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Outlander Recap: Faith (S2.E7)


There are two episodes of Outlander I knew I would dread recapping: last season's finale and this episode. Unlike the finale last year, this episode managed to tear your guts out while being eminently watchable. It was quite simply one of the best hours of dramatic television I have watched in a long time. That being said, it wasn't without its flaws (which we'll get to). But first....

Previously on Outlander: Paris, quite frankly, has totally sucked for the Frasers. Near poisonings, friends raped, betrayal, and now apparently death as Claire begins to bleed heavily, losing consciousness as Jamie apparently kills Black Jack Randall in a duel.

As the episode opens, however, Claire is very much alive and well and back in the future. This is Boston 1954 and Claire is at the library with her daughter, a beautiful redheaded little girl. (And it's SPOILER!) The girl asks Claire if she's ever seen a great blue heron, and Claire tells her that she has, a long time ago in Scotland. Sadness washes over Claire's face as she gazes at the picture of the bird in the book.

Then picture dissolves into a real heron, and then the arches of the hospital as Claire lies there, being treated for her miscarriage. Mother Hildegard tries to comfort her as Monsieur Forez works to remove the afterbirth. A while later, as Claire is in recovery, she awakens and panics realizing the baby is gone. It falls to Mother Hildegard to tell her the baby has died. Claire collapses into grief, unable to believe her child has died. Claire demands they bring her her baby, shattering the Virgin Mary statuette.


Later, Mother Hildegard tells a feverish Claire she baptized the baby, naming her Faith. Mother has also brought along a priest to perform the sacrament of the unction of the sick. Medicine has failed Claire so Mother Hildegard has turned to her faith. The priest asks Claire if she wishes to unburden herself, to confess. She replies, having learned that no one knows where Jamie is, "My sins are all I have left." After the prayer, Mother Hildegard asks Bouton the dog to stay with Claire.

That night, as Claire worsens, Master Raymond sneaks in under cover of dark to help. Raymond asks Claire to tell him what she sees. Claire replies, "Blue wings." Raymond tells Claire the blue will heal her, and the wings will carry away the pain. Claire realizes part of the placenta did not deliver when she miscarried causing a massive infection in her body. Raymond's laying of hands on her, and urging her to call out for Jamie, causes the placenta to deliver and the fever to leave Claire's body. It seems as if his hands killed the fever with magic. Raymond calls Claire "Madonna", and tells her he must leave. When Claire she says she is no longer a Madonna as she has no child, Raymond tells her it was her blue aura that made him call her that, as she looked like the Virgin Mary in her blue cloak. He promises her they will meet again.

As Raymond steals away, the nuns arrive, and can't believe it: Claire is healed. Claire asks Mother Hildegard if there has been any word about Jamie. She finally has news: Jamie has been arrested for dueling and is being held in the Bastille. He won't be getting out any time soon, either, as he has to remain in the prison at the king's pleasure. Only if Louis decides to let him go, will he be released. Mother Hildegard thinks she has some good news, however, telling Claire that Black Jack Randall lives. Jamie did not kill him. The desire to save Frank seems a hollow victory now to Claire as she has lost her child and her husband as a result. BJR has gone back to England to recover.

Claire tells Mother Hildegard that Jamie betrayed her. That revenge mattered more to him than her and their child. When Mother Hildegard urges her to forgive Jamie, Claire says she isn't sure she could ever do that. This betrayal, and the loss of her child, leads to a severe depression that keeps Claire languishing in the hospital for weeks despite having healed physically. It's only when Fergus comes to her and asks her to come home that she finally leaves. The servants welcome home a broken Claire, all visibly moved by her distress. It's an incredibly poignant moment, especially when Claire pauses to thank the head butler, Magnus, who has been there for her at every difficult turn.


Fergus and Claire try to settle in, but it proves difficult. Fergus clearly looks like he has something to say, but Claire is unable to get him to explain. One night, when Claire finds herself wandering the halls overcome with sadness, she hears Fergus cry out. He is having what sounds like a nightmare. Claire goes to him, and wakes him up. When she asks him to tell her what's wrong, the whole sordid story finally comes out.

Fergus tells Claire he went with Jamie to the brothel to pay Prince Charlie's debt and wandered off into a room. There was a bottle of lavender on the table by the bed (AHHHHH!) and Fergus still has it. When he gives it to Claire, she realizes it is the same "perfume" Black Jack Randall used on Jamie. Fergus was caught in the room by Black Jack who proceeded to rape him. When Fergus screamed out in pain, Jamie came barreling into the room, catching Black Jack in the act. Jamie attacked Black Jack and would've killed him if he hadn't been pulled off by the brothel employees (I can't believe they were able to!). Jamie then challenged Randall to a duel.

