Outlander season 3 finale recap and review: Eye of the Storm


Geillis figures out the prophecy, Claire and Jamie share a Titanic moment, and Outlander resets before season 4 in an extremely jam-packed finale.

Well, 3.5 out of five ain’t bad. Outlander‘s third season finale isn’t spectacular, but it gets points for ticking some boxes off my wish list and for its sheer efficiency. In rapid succession Jamie escapes from his latest legal situation, Geillis understands Margaret’s prophecy, Jamie and Claire stop Geillis from traveling through time again, the Artemis hits a nasty storm on its way back to Scotland, Claire goes overboard and Jamie fishes her out, Claire sort of dies but comes back to life, and Jamie and Claire wash up on Georgia.

That’s at least three episodes’ worth of plot jammed into 57 minutes. As you can imagine, “Eye of the Storm” is kind of a mess. But at least it’s an entertaining mess.

Here are some other thoughts on the season 3 finale:

Goodbye, Geillis

Intellectually, I understand why killing Geillis off is a good idea. She’s a Jacobite zealot and seems to have zero qualms about the human sacrifices she thinks are necessary to travel through time. Plus, she’s convinced herself that disposing of Brianna is the only way to ensure a Scot is on the throne at some point in the future. Geillis needed to be stopped.

However, Outlander really shortchanged itself by stopping Geillis so quickly. The “cat and mouse” game between Claire and Geillis that the finale’s description teased could have been drawn out for a few episodes or even a season. The lack of formidable villain has been a real weak spot this season, and Geillis could have been the perfect character to fill Black Jack Randall’s shoes. Not only is she unhinged and unpredictable, she and Claire indeed do “share a bond, something even [Claire] and Jamie can’t share.” The fact that Geillis and Claire also were once friends and have a complex, weird affection and respect for each other would have made Geillis a truly fascinating villain. Guess we’ll have to mourn what might’ve been.

Oh, and we do have this to consider: During their final showdown at Abandawe, Geillis tells Claire, “We are the chosen, you and I. We have a responsibility to change history.” We’ve seen Claire and Jamie try to influence history before — in season 2 they used Claire’s knowledge to their advantage in the rebellion — but for Claire, time travel is mostly a means of finding her way to the love of her life. Perhaps she’ll take Geillis’ words to heart in season 4 and decide that it’s her duty to transform the course of history.

Outlander‘s troubling racial politics, redux

What a difference an episode makes. Last week Claire was horrified by the slave trade and moved enough to do something about it. This week she only notices it when her manservant suddenly stops her carriage. To make matters worse, almost all of the slaves and native Jamaicans are treated as little more than set decorations in “Eye of the Storm.”

Take Hercules, Geillis’ manservant. He’s present throughout the first half of the episode, but the other characters barely acknowledge him and the script affords him basically nothing. We don’t know why he’s loyal to Geillis or what he thinks of her, her human sacrifices, or anything else. Claire — who up to this point has been super secretive about her time traveling experiences — talks about going back and forth from the 20th century right in front of Hercules, as if he’s not even there. And Hercules is willing to kill Jamie on Geillis’ behalf but just shrugs and walks away when she dies and Jamie tells him he can go.

Seriously, what is that?

And then there’s the native peoples’ ritual, which as Outlander bends over backwards to tell us, is similar to the witches’ ritual from the series’ first episode. There’s nothing wrong with “Eye of the Storm” presenting a different culture, but we see it only as Claire and Jamie see it: as something weird and vaguely scary. That remove is a problem. Again, the audience is not privy to any part of the participants’ inner lives. All we know is what Outlander chooses to show us: people in masks and crocodile headdresses chanting, dancing, and slaughtering a chicken. That’s not exactly a nuanced take on race.

“The Bakra’s” depiction of race and slavery was nowhere near perfect, but at least that episode’s black characters had a voice. That voice is effectively silenced in “Eye of the Storm.” Since Outlander will likely spend at least part of season 4 in pre-Revolutionary War Georgia, it better step up its game in this arena.

Are Claire and Jamie actually the worst?

I love Outlanderi, and I love Claire and Jamie as a couple. But this occurred to me as I watched “Eye of the Storm”: our heroes might actually be awful human beings.

Jamie and Claire are devoted to each another and that’s about it, give or take a Bree or Young Ian. Everyone else can go jump in a lake, especially if they’re not related to the Frasers. For example, Yi Tien Cho falls hard for Margaret Campbell. After he tells Jamie and Claire the good news, Jamie pats him on the shoulder and asks, “Have you seen Ian?” Wow, Jamie. You couldn’t even spit out a perfunctory congratulations?

He acts like a self-involved, entitled jerk again when he asks for directions to Abandawe. One of the ritual participants tells Jamie the way but refuses to take him because it’s a “bad place” where everyone dies. Fair enough, right? Not for Jamie. He snatches the man’s torch from his hand and walks away in a huff.

And then there’s good ol’ stubborn Claire. If she had stayed below deck on the Artemis like everyone else, she wouldn’t have been swept out to sea and Jamie wouldn’t have had to go in after her. The ship still would have been destroyed, but at least we would have been spared the super corny underwater kiss between our heroes. I enjoy Outlander‘s passionate romance as much as any fan, but come on. That was just ridiculous.

Next: Outlander S3E12 recap and review: The Bakra


  • In case you were wondering, “Eye of the Storm” granted most of my finale wishes.  As mentioned above, my official score is 3.5/5 because we didn’t get nearly enough time with Fergus and Marsali and Murtagh didn’t make an appearance at all.
  • Alias Watch: Geillis keeps referring to Jamie as “fox” and it’s amazing.
  • Geillis’ Greatest Hits:
    • On Claire and Jamie’s codependency: “You’d never leave your beloved Jamie … Not even war could part the two of you.”
    • On why she makes human sacrifices: “I’d just as soon have blood. A girl can’t be too careful.”
    • On why she’ll refrain from killing Jamie: “I only spare you because Claire’s fond of you.”
  • Claire seemed drawn to the portal like Aurora was drawn to the spindle in Sleeping Beauty. If Jamie hadn’t taken her hand, she definitely would have jumped in that pool — and we know how much she wants to be with Jamie. Hopefully we’ll get some more details about the supernatural forces at Craigh na Dun and Abandawe next season.
  • Dead Geillis looked so fake.
  • Most Swoon-Worthy Line: Claire and Jamie’s foreplay on the Artemis. So everything from “It was very generous of Lord John to use his influence to withdraw the warrant” to “Cool air will be a blessing after the heat of the island.”
  • Runners Up to Most Swoon-Worthy Line:
    • Jamie to Claire: “If you die here now, I swear I’ll kill you!”
    • Claire to Jamie: “I told you I’d never leave you again.”
  • That’s it for season 3 of Outlander! Thanks for reading and best wishes to you all during this Droughtlander.