In last week’s Outlander, Jamie was arrested for dueling Black Jack Randall, who lived to see another day but didn’t exactly escape intact. Meanwhile, Claire couldn’t stop the duel from happening. She couldn’t stop the baby from coming either.
Cut to “Faith,” a riveting episode that largely focused on Claire’s troubled delivery and recovery, the devastating loss of a child, her anger at her husband’s betrayal, and then her quest to save Jamie from a life in prison. Claire’s emotional fortitude almost gave way to hatred and pain, but in the end, she didn’t break. What did come to an end? The life of Le Comte St. Germain and the Fraser’s time in France. Paris became a toxic place for Jamie and Claire so it’s time to shift things back to Scotland.
Tina: Kara, I don’t even know where to start right now. How about let’s give all the awards to Caitriona Balfe. Her Claire Fraser had to go through so much in “Faith.” The woman had to withstand a difficult delivery. She had to find out that she lost her baby. There was so much pain and anger and hatred. And I loved how even after Fergus told her what really caused Jamie to break his promise to her, you could see some of that pain fade, but not completely. She held on to a lot of it. She couldn’t let it go just yet. I was completely impressed with Balfe. And I haven’t even gotten into what Claire had to do to get Jamie out of the Bastille. Don’t want to jump too far ahead, there’s so much to analyze and take apart bit by bit.
Kara: As you know, I accidentally read some spoilers before I had the chance to watch the episode. I thought knowing the major plot points might have spoiled the episode for me. I should’ve known better, because it didn’t. While I can’t say I “enjoyed” the episode, I will say it was a tour de force in many ways. Balfe was amazing and I think it was necessary to spend most of the episode with her. I felt every single emotion was earned and truthful. I went on this journey with Claire. I felt a little bit of her pain. For me, the most emotional moment of the episode is when Claire returns home from L’Hopital. As she emerges from the carriage and the servants bow to her, I just felt their care and their love shine through. I know it’s not de rigueur to show emotion, especially as a servant, but I took so much comfort in knowing how much they care for their mistress.
Tina: I felt that moment, too. It was unexpected and meaningful. To come home from the hospital without the bundle of joy you expected, devastation is the word for what that must feel like and it was so clear on her face. I want to get into what Claire went through at the L’Hopital in just a bit, but first I want to hit rewind and go back to the very beginning of the episode. We saw in flashback or flash forward — whatever you want to call it — Claire in 1954 Boston with a red-headed girl I’m going to presume is her child. Why do you think they kicked off the episode with that scene? Do you think it’s because they wanted to show us that no matter what Claire and Jamie go through in the subsequent hour, there will be a child someday? Or did they want to throw us off what was about to happen? I’m curious to know your thoughts.
Kara: I was so confused about why the episode started that way, but I think both those options make sense. All we know when Claire returns to Frank at the beginning of Season 2 is that she’s pregnant. So, I guess by showing us Claire and Jamie’s child in Claire’s present, they’re letting us know that, by the grace of God, Claire and Jamie did have another child. And this child came into the world healthy. And I guess it’s important to periodically remind us that Claire and Jamie only have a finite amount of time together. I think they feel the urgency to thwart the rebellion and change history, but we feel it in an entirely different way because we know — or at least suspect — that Claire came back before she was ready. But why? Ok, I’m getting way ahead of myself, though, since none of this is addressed in this episode. Let’s get back on track.
After Mother Hildegarde has to tell Claire her baby was born dead, Master Raymond comes to visit her. She’s had a fever for days and he helps “cure” her. I mean, there’s a medical explanation for what she was suffering from and how Master Raymond helped her, but in Claire’s mind it seems like he worked his “magic” on her. And he did it at great peril to himself considering the King is conducting a witch hunt.