Fergus believes it's his fault Jamie is gone. Claire tells Fergus that it's not his fault, that he did nothing wrong. Fergus' explanation is enough to give Claire the compassion she needs to try and save Jamie from prison. She goes to Mother Hildegard and asks her to get Claire an audience with the king. Mother Hildegard can do this but warns Claire the king will most likely expect her to have sex with him in return. As Claire says, "If it comes to sacrificing my virtue, Mother, I'll add it to the list of things I have already lost in Paris."

When Claire arrives at Versailles, Louis welcomes her into his chambers.... for chocolate and oranges? A little different afternoon delight than Claire was expecting. And it gets stranger from there. Claire pleads Jamie's case and Louis says he will agree to release him if Claire grants him a favor. Claire agrees and steels herself to be led to bed. Instead, Louis reveals he knows her to be "La Dame Blanche" and takes her into a hidden antechamber leading from his bedroom to a beautiful room: a larger chamber with a star filled ceiling. Waiting inside is Monsieur Forez, Louis' executioner. It is an ominous moment.


As Claire waits nervously, Louis reveals what he would like his first favor to be. Is Claire a genie? Louis seems intent on getting three wishes from her. As one of his favors, Louis would like "La Dame Blanche" to help him ferret out some devil worshipers. Guards bring in a comically confused Comte St Germain and Master Raymond. They have both been charged with practicing the dark arts. Items have been confiscated from Raymond's apothecary and the Comte's home as evidence of their guilt. And Claire is to be their judge and jury.

Louis says La Dame Blanche can see into the soul of a man and sense whether evil lies within. If Claire sees darkness in either soul, they will be handed over to be put to death. Claire wisely starts with Raymond, and pretends not to see anything wrong with him. The Comte is not so lucky. Claire announces that she sees a shadow in his eyes, and an image of a gang of men in masks, and a name: Les Disciples. Whaaaaat???? says the Comte. Listen, lady, of all the things I've done, that's not one of them. The Comte does admit though to trying to poison Claire all so he can prove she is a witch having survived the attack. Another good reason why you probably shouldn't represent yourself when on trial for the dark arts, Comte. Where's Ned when you need him?

The Comte successfully turns the tables on Claire, causing Louis to wonder about her. So Claire decides to go full witch and claim her full powers. Claire "admits" she's a witch, but the Glenda kind practicing white magic. This doesn't seem to reassure Louis much, but he reminds the Comte Claire's not on trial. Claire says she sees darkness in the Comte's soul, and in Raymond's, but says it's normal darkness, not Wicked Witch darkness. She asks they all be spared.

It looks like it might work for a hot minute, but Louis really wants to use this awesome snake he has. No, not that one, that's for later in the bedroom. This one is a poisonous viper of some kind. If the Comte and Raymond are really true believers they can handle the snake and not be harmed. Seeing things go sideways, Claire suggests a poison test instead. That's good? She retrieves the bitter cascara from Raymond's things and tells Louis that if the men can drink the poison and survive it that will prove they're good people. Louis agrees.

Claire gives Raymond the bitter cascara. He drinks it and suffers a few effects, but is basically fine. When Claire moves to give the drink to Comte, her poison detecting necklace suddenly turns dark black, revealing that poison is now in the cup. The Comte, knowing what this means, can't believe it. He knows now that if he drinks, he will be poisoned and die. Apparently Raymond managed to slip poison in when no one was looking. Despite the fact that the Comte's a horrible person, it's terribly moving to see him cry knowing his life is over. But before you can feel too bad for him, the Comte insults Claire and Raymond reminding us all how much we hate him. Seeing no way out, the Comte resigns himself to his fate and drinks the poison and dies. Payback's a bitch.

Louis, pleased with the show, allows Raymond to leave with his life, but he must leave France forever. As Claire watches Raymond leave, she recalls a line from the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy says goodbye to the Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion: "I'm going to miss you most of all." Unfortunately, that's not the end of things for Claire. Louis drags Claire to his bed where he performs what looks like sex but seems more like a trip to a very strange gynecologist. Claire is dismissed and on her way out grabs the orange. Just because.

