Episode 310: "Heaven and Earth" (SPOILERS!)
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
I liked the fact that the episode opens with Jamie's POV aboard the Artemis. We didn't see any of this in the book.
Fergus making a potpourri for Marsali -- that's a kind thought.
"When the captain of a seventy-four asks you for a surgeon, you give him a surgeon."
Good line, and I can Raines's point. The Artemis has no chance against a 74-gun British man-o'-war.
Jamie, also, is vastly outnumbered and has no chance against the heavily armed men of Raines' crew. Still, I didn't like the idea that he was overpowered without putting up much of a struggle -- even if they were holding him at gunpoint.
The title card for this episode shows the barrel of crème de menthe from Episode 307 being broken open, the green liquor gushing out onto the floor.
Meanwhile, we get our first look at Claire in the crew's quarters of the Porpoise, issuing orders to skeptical crew members. She exudes confidence and competence in this scene. Not SuperClaire, just an experienced doctor who knows what she's doing.
And here's young Elias Pound, the midshipman, who is even younger here than in the book. I was surprised to hear the sailors calling Elias "sir", but I suppose that means he outranks them, even as a (very) junior officer.
The bit with Elias dipping his hands in the bucket of grog was an effective way to explain how horribly contagious typhoid is.
"How many casks will you require?"
"How many men would you like me to save?"
"You are a very impressive young man," Claire says to Elias, and I totally agree! Wonderful casting! Albie Marber, who plays Elias, is just perfect in this role.
And then, as Claire's attention is diverted by more sick men arriving, Elias reaches out and gently closes his dead friend's eyes. Very sad!
The next scene, with Claire and Captain Leonard, does a good job of showing how young and frightened Leonard is.
I liked the reaction of the cook Cosworth, to the news that his galley hand was the source of the disease. Cosworth isn't an appealing character, but I thought the way he reacted was believable.
Meanwhile, back on the Artemis, Jamie's not doing well at all, suffering badly from seasickness.
"I'm well acquainted with the inside of a cell, Fergus," he says. Fort William, Wentworth, the Bastille, Ardsmuir....
Jamie's plan to take over the ship seems like a very long shot, but he's desperate, and half out of his mind with seasickness and worry over Claire. ("I lost her once, Fergus. Canna lose her again.")
"And then what?"
"I dinna ken--yet! We'll get to that matter when we catch them."
This is uncharacteristically slow-witted of Jamie. He's a chess player, and good at military strategy, accustomed to thinking several moves ahead of his opponent. I can only assume his mind is too fuddled with seasickness to think coherently.
"Ye dinna ken what love is," Jamie says. That's really unfair, and not like Jamie at all to say such a hurtful thing to this young man whom he regards as a son.
"You don't mean that, milord. How can you say that?"
"Because if ye did, you would move heaven and earth, you would risk arrest and death. Even Hell."
All right, I'll buy that.
"Until ye risk all, ye canna speak of love."
This, on the other hand, is ridiculous. It seems an impossibly high standard to meet, for anyone who isn't Jamie or Claire. (Or Roger, for that matter, as we'll see when we get to Season 4.) And you can see Fergus thinking that he'll never be able to live up to that standard.
I didn't like Jamie offering his blessing for Fergus to marry Marsali in exchange for helping him to escape. So Fergus, whom Jamie has known and loved for more than twenty years, must now prove himself worthy of marrying Jamie's stepdaughter? The fact that Fergus is an intelligent, loyal young man of good character doesn't matter, and only his ability to accomplish an impossible task will satisfy Jamie? This whole thing makes no sense to me.
Meanwhile, back on the Porpoise, we see a very somber scene, as the dead sailors are stitched into their shrouds. Poor Elias is very brave, to perform that final service for his friend.
