Part One: The Witch Trial
The first scene offers us a shocking image. Claire and Geillis are thrown unceremoniously into a hole, similar to a cave, on which closes a thick grid that an anonymous hand padlocks with determination.
Remember the end of the previous episode, "my little finger told me." Following Dougal and Jamie's exile, Colum has Geillis arrested for the murder of her husband. Laoghaire, determined to get rid of Claire, sets a trap for her so that she is considered an accomplice.
The last sequence showed us Claire behind the bars of a cart, Laoghaire standing around the corner with a victorious smile.
I guess it's for technical reasons that the thief's hole is much bigger than the one in the book. However, it is quite scary. We feel the cold and humidity described by Diana Gabaldon.
Immediately, the two women quarrel. Geillis suspects Claire lured the guards to her home while Claire reminds him that, on the contrary, she had come to encourage him to flee.
For the first time, they stop this hypocritical little game of riddles and false pretenses.
"I didn't divulge your secrets, Claire (but what is she talking about?) You shouldn't have disclosed mine.
"If you wanted to keep your secret, you didn't have to tell everyone that you would go dancing naked at the full moon, in the woods around a fire and burn effigies!
We recognize Claire's tone when she gets angry. Nothing holds her back and we feel ready to fight if necessary.
"So, do you also think I'm a witch?" Geillis asks.
"Of course not. Youmay not have killed Dougal's wife, but you killed your husband. And you did not use witchcraft, but good old poison.
Silence suddenly filled the cave. The argument is futile, they know it well. The situation is too serious to dwell on the past.
Displaying his usual smile, Geillis finally reveals himself. Yes, she gave arsenic to her husband in the hope that he would die before his pregnancy is seen (as a reminder, she is expecting a child from Dougal, who will become Roger's grandfather).
"He's a boy," she said, taking Claire's hand and resting it on her stomach. Claire rejects her. It will not be so simple this faith. Her life is at stake and unlike Geillis, she knows that Dougal and Jamie will not come to save them, because they are not informed of their arrest.
As Claire sinks into despair, Geillis tries to console her.
Geillis' portrait is well presented, subtle and precise at the same time. I think it's important that we can appreciate her for her qualities, and not just because Claire has affection for her.
Beyond her madness and determination, she was able to maintain a form of kindness. There's no denying that she loves Claire, in her own way.
In order to bury the hatchet, she hands him the infamous piece of bread that a guard threw through the grate, but Claire refuses it.
"I'm not hungry.
"Come to me, we'll keep warm.
But again Claire refuses. She stays in her corner, curls up in a ball, lies on the hard and cold stone and tries to fall asleep.
We know from the first episode that Claire copes with discomfort relatively well.
Fade to black.
In the morning, we hear the screams of the crowd. Claire wakes up, cold.
"That's it, it's beginning," said Geillis, standing under the gate.
Little by little, we understand what the population is chanting: "We're going to burn the witches"!
"Ithink it's better to be burned alive than to freeze to death here," said Claire before getting up.
Barely out of the hole and dragged by the guards, they pass in front of a mast, surrounded at its base by bales of straw. The pyre.
"Is that what I believe?" Clear request.
— In any case, it is not a ribboned pole.
It's something I've always appreciated about Geillis, this ability to make humor in the worst situations. It's as if she's approaching life with detachment, probably because of everything she's been through and more, everything she's done to achieve her goals. It is quite possible that on other occasions Geillis may have been a wonderful woman and a valuable friend. But his political obsession made him lose his mind for good.
The two prisoners are brought before the ecclesiastical judges (Jeff and Mutt in the books, quite similar to the description made by Diana Gabaldon).
Claire looks at the audience and doesn't recognize anyone. Yet the room is full and everyone present seems excited about the future execution. It is obvious that all consider both women guilty.
Guilty of what?
Of the crime of witchcraft, of having caused pain and suffering and of spreading death among the inhabitants of Cransmuir by the practice of secular arts.
Claire has few illusions. As she says in voice-over, she knows that accused of witchcraft rarely go free.
But now a voice is heard at the back of the room. A voice we know well because it is Ned Gowan, the McKenzies' lawyer.
Hope is reborn, because we have already seen it at work. Moreover, he does not drag to put his marks.
