Caitriona Balfe is no Tom Hanks and Coco is certainly no Wilson, but Outlander served up a respectable castaway story with this week’s “Uncharted,” which found Claire washed up on the island of Hispaniola — far from her original destination of Grand Turk where she was to warn Jamie of the trap being set for him in Jamaica.
Arriving on the desolate beaches of the island, Claire’s first task is to find water. But save for a few sips taken from a leafy palm, she’s left dehydrated and wandering the jungle in search of a village or port. Unsuccessful, she does stumble (quite literally) over a few pieces of flint, which she uses that evening, along with her bustle as kindling, to start a fire. She awakes the next morning covered in ants, having apparently slept on an ant hill. She spends another day traipsing the wilds, teased by fallen coconuts bereft of water. Ever weaker, she doesn’t even bother setting up camp for the night and falls asleep propped against a tree trunk. This time when she rises, she finds a snake slithering across her body. Claire must never fall asleep in the jungle again.
And she won’t have to because on this third day, Claire finds her salvation. In the distance, she hears a man preaching. She faints before she can reach him, but is soon discovered by his dog. And this time when she awakes, she’s in a proper bed, no wildlife to be found. She is, however, tied up. She spies a glass of water next to her bed and begs the brusk woman tending to her for a drink. She obliges, but refuses to untie her, as that’s the only way to keep Claire from scratching the ant bites up and down her legs. The woman turns to leave, grabbing Claire’s dirty garments and spying the newfangled zipper on her corset. What must she make of this?
When Claire fully comes to, she is met by the aforementioned priest, a Father Fogden. He is chuffed that she is not only an Englishwoman but a healer who seems to have brought good luck with her. After all, his goat Arabella has just successfully given birth — something that hasn’t happened in a long time. Claire is dubious but grateful once Father Fogden explains where they are and that there is a village close by in which she can purchase passage to Jamaica. But first, she’ll need a bath and food.
Later at the dinner table, Father Fogden explains his tortured history — how as a priest in Cuba he fell in love with a married woman named Ermenegilda and fled together. “Love could not be subdued,” he tells Claire. But, sadly, Ermenegilda died not long after, leaving the priest to live with her mother, Mamacita, who is none too pleased to see that her son-in-law is trying to turn Claire into Ermenegilda 2.0. In fact, when Father Fogden explains to Claire that she can’t make the journey to the village alone — that he and “Coco” his coconut sidekick must accompany her in one week’s time— Mamacita is aghast. “That whore must go,” she says.
Realizing she’s at the Father’s mercy, Claire explains that, much like Fogden’s love for Ermenegilda, she has someone waiting for her in Jamaica, and getting to him (like, soon-ish) is of the utmost importance. He seems to understand — but adds that he’ll have to consult Coco tomorrow. Claire, always clever, beats him to the punch, though. The next morning, as she dresses in her freshly laundered and mended clothes, she begins a very loud conversation with Coco. When Father Fogden walks in on their discussion, she begins to relay the coconut’s positive outlook on the day’s travels. But cries of “Father, Father” soon interrupt. It’s Mamacita and she’s discovered the prized goat Arabella, slaughtered and roasted on a spit, the way the Chinese are known to do. Grief-stricken, Fogden pours a jar-full of bugs culled from the sacred cave at Abandawe in Jamaica. This cave, of course, was part of the ravings from Margaret Campbell in “Creme de Menthe.” (“Abandawe will devour ye!”) But that detail must sit for now as there’s another important one to be dealt with: the fact that a Chinese sailor has roasted the pig. Could Mr. Willoughby (and Jamie) somehow be on the island? Claire gets directions to the beach and runs.
We see that Jamie — and a much smaller crew — is indeed on the island, having washed ashore following a high-seas mishap. They’re repairing the masts in order to set sail once more, and here we get a nice juxtaposition of a sprinting Claire and a toiling Jamie. Will she make it in time? Not quite. The crew has already pushed back from the beach. She yells Jamie’s name to no avail, but then remembers the hand mirror she pilfered from Father Fogden and uses it to signal the ship. Jamie sees the signal and asks for the spy glass. “Sassenach!” he gasps, before returning to the beach and his wife. They have a lovely little reunion on the sand, where one of the Highlanders delivers the line of the night: “Mac Dubh’s wife turns up in the most unlikeliest of places, does she not?” Indeed she does.
As Mr. Willoughby sews up the gash on Claire’s arm from her jungle jaunt, Jamie is struck by inspiration. They have a bit of time before needing to sail off to Jamaica, so why not do something joyful…like throw a wedding. Yes, Fergus and Marsali shall be wed on the island that very night and, as luck would have it, Claire knows a priest. What Marsali really wants from Claire, however, is to know how to have sex without getting pregnant. She wants to enjoy marriage for now, not worry about a baby. Claire promises to tell her how once they get back to the ship, and Marsali seems to think Claire may not be “the devil” after all. During the ceremony, Jamie and Fergus also have a nice bonding moment when, in need of a surname for a proper ceremony, Jamie offers up his own to Fergus. Fergus Claudel Fraser. It has a nice ring to it.
Later, back on the boat, a turtle soup-slurping Claire asks Jamie to help administer her penicillin shot. She’s running a fever from her arm injury and needs antibiotics. “Here’s your chance for revenge if you want it,” she drunkenly teases him (the stew is spiked), handing him the needle. “You want me to stab you in the ass with this?” he asks. She nods, but he can’t do it. She takes the needle from him and stabs her bottom; he depresses the plunger. With a mischievous glint in her eye, Claire tells Jamie to the bolt the door. Mr. Willoughby comes knocking, asking if she needs more soup, but her hands are, quite literally, full at the moment…
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