The prayer Captain Leonard reads comes from the Anglican burial service:
"In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O LORD, who for our sins art justly displeased?I liked the next scene, with Claire and Elias, very much. The rabbit's foot is yet another of those "bunny" references scattered throughout Season 3 as a sort of inside joke by the production team, but I see no humor in this situation. What I see is a very brave fourteen-year-old, mature beyond his years, giving his treasured talisman of "luck and health" to Claire, because he thinks she needs it more than he does. And given what happens later in the episode, I find that just heartbreaking to watch.
Yet, O LORD GOD most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, LORD, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, LORD most holy, O GOD most mighty, O holy and merciful SAVIOUR; thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee."
"Half the men on this f*cking ship are dying of typhoid, and this bloody fool has almost drank himself to death on the alcohol I need to stop the goddamn fever from spreading!"
Go Claire!! I loved that.
Having Corporal Johansen be one of the sailors sick with alcohol poisoning, as well as the husband of Annekje the goat-lady, is a clever way to consolidate things from the book, giving the viewers important information without slowing down the action.
Annekje Johansen, played by Chanelle de Jager, is wonderful, very much as I've always pictured her from the book. She has a nice smile and I like the way she talks:
"I keep do?"
"Yes, please, keep do."
Clever of Claire to recognize the Portuguese flag! I wouldn't have given it a second glance.
So just as in the book, Captain Leonard knows that Jamie Fraser and Alexander Malcolm are one and the same.
Cosworth's entrance took me by surprise, but I knew instantly that he meant trouble. As he forced her toward the desk (horribly reminiscent of BJR in Episode 108, "Both Sides Now"), I thought, "Oh, no, here we go AGAIN!" Haven't we seen enough rape or attempted-rape scenes already?
Fortunately, Claire is not intimidated. She gives Cosworth her best "La Dame Blanche" stare and says, "Now get out of my way, or I will scream." And much to my surprise, that puts an end to it.
I like that shot of the Porpoise. It may be five times bigger than the Artemis, but it's still a small ship in the middle of a vast, vast ocean.
The scene with Fergus and Marsali is very good! This is the first time we've seen them alone together for an extended period, and it's a great opportunity to get a good look at these two characters who will become increasingly important as the series goes on.
"It's a risk, mon coeur." My heart. I like that.
I'm impressed with the matter-of-fact way Marsali deals with Fergus's stump and his prosthetic hand. Without saying a word, she illustrates something that I've always found very moving about Diana Gabaldon's portrayal of characters with disabilities, throughout the entire series, from Colum MacKenzie to Ian the Elder and many more: they are PEOPLE, first and foremost. Fergus's missing hand is a part of who he is, but certainly not the most important part, and clearly Marsali sees that.
I really wondered if Fergus would take her right then and there -- Marsali certainly was eager to do it! -- but Fergus evidently has learned something about the powers of self-control from watching Jamie all those years
"Once you give your word, you'll never break it," Marsali says. OK, now I really, REALLY want to see them get married, because their wedding vows will mean even more with that thought in mind.
The scene with Claire and Elias is impossible to watch without thinking of what will happen later in the episode. "There is the incubation period to consider," Claire says -- but she's not thinking about the boy at all, except to note in a vague sort of way that he looks tired.
In the next scene, Fergus overhears the men talking about Jamie, and about him and Marsali. I was surprised that Fergus had enough self-control to keep from barging in there when they started talking about what they would do to Marsali if they got her alone.
And now, here's Tompkins! The blind eye is rather unnerving, IMHO.
So he claims to have recognized Claire as "Mrs. Malcolm", but that doesn't make sense to me. When would he have seen her? The printshop fire occurred no more than 48 hours after Claire arrived in Edinburgh, and we have no reason to believe the one-eyed sailor had contact with Claire, only with Young Ian.
Claire threatens him with a very large and wicked-looking butcher knife or something similar. In the book, it was a surgical saw, the type used to amputate a limb. Either way, the effect on Tompkins is the same.
"After the month I've had, I'll be more than happy to see the inside of a casket." Good line.
He seems eager to pour out the whole story to Claire. The part about finding the exciseman's body in the cask of crème de menthe happened much differently in the book, but it's dramatic and effective here, so I didn't mind.
