‘Outlander’ Recap: Claire Encounters a Face from the Past in ‘The Bakra’

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Bakra,” the 12th episode of the third season of “Outlander.”

The Artemis finally reaches Kingston, Jamaica bringing Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) that much closer to their goal of finding Young Ian Murray. During a Governor’s reception on the island, the Frasers encounter old allies, as they try to stay ahead of Captain Leonard and the British soldiers who are still trying to arrest Jamie.

Young Ian (John Bell) has been captured by Portuguese pirates who threaten to take him to someone called “The Bakra.” The pirates have taken the box of jewels from Young Ian. They throw him in a cell with another prisoner, Henry, who tells Ian they’re in Jamaica. Henry tells him there were six guys in the cell but, one by one, they’ve been taken to the Bakra and never returned. Young Ian is taken to a mansion and left with a woman who is bathing in a bathtub of blood. She’s Scottish and tells Ian he can call her Geillis (Lotte Verbeek). As she rinses off, she tells Ian she bathes in goat’s blood to keep her skin young. She gives him plum cake and pudding to eat and tea to drink. He’s starving so he eats and drinks ravenously. She tells Ian there were three sapphires in the treasure box on Silkies’ Island, but now there are only two. She asks if he took the third sapphire. He says he didn’t have time to open the box before her men seized him. He drinks more of the tea then says, “Maybe my uncle took the jewel” and clamps his hand over his mouth as he realizes he didn’t mean to say that. The tea is drugged! She asks who Ian’s uncle is and he says “Jamie Fraser of Broch Tuarach” and that Jamie needed the jewel to pay a debt. She continues to seduce Ian and he tells her he’s not a virgin. She says, “Good, then you’ll know what to do.”

The Artemis finally reaches Kingston, and Claire and Jamie make a plan to search for Young Ian before Captain Leonard (Charlie Hiett) can catch up with Jamie to arrest him. Departing the ship, they meet a man named Kenneth McIver (James McAnerney), who works for the man who owns the Artemis. Jamie and Claire tell him they’ve brought French wine and brandy. McIver invites them to the governor’s reception that night, but Claire declines and says they have other matters to which to attend. He offers to help and Jamie asks him to help them find lodging. As they walk, McIver says the Bruja has already been there and gone, probably to Portugal or Africa. Claire says Ian may have been sold at the Kingston slave market. The men selling slaves at the market tell Jamie the Bruja only sells “negroes.” As Claire walks through the slave market, she’s distressed when she sees a young female branded with a hot branding iron. She also sees a young man (Temeraire) being auctioned, and disrupts the auction when the seller shows the man’s genitals as proof of his breeding value. She asks Jamie to help the young man, so he buys the man in Claire’s name. She says they have to set him free, and Jamie agrees but points out that freeing him in Kingston wouldn’t help him. If he stays with them while they’re there, at least he’ll be treated decently. Not thrilled at the thought of being a slave owner, Claire wants to rip up the certificate of ownership but Jamie says, “Then you won’t have proof that he’s yours and he won’t have proof either.” Jamie says they’ll figure out how to free him when he can truly be free, and in the meantime, they’ll take care of him. Jamie informs Claire he accepted McIver’s invitation to attend the governor’s reception that night because the Bruja crew sold slaves to the governor’s household and he thinks they might have info about Young Ian. Claire and Jamie ask Temeraire to come with them to the reception so he can ask the slaves there about Ian. He agrees to help.

Mr. Campbell, his sister Margaret and Geillis are talking about the treasure box, and he asks why she needs the third sapphire. She tells the story of Dougal MacKenzie and how he died at Culloden.

That night, Claire and Jamie are dressed up to attend the reception. They ask the servants there to show Temeraire to the slave quarters so he can be of help to the staff. Fergus (Cesar Domboy) and Marsali (Lauren Lyle) are also attending the reception. When they walk in the door, Claire recognizes Mr. Campbell, who recalls her as “Mrs. Markham.” (Reminder: Campbell is the man from Edinburgh whose sister Margaret was having visions – he asked Claire for medicines to give the sister so she would stay calm on the voyage to the West Indies.)

