It’s a long way down to where they started… a reflection on Outlander 3.10 “Heaven and Earth”

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In my review of Outlander 3.06 “A. Malcolm”, I wrote about having expectations of the print shop reunion.  I jokingly said I missed the “slobber knocker” scene where they cried and shook with the longing of twenty years streaming down their faces. I got over my missing scene because after I calmed my book-loving self down, I realized what the show had given me was practically perfect in every way. After watching 3.10 “Heaven and Earth”, written by newcomer Luke Schelhaus and directed by David Moore, I thought of my missing “slobber knocker” scene again.  I thought about why it had been important to me and decided it was because it was a visceral reminder of the need Jamie and Claire have of each other.  True to form, the show gave me what I was missing, they just didn’t give it to me as I expected.  This week they gave me that need and the somewhat frightening reality of what that kind of need can do to people.

I have written about why we needed to see the 20 years apart between these two in order to understand the reunion.  I also wrote about the period of transition I thought we were going to see after the reunion.  The show has taken pains to let us see that though our couple’s memories of each other remained frozen in time, they were not.  They both had lives and they are both changed by the time they were apart.  Claire’s fear that she would find the man she left changed came true and she is certainly not the same woman who left Jamie 20 years before.  It has been more difficult than any of us could possibly have imagined.  I believe they are at the core the same people they each fell in love with, but 20 years of wearing masks, suppressing feelings, and doing what you need to do to survive have covered those cores in layers of protection.  It is a long way down to where they started and I’m not sure how long or what it will take to get them both back there, but I think we saw part of that journey in this episode.

 

Confined and Compartmentalized

I’ll admit that I watched and re watched and re re watched the initial hold scene between Jamie and Fergus. I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing. It seemed out of character for Jamie to be so callous and manipulative (and, I saw today that Diana agrees).  It wasn’t a very flattering look for a “king of men”.  I kept watching trying to figure out what exactly the writers were trying to show us.  Then it hit me.  I’d been there.  I’d been Jamie stuck in a cell and powerless to protect someone I desperately loved.  Without going in to too much detail, last December I found myself sitting in an ER with a loved one, powerless to protect them or effect change and angry, very angry.  I would have moved Heaven and Earth to make it different, but there was absolutely nothing I could do and my anger grew to rage.  I understood Jamie attacking Fergus unfairly.  I recognized his displaced anger because I had displaced my own.  I took my frustration out on someone who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I truly think I lost my mind for a bit or a least control of my emotions.  I was being irrational and unfair, but I couldn’t stop myself. With my personal experience on my mind, I watched the scene one more time.

Jamie Confined

I think we are seeing Jamie’s past pain resurface.  Claire being taken from him has brought him to a dark place, I think we see Jamie as close to madness as we have ever seen him.  When he realizes his wife has been kidnapped and the captain is complicit, he reacts violently and as a result is thrown into the hold. Just before he is pushed down into the cell, we see him desperately look to the Porpoise, as it puts distance between him and Claire.  He is once again confined, “I’m well acquainted with the inside of a cell.”  I couldn’t help, but give this statement more meaning than the literal.  Jamie has spent the better part of 20 years without personal agency.  He has been confined in more ways than one.  His being once again behind bars has to be bringing it all back, the loss of Claire and the desolate life he lived without her.  The thought of losing her again is now made more cruel by her miraculous return and their tenuous bond.  He truly can’t lose her again.  He is desperate.

It isn’t just the plague that concerns him, “There is more than disease on that ship there are 300… men.”  A very timely statement given the current atmosphere and the idea that women are never safe from molestation.  As we see what transpires on the Porpoise, we know that Jamie’s fears are not unfounded.  Claire is in danger from men.  He needs to get to her. He needs to protect her.  He needs her. But, he is locked up and powerless to reach her… once again.

