Wednesday, November 22, 2017

“Moving Heaven and Earth”: A recap of season 3 episode 10 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals by Susie Brown 

There is an anonymous saying which goes, “Convince a man of what he wants, and he'll move heaven and earth to get it.” This quote is particularly apt for episode 10, which is full of characters who are attempting to do just that. From Jamie and Claire, to Fergus and Marsali, to Captain Leonard, Elias and Annekje on board the Porpoise, a depth of feeling runs throughout this episode that leaves no one unaffected - not even the viewers! 

As the episode begins, Jamie is sitting on the deck of the Artemis, sharpening a knife. His eye is on the British man-o-war, as he watches and waits for Claire. In contrast to the sickness on board the Porpoise, the mood on the Artemis is more relaxed. Jamie notices Fergus talking with the cook and walking away with a pouch of something. When Jamie questions him, Fergus says that it is a potpourri of sweet herbs - he wants to impress Marsali, but also wants to improve the smell in the cabin, which is starting to smell of bilge. 

Jamie comments that he feels it is him whom Fergus is actually trying to impress. The younger man doesn’t answer but points at the other ship, which is now preparing to sail away. 

Spurred into action, Jamie takes the eyeglass off one of the crew and looks onto the deck of the Porpoise, where he can see Claire arguing with the captain. “They have my wife,” he calls and immediately starts shouting orders, telling the crew to make sail. They begin to do as he commands, until Captain Raines belays the order. He gives different instructions, ones that will not allow the Artemis to maintain the speed they need to keep pace with the Porpoise. 

Raines tells Jamie that it is as fast as they can safely go in the wind and that the other ship has sick and dying men on board. They need a surgeon and so Claire is to remain there for the duration of the voyage. Raines tells Jamie of Captain Leonard’s promise to deliver Claire back to them on arrival in Jamaica. Jamie is furious that this deal has been struck and when Raines says, “I have more than your wife to think about, Mr Fraser”, he loses his temper and grabs hold of the older man. Knives and pistols are drawn: Raines’ crew defending their captain; Jamie’s men defending him. Raines tells Jamie to order his men to scabbard their blades, which he does, but tells the captain somewhat desperately, “Just keep me in sight of her, man.” 

But Raines is not to be ordered about. He says that they will sail at their own pace and promptly orders Jamie taken below. The crew obey and a slightly dazed Jamie is led away, his gaze on the ship that is taking Claire away from him. From the opening minutes, we can see the despair of yet another separation. 

Alone on the ocean now, the healthy men of the Porpoise are cleaning the decks, while the sick continue to vomit and groan down below. Claire is taking charge, insisting that enough space be created for the men to sleep without touching each other. 

The healthy men must sleep wherever there is room. She tells them that typhoid fever is spread by hands or contaminated food, so every surface must be clean. When one of the men complains about being given orders by a lady doctor, he is swiftly put in his place by young Mr Pound, who reminds him that the Captain has ordered that they do as Claire says and pay her every respect.  

Claire continues her orders. A bucket of grog is being held by another crewman. She dips her hands in it and instructs Pound to do the same. When he asks why, she answers that it is because they don’t have any pure alcohol. Everyone must dip their hands when entering or leaving the area where the sick men are. 

Pound dutifully does so, but when Claire turns around she catches him licking his fingers, in order to have a “taste of grog”. As patiently as possible, she tries to explain the purpose for the dipping. While it is obvious that Pound doesn’t truly understand the importance, he nevertheless follows her instructions. This sets the scene for the relationship that is to develop between the two: Pound already trusts Claire and will do whatever she says without question. 

On deck, Claire looks out to sea, shielding her face from the glare of the sun and allowing herself a brief moment of despair. She has been on the Porpoise for less than a day, her voiceover says, and although there can only be about 50 miles between herself and Jamie, it feels almost as far as 200 years. At the same time, she is relieved, as Jamie would not have been immune to the typhoid fever on board. Pound appears with a hat for Claire, to protect her from the unforgiving sun. 

It is a thoughtful gesture and Pound soon shows that he has been thinking about other things as well: two of the men on board know how to distil pure alcohol from rum, he says and asks if he should set them to work in building a still. Claire agrees, adding that it will not be a popular decision, particularly as it will involve men being put onto half rations of grog. 