Without ever abandoning his natural good humor and politeness (which he had accustomed us to in episode 105: The Collection), Ned begins by specifying the legitimacy of his status: "lawyer and clerk to the King's seal in Edinburgh". Then, in order to set the record straight, he protested against the illegality of the trial.
First, the Witchcraft Act 1563 was repealed by the House of Lords in 1735. Playing as usual on two-way phrases, he congratulates the judges for getting rid of British (I guess he meant English) law, but wonders about their magnificent Scottish tradition. The one that specifies that a woman accused of witchcraft has the right to have a lawyer.
— An advantage which, alas, is not granted in England! he explains again, addressing the audience.
This Gowan is smart. He knew that most of those present refused to bend the knee to English supremacy and wished to preserve their customs. By brushing them in the direction of the hair, Ned takes away their ability to contradict him, and thereby forces them to validate his statement.
— I would therefore like to offer my services to defend the accused.
The judges have no choice but to accept.
The clever little smile that Ned offers Claire as she returns to the room is heartwarming.
The first testimony is that of Jeanie Hume, Geillis and Arthur Duncan's maid (I don't remember her presence in the book, but I may have forgotten it).
The terrible thing about this testimony is that everything Jeanie tells is genuine. However, poisoned by her fears and beliefs, each of her words can demonstrate that it is witchcraft.
It is true that Geillis made love potions, amulets and talismans for the many women who came to see her. And it is also true that on several occasions, Claire visited him and that both of them made potions using plants.
For more than an hour, assures us the voice-over of Claire, she tells anecdotes to make the hair stand on the head of the most impressionable people. Finally, she tells the story of Arthur's poisoning, which of course, Geillis can't deny.
But Jeanie ends up saying too much, giving Ned the opportunity to discredit her.
"Time and time again, I have heard Mrs. Duncan sing evil incantations outside her husband's door. When she sang, the cats ran away from home. Animals feel like these things, she continues, turning to the room for approval from the audience.
"So now we're going to hear the testimony of a cat!" Ned Gowan says.
The crowd is hilarious and this is precisely what he wanted in order to break the suspicious atmosphere that served the two defendants.
Taking advantage of this moment in his favor, Ned gets up and walks towards the servant.
"Is it true, Mrs. Hume, that you were not very happy to be in the service of the Duncans?"
Jeanie refutes the accusation, but without further ado, Ned lists what he knows about it: she asked for a place at Leoch Castle, she was indignant at being underpaid and underestimated and, always in an effort to make the assembly laugh, Ned says that she complained about Arthur Duncan whom she called a disgusting old flatulent.
Jeanie is losing her footing and the audience is more and more relaxed. So, Ned drives the point home and addresses the judges.
"What we have here is nothing more than the recriminations of a servant who is not happy with her lot.
The silence that follows sounds like the first victory. Jeanie is summoned to sit down. Ned has just reduced all his words to a simple spirit of revenge. Everything she said is now questionable. We find ourselves regaining hope.
It was Robina Donaldson's turn to be called to the stand.
His testimony is infinitely more painful than the previous one and demonstrates the extent to which the population is prisoners of its beliefs and its powerlessness to counter the tragedies of which it is a victim.
The Donaldsons had a suffering baby. The same baby that Claire discovered in the forest during episode 110: "My little finger told me" and who should, according to legend, have been replaced by the fairies. (See article on this subject: the changelings.) But the Donaldsons, who had been hiding to make sure their boy would be returned to them, caught Claire grabbing it.
As she tells the judge about the scene, we watch the footage of Claire removing the dead child from the tree.
We can see visually that everything she says is real, from her point of view.
Claire takes the baby, which makes her the evil fairy they had expected to see. But rather than exchange it with their own child, she recited incantations to him. When the Donaldsons returned to the hill in the early morning, they found the changeling dead, not their baby as they had hoped.
Claire wants to defend herself and make it clear that she wanted to save his life.
Mal took it from him, because for the room, it is equivalent to a confession.
While silence had accompanied Robina's touching testimony, anger erupted among the audience and, again, the term "Witch" was used.
Nothing Claire tries to say soothes this anger, so Ned Gowan stands up and speaks.
There is no question for him to ridicule this desperate mother as he did previously with Jeanie, but this cultured and intelligent man has more than one trick up his sleeve.
He has lived among these people for many years, and even though his great education has freed him from the many beliefs that imprison poor people, he knows them, and in a way, he understands them.
