Previously on Outlander, “The Doldrums”
Jamie has lost his damn mind. As he watches the Porpoise sail away with Claire on board, he starts trying to commandeer the ship to go after her. Why he thinks the ship’s own crew would follow his commands is a mystery (and a misstep), and his near-mutiny gets him locked up in the clink. The yardarm? Whatever a jail cell is called on a boat.
So he sits in his cell, fuming and vomiting and worrying about the 300 men who might be raping Claire this very minute (and knowing how many times Claire has been almost raped, that’s a legitimate concern). Fergus comes in to check on him and finds him crazy ranting about taking over the ship and demanding help in escaping in exchange for a blessing to his marriage. Real quality actions from our hero. Fergus, to his credit, has a little bit of sense and realizes that Jamie’s stupid, stupid plan that will endanger both of them as well as Marseli.
Marseli is no dummy herself, and when Jamie loses his shit because Fergus won’t help him, she steps in with a solid Plan B. As the boat nears Jamaica, it also approaches storms and rocks, and the Captain literally needs all hands to get through it, even the criminal ones. In exchange for his freedom, Marseli makes Jamie give his word that he won’t try to take over the ship again, and apparently the only thing Jamie is good for right now is keeping his word. Step-daughter has a little tough love that Jamie needs to hear, and in the end he realizes what an ass he’s been. Sort of. He at least promises to give his blessing to the marriage, whenever it happens.
Claire, on the other hand, is making good use of the 30 or so minutes she’s been kidnapped and has every sailor on the Porpoise doing her bidding. She’s trying to keep the sick and the healthy separated and also explain larger concepts like contamination and germs; the men aren’t rallying behind any of her ideas but for some reason will accept commands from the 14-year-old Mr. Pound, who has become her Number One.
As if she wasn’t unwelcome enough, she gets everyone on board put on half-rations of booze so that the rest of the rum can be distilled for medicinal purposes. She and Pound spend all of their waking hours below deck with the dying men, and more men are getting sick. With all the cleaning and disinfecting, these men should be getting better. Claire finally realizes that there is a carrier on board and he works in the freaking kitchen, made all the more terrifying considering that the disease is spread by contact with piss and shit.
The Porpoise is dumping more and more dead men into the water each day, and it’s obvious to anyone that can count that Claire’s actions, while fervent, aren’t saving lives yet. She discovers that there has been another woman on the boat this whole damn time when the Mistress Johannson’s husband comes down with the fever himself. Well, not the fever so much as alcohol poisoning from drinking the medicinal booze, but close enough to need medical attention and earn the gratitude of the goat-herderess. She also discovers that the Porpoise has interacted with a Portuguese boat before Claire joined ranks—it might be the boat that has Young Ian! When she “accidentally” sneaks into the Captain’s room to find out about it, she learns that the Captain knows about Jamie and the whole messy sedition/treason/murder business. A trap is being set for Jamie and Claire is being used as the bait.
With a little unwitting help from Mr. Pound, Claire comes face-to-face with Harry Thompkins, the man on board who recognized Jamie. What a surprise that it’s the milky-eyed man who works for Sir Percival and burned down Jamie’s print shop! Even more of a surprise that he and Claire recognize each other, since I don’t think they actually interacted back in Edinborough. Claire tries to threaten him, but Mr Thompkins has had a rough go of it lately and at this point would rather die than be a half-blind, disfigured sailor trapped on a boat with a plague. Instead she has him locked up as the second source of the fever, a sentence that will most likely end in a painful, bloody, vomity death. The “I have a duty to save everyone” Claire must have been left back in Scotland!
Finally the sailors are getting better, except for poor Mr. Pound; he spent all that time helping Claire and tending to the sick that he was literally worked to death. The Captain is grateful for everything Claire has done for his boat, though not grateful enough to let Jamie go when they all get to Jamaica, a point he makes clear when he catches her trying to escape on their short island expedition. The irony is that he is oath-bound to turn Jamie in, a sentiment that Claire the Doctor would have totally gotten behind, back in the day.
Annekje the goat lady has another idea to help Claire escape, since no one fell for the old “just feeding the goats and looking for herbs” routine back on the island. She practically has to throw Claire off the ship, but she convinces her to jump into the water and swim for shore to go and save Jamie.
Things and Notes
As much of a pain in the ass as Claire usually is, it’s fun watching her do it when she has a purpose, like saving a whole bunch of men. How she gets away with all of her sass-talk this episode doesn’t really make sense, nor why the youngest men on the crew seem to be the most on board with her crazy lady-doctor ideas, but for once her not backing down actually feels justified, considering what she’s up against. Just like in real life, a good string of curse-words earns a stupid amount of respect. Also, she doesn’t look half bad as a suntanned sailor wench.
Jamie, on the other, was just one giant baby this whole episode. Truthfully, he’s kind of been a big baby for the last several episodes, and I’m over it. He’s been irrational, irritating, reckless, and bit of a sneaky snake, which all are fairly out of character for him. If they make it to Jamaica, I hope it’s not Bitchy Jamie that gets off the boat.
I legit thought that each of the dead sailors was going to be tossed overboard with their very own flag, making me wonder if each ship comes equipped with enough flags for each of the crew, or if every sailor get issued his own death flag when he joins the navy.
This episode was a little slow the first time around, but I have to admit the second time I watched it, it was way more interesting with all of the sailor’s lore and historical bits. Though if I never have to hear another sea shanty on this show, I’ll be just fine.
Outlander S3E10 Review Score
"Heaven and Earth"
Outlander – S3E10 – “Heaven and Earth” | Caitrona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies