How Outlander Brought A Long-Lost Character Back To Set The Stage For An Epic Finale

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(Image credit: Image courtesy of Starz)

Warning: many spoilers ahead for Episode 12 of Outlander Season 3, called "The Bakra." If you haven't watched the episode yet, you may want to check out some of our non-spoilery Outlander articles until you get the chance to tune in.

Only one episode of Outlander is left before the end of Season 3, and the penultimate episode just threw a big curveball at Claire and Jamie in their efforts to rescue Young Ian from kidnappers who nabbed the chest of jewels and sold him into slavery. A long-lost character made a seriously creepy return to the series, and her involvement has set the stage for a truly epic finale next week in some big ways. Geillis Duncan is back, and she has a deadly plan in mind. She's almost certainly going to try and kill Brianna Randall.

Here's how the whole thing started. Geillis got a bloody reintroduction to Outlander in "The Bakra" when the ship that had kidnapped Young Ian dropped him off at the Rose Hill plantation on Jamaica to serve somebody called "the Bakra." Ian was summoned to meet the lady of the house, who was none other than Geillis. As one does, she was bathing in a pool of goats' blood to try and keep her skin young and healthy. She tricked Ian into drinking tea that forces the telling of truth, and Ian 'fessed up to the fact that his uncle Jamie probably had taken the sapphire missing from the treasure. She needed all three sapphires for the loot to unlock a prophecy about the future of Scotland. Lacking the third stone, she settled for seducing Young Ian.

Geillis reunited with Claire at a party being held in honor of the new English governor of Jamaica. Claire was understandably shocked to see Geillis, who she believed to have been burned at the stake years ago. The very-much-alive Geillis revealed that her life had been spared due to her pregnancy. She couldn't be executed as a witch so long as she had not yet given birth. Dougal was able to use the time to find a way to smuggle his illegitimate son (and eventual ancestor of Roger Wakefield) to safety and save Geillis from the stake. A corpse was burned in her place, and in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, Geillis was off to marry a man named Abernathy. Her marriage took her to Abernathy's Rose Hall, and she remained there following his death.

Or so Geillis said, anyway. Given the events of the rest of the episode, we have reason to wonder if Abernathy's death wasn't entirely due to natural causes. After all, she did kill her first husband, and she definitely has the motivation to use any means necessary to achieve her ends at this point. "The Bakra" revealed that despite Geillis being in Scotland for the bloody Battle of Culloden and living the first half of her life in the 20th century, she still believes that a Scot could someday be king. As far as Geillis is concerned, the Jacobite cause is not yet lost, and she recruited the help of a seer (and her brother) to help her figure out the next step.

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The seer in question was none other than Margaret Campbell, who debuted in Season 3 when warning Claire of a doom that awaited her on Abandawe. In "The Bakra," Margaret got her hands on the third sapphire and then had this to say about the future:

When twice twelve hundred moons have coursed between man's attack and woman's curse, and when the issue is cut down, then will a Scotsman wear a crown.

Geillis and Archibald Campbell decided that this cryptic message indicates that only the death of a child born two hundred years after being conceived would allow the ascent of a Scottish king. Neither Geillis nor Archibald could figure out how exactly they were meant to find a 200-year-old baby, but we can bet that the pieces will begin to fall into place soon. After all, Geillis didn't know that Claire was pregnant in 1746 when she traveled through the stones to 1948. Once Geillis learns that there's somebody who fits the prophecy waiting in the 20th century, she's not likely to wait around.

Given that Claire and Jamie had realized by the end of the episode that Geillis had lied to them about knowing of Young Ian, Claire isn't likely to start spilling intimate details about her life to her former friend. That said, there's another way for Geillis to find out about Brianna. Jamie was ultimately captured by Captain Leonard, but not before Jamie handed the photos of Brianna back to Claire.

On the one hand, it's definitely a good thing that a bunch of 18th century soldiers aren't going to see any glossy photographs years before the camera is invented. On the other hand, assuming Claire has the photos on her when she visits Geillis at Rose Hall, Geillis has the opportunity to learn of Brianna's existence and discover what she looks like.

Finding out about Brianna is only one piece of the puzzle, however. We know from Claire's journeys to and from the past that traveling through time in the Outlander saga isn't as easy as jumping into a TARDIS. If Geillis wants to return to the 20th century to kill Brianna and open the door for a Scottish king, she'll need to find the right place. Unfortunately for Claire and Jamie, the cave known as Abandawe that is likely a portal to traveling through time is said to be on the island of Jamaica, which means that Geillis won't require much of a jump on them to get to Abandawe before she can be stopped.

Brianna probably isn't the only one in danger thanks to Geillis' interpretation of the prophecy. Geillis believes that traveling through time requires a few extra elements: a blood sacrifice, jewels, and fire. The arrival of Young Ian at Rose Hall means that Geillis got her hands on the chest full of jewels. Could his arrival also mean that Geillis has the perfect person for the blood sacrifice? We already have a pretty good idea that she has no qualms about killing off the young boys she uses for sex, and she already used Young Ian.

The timing may be exactly right -- or wrong -- for Ian to be sacrificed. "The Bakra" set the stage for both Brianna and Young Ian to be in a great deal of danger in next week's Season 3 finale. With Jamie currently in British custody and Mr. Willoughby likely about to get himself into a lot of trouble on Margaret Campbell's behalf, Claire is probably in for a very rough ride. Be sure to tune in to Starz next Sunday at 8 p.m. ET to see how Outlander brings Season 3 to a close. For what you can't watch as we head into the next hiatus, take a look at our fall TV guide and our midseason TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).