Jamie and Claire doing what they do best, saving the day and acting like themselves.
Great action, with a really fun female villain who is so bad we love her.
David Berry showing us yet another side to Lord John Grey.
Yi Tien Cho running away with Margaret because we REALLY shipped that.
A lot of the swashbuckling fun that makes Outlander... well, Outlander!
A distinct lack of balance between scenes that just made the episode feel off.
A mad dash through the climax of the season before we had a chance to blink with almost have the finale to go.
So many coincidences.
A few slavish book reproductions felt slightly clunky on screen.
Paying short shrift to supporting characters that are fantastic- we want to see them!
Outlander’s finale will thrill book readers, but does it make a compelling episode? Yes and no.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is drowning before we flash back to Claire headed to Rose Hall in search of Young Ian (John Bell) at Geillis’ place. She’s caught and brought to Geillis who goes full crazy, accusing her of thwarting all her efforts of restoring a Scottish King. Meanwhile Lord John Grey (David Berry) goes full governor on poor Captain Leonard and secures Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) release. Back in the house of Geillis (Lotte Verbeek) the unstable and nothing that she can say will convince her she’s innocent of what she’s accusing her of. Good thing she has these photos of her daughter the 200 year old baby! Oh, Claire.
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Geillis steals a photo in order to sacrifice young Ian and head through the portal in Abandawe. By this time Jamie has made it to Rose Hall and he gets Claire and they meet Willoughby (Gary Young) and Margaret (Alison Pargeter) who are running away together until they run into Archie Campbell. To defend Margaret Willoughby kills him but not before Claire puts the prophecy together and realizes Geillis means to kill Bree. Claire and Jamie go into that cave and before Geillis can sacrifice Ian and go Claire nearly lops her head off. Don’t mess with a mom.
Claire and Jamie finally get some “alone time” back on the Artemis before there’s a massive hurricane. It’s harrowing and Claire gets washed overboard! But Jamie to the rescue as he swims down to retrieve her before she drowns. But is she dead?! They wash up on shore after an unspecified amount of time and whew! Claire is alive. Then some people come upon them and tell them the Artemis survived the storm and is pretty close. Also, they’re in Georgia!
And with that, the camera pulls back on this new world and a new Droughtlander is upon us!
We need more villains like this
Let’s talk about the good first. Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan is the kind of villain we really wish we had seen earlier. Focusing the season with someone who is complex, passionate, and unpredictable instead of various smaller nebulous problems really helped the show over the last two episodes. We love Geillis because we so completely empathize with Claire’s perspective. She’s at once cajoling and pernicious. We’re totally clueless watching her. What is she going to say next?
“I befriended you, and because of that I let my guard down. I sacrificed all for you, and still you come into my home and lie to me.” -Geillis
Obviously we knew she had Ian and that she cared deeply about the prophecy. She’s just as much of a patriot now as she was in the 60’s and the 18th century. But the entire conversation where she started spouting conspiracy theories and she accused Claire of actively working against her plan was full of tension. When you’ve read the books and you know what’s going to happen that’s not easy to do. We were on rapt and we loved every moment.
And Lotte Verbeek sells every second. It would be simple to turn Geillis into a caricature. She’s flat out crazy. She takes baths in blood for God’s sake. But we bought every second of her turning from kind host to vengeful witch. We were only sad to see her go. Because she was so good we thought she was introduced too late and left too early. We’d take a performance like that again any time.
“Where’s the beef?”
The real issue we had with the Outlander finale was again one of balance. Part of that couldn’t be helped. You can’t go back in time and change how much time was spent on ships. But you can look at the balance of this episode. Where was the meat of this episode? The Geillis/Young Ian kidnapping storyline was wrapped up with over twenty minutes to go in the episode. And how much of that time was watching that extremely long and uncomfortable drum circle? The drum circle was creepy. We understood that about fifteen seconds into it. We didn’t need to linger (or be pandered by showing it being compared to the circle dancing at Craigh na Dun).
“She is the first woman to truly see me. The man that I am. And I see her.” -Yi Tien Cho
We felt wrapping up the Geillis storyline was the bulk of the action here. Yes you need to set up next season but the most exciting part of the drama was with the season’s big villain. And why introduce storylines if you aren’t going to follow them through as they deserve. Last week we talked about how much we enjoyed seeing Willoughby connect with Margaret but they only shared a few lines. Here they’re conveniently with the slaves and suddenly they’re running away. Well. When you know you know? Yi Tien Cho was a great character. We wanted to see more of his love story with Margaret!
And here’s where we might get flayed alive. We love Jamie and Claire intimate moments. But that’s not the only reason we love the characters. This love scene was clearly a love letter to fans. It was pulled directly from the pages of the book and tossed on screen. But boy was it long. We were really on board for the romantic if inexplicable start (since Jamie almost always has stubble on the show). But as it progressed it just felt uncomfortable. If it had been a minute or two shorter we would’ve been in ecstasy.
