Catch Up:

Episode 1: The Battle Joined
Episode 2: Surrender
Episode 3: All Debts Paid
Episode 4: Of Lost Things
Episode 5: Whisky & Freedom
Episode 6: A. Malcolm
Episode 7: Creme de Menthe
Episode 8: First Wife
Episode 9: The Doldrums
Episode 10: Heaven & Earth
Episode 11: Uncharted

The Bakra

We open some time earlier than when we left off, at Ian’s kidnapping by the Portuguese sailors. They relieve him of his box of treasure, of course. “Is this what The Bakra seeks?” asks one sailor. “Seems to be,” says another. The pirates threaten to feed Ian to the pigs, and Ian fights back, arguing that they should just let him go, since they already have the box. The men opt to do neither, and keep him for the journey.

Ian gets kidnapped.

The ship arrives in Jamaica, and Ian is thrown into some kind of dirt cell on the land. He’s not alone – there are other prisoners in there with him. Another one, Henry, is also white. Henry describes how there were more of them when he got there, but one by one, they’ve been taken to see The Bakra, and they’ve never come back. “What’s a Bakra?” Ian asks, fearfully.

Thrown in a hole.

50 Shades of Elizabeth Bathory

We cut to a pink plantation house, where Ian is being led in presumably to see The Bakra, whom he has been warned likes young boys. “Sit,” he is ordered roughly by a footman. Before he can get his bearings, a woman’s voice purrs “I’m told you’re Scottish,” as she stretches a blood-covered foot from a nearby bathtub. “So am I.” “Are you the Bakra?” Ian asks. “I am,” she replies, as she slinks out of her blood bath. “But you can call me Geillis.” The Bakra is a woman! And not just any woman – none other than Geillis Duncan, the witch who narrowly escaped being burned at the stake with Claire!

Ian spots the Bakra.

An unorthodox introduction

Geillis crosses the room towards Ian, leaving bloody footprints in her wake. She assures him it’s only goat’s blood, as she rinses herself with a pitcher. Ian looks a bit more than uncomfortable as she stands before him quite naked, but the footman is nonplussed as he brings in a tray of goodies. “What do you do with the boys from the pit?” Ian demands. “Eat first,” Geillis responds.

“…But you can call me Geillis.”

A missing stone

Ian eats hungrily and she pours him some tea. She gets right to the point, telling him that the treasure box he was found with is hers, and that it once contained three sapphires, not just the two that are there now. Since her men would never betray her, that leaves Ian. Of course, the missing sapphire is the one which Jamie gave Lord John Grey all of those years ago, but Ian has no way of knowing that.

“Now…about my treasure…”

I’ve said too much

Ian assures her that he didn’t have time to take anything. She presses again, and he denies it again, but an epiphany begins to dawn on his face. When she asks what he’s thinking, he blurts it out before he can stop himself, then claps his hand over his mouth. “Maybe my uncle took the jewel!” She tells him that the tea he’s been drinking is a truth serum, of sorts, made by a witch doctor. “Sooo,” she purrs, cozying up to Ian. “Who’s your uncle?” Ian spills the beans, of course, and tells Geillis that Uncle Jamie will be coming for him. Geillis, of course, is counting on it.

Ian can’t stop talking.

You don’t want to know, Ian

Ian asks what she does with the bodies of the boys she takes. She has her way with them, she says, but after they’re not virgins any more, she doesn’t have any use for them. “Come,” she says. “It’s not such a bad way to go.” “I’m not a virgin!” Ian says, somewhat triumphantly. Finally, a benefit to sleeping with prostitutes! Geillis only looks taken aback for a split second. “Good,” she replies, parting her robe. “You’ll know what to do, then.” Yikes!

Eww, bloody feet.

Welcome to Jamaica

Whew! And all that before the opening credits!

Claire narrates as she and Jamie finally arrive in Jamaica themselves, after months at sea. Jamie thinks that they’ve gotten there soon enough that the Portuguese ship is likely still there, and hopefully Ian is nearby enough that they can all slip away unnoticed. They are stopped by a man in cousin Jared’s employ, who invites them to the governor’s ball that night. Claire and Jamie decline, citing a more pressing matter, and MacIver offers his help.