"My husband did not kill that man." I was half-expecting her to add, "I did."
And then Claire has Tompkins locked up in the hold, claiming he's the second source of the disease. Problem solved, at least for the time being.
Back in the goat compartment with Mrs. Johansen, I notice for the first time that there are not just goats, but chickens as well.
Why does Annekje's gift of goat cheese make Claire think of Jamie? That seemed like a bit of a non-sequitur to me.
Meanwhile, back on the Artemis.... Jamie is shocked and disappointed when Fergus returns without the keys.
"You asked me if I would move Heaven and Earth for the woman I love, and I will, even if it means I cannot marry her." Pretty words, but overly melodramatic, IMHO.
On the Porpoise, things are improving. "Over the worst of it now," Cosworth says to Claire, and she looks at the rabbit's foot that Elias gave her, no doubt thinking it brought her luck. And then she goes up on deck, where the sailors are singing, one man is playing a fiddle, and the mood is one of quiet relief that the crisis seems to have passed. Claire smiles with relief -- and then she catches sight of Elias, collapsed in a hammock, obviously very close to death.
Hearing Elias calling for his mother, and Claire saying, "Yes, Elias, it's Mother. It's time for you to come home now," made a shiver go up my spine. This is based on the very terse description in the book:
Elias Pound died of the typhoid four days later. It was a virulent infection; he came to the sickbay heavy-eyed with fever and wincing at the light; six hours later he was delirious and unable to rise. The next dawn he pressed his cropped round head against my bosom, called me “Mother,” and died in my arms.But seeing it on screen is so much more emotionally intense! Just heartwrenching, watching Claire tuck that rabbit's foot inside his shroud, and then seeing his body sink toward the bottom of the ocean, weighted down by a cannonball in the traditional manner. I liked the music in this part very much.
(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 48, "Moment of Grace". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I don't think I'm ever going to be able to read or listen to this part of VOYAGER again without seeing that in my mind. Farewell, Elias. You were indeed a very impressive young man.
And then, finally, the Porpoise reaches land! It must have been a challenge to film that scene with the goats without them scattering in all directions.
When Claire makes her escape, only to be brought up short by the sight of Captain Leonard and his men, I thought irresistibly of the scene in Episode 101 ("Sassenach") where she tried to run from Dougal and his men, and Jamie caught her before she got very far.
"It would be breaking the law if I did not [inform the authorities about Jamie]. More important, it would be breaking a solemn oath." So Captain Leonard, too, is a man of honor.
Jamie looking at Brianna's pictures made me go "Awwwww!!" But why didn't he hurry up and put them away when he heard someone coming? Can you imagine Jamie trying to explain -- to literally anyone else on board who saw them -- what those pictures were or where he'd gotten them? Let alone to Captain Raines, who already has good reason to be suspicious of him.
So Marsali is so confident that Jamie's word can be trusted absolutely, that she manages to convince Captain Raines of it? I find that hard to believe.
"What Fergus did, he did for you."
"If ye believe that, ye dinna deserve to be let out of here."
I see what Marsali is saying, I think, but I don't like it. What's wrong with saying that Fergus was trying to protect her? Surely Jamie, of all people, would understand that.
So Jamie insists they be married by a priest when they get to Jamaica. This should be fun!
Back on the Porpoise, Annekje is helping Claire plan her escape. She keeps talking about "Co-burn", which presumably is Cockburn, on the Turks and Caicos Islands.
At the last moment, looking down at the water, Claire says, "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!" I laughed at that. We haven't heard her say that in a long time. And then she jumps. What a perfect moment to end the episode on!
I thought this was a very good episode, and I really don't think they could have done any better with Claire's storyline. Kudos to Luke Schelhaas, a new member of the OUTLANDER writing team, who wrote the script. He did a great job!
I hope you enjoyed this recap. Please come back next week to see my reactions to Episode 311.
Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes so far.