In the books, Jamie confesses to Claire that he had not been afraid for a very long time and that with her return he began to feel fear again because he had something to lose once more. I think the show has shown us that reality, in Ardsmuir Jamie tells John Grey to do what he will, there is nothing they can do to him that hasn’t been done.  He had lost everything that truly mattered to him.  And, even though he cares for his men, his family, Willie, Murtaugh, and Fergus, it is his loss of Claire that changed him forever. He is not complete without her and having found her once more he, “…would do more than lie to keep her.” He would in fact move Heaven and Earth and risk Hell, as easily as the prick of a pin.  I can remember sitting in that emergency room my thoughts spinning from one possibility to another, looking for a way out, looking for a way to fix things, looking for a way out of my fear.  Jamie is doing the same. His fear and desperation have made him irrational, he is grasping at straws and ignoring the facts of their situation as described by Fergus.  When Fergus doesn’t buy into Jamie’s irrational and desperate plans, Jamie’s impotent fear and anger become displaced and Fergus becomes the unfortunate target.  In the mist of his despair and displaced anger, Jamie says he was right to deny his blessing on the marriage to Marsali because Fergus doesn’t know what love is.  Saying this out loud brings a last desperate idea to mind.  He will do more than lie to keep Claire, he will in fact, use Fergus’ love for Marsali.  The darkness he has inhabited to survive without Claire has made this possible, but we all cringe at the cruelty and manipulation and we know it will not come without a cost to his relationship with Fergus.

Luckily for Jamie, he has good will on account.  He has lived a life of honor, been there for those God has given him charge of, and sacrificed his own interest for others over and over. “You can trust me to keep my word” says Jamie,”I have always trusted you Milord” says a newly maimed Fergus.  Fergus is in the unique position of knowing what Claire means to Jamie and what he was like after losing her.  And, after hearing the sailors discussing Jamie, himself and Marsali, he realizes what it is Jamie is feeling.  He tells Jamie he will not bring him the keys and place them all at risk.  He tells Jamie he is willing to move Heaven and Earth to keep the woman he loves safe even if that means he cannot marry her.  Marsali understands that it is not only love of her, but love of Jamie that makes Fergus tell him, no.  He will move Heaven and Earth to keep Jamie safe, as well as Marsali.  And, God, I love Marsali for telling him if he doesn’t understand that then he “doesn’t deserve” to be set loose.  They love him and so, they do what is best for him and risk his anger and…forgive him because sometimes we forgive those we love even when they do not deserve it.  Fergus is indeed like Jamie and proves himself to be his son by his noble actions.  To Jamie’s credit, he gets it right in the end and gives them his blessing.

Claire Compartmentalized

Despite my need to see Jamie forgiven and he and Claire together forever and all well between them, Claire stubbornly refuses to reassure Jamie that all is well and that she is there forever.  The specter of those 20 years apart continues to haunt them. There have been moments where she seems to come close and she has never denied her love of him, but just when it seems they are finding a way back to each other something conspires to keep them apart.  I loved the moment in the “Doldrums” when Jamie realizes that he must let Claire be who she has become and lets her go despite his need to keep her by his side. He takes her into the hall, but when he sees her standing there with her arms crossed, a look of challenge on her face, he resigns himself to the reality that she will go whether he says no or not. He touches their wedding ring as he says he has taken an oath or two himself and taken them all seriously.  He is devoted to her and trying hard to be the man she needs him to be. Through out this episode we are reminded that a word given is a bond, Claire, Jamie, Fergus, the Captain all are bound by their oath.

On the English ship, we see Claire slip into her familiar role as surgeon.  She knows exactly who she is when she is healing the sick and it serves to emphasis how unsure she is when she is not.  Watching her deal with the plague was a glorious celebration of the woman who is Claire and I have to wonder if anyone could have done this job besides her.  Her sense of self and her authority in the face of so many men was honed in another time when women in medicine were just as rare and looked upon with suspicion.  Having her abilities, knowledge, authority questioned by men is nothing new.  She handles what ever they throw her way with the aplomb of a woman who has been there and done that.  There is no doubt who is in charge. I loved the irony of authority being given to the youth of the captain and Mr. Pound.  I believe the unusual circumstances that led a third lieutenant to become captain and a 14 year.old to be addressed as sir were actually in her favor.  The band of unlikely save the day.

Claire has never been as open with her feelings as Jamie nor as eloquent in expressing them, but we can judge how she feels through her actions.  She does share with us that she is feeling the impact of being separated from Jamie.  It has been less than a day and fifty miles only that separates her from him, but she tells us it feels like 200 years.  Talking about leaving Jamie and actually leaving him seem to be two totally different things. Despite her misgivings and confusion there is no doubt that she loves him and that the only comfort she finds in him not being with her is that he is safe from the typhoid.  However, she seems to be able to function without him in a way he cannot without her and Elias discovers her secret for us.  She tells him there is a word for what she does, compartmentalizing.  She has learned how to put different parts of her life away into compartments and keep her feelings separate, so that she can do her work.  We know that she has been doing this with her feelings for Jamie for 20 years and we wonder when and what it will take to make her take those feelings out of the boxes she has stored them in and incorporate them into who she is now.  How long will it be before Claire can become whole once more?

