If season three has to come to an end, at least it does so in the best possible way. This week’s finale is full of daring rescues, tender moments, plot twists, and enough sarcastic remarks to do any Scottish tale proud. There is also a much deeper theme of family and loyalty running through the episode, just like there has been throughout the entire season. In this hour, it all comes down to who is worth fighting for and what is worth dying for. It’s time for our final Skins vs Swords breakdown.
*SPOILER ALERT! The following recap contains spoilers for episode 313. Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers. You’ve been warned.*
Skin Score: 10/10. Everyone is searching for something dear to them in this episode, whether it’s a lost family member, a new King to pledge loyalty to, or just someplace safe from harm. Claire arrives at Geillis’s house, demanding answers on Young Ian’s whereabouts. Instead, Geillis accuses Claire of deliberately trying to stop her plans to find and support the next King of the Scots. The situation escalates until Claire reveals Brianna’s existence and Geillis realizes just to who the prophecy refers. Before Claire can catch onto Geillis’s plans for her daughter, she discovers that Geillis is the one holding Young Ian.
While chasing Young Ian’s last sighting, Jamie and Claire stumble upon a native firelight ritual. It’s very reminiscent of the dance of the druids that Claire saw in Scotland before she passed through the stones for the first time. Mr. Willoughby and Margaret emerge from the shadows to reveal that they’re running away together to Martinique. Mr. Willoughby wants to save Margaret from being used by her brother again. Margaret gives a final demonstration of her powers, and all the pieces finally click together for Claire. There’s another portal through time on the island, and Geillis is planning to sacrifice Young Ian to get through it to Brianna. Claire and Jamie are suddenly faced with saving both their nephew and their daughter from the danger inside Abandawe’s depths.
Sword Score: 10/10. There have been a few action-packed episodes this season, but none that see four separate rescue operations going on. Margaret is saved by Mr. Willoughby, but there are still many others in peril. The episode opens with Jamie in the Governor’s office, awaiting the verdict on if he will be put on trial for his crimes back in Scotland. Governor Grey is having none of Captain Leonard’s ambitions and puts the young man back into his place with so many deep verbal cuts that it’s a shame Claire isn’t around to heal him. Leonard is sent on his way and the Governor uses his influence to get Jamie’s warrant cancelled. He can return to Scotland a free man just as soon as he manages to round up all his family members.
Speaking of wayward family members, Claire and Jamie enter Abandawe to both save Young Ian and protect Brianna from Geillis’s clutches. Jamie fights with Hercules, Geillis’s massive manservant, while Claire takes on Geillis herself. Geillis demands a life in exchange for saving Claire from being burned at the stake all those years ago, and she intends to take Brianna’s. Young Ian is just fodder to ensure passage through the portal, which is a pool in the middle of the cave floor. The fight turns physical and Claire strikes down Geillis with a sword. As she stands over the body of her former friend, Claire realizes with horror that it’s not the last time she’ll see Geillis. 200 years in the future, Dr. Joe will call Claire into his office to puzzle over an unknown female skeleton, and Claire will once again be face to face with the woman who planned to kill her family. Jamie pulls both Claire and Young Ian out of the cave and presumably doesn’t let go of either until they are all back on board the Artemis.
As the ship sails for home, Jamie and Claire enjoy some time together, finally free of the stresses of the last few months. Naturally, the peace doesn’t hold long. A massive storm arises and tosses the ship around like a child’s bath toy. Claire is thrown overboard. Jamie leaps in to save her, but they are unable to return to the ship. They wake up on a beach with no sign of The Artemis or anyone else. Three locals, Joseph Olivier, his wife Patty, and their daughter Lucille, show up and deliver the most welcome news possible: The Artemis is just 4 miles south, there were other survivors, and they’re now safe in the American colony of Georgia.
Season Three may have sailed off into the distance, but there’s good news coming on the horizon. Outlander has been picked up for Season 4 and filming has already begun. Starz is promising a 2018 release date, which means we won’t have to ensure another 14-month wait to find out what happens next to the Frasers. (Those who just can’t wait can always pick up The Drums of Autumn, the fourth book in the Outlander series and the basis for next season.)