So he speaks directly to Robina, and it is with delicacy and sincerity that he sympathizes with her sadness.
After sending her his condolences, he asks her why, since she and her husband were present on the scene, she did not prevent Claire from interfering in the work of the fairies. (I was personally very happy that he asked this question, because it was the first one that came to mind and I was obsessed with it.)
"Well, I was scared.
"Okay," said Ned, gently, but firmly. So it can be said that it was your fear and silence that allowed him to contaminate the child and that, therefore, when the fairies arrived, they could not proceed with the exchange.
It seems cruel as a procedure and the sadness now reinforced by the bad conscience that overwhelms the young woman is terrible to see.
Yet the gaze of Ned Gowan, who stands very close to his face, is full of kindness and compassion.
He waits a few seconds so that the next words are heard.
— One thing is certain, at least. It is comforting to know that it is the changeling who is dead.
Ned puts his hands on Robina's now. He calms her, supports her. He cannot oppose popular belief, but he can use it.
"Your child is with the fairies. He is healthy and will live with them forever.
Robina agrees. She is no longer able to speak, but she does yes with her head, her eyes planted in Ned's, because she knows that he is healing her soul.
Moreover, among the public, other people are won over by the logic of the argumentation and appeasement becomes general.
So Ned takes advantage of it and goes even further. It is now aimed at the entire community. He is no longer the confessor, but again the lawyer. He speaks with conviction, challenging anyone to contradict him.
"Perhaps we should thank this woman rather than condemn her," he says, pointing to Claire.
Fixed shot of the two judges who cannot be said whether they agree or not.
— The witness may withdraw
The next person is hard to take seriously. One is entitled to wonder if he was paid to drive the nail, if he is simply stupid or so determined to attend a pyre that he is ready to say anything. How do I know?
"I saw her with my own eyes standing under the ramparts when there was a storm," Alastaire Duffie begins arrogantly of Geillis.
He addresses the audience, certainly hoping to rekindle the anger that Ned has managed to mitigate.
"Isaw her call the lightning bolts with a wave of her hand. Thunder rumbled as she laughed. His eyes were as red as flames. Her gaze was such that she could undoubtedly have stolen a human soul.
Alastaire gets everyone's attention, which helps him gain confidence in himself and his story. The tension is palpable.
"Then the wind picked up," he continues, "she opened the sides of her cape and spread them like wings and flew into the sky like a bird.
Then the crowd goes wild again and calls for justice.
No doubt the judges, educated churchmen, give no credence to this account, but rather than disqualify it, they prefer to end the session until the next day.
While the prisoners are tied up, Ned has a few seconds to talk to Claire.
"There is a grave danger lurking in your way," he begins, "which of course one suspects.
But he believes that their chances have improved since his intervention.
Claire asks him if Colum is sending her, but Ned replies that on the contrary, the Laird would not be happy if he learned of his presence. He does not have time to specify if, conversely, he is at the initiative of her arrest, especially since before going into exile with Dougal, Jamie had warned her about Colum's anger. We can also make the remaque that the famous spanking did not serve much since, once again, Claire did only at her head.
Ned slips a flask of brandy into his pocket and the two women are taken away.
So we find them again in the thieves' hole.
The hues are bluish, cool colors that immediately generate a feeling of freshness, moisture and pain.
Yet, perhaps because they are exhausted, unless it is the effects of brandy, Claire and Geillis are done with anger and blame.
It is the moment of truth and Claire's crazy hope does not last long in the face of Geillis' lucidity.
"So you don't understand! What they want is to kill us.
Geillis gives himself up straight. It wasn't for money that she had an affair with Dougal. She had had enough since she had been robbing her husband for years. No, what brought her closer to Warlord McKenzie was their common designs to return the throne to a Scotsman.
"A damned Jacobite," Claire breathes, beginning to understand.
It feels good to see Geillis' ability to love, even if this feeling seems devoid of any romanticism. She must have felt very lonely since she crossed the stones! What struggles did she face to get by? To carry out his quest? Let us remember what she said to Claire in her infirmary on the night of the oath of allegiance: "It is not good for a woman to be alone in the Highlands". It is very likely that she paid the price, as a woman and healer!
She must have known many men, but Dougal is the only one who can understand her struggle and her complete devotion to the cause. Is that why she allowed him to have a child for him? Unless it is only to keep him under his yoke.