Tina: If I’m recalling correctly, the book goes into a very detailed description of how Master Raymond helps Claire. It was a little too much description for me, to be honest (I’m squeamish). So this TV version is a bit better, even though it’s painful to watch. I don’t know how Raymond found out about her predicament but I’m glad he did, risk or not. I like how they ended things. Mother Hildegarde named the baby, Faith. Raymond tells Claire she needs to have faith that they will see each other again. There was definitely some symbolism in this episode with the breaking of the Virgin Mary statue, the talk of the blue wings, and the references to “faith.”
Back to Claire. She had it rough and she didn’t have the support of her husband to help her through it. During this time apart, the infection isn’t the only thing to fester. Her feelings regarding her husband also festered. When you’re laid up like that the only thing you can do — especially back then — is think. Her hatred, her anger, her rage built up in her head.
Thankfully, when she gets back home she and Fergus are finally able to have it out. I touched on this a little bit earlier but I didn’t get to talk about the Black Jack of it all. We now know exactly what happened between Fergus and Randall. It’s pretty much what we thought. I’ll give it to the powers that be. They show a lot more than I think they’re going to show. Black Jack’s the worst person in the world and he has about nine lives. But at least hearing the truth gets Claire to start thinking about a way to get Jamie out of the Bastille.
Kara: I’m so done with Black Jack Randall. I like my villains with at least a little bit of a redeeming edge. But he’s pure evil and although I’m sure this won’t happen, I would prefer to never lay eyes on him again. I don’t want him married to Mary Hawkins. Can you imagine what being with him would do to her? In my mind, they get married because they have to for some reason, he abandons her without consummating the marriage, Alex becomes her lover and they live happily ever after. She has a baby that is recognized by the law as Black Jack’s because they’re married, but it’s in name only. Ok, fantasy over. What is it with me and tangents today?
I think Claire will use whatever tools are at her disposal to get her husband back and it’s interesting when Mother H. warns her that gaining an audience with the King will cost her.
Claire: If it comes to sacrificing my virtue, Mother, Iâ€™ll add it to the things Iâ€™ve already lost in Paris.
So, Claire goes to the palace to make a deal for her husband’s release. I was so incredibly unprepared for what happened next.
Tina: I wrote that virtue line down, too. There was some pretty powerful dialogue in “Faith.”
While watching what went down at the palace, I felt uncomfortable but I was also fascinated. I didn’t even write many notes like I usually do. I was conflicted a little bit as well. It all had to do with what Claire ultimately had to do with the King. Like you said, Mother Hildegarde did warn Claire. Claire’s prepared to sleep with the King. But once he asks La Dame Blanche to ferret out the man practicing the dark arts — Le Comte St. Germain or Master Raymond — it sucks she still had to have sex with him. Boo, Kara. Boo.
Kara: We need to back up a bit, because I wasn’t talking about the sex (although more on that later). I was talking about St. Germain and Master Raymond.
The King knows Claire is La Dame Blanche, which would be alarming except she’s not the one on trial right now.
He wants her to use her expertise to discover which of these men is a sorcerer. She tells him she sees darkness in both men and even the King. I think Claire is being so smart here. She’s trying to give the King what he wants — a show — while keeping both the menÂ alive. But Louis isn’t interested in that. He likes the theatrics of it all, so when Claire doesn’t really get anywhere with her assessment, he brings in the serpent. I don’t know what kind of snake that is, but I’m sure it was venomous and there’s probably no way either man would’ve survived a bite. So, Claire proposes to poison them instead.
Claire finds the bitter cascara amongst Master Raymond’s things and intends to have both of them drink. It’ll make them sick, but it won’t kill them. Only, Master Raymond has a different plan. He takes his drink and puts on a show, during which he slips real poison into the cup. Both Claire and St. Germain know it when her necklace turns black. But what can either one of them do when the King orders him to drink?
Tina: I got a little lost here but eventually figured out Raymond poisoned the cascara in the chalice. He’s very into self-preservation, that Raymond is. So sneaky.
