Synopsis of 2×07: Doctors at L’Hopital des Anges attempt to save the lives of Claire and her unborn baby; King Louis asks Claire to judge two men accused of engaging in the dark arts.
This has been one of the best episodes of Outlander and by far the best in the season so far. What shines the brightest in this series is Caitriona Balfe’s impressive and ambitious acting skills. She tops herself every week, emoting in the way that touches us without even seeing her. She is the strongest voice in the series and very few shows can rely as much on her acting like Outlander can.
The title opens with Claire back in 1954 with her daughter. Of course, given what we already expect after last episode, this is not the same child she has with Jamie right now. That matched with the fact that Claire clearly does not look pregnant in the season premiere tells us that despite the hardship that Jamie and Claire face ahead of them, that they still managed to find hope again and create another child together.
Back in the 1700s, Claire is devastated to learn that she’s lost the baby. After being rushed to L’Hôpital des Anges, we learn that their baby was stillborn. After delivering the child, they had not managed to deliver the rest of the placenta and she ends up with a fever and seems to be on her deathbed. Thankfully while the nuns sleep at night, Master Raymond braves the law who are chasing him down for witchcraft and comes to aid Claire. He helps her to deliver the rest of her placenta and this instantly turns around chances.
Despite being a potentially suspicious character during the beginning of the season, Master Raymond has shown his true colors in sacrificing his own freedom to come back to save Claire. Claire now owes him her life, and this comes into play later on in the episode.
When Claire goes home, she realizes that Jamie is stuck in the Bastille for dueling until the King decides to let him out. She feels painfully betrayed by Jamie, who went back on his promise. After the gut-wrenching loss of her daughter — named Faith by Mother Hildegard — she is undeniably angry at Jamie who is absent from her side. Although Mother Hildegard asks her to seek forgiveness, she can’t bear the idea that Jamie sacrificed everything, he chose his own revenge over her, over their family.
Claire’s sepulchral walk into her home, amongst a staff that is at a loss of what they can do for her, the only company she has left is Fergus. Claire has always had a maternal instinct, and this manifests itself no only in a protective nature but also in insightful wisdom that comes from a woman from a different time. Upon finding out the stomach turning rape that Fergus had to endure at the hands of Black Jack, she is shocked and consoles a young Fergus who believes that all that has come to pass was his fault, because he screamed out and could not hold it in.
It’s hard to imagine a character more sinister than Jack Randall. After the season one finale, and the horrors he dealt on Jamie, this only deepens his malicious and black-hearted character. It makes you wish that Jamie had run the bastard through. Tobias Menzie’s frightening portrayal of Black Jack contrasted with his controlled and caring portrayal of Frank is another strong pillar that makes this episode so strong. It impacts the audience directly, and is handled with such precision.
Learning Jamie’s reason for dueling Jack, Claire now understands his reasoning. She is ready to do whatever it takes to free Jamie. This unfortunately means visiting the king and sleeping with him as a form of payment. However, upon arriving the king reveals that he has heard the rumors of her title as La Dame Blanche and asks a request of her. He takes her to a secret judgement chamber where he brings in St. Germain and Master Raymond to face Claire.
Both men are suspected of sorcery, and one must be dealt with by the executioner by the end of this judgement. Anticipating that the king simply wants a show of extravagance, she adopts the role of La Dame Blanche in full. She creates her own “potion”, one made of bitter cascara — call back to when we first met Master Raymond — and hopes that the sight of both the men sick will appease the king.
Even though she suspects the Comte of wrong doing, she does not want him to die in the violent manner meant for sorcerers. Raymond drinks first, keeling over and coughing, able to slip something into the cup that turns mere child’s play into a deadly poison. Claire’s necklace turns black at the presence of poison and Raymond hands the cup to St. Germain. Knowing that the cup contains poison, he attempts some futile last words before angrily accepting his fate and drinking the poison.
The king exiles Raymond and pulls Claire back into his private quarters. Not completely home free, he orders Claire onto the bed and despite the pain she’s already suffered through after giving birth, the king has sex with her while Claire lays back and bears the brief encounter while “thinking of England.”
The episode reminds us how out of place both Claire and Jamie are in Paris, and ominously shows a hopelessness to their original mission in coming to France. Despite all their attempts, they feel no victory and have only been left with more shame and guilt and defeat. The two of them have been torn asunder by Paris. Jamie’s release from the Bastille shows him to be a man who has truly suffered through hell. Sam Heughan is not quite Jean Val Jean, but his fierce red beard and watery-eyed demeanor marks him as a victim of the Bastille.
He and Claire both must face the devastating loss of their daughter Faith. We see a touching moment with Louise de Rohan, who comes to visit Claire as she holds Faith in her arms. It’s a painful scene, one that leaves you feeling empty and hopeless as Claire, who is left with only the barebones of a support system, without Jamie, in a foreign country, suffering from the worst loss in her life. At that moment, there is no closure that she can see. She feels betrayed, hurt, and completely lost.
When Claire and Jamie come at the end of the episode to visit Faith, who is buried in Paris, they leave with her one of the spoons from Jamie’s set, with St. Andrew — who is also the patron saint of pregnant women. Often when people attempt to change time, they suffer from some kind of consequence. It seems that time simply wants to happen, and despite their machinations and their plans, the future is so uncertain. The consequences of their planning has been devastated and they no longer care if their plans succeed. The two are ready to go home to Scotland.