve of her bodice to reveal her “devil’s mark,” which in actuality is a smallpox vaccination — and Claire has one as well.

Tina: Yeah, that’s when Claire realizes they have the same secret in common. Geillis is no witch. She’s a cheating murderer who’s from the future. Oh and she’s pregnant. Can’t forget that. In the book, I’m pretty sure the townspeople wait until she delivers the baby to execute her. We didn’t see her burn in the episode (although she’s thisclose to the stake). So there’s a chance the same thing will happen in the series.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Okay, on to the other MVP of “The Devil’s Mark”: Jamie Fraser. He rushes into the courtroom and takes on anybody and everybody who stands in his way. It’s his job to save Claire and nobody was going to stop him from doing it. Kara, he had a sword in each hand at one point! ***Swoon***

But it’s what happens after he leads Claire away from the village that Mr. Fraser makes me fall in love with him all over again (as if I needed another reason).

Kara: Now it’s time for nothing but the truth between them, finally. And boy, does Claire unburden herself. She tells him everything and the best part? He believes her. I did love that he asked if Claire was a witch. Of course, it’s only because she also has a “devil’s mark,” but her reaction to that question is still priceless and very Claire.

Tina: I loved that he asked that as well. I must confess something. I thought he was kidding…at first. I was waiting for him to start laughing. But he meant it. I had to hit rewind and watch all that again. The second time around I took him seriously.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: So after all that, just when we think they’re closer than ever and that Claire might actually love Jamie — something she wouldn’t or couldn’t admit to Geillis — it seems like they’re going home. But whatever Claire is thinking, Jamie thinks her home is with Frank. Or that’s what he assumes after everything she’s told him. Hasn’t she been trying to get back to him since she fell through time? I was on the edge of my seat as Claire approached the stones at Craigh Na Dun. I honestly thought my heart was trying to beat out of my chest the closer her hands got to that rock.

Tina: I love it when Claire looks at her two rings. They are both beautiful and hold much meaning for her. But they look so incredibly different. She has two choices to make. And when she goes to touch the stone, everything goes black. Next thing we see is Jamie at the camp. He tells her he will wait there all night and won’t go anywhere until he’s sure she returns home safe. Instead, she shows up at the camp. And it’s a glorious moment. Thanks to Jamie, I actually teared up a couple of times during the episode, but especially when Claire chooses him and he realizes it. There are tears in his eyes and in mine.

Outlander airs Saturday nights on Starz at 9/8c.

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  1. Janet

    This was a staggeringly beautiful episode, and beautifully reported by you guys, I might add!

    1. Tina Charles

      Thanks for reading and the comment! “A staggeringly beautiful episode” — love the way you put it. Perfect way to describe “The Devil’s Mark.”

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