Claire casts away and finds salvation in an unlikely place
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. (Recap continues on next page)