Season 2 has begun! My intention is to write an “Insta-Reaction” post for each episode right after viewing, to share some initial thoughts, questions, reactions — you name it.
I may be talking about events from this episode, other episodes, and/or the book series… so if you’d rather not know, now’s your chance to walk away!
Outlander, episode 207: “Faith”
The official synopsis (via Starz):
Claire is brought to L’Hopital des Anges where doctors try to save her life and that of her unborn baby. King Louis asks Claire to judge two men accused of practicing the dark arts — one an enemy, one a friend.
Major plot points:
- Claire’s baby is stillborn — a girl, whom Mother Hildegarde baptizes with the name Faith.
- Jamie is being held in the Bastille for dueling, a crime which could leave him locked up indefinitely.
- Claire’s only option for saving Jamie is to appeal directly to the King, which comes with its own cost.
- Claire learns that the reason that Jamie broke his promise and went ahead with the duel is because Randall attacked and raped Fergus at the brothel.
- Jamie and Claire visit Faith’s grave before leaving France to return to Scotland.
There’s a little fake-out at the beginning of the episode, when we see Claire with a red-haired girl in Boston in 1954. So non-book readers maybe breathed a sigh of relief that Jamie and Claire’s baby was healthy after all and all that blood last time was just a scare?
Not so fast.
It’s a heartbreaker, plain and simple.
Claire’s baby daughter is born dead, and the scenes of Claire discovering the fate of her baby are simply wrenching to watch. The raw pain on her face is intense, and the entire episode focuses on Claire’s suffering.
The scenes at Versailles are painful to watch for other reasons. It’s all so very cut and dried and business-like. First, Claire must identify the black arts practitioner for the King, which ends with the Comte St. Germain’s death by poison, thanks to Master Raymond’s sleight of hand. Then there’s the matter of Claire’s payment to the King in exchange for Jamie’s freedom — the most transactional sexual encounter we’ve ever seen on this show. It’s awful in its matter-of-factness.
And then there’s the Fergus scene. I didn’t think the show would go there — I assume BJR’s rape of Fergus would be implied and left off-screen. Wrong. While no body parts are shown, it’s quite clear what’s going on, and it’s gut-churning. I’m shocked, in a way, that the little actor playing Fergus was put into those scenes, and can’t imagine how Tobias Menzies managed to carry out BJR’s part either. Just horrifying.
I’m keeping my insta-reaction brief. What can I say about such an upsetting and tragic episode? Claire suffers the torments of hell in losing her baby, and the scene of her rocking and singing to the dead infant is both beautiful and horrible.
Claire and Jamie’s reunion was painful as well. The hurt, the fear, the pain between them — it’s so brutal and brittle and emotionally raw. I’m glad that they joined hands at Faith’s grave at the end. Despite their loss and deep pain, despite the betrayals and tragedies, they’ll remain together and find a way forward.
This is the end of the Paris portion of the season, and I’m glad! It’s been well-done, and full of gorgeous eye candy, but the heart of Outlander is in Scotland, and I’m glad they’re going back.
The only momentary break in the tension for me during this episode was when we see Jamie’s face when he returns home from the Bastille. I get it, he was there for… weeks? months? Long enough to grow a scraggly, bushy beard that looks like a stick-on out of a Halloween costume kit. It was totally distracting — it did not look real at all, and kind of made me laugh before getting re-absorbed by the interactions on the screen.
But other than that — a powerful, memorable, painful episode.