Outlander: Why episode 10 was the smelliest of them all
To depict a massive breakout of typhoid, the producers didn’t have to move heaven and earth to film “Heaven and Earth,” the 10th episode of Outlander season 3, which aired Sunday. All they did was crowd a ton of extras into a small space with animals — with buckets of rancid milk thrown on the floor to make it look (and smell) ghastly.
“With the amount of people they wedged into these ships with animals, it’s no wonder they got sick!” opines executive producer Matthew B. Roberts of seafarers back in the day. “No wonder typhoid was a problem, along with every other disease they had.”
When episode 10 was shot in South Africa last March, Roberts made sure the deck of the fictitious Porpoise was “stocked full of hammocks with literally s— and vomit and everything.” And the more, the better.
“My first note this season in South Africa was how there was not enough vomit, not enough s—,” recalls Roberts about filming aboard one of the practical ships at Cape Town Studios.
And needless to say, it made for an malodorous shoot.
“It was the first stuff that we shot when we arrived last week and for some reason, their fake vomit smelled like real vomit,” recalls Caitriona Balfe (Claire). “They made it with milk and it had gone rancid, so it was disgusting. There was a lot of free acting that went on there. It looked amazing, but every time we shot on any of those sets, it was cramped and hot and sweaty and was smelling not good.”
The unique presence of the livestock didn’t help. But their inclusion in the episode helped to establish some authenticity.
“We had goats and chickens and all the things they would use on a journey to feed the men,” explains Roberts. “What they would do is stock up, and then progressively kill them off … so not only did everything look good, but it smelled right.”
Want to chat more about episode 10? Tune in at noon ET on Monday, Nov. 20, for another edition of Outlander Live! on EW Radio, Sirius XM 105.
Diana Gabaldon's genre-bending time-travel novels come to life in the Starz series.