Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe on the shock return of Geillis: “she’s someone to be reckoned with”

Claire's fellow time-traveller reappeared at the Governor's Ball in Jamaica – and she's as devious as ever

Outlander, Sony, SL



Outlander episode The Bakra had some major twists up its sleeve, reintroducing Lord John Grey and Geillis Duncan – a character not seen on screens since the series two finale and presumed dead.

Geillis Abernathy, as she’s now known, was last shown travelling through the stones from 20th century Scotland to the 1700s, following Claire’s failed bid to save her.

Because Jamie’s wife – and the audience – knew what Geillis (Lotte Verbeek) didn’t: that after travelling back through time she would be found guilty of witchcraft and burned at the stake.

Except she wasn’t… As the latest episode reveals, Geillis escaped her death sentence thanks to her lover Dougal, starting her on a path to Jamaica where Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) encounter her.

The pair are on the Caribbean island to retrieve Jamie’s nephew, young Ian, and cross paths with Geillis at the Governor’s Ball. It’s quite a surprise for Claire, as actress Caitriona Balfe tells RadioTimes.com:

“Geillis comes back but Claire’s completely shocked. I don’t think she ever thought she’d see Geillis again. It really brings into focus why Geillis is in Jamaica, what is she up to and it puts her and Jamie and their family in jeopardy – it all culminates in our series finale.”

Geillis Duncan, Sony, SL
Geillis Duncan, Sony, SL

Those who have read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books will know exactly what Balfe means, but for those who haven’t – rest assured there is plenty of drama still to come in the Caribbean.

It’s to be expected of Geillis, who across the series has both saved Claire’s life by declaring herself a witch and lived up to her nefarious reputation by sacrificing her husband in the belief it would help her travel through time.

“There’s always been a bond between Claire and Geillis because they are of a similar kind. They are both time travellers. But whereas Claire has tried her best to use that – either to not use that power or to use it for good – Geillis has taken that ability and it’s made her sort of twisted. She has let events in her life and the pain in the world, the bitterness, really plague within her. So she’s someone to be reckoned with, for sure.”

As well as their reunion with Geillis, The Bakra sees Jamie and Claire mingle with the Jamaican aristocracy at a ball hosted by the Governor – who turns out to be Jamie’s old friend Lord John Grey. And for the restored couple, it requires some seriously fancy clothes…

Outlander, Sony, SL
Outlander, Sony, SL

“You’ll see them very much like they were in Paris, those Parisian clothes again,” explains Balfe. “Sometimes they almost have whiplash – they go from being on the ships and Claire being stranded on an island to then go back into high society. But it’s a testament to the strength of their characters, that they are able to function in any kind of situation that you put them in.”

And Balfe herself must adjust to the challenges of filming in finery. “I’m much more comfortable when I’m out in the world and you can just be very natural and not worry about whether if you sit on the ground you’ll get something on your very expensive dress!”

Balfe is currently filming series four of the Starz drama (which airs on Mondays on Amazon) but in her spare time is a supporter of charity World Child Cancer who work to improve the rate of diagnosis, accessibility of treatment and quality of support for children with cancer, and their families, in the developing world.

“We are doing the Stop the Childhood Cancer Clock appeal where we are raffling off a set visit to our set in either January or February. So whoever wins and a plus one, they’ll be put up in a hotel for the night in Glasgow and it’s great – they’ll be given a tour of the set and we’ll show them around. It’s only available for UK residents though. But it’s still exciting and it’ll be fun.

“Our fans are so generous and so wonderful that they’ve really come on board and they’ve raised so much money for them over the years so it’s been great that I could do that.”


To donate £3 to World Child Cancer just text GROW35 with the amount you’d like to donate, for example GROW35 £10 to 70070, or visit www.worldchildcancer.org/donate  – for every £1 donated the Government will match it as part of their UK Aid Match scheme

Watch new episodes of Outlander season three on Amazon Prime Video in the UK on Mondays