Synopsis of 1×10: Jamie hopes the Duke of Sandringham can help remove the price on his head; Claire works to save an abandoned child.
With the Duke of Sandringham near Jamie and Claire both hope that he is able to remove the price on Jamie’s head. After the events of last episode, they’re hoping to benefit off of the Duke’s connection with Jamie in an effort to conjure up a pardon. The episode returns back to Claire’s narration as we return to a familiar flashback in which we are reminded that Sandringham was hypothesized by Frank to be Randall’s beneficiary, as well as a Jacobite sympathizer.
Using this knowledge to her benefit, Claire approaches Sandringham with this as a bit of leverage on Jamie’s behalf, without Jamie’s knowledge. Although Sandringham is immediately cautious of Claire and realizes quickly she’s not someone to be trifled with, he manages to abide by her wishes while also benefitting himself.
When Jamie comes to visit with Murtagh, Sandringham agrees to lift the price from Jamie’s head if he is Sandringham’s second in a duel against some Macdonalds. It’s worth noting that the Macdonalds and the Mackenzies are not friendly, and getting into something like a duel with the Macdonalds, even as Sandringham’s second in an unrelated issue, could be a cause for war. Instead of consulting Colum, Jamie agrees.
The duel is quick and relatively painless, with the Duke apologizing to the Macdonald over some unpaid debt. But before both sides can walk away, some jabs sent back and forth from Jamie to the younger Macdonalds turns sour and a tussle ensues. It’s hardly too serious, as Jamie is able to fend off and incapacitate all of the young men, but gets injured himself in the process.
Meanwhile, Claire confronts Laoghaire after finding the ill wish underneath their bed, and Laoghaire doesn’t even flinch in admitting she is the culprit. While clearly not a threat to her marriage, Laoghaire is very bitter about the loss of her paramour and doesn’t pull back on the punches in what she thinks of Claire.
She tells Claire that the ill wish was bought from Geilis Duncan, and Claire is off to find the woman. We’ve known for a while that the village considers Geilis to be some sort of witch, and when Claire is redirected by a maid in her house to the woods we get our suspicions confirmed. Performing some sort of summoning ritual, Claire witnesses a ritual akin to the one she witnessed at Craigh na Dun. It’s a nice call back to a beautiful scene and the musical cues from that scene are a testament to Bear McCreary’s skills as a composer.
After the ritual, Geilis calls to a hiding Claire and the two discuss what had just occurred. It’s clear that Geilis is pregnant, and she reveals that the father of the child is Dougal. While never openly threatening to Claire, there is some air of the sinister with Geilis and it seems some small part of her ritual must have been successful, since Claire returns to Castle Leoch and finds out that Dougal’s wife has died.
Dougal seems emotionally wrecked, as he is drunk and fighting every man within the Castle until Claire sedates him. However, things take an interesting turn when the Duke visits and there is a celebration, and during the celebration Geilis’ husband dies from cyanide poisoning. Both Claire and Colum recognize the orchestration when they witness Dougal and Geilis’ expressions.
Seeing this enrages Colum, after Dougal’s insubordination in the previous episode, it’s obvious that Dougal is no where near being on Colum’s good side at this point, and when Colum realizes that Geilis is pregnant with Dougal’s child, he is quick to send Dougal away. Whether it’s a spell or some sort of twisted infatuation, Dougal seems to be completely beguiled by Geilis and this seems to be a good direction for them to be taking. However, upset at Jamie for participating in a duel against the Macdonalds, Colum sends Jamie with Dougal, separating him from Claire, in order to both teach him a lesson and keep an eye on Dougal.
And, of course, just as Jamie leaves, Laoghaire takes it as her moment for revenge. She lures Claire to Geilis’ home and in the middle of the night they are both arrested for witchcraft and taken in chains while Laoghaire watches from the sidelines.
Next week’s episode “The Devil’s Mark” shows Claire facing trial on the accusation of witchcraft along with Geilis while Jamie is away from Castle Leoch.