Outlander Episode 10 recap: “By the Pricking of My Thumb” (original air date Saturday, April 11): When we last left Claire and Jamie they had made amends with a steamy romp in front of the crackling fire, with an amusing vocabulary review to follow. They both ended up declaring the other their master, and Jamie vowing to never raise a hand to Claire ever again. As Jamie readied himself to fetch them some food (all that sex leads to an appetite), Claire finds a wrapping of twigs and twine — very voodoo like looking, Blair Witch-style — under their bed. Jamie explained that the thing was meant as an ill wish — as in wishes to bring them pain or even death. When Claire questioned who would put such a thing under their bed, Jamie said Laoghaire.
Outlander Episode 110 “By the Pricking of My Thumbs” opens with a naked, panting Claire who looks alone in bed — oh wait — that’s Jamie down there and he’s seriously busy. Despite the banging on their bedroom chamber door, Jamie’s determined to see this one through. Once Claire is satisfied, he opens the door to learn from Murtagh that the Duke of Sandringham has arrived to take counsel with the Laird.
This is great news for Jamie as the Duke has the power to potentially lift the price on Jamie’s head (remember, Jamie’s an man still seeking justice). Claire tells Jamie that he can’t trust the Duke and it has nothing to do with the Duke being fond of other men), it’s because he’s a close ally to Black Jack Randall. “A friend of Jack Randall’s can be no friend of yours,” Claire warns.
But Jamie views this as his chance to finally return to his home, Lallybroch, where they can start a new life together there. At the advice of Murtagh, he seeks counsel from Ned. Even with the Duke’s buy in, Ned doesn’t think a judge would take Jamie’s story over a British officer. The truth has very little to do with the law, Ned warns and suggests instead that they prove to the Duke how dangerous it is to be friends with Randall. Ned offers to write up a petition of complaint accusing Randall of crimes against the Scottish people and transgression of the majesty’s law. All Jamie needs to do is convince the Duke to deliver the letter to the Lord President of the Court, which could lead to a court marshal for Randall or a reassignment far from Scottish soil. With Randall in disgrace, Ned believes he could take Jamie’s case to court and win him a general pardon. Sounds like a longshot, but Jamie’s willing to give it a go.
Meanwhile, Claire is steamed. She’s determined to track down Laoghaire and give her a piece of her mind. Who senses a Scottish catfight!?! She finds Laoghaire in the kitchen with Mrs. Fitz, where she asks for a moment alone.
Claire wastes no time to call her out, holding up the voodoo wrapping asking Laoghaire if it looks familiar.
An all-so-innocent and unnerved Laoghaire responds, “Why would it?”
Well, Claire tells her she knows she put in under their bed but actually expresses some empathy toward her explaining how she knows she has deep feelings for Jamie and is hurt by their union. Claire tells her she never conspired to take Jamie from her but the truth is “he was never yours to begin with.” Ouch. Laoghaire doesn’t like hearing that.
“That’s a lie,” Laoghaire rebuts. “Jamie Fraser was and is mine. You did us both a wrong past bearing when you stole him away.”
“You’re mistaken child,” Claire refutes.
Then wait for it, Laoghaire delivers the best line of the episode …“My poor Jamie, trapped in a loveless marriage. Forced to share his bed with a cold English bitch,” Laoghaire zings. “He must have to get himself swine drunk at night before he can stand to plow your fields.”
Oh, how could she… Claire slaps Laoghaire across the face but immediately apologizes, realizing that wasn’t the smartest move. Too late, the damage is done and we learn later that she’s far more threatening than anyone anticipated.
“I did put that ill wish ’neath your bed in hopes that it would make Jamie hate you as much as I do,” she tells. “He belongs with me and one day it will be so.” I’m sensing a valid threat on this one.
But Laoghaire doesn’t stop there, she goes on to tell Claire she’s wrong about Jamie and also wrong about her friend Geillis Duncan. “It was she who sold me the ill wish. That surprises you doesn’t it? Good.”
She’s right there, as Claire didn’t expect her one-and-only friend to be involved. Claire warns Laoghaire to stay away from her and her husband.
Claire goes to visit Geillis to see if what Laoghaire said was true. Geillis isn’t home but her husband Arthur Duncan is and is in severe gastrointestinal pain, and orders her to leave. The Duncan’s servant tells Claire where to find Geillis. Later that night Claire observes Geillis in the woods doing this weird spiritual chant/dance around a fire, where she disrobes partially to reveal her pregnant belly. Claire learns that Geillis has a lover and the baby is his — her lover is the very own, already-married-but-we-actually-didn’t-realize-it, Dougal MacKenzie.
But Geillis doesn’t seem to be real concerned, as she has a plan. This whole dance number was a summoning of sorts to ask for their freedom, Dougal’s and Geillis’ freedom from their current spouses. Geillis promises Claire that if she knew the ill wish was for Claire she would have never sold it to Laoghaire. So that proves good, she does still have one friend.
