Geillis' Duncan's Death in the Books
Readers of the book series will know exactly who these bones belong to: Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek). Of course, Claire doesn't know that yet (in the books or the series). Instead, she simply gets a vague feeling of being connected to the bones, and that the woman didn't want to die when she did. It's a moment that is vaguely creepy for both her and Joe, but isn't immediately relevant.
However, we later learn that the bones actually belong, not to Claire, or to some other unknown woman, but to Geillis Duncan - the witch that Claire was almost burned with when she was first in Scotland. Geillis was also a time traveller, one who passed through the same standing stones as Claire herself, although very much intentionally. Obsessed with the Jacobites, Geillis (or Gillian, in her own time) studied the lore of the stones and inteded to go back and support the cause. After Claire returned to her own time, she even tried to stop Geillis from heading back in time to be burnt at the stake, but was too late to stop her from crossing over. The last that was seen of Geillis in the series, she was being dragged away to be burnt as a witch, after Jamie was able to save Claire from the same fate.
Geillis Will Return To The Show
Of course, if Geillis's bones show up in the Caribbean, that means that she didn't end up burnt at the stake as fans will have thought. Instead, book readers will know that Geillis was spared because of the child she had with Dougal. When she threatened to kill the child rather than let it be taken and be burnt at the stake, Dougal agreed to give her her freedom by sending her to France to start a new life. Not a whole lot is known about her life there, although it is eventually pieced together that Geillis continued to practice witchcraft and herbcraft, moving further and further into the darker elements of her interests.
Black Widow that she is, she also married and killed off another couple of husbands, before eventually marrying a man named Barnabas Abernathy, a plantation owner in Jamaica. After killing him, too, she reigned over the plantation as mistress of the house and practitioner of voodoo, still obsessed with the Jacobite line and the dark arts. She and Claire meet up once more when Claire and Jamie head to Jamaica to try and hunt down Jamie's nephew, Ian, who has been kidnapped by pirates.
Geillis's Death In The Cave
Geillis, in her obsession with time travel and the dark arts, finds a new stone circle with the same energy as the one in Scotland where both she and Claire travelled through time. She learns of a prophecy that makes her determined to return to the future, to find Brianna, and believes that she can do this by sacrificing Ian to use his blood in order to help her travel.
Obviously, Claire and Jamie are none too pleased about any element of this plan, and track Geillis to the cave to try and save Ian (and Brianna, potentially). In an altercation there, Geillis shoots Jamie (non-fatally, of course), and Claire flies into a rage, decapitating Geillis with a dull axe. It's a brutal scene, and while it ends well enough for everyone except for Geillis herself, Claire is deeply shaken by her actions, and still in shock and fear over what could have happened to both Ian and her daughter. She leaves Geillis's body on the floor of the cave... where Joe's paleontologist friend finds it, two hundred years in the future.
What Does This Mean For Claire's Next Adventure?
No secret has been made of the fact that this season will see Claire and Jamie leave Scotland, and head to the Caribbean, just as the story happens in the books. Now, with the inclusion of the bones in 'Freedom and Whisky', it's clear that the story will continue to follow along from the books, with the return of Geillis and her eventual murder at the hands of Claire herself.
But how will Claire be affected by the appearance of the bones when it comes to making her voyage to another part of the world? Her reaction to the bones in Joe's office show that she is freaked out by her connection to them, and may even believe that there is a possibility that they are her own. As a result, she may be much more reticent to travel to the Caribbean... and that's something that could cause some conflict between her and Jamie, when he decides to go after his nephew. Alternatively, she could forget about it entirely, until she realizes who Mrs Abernathy is, at which point she will know that she has to kill Geillis to save her family.
Outlander season 3 continues next Sunday with ‘A Malcolm’ @8pm on Starz.