TV Review: “Outlander” – “The Devil’s Mark”

Written by Caitlin Cooper April 25, 2015

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Big things are happening on “Outlander”. In the previous episode, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) was arrested for witchcraft thanks to the scheming of Laoghaire (Nell Hudson). And it seems like this time Claire is in mortal danger. So if you haven’t been watching “Outlander”, what have you been doing on Sunday nights? Because even though the show isn’t perfect, it’s highly entertaining. And everyone who likes historical dramas with a touch of sci-fi should be watching “Outlander”.

In “The Devil’s Mark”, Claire and Geillis (Lotte Verbeek) are on trial for witchcraft. With no one to save them, except for perhaps a lawyer, they face execution. At the trial it becomes clear that anyone who is superstitious in the slightest, or who hates either of the women, will come out of the woodwork to spin tales or blow things out of proportion because they’d rather see two women burn than see justice. What Claire learns about Geillis during the trials will change everything.

“Drink tonight, Claire. For tomorrow our ashes will be scattered to the four winds.”

What “Outlander” does well is its drama. And this episode is definitely full of that. Claire and Geillis are together in jail, and though Claire doesn’t trust Geillis since she learned she killed her husband, the two support each other. Even though Geillis is pregnant, at the end she saves Claire’s life. And despite how seemingly crazy Geillis is, that was a final act of kindness. Female solidarity is nice in the midst of Laoghaire’s girl-hate. Not only that, but Geillis has a vaccination scar like anyone from the future does. Which means that Claire isn’t the only person to travel through the stones. Geillis is from 1968. It’s been awhile since we’ve made any progress in terms of learning about how Claire traveled or if she’s the only one, so it was nice to see that plot-line coming along.

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Laoghaire went from 0 to 60 on the scale of jealousy, and basically she’s gone psycho. What person thinks it’s actually okay to have someone killed because they’re married to someone you have a crush on? It’s disturbing and infuriating, but I can’t deny that it’s entertaining. It was awesome when Jamie (Sam Heughan) showed up to save Claire because no matter what Laoghaire thinks, Claire and Jamie are a couple who loves each other very much. It helped that Claire finally shared all of her secrets with him. However, I think it’s a little too unbelievable that he would accept the concept of time travel as being fact that easily. Another issue I had with the episode is that Claire is back at the stones, but she decides not to go back. After risking so much to go back to her own time, and learning that it is indeed possible to go back, she decides off-camera to stay? It’s not believable.

“Looks like I’m going to a fucking barbeque.”

I actually find that the supporting actors did much better this episode. Previously, I felt like Verbeek wasn’t quite believable as her character partly because it’s clear she doesn’t normally have a Scottish accent. In this “Outlander” episode, however, she did a fantastic job. While her character is a little weird and a murderer, this week her performance made the character shine (I could have done without the random stripping, though). Balfe, as usual, is great as Claire. She pulls off emotional range well, especially outrage at the lack of justice in the 18th Century. Heughan isn’t in that many scenes of this episode, but what scenes he’s in are done well.

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“Outlander” seems to keep upping the stakes, and the characters face increasing danger. This episode is the best since the show returned from its mid-season break. The script and the acting combined to deliver audiences an intense and interesting episode that reminds me why I liked the show in the first place. The next “Outlander” episode is sure to continue on this high note.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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