Sunday, November 19, 2017

Episode 310: "Heaven and Earth" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 310 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Heaven and Earth". I enjoyed this episode very much, and I was delighted that they stayed so close to the book.

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.


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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?"

Good line!

"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?

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."
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.

"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 <g>, and he says, "We must wait until we're married."

"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.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 48, "Moment of Grace". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
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.

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! And he calls him "mon fils" (my son), which just makes my heart melt.

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!
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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.

21 comments:

Susanlynn said...

Thank you, Karen.

It wasn't my favorite episode, but it was okay. I thought the young boy playing Elias stole the show,but I think that the actor would have been excellent playing Willie when he visits Frasers' Ridge. The scenes between Caitronia and him were wonderful and moving.

I suppose Jamie was put in the brig to show us that he was helpless . Sam did an excellent job of conveying Jamie's fear, panic, helplessness, and willingness to do anything to get Claire back. He could not try to save Claire because he was imprisoned. It was better than watching him pace up and down the deck cursing. I have had enough of watching Jamie retching. Poor Sam is a verra convincing vomiter..poor soul.

Susan said...

Thank you, Karen for the wonderful job you do!

This was one of my favorite episodes this season, second to A. Malcolm. It was full of raw emotion from start to finish! A job well done by everyone!
Susan

Katarzyna said...

I'm just wondering why the scriptwriter had resigned Of Lord John, who was in the book with Claire on the ship. And their brilliant conversation.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed because Claire didn't meet Lord John as in the Book -
Plus I didn't like the 'mutiny' plot on the Artemis - ridiculous- useless and not in the book.

Ciao
Maurizio

Jang said...

It was not a great episode. Who is this Jamie Fraser? A man without honor who would throw Fergus,Marsali and own crew to the wolves in a futile attempt to retrieve Claire? Jamie Fraser will risk his all but would never disregard the lives of people he loves and is responsible for. He is lectured by a teenager with more sense than he has? The writers have completely missed the mark beginning with episode 307. The strength of the Claire/Jamie dynamic is character! They are both honorable and courageous not foolhardy and petulant.

Anonymous said...

Two main points for me on this episode:

Now we know why Jamie told Claire about Willie himself, Lord John was not on the Porpoise , he probably won’t be in Jamaica either. Oh, well.

Jamie has a responsibility to Marsali and takes his responsibility seriously. In the last episode he says to Claire “a fizzle out is what i’m afraid of”. This was after he went over all the girls Fergus was “serious” about. He knows Fergus’s patterns and he probably thinks he will marry her, get her pregnant and leave her or cheat on her. Even though Fergus is his son, he’s protecting Marsali’s virtue. Also, in the book , if I recall correctly, Fergus had regulars at Madame Jeanne’s. Jamie thinks he won’t be able to settle down with one woman and wants Fergus to prove himself.

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen sorry but this is one episode I will not watch again it was just too depressing without any action at all and the scenes between Jamie and Fergus were depressing , in fact the whole episode was so I hope the next one will be better , I love season 3 , but this one episode I just didn't care for much . please post more soon. Sincerely Yours.

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen I too found it depressing watching Jamie caged in like an animal and unable to break free and is able to do nothing to save himself , so this is not my favorite episode . please post more soon. sincerely .

laine said...

I agree with Jang and a couple of others that the slaying of Jamie's character continues to the story's serious detriment. I don't care how much he's puking (and where's Willoughby with his acupuncture needles when needed?) or how worried he is about Claire's situation. He's always been a cool tactician, not a hot headed fool as he's made out to be here, willing to cast Fergus, Marsali, Willoughby and his Ardsmuir men to certain defeat and likely death in a ridiculous mutiny plan with no way of getting Claire back from a warship midseas even if they did manage to catch up (which they couldn't do anyway considering their small size and sidelining the experienced captain). And the emotional blackmail of Fergus would be beyond the pale for the real Jamie.

Jamie knows both ships are headed for Jamaica. He knows the English captain has no reason on "heaven or earth" to harm Claire and that by now she's probably bullied the entire remaining crew into following her orders. It would be much more Jamie-like to show him reassuring Fergus and Marsali that Claire is likely handling things on her end. Instead, the wise eggs are lecturing the battle-hardened rooster who's acting like a headless chicken! So some of the blows to the head that Jamie has received or his love for his wife have turned him into a blithering idiot? How on earth is this unthinking incompetent man supposed to remain a romantic match for Florence Nightingale Claire? The imbalance is huge - death defying ocean jumping heroine vs nasty man-child. Didn't think anyone could make Jamie or Sam Heughen unsexy...

Anonymous said...

Jang

Fergus is 30, he’s not a teenager.

Anonymous said...

This section of the book was always my least favourite and indeed I found the episode quite dull. I disliked Jamie's carry on very much especially him being so mean and manipulative with Fergus. That is not book Jamie.