“Water water everywhere”
The sea battle was sublime and ridiculous all at once. Outlander writers (we’re looking at you Matt B. Roberts), can you please give Claire reasons to do things other than, “I’m a doctor”? Because for someone who is so smart it’s a really stupid reason to do things. Perhaps Claire could have heard someone screaming in agony on deck? Or many panicked shrieks? Because it doesn’t seem like the middle of a hurricane is a really great time for the ship’s surgeon to be wandering around on the deck after Jamie specifically said to stay below.
“I’m still the ship’s surgeon!” -Claire
In order to fully enjoy Claire going overboard and her dramatic rescue by Jamie you unfortunately have to forgive a whole lot of coincidences and it’s a shame because we really liked the look of these scenes. Production really did a good job with the technical elements and the CGI was in generally pretty good. So why ruin it with things that make us roll our eyes? Jamie doesn’t see her go over but knows how to find her? If he had just looked in her direction and seen the wave wash her overboard this sequence would’ve gotten much higher marks from us.
Final Verdict: The Outlander finale delivered action in spades and was a book lover’s dream with some satisfying moments, but some nagging issues continue to plague it.
The Outlander finale was everything you’d want in terms of action! The final confrontation between Geillis and Claire was really well done but boy were we sad to lose such a mercurial villain. The tension Lotte Verbeek created not enough can be said about it. But this episode felt off in terms of the balance of the elements. Great supporting characters were underutilized. Instead of extended time on things that develop character and drive the story forward we got extended time on visuals. It was definitely a situation in which things happened almost exactly as they occurred in the novel but could have been adapted to play more effectively to the visual medium.
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Will we see Yi Tien Cho and Margaret again? Why do they want to go to Martinique? Where did these people in the circle dancing come from? Are they slaves? Will Claire connect Margaret’s words with her daughter? Is Bree experiencing that moment in her dreams? We hope that that connects to something next season. How will Jamie and Claire make a home for themselves in the new world? How will we deal with droughtlander?
We loved the show of strength from previously less forceful characters! John Bell calling Geillis a bitch was a real moment for him in confronting a woman who abused him. We gave a rousing cheer. And bring us all the David Berry. Strong, powerful and intelligent Lord John Grey is everything we ever wanted and more. It was really nice to see that character take a place of power when previously we haven’t seen him as more than besotted with Jamie even when he was “in charge” of the prison. Way to step up Lord John.
It’s a shame this episode was so packed. Some of them felt so rushed and could have been longer. We can take tension! And we really like when the show gets time to breathe. An example of that? After killing Geillis Claire is in all kinds of shock and that short scene with Jamie and Ian was the stuff dreams were made of. You can keep the extended flashback sequences to the circle dancing. We understood that they were similar before the show yet again pointed out that we can’t make connections ourselves.
So who is the MVP of the episode? We’re tossing it to David Berry here. Watching him eviscerate Captain Leonard is something we could watch ten times in a row and not be bored. The part is well written and he’s consistently fantastic. There was cold steel behind those eyes tonight and we couldn’t get enough. Yes that’s right it was a two fists in the air burn moment.
To end on a high note we really loved the final scene. When Claire and Jamie washed up on that beach we were rooting for them and as that triumphant melody played we might have even shed a tear. Even though the people that told them they had washed up in Georgia clearly didn’t since they left them just sitting there.
And that’s a wrap on Outlander season 3! We’ve still got a roundtable and a full season review to go, but we’re already looking forward to seeing the show for season 4!
Comments and Questions: And droughtlander begins…
- Claire why would you tell someone THAT PSYCHOTIC about Brianna
- Where did that guy with the alligator head come from? Where did they all come from?
- Why does Yi Tien Cho want to take Margaret to Martinique? Where did they hear about it? Yi Tien is from China and Margaret is a shut in from Scotland. Where does their vast knowledge of geography stem from?
- We would’ve liked a bromance hug between Jamie and John Grey but we would’ve at least taken a handshake! Come on, guys!
- No but really how did Jamie find Claire in that MASSIVE house where there was magically no one?
- Was anyone else totally grossed out by the chicken blood thing while they were ripping Archie Campbell to pieces? Ew.
- Why was Claire magically attracted to the pool and pulled to it when she’d never been pulled by the stones in Scotland? (Thanks Michele!)
- Poor Marsali only got to deliver one sassy line this episode and then she and Fergus just disappeared?
- When all the other sailors went below, did nobody see Claire there and think to help her? Weak, guys.
- Why did that family just leave Jamie and Claire on the beach?! Not, “Can we help you?” or, “When you’re ready come down to our plantation,” or “Why don’t we send someone down to assist you?” They just walked away!! …Americans.
Outlander returns next season on Starz!
Outlander may be over for the season but we still have more content!The season is over but we still have one more roundtable! And stay tuned for our season review and scene stealer! We love our Outlander!
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