Isn't it a form of admiration when she compares Dougal to her brother?
— Colum fights for the McKenzies. Dougal fights for McKinnon, the McPersons, the Chisholms, the Camerons. He fights for all the clans, for all of Scotland! This man is a real lion.
Besides, Claire finally smiles.
"Do you really have feelings for him?"
"You said it," Geillis replied, turning his head away. Little girl caught red-handed.
But now, Dougal will not come to save her because he obeyed his brother. She assures that she does not regret anything, because when the Jacobites rise up, she knows that it will be a little thanks to her.
If there was still any doubt about his loyalty, it is lifted definitively. And whatever one may think of Geillis, of his particular journey, she is still remarkable, and incredibly courageous.
Claire understands this and can only admire it.
"I onlyregret having only one life to lose for my country," she said, without citing her source.
Is Claire quoting a future sentence knowingly? It is more likely that this escaped him.
Perhaps if she had, the doubt that she is a time traveler would have been removed immediately.
Indeed, not only would Nathan Hale to whom these words have been attributed have spoken them in 1776, the day of his hanging, but they would not have been credited to him until decades later. Anyway, the two women are for then in 1743!
Geillis, meanwhile, keeps a few long seconds of silence. She observes Claire carefully with a "je ne sais quoi" in the look that can suggest that she has just understood something. It is worth watching this moment several times, because it may well be the fundamental click.
"What about you?" Clear. You didn't tell me anything, she resumes in a soft voice... Do you like your Jamie?
Claire doesn't answer, but is it necessary?
The two women are friends again.
Moreover, the next morning, Claire recounts a childhood memory, when she watches the thousands of starlings fly.
"Why are they doing this?" asks Geillis.
— To protect yourself from hawks. Because there is strength in numbers.
It is an outstretched hand, a pipe of peace. They must both unite against the rest of the world, whether to survive, or to move towards death.
"We're far from being a volley, you and I," Geillisreplied as they heard the guards approaching. Even if some say I'm used to flying!
Another touch of humour.
While the guard opens the gate, Claire puts her hand on Geillis' belly, the gesture she refused him the day before. And Geillis brings it to his lips. This may be their last day.
The first testimony of this new morning is none other than that of Laoghaire.
She walks forward with a trailing step, looking at Claire head-on. Now is the time for his revenge.
Like the previous witnesses, in the end, Laoghaire is only telling his own truth.
When the judge asks Claire if she really slapped her, she does not deceive him and tries to justify her action.
It's something that never ceases to surprise me, or bore me, as you wish. Why not lie? After all, it is his word against Laoghaire's! There are no witnesses! This is surely what Ned Gowan thinks, who seems bothered by the turn of events.
While, anger helping, Claire explains loud and clear the truth about the trap set for her by Laoghaire, not only does no one believe her, but the judge silences her by telling her that she is making a fool of herself.
My god! What injustice, what frustration to let Laoghaire win! (Remember this when you watch the episode "The First Woman")
One could say that nothing worse can happen. And yet, Father Bain is called to the stand in his turn.
He walks slowly down the aisle, his shining cross hanging from his neck, his fists clenched. He speaks to the audience in an authoritarian voice.
"Iaddress you, good people of Cransmuir. I knew, as soon as I laid eyes on Claire Fraser, that you had welcomed the great whore of Babylon into your midst. You let yourself be seduced. She has diverted you from the path of virtue and righteousness through her bewitching immorality. You have sold your soul to the enemy...
"Is this a trial?" Or a sermon? Tent Ned, with the hope of relaxing the room as during his intervention on the testimony of the cat.
But no one laughs. Because one can make fun of a servant, but certainly not of a religious! Especially when it inspires more fear than devotion.
Bath continues, more and more virulent. He hates Claire for countering him when Mrs. Fitzz's nephew was ill. A woman standing up to church? This is simply intolerable and he is determined to make her pay.
For this, Father Bain will take everyone on the wrong foot.
Rather than testify in the same way as the others, he asks forgiveness for not having been able to save Thomas Baxter and for not having trusted Claire who, obviously, knew what to do. He asks God and the congregation for forgiveness and wishes to be dismissed.
Timothy Mac Innerney's game is literally breathtaking! We are statufied by his statement and, like all those present, we sincerely believe him repentant, just like Claire and Geillis who do not know how to react.
