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Outlander – S1E10 – By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Previously on Outlander, ‘The Reckoning’

If you’re still mad about last week’s spanking, I think the opening scene of this episode should be enough for you to forgive Jaime. Claire seems to have, and would probably have finished forgiving him, too, if Murtaugh would stop banging on the damn door! Good thing it’s important news: the Duke of Sandringham has arrived, leaving Jaime with an opening to appeal for a pardon. Claire isn’t convinced it’s such a good idea; she knows from her time with Frank (remember long lost husband Frank? ‘Cause Claire barely does) that the Duke and Jack Randall are fast friends with many, ahem, common interests.

“Ye’re not normally a closed-mouthed woman, Claire. I expected noisier displeasure.”

But who would take their wife’s often-eerily-pinpoint-accurate advice when you have an in-house lawyer? Ned Gowan comes up with a long winded, and dare I say hare-brained, scheme to sully the good name of Jack Randall, which could give Jaime the chance for a day in court. Look, Ned is great and all, but considering who they’re up against, his plan might as well involve roller skates and an ACME jet backpack. 

Off in other parts of the castle where only women dare to roam, Claire confronts Laoghaire about the ill-wish under her bed. Teenagers are the worst, and even though Claire tries to be gentle(ish) at first, the little twit wants to do nothing but throw shade. So it’s no surprise when Claire lands The Greatest Slap of All Time*, followed by an even better Sorry Not Sorry. I hope this little exchange doesn’t come back to haunt Claire!

Outlander Claire Slap

(*I didn’t watch The Slap, so I’m just guessing)

not a witch at all

Next on Claire’s shitlist is Geillis, who is the one who actually sold Laohaire the ill-wish. Where do you find a not-witch on the night of the full moon? Naked dancing in the woods, of course. Pregnant naked dancing at that, because she’s found herself in the family way by none other than everyone’s favorite War Chieftain, Dougal MacKenzie. Geillis didn’t know that the ill-wish was for Claire, obviously. As they walk back to the village through the woods, Claire decides to go rescue a changeling baby that has been left out in the cold. Geillis warns her against it, and later on when Jaime finds her sobbing over the dead child, he warns her against it as well. Hell, Frank practically warned her in the first episode: there is no one more superstitious than a Scottish Highlander.


And while she’s on a roll of doing things that are bound to have repercussions later, Claire keeps her secret appointment that afternoon with the Duke of Sandringham. Unbeknownst to Jaime, she politely blackmails the Duke into hearing Jaime’s petition. That Duke is sly, though, and even though their tet-a-tet makes for good entertainment, he doesn’t seem like the sort to take threats well. He agrees to Jaime’s request when the men meet later, and doesn’t even mention his fiesty little wife, but he needs some help in exchange–the Duke has been challenged to a duel by the MacDonalds, and needs Jaime as his second. The duel goes off with surprisingly little bloodshed until the MacDonald boys start talking trash, and then Jaime is legally required by the bonds of duelship to kick some ass.

battle of wits

When Claire arrives back at Castle Leoch just in time for a medical emergency; Dougal has just had news that his wife back home has died unexpectedly, and is now in such a state of drunkenness he’s tearing the house down. She and Angus work together and get Dougal tranquilized, but not before he’s caused some serious damage. Collum’s gonna be pissed!

Geillis is thrilled about the death, but who can’t rejoice just a little in the tragic death of their lover’s spouse? It must have been that naked dance that did it; it was really a prayer to Mother Nature to allow her and Dougal to be together. Why does Claire’s one friend in the whole century have to be the nutjob?

Outlander 2014

At the big banquet that night, the Duke is the guest of honor but not the center of attention: that goes to Arthur Duncan, who goes into a coughing fit and ends up dying on the floor, foaming at the mouth. It’s just too coincidental that both Dougal’s and Geillis’ spouses die off in such a timely manner, and Collum looks more than a little suspicious of the newly grieving widow. It doesn’t help that she almost forgets to be upset about her husband because she and Dougal are making eye contact celebration faces.


I don’t think Collum is over his fight with his brother from last week, because he pretty much banishes Dougal from his land until he decides to let him back in to Castle Leoch. Extra punishment goes to Jaime, who also gets banished (for embarrassing the MacDonalds without Collum’s permission), but has to go without Claire. They say their sexy goodbyes in the stableyard, but Jaime has one last thing to say to Claire: stay away from Geillis Duncan.


What does Claire do as soon as Jaime is gone? She goes to Gellis’ house. In fairness, she was tricked into going, but no sooner had she gotten there than the law starts banging on the door. Geillis is not a bit concerned, but perhaps she should be; no sooner than they open the door, the two women are arrested on counts of witchcraft. As they’re hauled away in the paddywagon, Laohaire peaks around the corner and smirks at Claire.

uh oh

Overall Thoughts:
  • I’m so glad I don’t watch this show with my parents. Just knowing that my parents watch it is bad enough. Ye English are a prudish people, indeed! But every time there is a sex scene, I’m simultaneously a) distracted by the mechanics of doing those kinds of sex scenes (how do you stay professional while you’re mouth is on someone’s nipple?) and b) flipping through the catalog of famous movie couples in my head to think of one whose chemistry is as off the charts as Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. Imagine if Twilight had had this kind of heat–totally different movie!
  • If you have Game of Thrones on the brain, then the banquet scene seemed like a bit of an homage to the purple wedding. I half expected birds to fly out when the Duke cut that peacock open. And of course there was the poisoning. I don’t think it was actually any sort of take on GoT, but there were some definite similarities. If I ever time travel back to that sort of age, I think I’ll politely decline any banquet dinner parties–too many weird exotic dishes and too much murder!
  • I’m having a hard time buying that Claire is actually in love with Jaime. I’m not sure if she’s supposed to be, although she’s certainly forgotten about Frank over the midseason break. She appreciates Jaime, sure, and she sort of schemed on his behalf by meeting with the Duke, but it still feels a little lacking. Do you think they’re in love yet? Or do you think it’s still growing?
About Robyn Horton (94 Articles)
Robyn grew up a military brat whose parents let her indulge in her love of literature, mythology, movies, musicals, and Kings Quest (without telling her how nerdy they were). She is now a reformed graphic designer with a husband, two dogs, a Sweeney Todd themed bathroom, and a burning need to know how many books really can fit in one house.

1 Comment on Outlander – S1E10 – By the Pricking of My Thumbs

  1. Great recap (as always), Robyn!
    A fun fact I read today about the GoT Purple Wedding similarities: Birds really were supposed to fly out of that cake. They filmed it that way and everything but when it came down to it it was just too much of a pain and too expensive for CGI birds. Then a few weeks later the Purple Wedding aired and they were so glad they didn’t spend the $ because it would have looked like a total ripoff. Great minds think alike, I guess!

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