NB: Quotations from the original version ̧ translation may differ from the official French version. Information from future volumes and seasons is included in this analysis.
The final chapters of the third volume and episode 13 of the corresponding season form a clear geographical break in Outlander's narrative and not just because the plot moves to Jamaica. The narrative construction is also centered on the break with Scotland ̧ Lord John ̧ Geillis ̧ Campbell and Willoughby embodying these last links ̧ ultimate ties with the old continent before the arrival in America. It's a pivotal finale between Claire and Jamie's old and new lives.
Book or series, the whole offers a feeling of runaway in an adventurous outbidding. The normal course of the plot ̧ the release of Petit Ian ̧ is hampered by unforeseen events and setbacks that break the monotony of the scenario and delay its resolution.
The book is even more committed to this, traveling from one mystery to another. Many stories intertwine, overlap, follow one another, elucidate each other or ask new questions. Each chapter ̧ in its meticulous unfolding ̧ contains small elements that can be convened later. Each snippet of narrative feeds the next narrative ̧ each action is built on the vivid and catchy reminder of the previous action.
Thus ̧ the portrait of little William makes its way from Lord John to Claire ̧ then from Jamie to Claire during two successive scenes (Chapter 59). Brianna's photos presented to Geillis (chapter 60) turn out to be a centerpiece of the plot resolution a few pages later (chapter 62). Willoughby ̧ whose suspicious disappearance questions at the end of chapter 58 ̧ reappears in chapter 62 to deliver answers in connection with Jamie's smuggling operations in Edinburgh. As for the Campbell siblings, they turn out to have been in no way a brief and strange derivative in the tribulations of Claire's chaotic return in the eighteenth century and fully justifies her presence in detail in chapters 61 and 63.
The whole offers an overall coherence but difficult to translate into cinematographic format without lengthening the episode. The series thus frees itself somewhat, retaining only what directly serves the main plot ̧ around the presence of Geillis and the Campbells in connection with the prophecy of the Frasers of Lovat.
Thus, the series joins the book, but in a more collected way ̧ around the same questioning on three essential themes: the illusion of appearances, the figure of evil and the biblical mystical dimension of the story.
Claire dominates the whole in presence and introspection in these last chapters and this television finale. She is the character around whom others dock and reveal themselves ̧ the one who embodies truth ̧ reason and permanence in an unstable environment ̧ moving and deceptive.
The series offers him the first moments in anticipation of the end of the episode and his voice challenges the viewer in a mixture of dream and reality: "I was dead. (...). I felt serene. Without a body, devoid of terror, devoid of rage, full of calm happiness." The finale then tries to disentangle the true from the false in such a gruelling whirlwind of actions ̧ revelations and threats that a drowning suddenly seems an enviable respite.
Chapters 59 to 63 of Volume 3 and Episode 13 of Season 3
By Fany Alice
The thread of fate
or the time regained
Because the trials accumulate for Claire. She is often alone ̧ especially in the book, opposite Lord John ̧ Willoughby and Archibald Campbell or in her metaphasic discussions with two characters absent from the episode ̧ Ishmael ̧ a slave doctor and priest ̧ and Lawrence Stern ̧ a German Jewish naturalist. In the series, she assumes entirely alone her altercation with Geillis, while Jamie is only a time at her side in the book but the oratory fight nevertheless remains fully focused on the two women. Book or episode ̧ Claire only works in duet with Jamie during the denouement ̧ when the voodoo ritual and the prophecy of Margaret Campbell lead them together in the cave of Abandawe.
The challenge of Claire's commitment to the front line revolves around the search for the truth behind appearances. In this book or cinematic finale ̧ the true being is more than ever elsewhere than in the parre. The particular framework of Jamaica's colonial society is already itself conducive to this desertion of being since it is built on formatted and biased appearances ̧ starting with the moral imposture that constitutes slavery where the color of the skin determines fortune and rank to the detriment of the true self.
This illusory world is eminently more pronounced in the pages of the book ̧ the writing favoring the dive into the depths of human souls ̧ but also because Claire multiplies the meetings pretexts for the unveiling of the being. In episode 13 ̧ the issue is refocused on the only tension between Claire and Geillis but Lord John ̧ Willoughby and Brother Campbell are not exempt from revelations about the real nature of their being when the artifices and postures disappear.