As Claire and Jamie wait on line to see the governor, one of the women at the reception is fascinated by Yi Tien Cho aka Mr. Willoughby (Gary Young) as it’s the first time she’s met someone from China. Cho is very charming as he talks to her. Jamie tells Claire that maybe they keep running into ghosts from their past because she’s come through the stones. They get to the front of the line and Jamie sees the governor is Lord John Grey (David Berry)! He asks how Claire is still alive and she says it’s a long story. They leave the ballroom to talk privately. Geillis watches the three leave the room.

In private, Lord John tells Jamie that Willie is not with him – he and Isabella will be coming to Kingston in the summer. Jamie says he’s missed Willie. Lord John says Willie has missed Jamie too and that he still remembers him. There’s a moment when Lord John stares at Jamie a bit too long and Claire interrupts. Lord John says he wound up as governor in Jamaica after a series of promotions and that this is “the terminus” of that line. He asks what brings them so far from home and they tell him they’re searching for Young Ian Murray. Lord John asks what he can do to help. Jamie sees Lord John is wearing the sapphire he gave him at Ardsmuir and John says he wears it to remember his friendship with Jamie.

Jamie and Claire return to the reception. McIver tells Jamie he wants to introduce him to a freemason who knows everyone on the island. Claire says she’ll go make some inquiries on her own.

Outside the reception in a garden, Cho talks to Margaret Campbell and tells her that her brother does not treat her the way he should. He tells her she’s special and a flower from heaven.

Lord John and Claire chat about when he met her years ago when he was young and thought he was defending her virtue (all part of a ruse Claire thought up at the time to help Jamie). She brings up the sapphire again and Lord John says Jamie found it when he was looking for Claire. He says it’s so good to finally meet the woman “who is Jamie’s every heartbeat.” Claire sees Geillis across the room and excuses herself, telling Lord John, “I think I’ve just seen a ghost!”

Claire runs outside and finds Geillis. Claire says she thought Geillis was dead. Geillis says she escaped the pyre because she was pregnant. She says she had the baby and then Dougal came to fetch the baby and found a home for it. Geillis tells Claire she got Dougal to switch her with an already dead woman the next day when they came to burn her. Geillis tells Claire she hid out for awhile and after she found out Dougal died at Culloden, she married a plantation owner, who died some years ago. She’s Mistress Abernathy now. Claire thanks Geillis for saving her life years ago. Geillis asks why Claire and Jamie are on the island, and Claire tells her they’re looking for Young Ian and as Geillis knows a lot of people, maybe she can ask around. Geillis says she will and adds, “What are friends for?”

Back inside the reception, Claire and Geillis join Jamie and Lord John. Jamie’s eyes widen when he sees Geillis. Geillis immediately notices the sapphire Lord John is wearing and asks where he got it. He says it was a gift from a friend and Jamie says, “From a prisoner.” Geillis excuses herself and goes to Mr. Campbell and tells him she needs Margaret to do some readings. Geillis pressures Lord John into having his fortune read. Geillis says he has to give Margaret something of his to hold for the reading and he gives her his suit ornament with the sapphire. Margaret says, “When the issue is cut down, will a Scotsman wear the crown.” Geillis drags Mr. Campbell outside and tells him to explain what Margaret meant and he says it’s about a 200 year old baby being cut down as a Scotsman becomes king. Geillis says they have time to solve the puzzling riddle.

Fergus and Marsali are outside the mansion canoodling when they see Captain Leonard and British soldiers ride up. Fergus runs inside to warn Jamie. As Jamie and Claire leave the reception, they run into Temeraire, who says the slaves told him they saw a man matching Young Ian’s description at Mistress Abernathy’s (Geillis) house. They go by carriage and free Temeraire after he tells them escaped slaves live safely in the mountains near Rosehorn. Then Captain Leonard and the British soldiers ride up and arrest Jamie! He gives Claire the photos of the children. As the Brits take Jamie away, he tells Claire to go find Ian.

Outlander airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.

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