To say that the second part of Outlander's third season is particularly eventful is an understatement.: the long-awaited reunion of Claire and Jamie after 20 years of separation, followed shortly after by the fire at the printing house, forcing the small troop to return to Lallybroch; the at least tense confrontation with the Murrays then the revelation of a second wife, the unbearable Laoghaire, who shoots Jamie like a fury! The kidnapping of Petit-Ian by pirates; the hasty embarkation on the Artemis with a newly married Fergus and Marsali; Claire's fight against typhoid fever on the British ship, then her spectacular escape as well as her painful wandering through the jungle in order to ultimately achieve - but within a few minutes - by warning Jamie of the ambush that awaits him in Jamaica… OUF!
Do you think we would have been given a break? Or, at the very least, a slowdown in the course of events so that we can catch our breath?
Nay! The two episodes closing this season are filled with an intensity rarely equaled in the saga and further accelerate the tempo.
"La Bakra" opens with an important flashback, as it tells us about the kidnapping of little Ian from his point of view. And if you want my opinion, I think it was about time he could exist as such and no longer just as a foil. We were also kindly prepared to get attached to him during the previous episodes (it is a fairly common scriptwriting technique: the emotional spring towards a character just before a drama occurs). But he was then only a young boy without much consistency, barely discovering life off the farm: his talent for commerce, girls, the hectic daily life alongside his uncle, his ability to stand up to his parents… Anyway… we didn't really know what to think of him except that he looked very nice.
But, on the prey with the Portuguese pirates, he surprises us with his courage and his pugnacity and even more during his confrontation with the disturbing Geillis. (Too bad that the writers ignored what he experienced for weeks in the hold). He does not let himself be taken down by the kid despite what he has just experienced. Imagine though! A deflower with a girl who pleases him, the fight with a man who is twice his weight, a fire in which he almost perishes, a kidnapping by bloodthirsty pirates (they are not necessarily bloodthirsty by the way, but I finds that the two words go well together), the realization of his condition as a slave on the other side of the globe, the psychedelic interrogation of a naked and bloody woman and finally, the rape, as he will end up entrusting it to his uncle the following season. Without even speaking, at the end of the episode, of the attempted murder of a Geillis in full sacrificial delirium! Wow! Sorry to let escape my admiration, but all the same, it sends heavy! Without a doubt, we can say that there is much Fraser blood in this young boy's veins! And we better understand the special attachment that binds him to his uncle.
Also note, and this is no small matter, that we find Geillis! Aged - a little - and more and more devoured by her mission to seat a Scottish king on the throne, despite the defeat of Prince Stuart. In short, she is the Bakra!
The great story having been planted without false connection, that of our protagonists can resume its course, and here is that a new ghost appears.
We don't have time to point out that it's a bit strong coffee tossing the old characters in the same shop: Archibald and Margaret Campbell, Geillis the Witch and now Lord John - shall we attend the Murtagh back while we're at it? - because in a few well-placed words, Jamie offers us an explanation that soothes us and allows us to appreciate the meeting to come: "Maybe the fact that Claire crossed the stones attract ghosts as they attract each other ”. The idea hits the mark and we don't have time to philosophize on the subject, because the scene to follow is tasty.
Amazement on the part of Jamie when he discovers John… surprise of John when he realizes that Claire is alive… astonishment of Claire by noting the almost sexual attraction between the two men (again, I underline the difference between the version written and filmed).
As Jamie leaves for his side in search of information that a Freemason is likely to reveal to him about little Ian, we witness a second face to face between Claire and John, which will be the very first confrontation between these two. characters in love with the same man. The tension is palpable, jealousy permeates each of their glances, innuendoes surface in each of their words, it is subtle and sensitive. She is the one who captured the heart of the one he loves madly, he is the one to whom he entrusted his child. We know it will take years to build a friendship between these two.
End of the flashback and we find our little troop in Jamaica. There are tunes from the second season when they hit France, but it doesn't last, as we're almost immediately immersed in the grim reality of slavery.
Jared Fraser had warned them, however, as they embarked on the Artemis: little Ian was probably going to be sold. But it is one thing to hear it, and another to witness, helplessly, the dehumanization of these chained beings, branded with a hot iron, considered as simple reproducers, like soulless animals.
It is important to stress the difference in reaction between Claire and her companions, including Jamie.
There is no doubt that none of them validate slavery. However, they walk between the cages of horror without shuddering, too busy, it is true, to obtain information about little Ian. But Claire is immediately devastated, unable to contain her immense sadness, and especially not to intervene, again causing a scuffle in which she puts herself in danger, forcing Jamie to pull her out of this mess - again.