The silence weighs for long seconds while Father Bain is on his knees, arms crossed, as if waiting for a divine torture.
But... And he had foreseen it, a man stands up and expresses his anger.
"You are all witnesses of his diabolical stratagem! he yells, making grand gestures. Only Satan himself can make a man of God want to be fired!
Immediately the crowd wakes up and joins him in begging the priest to go back on his word.
As Ned Gowan asks for a recess of the hearing, Father Bain turns to Claire and a winning smile emerges on her face.
There you go. He won.
Ned can finally speak with the two women discreetly.
It is no longer time to hope, but to act. And the only solution is to save at least one.
"But neither of us are witches! Claire told him.
— It doesn't matter. What matters is what the congregation believes you are.
And on this occasion, it is difficult to contradict him.
He then turned to Geillis.
"People thought you were a witch long before this Englishwoman arrived. And to be honest, you had been practicing your sinister trade for years.
This is the first time we have seen Ned come out of his reserve. This is a serious time.
He proposes that Claire claim to have been bewitched by Geillis. If she refuses? They will both burn.
With that, he leaves the room to give them time to think.
Surprisingly, the discussion takes a completely different turn. Geillis does not wish to talk about this option, at least, not right away. Before that, she wants to know why Claire is in Scotland.
"No more lies, Claire! If I have to burn at the stake, I have to know why I die.
Then the floodgates open. My god! How long we have waited for this!
"It was an accident! I swear I'm not here for some reason. I only want to go home, but I don't even know if it's possible.
Geillis is devastated.
"For nothing... So, all this is for nothing.
I take a moment to analyze this scene.
We know what Claire means when she talks about an accident. This refers to the standing stones of Craigh Na Dun and its unexpected crossing. But what is this sentence supposed to mean to Geillis? Why should she understand and react in this way? We know, or we will find out in a few moments, that Geillis is also a traveler. But Claire still doesn't know!
I find this weakness unworthy of the rigor with which writers generally treat the coherence of the story.
Ned, unable to contain the crowd any longer, comes to get them.
Geillis comes out first, with a decided step.
"Apparently, I'm going to a fucking barbecue!"
I take advantage of this text to correct a truth about this sentence.
Many fans, me first, thought that it was an anachronistic term that should have put the chip in Claire's ear.
But I checked (yes, I'm like that...) and it turns out that it's a Spanish-American word, more precisely, coming from the Caribbean (funny coincidence, right?) It is attested in English writings since 1733 (or even 1697 according to another source), so it predates the scene.
Back in the courtroom, Claire refuses to follow Ned Gowan's advice and does not dissociate herself from Geillis.
How could she? She who has only been saving people for years? Geillis, the only friend (besides Jamie) she's had since arriving here. This complex woman, but full of passion and life! No, Claire can't do that.
Then the sentence falls. They will both be burned.
A surprising scene follows.
While Ned Gowan threatens the men present with a gun (damn, this man is amazing), Geillis whispers to Claire).
"You were asking me if it was possible?" Well, I think it's possible.
"What are you saying?"
(In the book, Diana has Dougal relay the information, but I think this option is really successful.)
But she doesn't have time to say more, as the crowd has gotten the better of Ned Gowan and Claire is screaming her rage.
The judge immediately sentenced her to be whipped.
As men tear her dress, Laoghaire approaches close to her.
"I'll come and dance on your ashes," she said, "and, damn it, how I would like to slap her at that time!"
Geillis watches, helpless and helpless, the strap stretching Claire's back.
That's when Jamie arrives.
Sheltered, in the heart of the forest, Jamie stamps with a wet cloth the wounds on Claire's back.
— The wounds are not deep. I don't think you will have any marks.
There is so much pain in this simple sentence!
He sits across from her.
"I know there are things you refuse to talk about, but there's one thing I expect from you: honesty.
It is important, it seems to me, to remember that, from the beginning, Jamie respects Claire's secrets. And I find it very teaching that we can tell the difference between secrecy and honesty. Jamie doesn't use this word by chance.
"Then I would ask you to always tell me the truth and I promise to tell you the truth too.
"I agree," Claire replied.
Chances are she has imagined this confession many times! However, she certainly did not expect Jamie's first question!
"Are you a witch?"
