What a journey it's been! This finale episode isn't the strongest in the Outlander canon — far from it — but it does wrap up many loose ends (*cough* Young Ian), and opens new possibilities for next season. What's more, we finally get a sense that there could be consequences to all this going back and forth in time, which I suspect will raise the stakes in the future of the series beyond the immediate drama that seems to follow Jamie and Claire wherever they go.
Speaking of our heroes, Jamie's arrest in the final minutes of last week's episode proves to be a short one. John Grey intervenes, shaming Captain Leonard into handing him over with some expert Army shade. Since he doesn't have any actual proof, Leonard is forced to give in. Amidst major sexual tension, Jamie bids his friend farewell once more, and heads out into the night.
Meanwhile, Claire has gone to Rose Hall in search of Young Ian, but is sent directly to Geillis when her stealth mission — whispering his name in the slave quarters — goes awry. Geillis doesn't think their repeated meetings are a coincidence, and she has a point — what are the odds that two time travelers keep running into each other on different continents, 200 years apart?
Turns out, Geillis blames Claire for the failure of the Rising, which is definitely unfair. She's certain that Claire's true purpose in the past is to thwart her efforts to put a Scot on the throne, thereby liberating her homeland from the English. While trying to explain her true motives, Claire accidentally lets slip that she was pregnant when she went back to her own time over 20 years ago. Suddenly, it all falls into place: could the 200-year-old baby from the prophecy be...Brianna?
Convinced that Claire is telling the truth once the latter shows her the photographs of Brianna she brought back for Jamie, Geillis offers her a guestroom. Soon after retiring, Claire spots Young Ian being hustled away through the gardens. When she tries to go after him, she runs smack into Jamie, who was sent after her by Fergus and Marsali.
The two follow the sound of drums to a nearby clearing where a group of Jamaicans are performing a dance ritual that reminds Claire of the Scottish witch circle back at Craig-Na-Duhn. Unfortunately, she and Jamie are spotted crouching in the bushes (not a great hiding place — these two really need to work on their technique) and brought into the circle. It looks like a threatening situation, until suddenly, Mr. Willoughby steps in. He's here with Margaret Campbell, who has been invited by the group to share her gifts. What's more, they're in love! (That was fast.)
The sight of Claire and Jamie triggers one of Margaret's visions, and for a second, it looks as if she's channeling Brianna's spirit, warning her parents of a danger to come. We also get a third reference to "Abandaway," so if you weren't already convinced that it's about to be important, here's your reminder.
As if this all wasn't weird enough, Archibald Campbell shows up (is everyone on this island just hanging out in the woods in the middle of the night?) and threatens his sister, reminding her about the prophecy. Claire overhears and realizes that Geillis believes that the new king of Scotland will rise upon the death of a two-hundred-year-old baby: her daughter. Geillis is planning to go back to 1968 and kill her. It turns out "Abandaway" refers to a place just like Craigh-Na-Dunh, where people go and disappear — through time. Looks like they have their destination.
Meanwhile, Archibald gets on the wrong side of Mr. Willoughby when he smacks Margaret with his cane to get her to obey. A scuffle ensues, and Archibald ends up dead, his body carried off to be used in the dance ritual that's still going on in the background. (Why this ritual was necessarily to the plot in the first place still escapes me.)
Claire and Jamie arrive at Abandaway, but before entering, they kiss goodbye — just in case. The couple finds Geillis sitting in the middle of a sand diagram, complete with jewels and a photograph of Brianna. Young Ian is tied up nearby, ready to be used as human sacrifice.
While Jamie fights it out with Geillis' bodyguard, Claire confronts her old friend, who serves up a whole bunch of nonsense about needing to do this for the greater good. As Geillis prepares to jump into the time-pool (Jamaica's version is way more chic than Scotland's), Claire lunges at her with a knife, and slits her throat.
The newly reunited family emerges from the cave (one question: how is it that Young Ian's hair and beard have not grown one inch since he was kidnapped many months ago?), but Claire hangs back. She suddenly flashes back to an exchange she had with Joe Abernathy back in Boston, examining the bones of a woman found in a cave in the Caribbean. "Someone tried to cut this lady's head clean off," Joe said at the time. It was Geillis' skeleton! You see — time travel is fucked up.
Back on the Artemis, Jamie and Claire share a much too rare moment of intimacy. As they head towards Scotland, he gives her a very detailed account of what he plans to do to her once they hit dry land, which leads to some steamy sex. As they lie in bed afterward, Jamie notices that "the skys are turning."
This is the understatement of the century. The ship sails into a full-blown gale that looks like something out of Geostorm. While Fergus, Young Ian and Marsali huddle below deck, Claire ventures out to help any sailors who might have be injured. But it's no use — the storm is too strong, and the men get ready to abandon their posts. Jamie goes back for Claire, who has tied herself to the ship with a rope, but a gigantic wave sweeps over them both. When Jamie surfaces, still aboard, Claire is nowhere to be seen.
The episode goes full-circle, with Claire floating once more in the depths. "I was dead," she says. "Everything around me was a blinding white. And there was a soft rushing sound like the winds of angels. I felt peaceful, and body-less. Free of terror, free of rage, filled with a quiet happiness." Luckily though, Jamie can swim (not a given in 18th century naval life) and isn't about to let Claire slip away again after all they've been through.
When the two wash up on a beach, it looks like they might be the only two survivors. But good news: the Artemis isn't — as one would assume, after that wave — at the bottom of the sea. The ship has run aground nearby, and it looks like all the important people are safe and sound.
Welcome to Georgia, y'all! Outlander has officially landed Stateside. I fully expect Jamie to be palling around with George Washington by next season.
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