The still is swiftly set up, but one of the officers, Mr Overholt is complaining to Claire as the next scene begins. The men will not like it, he says. But Claire is blunt: would the men prefer to die instead? The alcohol might help stave off the fever, she explains and suggests that perhaps a guard can be placed on the two still makers, to ensure that they don’t drink the proceeds. Grudgingly, Overholt comments that it might be managed and asks Claire how many casks she needs. Again, she is blunt: how many men would he like her to save?

Claire and Pound walk amongst the sick, administering simple food and water. Claire explains to Pound that while he may touch the ill men, he must not touch his own clothes, hair or face until he has dipped his hands again. She asks how old he is and is stunned to find out that he is only 14. Perhaps it is his youth that immediately prompts her to ask his first name - Elias - and whether she may call him that. When he hesitates that it is “not very navy” and the Captain mightn’t approve, she replies that if they are to work together it would be easier to call him by name. Elias then shares a bit of his history - he has been at sea since he was 7 years old, as his uncle had been a commander on the Triton, which allowed him a berth on board. He has only joined the Porpoise for this voyage, he tells her. Perhaps Claire is reminded of her own childhood travelling to exotic places with her uncle, or perhaps it is his extreme youth, but she smiles at Elias and calls him a very impressive young man. He blushes and smiles sweetly back. But as they continue their walk checking the sick, Elias’ face changes. One of the men is dead and it is a friend of his, Jim Quigley, from his home town. Claire is called away to deal with 3 new patients, but Elias leans closer to Jim, closing his friend’s eyes.

In the captain’s quarters, Claire asks Leonard for the surgeon’s journal, as she needs to know the first reported case of the disease. Leonard tells her it was 4 weeks ago and shows her the record. Claire notes the similarities of symptoms of a number of the men, as well as the similar notation of “carpenter’s crew”. Realising that all the infected men came from one part of the ship, Claire asks to speak to the surviving crew from that area. They check the records. Claire queries the notation “D.D”, as it appears on all records save one. When told it stands for “Discharged, Dead”, she realises that the one exception is the only living man. He has since been reassigned to the galley and is now working with the cook. 

In the next scene, Claire is remonstrating with two men: Cosworth, the obviously annoyed cook and the disease source, Joe Howard. Claire explains that although still healthy himself, Howard can still spread the disease to other men, particularly if he is involved in serving their food. Cosworth tells Captain Leonard that he will not give up his one remaining galley hand on account of a “cursed woman’s foolish notion”.  

But Leonard responds that even though it is beyond their own comprehension, they must believe Claire.  Howard is promptly put into isolation, but as he leaves, Leonard comments to Claire that she had better be right with her claims. 

Back on the Artemis, Fergus is collecting food for the still imprisoned Jamie, putting his pickpocketing skills to good use by getting some extra bread while no one is looking. Without access to Willoughby’s acupuncture needles, Jamie’s seasickness has returned and he sits miserably next to a bucket as Fergus passes the food under the bars and comments on the closeness of the air. The younger man tries to reassure Jamie: Claire will be fine, he says, as she is unable to catch the disease. But Jamie is not so much concerned with the disease as he is with the 300 men on board. The despair is written on his face as he tells Fergus, 

“I lost her once. I can’t lose her again.”  He tells Fergus to steal the keys from Captain Raines and set him free, so that he can take the ship and make sail to find Claire. But Fergus reminds Jamie that mutiny will not work. The crew is not Jamie’s and will not follow him. Jamie argues, listing the men who will, but it is still 7 against 20 and Fergus tells Jamie he will lose. Even if Fergus were to convince more men, he says, the Porpoise is now a day of them and cannot be caught. Jamie’s desperation is increasing. They will abandon the wine, he suggests, as an empty ship will run faster. “And then what?” asks Fergus. Jamie is angry now. He doesn’t know yet, he replies, but will work it out when they catch the Porpoise. 

But Fergus is no longer a child and will not automatically do Jamie’s bidding. He loves Claire too, he says, but refuses to do as Jamie asks. Launching himself at the bars, Jamie calls Fergus a damned fool, asking what good he is. He adds that he was right to refuse to give his blessing to Fergus and Marsali, as Fergus obviously doesn’t know what love is. Fergus is hurt. He asks Jamie how he can possibly say that to him. 