What a wonderful surprise! I'm glad that Diana dared to open this breach in her character. I think it was important to put Jamie back at "man height", or at least, in the era in which he lives. Until then, it was almost too perfect to be true, too "modern". Especially since he had told Claire when they visited Black Kirk together in search of what could have poisoned young Thomas Baxter. (episode 103, "The Legend of the Lady of Balnain"):
"Iam an extremely educated person (...) I had a tutor, a good one! He taught me Latin, Greek, not stories of fairies, demons or water horses. But I am also a pure Highlander. I don't think you should make fun of the devil, especially not on your own land to defy fate." (strangely, French subtitling allows itself to replace the "devil" by the "father Bain", which I find a little light...)
What Jamie meant at that time was that despite his great culture, he kept within himself his deep nature and some traces of the education he received. To have an open mind is to be able to hear all the proposals, that of progress, and those of ancestral beliefs.
"I have often seen this scar on your arm. I didn't have any problems with it until I saw the same one on Geillis today. She said it was the mark of the Evil One. Then...
So it's finally the right way to start confiding. Saying, "I'm not a witch, because I'm from the past." Rather than, "I'm from the past, but I'm not a witch."
Claire unfolds her story, and since this scar has fed Jamie's doubt, we might as well start there: The vaccine, the fact that she can not catch diseases even if it affects the body of the sick ...
Jamie is silent. He listens attentively even if what he hears makes no sense to him.
If she knows things about BJR, like when he's going to die or that he works for Sandringham, it's because her husband told her about it.
Jamie is still silent. However, his face remains open and benevolent.
"I know about Bonnie Prince, about the Jacobites and their lost cause, and I also know what the Scots will suffer.
She does everything she can. Is it to give more meaning to what she will say next? Is it to save time?
"If I know all this, it's because I come from the future," she finally confessed. I was born on October 20 of the year 1918, it's in 200 years, can you hear me?
She is no longer hesitant, she is imperious. It is too late to go back and erase his words. She won't get a second chance so she has to convince him. You must!
But Jamie remains silent. His gaze is no longer benevolent but lost in the distance.
"Can you hear me?"
In the background, no music, not even the sound of the forest, just a dissonant sheet of sound intended to amplify the tension.
"Please Jamie! Answer me!
"I hear you...
Yet he remains silent, motionless, almost lifeless.
"You think I'm completely crazy, right?"
Because that is what is at stake now. If Jamie imagines her crazy, then this time she will have really lost everything.
But Jamie finally comes out of his stillness. He has heard everything, and even if he has not understood everything, he believes her.
Then follows the sentence that touches me deeply, all seasons combined.
"You and I are bound by the truth. So, as soon as you open your mouth, I'll take your word for it.
I'm sure that's Jamie's best quality. Beyond his strength, his courage, and even his loyalty. What makes him unique in Claire's eyes and what has changed her life to such an extent that she decides to cross the stones again 20 years later, is this open-mindedness and the trust he places in her. In a time full of dangers, as he himself recalled just before the spanking, it can be fatal to rely on another!
He can sit next to her again. He puts his hand on his knee and Claire puts hers on top. To reconnect, they needed that physical contact that meant so much in their encounter, that vibration that they never knew how to explain probably because at that moment, they are one.
He touches her because she is human and not a fairy or a witch. She is his wife. Sassenach.
From then on, he is full of questions and Claire has so much to reveal to him about the future! A future that she approaches to the imperfect, but we are starting to get used to it.
"I was a war nurse in the British army.
This is the first image we had of her in the very first episode. It is therefore through this image that she presents herself to him.
"Itold him everything," says Claire's voice-over. All mystory sprang from my mouth like the waterspouts that spring from a broken dam. I didn't realize I needed to talk to anyone, anyone, until that moment. He listened. He didn't understand everything, but he listened."
Jamie realizes that when she tried to run away while he himself went to meet Horrocks, it was to join her husband. This spanking that put their couple in danger was added to the drama she lived in silence.
That's what upsets him the most. Amazing, isn't it?
It's not that she was able to cross stones or even that she kept this secret all this time. No, what hurts him is that some of this pain may have come from him.
"Iblame me if you knew. I am sorry.
"Don't be. How could you have known?
He takes her in his arms, consoles her and more than ever, wishes to preserve her.
"Now rest. No one will hurt you. I protect you.
Take good care of Jamie's face from there. To his expression, to what is happening in his eyes. (Sam interprets it sublimely, do I need to convince anyone?)
He already knows what he's going to do. For her.
