Episode 309: "The Doldrums" (SPOILERS!)
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
We've left Scotland behind, so I wasn't surprised to see that they've changed the opening credit sequence again. I was startled by the change in the music at first, but I think I like it.
The glimpses of future scenes are intriguing! And I like the brighter colors from the Caribbean scenes.
In the opening shot, we finally get our first glimpse of the Artemis! The ships used in this episode are amazing, very realistic and authentic-looking.
Nice to see Jared again!
"No God worth his salt would take your nephew away from you just because you wanted to be happy." This line comes directly from the book (VOYAGER chapter 39, "Lost, and By the Wind Grieved"), and I'm glad they included it.
I like Hayes and Lesley, Jamie's Ardsmuir men. They remind me more than a bit of Angus and Rupert.
Sad to see Jamie leaning over the rail, taking a last long look at Scotland.
I like Claire's reaction to the idea of touching the horseshoe, and also to the way the crew ignores her. I'm reminded of Book Jamie telling her in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER chapter 6 ("Making Waves") that sailors think "women near ships are the height of ill luck". But even in the midst of this serious conversation, it struck me that Jamie and Claire are both more relaxed around each other, more openly affectionate, than they've been since the reunion.
Lauren Lyle is terrific as Marsali! She sounds exactly as I've always imagined, and she's not intimidated by Jamie in the slightest. This whole scene is taken almost word-for-word from the book, and I loved it!
When Fergus says, "You must not speak about Milady in such a way," notice Marsali rolling her eyes at him. <g>
I love Claire's reaction to Jamie's proposed sleeping arrangements: "We've been apart for twenty years, and you want me to room with her?!"
Jamie's muttered, "Now I am going to be sick" made me laugh.
The chest containing clothes from Lallybroch is a reasonable solution to the problem of Claire's wardrobe, i.e., she doesn't actually have any clothes other than the outfit that she wore to come through the stones. Notice the yellow gown in the chest, which looks very similar to the one in the recent Entertainment Weekly photo shoot.
"Why didn't you sell them, or--?"
"Sell them? Memories of you? Never!"
I like that. Let that be a lesson to Claire, who gave her pearls away to Mrs. Graham for twenty years. Jamie, at least, had better sense than that.
Jamie's complaining about the seasickness seems exaggerated at this stage. He thinks he'll be dead by tomorrow? That fits the later scene with Mr. Willoughby, where he's suffering very much from the vomiting, but here, he doesn't look or sound that bad.
Good to see Claire acting as a doctor. Her patient is Manzetti, the sailor who, in the book, killed a shark.
The scene between Fergus and Jamie is very good, and I continue to be impressed with César Domboy as Fergus.
"If you were forced to marry Milady, then I am forced to breathe. My heart, it is forced to beat. You yourself have told me you wanted her more than life from the moment you saw her. You didn't need time."
I love this!
How does Fergus know what Jamie's reason for not telling Claire about Laoghaire was? He's right, Jamie did tell Claire it was because he was a coward -- but Fergus wasn't there, so how does he know that? Just intuition?
The dinner scene between Claire and Captain Raines is not in the book, but I liked it. Richard Dillane is terrific as Captain Raines, with a wonderful voice and tremendous on-screen presence.
"A woman's bare breasts calm an angry sea." I giggled at that.
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." And again, Raines quotes from Hamlet (Act II, Scene 2). I'm wondering how such a well-read, intellectual, refined man became a ship's captain. It seems an odd choice of career for someone like him.
In the next scene, Jamie looks absolutely miserable, and the seasickness is obviously much worse. Poor Jamie! And poor Sam, too; it can't have been easy to film this!
In the book, Claire was the one who came up with the "tangled testicles" line, and it was much funnier. But it works pretty well here with Willoughby saying it. I think the look Jamie gives Willoughby at the end of the scene is very eloquent. He didn't have to say a word.
Meanwhile, Claire and Marsali are trying to find a way to live with one another, not very successfully.
"So, ye drop out of the clear blue sky, stickin' your nose where it doesn't belong, ruining my family, and NOW you're minding your own business?" Great line!
In the next scene, and for the remainder of this episode, Claire is wearing her hair differently. I think this less-severe hairstyle suits her. It reminds me of the way she wore her hair during the search for Jamie in Episode 114.
"'Fizzle out' is what I'm afraid of." Huh? Whatever Jamie meant by this, the line makes no sense to me.
Mr. Willoughby writing Chinese characters with water on the deck is a clever idea. Less messy than the ink he used in the book, and I like the symbolism, that his words vanish (evaporate) within moments after he finishes writing them. As he says, "Once I tell [a story], I have to let it go."
The sailors' bawdy song made me smile. The lyrics are similar to a song called "Brides of Death" that I found here. [Warning, the lyrics in this link are NSFW!]
I'm glad they included the acupuncture needles! Interesting that Jamie didn't want to hurt Claire's feelings by rejecting her medical treatment.
"I didna want ye to see it as more proof ye dinna belong here."
I love Claire's reply: "Jamie. My return has been--confusing, and frustrating. But it's never been a question of whether I love you."
I like seeing them this way, comfortable and affectionate with one another, gently teasing ("You look like a pincushion"). This scene isn't in the book, but we're finally getting back to the Jamie and Claire that I know so well.
When Captain Raines says, "Too late for that. It must be done at the beginning of a voyage," notice the camera cutting briefly to Hayes. I didn't notice this at all on the first viewing, but you can clearly see the "Oh, sh!t!" expression on his face, as he realizes that he forgot to touch the horseshoe.