Jamie is a free man. But at what cost? He arrives home and slowly makes his way up the stairs. Something causes him to pause at the landing. And that something is a very angry Claire waiting at the top. Jamie gathers himself and makes his way towards her. As he always must. Jamie begs Claire to tell him if their baby was a boy or a girl. Claire tells him it was a girl, and she was named Faith. Jamie tries to explain what happened, but Claire already knows. Jamie wants to know if Claire hates him. She replies, "I did hate you," finally finding the courage to tell Jamie that she was allowed to hold Faith despite the fact she had died. Claire describes how she had Jamie's eyes and hair.

In a flashback, we find Claire singing to the body of her lost baby, holding her close. Louise has been summoned by Mother Hildegard to help. Claire has been holding Faith all day and into the night. An obviously pregnant Louise hesitantly approaches Claire, but finally finds the courage to speak to her. Slowly it dawns on Claire what it means that Louise is there, that she must take Faith away, that Claire must say her final goodbye. Claire hands Faith to Louise who gives her to Mother Hildegard leaving a devastated Claire sobbing, empty handed.

Back in the present Claire tells Jamie, "So yes, I hated you." BUT she says, it was not his fault. Instead, Claire blames herself, for asking the impossible of Jamie, for placing Frank before their family, for following Jamie into the woods. Jamie tries to reassure her, that he knows Frank is her family. Claire doesn't care, she says all the blame lays on her. Jamie, of course, is not going to accept this telling her, "I asked your forgiveness once. You said there's nothing to forgive. Truth is, I already forgave you, long before today. For this and anything else you could ever do." It's a beautiful callback to season 1 where Jamie tells the audience in a voiceover he forgave Claire a long time ago of anything she could ever do because he had fallen in love with her. Now he finally gets to tell Claire.


Claire accepts this, but says there is something else. She tells him she had to sleep with the King in order to secure his release. Jamie is obviously hurt, but reminds her he did the same thing, giving his body to Randall in order to gain her freedom. Claire is so overcome by emotion, she can't even speak. When she finally finds her voice again she asks Jamie how they will ever be the same? He says they won't. Jamie tells Claire the only way they can live with what happened is to carry it together, and maybe some day they'll have another child. Claire asks Jamie to please take her home to Scotland. Jamie agrees, but first he wants to visit Faith's grave.

At the grave, Jamie lays one of the apostle's spoons on Faith's headstone. It is the one for Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. Jamie tells Faith, "If we must bury you here in France, let's leave a bit of Scotland wi' ye." Jamie and Claire joins hands, grieving together over the grave of their lost daughter.

Next time on Outlander: Jamie must go to his grandfather, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat and ask him to help raise an army to fight with Prince Charlie. Leave it to Lovat to say, "Lallybroch for your wife's honor." Now what does that mean?

Nitpicking

Despite loving this episode, there were a couple of off notes.

Where was Murtagh? His whereabouts are noticeably unexplained. It clearly makes sense that he wouldn't be a part of the episode, but a throw away line explaining where he was seemed  necessary.
Update: Thanks to one of our readers for reminding us that in the last episode Jamie told Fergus Murtagh was gone to Portugal to sell the stolen wine and would be gone a couple of months. Good catch! 

Watching Fergus' Rape. It was the most uncomfortable horrible thing (which was obviously the point to explain Jamie's betrayal). However, was it truly necessary to put the child actor through that? Arguments can be made both ways, but seemed one thrust too many when the point could've been made less graphically.

Overuse of voiceovers. This is nitpicking at its best. For the most part, Claire's voiceovers seem integral and necessary, but at times they stray into lazy writing. For instance, when Claire is led into the secret chamber with Louis, we already know the stakes are high. After all, Louis has just revealed he knows her to be La Dame Blanche. The suspense is ratcheted up even more when we see Monsieur Forez is there, the man we know to be the King's executioner and who just last week told Claire he was executing devil worshipers for the King. It therefore seems unnecessary for Claire to add via voiceover, "When I saw Monsieur Forez, the king's executioner, I knew his presence could mean only one thing: there would be death here today." Yes, we gathered as much. Trust your audience, please. The entire scene was peppered with voiceovers that were not needed at all.

What did you think? Tell us in the comments below. We love hearing from you!





Outlander Recap: Faith (S2.E7) Reviewed by Deborah Thompson on 9:01 PM Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. Great recap. Really good episode and great performances by all. Ms Balfe was amazing.Sam was great with what little he was given. I agree about the voiceovers in the secret chamber scene. Totally unnecessary. That whole scene went on too long, and as usual, the important scene with Jamie and Claire was rushed. Just like at the Stones in S1 Ep 11, another Toni Graphia episode.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good point! I felt short changed by that scene. I've read it so many times in the book because it's so beautiful. This was moving, but fell short.

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