As the ladies head home, Claire hears a baby crying in the woods. Geillis tells her the baby is a changeling and rambles on about some superstitious nonsense about fairies and not intervening, but Claire is Claire and she’s not about to let a baby die in the cold. Despite Geillis’ warning to stay away from the child, Claire can’t help but try and save the baby but she’s too late. As Claire cuddles the child and remains in the woods, Jamie eventually comes looking for her. Jamie tells her that the parents of the baby might find comfort in believing that it was the changeling that had died, not their own child. Claire can’t make sense of their 17th century logic, but Jamie tries.
Unbeknown to Jamie, Claire makes a visit to the Duke alerting him to the petition of complaint that Jamie will be delivering later that day. The Duke considers it “poppycock.” She understands the Duke’s reluctance to forward the letter on but refuses to accept no for an answer. Asking one final question before she leaves: “How much Jackobite gold did Dougal MacKenzie pass along to you?” The Duke didn’t like that and told her that was dangerous to throw out such a slanderous charges so recklessly. But Claire tells him she needs him as a friend, no matter how lowly the friendship was obtained. The Duke has a change of heart and expresses his fondness toward Jamie saying, “His grievances deserve to be heard” and assures Claire that he will see this through. The two toast to petitions of complaint.
Back at the castle news spreads that Dougal’s wife, Maura, perished from an illness, sending Dougal into a raging drunk fit, where he fights everyone and throws anything in his path. Colum seeks out Claire to help prescribe some type of medication to muzzle him. When Claire gets to him he’s pounding his head saying it’s all his fault. Claire and Murtagh get Dougal to drink a sedative to tame him. Looks like Geillis’ plan (or summoning) is working — as Dougal is now a free man. When Claire runs into Geillis later she’s quite blissful, believing she can now be together with Dougal. Claire reminds her that her husband will most likely have a problem with that, but Geillis just gives Claire a smirk revealing she’s got yet another plan.
Then it’s on to see the Duke for Jamie and Murtagh. The Duke reviews their petition admitting to them in private that shielding Randall from the consequences of his misdeeds has been far too frequent and something he completely loathes. The Duke agrees to help Jamie (thanks to Claire), but a favor is needed in return. Turns out the MacDonald clan paid the Duke a visit just prior and challenged the Duke to a dual over an unpaid debt. Shots will be fired and the Duke wants Jamie as his second man in the dual. While the MacKenzie’s and the MacDonald’s are rival clans, Jamie believes this is a risk he needs to take despite Murtagh advising against it.
Later back at the castle, Colum hosts a clan celebration to welcome their long-time friend and ally — the Duke of Sandringham. With the festivities underway, Geillis’ husband Arthur Duncan begins to choke and froth at the mouth like a rabid animal. Claire tries to assist but can’t help and Arthur dies. Claire detects a familiar scent on Arthur and knows he was poisoned. Geillis quietly watches with little to no emotion, letting out a scream when he finally dies.
Then it’s on to the dual. The Duke and the older Andrew MacDonald square off. Shots are fired, but neither are injured as the Duke apologizes and MacDonald accepts his apology. While the three younger MacDonald men struggle with their manners and their ill will toward clan MacKenzie, a verbal sparing begins. “Is the Duke’s fat ass as comforting as a woman’s cunny,” one asks. OK, that’s a good one. While the Duke and Jamie chuckle and depart on their way, the MacDonalds continue. Jamie responds laughing as he asks, “Is it true the MacDonalds learn of love by resting with their mother?” A not amused MacDonald comes a charging and pierces his sword into Jamie’s gut. Jamie struggles to fight the others, eventually all of the MacDonalds and Jamie fall to the ground with their injuries, and the bumbling Duke asks Jamie to kindly inform Claire that this was not his fault — a dual is one thing, a brawl is completely separate, he tells. But the Duke does take the petition.
Once back at Castle Leoch, Colum is in the process of disciplining Dougal for his raging episode and calls into question Geillis Duncan. Dougal comes clean expressing his love for Geillis and telling Colum that she’s carrying his child. Colum wants nothing to do with it and exiles Dougal and all of his men forbidding him to even stop and talk to the “evil temptress” on his way out. Then he turns to Jamie and berates him for engaging and shedding MacDonald blood without his permission. While Jamie tells he meant no respect and in time he will be returning to his home, Colum reminds he shall do nothing unless instructed by him. Instead, he orders Jamie to see to it that his brother follows his commands and to ensure that that happens Claire must remain at the castle. Devastating news for the lovestruck Highlander. As he packs his things to accompany Dougal, Jamie warns Claire: “Before I go, I advise you to stay well clear of Geillis Duncan” as Colum’s wrath will be aimed in her direction. We know that’s not going to happen.
“Come back to me James Fraser,” Claire instructs.
“As soon as I can,” Jamie says and kisses her forehead and rides off.
After Jamie’s gone, Claire receives a note from Geillis telling her to come quick. When Claire arrives Geillis is surprised to see her but she didn’t write the note. Claire warns Geillis to pack her things immediately and leave, as she and others know that she killed her husband. “If you care for your baby you will pack your belongings and flee here,” Claire says. But it’s too late, the warden arrives and arrests them both, deeming them both witches. As they are loaded into the paddy wagon, Claire spots Laoghaire in the distance sneering in pleasure.
Damn that Laoghaire!