Going into episode 207 I knew just by the title it was going to be a tear jerker. But who would have thought it was going to be a total sobfest? Toni Graphia has brought everything to the table in this one epic hour of television! “Faith” can be as simple as remembering the name of Claire and Jamie’s precious little girl all the way to what Jamie and Claire must have in order to survive this loss with their relationship intact. Most of the episode was consumed with Claire living through the death of her child, but so much more happened, testing the faith of so many characters on different levels. Let’s take a stroll….with tissues in hand…through some of this episode that we all were so long anticipating with no small amount dread.
OK, I’m going to put it out there. I really didn’t like the first scene with Claire and who . . .
. . . a lot of us know to be Bree in 1954. I understand that this might be an attempt to bring some of the guess work of time travel and a nod back to the first episode, but it just didn’t work for me. I guess it did tie in the heron to allow Claire to reflect back, but I just didn’t care for it.
With that out of the way, I’d like to focus on Claire.
We start with her lying in bed with the King’s Executioner working hastily on, with blood pretty much everywhere.
Can we just talk about her face in that shot? Pale, lifeless, expressionless, completely empty, the single tear…you can feel the tone of the show being set.
Now, childbirth is a bloody business, but we are to know that much more is happening here. She awakens to realize her womb is empty. Mother Hildegarde arrives at her side and Claire demands to know where her baby is to which the Mother Superior replies that the baby has “joined the angels.” When Claire demands to see her baby, it is heart-wrenchingly visceral.
Later we find out that she was able to sit and hold Faith all day. She rocked and sang to her. Counted her fingers and her toes. Memorized every single characteristic of her child. Denying? Coming to terms? Who knows at that moment, but it is Louise who finally comes to comfort her. Who can imagine the agony going through Louise’s mind when she approaches Claire? She, too, could soon face the same destiny. Again, we are presented with the reference to the child being an angel. Claire knows when she hands her daughter to Louise that it is the last time she will see her. Imagine knowing the first time you hold your child will also be your last. The gut punching feeling she has and shows us is real. Claire is prepared for death when given her last rights by the priest. Her sins are all she has. If she gives these away in confession, she has nothing left in this world. Faith is gone, Jamie is in the Bastille. “No thanks, Padre, I’m hanging onto these.”
Bouton is ordered to stay close (I bet he would listen to Jamie!!!).
Claire’s body overcome with septic shock, Master Raymond has come to her rescue.
He enters at full risk of being caught and taken to the gallows. He should not be there, but instead he performs healing of the hands. Claire is able to visualize the blue wings of healing–how about a heron?
Before he leaves she asks when she will see him. He says we will see each other again and “have faith.” There it is again. Raymond wants her to have faith. Before he leaves, he orders Bouton, once again, to Claire’s side. I almost wonder if Bouton has the blue wavelength as well.
Claire once again asks for Jamie. What she hears from Mother Hildegard tears her soul to its core. She knows he was dueling. She knows it is punishable by law. And she knows she most likely will never see him again. Is she angry at him for just deceiving her? Is she also mad because she chose to stay with him. Without him, with Jamie in the Bastille, where does she have to go? What does she have to do?
…..Fergus. After what Claire admits was several weeks, Fergus wants her to come home.
Claire arrives at the apartment. The servants line up out of respect and grief for Claire’s loss.
The music here is just so moving. This is Faith’s Theme, which we hear throughout the episode. It is slow, deliberate and somber, reminding us of the magnitude of the loss suffered by all involved.
The interchange with Claire and Magnus is perfection. Claire is not of nobility, really. She knows that Magnus saved her life and he has become to her much more that a servant. When she bows to him, it is truly one of the most touching moments of the episode.
This is followed by Fergus brushing her hair by the fireplace. A child caring for a broken adult is absolutely sobering. Claire cannot find solace in the home. When she sees the apostle spoons, it is a reminder of what she has lost…Jamie, Faith, Lallybroch and so much more.
So now what? What is left for her? Go back to Scotland? Go back to the stones? Leave Jamie?
She discovers the reason for Jamie’s betrayal when Fergus is crying in his sleep.
Fergus tells Claire about his violation by Jack Randall. The lavender oil was the damning evidence showing us, he was, indeed, the assaulting English officer. Fergus tries to blame himself. It is always difficult to think about rape in any way, shape, or form, but for me, this is the most difficult to talk about and even the few short shots they showed from this assault were disturbing. It was done, however, in a manner that gave us more of the story, so I felt it was not necessarily gratuitous. Fergus lost faith in Claire because he denied telling her the truth early on. He had no faith that she would understand. He also lost faith in himself. Feeling responsible for the assault, as most victims do, his faith was gone.
Claire decides it’s time to go to petition the King on her husband’s behalf. The green dress was most magnificent and regal, yet it felt less like the French Court and more like a utilitarian piece for her to get down to business. She knows that asking for such a favor will result in some type of business transaction and has learned that her virtue will be the price. But she is prepared for this. Her faith in her husband and her marriage is being restored. Imagine her shock and surprise when he entrusts her as “La Dame Blanche” to his inner sanctum for the purpose of determining two men’s innocence or guilt in the practice of the dark arts.
Poison for both men? That’s clearly Claire’s intent, but in the end, no. Bitter cascara for the Master and poison for the Comte, courtesy of the little sorcerer. Probably one of my favorite moments in this episode happens when the Comte realizes the necklace has changed to black indicating poison. He KNOWS he is going to die. His tears streaming down his face show his humanity. But in true Comte fashion, he takes the cup and damns Claire. Her confidence in her own skin here is astounding. When the King dismisses Raymond, the little man shows that his faith is still intact.