Thus ̧ in the face of Lord John ̧ Claire loses all reference in front of the power of the negative that falls on her. Chapter 59 of the book is devoted to their exchange where all appearances plead a priori against Jamie.
Claire and Lord John already share a heavy history of pretense. In 1745 ̧ to Carryarrick ̧ she was not what she claimed to be and twenty years later ̧ on the Porpoise ̧ in a scene absent from the series ̧ she is Mrs. Malcolm and not Fraser ̧ he is the governor on his way to Jamaica and nothing recalls the frail boy of yesteryear. It is therefore a disturbing game that opens in chapter 59 ̧ where we know each other without knowing it before recognizing ourselves united in the same sincerity.
Because ̧ in this exchange ̧ the tug-of-war between the visible and the hidden is torn apart in a thirst for the absolute authentic and generous towards Claire. In the presence of her peers ̧ Grey remains in a function of representation that diminishes his being and contrasts with his subsequent transformation: Claire immediately notes his "rapid reflexes (...) perfectly master of him" ̧ able to resume "his official manners ̧ smooth and polished like his parquet floors" (Chapter 59). But once alone in front of it ̧ he ceases to be an object trapped in the confinement of the codes of the eighteenth century to become a free conscience and reveal himself as he is. When the disguise frays and the theatricality of the world vanishes ̧ it is then all the intimate modesty that is delivered in an honesty borrowed from piety: "He closed his eyes as if he were recommending his soul to God, opened them and looked at me" (Chapter 59). Revelations can flood in...
Episode 13 completely evacuates this plot (it will arise in part in the fourth season) but retains the comedy of a purposely composed appearance in the face of the English oligarchy when Lieutenant Leonard comes to claim Jamie ̧ suspected of illicit activities in Edinburgh. The verbal joust is enjoyable ̧ it plays with the rivalry between the army and the British navy. Above all, it hides the emotion felt by Lord John in view of jamie's possible arrest behind an eloquent mastery of the speech that leaves nothing to shine through. The manipulation is persuasive ̧ Lieutenant Leonard gives in ̧ and it is a relieved Lord John who drops the mask of the English officer master of him in favor of the sincere friend while fragile.
The role-playing continues with Geillis but the unveiling does not take the path of the emotional purity of a John Grey. There ̧ the illusion is in the seduction as much as in the concealment in an aging woman with a pale complexion ̧ probably suffering from syphilis. "Unlike me ̧ Geillis Duncan was a very good liar" (Chapter 60) can only deplore Claire. "But she was lying and I knew it," she adds. "It's hard to distinguish friends from enemies," Geillis dares to say in episode 13. What breaks through the posture of a falsely affable woman serving tea to her guests –discouraging about the common destiny – is the far more sordid reality of a dangerous criminal killing her husbands and kidnapping young Scottish boys. And yet "it is hard to believe that such a charming woman can behave as reprehensible as the one you describe," lawrence Stern wonders a few pages later (Chapter 62).
It is to forget that the obsession with appearance has become the sanitizing guide of its existence. Everything is cynical ̧ calculated and superficial ̧ in the service of an ability to deceive one's neighbor by pageantry and lies. Dougal? A stepping stone to his destructive political ambition. Her motherhood? A timely setback to escape the stake. Her husbands of the twentieth or eighteenth century? Sacrificed on the altar of a sickly obsession. Prisoner of the aesthetic aspect of things ̧ Geillis can only build in the ephemeral and indulge in the intoxication of a permanent (re)composition of oneself.
But to stick to appearances is not to engage durably with anyone. It is to deprive oneself of the opportunity to apprehend the true ̧ the beautiful ̧ the just ̧ and above all ̧ love. So how could she understand that Claire has no need to sacrifice anyone to cross the stones and that only love has been able to guide her steps? Episode 13 features Claire twirling from one argument to another ̧ desperate not to be able to convince Geillis whose mind irreparably crushed by this madness of rational control cannot glimpse such a banal reality. Because love is dependence ̧ abandonment ̧ trust ̧ it is taking the risk of exposing oneself and being oneself ̧ a thousand places from one's thirst for representation ̧ mastery and domination. Geillis is like Dougal ̧ fine calculator defeated by love. Love that only breaks through when manufactured roles are denied.
