Outlander Season-Finale Recap: The Tempest


Eye of the Storm
Season 3 Episode 13
Editor’s Rating *****

Ughhhhhhh. Even for a show which is resolutely Too Much, this finale really pushes us to our limits, with extremely mixed results.

I kept checking the amount of time left in the episode nervously, correctly guessing that the timing was all wrong. Our Geillis-as-antagonist plotline having wrapped tidily up with a solid 25 minutes to spare, it seemed unlikely that Claire and Jamie would just happily bone for the remaining half-hour or so. (Not impossible, though!) They indeed did their best, but once the two of them collapsed post-coitally after some really excellent foreplay, it became clear that we needed to undergo even more misadventure before the season could wrap up. How could we POSSIBLY break for a year without more danger?

Before we get to this super-annoying extra danger, we need to address the aforementioned Geillis plotline. Jamie gets busted out of his arrest in record time by Lord John, but don’t worry, they still took a moment to stare deeply and romantically at each other, while John did his best Eternal Yearning face. It’s also fun to see John pull his legal and military knowledge down on Captain Leonard, though I suspect we’ll see his face again. Outlander loves having people show up like bad pennies.

Geillis makes so little sense as a character, honestly, that it takes all of Lotte Verbeek’s not-inconsiderable talents to further her development. The show is never really clear on whether she likes Claire or hates Claire, and not killing Jamie while trying to kill Brianna really doesn’t sort that out for us. It also feels a little convenient that Geillis doesn’t believe Claire’s story about going back through the stones, necessitating digging out photographs of Claire and Brianna in the 1950s and 1960s. Photographs that a clever witch-adjacent lady could steal to carry out DARK RITUALS. Why wouldn’t Geillis just have her drink the truth tea she gave Ian? We just saw it work in the last episode! It was in the “scenes from last week” montage at the beginning and everything!

I’m getting into the weeds of irritation here, so back to Jamaica we go. Geillis’s slaves are carrying out strange rituals with the assistance of Mr. Willoughby and Margaret Campbell (who are in luuuuuurve, it’s very sweet) and Claire recognizes in their dancing and incantations a link to the strange dance of the stones. It turns out there is a cave in Jamaica called Abandawe, where, like the stones, the veil of time is also thin. Geillis has always used a blood sacrifice to pass through the timelines — it doesn’t seem clear that it’s necessary, so maybe Geillis is just a dick? — while Claire has always been called through by an individual. Except probably that first time, but let’s not get bogged down in the details of our sexy time-traveling show, okay?

Many of us had our ears perked up when Margaret delivered her prophecy about a 200-year-old baby needing to die to bring forth a new Scottish king, though why Geillis, in particular, has such a boner to achieve this is a total mystery. Is she just super-patriotic? Aren’t there easier ways to change the future than going forward in time to kill somebody’s kid?

Obviously, Claire and Jamie do NOT let her do this. No baby-killing on their watch! Instead, Claire slits the hell out of Geillis’s throat in a very Mrs. Weasley moment of mom-badassery. She almost finds herself drawn into the portal, but Jamie yanks her back just in time. Now, this is the point at which our situation SHOULD be wrapping up, and it feels awfully rushed. Geillis is defeated so easily and Jamie is whisked out of custody so easily, there’s just not much left to overcome!

In no small part, this is related to one of the major reasons why this season has been so disappointing: We have no central antagonist! Geillis only showed up for three episodes, same for Captain Leonard (who is actually kind of sweet), and it’s all been a series of mini-escapades instead of the usual sweeping narrative that pitted our heroes against Black Jack Randall. The stakes are just too low.

Sensing that we’ve been left wanting more, the finale tosses a sudden hurricane at the Artemis for us, and we get round No. 4,857,048 of Claire pointlessly putting herself in danger to be saved by Jamie. PLUCKED FROM THE OCEAN BY HIS LOVE. The two of them wind up on the shores of Georgia, ready to begin a new set of adventures in America, but the devices tugging them hither and yon seem more and more mechanical as the show trudges on. What shenanigans will they get up to in the New World? Probably more of the same! Have a great hiatus.

Outlander Season-Finale Recap: The Tempest