Episode 111: "The Devil's Mark" (SPOILERS)
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
Opening credits – notice Bill Paterson’s name there. I love his portrayal of Ned Gowan! Beautiful opening shot of the flock of starlings.
The thieves’ hole is much bigger than I expected (it turns out to be a small cavern rather than a simple hole in the ground), but it’s still a cold, dank, depressing, and scary place to be confined! The sight of the rat scuttling across the floor made me shiver a bit.
I love Claire’s anger in this first scene. Her “Are you saying this is MY fault?” is a parallel to the scene with J&C by the roadside in Episode 109.
“It’s a boy, ye ken.” Well, yes, if you’ve read the books, you know the child she’s carrying will grow up to be William Buccleigh MacKenzie <g>, but why is Geillis so sure it’s a boy? (It's not as though they have ultrasound in the 18th century, I mean.) This is just a minor quibble. I liked the way Claire jerked her hand away when Geillis tried to put her hand on her belly to feel the baby.
The guard’s “And I’m King Arthur” made me laugh. Listening to the thunder, I’m glad they have a bit of shelter from the rain, at least.
Claire’s first sight of the pyre: “Is that what I think it is?” “Well, it’s not a Maypole, Claire.” - Good line!
Very glad to see Ned Gowan! But his statement, “I see that we have dispensed with British law, which pleases me greatly, but I am certain [the court] will not wish to dispense with our proud Scottish legal tradition.” – Why British and not English? The distinction between British and English seems to be lost on the scriptwriters, not just here but in other episodes as well. That bugs me, but it’s a minor point.
I like the fact that one of the judges is tall and and the other one short and fat, just as “Mutt and Jeff” are described in the book.
Jeanie’s testimony is of course not in the book, but I thought it was well done. I liked the way Ned Gowan destroyed her credibility in just a couple of sentences: “the grumblings of a malcontented maidservant”.
Mrs. Donaldson’s testimony was very sad, just as in the book. I liked the way they interspersed bits of footage from EP110 showing Claire with the dead baby. I loved Ned Gowan’s reaction. He’s not intimidated by the crowd at all; he focuses entirely on the young woman, and manages to turn the situation around by pointing out that she failed to stop Claire’s “interfering with the work of the faeries”. But he’s gentle with her, and compassionate, and I liked that very much.
Alastair Duffie’s story about Geillis reminds me of this bit in the book:
While the testimony of many of the witnesses was simply absurd, and other witnesses had plainly been paid for their services, some had a clear ring of truth to their words.I think this man could easily have been paid to make up that story.
(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 25, "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I liked the scene with Claire and Geillis. At one point Geillis says, “I managed to divert near on 1000 pounds” – in the book, she says ten thousand, but maybe that didn’t sound realistic? When Claire says, “You actually love the bastard”, Geillis looks away. “Your words, not mine.” I was glad to see that here, because I think Episode 110 left viewers with the mistaken impression that she was in love with Dougal.
Claire’s memory of the starlings is very sweet. (And now I want to learn more about starling murmurations! <g>) I loved the way Claire pointedly refused to take the guard’s hand as she came up the ladder.
Laoghaire – uh-oh! Great scene, very well done. The bit about the potion Claire gave her in Episode 104 was a terrific addition. I liked the examiner’s comment, “Cease your ramblings, Mrs. Fraser! You’re an embarrassment to yourself.”
Father Bain is just riveting! “You have made a prodigious mistake” – I definitely did not see that coming! I never thought I would feel any sympathy for this man, but when he fell to his knees, saying, “I am no longer worthy to serve the good and holy people of this parish”, I definitely felt sorry for him. And I loved the bit where he turned and gave Claire a half-smile.
[NOTE: I've already seen some people commenting that they didn't think Father Bain was at all sincere, that they took his expression as he glanced back at Claire as a smirk. I prefer my interpretation, because it gives Father Bain's character more depth and complexity, making him less of a one-dimensional villain than he appeared in "The Way Out", or in the book, for that matter. But you're certainly free to disagree!]
The scene with Ned, Geillis, and Claire was also a good addition. It increases the dramatic tension considerably. And I just love the scene between Claire and Geillis! “Looks like I’m going to a fucking barbecue!” – great line, and possibly Claire’s first indication that Geillis is also a time-traveler.
I’m not really sure what Ned hoped to accomplish by firing a pistol in the middle of the courtroom. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome, and he might well have been arrested himself! But it made for a good distraction so that Claire and Geillis could have their brief whispered conversation.
“The question you had before” – when Claire said she didn’t know if it was even possible to go back – “I think it is possible. 1968.” That sent a shiver up my spine even though I knew it was coming. I liked the way they moved this revelation here, so that Geillis can pass on the information to Claire herself, rather than via Dougal, as it's done in the book.
Jamie’s cavalry-coming-over-the-hill-just-in-time entrance is Just Perfect!! Very much the way I've always imagined it. Sam's delivery of Jamie's lines is absolutely spot on here.
Glad to see they explained the smallpox vaccination scar, for the benefit of the many viewers who’ve never seen one before.
In the middle of the frenzy that follows Geillis’s confession, as they’re carrying her out, you can hear the examiner shouting, “Cover her up! Cover her up! She’s with child!”
The scene with J&C in the woods is just wonderful!! I love the way they fit the “honesty” exchange in here, and the rest of the scene is very much as I have always imagined it from the book, including Jamie’s expressionless mask, as he tries to digest what she’s telling him.
I love the way he sits down beside her and touches her knee, very gently. And when he took her into his arms, I had tears in my eyes. “Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha’ been a good deal easier, if ye’d only been a witch.” – perfect!! Just perfect.
The scenery as they ride away is really beautiful.
I was startled to see the next scene from Jamie’s POV, as he watches Claire sleeping. There's such tenderness in the way he looks at her! The sex scene is very tastefully done, understated, but sensual, just as it’s described in the book.
In the scene the next morning, I like the way Jamie’s expression shifts in an instant from love and tenderness (when he looks at Claire) to a sort of grim determination, as he thinks about what they’re about to do at the stones.
Notice that Jamie reaches out and briefly touches the tallest stone, and nothing happens. It's subtle, but I'm glad they included it.
I shouted, “NO!!” when Claire was about to go through, just as I always do on re-reading or re-listening. And when Jamie said, “I just…wasna ready,” I thought, “You’re never going to be ready for that, Jamie. NEVER. Not even when it happens for real.”
The farewell is so difficult, even though I know perfectly well what’s coming. I’m so glad they used the exact words from the book here!
I liked the closeup of the rings very much. The ring Jamie gave her, when viewed close-up, looks almost as though it could be silver. It’s nicer-looking than I expected, in fact. I’m glad they didn’t use a voice-over for this part. Seeing Claire touch her rings, first Frank’s and then Jamie’s, and look up at the stone, makes her thoughts abundantly clear.
There’s a LOT of smoke coming from that campfire!
“On your feet, soldier.” – Good line, echoing what she said to him at the end of Episode 101.
And at the end, Jamie and Claire are in each other’s arms (where they belong!!), and it doesn’t matter what the future may hold, as long as they face it together.
What a fantastic episode this was!! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think they did a fabulous job adapting it for TV!
What about the rest of you? I'd like to hear what you thought of it.
Here are my previous OUTLANDER episode recaps. Please come back next week for more!
Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"