I always knew this Outlander episode, ‘Faith’, was going to be hard for me to watch. Having gone through pregnancy twice,o understanding the unending pain that a pregnant Claire goes through is a given. It’s hard not to constantly fear the worst, and with “Faith”, the worst is exactly what we get. This strong, quiet, heartbreaking episode of television starts with Claire in 1954 Boston, with a young red-haired girl who calls Claire “Mommy” and asks about blue herons. We then go to the title sequence and come back to Claire, in shock and losing her baby. Mother Hildegard is there, but Jamie is not. Her baby is not there, and that is all Claire really cares about. She passes out and wakes up later, still panicked about her baby. Thanks to Caitriona Balfe’s amazing, heart-rending performance, Claire’s pain is palpable, and in her panic looking for her baby, she breaks the statue of the Madonna by her bed.
Claire is not faring well herself. Her fever is high and she’s been given the Last Rites. Mother Hildegard tells her that, though it’s illegal because her baby was stillborn, Mother baptized her Faith and buried her in hallowed ground. Unfortunately, the only things Claire wants are the two things she cannot have: Her baby and her husband. In the middle of the night, Master Raymond sneaks into the hospital and heals Claire. Whether it was through magic or an impressive understanding of anatomy, he manages to detect and extract the piece of placenta still in Claire’s womb. He then heads out of town before Mother Hildegard and the sisters come back and declare a miracle. Claire will be okay, but Jamie is in the Bastille for dueling and will remain there at the King’s pleasure. Thankfully, Jack Randall is not dead, only gravely wounded, or the punishment would have been worse. So, Frank is alive. And Claire, while still blaming Jamie for the death of their daughter, and still being mad that revenge mattered more than their agreement, finally begins to question the lengths to which she is willing to go to save Frank’s life.
Weeks later, she comes home, after Fergus begs her to. The boy is so sweet and brushes her hair, but he’s skittish and sad. One night while Claire is wondering the halls, she hears Fergus crying. He’s mid-nightmare, except it isn’t just a nightmare. It’s a memory of the day Jamie was taken away. This is where I have a problem. Last week, I wrote about how much I liked the way they dealt with the Fergus scene in the Maison Elise, but this week I have to take all that back. Fergus tells Claire, through tears and flashbacks, about Jack Randall raping him, and Jamie walking in on him, thereby prompting Jamie to fight and demand a duel, breaking his promise to Claire. While the graphic depiction of Jamie’s rape was important and necessary last season, Fergus is a child. We did not need to see the thrusts or any of those details. Fergus tells Claire everything’s his fault, that if he’d just been quiet, or if he’d stayed put like he was supposed to, Jamie would be here and Claire’s baby would be okay. My heart breaks for this poor kid.
Having heard why Jamie fought Jack, Claire asks Mother Hildegard for an audience with the king, since she has the connections to grant the favor. She agrees but warns Claire that petitioning for Jamie’s release could very well cost Claire her virtue, to which Claire shrugs. She goes to see Louis, who offers her warm chocolate and oranges before asking her a very different favor. He is asking a favor from La Dame Blanche, and leads her into my favorite set to date. It’s a beautiful circular room with holes in the ceiling for sunlight to come in, creating the illusion of stars. What is not so great is what transpires. King Louis has Master Raymond and to Comte St Germaine brought in and tells Claire that they are both accused of practicing the Dark Arts and he needs La Dame Blanche to determine if they are guilty or not. Even knowing the outcome, and knowing he’s a colossal dick, I felt for the Comte here. He clearly hates Claire as much as she hates him, but he is terrified. Claire goes full-on White Witch on them and puts on a good show of looking into their souls before asking the king to allow her to give them both a potion (bitter cascara) and if they survive, to release them because they are not evil. Raymond gets the cup first and lives, though uncomfortably. When he hands the cup back to Claire, however, the stone on her necklace turns black, and she and the Comte both know that whatever is in the cup now is going to kill him. He is tearful and angry, but drinks the whole glass down. Ahh, and good apothecary, thy drugs are quick, as it’s only a few seconds before we say goodbye to the hot jerk Comte for good. Master Raymond is released and banished from Paris, and Claire is as sad as I am to see him go. There’s a nice little reminder that she’s not from this time when she thinks of The Wizard of Oz as he’s leaving.
Claire’s business with the King is not done yet, though. Apparently this was not payment enough for Jamie’s life as he lays her down for the more unsatisfying sex ever. His Royal Highness thrusts a few times, doesn’t finish (so as to keep from having any pesky bastards) and informs her that he will pardon Jamie and have a pardon arranged back in Britain, so they can go home. It’s all very business-like and cold, and Claire snags an orange on her way out.
When Jamie comes home he is almost unrecognizable, and he begs Claire to talk to him about Faith. He tells her he tried to keep his promise, but he couldn’t let Randall go unpunished for what he did to Fergus. Claire tells him that while she did hate him in the beginning, she now sees her own role in it all. She put Frank before their family and asked the impossible of Jamie. While she is telling him about Faith, we see in flashbacks the only time Claire got to hold her baby. As a mother, this was the hardest part for me to watch without bawling my eyes out. Kudos to Balfe for portraying Claire’s utter loss and near madness while she held her baby and sang to her. It’s an devastating scene, especially when Louise comes to visit hours later. Claire is lost to grief. Louise calls Faith an angel and asks to hold her. And we see how true a friend she really is to Claire.
We come back to the present once more, and Claire confesses to Jamie to sleeping with the King to buy his freedom. He tells her he forgave her long ago for anything she could do. He gave himself to Randall to save her life, he can accept her giving herself to Louis to save his. What I love about this scene is that is shows just how strong Jamie and Claire’s marriage is. Neither of them can bear the weight of their loss and what has happened alone, but together they will manage, especially since they are free to go home, back to Scotland. The episode ends with the two of them visiting Faith’s grave and leaving the St. Andrew Apostle spoon with her before returning home.
Stitch in Time: I gotta say this week it’s the moments between Claire and the Comte, mostly because this was a really tough episode overall, but Stanley Weber did a wonderful job playing the Comte and got a pretty good exit, if a painful death.
What did you think of the Fraser’s time in Paris? Are you as ready to head back to Scotland as they are?