When composer Bear McCreary tweaks the Outlander opening theme song, you know we’re in for a change! Ahoy mates! It’s off to the New World!
Recap – Episode #309 “The Doldrums”
Jamie and Claire are at the docks with cousin Jared who’s in town. Remember Jared? He’s the well-connected Fraser that helped establish Claire and Jamie in France last season. Jared figures out that Young Ian was likely kidnapped by a ship named the Bruja, since it’s the only three masted ship that left recently. It’s based out of Jamaica and since the ship was low in the water (meaning it was filled with stuff), it’s probably headed back home to unload the goods. He’s optimistic that since Young Ian is a healthy lad he’ll be sold for $30 and that’ll keep him safe until Jamie and Claire can rescue him. Jared’s a real comforting guy.
Jared secures them a spot on the Artemis which is also headed to Jamaica. Jamie will be the ship’s supercargo so he’s in charge of the freight. Claire will be the ship’s physician – no surprise there. They’ll get a cabin and space for Fergus, Willoughby, Leslie & Hayes.
Now Jamie is blaming his happiness at having Claire with him again for their misfortunes and offers to let her go. Claire, who last episode said the same, denies that and insists they stay together. OMG THESE TWO – MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MINDS!
Since this is a dangerous quest, Jamie offers to let Claire stay behind, but she’s also focused on rescuing Young Ian. They’ve sent Jenny and Ian a letter to say “Young Ian is taking a surprise trip to the West Indies with some new friends who may have parrots and peg legs! We’re totally on it!,” so it’s probably safer for Claire to confront blood-thirsty pirates anyway. It’s a great time for us all to remember that Jamie is not good on boats and gets violently seasick. Best. Trip. Ever. Right?
Artemis shoves off and an already queasy Jamie vows not to see Scotland again until Young Ian is rescued. It’s a very melancholy moment. Let’s also take a moment to talk about the fact that Claire has been in the same Batsuit since she returned. You know it has to smell by now. Can the poor woman not get a new outfit?
The sailors are uneasy with a woman and a redhead on board since they’re both bad luck. Claire notices the crew members all rub a horseshoe nailed into a post and scoffs at the superstition. Jamie talks her into rubbing it so no one can accuse her of bringing any disasters to the ship. Famous last words, right?
Speaking of disasters, remember Fergus talking about the girl whose parents wouldn’t agree to the match? Well he’s smuggled his newly handfasted bride, Marsali, on to the ship. Yeah, Laoghaire’s oldest girl is on board and now they’re all one big happy, reunited family, right?
Nope. Jamie thinks it’s too dangerous for Marsali to come with them and wants to end the marriage. Thankfully Fergus has not lain with her yet. Marsali, proving she’s quite stubborn, wants Fergus or she’ll tell everyone she’s ruined anyway. Jamie says she can stay, but she’s rooming with Claire and he’ll room with Fergus. Claire is unhappy about not getting quality time with Jamie and rooming with Marsali who keeps shrieking “whore!” at her. Like mother, like daughter.
Claire checks on Jamie who is holed up in his cabin and a bit of a drama queen when he’s sick. She spots a chest in the corner and opens it to discover her clothes from Paris from over 20 years ago. Jamie kept them all these years because he couldn’t bear to sell them off. However, he’s apparently given some to Marsali. Claire’s okay with that, probably because she’s just happy to get to wear something other than the Batsuit!
A sailor gets bopped on the head, so Claire is immediately called to work. The superstitious sailors start thinking someone forgot to touch the lucky horseshoe so there’s trouble ahead. Captain Raines, coming to see what the fuss is about, invites the Frasers to dine.
Claire (sans Jamie who is in no shape to eat anything solid) dines with the captain. (She’s wearing a new outfit!!!!) She finds the captain is more pragmatic than superstitious, but he seems deathly afraid of doing anything to provoke mutiny. He urges Claire not to make light of their superstitions.
Jamie has a heart-to-heart with Fergus and protests that his own quick marriage to Claire was an arranged marriage. Fergus calls bulls**t on him because Jamie’s told him how in love he was with Claire from the start. So that’s a swing and a miss for Jamie.
Jamie brings up Fergus’s, um, colorful past, but Fergus already told Marsali where he grew up and what he did. Strike two.
Jamie points out Fergus always has other women around, but Fergus assures Jamie he’s curtailed his playboy frolics so he can be worthy of Marsali. Strike three! Jamie’s now convinced that Fergus is serious, but he still doesn’t approve the match.
Later, Willoughby catches Jamie heaving over a bucket and offers to cut off his testicles since prolonged vomiting will make them painful. Helpful dude.
Meanwhile Claire and Marsali share a not-so-loving step-mother/step-daughter chat. It’s filled with more name calling. Shocker.
The next day, Claire (back in the Batsuit) bumps into Willoughby who’s composing poems. She learns he’s a writer and is writing his life story. She wants to hear it, but he’s not ready because once the story is told, you must let it go. Some deep philosophical stuff coming from Willoughby here.
Time passes as the crossing takes months. Jamie finds his appetite and his sea legs, but not due to one of Claire’s brews, but because Willoughby is using acupuncture. (Who’s making Jamie pincushions on Etsy? C’mon, we know someone out there is doing it, send us the link!)
One day, the wind stops and so does the Artemis. The crew shrugs and figures it will pick up. Weeks later, it hasn’t, and they’re running low on supplies. The crew is getting restless.
Jamie and Claire manage to sneak in some quiet moonlight time. No shared cabin for months. Claire’s grey hairs are starting to show, but it’s all good to Jamie. She tells him a little more about Brianna growing up.