Does this mean that they are devoid of humanity? That they are less affected by the fate of these people?
No of course, and certainly not Lesley and Hayes who themselves experienced years of servitude in the colonies as Jacobite prisoners! What really sets them apart is history. The story that gave birth to Claire in a century when slavery had been abolished for a long time already. She cannot ignore what she knows!
She has a global knowledge of the reality of slavery, from its emergence to its repeal and not just an opinion from personal experience, however trying it may be. When she witnesses Bold's painful humiliation in the marketplace, she doesn't just witness the mistreatment of a man! but Slavery in its entirety and all that it represents intolerable.
She will remain in this state of mind throughout their stay, even during the evening given by the governor where the motionless and silent presence of the slaves in full dress saddens her. She's so confused that no word is needed for Jamie to understand. "When will it end?" he asks her then. He leaves him the heavy load of knowledge, but allows him to regain his footing by referring to a less gloomy future.
As if to underline the ambiguity of the situation, we are given in counterpoint, a disturbing scene during which an English bourgeois is exhilarated by the exotic appearance of Yi Tien Cho. (Note that the relationship between Yi Tien Cho and Jamie is not at all the same in the books as in the series). Racism is distilled in many ways, it never hurts to remind people.
But we don't have time to dwell on their feelings, don't forget, we have to keep the tempo!
So after her interview with John, it is now with Geillis that Claire has to do battle. And the least we can say is that again, it is not straightforward relaxation!
Yet their relationship has always been imbued with real affection and, despite the drama that is playing out a few kilometers away, we still feel this attachment that persists in their desire to explain themselves, even if, on the other hand. and on the other hand, suspicion prevails, perhaps mingling with the joy of being together and the painful evocation of past events. They tell each other and, again, we see how different they are. Geillis is as withdrawn into her personal goals as Claire is open to the well-being of others.
And then we, spectators, we know it! It's Geillis who holds Ian! Who plans to kill him! She's the Bakra, damn it! The terror of prepubescent slaves!
Finally, Geillis' madness takes precedence over any other consideration, and nothing more reason can come to break this line which she crossed years ago and which justified, in her eyes, the murder of a number. consequent of husbands.
I will of course spare you the small additional articulations which nevertheless build the story as a whole. But it seems important to me to point out this junction point where all these stories meet, when Geillis realizes that the sapphire Lord John wears in his pocket is the one from Dougal McKenzie's loot and which she needs for the long-awaited prophecy. can be unveiled!
In this simple shot, you notice the evocation of Dougal and his commitment to the Jacobite cause; Jamie swimming to the Island of the Selkies and discovering the famous treasure, little Ian went in search of the said treasure in order to pay the pension of Laoghaire, the second wife (because if Ian is not kidnapped, no trip to Jamaica and none of that happens)… John, formerly governor of Ardsmuir Prison to whom Jamie the Red offered the sapphire, Geillis and his only quest, the one that justified her crossing the stones of Craigh na Dun in 1968, and finally - the only one capable of decoding the prophecy - Margaret Campbell, the very one who alerted Claire about the Abandawe cave! If that is not a crossroads not to be missed, it is because I do not know anything about scriptwriting subtlety!
Lieutenant (or Captain) Leonard
Besides, everything is accelerating (I mean, everything is accelerating a little more).
After being informed by Téméraire that it was indeed Geillis - the deceitful! - who held little Ian, Claire and Jamie set off at a gallop towards the Bakra's house. Alas, they do not have time to go very far, because the infamous, and nevertheless touching Lieutenant Leonard catches up with them and, ignoring the sustained insults of our well-recovered Englishwoman, puts Jamie in irons by displaying a satisfied air that makes him, at this precise moment, infinitely detestable.
Once again, everyone's life is in danger. Jamie is again (unfairly) taken prisoner by a representative of the British Crown and risks hanging. Claire, torn, must go the other way, however, in order to find little Ian, she promised. The fear is there, tangible, but the action prevails.
Perhaps some are saying, at this precise moment in history, that Claire could have been quietly installed in her Bostonian living room in 1968 instead of trudging through the Jamaican jungle in pursuit of her nephew who had become a slave to a berserk while her husband was still exposing himself to the gallows! But I guess it's the kind of thought that doesn't hold up for long in the face of the frantic pace of our Outlander adventures. (Yes, I make up words, it's my text after all).
Pfiuuuu! We're going to help ourselves to a tall glass of something cool… we look out the window to remember the weather. Ah hold! It's already nighttime ? And we start the next episode.