So it is with Willoughby's love for Margaret Campbell in episode 13. Willoughby is also not what he is and is what he is not. Intellectually superior, his inner exile is an exile of consciousness similar to the one Jamie experienced after Claire's departure. It is not so much the loss of a land or a social status that they have both been able to deplore ̧ but much more this lost relationship to their deep being ̧ even in their name. James Fraser faded behind many aliases just as Yi Tien Cho had to divest himself of his real identity.
His meeting with Margaret Campbell, a woman equally alien to the world, a prisoner of a brutal brother, endowed with a divinatory talent, puts an end to a life converted to a semblance of being. Together, their singularity finds an escape no longer in a voluntary flight from the truth but in the assumed claim of their differences. "She was the first woman who really saw me. The man I am and... I see her, "Willoughby book of the film version.
In the book, the appearance is not defeated by the force of love but by that of self-love, in a self-esteem restored at the cost of betrayal. Jamie saved Willoughby from misery which puts him in a debt of gratitude. Life saved but soul lost wandering in the anonymity of Edinburgh, forced to live under the veneer of social and dress codes that are not his own: "A great ghost arrives - a horrible white face, the most horrible, hair on fire. I think he will eat my soul. (...). I am no longer Yi Tien Cho. (...). Better to die than to be Willoughby" (Chapter 61). A state of weakness that is increasingly heavy to carry, turning into a feeling of rejection towards one's savior. When Claire has the reflex to call him Mr. Willoughby again, he immediately retorts: "Not Willoughby. (...) I am Yi Tien Cho" (Chapter 61) ...
During a confrontation in the presence of Archibald Campbell ̧ the Chinese friend reveals himself as the traitor who denounced Jamie's seditious activities to Sir Percival. Pale ̧ hesitant ̧ frightened ̧ Claire is once again immersed in the game of illusions where each of the protagonists offers his share of truth ̧ in charge for her to probe the true abyss: "You are the murderer. (...) You kill quite often," said one; "Are you going to believe the man who betrayed your husband?" (Chapter 61) retorts the other. Finally ̧ Willoughby protects Jamie's wife from the dangerousness of Archibald Campbell, eliminating the latter, in a final burst of gratitude to the Scotsman.
The appearance is born of lacks ̧ needs ̧ expectations. It is futility ̧ superficiality and instability where being is truth and immanence. But he is also the useful screen of crimes for both Geillis and Archibald Campbell. The latter is more than the brother guilty of mistreating his sister presented in the series ̧ he is also a serial killer of young women from Edinburgh extending his crimes in Jamaica.
When the illusory is finally defeated and new forces – new signs appear – it is the ultimate ties that are settled at the end of the season and volume through the deconstructed friendships between Claire and Geillis or Jamie and Willoughby. While other ̧ lasting and deep ̧ take root and augur favorably for the sequel ̧ like this re-established connection between Lord John ̧ Claire and Jamie.
In contact with these four characters ̧ Lord John ̧ Geillis ̧ Willoughby and Campbell ̧ Claire's personality is also revealed in all her predilection for methodical doubt that helps to disqualify sensitive perception. She is a scientist like the author D. Gabaldon. His quest for truth subjects reality to a critical examination identifying the limits of appearances and making it possible to overcome them. She never lets herself be caught up in her environment without questioning it ̧ always preferring to the passive comfort of certainties ̧ the active satisfaction of questioning in the service of the unveiling of the truth.
She herself comes out transformed by trials. It fights, acts, decides with firmness and conviction. And physically, by a clever sartorial pirouette, she gradually strips herself of the austere costume and tight bun wanted by the screenwriters when she arrived in the A. Malcom printing house. Finding the assurance of the woman certain to be desired, she appears in a shirt, radiant, wild hair, like the glamorous actresses of the golden age of Hollywood cinema of the 1960s.