I like the scene with Claire and Jamie in the moonlight very much. I was very startled to hear Claire quoting from GOODNIGHT MOON, but in fact, according to Wikipedia, the book was published in 1947, so it's plausible that Claire would have had access to it when Bree was little.
"You miss her."
Awwww, that's sad! A very touching moment.
"Damn! Blazing Hades! Filth-eating son of a pig-fart!"
I laughed when I heard that, because that voice, and those words, could belong to only one man: the unforgettable Aloysius O'Shaughnessy Murphy, ship's cook aboard the Artemis. <g> I'm glad they didn't forget about him!
This talk about finding a "Jonah" who's brought the ship ill luck made me think at once of Mr. Marsden, aka Smith, in AN ECHO IN THE BONE:
"Jonah Marsden!" Mr. Ormiston, on the verge of standing up, plumped back onto the chest, openmouthed. "Bless me if it isn't!"
"Who?" I asked, startled.
"Jonah--well, 'tisn't his real name, what was it ... oh, Bill, I think it was, but we took to calling him Jonah, owing to him being sunk so many times."
(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "A Guided Tour Through the Chambers of the Heart". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"[The men] must believe that I am doing all I can on their behalf, or we shall have a mutiny."
Much as I like Captain Raines -- he's calm and steady when faced with a crisis, as you'd expect an experienced ship's captain to be -- Jamie is right.
"You will NOT be throwing any of my men overboard -- Captain," he says, with a note of steel in his voice that we haven't often heard from TV Jamie. And Raines just stares back at him, as if to say, "And how do you mean to stop me?"
Meanwhile, the men have decided that Hayes is the "Jonah"; seeing no alternative, Hayes decides to take matters into his own hands.
The sequence with Hayes atop the rigging is dramatic and suspenseful, and I liked it very much, even though the sound of the men calling, "Jump! Jump!" made me a little sick to my stomach.
Jamie, in full hero-mode, climbs the rigging, talking to Hayes the whole time.
Meanwhile, Mr. Willoughby is paying no attention to the drama unfolding high above his head. He's watching the sea, where a large bird has just appeared.
"If ye do jump, I would have to go in after ye, and if ye make me do that, ye ken my wife would kill the both of us." Good line, but it's reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio's famous line from TITANIC: "If you jump, I jump."
The stunt work in this scene, especially the part with Hayes struggling to reach the ropes, is very impressive!
And no sooner does Hayes land safely on the deck, than the sailors turn their anger on Jamie. They might very well have pitched him overboard, had Yi Tien Cho not interfered.
I didn't find it believable that the crew, having worked itself up into a frenzy, would just stop what they were doing, instantly, at the sound of the bell ringing, and quiet down to listen to this Chinese "heathen". I really thought they would turn their anger on him instead.
Having said that, I thought Gary Young did an excellent job in this scene, telling Mr. Willoughby's tale (almost word for word from the book, though condensed somewhat), in a very dramatic fashion. I especially liked the way he grew more and more angry toward the end of his story.
And then he climbs up on the rail, and the pages of his story blow away on the wind. Wind?! Yes, finally, they have wind, rain, and plenty of fresh water, and the crisis is over.
The scene with Jamie and Claire belowdecks, making love in desperate haste, is very close to the book, if not nearly as funny. Afterwards, I like the way Jamie talks about Claire's hair. I've always thought it was so sweet that the things Claire dislikes the most about her own body (in the books, her "generous" bottom and her wild, unruly hair; here, the gray streaks in her hair) are precisely the things Jamie seems to appreciate the most.
"If you were to say that in the 20th century, you would be the king of all men."
Groan!! I really didn't like that. Talk about being jerked out of the story! "King of Men" is a phrase used in the OUTLANDER writers' room, first mentioned by Ron Moore soon after filming began on Season 1. I'm sure they thought it was funny for Claire to use that expression, but I didn't care for it. Claire loves Jamie for himself (flaws and all!), not because he's the "King of Men"!
"No matter what troubles happen around us, Sassenach, this -- what it is between us -- never changes." Awwwww, good line!
And here comes the Porpoise! I love the shot of the two ships facing each other. The Porpoise is clearly a bigger, more solidly-built vessel.
Charlie Hiett is very good as the young Captain Leonard, but oddly pale, as if he's spent all his time on this voyage below decks. (I suspect that was deliberate.) I like the smudges under his eyes, indicating that he hasn't slept much lately.
I like the fact that they kept this part mostly intact from the book. As Claire goes out into the corridor with Jamie, she folds her arms across her chest, indicating with her body language that she's not going to let him stop her from going.
"I've taken an oath now and then myself," Jamie says, fingering Claire's ring, "and none of them lightly." Good attention to detail there!
You can tell that the Porpoise is a naval ship, from the uniforms, to the way they "piped" Claire on board. Quite a contrast from the rougher, less disciplined routine aboard the Artemis!
Conditions below decks are just horrific, and they did a good job of illustrating that without being overly graphic about it. The sound of vomiting, rats scurrying, Claire holding a cloth over her nose and mouth from the stench, gave us a very good idea of what the conditions are like.
"You need to prepare yourself. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better." In view of what's about to happen, these words apply just as much to Claire as to the crew of the Porpoise.
Young Elias Pound looks very much as I imagined him.
I liked Claire's reaction when she realizes the Porpoise is moving away. And it really is the perfect way to end the episode!
I enjoyed this episode very much and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next week.
I hope you enjoyed this recap. Please come back next week to see my reactions to Episode 309.
Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes so far.