Tonight, Outlander season 3 episode 12 entered what was perhaps the most supernatural story of the year. While “The Bakra” didn’t suddenly bring ghosts back to life, it did feel that way due to the presence of one Geillis Duncan.
Within the opening minutes of the episode Geillis was quickly established as the villain of the hour. Not only that, but she was The Bakra — a massive plantation owner and a woman of great power. She also bathed in goat’s blood to preserve her skin and was kidnapping many young men — Young Ian is just her latest victim.
Uncovering Geillis’ motives is one of the many interesting things about the story as of right now, but it’s clear that she’s upset about the treasure Young Ian harbored being incomplete. She also seemed to be surprised to collide with Jamie and Claire Fraser on the island. Yet, she lied to Claire and one of the big cliffhangers of the hour was Claire uncovering that Geillis was holding him captive. She now has to find him before it’s too late and something happens that renders such a reunion / discovery impossible.
Unfortunately for Jamie, he wouldn’t be able to help her all that much given that he was captured by Captain Leonard and his men at the end of the episode. All of Claire’s work to save him ended up being completely useless in the grand scheme of things — maybe they were grateful for what she did helping them survive, but they sure had a rather-unusual way of showing it! Their loyalty remained to the crown and the supposed crimes of Alexander Malcolm were enough to render such favors useless.
The major pieces are all on the chessboard leading into the finale — the problem for Claire is that Geillis is often a hard woman to read. There’s also another challenge here in that Geillis has uncovered a prophecy, one involving a 200-year old baby, that she could be eager to solve. Don’t you think that spells major trouble for Brianna? It doesn’t take much to figure out that Jamie and Claire’s child is who this prophecy is referring to.
While seeing Geillis proved to be rather unfortunate for Jamie and Claire, it was quite nice to see Lord John Grey still on the island serving as the Governor! They ran into him during the lavish ball, one they went to in order to extract more information on Young Ian’s whereabouts. Jamie’s close bond with Lord John helped to ensure an audience — it didn’t bring him safety, but we got an update on his son William in the process.
Also, we got more of David Berry and he’s a treasure. We understand why the story was changed slightly from the books to where we saw him tonight for the first time since “A. Malcolm” — nonetheless, we also understand those who wanted him to be aboard the Porpoise. We just want more Lord John all the time, which is in turn why we often find ourselves clamoring for a spin-off to take place.
“The Bakra” was compelling thanks in part to the presence of Lotte Verbeek as Geillis — she plays the character with a sort of power and mystery you’d want, and the fact that she carries with her a history of time-travel only adds to her compelling / mysterious nature. She’s a dark mirror to Claire given that the two share a bond that no one else on the show does.
Meanwhile, there were several interesting side stories tonight, including the bond between Mr. Willoughby and Margaret Campbell and the powerful depiction of the slave market. The show didn’t shy away from the horrors of it, but showed Jamie and Claire’s progressive side in hoping to free a purchased slave down the road when given the opportunity to do so.
Overall, “The Bakra” remains Outlander at its best and a worthy precursor to the upcoming finale.
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