Remains a last fight with the deceptive appearances ̧ and probably the most breathtaking for Claire: "The revelations of John Grey had relieved me of most of my fears and doubts and yet ̧ it remained the fact that Jamie had not told me about his son" (Chapter 59). The plot is specific to the book. In the series ̧ the realization made the choice to reveal the existence of Willie from the reunion between Claire and Jamie in the printing house of Edinburgh.
It sometimes happens that the value judgment made on a being is not in harmony with the affective inclination. Thus, Claire was able to feel friendship and gratitude for Geillis while rebuking her criminal inclinations, already suspected in Leoch. Happiness with Jamie is the disappearance of the inner conflict, in the absolute cohabitation of the passionate self and the virtuous and moral self: "I remembered what he had told me in the brothel, during our first night together. Will you take me and risk the man I am, for the sake of the man you knew? (Chapter 59).
It is the evocation of Willoughby's loneliness as "a stranger in a foreign country" (Chapter 59) and his resonance with his own memory of an anonymous exile in Hellwater that prompt Jamie to spontaneously confess to Claire william's existence.
Jamie himself may have been a prisoner of the appearance ̧ well in spite of himself ̧ desired for what is neither his interiority nor his noble qualities ̧ his body for Geneva or his name for Laoghaire ̧ but his true self ̧ authentic ̧ pure and absolute is offered only to Claire. "Because you don't let me lie" (Chapter 59) he said to her. To lie is to renounce to be oneself. And to be oneself for Jamie is to love Claire beyond her own life and in the eternity of the soul. If he didn't lie, what does William's hidden existence tell? The weakness and fear of being judged by Claire for what he never was: a man guilty of imposture in love. Because the moral intention, the meaning given to the events, are the only things that matter: "But how do you tell yourself all these things?" (...) And then tell you that I have never loved but you? (Chapter 59).
In her fight against appearances ̧ Claire sometimes had to face evil in its protean character ̧ inscribed in the fallible condition of the human being. For the literature proposed by D. Gabaldon is a permanent exploration of the depths of the individual, including his forms of transgression. Evil is therefore omnipresent and the last pages of the third volume as well as the season finale make it reappear with force.
But the challenge is never to answer the question "where does evil come from?" because evil escapes any determinism likely to trivialize or relativize it. Admittedly, explaining evil cannot justify it, let alone excuse it, but it is not the purpose of books and the series to get lost in an attempt at definition and conceptualization. The diversity of profiles also pleads for the absence of social meaning: Black Jack Randall ̧ Geillis ̧ Dougal ̧ Archibald Campbell, Willoughby in his book version ̧ then Steven Bonnet ̧ the gang of Lionel Brown ̧ Hodgepile and Harley Boble ̧ Richard Brown ̧ Allan and Malva Christie ̧ Rob Cameron, Captain Harkness... embody evil in its many facets and on a scale of varying intensity. And guilt is never dissolved in extenuating circumstances related to social class, irrepressible impulses, sex ̧ childhood or living conditions.
Since nothing exonerates acts, the figure of evil in the work of D. Gabaldon poses the infinite possibility of the inhuman in the human. In this sense, it would seem that the author considers evil as Hannah Arendt was able to apprehend it, by the absence of thought, that is to say an absence of guilt and an inability to show empathy towards his neighbor. For the common denominator of the figures of evil presented in the work lies in this haunting rehashing of their turpitudes, this repetitive narrative relieved of any emotion in which they lock themselves, which erects them as centers of the world ̧ narcissistic and foreign to others.
In volume 8, the author dwells on Roger's feelings in the presence of Black Jack Randall: "He knew the banality of evil; human monsters took on human forms." (Chapter 45). The concept of the "banality of evil" is intellectually connoted and philosophically dated, developed by Hannah Arendt to associate it with the Nazi criminal, Adolf Eichmann, in the 1960s. It is hardly a question of trivializing evil but of removing all exceptionality: "The acts were monstrous but the person responsible (...) was quite ordinary, like everyone else, neither demonic nor monstrous. (...). His inability to think was above all an inability to think from the point of view of others," the philosopher wrote (The Life of the Spirit ̧ 1978). And Roger himself cannot complete his portrait of Randall without concluding on this frightening paradox: "Despite this, he was surprised. Randall was a handsome man, rather elegant, with a lively and self-interested expression, a humorous curve in his mouth, and dark, warm eyes" (Chapter 45, Volume 8).