Fortunately, Fergus and Marsali, who until now have only acted in presence, have the good idea to warn John Gray of Jamie's arrest. We will notice that even if he is (too) often absent from the screen, our dear Frenchi is nevertheless regularly requested by his adopted father. As he had said to Jamie in the second season, as they drove to Maison Élise: "I keep your right". And that's the feeling it gives. We can therefore consider his absence not as an abandonment, but conversely, as proof that he is working upstream for the good of the Frassers.
In the turmoil, follows a quite enjoyable scene it must be admitted.
The captain (or lieutenant?) Leonardo, having his suspenders pulled up by an all-powerful Lord John on his territory, must let go of his prey, as a cat would with an overly agile mouse.
John Gray is finally revealing himself in all his military glory and it's satisfying to see that he's not only a man in love with our disgraced Highlander, but he's also blessed with a strong character. Moreover, and this is rare enough to be worth raising, Jamie remains passive throughout the scene. Mute, almost banned, discovering, it would seem, a facet of his friend that he did not know and that pleases him. In a way, this scene rebalances the relationship between them and allows us to better understand the nature of their attachment.
For her part, Claire confronts the perfidious Geillis again and only manages to convince her of her good faith by revealing the family photos that Jamie had the reflex to entrust to her just before being embarked. Geillis has no choice but to admit that Claire has indeed crossed the timeline three times and that she had a child by Jamie during her stay in the 20th century. It is at this moment that everything falls into place and that his fate is sealed.
Brianna is the 200 year old baby. She is the key to prophecy… that's why Claire is there, not to put an end to her quest! but to offer him something to make it happen. In any case, that's how her sick mind sees it, especially as Claire has just confirmed it to her: just think of the person you want to join for the stones to guide us to her. . So Geillis hides the photo in her cleavage and we already know what she will do with it! Why was she not burned at the stake in the end!
Barely Geillis left, leaving Claire more or less locked up, Jamie finds his wife (again…) and they rush outside to free little Ian (well…). The suspense grows to the rhythm of African drums to the climax of an incredibly poetic scene, during which the slaves dance around the fire, like the druidesses of Craigh na Dun during the feast of Samhain in 1945! Once again time plays with us and displays its prodigious elasticity. Is everything really written down? Are the past and the future just a figment of the mind? Are Margaret's visions like Geillis' prophecy just markers that mark the articulations of the story? And finally, Will Frasers' desperate posturing change anything in the end? Are they just toys of a sealed fate? Or conversely, are they the decisive factors for a shaky future?
But again, we don't have time to debate this, because the action itself doesn't wait.
Margaret Campbell wasn't wrong about Abandawe Cave, so she's right when she predicts Brianna is in danger! And if there was still an ounce of doubt, she just had to tell us about Jamie's rabbit and Claire's bird for the last resistance to give way definitively.
While the slaves undermine the vile Archibald Campbell who will no longer have the opportunity to mistreat his sister, and frankly, well done for him, Claire and Jamie throw themselves headlong into this jungle that conceals so many mysteries, until to this cave which we have the assurance, from now on, that it is the equivalent of the menhirs of Craigh na Dun.
As they get close to their goal, they realize that they might have no choice but to go their separate ways again. You, I don't know, but I hadn't thought about it! For a few seconds, I shivered, telling myself that indeed, maybe that was what was going to happen. After all, it had happened before that Claire had to cross the stones in order to save her daughter! Urgency robs them of this important moment in which they would have had so much to confide! Things I would have liked to hear. But Brianna's life and Ian's are at stake, so they leave, always faster… Crescendo, accelerando… the musical score takes us to a last flight that we expect as much as we fear it.
Fortunately, the written history goes in the direction of Claire, because Abandawe is undoubtedly the cave described by Joe Abernathy in which, he was told, the skeleton of a murdered woman was found. As for that machete that ends up landing in his hand is probably that blunt blade that slit his throat. What she will experience, she has already experienced! But she doesn't know. Not yet.
After a quick fight, Geillis died. Ian is saved. We can catch our breath.
To recover from our emotions, we are offered one of those accomplice moments which the Frasers have the secret and which fill us. Tender looks, gentle caresses, naughty evocations, then a torrid encounter. We are told, the Fraser couple and well and truly reformed. We are far from the doubts that assailed Claire a few months before, we have forgotten Laoghaire and his filthy blackmail. We will finally find Lallybroch!
Do you have a short memory?
I warned you, as a foreword, that these two episodes closing the season were dizzying ... And there must be some compelling reason to make us agree to leave Scotland behind us! This fantastic country that we have learned to love, to defend! This clan land which has lived through so many tragedies and which enchants us with its breathtaking landscapes and its courageous population.
Yes, there had to be a compelling reason.
So what do you think of a storm? Or even, why not, a cyclone?