The next morning still no wind, so the oh-so-enlightened crew thinks throwing someone overboard will solve their problems. At first they pick out Willoughby because they’re racist, but someone points out he did touch the horseshoe. You figure they’ll turn on Claire next, but nope they blame Hayes. They run him up one of the mastheads and are ready to lynch him. Jamie climbs up after him and talks him down, the crew is not happy. Willoughby suddenly starts reciting his life story.
The crew gets distracted as he confesses he was a poet who refused to become a eunuch so he could serve the Emperor’s wife. But after that sacrifice of not making a sacrifice of his manliness, he now lives in exile with women who won’t touch him. He dramatically throws his book-in-progress into the wind which is now blowing. The crew cheers and hurriedly gets ready for the rain storm and the wind. Willoughby saw a seagull flying low so he knew wind was on the way.
Crisis averted! Jamie and Claire take the opportunity to give us a good ole ‘if this boat is rocking, don’t come a-knocking!’ below deck.
They’re on their way when a British man-o-war, The Porpoise, pulls them over. Jamie’s worried that they will raid the Artemis for help and makes Claire promise to continue on the quest for Young Ian. The acting captain (barely old enough to shave) climbs aboard and instead of needing sailors, he wants a medic.
The Porpoise has an outbreak with half the crew dead or dying. Claire, ever the righteous physician, boards their ship to diagnose an outbreak of Typhoid. She offers to help them get started on treatments before returning to her ship. Captain Baby Face panics and takes off for Jamaica immediately — with Claire on board. He promises she will reunite with The Artemis when they land in Jamaica.
Great. Now she’s kidnapped too!
Reflection – what did we think?
Alicia: I need to watch this again and take a drink every time I feel there is heavy foreshadowing.
Erica: With so much plot packed in tightly, the writers don’t have enough time to hide clues. Clearly this wasn’t going to be an easy crossing. I miss the pace of the previous seasons where they could include some additional scenes like the wool woulking.
Alicia: Can I ask what is up with the costume department this season? Is there a plausible reason Claire hasn’t worn anything else since her return to Scotland? You know Jenny would have found something for her to wear, because otherwise that outfit is getting ripe.
Erica: Um, because she’s too tall to wear Jenny’s clothes? *Shrug*
Alicia: Marsali is definitely Laoghaire’s daughter and the actress is doing such a great job with that!
Erica: I’m not liking Marsali so far so I guess it fits. We really need to see a tender scene between her and Fergus and one with her and Jamie. It’s really a puzzle why these guys are protective of this screaming shrew.
Alicia: Well, it took some time for me to warm up to her in the book, too, so I think it fits.
Erica: Just when Claire and Jamie find each other, they get ripped apart again! Hopefully it’ll be less than 20 years before they get back together!
Alicia:You have to wonder with that shot in the opening credits with a woman washing up on shore…EEP!
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Erica: Some story edits again, but this was never one of my favorite parts of the book so I’m good with these changes. They hit the main story beats.
Alicia: I am sad we didn’t get the scenes in France, especially Claire visiting Faith’s grave and seeing Mother Hildegarde again.
Erica: Very true. Faith is such a heartbreaker. It’ll be a nice bonus for any TV show viewer who reads the books later.
Alicia: I don’t quite understand why they felt the need to add in the superstition, but I guess they needed the drama? They are really determined to make Mr. Willoughby’s character a lot more likable and less of a buffoon in the show than the book. I like those changes at least.
Erica: I’m still a little tense each time he’s on screen, but they managed to make him and people’s interactions with him more human and less a caricature.
Alicia: Outlander still sticks closer to the source material than most of the ‘book to show’ out there.
Erica: Some shows are pretty unrecognizable, but this is definitely Outlander. Just four more episodes to go! I wonder just how many familiar faces we’ll see this season and how many more will pop up next season. Ron Moore made a comment that implied we will definitely see Murtagh again.
Alicia: I’m still in denial there.
Erica: I miss Angus and Rupert. Yes, they’re dead so they won’t be coming back, but Leslie and Hayes are not even close to those guys (mainly because we barely know their names at this point).
Alicia: And because they cut his gang down from six to two they completely cut out the whole subplot of their being a man in the ranks actively trying to kill Jamie.
Erica: More streaming for a different medium. I don’t really miss that subplot.
Alicia:Another HUGE foreshadowing bit I forgot about that they haven’t mentioned…Jamie and Claire’s tomb in Scotland. She’s seen the headstone. It’s one of those things that keeps us all on edge in the subsequent books because you’re always wondering if they really are buried there or if the stone is there as a memorial and if so, who built it?
Erica: Oh right. It is important because it weights on Claire’s mind, but I always thought that Herself changed her mind on where things were going and later put a throwaway reason for the headstone. (That’s just my impression, I have no confirmation on that.) I didn’t really buy into Frank putting in a tribute so it’s just as well that it’s gone.
Alicia: I remembered this being one of favorite books, I tore through the 1,059 (mass market) pages in two days. Rereading it, I’m sort of questioning that now. Maybe because I read so quickly last time I glossed over so much. I remembered Ian’s kidnapping, the plague ship, Laoghaire nearly killing him but there’s a lot I forgot too. If nothing else I appreciate that the show is giving me a reason to reread and draw more out of these books.
Erica: I want to give the show as much a chance as possible so I last re-read through The Fiery Cross before season 1 came out. (Clearly my memory isn’t what it used to be.) This really is a big transition book since we say goodbye to old Scotland, the story splinters off with Bree and Roger and Herself explores the physics for the sort-of magic. It’ll be interesting to see how the show deals with those scenes.
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
What did you think?
Here’s what’s up for next week’s episode titled “Heaven & Earth”
Claire races to discover the source of an epidemic aboard a disease-stricken ship before hundreds of sailors die. And as Jamie locks horns with Captain Raines, Fergus finds himself torn between loyalty and love.
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