This is the dangerousness of evil that Jamie and Claire regularly face: the unspeakable horror of evil is constantly opposed by the apparent normality of the figures of evil. But there is no fatality in the human condition. D. Gabaldon favors moral requirements and human responsibility: evil is an individual, conscious and deliberate choice. This confirms the heavy awareness of its elusive and permanent character but also ̧ and above all ̧ the infinite freedom to fight it.
Because what counts are the resistances that evil arouses, and especially those of Claire and Jamie in the difference they operate between good and evil. For this, the stakes of these last chapters and this episode do not derogate from the purpose of the whole work: to explore evil in all its aspects to ask how to act against it. Edmund Burke said that "for evil to triumph, only the inaction of good men is enough." The free will of a good man and woman ̧ Claire and Jamie ̧ stands out as the central element of the reflection on evil when both ask the question of duty-being through choices and actions. And what emanates from them is that the excess of evil is always defeated by the excess of love... their love.
We see them constantly acting nourished by this shared demand. They know how to preserve their critical faculties by questioning themselves, to oppose the force of their will to evil that interferes in all things, to observe a healthy distance from human impulses, in an absolute and normative position in the face of good and evil. With Claire and Jamie, evil encourages good.
The question of moral values and anchoring in the true ̧ the good and the just thus opens up to the meaning of their own existence and union in a world delivered to evil. The last chapters and the television finale are imbued with it ̧ drawing on esotericism to reveal all the dynamics: Claire and Jamie together manage to rise above evil because they give life to this irresistible impulse that pushes them towards each other and forms a protective cocoon on their lives. There is indeed an invisible force whose power and benevolence they manage to reconcile in order to achieve happiness and embody the good.
In an exchange between Claire and Lawrence Stern (Chapter 61) ̧ the naturalist drapes himself in the posture of the rational scientist for whom an unexplained fact is a fact whose current knowledge does not allow to demonstrate the cause. For him ̧ science is only momentarily defeated. Yet ̧ the following chapters release a mysterious aura that turns away from this discourse: the prophecy of the soothsayer Brahan ̧ the divinatory protrusions of Margaret Campbell ̧ the reminder of the extrasensory communications between Claire and Jamie during their separation ̧ the portal of time travelers in the cave of Abandawe and ̧ only in the book ̧ the mysterious words of Ishmael ̧ come to hit the scientific rationality and coat with transcendence the end of the season. The last moments of the book and episode 13 offer a bewitching acceleration of the indefinable power of connection between Claire and Jamie.
Thus ̧ in chapter 61 ̧ immersed in the heart of a ritual of dances and prayers of voodoo syncretism born of the encounter between African cults and Christianity ̧ they find Margaret Campbell in the posture of the oracle in communion with the spirit of Brianna. Their common child ̧ fruit of their love ̧ is threatened by the prophecy of the Frasers of Lovat revealed by Archibald Campbell to Geillis.
It is not so much the future that the prophecy reveals as a divine blessing offered to the couple and their descendants through Margaret Campbell chosen to be Brianna's voice. Thanks to her ̧ Claire and Jamie understand the urgency and run to the abandawe cave to put an end to the murderous actions of Geillis ̧ strengthened by the veracity of their love that transcends space-time. Episode 13 adds to the strength of their common destiny by vindicating the belief that each visited the other in animal form ̧ the rabbit on the battlefield of Culloden ̧ symbol of loving fidelity ̧ and the bird in Boston ̧ messenger of God connecting the earth and the sky in the Bible.
The happy ending that ends this season continues the optimistic tone begun in the victorious fights ̧ with always this prescience that a force presides over their destiny as much as their happiness.
