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Television

Outlander: Season 2, Episode 7 - "Faith"

Alyssa Rasmus

In the wake of more than one devastating loss, Jamie and Claire's faith in each other, and their ability to change the future, is severely shaken.


Outlander

Airtime: Saturdays, 9pm
Cast: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Duncan Lacroix, Grant O’Rourke
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 7 - "Faith"
Network: Starz
Air date: 2016-05-21
Amazon

What does it mean to have faith? By definition, faith means complete trust or a strong belief in God. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) are struggling with both trust and belief. Claire isn't sure what has happened or why, and the episode is filled with poignant moments of a mother trying to reconcile herself to the death of a child she never got to meet.

At the start, for the first time, we meet Brianna (Niamh Elwell), Claire and Jamie's child being raised by Claire and Frank (Tobias Menzies) in the ‘50s. We now know that Claire and Jamie will have another child, but Jamie will never meet her either. The theme of the bird, flight, and the color blue is introduced here. The heron is pictured in a picture book that Claire identifies as a bird from Scotland. Claire doesn't respond, but the bird is our bridge back to Claire in Paris.

We find Claire back in the 1740s in a moment of trauma as she gives birth to her stillborn daughter. Nearly to term, the procedure is messy and gruesome. The story of how Claire starts to come to terms with the loss of her daughter is disjointedly presented. We see bits and pieces throughout the episode. We learn that Mother Hildegarde (Frances de la Tour) has buried the baby, whom she names Faith, in the church cemetery, despite such a burial being against the rules. Prior to the burial, Claire was allowed to spend time with the baby, although she goes into an almost catatonic state, staring at her stillborn child for almost a whole day. A pregnant Louise (Claire Sermonne) is called in to offer a friendly hand and help Claire part with her baby.

The color blue comes into play as Claire grows increasingly ill after the birth, and no one knew why. (Claire knows what's wrong, but can't heal herself.) It's Master Raymond (Dominique Pinon) who risks life and limb to resurface and to heal Claire. While Master Raymond was helping Claire, the lights go blue around them; not from moonlight, but magic. Blue appears in several forms during the episode when magic is involved. Claire and Brianna are both wearing blue in the opening scene, because both of them have been involved with magic due to the nature of Claire’s time traveling. Master Raymond may have more abilities than he has let on; this becomes evident when he nearly magically heals Claire in the hospital.

After Claire takes time at the convent to process what she has been through, how she feels about Jamie, and what she needs to next, she returns home when Fergus (Romann Berrux) begs her to come back. The pattern this season has been to focus more on plot and less on character development, and this episode follows suit, despite the constant paralleling between storylines through its editing, which moves the episode out of its typical linear storytelling and into a more thematic approach to the presentation of story.

We learn from Fergus what actually happened when he was caught in Randall's (Tobias Menzies) room: the vile man forced himself on the small child. If Jamie hadn't come in and interrupted, who knows how far it may have gone? Fergus, though, has been struggling alone with this for weeks, blaming himself for Jamie’s incarceration. While this means Claire must help yet another rape victim in their time of need, it offers her insight into why Jamie did what he did, why he broke their promise. Jamie was not only avenging his own torment, but also the torment of Fergus and many potential unknown others. Fergus' confession gives Claire a light out of her hatred for Jamie that’s been building for weeks. To forgive him after everything she blamed him for losing is going to be hard, but her priorities shift to the most important element: getting him out of prison.

With Jamie sitting in the Bastille, Claire must make her way to the King (Lionel Lingelser) to ask for his release. Warned by Mother Hildegarde that the King may want to sleep with her in trade, she gains audience with the King for his favor. The favor he requests, however, isn't what she had expected. The King wanted to use Claire’s white magic to prove that dark magic was being used by Comte de Saint-Germain (Stanley Weber) and Master Raymond. In the atrium-like star room hidden in the King’s Palace, the color blue makes another appearance, underscoring magic as the main theme of this scene (and episode). A dark navy blue covers the "star"-lit ceiling along with many pagan symbols.

Since the Comte has been less than cordial to Claire, she's not initially inclined to help him, but neither does she want to kill the man. She determines the best way to inform the King's decision was to make them drink poison of her own design. If they both survive, they're aligned with white magic and walk free; if they die, they're clearly dark magic practitioners. Claire's plan was to give both men a dose of bitter cascara, a poison that only has temporary negative effects; however, Master Raymond has other plans. As he struggles with the effects of his portion, he slips a dose of lethal poison in the cup before it's offered to the Comte. Instantly, he and Claire figured out what Raymond had done when Claire's pendant goes black. Knowing the king was out for blood and unable to change his fate, the Comte dies from the poison and Raymond is set free.

Claire’s still required to sleep with the King as payment for Jamie's release, although he throws in access back to Scotland for good measure. Claire leaves unsure of what just happened or how she feels about it, but she knows that she did get what she came for: Jamie.

Once they're reunited, both Balfe and Heughan do an excellent job of conveying the heartbreak and confusion between the two in the wake of these events. Claire makes it clear that she did hate him, that she was furious and frustrated and alone. After her change of heart though, she’s reasoned that there may be a way out of this struggle. Jamie says nothing as Claire retells what has happened to her over the last several weeks. The two realize they’re better together than apart, and they'll carry the burden of grief together as they return to Scotland.

The episode ends with Claire and Jamie mourning over their daughter's grave. They have lost enough in France, including their Faith (on numerous levels). It’s unclear, to either Jamie and Claire or the viewers, whether they'll manage to stop the rebellion, or whether they'll ever be the same. At least they'll be together, and all of us can have faith in that.

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