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Outlander – S3E12 – The Bakra

Previously on Outlander, “Uncharted”

Images: STARZ

Well, we found Young Ian. Claire and Jamie are still looking for him, but we now know the details of his kidnapping: the Portuguese pirates did take him to Jamaica, all for some mysterious crime boss they call The Bakra. Ian isn’t even the only kid to have been napped—there are a few other kids being held, and there have been at least six at one point. This is not boding well for Young Ian, and when The Bakra requests Young Ian’s presence it’s officially time to start freaking out. He meets The Bakra, a blood-bathing blonde woman with a familiar Scottish accent. He may not know her, but we sure as hell do: that’s mother-fucking Geillis Duncan!

She offers him cake and tea, which Young Ian greedily eats because why wouldn’t you trust a woman covered in goat’s blood trying to fatten you up? Actually, she’s trying to interrogate him, and the tea is actually a truth serum she gets from her local witch doctor. I mean… sure. Why not? She’s looking for a jewel that was missing from the Silkie Island Treasure, and Young Ian can’t help but tell her that his uncle Jamie probably has it.

The Artemis has finally landed at Kingston as well, and the search for Young Ian is on before Captain Leonard has time to hunt Jamie down and arrest him. Aid comes from Kenneth MacIver, one of Cousin Jared’s other employees, who immediately both invites them to the Governor’s Ball that night and also leads them to the Slave Market to search for Young Ian. They don’t find Ian, but they do find a really horrifying depiction of a slave trade and auction. It’s disturbing and disgusting and (most likely) entirely too historically accurate.

When Claire has witnessed as many atrocities as she can for the day, she attacks the auctioneer and starts a riot. Jamie has to purchase the slave that Claire was trying to save in order to calm the disgruntled slave traders, and Claire is now the owner of her very own person. While they immediately agreed that Temeraire must be free, it’s also super helpful to have someone in their circle who can talk to the other slaves and get intel on where Young Ian might have been taken.

Geillis is teaming up with Archibald Campbell and his little bit loony/little bit psychic sister, Margaret. Whoa, Geillis is the “wealthy employer” that Archie moved to Jamaica for! Some of the Silkie Island treasure is still missing, and once Geillis finds it she’ll be able to learn the prophecy of the Brahan Seer and learn when the next Scottish King will be on the throne.

At the Governor’s Ball, everyone is showing up in Season 2 finery; it’s great to see Claire’s yellow Paris dress again, not so much to see Jamie in a wig. Even Mr. Willoughby looks dandy; even if he is there just to be an “exotic distraction”. He must really be in debt to Jamie to allow this bullshit to happen. The new Governor of the island is none other than Sweetcheeks himself, Lord John Grey.

 

How delightful and coincidental to see him again! He and Jamie catch up as best they can with Claire hovering near them; she knows all about Willie and Geneva, but it doesn’t look like she’s fully aware of the depth of this bromance. Or that Jamie has given Grey jewelry.

From across the room, Claire spots her own blast from the past when she sees Geillis, and for some reason thinks the witch is her friend. On one hand, she did save Claire from being burned as a witch, but she also murdered multiple husbands. And she’s wearing the most heinous wig. Geillis does agree to help look for Young Ian, but we all know how that is going to turn out. When she’s introduced to Grey, she finally sees the eyeball-sized sapphire that Grey is wearing—it is, of course, the very same sapphire she’s looking for that is missing from the Silkie Island Treasure.

It’s time to put Margaret Campbell to work playing the fortune teller, and Geillis coerces Grey to be next in line. As Margaret holds onto Grey’s sapphire (and the other two, which she happens to already have on her), the prophecy of the Brahan Seer actually spills out of her mouth:

When twice 1,200 moons have coursed, ’tween man’s attack and woman’s curse, and when the issue is cut down, then will a Scotsman wear a crown.

While Geillis and Archie secret away to figure out what in the hell that means, Fergus and Marseli spot Captain Leonard arriving with some soldiers. The Party of Five make their escape before Leonard can catch up to them, and with Temeraire’s intel that Young Fergus is being held at Geillis’ house, they make towards Rose Hall. They stop to grant Temeraire his freedom—I guess it’s not that hard to find a place where he can be free, Jamie—but before they can keep moving forward Leonard is on them. He doesn’t bend at all to Claire’s pleading, which sounded an awful lot like name-calling, and instead arrests Jamie on the spot.

Things and Notes

If you’re going to soak in blood to keep your skin young but make it a point to keep it off of your face, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Pro-tip: if your captor won’t eat the food they’re offering you, you should probably steer clear of it as well.

This episode was just one giant mess of racism; it’s hard to unpack it under the “that’s just how it was back then” banner and still be enjoyable. As if the slave market scene wasn’t heinous enough, the conversation between Claire and Jamie, and then with Temeraire afterwards, was just as bad. It’s hard to take the moral high ground when you’re bargaining with a slave for his own freedom… especially because in the end he has zero choices available to him. This is all well meaning, sure, but it doesn’t make them any better than anyone else who bought a human being that day.

And poor Mr. Willoughby is getting the shit end of Jamie’s magnanimity by being his dancing monkey at the party. As much as we know about Willoughby, I don’t feel like any of it really explains why he’s actually putting up with this special brand of bullshit that he gets by being in Jamie’s party.

The problem with this whole story line is that without this series of increasingly bizarre coincidences, it completely falls apart. Not that it’s not entertaining, but at this point if Frank showed up in Jamaica next week to challenge Jamie to a duel and Geillis turned out to be Claire’s dead mother, I could no longer be surprised.

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About Robyn Horton (81 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.

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