Have you ever seen a more devastating hour of TV?
Tonight's episode of Outlander was beautiful, heartbreaking, horrifying, and an absolute master class in acting, thanks to Caitriona Balfe just absolutely slaying every moment of every scene.
It feels kind of silly write words about that episode, because it needs none, and we don't really know what words to even give it. We guess we'll just start from the beginning.
"Faith" opened with our very first glimpse at a young Brianna, sometime in what appears to be the 1950s, marveling at a heron in a book about birds. Claire tells her she saw one once, in Scotland, a long time ago.
In Scotland, a long time ago, Claire is back in l'hopital, barely conscious as Mother Hildegarde and the nurses work in a flurry around her. Claire delivers a baby girl, but when she wakes up, she learns that the baby was born dead. Claire's reaction here destroyed us. She didn't believe it, and begged for her baby and for her husband, who she learned was being held in the Bastille. Mother Hildegarde had the baby baptized, and brought a priest over to read Claire her rites, since she didn't think Claire would survive the night either.
Even though we knew, based on the beginning of the season, and based on the books, and based on TV main character logic, that Claire was not going to die of her fever, we couldn't help but fear for her, until Master Raymond arrived. He worked some sort of magic over her, told her he would see her again, and left before anyone knew he was there.
After weeks of Claire lying in that bed, Fergus arrived with flowers and asked her to come home, but she wasn't much happier there. Then, she learned why Jamie had gone back on his word and dueled Black Jack anyway: Jamie had caught Black Jack using Fergus for the same purpose he had once used Jamie, and rightfully decided he couldn't let this squirming worm of a man get away with living any longer.
Claire was less mad at Jamie but even more distraught by the situation after finding this out, so she took Mother Hildegarde's advice and got an audience with the king, who controlled Jamie's fate at the Bastille. She asked him to let Jamie go, but he wanted a favor from her first.
That's when he pulled her into a strange room with his executioner, Master Raymond, and that pain-in-the-ass Comte St. Germain. As "La Dame Blanche," Louis felt Claire would be most helpful in determining the fate of these two men accused of messing with dark magic, and damn if she didn't put on the performance of a lifetime. She tried, at first, to keep everyone alive, saying she saw darkness in all of their souls, but Louis wanted someone punished.
Instead of letting them all be bitten by a giant snake, Claire put together her own poison that she knew would make both Raymond, and St. Germain suffer a bit, but not die, which would hopefully be enough for the king. After Raymond drank it, he sneakily added something deathly to it, so that it turned Claire's poison-sensing crystal black. St. Germain himself knew that what he was drinking was death, so he threw out a last-ditch insult at Claire insinuating that she gives blowjobs to the devil.
That way, when he hit the floor, writhing and sputtering and giving us some Joffrey Baratheon flashbacks as he died, we didn't feel bad for him in the slightest.
The king set Raymond free, but banished him from France, and then he turned to Claire, who apparently still owed him payment for Jamie.
That "payment" ended up being a quickie with the king, which was unpleasant but admittedly could have been a LOT worse, and Jamie got to go home, along with his glorious beard.
Claire explained how she had hated him so much, and filled him in on her recovery. She told him how Mother Hildegarde gave the baby a name (Faith), and let Claire hold her, and that eventually Louise was the one who came and got her to give the baby up. It was all just heartbreaking, especially when she started blaming herself instead of Jamie. Jamie, however, wouldn't let her.
"I already forgave you, long before today, for this and anything else you could ever do," he told her.
And even when she told him she "slept with" the king (which is not really the term we would have used for that encounter, but whatever), Jamie forgave her, and the two of them decided that after a tear-filled visit to Faith's grave, it was time to go home to Scotland, where maybe they could try for another child.
And so this French nightmare is over for now, and honestly our tears might not be dry until they get back to Scotland.
Now, this episode featured several small but interesting changes from the book. Claire didn't have to drink the poison this time, and Fergus' story was a different kind of tragic from the child prostitution discovery in the book. Claire's choice to immediately tell Jamie what happened with the king was also unexpected, but it does allow the two of them to start totally fresh once they get back to Scotland, which will be good for all of us.
What did you think of tonight's episode? Sound off in the comments!
Outlander airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz.