Outlander “The Devil’s Mark” Review (Season 1 Episode 11)

Outlander 2014

Holy crap on a cracker.

I had to wait until today to watch “The Devil’s Mark” and wisely avoided the Internet until doing so.

Because holy crap on a cracker, that was one amazing hour on television. And it all revolved around Claire learning some major information from a certain redhead whilst telling her own to another redhead.

Let’s start with Geillis Duncan since the witch trial is responsible for everything coming to light. Poison Ivy isn’t a witch but a fellow TIME TRAVELER like Claire. This actually doesn’t surprise me one bit. The bread crumbs to Red’s “1968” reveal have been dropped ever since her introduction. Geillis was always very interested in Claire’s past. She revealed to Claire her belief in that certain things cannot be explained. Even in “The Devil’s Mark” hints were still being given, starting with Geillis’ thoughtful nod and appreciation to Claire quoting Nathan Hale. That continued with her “going to a fucking barbecue” line after questioning Claire, all the way to that memorable date being uttered.

Geillis took the sacrifice for Claire after seeing the results of Claire making her own not to implicate Geillis. That being said, I do not think we’ve seen the last of Outlander’s very own Melisandre. No body was shown and the rule of television/movies is that a body must be shown for a character to be dead (and even that can be a fake-out). Being a fellow time traveler makes Geillis too important to Claire’s story to dispose of just yet. I’m betting Dougal saves her at the last minute. Also, it would be a shame to not see Lotte Verbeek anymore. I could handle her not reappearing until next season, but never again? Nope. Verbeek had one hell of a showcase this episode, and I want to see her get another. I still believe there is an inherent malice and danger to Geillis (woman killed her husband), but her camaraderie towards Claire rang true. It wouldn’t surprise me if Claire was Geillis’ only friend she ever made at Leoch: another modern woman stuck in the past (though it looks like Red came over via her own volition). Geillis couldn’t save herself from a “fucking barbecue,” but she could save Claire after Jamie’s arrival. And while I believe this was done out of altruism, I can also see Geillis understanding that Claire surviving could save her own actual skin. If Claire is a time traveler then she could go back in time with prior knowledge of the situation and save Geillis. Is that probable due to Claire mentioning she arrived by accident? No. But is it possible, yes.

One thing I do find interesting is that Geillis knew Claire would recognize her smallpox vaccination. This means that Geillis has the knowledge of Claire being born after the invention of said vaccination. It gives me much to think about, and now I’m having an Austin Powers moment of “Oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed.”

Speaking of that, Jamie sure handled Claire’s confession quite well. Then again, Jamie is not an ordinary man of his time. I did love his admission that her being a witch would have been easier though. The moment was very well-played by Sam Heughan in his understanding of exactly what was being spoken to Jamie and also by Caitriona Balfe in her desperation and breathlessness of getting everything out. Then the actors topped themselves in those final scenes. I knew Craigh na Dun was going to be over that hill and not Lallybroch (and was actually quite surprised Claire didn’t recognize the scenery again). And then Jamie told Claire to go home like she always wanted and she started to go and then he pulled her back because he wasn’t ready and then I lost it. I’m so happy the episode did not end as Claire walked toward the stone. I would have screamed. And the final ending was perfect: Claire coming to Jamie at the campfire saying “On your feet soldier” and his tears of happiness. Bravo to director Mike Barker and writer Toni Graphia. For Ron Moore, this outing was on the level of “33” greatness from Battlestar Galactica. I don’t toss that out lightly. Thank you.

More Thoughts As I Yell “I’m not a witch! I’m not a witch! They dressed me up like this!”

– Laoghaire went from Stage 5 Clinger to Defcon 4 Grade A bitch. Kudos to Nell Hudson.

– My heart leapt when Ned walked into the courthouse. And he confirmed basically that Colum sent the warden after Geillis. So how did Jamie get back so quickly? I’m guessing Ned used the extra day to send a messenger. How that messenger got to Jamie so fast for him to get back to Claire in time feels a bit implausible though. Perhaps they used Littlefinger’s jetpack? I bet that messenger notified Dougal as well.

– The fake out with the priest was utterly brilliant. That bastard had me going there for a bit. Then he sat down and smirked like a jerk, and I suddenly hated someone more than Laoghaire for a moment.

– Only downside of this episode? No Dougal. Though now we know he and Geillis made a connection over their mutual love for the Jacobite cause (along with Red moving her husband’s money to support Bonnie Prince Charlie).