Meeting MacIver.

Jamie and Claire head for the slave market to make inquiries about whether or not Young Ian may have been sold. They don’t have any luck, but they do find out that the very same governor who’s hosting the ball tonight has bought slaves from the ship Ian came in on, and those slaves might know where he is. Guess they’re going to the ball after all!

The slave market.

More than Claire bargained for

Meanwhile, Claire has wandered into the slave auction and is visibly bothered by the proceedings. As a cruel trader exposes a slave and molests him before the crowd, Claire loses her shit and whacks him with an umbrella, inciting a small riot. Jamie runs in, swinging fists, and Claire pleads “Do something! Help him!” Before Claire knows it, she’s the not-so-proud owner of her very own slave. It’s not all bad – Jamie thinks that he might come in handy at the governor’s ball – the governor’s slaves may trust Temeraire, who is now in their employ, and give better information than they might have otherwise.

Claire entreats Jamie to help the slave.

Claire explains to Temeraire that they will free him when they have a moment. They explain about Young Ian, and entreat him to ask the governor’s slaves about it. Temeraire looks properly confused, but agrees.

Claire meets Temeraire.

The treasure of Silkie Island

Back at the Bakra’s house, the two charlatans from Scotland that Claire met in Edinburgh – Archibald and Mary Campbell – are preparing to give Geillis a psychic reading of sorts. Geillis is mad that the third sapphire is missing – surely, they can’t proceed without it, according to prophecy. Archibald is less concerned, but wants to know how she came by the stones in the first place.

Geillis tells a tale of how the stones were handed down from father to son, until they came into the hands of Dougal MacKenzie, who hid the family treasure on Silkie island. So, it’s rightfully kind of Jamie’s after all! She explains that Dougal died a hero at Culloden. (Well, sort of. He was murdered for eavesdropping, but go on, Geillis.) Campbell says, rather slimily, that she’s got no real use for the treasure, then, other than the sapphires. Geillis snaps that he won’t see a dime until she’s had her vision.

The Campbells resurface.

The belle(s) of the ball

A bewigged Jamie and Claire arrived at the governor’s ball in full regalia, joined by Fergus, Marsali, and Willoughby. They send Tamaraire off with the other servants, with instructions to come find them when he has news. “Look at you!” Jamie exclaims to Claire. “We could be back at Versailles.” Claire blushes. “That was a very long time ago.” Jamie smiles. “You look as if it were yesterday.”

Jamie remembers Versailles.

Willoughby misses nothing

They run into Archibald Campbell at the door, who is shocked to see Claire. They exchange pleasantries and he assures her that his sister is feeling much better. Willoughby later spies Mary telling fortunes around the party for free, and her brother cruelly scolding her for it.

Archibald scolds Mary.

Ghosts from Fraser past

Meanwhile, Jamie is giving Claire such smoldering looks that even I’m clutching my pearls. Before he can drag her off to bed, he spots Lord John Grey across the room, much to John’s shock and delight. Jamie introduces Claire to John and the three talk for a moment in private. From another part of the room, Geillis has spied the three of them with her little eye, but they haven’t seen her yet.

Lord John is surprised to see them.

But no less surprised than Geillis.

A friendship with a history

Jamie asks John about his son, whom he is assured is happy and well. Claire seems a bit taken aback that Lord John has been acting as Willie’s father. She asks how he has happened to have become the governor of Jamaica. He dismisses the question as unimportant, and they explain about Ian’s kidnapping. John offers his help, of course. Jamie spots the missing sapphire pinned to John’s lapel. “I wear it to…remember our friendship,” John explains. Claire says nothing.

Claire is curious about quite a few things, at this point.

Willoughby got game

In the gardens, Mr. Willoughby has come upon Mary Campbell, and tells her that her brother treats her badly. She takes his hand and her face brightens. “You are a rare soul!” she exclaims. He cranks up the charm and calls her a flower from heaven. Slow down, Mr. Willoughby, she hardly knows you!