Kara: I thought St. Germain faced his death pretty bravely, considering. And we learned some valuable information prior to his demise.
As suspected, he was responsible for poisoning Claire earlier this season. But we also learned that he did not set those masked men upon Claire and Mary. So that mystery remains unsolved for now. Just like we’re destined to see Master Raymond again, I guess we’ll be seeing the mystery man with that birthmark on his hand.
Tina: I think I know who’s behind the attack. And I think it’s going to make a lot of sense to you later on down the road. Not sure if I’m right because I read the book a while back and my memory sucks. As for St. Germain, even though Stanley Weber‘s my favorite new TV crush, I wasn’t sorry to see the character go. The fact that it was under these circumstances, I felt a little bad for him. His death wasn’t Claire’s intention. And you could see the whole time in this scene that she was trying to figure a way out for all involved. But he sure didn’t see that. St. Germain told her he’d see her in hell.
Kara: Now as far as Claire and the King’s intimate encounter goes, I found it strange. I had a bit of an uncomfortable laugh when Claire lied back and thought of England. But he didn’t finish and it didn’t even last that long. Look, I’m not condoning his behavior. But what happened? Did he lose interest when he realized Claire clearly wasn’t enjoying it? What even was the point of all that?
Tina: I wasn’t sure what happened. I figured he finished but it was quickly and prematurely or something like that. As if he likes to think of himself as formidable in life and in bed but when he actually gets between the sheets, his um…skills are seriously lacking? I don’t know. All I do know is that even though this is a trÃ©s uncomfortable scene to watch, did you see the look on her face when he finished in like 2.3 seconds? She’s like WTF??? And then on her way out she grabbed the orange Louis had offered up to her when she first arrived. I mean, who serves up an orange that needs to be peeled as if it is the easiest of finger foods? Whatevs.
Oh and I want to go back a tiny bit to Claire’s goodbye with Master Raymond. I think it was in voiceover she quoted a line from Wizard of Oz: “I’ll miss you most of all.” A Wizard of Oz reference. A little bit of a jarring moment but kind of awesome. Not as awesome as the fact that Jamie’s out of prison.
Kara: And they’re finally reunited. Their homecoming was bittersweet, though. Jamie felt like he was being punished because Claire wasn’t willing to offer any details about their child.
And while Claire admitted to hating Jamie at the time when he broke his promise, after learning what Black Jack did to Fergus, she understood. It was also a relief to see that Louise ended up being a really good friend to Claire. After Mother H. let Claire hold Faith, she couldn’t seem to let her go. It’s Louise who helps with that.
Tina: Yeah, I was a little surprised Shallow Louise would actually show support but I’m happy she’s able to help at the toughest time for Claire. Of course, I wanted it to be Jamie that was there sharing in her grief and able to see his daughter before she’s buried.
Kara: Same, but jail has a way of keeping your loved ones from you.
I have to say I was never worried about Jamie’s reaction to Claire’s marital indiscretion, though. I knew he’d understand and he did. Claire slept with the King to buy Jamie’s freedom. And Jamie gave himself to Randall to save her. If they were keeping score, it’s now been settled on both sides.
Tina: Being a part of Claire’s pain and grief the entire episode, I didn’t know if I’d be able to feel Jamie’s. But I did. He was bearded and worn down from his stint in prison. But hearing about his little girl, it was all so sad. Jamie didn’t get a lot of time to deal with what happened to his baby but he didn’t need it. He made me feel for his character instantly thanks to Sam Heughan.
Kara: After saying goodbye to their daughter together, it’s time to go back to Scotland. Part of the King’s pardon included obtaining a pardon from the English Crown as well. Louis didn’t have to do that, but I’m glad he did.
The only other thing I feel I need to mention is the music by Bear McCreary. It’s always wonderful, but I especially loved it this week. It really helped set the tone and convey all the complicated emotions Claire had to endure in this episode.
Outlander airs Saturday nights at 9/8c on Starz.
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