Jamie replies that if Fergus did, he would move heaven and earth, risk arrest, death, even hell itself and would do it as easily as a prick of a pin. He would set Jamie free from his cell so that Jamie could rescue Claire. “Until you risk all,” Jamie says bitterly, “you can’t speak of love.” But then he has one final idea: if Fergus will get the keys, he will give his blessing for Fergus’ marriage to Marsali. 

The imagery in this scene is clever: Jamie, his hair hanging mane-like around his face, is prowling around his cell like a caged lion, growling and spitting in anger and lunging at through the bars. He is a desperate man and in this desperation, he is hurting another of the people he loves. It is all the more ironic that he accuses Fergus of not understanding the emotion. Of course, this whole scene is a written-for-tv one, as in the book Jamie is not imprisoned in the brig. Some fans have argued that, like the lie told to Ian in episode 7, this treatment of Fergus is out of character for Jamie. Fergus is like a son to him, but he is using emotional blackmail to try and get what he wants, without any regard for Fergus’ feelings. However, it can also be argued that the scene serves to show just how much desperation is affecting Jamie, to the point where he is no longer the honourable “King of Men”, but the enraged “King of Beasts.”

Back on the Porpoise, viewers are greeted with the sobering sight of multiple bodies being stitched into shrouds. One of these bodies is Elias’ friend. As Claire watches, Elias explains that the last stitch must go through the man’s nose, to ensure that he is truly dead. Taking the needle from the other sailor, Elias finishes the job, saying that it is always done by a friend. Shortly afterwards, a mass funeral is held on deck. As everyone on board removes their hats, Captain Leonard recites a prayer. The bodies are released from underneath Union Jack flags into the ocean below, marked by a drum roll and the firing of rifles. The Lord’s Prayer is recited and Claire joins in, looking over at Elias, as tears roll down his cheeks. 

It is night and Claire is looking out to sea. But in an uncomfortable parallel to the previous episode, where Jamie and Claire shared a quiet conversation about Brianna, this time Claire is joined on deck by Cosworth. He quotes the ship’s death statistics to her, saying that they are growing all the time. He implies that Claire is doing nothing except boiling water and washing hands and states that there had better be fewer deaths in the days to come. This is a fairly menacing threat, but Elias appears on deck at this point and dismisses the man with a curt, “As you were, Mr Cosworth.” Left alone, Elias asks Claire if there is a secret to remaining calm in the face of so much death. Claire admits that there is: compartmentalising. She must separate areas of her life, she says, so that she can do her work. If she allowed herself to be affected by every death, she would never save a life. But, she acknowledges, Jim Quigley was not her friend. She tells Elias that there will be more burials at sea for the Porpoise, but with any luck they will get through it. Elias is immediately complimentary. He has watched her for three days, he tells her, and he doesn’t think it will come down to luck. But then he pulls out a rabbit’s foot from inside his coat. His mother had given it to him when he had joined the Triton, for luck and health. 

He hands it to Claire, just in case luck should be needed, and overcome with emotion, she accepts it. She asks Elias when he last saw his mother, and he replies that she is dead. Their conversation is interrupted by the announcement that another man has been taken ill, the husband of the woman who tends the goats that provide milk to the men. 

This scene serves to highlight why Claire is faring better than Jamie in this enforced separation. She has, by her own definition, compartmentalised her life: putting her worry and thoughts of Jamie on hold while she tends to the business of saving the men’s lives on board the Porpoise. However, she is still able to recognise and appreciate the strength of feeling in others, showing understanding towards Elias and his grief over Jim Quigley. By contrast, Jamie is consumed only with the loss of Claire and cannot show understanding for Fergus’ concern for Marsali. 

On examining Mr Johansen, Claire discovers that he is not ill with typhoid fever like the others. Rather, he has poisoned himself, by drinking the distilled alcohol. This is too much for Claire at this point and she lets loose a torrent of exasperated curse words. Elias and the other sailor, Jones, are shocked, and Claire apologises, but the men are shocked not at the language, but at the fact that it comes from a woman! Claire reassures Johansen’s wife, Annekje, that her husband will be fine and thanks her for the goat’s milk, which is keeping the men alive. Annekje is relieved. 

