Claire sails farther and farther from Jamie as she tends to the ailing men of the Porpoise
Moving “Heaven and Earth” for the one you love is certainly a romantic gesture, but not always the wisest one — a lesson learned multiple times over in this week’s episode of Outlander.
As you’ll recall, Claire was “kidnapped” last week by the acting captain of the British man-of-war the Porpoise, consigned to treat the soldiers stricken with typhoid. When Jamie spies the ship setting sail with his wife, he yells at the crew of the Artemis to pursue. But Jamie is not the captain of the vessel, and when the real captain tells him to stand down, he refuses. He’s restrained and locked up below deck.
On the Porpoise, Claire meets resistance from some of the crew members, unaccustomed to taking orders from a “lady doctor.” But she finds an ally in young Mr. Pound, a 14-year-old soldier who helps Claire care for the sick men and even comes up with the idea of distilling the ship’s alcohol to use as a disinfectant. But Mr. Pound is dealt a harsh blow when, while making the rounds with Claire, he finds his friend Jim dead. Jim’s body is prepared for burial at sea, stitched into a large canvas bag. Mr. Pound (Elias) explains to Claire how a friend must do the final stitch.
Despite Claire’s best attempts to stop the spread of the disease, more men continue to fall ill. She requests the ship’s logs to see if she can find the source of the infection. It seems to have started in one particular mess — all the men in those quarters have died save for one…who’s now working in the galley (i.e. touching everyone’s food with his dirty hands). Claire insists the man be put in quarantine.
Meanwhile back on the Artemis, Jamie is also sick. Seasick, that is. Behind bars, he can’t get his acupuncture treatments from Mr. Willoughby. But the guards do allow a visit from Fergus, whom Jamie instructs to purloin the cell keys and free him so they can take command of the ship and sail after Claire. It’s a risky (and, let’s be honest, harebrained) scheme. I didn’t entirely buy the urgency — Jamie knows the other ship is bound for Jamaica, as well. Sure, they may be a day or two ahead, but Claire isn’t in any imminent danger, is she? Whatever the case, Fergus is loath to help, but Jamie promises to give him and Marsali his blessing if the plan succeeds. If.
Fergus tells his plan to Marsali, who is also dubious. As they kiss, she presses for them to do more. “It may be our only chance,” she insists. But Fergus, after a few torrid moments, refuses, saying he promised Jamie they’d abstain. “You’re just like him, you know,” Marsali says. “Stubborn.”
Fergus follows Jamie’s orders and sneaks to the captain’s quarters, but he hears how the captain and his crew members speak of Marsali — what they want to do to her — and he knows he can’t risk being arrested (or worse), leaving her to fend for herself. He tells Jamie as much.
As Claire continues to minister to the sick, she gets a call about a new victim — the husband of Mistress Johansen, who tends the ship’s goats. But it isn’t typhoid the man suffers from; it’s alcohol poisoning. He took it upon himself to drink nearly a whole jar of the distilled liquid meant to serve as a disinfectant. But he’ll live. As she makes to leave, Claire spies a colorful swathe of fabric — it’s the Portuguese flag. Hopeful, she seeks out the captain to identify the ship they rendezvoused with a few weeks prior. He’s not in his office, so Claire leafs through his log. She finds the ship in question (it’s not the Bruja), and she also stumbles upon some troubling information. It turns out, a Mr. Harry Tompkins recognized Jamie, and they’ve jotted down the traitor’s information, including his whereabouts on the Artemis.
In order to track down this Tompkins, Claire tells Elias a lie (so many lies this season!). She tells him the man is a second typhoid carrier on the ship and needs to be brought in. It’s not long before a ragged man is dragged in front of her — and it’s not a new face. It’s the exciseman’s sidekick who attacked Ian in the print shop! She asks to examine him privately, grabbing one of her many sharp surgical tools.
“Now, you’re going to tell me exactly what you know about my husband,” she warns him.
He doesn’t blanch: “I’d be more than happy to see the inside of a casket,” he replies. After all, he’s been disfigured from the print shop accident and forced into service on a ship full of disease. Anything would be better, really. But he does tell her what he knows: There’s not only a warrant out on Jamie for treason but also for murder, because that body entombed in the keg of creme de menthe has been uncovered. (You’ll remember the deceased was Claire’s victim, not Jamie’s.) Claire realizes she has no way of warning her husband about his fate once he steps onto the beaches of Jamaica and, in fact, she’s being used as bait.
Claire tells her woes to Mistress Johansen, who wants to help. But her advice is puzzling: “My goats need grass.”
One thing Claire needn’t worry about is the spread of typhoid — the disease now seems to be contained. Except, it claims one final victim: poor young Mr. Pound. Claire missed the signs — she thought he was just overworked and tired. As his body is being stitched into a bag for his burial at sea, Claire drops the rabbit’s foot he gave her onto his chest. The man preparing Elias’ body offers Claire the final stitch: “It should be done by a friend.”
The next day, the Porpoise reaches Grand Turk, and Claire finally understands Mistress Johansen’s words. She and Claire embark for the island to feed the goats, and Mistress Johansen tells her to flee and she’ll cover. Claire doesn’t get very far before running into Captain Leonard doing rounds on the island. She lies and says she was looking for herbs. He says she must go back to the ship: “I cannot let you warn your husband,” he says. So he knows for sure about Jamie and isn’t going to “look the other way.”
Mistress Johansen isn’t done with Claire yet, though. That night, when she spots lights on the horizon, she tells Claire to jump overboard — she’ll throw a few floating barrels after her to use as a raft. Claire, obviously, is not keen on throwing herself into the ocean in the middle of the night. But Mistress Johansen insists. So, stripped down to her underthings, Claire takes the plunge. Literally.
Jamie, meanwhile, is finally being freed from his cell as there is an all-hands-on-deck situation on the Artemis. He’s given this “privilege” thanks to Marsali petitioning the captain, and he’s forced to give his word that he won’t try to escape. (We know Jamie is a man of his word.) Touched by Marsali’s act (and perhaps even by Fergus’ defiance), Jamie gives them his long-awaited blessing to get married in Jamaica. By a priest. Here’s hoping fugitive Jamie actually makes it to the ceremony!
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