Outlander “By the Pricking of My Thumbs” Review (Season 1, Episode 10)


Hey, remember how I was excited to see Geillis Duncan in the preview for this episode last week? Well, Poison Ivy made quite a memorable return in “By the Pricking of My Thumbs.” I’m calling her Poison Ivy because she is literally an 18th Century Pamela Isley in her perverted beliefs and practices. Take her summoning ceremony for instance. I loved that Claire’s memory of seeing the ceremony at Craigh na Dun was juxtaposed with her watching Geillis. The Druid ritual in the 1940s had a beautiful majesty to it. Geillis’ summoning felt dangerous, messy- and then she revealed the ceremony was performed so she and Dougal could be together. Poison Ivy uses her belief in protecting the biological world to commit crimes. She lies in saying her intentions are good to justify the means. Geillis is the same. If she has to kill her husband and Dougal’s wife in the process, then so be it. Like, I said, SNAKE IN THE GRASS.

All of her actions make for a great story. My problem is believing Claire to be so ignorant to Geillis’ motivations. Yes, Claire deduced that Red poisoned her husband, but so did Colum (more on that in a bit). Why on earth would she then go to Geillis’ house after Jamie explicitly told her not to along with knowing Geillis offed her spouse? I guess I’ll have to chalk it up to Claire having a good heart along with a large amount of curiosity. The good heart being she wants Geillis to get out of town as Ivy was the first “friend” she made at Leoch. The curiosity being she wants to confirm that Red used cyanide to kill Sir Farts A Lot. Except now Claire’s good heart and curiosity have resulted in her arrest with Geillis for witchcraft. Oy vey. Claire, I completely understand ignoring Jamie’s request to stay put because you see Craigh na Dun in the distance and want to get back to Frank. From now on though, you may want to listen to him. And this is coming from another person with a good heart and high sense of curiosity.

More Thoughts As I Throw In Pop Culture References

– If Geillis is Poison Ivy, then Laoghaire is a bizarro Harley Quinn. She’s just as insane (over a man) but definitely not as cool. I do wonder how Ms. L knew the warden was on his way to arrest Geillis. How would Laoghaire have known to send Claire the note otherwise? Did she overhear something in the castle? Or just take a gamble that the warden would be on his way right after Dougal had left?

– I don’t believe for a second that Geillis didn’t realize Laoghaire bought the ill wish for Claire. It’s obvious that bizarro Harley is obsessed with Jamie. Bitches be cray. And Claire’s “sorry” to Laoghaire after slapping her? Perfect. Claire, we all know you didn’t mean that “sorry” and support it.

– Claire’s finding of the baby was heartbreaking and so well done by Caitriona Balfe. And Sam Heughan was very sweet in Jamie’s response to Claire. What’s more: he’s right in that the townsfolk will believe anything if it settles their minds. And I have a feeling that will come into play with Geillis and Claire’s trial for witchcraft.

– So Geillis basically admitted that she poisoned Sir Farts A Lot, yet in the scene where he dies, it almost looks as if Dougal is the perpetrator based on his smile to Red. Like I’ve said before, Dougal MacKenzie is a complicated man (and as Avery Bullock from American Dad would say “I would love to do mushrooms with you”). He seemed very distressed over Maura’s death but sure got over it quick. And then he was all too happy and in looooove to admit that Geillis was carrying his child. I hope Dougal comes back soon though because Graham McTavish just kills it every time he’s onscreen.

– My admiration for Colum jumped miles in his understanding of Geillis and Dougal’s part in Sir Farts A Lot’s death. Just one look. That’s all it took.

– New character alert! The Duke of Sandringham’s vacation house seemed totally out of place compared to Leoch (how far apart are they?), but Simon Callow is a welcome addition to the show. Hopefully his “fondness” for Jamie will result in a pardon for the latter. Also, this line killed me: “Do tell your wife it wasn’t my fault!” After Geoffrey Rush’s “I don’t know. It’s a mystery” quote from Shakespeare in Love, Callow has my second favorite: “That woman is a woman!”

– Edit: I forgot to mention that first scene! Two words: ay caramba! Like Jon Snow, Jamie catches on quickly.