KMC said...

I enjoyed most of the episode. It is always wonderful watching Caitriona Balfe bring Claire to life. The scenes with Elias are touching and so sad at the end. I also liked that a lot of the book was included. I didn't like how Jamie was presented, especially how he tried to blackmail and was so unkind to Fergus. The writers decided to have Jamie and Claire use the Fraser surname on the Artemis. If Lord John Grey had been on board the Porpoise he would have recognized Claire Fraser - Jamie told him her name when he was in Ardsmuir and LJG "defended" her honor in season 2. Plus Jamie Fraser is always on LJG mind. I hope LJG is at the Governors Ball so that he can be surprised when he meets her and then give them the help they need to find Young Ian. I love your re-caps, Karen

Gina Emory said...

Totally agree. Why didn't they have Jamie go after Claire as he did in the book and sneak onto the Porpoise? Why throw him in the brig on the Artemis when he's actually a very important person on that ship? That change created that whole idiotic exchange between him and Fergus and did not ring true at all. Not a fan of this episode or those since 306.

Susanlynn said...

After all the years Jamie spent in a cave followed by years in a prison cell, it was awful to watch him retching in that little cage.

Susanlynn said...

I was disappointed listening to the podcast for this episode. Instead of talking about the episode ,Toni and Matt seemed to be defending their writing decisions about changes they have made to the story and characters. I am not a fan of Toni's attitude justifying her decisions to tell her version of the characters and story.

Debbi said...

Hi Karen - this episode highlighted the strengths of Claire's character but completely diminished Jamie's. I understand his desperate reaction when Claire is sailing away on the Porpoise but his character's portrayal was overly dramatic losing the essence of who Jamie is.

Loved the actor portraying Elias Pound and sorry we won't be seeing more of him.

Hopefully Jamie's character will be redeemed in episode 11.

Peigi said...

I keep trying to remind myself that all lives, even the King of Men's, have their low points and mis-steps.

I liked Elias Pound's rabbit foot. To me, all the bunny references (Run Rabbit Run song in season 1, Bree's bunny, the rabbit at Colloden etc) signify life's goodness and joy. Motherly Claire gives him comfort and tucks in his rabbit foot to send him back to his own mother in the hereafter.

Susan said...

I would like to give my thoughts on why I thought this was such a good episode.
I do agree, the actor portraying Elias was outstanding. The scenes with Claire and Elias are so moving and heartbreaking. Caitriona did a superb job of making us feel Claire's pain over Elias' death.
While this may not have been Jaime's finest hour, this is a man who has just watched the love of his life, who has just returned to him after twenty years, sail away from him in the middle of a vast ocean, the only woman on a ship of over 300 men. He can not be certain of what may happen to her and he is completely helpless to save her. On that note, it was an excellent opportunity to show a deeper side of Fergus to counter Jaime's desperation. While none of this is in the book because Claire is telling the story, it isn't a story without Jaime either.

Viviana said...

Hi Karen, I liked this episode very much! I think it was great that they showed Jamie desperate and losing his mind on board the Artemis. Jamie has said many times how he wasn’t a human being without her, but since the Dunbonnet we haven’t seen that.
Now, Claire is back, she’s unsure and now kidnapped in Man O’ War knowing that women are considered ill luck on a ship.
Wouldn’t he lose his mind and even start vomiting again? No acupuncture could cure him at that point.
He has said many times that he would risk everything for Claire. And here we see him, doing just that, losing his mind and risking everything.
As for Fergus and Marsali, for me this was the chance to show how much they have learned from Jamie about honor and commitment.
I thought Marsali was great in bringing Jamie back to his honorable self. She’s small but a very strong character! And they both earned his blessing.
I also think we got to see what Jamie meant about all his sins when sending Claire back through the stones. He’s not perfect.
For me, it’s fantastic that they actually show Jamie more as a human being, not an archetypical romantic hero.
Thank you Karen for letting me share this thoughts with you! Regards, Viviana

Anonymous said...

Peigi, Susan & Viviana : well said!

laine said...

Re the theory that Jamie "wasn't a human being without her" i.e. Claire. and that of course he would lose his mind losing sight of her on the second ship.

This is the same man who asked Claire to continue the (dangerous) search for Ian if he was impressed by the British navy onto the Porpoise. Now that she was back in his time, he had confidence that they would find their way back to each other. They commented on this several times in Season 2, their ability to overcome all obstacles before them and between them.

And how is the romance supposed to survive Claire on her own being Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa all wrapped up in one with a touch of sleuthing Nancy Drew as well while Jamie falls apart without her and behaves abominably toward 2 of his children? The man who kept the Ardsmuir prisoners alive through his steady leadership was now going to squander them in a doomed mutiny? Strong woman, weak man throws the Jamie-Claire dynamic totally off and is very unsexy.