Thinking all is well, Claire asks the King to grant her request, but the King wants payment first. She looks at the lifeless Comte on the floor like “What the Hell?” What more could you want? Apparently she forgot about the “lying with the King” part, which is just a trophy move for him. He just puts another notch on his bedpost and dismisses her. Now she must have faith that he will hold true to his word.
As Jamie comes home from the Bastille, Claire is stoic upon his arrival. At first I took it as she was still mad with him. But as the conversation goes on, we find that she is mad at herself. She has forgotten what she and Jamie are. She has let Frank get in the way of the life she has chosen. She feels she has let her decisions kill her child. She is blaming everything on herself.
But she is done. She is done playing these games and wants to get back to where they belong. She wants to restore her faith in them as a team.
So Jamie needs to find himself in all of this as well. I don’t believe that Jamie has lost faith in them, or their relationship. Kind of like a guy–sorry fellas–he moves along in the present for the most part. But when Claire admits to her guilt and blame for all that has happened, Jamie steps up and reminds her of his faith in them when he says, “I asked your forgiveness once. You said there’s nothing to forgive. Truth is I already forgave you long before today for less than anything else you could ever do.”
Bam!! THAT IS TRUE FAITH IN A RELATIONSHIP!!
Scrrrreeeecchhh……then Claire admits to sleeping with the King!?!
Jamie then compares what she has done to what happened with him at Wentworth. She did it to save his life as he did for her. More Faith!!
Claire sees his sincerity and is moved to tell him to take her home….to Scotland. But they cannot take their daughter with them. Jamie leaves the Apostle Spoon of St. Andrew with Faith. His way of keeping her protected by placing the Patron Saint of Scotland on her stone.
But what about Mother Hildegard? What about her and her faith? When I look back at everything that happens through the prism of her wisdom and influence, she has become the new hero in this episode for me. I am sad that we will be leaving her behind, but what a swan song she leaves us with! She shows us what humanity can be found in the early Catholic church. Not until very recently has the Church been more accepting of deviances from its doctrine. The Mother Superior single handedly shows us the faith that she puts in her own beliefs might be stronger than that of what she has been taught. Tenderly she tells Claire that her baby is born dead. It hasn’t always been common practice to bring an infant to her mother when she has died, but she recognized the importance to Claire. She then reveals that she has baptized the baby and given her the name Faith– “she has a very odd sense of humor”–so that she can be buried on hallowed ground. She confesses to Claire that this is illegal unless the child had been living and trusts that Claire will keep it between them and God. Again the trendsetter. She aids Claire in trying to work through Claire’s anger with Jamie. She understands that Claire is bitter, yet she allows Claire to be human and work through her anger, not judging her in any manner.
After Claire finds out the real reason for Jamie’s betrayal, she wants to have an audience with the King. She knows that the Mother can possibly aid in that arrangement. Mother Hildegard is quick to remind Claire that the King can be a bit mercurial, and that she may have to lie with him. Obviously, again, she is non judgmental because it is implied that she does help with the visit Claire has with the King. Mother Hildegard is the pillar of strength and faith for me. In this episode she exemplifies what a person of God should be.
So there you have it. Faith can come in all ways, shapes, or forms. We have to decide where our own faith lies and how it plays into our lives. This episode rocked me to my core on so many levels. It made me look inward and confirm what my Faith means to me.
Did you find that Faith was found in this episode? What were your most moving scenes to watch?
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The title of this episode, which Toni Graphia changed at the last minute, is perfect and applies on so many levels. The theme of faith throughout was masterfully woven into the story without being heavy handed. Master Raymond and Claire having faith in each other to the extent that they save each other's lives at great risk to themselves. Mother Hildegard's faith in God's will and in the ability for the human spirit to endure, forgive, learn and grow from the challenges life presents. Jamie's faith in his love for Claire and acknowledging that only together can they carry this burden of loss and grief. Faith that returning to Scotland will help them heal as individuals and as a couple. King Louis having faith in "Le Dame Blanche" to determine the fates of those accused of practicing the "black arts". Master Raymond's faith that Claire would not allow him to die but also faith in his plan to insure than Claire is also spared. St. Germaine's faith in the message being sent by the pendant turning black, knowing that he is about to die and knowing that he will be going to hell for all he has done. There are more if you mine for them, all planted there by Toni Graphia for us to discover and ponder. This episode was a masterpiece. #1 episode ever.
So well written Denise,it certainly was the best ep.of season 2 for me!Faith yes I wish I would have Mother Hildegarde's kindness & faith,we need more of that in this world now!
Thanks for reading and sharing Kathy. Definitely my favorite episode, especially this season .
You are so kind zsuzsip. Thanks for reading. And Mother Hildegarde is my hero.
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My husband watched all of season 1, and season 2 up until this episode. He quit watching upon Claire losing the baby, and has not watched since. It hit him too hard as a new father. He refuses to watch further, and I avoid watching the show when he’s around.
This episode is a profound example of how television can affect people. I personally still weep upon the very memory of this episode, and it tears my heart out…I don’t think it would have hit me so hard before children, but now that I’m a mom, I cannot watch the same sorts of movies or tv without reacting viscerally and emotionally. Even poignant commercials make me weepy, much to my mother’s delight, since she loves that I now get where she’s been coming from my whole life…she said someday I would understand…and she was right…this show hits me right in the mommy bone, and this episode was a bullseye…