The Devil’s Mark was an episode full of revelations. Of secrets revealed, of love and trust tested, and how hate can twist a person into a devil. Where should we start?
At the beginning of the eleventh episode of Outlander, The Devil’s Mark, Claire and Geillis are incarcerated in the thieves’ hole. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. A dark, dank hole with an iron gate as a roof. Geillis believes that Dougal will come for her. Claire explains that Colum banished Dougal to his home and took Jamie with him. There is no one to save them.
The trial, I guess that’s what you’d call it, is full of the towns people, but no one from Castle Leoch. They’ve come for a witch burning and that’s what they mean to get. I don’t understand this behavior. I can’t analyze it into any form that I could see myself doing. Therefore it’s hard to have any empathy or feeling for an angry mob of normal people who want to see someone burned alive. What an incredibly horrible way to go. I do know that these things still happen today which is a whole different subject.
When Ned Gowan demands entrance into the court my heart fluttered. Isn’t he a gem of a character? He’s there to by Claire’s defense. It’s noted that he wasn’t sent by Colum, but chose to come on his own, at a danger to himself. He does try and help Geillis, but really there isn’t anything that would sway the mob to her favor. Geillis has been open about her dealings and the town’s folk will not tolerate her now that her husband is dead.
The mother of the “changeling” baby stands up and condemns Claire for stopping the fairies from giving back her child. Ned counteracts that it was the mother’s fear that kept her from keeping Claire away. The crowd softens, a little. Loughaire appears, as we all knew she would, claiming that Claire bewitched Jamie and hardened his heart against her, and that Claire provided a potion to her. Ned, in his wonderful way, explains that Loughaire is a jealous woman with a broken heart. And then in strolls Father Bane. Oh, does he give me the creeps. He’s like something that slithers out at night from his ink black cave to steal the body heat from unsuspecting victims. In a twist that I wasn’t expecting. He begs to be released from his priesthood, saying that he’s failed his community. Oh please.
Back in the thieves hole, Claire and Geillis talk and attempt to stay warm. Geillis explains that she’s a Jacobite and a patriot and has “stolen” a large amount of gold from her dead husband for the cause. Claire recites Nathaniel Hale’s quote, “I only regret I have but one life to lose for my country.” Geillis has a look in her eye, like she spies the final piece in the puzzle. We’ve all know Geillis was different and now we know that she too is from the future.
Yanked out of their hole, Claire and Geillis are brought back to trial. In frustration Claire loses her temper and screams at the crowd that she’s done nothing wrong. Here is where I have a problem with Claire. I love her character, but she needs to learn a bit of self-control and common sense. She’s in a different time, a dangerous time, and she still seems to believe that her way of thinking will prevail. It won’t.
Ned asks for a recess and explains that he thinks Claire can be saved from burning. If Claire will renounce Geillis and say that she bewitched Claire then he might be able to save her. They’re left alone for a few moments to discuss. Geillis demands to know why Claire is here. She explains that it was an accident and that all she wants to do is go home. Geillis realizes that Claire isn’t here to help the cause, or to change the course of history, and that everything she’s worked for has been for naught. Ned returns and waits for Claire’s answer. She doesn’t, but as Geillis leaves the room she says, “It looks like I’ll be going to a fucking barbeque!” Oh that Geillis.
When given the oppoturnity to tell the court that she’s been bewitched, Claire refuses. Geillis is clearly shocked. Ned, glorious Ned, pulls out his gun and tries to keep the crowd from the women. Geillis, probably for the first time, confronted by an equally strong-willed woman, whispers to Claire that it is possible – meaning to travel back to her time. And says the year, 1968. So that’s when Geillis moved through the stones.
Ned fires a shot and is immediately subdued. Claire screams at the crowd that they’re murderers and will all burn in hell. The judge orders her to be stripped and skelped (whipped). Secured to posts, her back bared, she’s whipped.
Jamie arrives, finally, demanding she be let go. He’ll kill any person who comes near his wife. Geillis sees this is Claire’s one shot at getting out of this alive. Geillis tells the crowd she has the mark of the devil on her arm and reveals a small pox scar. She goes on to show them her belly and says she’s lain with Satan. Jamie drags Claire out and rides like the dickens to get her to safety.
In the woods Jamie tends to Claire’s back and asks that she tell him the truth. “Are you a witch?” Claire explains that she’s not and tells him her whole story. How she came from the future. How she bears the same mark as Geillis because she’s been vaccinated. How she knew about Black Jack Randall because her husband told her. As anyone would, she’s afraid Jamie thinks she’s a lunatic. He doesn’t understand all that she’s told him, but he does believe her.
A few days riding later, Jamie asks if she’s ready to go home and takes her up a rise so she can see the stones ahead of her. He’s willing to let her go so she can return to her own time. He says he’ll make camp below just to make sure she’s off safe. Geillis told her it’s possible to travel back. Does she?
After spending all day with the stones, Claire returns to Jamie.
This was the most action packed episode yet. It was also the most pivotal. Geillis and Claire finally come to an understanding of each other. Geillis confirms what we’ve all suspected, that she is from the future. What I didn’t expect was her sacrifice.
Claire decides to stay with Jamie. I felt this was rushed. There have been blocks laid in previous episodes that show the building of Claire and Jamie’s relationship. This was the key moment when Claire realizes her love of Jamie. That her love of him is stronger than her desire to return to her own time. That’s a huge moment and I would have liked more of that. I mean we’ve had some slow episodes that could have been trimmed. So why didn’t they give this a bit more time?
What do you think?