“I keep do?” she asks and Claire replies, “Yes. Keep do.” On her way back upstairs, she notices a flag and is reminded of Jared’s comment before they set sail, that only one ship was on record as travelling under a Portuguese flag. Claire asks where the flag has come from and is told that they had boarded a Portuguese ship two weeks earlier, to press men into service. Immediately thinking of young Ian, Claire asks if the ship was the Bruja. Jones doesn’t know, but says that the Captain would remember. 

Claire heads to the Captain’s quarters. She finds it empty, so begins her search. She reads the name of the Portuguese ship - unfortunately not the Bruja - in the Captain’s journal, but then finds other evidence as well, in the form of a record of a report that Jamie Fraser and Alexander Malcolm are one and the same man. Suddenly the door opens and Claire is discovered by Cosworth, who accuses her of trespassing. 

He has come, he says, to fetch the Captain’s pipe and refuses to let Claire pass as she tries to leave. Cosworth tells her that he neither likes nor trusts her. Claire responds that the Captain does trust her and asks Cosworth what Leonard would think were she to tell him that Cosworth had attempted to violate her on his dining table. She orders him to get out of her way, or she will scream and after a long moment, he does. Claire now has a new motivation: she must find Harry Tompkins, the man who has made the report. 

Back on the Artemis, Fergus and Marsali are discussing Fergus’ conversation with Jamie. Confirming that Jamie will give them his blessing if Fergus helps him take the ship, he says that is a risk he is willing to take to be with her. Marsali comments that should he fail, she will be left alone on board, with no one to protect her. They kiss and emotions escalate. 

Marsali tries to convince Fergus to make love to her, but he refuses. He has given his word to Jamie, so they must wait until they are married. Marsali comments that Fergus is just like Jamie : he is stubborn and once he has given his word, he will never break it. 

Claire is cleaning her instruments when Elias comes to join her, to tell her that Johansen is improving. She asks if he knows Harry Tompkins. He doesn’t, but says that is hardly surprising, as they had been 400 men strong when they began the voyage and he wouldn’t know every name. Elias comments that there have been four new cases of typhoid fever and he thought that finding the carrier would have stopped them. Claire reminds him of the incubation period and this gives her an idea. She lies, telling Elias that Harry Tompkins might be a second carrier and this spurs the young man into action, promising to tell the crew that Claire needs to see Tompkins as soon as possible. Elias looks exhausted and she instructs him to get some sleep.  

Fergus is creeping down the corridor leading to the Captain’s quarters and overhears Raines with some of the men. They are talking about how they don’t trust Jamie, even though he is locked up. One jokes that the supercargo is now cargo himself and that Jamie is lucky he wasn’t thrown overboard. Fergus can see the keys that Jamie wants, as Raines confirms that he won’t release Jamie. The talk shifts to Fergus himself and how, as a cripple, he is viewed as no threat. But then one of the sailors mentions wanting a taste of Fergus’ “wee lassie” and how if she hasn’t lost her virginity already, she certainly will have by the time he has done with her. Raines cuts the conversation short, but it has been enough for Fergus. He strides back down the corridor, his mind made up.

Claire is pouring distilled alcohol when a commotion outside soon heralds the arrival of Mr Tompkins. Elias says that he had ordered the man not be beaten, but Tompkins is sporting a bloodied lip, courtesy of his trying to hide. Tompkins says that he has nothing to do with the fever, his face lighting with recognition as he sees Claire. 

Viewers recognise him too, as the man Young Ian disturbed in the print shop just before the fire began. Once the other men have been dismissed, Tompkins wastes no time in telling her that he knows who she is. He was the one who rowed Captain Leonard over to the Artemis and recognised Jamie on deck. He knows that Claire is his wife. While he speaks, Claire is running her hands over several knives, as if about to choose a weapon for a duel. She finally turns towards him with a cleaver, but he is not frightened. In fact, he dares her to kill him. He would welcome it, he says. Thanks to his job working as an exciseman for Sir Percival, he had had hot lead thrown in his face at the print shop and although he escaped he was scarred for life. On reporting treason to Sir Percival, instead of being promoted, he was pressed into service on the Porpoise, which was full of disease. He bares his neck, telling Claire to put him out of his misery. Claire tells him that perhaps she will: Jamie can’t be arrested on words alone. But Tompkins has more news for her. There are warrants for murder out for Jamie, as the body of the brothel intruder has been found in a cask of creme de menthe.

