For me, this episode was mostly about that hood. And fur trim. I mean… I can hardly remember what else happened. Besides hoods. Furry hoods! Pointy hoods! Fur necklaces or something! We’ve seen fur trim on Claire many times (and all sorts, shapes, and sizes of cowls, snoods, shawls, wraps, etc.), but I think they really brought her fur game to the next level in this episode.
White fur, too! Hard to keep clean in the highlands, me thinks. And, like, kind of a harsh contrast to poor Geillis. Geillis looks straight evil with her pointy hood. Pointy hoods = bad. It’s just how it is.
And, then! The fur… around the neck… So hot right now.
All in all. This episode was a bit odd in terms of storyline and tempo. We are awakened right along with Claire by Jamie saying wakey-wakey-eggs-n-bakey to her English muffin (…?). Then, dialogue. Actually, soon we jump into a smorgasbord of curses, ritual offerings, and superstition.
Of the three main otherworldly scenes that appear early in the episode—first, the confrontation over the evil curse from Laoghaire; second, Geillis dancing under the full moon; and, third, Claire finding the dead changeling baby—only one felt somewhat sincere.
I never thought I’d use a Vikings show on the History Channel as my barometer for nuanced portrayals of religiosity, but it’s happening (just ask Bri). Outlander has struggled to portray belief in as convincing a manner, in my opinion. I think they’ve done a fairly good job visually demonstrating the magic of time travel, for instance, but not people’s beliefs or worldviews. Take Laoghaire, for instance. She begins as a seemingly juvenile, earnest, and lovesick young girl at the start of the season. Things have escalated (with her seduction attempt last episode) and she has expressed prior interest in, first, a love potion, and, second, a curse for Claire. At least during her exchange with Claire, she presents a determined front with an unshakable belief that she will end up with Jamie. So, are they presenting her as truly believing in the magical potions, or curses, or prayers? Or, is her belief merely a recognition of her own determination—a faith in herself, really—that she will successfully scheme such that Claire is separated from Jamie? We see that she sets Claire up by the end, which, again, undercuts the sense that she believes that she and Jamie are fated to be together.
Finally, the last look she gives Claire is so self-satisfied and smug that it surprised me.
I think Laoghaire’s character is that of a misguided, thwarted young person who didn’t think about the ramifications of her actions. The Laoghaire we see here is straight-up unrepentant and not at all concerned that Claire might be burned as a witch. That’s pretty intense!
Anyways. Back to the magical-witchcraft-etc.-treatment in the show.
Geillis. Geillis, Geillis, Geillis. I have conflicted feelings about her from the books. And this orgasmic, devotional dance to Mother Nature (but in service of murderous aims, natch) is pretty much in line with the near-caricature that is Geillis.
Though, honestly, with the right cocktail and environment, I might roll about on the ground, too. So, I’m not knocking it. It just seems more forced than, say, a similarly absurd solo dance in the Vikings (speaking of, I want more dancing on the Vikings).
Time out – good lord, Lotte Verbeek as Geillis is STUNNING.
Finally. Returning to the third instance of “otherness” that occurred early in the episode. At least when Jamie tries to explain why believing in faeries and changelings might be of comfort, well, I think the scene almost works. The gist of it is that these people haven’t traveled, don’t hear or read much about other places or ideas, and, ultimately, it might comfort the parents to think that it was a changeling child who died (instead of their own sick child). Instead, they can retain a belief that their child is off living with the fae happy as can be. I’m never quite sure what Jamie believes but he is good at doing the whole puppy-dog-eyes-give-everyone-the-benefit-of-the-doubt thing.