Because unlike the two previous season endings ̧ Claire and Jamie are no longer tragic heroes. The beginning of the saga offered the spectacle of human passions, of the looted hero, crushed by an unjust and capricious order, victim of irrepressible forces. The end of the season was painful ̧ between two exiles ̧ one in France ̧ in the bruise of Wentworth ̧ the other in a space-time forced to twenty years of separation. But here ̧ Claire and Jamie are conquerors and victors ̧ beautiful, proud, tanned complexion, admired and supported by Lord John ̧ the elders of Ardsmuir and the children Marsali and Fergus.
And it is America ̧ the promised land" that offers itself after the storm for the couple Elected miraculously saved. The storm is mentioned several times in the Bible as one of the instruments in the service of God to manifest itself and punish men or ̧ on the contrary ̧ help them to maintain faith in trials. "We are the chosen ones you and me," Geillis believed in episode 13. But no Election without love ̧ without responsibility ̧ without ethics. Only Claire and Jamie's use of their freedom can be articulated with divine omnipotence in a narrative balance. And ̧ in an aesthetically successful shot ̧ the two castaways are paradoxically both vulnerable and preserved ̧ in the menacing immensity of the raging ocean but nestled in the protective whirlwind of their love ̧ "the belly of the wave" (Chapter 63). Or how the miracle of the Scriptures fits into the Wonderful in this extraordinary destiny for the two lovers.
In these last pages and this episode ̧ it is as if the invisible was suddenly made visible ̧ the meaning of their existence thus revealed. If the mystical and esoteric dimension is largely nourished by Gaelic paganism, the struggle for good as the engine of human freedom and self-fulfillment has its source in biblical messianism. Already ̧ the recurring themes of sin ̧ guilt and forgiveness ̧ of redeeming love ̧ of fate ̧ of conscience in the face of duty or the sacrament of the bodies of Claire and Jamie have largely fueled the reflection in this direction since the beginning of the saga.
Esotericism ̧ mysticism ̧ prophecy ̧ faith... this end of the season is particularly full of them ̧ providing answers to the events of the previous pages and episodes or ̧ on the contrary ̧ posing new unsolved puzzles.
The last chapters of the third volume explicitly deliver two that the series partially resumes. The first concerns the relationship between Ishamël ̧ African medical priest ̧ and Claire's American friend in the Boston of the 1950s/1960s ̧ Joe Abernathy (Chapter 61). The pages of the book show Claire questioning their physical resemblance ̧ the filiation in the professional choice and the strangeness of the surname that connects Joe to the plantation of Geillis (Abernathy).
Through a flashback of Claire recalling her friend presenting the bones of a white woman found in a Caribbean cave ̧ the episode reminds us that the Boston doctor has an unspeakable connection with Geillis. It is all the more strange that the book ̧ ̧ depicts Ishmael prophesying the imminent death of Geillis ̧ thus establishing a close connection between the two men ̧ both having a link with this death.
The second riddle would be smiling if the author had not accustomed his readers to slip existential questions behind the most innocuous allusions. By revealing to Claire that her healing power will be of great strength when she stops bleeding (Chapter 61) ̧ Ishmael makes an intimate subject an open question. The author's audacity on these usually taboo women's issues is also naturally always welcome.
Claire's menstrual cycle ̧ key element of Jamie's decision to send her back to Frank in the second season and volume ̧ returns in force in this finale. The series evades it but echoes this prophecy in the fourth season when the Indian Nayawenne (Adawehi in the series) announces to Claire that she will be in full possession of her powers once her hair turns white. And in the sixth volume ̧ Claire approaches menopause and her hair whitens... The question of its healing power therefore remains.
In the immediate future, a new chapter opens just as much as a loop closes: Claire finds herself in America but this time ̧ alongside the man she loves; as the dances of the voodoo procession recalled those experienced by Claire the day before her passage through the stones in the first volume and the first season. And Jamie ̧ whose third season opened on his suspended body on the battlefield of Culloden ̧ is again free to be himself at the side of the one who holds his soul and his heart.
« I guess I ask you if you believe in fate Lord John began in these terms during his exchange with Clare (Chapter 59). The last chapter closes on fate in America ̧ promise that the best of futures for Claire and Jamie will never be a world without evil, but a world where evil will always generate maximum good.