Claire says that Jamie did not murder the man, but Tompkins tells her that the warrant says otherwise. Captain Leonard is going to write a report on arrival in Jamaica and Tompkins doubts that Claire will succeed in talking him out of it, given the Captain’s ambition and his wish to be given command of his own vessel. Delivering Jamie as a prisoner would certainly further his cause. As soon as Jamie arrives to collect Claire in Kingston, Tompkins says, he will be arrested by the authorities and likely hanged. Claire’s eyes are bright with angry tears as she takes the only revenge she can. Declaring him the second carrier of the typhoid fever, Claire orders Tompkins locked away with Howard. Her final words to him are triumphant, warning Tompkins not to get too close to Howard, as he actually is the source of the disease. A horrified Tompkins backs away into the shadows as the scene ends.

Claire meets Annekje Johansen, who is feeding the goats. Making small talk, Claire says that she has heard Annekje’s husband is doing better. 

Annekje agrees, thanking Claire and presenting her with a pat of goat’s cheese. She notices Claire’s distress and Claire explains her fear: Jamie is going to be in trouble and she is to be used as bait. Immediately, Annekje promises to help, saying that her goats need grass. Claire is confused, but thanks the other woman for her kindness. 

Jamie is looking up at the full moon when Fergus comes to his cell. Taking the cup that Fergus hands him, Jamie asks if he has brought the keys. But Fergus admits that he does not, adding that he didn’t try to take them in the first place. As Jamie’s anger grows, Fergus tries to explain: Jamie hasn’t heard the talk of the men on deck. If he frees Jamie and they fail, which they would be sure to do, then they would be killed. He will not leave Marsali alone, he says, nor will he send Jamie to his death. He realises that he will not get Jamie’s blessing now, but he will move heaven and earth for the woman he loves, even if it means he cannot marry her. “I do this for you as well, Milord,” he says and makes to leave. Jamie calls his name and he turns back, commenting that perhaps he loves too much. He does go this time, leaving an enraged Jamie calling after him.

Claire and Jones are downstairs with the sick men. For the first time in days, there has been no groaning or vomiting, only sleeping men. They are over the worst and the two share a brief smile. Claire takes out the rabbit’s foot and sighs in relief. She goes up on deck where the healthier men are recovering alongside the rest of the crew. The mood is much lighter. A fiddle is being played and another man is smoking a pipe as Claire moves amongst them, smiling. She spies Elias sleeping in a hammock and goes over to him, but finds him covered in the red rash of the typhoid fever. He is close to death and delirious, asking Claire if she is his mother. “Yes, Elias,” she replies, “it’s time for you to come home now.”

The death of Elias is one that Claire can’t easily compartmentalise. As he is being sewn into his shroud, she places the rabbit’s foot into his hand. “Your mother would be so proud,” she says, her voice breaking. When it is time for the final stitch, the sailmaker hands the needle to Claire, reminding her that it should be done by a friend. The tears flow freely as she performs this final task. Elias has been more than a friend: he has been like a son. The relationship throughout the episode has been portrayed beautifully by Caitriona Balfe and Albie Marber and it is a shame that it has come to such a tragic end so soon. 

That night, Leonard interrupts Claire’s grieving on deck. She is blaming herself, telling the captain that she had missed the signs of the illness, believing Elias to merely be tired. But Leonard tells her that her efforts have been heroic. As sad as Elias’ death has been, it is also the only death of the day and no new cases have been reported. But Claire is defeated: it doesn’t matter, she tells him. They are nearly out of drinking water and the sick will not survive without constant liquid. Leonard though, is more positive. They will both do their best, he says, and will reach Jamaica safely. After expressing both his sorrow for her loss and his gratitude for her help, he leaves her to her thoughts. But she is not alone for long before Jones and Annekje find her. There has been a whiff of land, Jones says and they will reach the Grand Turk before noon the next day. There will be water for the men and grass for Annekje’s goats.