"So, do you really believe me?" Claire asks him one last time.
"I believe you. But everything would have been easier if you had been content to be a simple witch.
Geillis is no longer here to offer us his little pearls of humor, we needed a replacement!
The sound sheet is maintained on a wire. A tense and permanent our that remains suspended until the change of plan to transform into a brighter music.
Claire and Jamie ride through the beautiful Highland scenery towards Lallybroch.
Claire's voice resumes its narration as we watch them prepare the evening meal, Claire makes a brooch for the fire, and Jamie strips the rabbit he just killed. (Let's skip over how easily it removes the animal's skin... Small weakness of the realization that perhaps did not want to redo the take ... go find out).
Jamie's good mood contrasts with Claire's sad face, who tells us:
"(...) I was trying to imagine our lives, both of us, but I felt like I was drifting. I was untied in a raging sea."
It is dark and the scene is lit only by the glow of fire.
Claire sleeps and Jamie, lying next to her, holds her hand. The one who wears her wedding ring. He caresses her face with a tender finger and looks at her.
In truth, he sees her for the first time as she really is. In its entirety, and no longer the one full of secrets that he married. His hand descends to his intimacy as he places his lips on hers.
What he wants is to offer pleasure to her, who has suffered so much. That's how he will get her out of the abyss into which she has been sinking since Cransmuir. This is how he will extricate him from this raging sea.
But it is also this image of her that he wishes to keep in memory. Not the one in distress, but the one full of the happiness he knew how to give her.
We can notice that this scene is presented to us from Jamie's point of view, for the first time, it seems to me.
In the early morning, while she was near the river, he joined her.
On his face, love, then sadness and finally courage.
"So, Sassenach, are you ready to go home?"
But at the top of the hill is not Lallybroch, but Craigh na Dun.
Of course, now we all know. s ! But during the first viewing (or first reading), what a shock!
He drags her to the center of the stones, where it all began for her.
But when she gets too close to the menhir, he abruptly holds her by the arm.
"Forgive me, I wasn't ready.
Could it ever be?
It is important to note the big difference between the scene written by Diana and the one presented by Toni Graphia, the writer of this episode.
Indeed, in the book, Jamie takes Claire to the stones to test the veracity of these words. Even if he wants to believe her, his rational mind needs certainty. When Claire walks up to the menhir, he knows she hasn't lied.
The series has chosen a more romantic vision, more pleasant, and that scratches less our hero.
After hugging her, he encourages her to do it again.
"There is no point in waiting," he said. You have to leave now, we came for that. There's your time there. Your life is on the other side. (...) There's nothing for you on this side, can you hear me? Nothing but violence and danger. So leave.
He will stay at the camp until the next day, to make sure she is safe and sound.
— Farewell Sassenach.
Claire is alone. Sitting on the ground facing the standing stones, she looks at her hands, both wearing her two wedding rings. The gold one, shiny and classic, symbol of a secure existence is comfortable. The silver one, hammered, like a rough and dangerous life.
Opposite, this huge door, which she can now borrow. (She doesn't yet know that it takes a gem to pass through), in her back, the smoke coming from the camp where Jamie is.
She gets up, and walks towards the menhir as the music swells until it looks like it is entering the rock.
Fade to black.
Opening on the fire next to which Jamie seems to sleep.
"Come, standing soldier," Claire's voice told him. (in reference to what she told him when she finished treating her shoulder after falling from her horse in the first episode).
I confess that I do not like this kind of process. A suspense with two bullets that makes us believe that it goes to the left while we find it to the right. It's amazing on Toni Graphia's part, it doesn't look like her. But this is quickly forgotten, and even more quickly forgiven. (I'm like that)
Jamie's face, his cheeks soaked with tears, lights up.
"Take me home to Lallybroch," she continues.
During these few seconds of shooting Claire, we know that she is really back. Not just Craigh na Dun! But also of this storm in which she seemed to get lost since Cransmuir. And it was when I noticed this transformation that I realized how much she had been absent before that, as if her confession had emptied her of all courage, of all strength.
They kiss and music accompanies them.
Part Two: Confession
I wondered for quite a while. When can we estimate the first part completed?
At first, it seemed obvious to me: when Claire and Jamie leave the courtroom, of course!
Yes... but not actually! Because everything changes from the moment Jamie appears in the courtroom. His arrival puts an end to the duo. Claire is now with Jamie, and Geillis is isolated.