Not sure what Willoughby’s end game is, here.

Old times

Lord John and Claire share a drink and reminisce about where they’ve met before – when he defended her virtue as a boy. She inquires about the sapphire, and John explains that Jamie found it while searching for Claire and more or less surrendered it to him rather than “gave” it, if we’re getting technical. Claire spots Geillis and quickly excuses herself.

John & Claire chat.

Mistress Abernathy, of Rose Wall

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…” Geillis quips to Claire. The two ladies chat about how Geillis escaped the pyre. Long story short, she conned Dougal into helping her escape, and ’twas not her on the fire that morning, but an already dead woman. After Culloden, she married a plantation owner who is also  now long dead, and Bob’s your uncle, as they say.

“Sooo…whatcha been doing since the witch trial?”

“She’s a touch strange, isn’t she?”

Of course, Claire explains the reason for hers and Jamie’s presence on the island, and Geillis feigns ignorance about having seen Ian, but says she’ll ask around. “What are friends for?” The two head inside to say hello to Jamie, and John is there. Geillis wastes no time in seizing the sapphire and asking where he got it. “This has been quite a conversation piece tonight, I should wear it more often!” John exclaims. He tells a brief version of the story. “Fascinating!” Geillis interrupts, then hastily excuses herself.

You’re damn right she’s a touch strange.

Fortunate son

Geillis finds Archibald Campbell and demands that he make Mary do readings for the crowd after all. She wants to know Lord John’s fortune. Geillis gets the crowd to egg John into participating, and he agrees. Mary whispers to Archibald that she only wanted to help people – if she holds the governor’s stone and adds it to the other two to tell his fortune, it will bring death. Archibald strong-arms her as Willoughby watches from afar.

Lord John gets his fortune told.

“Just because it’s cryptic doesn’t mean we can’t solve it.”

Mary proceeds to give a very creepy reading to Lord John, who dismisses it. “What a peculiar pastime!” Geillis and Archibald attempt to decipher the message in the garden. 200 years must have passed between a man’s attack and a woman’s curse – a 200-year old baby must die – that is, a baby who is 200 years old on the day of its birth. Then, Scotland will rule again. Or something. It is, after all, a riddle. Does that sound like anyone we know?

Geillis and Archibald aren’t great with riddles.

Unwelcome guests

Fergus and Marsali are kissing outside when Captain Leonard rides up to the party. The two rush in to warn Jamie, and the four narrowly escape out the back, to meet later at the inn. Fergus and Marsali are to retrieve Willoughby, and Jamie and Claire spot Tamaraire. He’s found out that Geillis has Ian. “She lied to me!” Claire cries. “I told you she had a wicked soul!” Jamie growls.

On their way home, as bargained, they set Tamaraire free. “God be with you,” Jamie says. As it turns out, they shouldn’t have stopped. Captain Leonard rides up on them and Jamie is captured. Claire reads Leonard the riot act and points out that she’s the only reason he’s even alive, but he is unmoved. “Find young Ian!” Jamie cries, as he is dragged away.

Jamie gets captured.

Stray Observations:

  • “Bakra” in Jamaican patois literally means “devil”, but refers to a slave master or slave driver. It can also mean a white person, especially from Britain.
  • “Temeraire”, the name of the slave Claire purchased, is French for “bold” or “rash.”
  • Geillis referring to her son as “as warm as his father’s balls” put a mental picture of Dougal’s manly bits in my head that I could have done without.
  • Anybody else catch Geillis’ new surname, Abernathy, being the same as Claire’s doctor friend Joe’s name in Boston?
  • Geillis’ “Of all the gin joints” line is, of course, from Casablanca.

Join us next week for Episode 13, the season 3 finale: “Eye of the Storm.”

Image Credits: Sweatpants & Coffee.

Emily Parker is a musician, writer, and avid reader who started Bucket List Book Reviews, the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ project. For Sweatpants & Coffee, Emily hopes to inspire the reading of the classics by a whole new audience by only reviewing the really good stuff.

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