At last, Claire understands what Annekje had meant. While helping Annekje tend to the goats, she will be able to escape on the underpopulated side of Grand Turk Island. Annekje promises to take care of the men and tells Claire to go and warn Jamie. Thanking her friend, Claire hurries away. But, reminiscent of a scene from season 1 as she headed back to the stones, she is stopped by redcoats and Captain Leonard. The captain has been making rounds to check that none of the men have visited a nearby brothel. He comments that he didn’t expect her, as the ship’s doctor, to disobey the orders not to wander. 

Claire playacts confusion, saying that she was only gathering herbs, but Leonard is not buying her story. He tells her that he is sincere in his gratitude for her help, but that he cannot allow her to warn her husband. He knows that Claire has seen the log book and he does not relish the task, but says that he is duty bound to report Jamie’s crimes to the Jamaican authorities.  Claire begs him to look the other way, but he refuses, saying that he would be breaking an oath if he did so.  He looks truly regretful, but orders the marines to escort Claire back to the ship. 

Jamie is looking at the photos of Claire and Brianna when Raines comes to the cell. He expects them to be in sight of land by dawn and the passage between the islands is hazardous. He needs all able bodied men if he is to navigate the shoals. 

“So I’m good and able now, am I?” asks Jamie. He turns when Raines doesn’t answer, to see Marsali standing there. Jamie asks what she is doing there and Raines says that Marsali has persuaded him that Jamie will not rebel. Marsali tells Raines to ask Jamie for his word, adding that once he has given that, he will never break it. Jamie asks again what she is doing and she goes over to the bars. “Give him your word,” she says, “and he’ll set you free.” When he shakes his head, she continues, “You can’t see what he’s done for you, can you?” Jamie thinks she means Raines, but it is Fergus that she is talking about. Jamie tells her that what Fergus did was done for her. “If you believe that,” Marsali replies, “you don’t deserve to be let out of here.” Jamie looks after her, deep in thought. 

Moments later, Raines allows the now freed Jamie a few minutes alone with Fergus and Marsali before being put to work. Jamie promptly gives his blessing to the couple, telling them that they can be married in Jamaica, by a priest. He tells Fergus that the young man needs to prove himself to Marsali as much as Jamie. Raines calls for him and Jamie leaves the young couple to embrace.

Meanwhile Annekje is motioning Claire to the edge of the ship. She points out the approaching land and tells Claire she should jump. Claire is stunned. 

She can’t jump into the ocean in the middle of the night, she tells her friend: she will drown. But Annekje explains that Claire won’t drown, uncovering a raft and telling her that the water will move her to the land. Annekje is insistent: Jamie will hang, she says. This is Claire’s only chance. She hands Claire a purse full of money and helps her to remove her shoes and skirt. They tie the bundle together and put it on top of the makeshift raft. Uttering a terrified “Jesus H Roosevelt Christ”, Claire jumps into the water below, making the ultimate leap of faith as the episode ends. 

If episode 9 was about trust, episode 10 is about love and what people are prepared to do for the people closest to them. Many of the characters do indeed attempt to move heaven and earth in this hour. Chiefly, the honour belongs to Fergus, who risks the permanent disapproval of the man he loves like a father in order to keep both Jamie and Marsali safe. But Elias also gives his all (and ultimately, his life) to help Claire, as does Annekje Johansen, who comes up with not just one, but two escape plans, so that Claire can try and warn Jamie. Both Jamie and Claire are reminded of the force of the love between a parent and a child, even though the “children” in each case are not their biological offspring. Elias spends his last moments calling Claire “Mother” and Jamie refers to Fergus as Mon Fils - “my son.” Brianna is still ever present in their thoughts though, represented by Jamie’s photos and Elias’ rabbit’s foot.  Finally, the episode shows the raw love that is borne out of desperation, as both Claire and Jamie try to reach each other. It will certainly take more monumental effort on their part to do so.

This recap was written by Susie Brown, a teacher-librarian and writer who lives in Australia. She enjoyed the episode - even the added bits - but did wonder why Jamie didn’t hurry to hide the photographs when Raines entered? If Raines was suspicious of Jamie before, what would he have thought of the photos?!

No comments:

Post a Comment