Take a good look at the face of the latter when Claire is whipped, how much she suffers with her! Behind his shell, Geillis loves, feels compassion. Now alone in the dock, she can find her warrior soul, free herself from the injunction of Ned Gowan and choose herself the path to take.
Jamie's fury gives him time to act.
Because he's angry Jamie, there's no doubt about it. The woman he loves is being bitten by the nine-tailed cat, just like him did years ago.
He does not care about the order of judges not to interfere in the court's decisions, as well as the cries of frustration of the frustrated public who demand a punishment commensurate with his fear. Does he even notice Geillis? There is little chance. He sees only the glowing stripes on his wife's back.
"I have taken an oath before God to protect this woman," he says, pointing his sword at him. And if you tell me that you feel that your authority is superior to that of the Almighty," he continued, pointing his dagger with his other hand towards the assembly, "Then I must inform you that I do not share your opinion.
The Judges are ruled. The men in the audience pointing their weapons in turn at the intruder stop shouting.
"The first one who approaches will be the first to feel my blade.
No one doubts that.
I like to think that many are wondering if they would be capable of such action to defend their own wives.
Anyway, that's when Geillis comes in.
"This woman is not a witch, but I am, gentlemen!
Her voice trembles a little, perhaps out of fear and also because she can't believe what she's doing. I imagine her talking to herself with a touch of humor that she is accustomed to, like: "Well here is my big one, all this work to end up grilled like a merguez"...
She supports herself with Claire's gaze, struck by what has just happened.
"I confess it to you," Geillis continued, more sure of herself now. I murdered my husband, Arthur Duncan, through the secular arts. I took advantage of Claire Fraser's ignorance and bewitched her to serve my purposes. She never conspired. She was never aware of my intentions.
Although her words are quite audible, she seems possessed, panting, her whole body in pain. She tears off the blindfold around her neck (FYI, the sublime Lotte Verbeek improvised this passage) as if she would remove a mask.
As Claire finally joins Jamie's arms, Geillis strips his left shoulder to the scar of his smallpox vaccine.
"Look. I bear the mark of the Devil!
The public is horrified, but it is to Claire that this gesture is intended. The surest way to tell him the truth. "I'm like you." That is what 1968 meant.
For Claire, everything makes sense.
Then Geillis sends him a final, almost silent message. "Save yourself!"
It's likely she wouldn't have left if Jamie hadn't been there. He leads her towards the exit, navigating through the crowd that barely notices them, as she is subjugated by the one who finally reveals herself: the real witch.
To ensure extra time and nothing more to lose, Geillis continues to play his role to perfection.
She stripped naked completely in order to discover the roundness of her belly.
"I am Satan's mistress! Look! I'm carrying his child!
Is too much for the crowd that throws itself on it like a wild animal.
Geillis is now inhabited, as if she had accepted her sorse.
I have often wondered what his life had been since crossing the stones, besides his political quest of course. Had she been happy? Satisfied? Did she find the existence of the 18th century to her liking? Or conversely, had she had regrets, even, a form of disdain for all those she had met.
Perhaps, at that moment, dying seemed acceptable to him. Even if it meant going through the atrocity of the stake!
I am extrapolating, of course. Diana tried to describe this extraordinary woman through Claire's eyes, but we were never able to enter into her intimacy.
Yet, while she is carried at arm's length, swimming above the crowd, she continues her confession. Perhaps she is really taking on the role of Satan in order to damn them all.
"I slept with Beelzebub! I have dedicated my soul to him for eternity! I am going to have Satan's child. He will curse you all!
The judges, overwhelmed by the sequence of events, ordered the mob to cover Geillis' naked body.
"Take it easy! She is expecting a child!
This demonstrates, it seems to me, how hypocritical these two are. Why cover a witch who is destined for the stake? And why care for the son of the devil?
Is it a desire of Diana not to scratch the Church? There is little chance, because she is a believer, certainly, but honest and lucid and she is the first to denounce extremism, whether political or religious.
Always carried at arm's length, Geillis is carried through the city to the boos of the villagers. Among the crowd are Jeanie, Father Bain and Laoghaire, right next to him.
Claire and Jamie, hidden in the shelter of a wall, watch the body of this woman who has just sacrificed herself for them pass by.
"Come clear, we must go.