We may have seen Claire come close to understanding her need of Jamie when she reads the captain’s log and discovers that Jamie has been found out and is in danger.  We see what she is willing to do to keep him safe.  We see Claire lie to those who trust her, threaten to cry rape, and even commit murder.  I had no doubt that if Claire had believed cutting Thompkins’ throat would have kept Jamie safe, she would have done it, despite her oath to do no harm.  As she listened in horror to the story of the body being found in the cask of Creme de Menthe, the charges against her husband, and the unlikelihood that the captain could be convinced to not write a report once they reach Jamaica, she understands that she may lose him again.  Her eyes filling with tears were powerful evidence that she cannot lose him again and so, she jumps into the bottomless sea for Jamie’s sake. Nice metaphor that.

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No matter what happens around us

The fact that these two were meant to be together is never in doubt for us, but we have to be patient while they peel back the layers and find the way down to where they began.  They need to know that whatever it is between them that they cannot name is powerful enough to keep them together despite anything that goes on around them.  Maybe the very real possibility that they may lose each other again will be enough to make them both accept they are mated for life and fated to be together through time and past all understanding.

Some final thoughts

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Elias: How impressive was Albie Marber as Elias Pound ? ! The character was a delight and I loved his chemistry with Claire.  In the time he was on-screen, Albie managed to make us care about his Elias and as result, mourn his loss. I felt his concern and love for his shipmates and his respect for Claire. His delight in her telling him he was an impressive young man was heartwarming and his cheeky smile at her cursing adorable. His concern for his men touched me, “Feel better Mr. Owens”.  May we all have children of such strength and integrity.  I couldn’t help, but think of the difference between the young men in this episode and the extended period of adolescence in our culture.  It spoke to the fact that children will rise to what is expected of them and that we do our children no favors by taking the opportunity for self-sufficiency away from them.  We need to allow our kids to make choices and mistakes.  Mr. Pound was an impressive young man and if I was his mother, I too would be proud.

Typhoid Fever: Claire’s process in dealing with the plague was fascinating and gruesomely realistic.  The effort that goes into this production continues to stagger.  When Claire looked around the deck, I felt as overwhelmed as she must have been.  I’ve of course never been around something like this, but it felt pretty real.  I was pleased to see there was more to the story than just dealing with the disease.  They did a wonderful job of letting us see the human side of such an event and I couldn’t help, but be reminded of all of the natural and unnatural disasters we have had this year and the stories of humanity that came out of those.  We saw the frailness and preciousness of life, and the real grief over the loss of fellow human beings.  The burials and Lord’s prayer were moving, in the end, we are all the same.  We all want to be loved, cared for and respected.

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Swabbing: On a lighter note, my husband’s favorite uncle retired from the Navy and had a little dachshund he named Swabbie.  I thought Swabbie was the name given to most lower ranked sailors because they “swabbed” the decks.  I got puppy fever one day and came home with two little dachshunds, I promptly named the little brown one Swabbie in an effort to endear my husband to my suprise purchase.  After this episode, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to look at my dog in the same way again.  Swabbie doesn’t sound so cute anymore!

 

 

 

 

 

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100 thoughts on “It’s a long way down to where they started… a reflection on Outlander 3.10 “Heaven and Earth”

  1. Another great blog. I was like you I couldn’t believe that this was Jamie talking but as he said in “First Wife” he would do anything to keep her with him. But once again he sees her sailing out of his life and there is nothing he can do.

  2. Marge

    A great commentary and I really agree with you. I have seen others remark on Jamie’s behavior not being like Jamie, but I think you really got it right. It also gave Fergus and Marsali a chance to show character development. I cried when Elias died – he was an impressive young man/actor.

  3. Mc

    I really liked Elias and wish he could’ve lived on. He had the depth of character similar to the old cast. His chemistry with Claire was heartwarming and I shed a tear as well. I read another blog that was very critical of Jamie’s character wondering why he was written that way. I was taken out of the story by it wondering who he morphed into. Yes characters can act out of character at times as people do but I don’t think it had the effect it was meant to. I agree it was to make Jamie’s desperation over the top but instead it felt off. Fergus’s character seems off as well as if he holds back emotion or fails to speak when he or anyone else would. His younger self was more passionate. I forget how Jamie gets out of this one from the book. Looking forward to them all gussied up for the Governor’s ball.

  4. DRedfearn

    Again, an excellent post!
    I felt Jamie’s pain and fear when he was taking to Fergus, he was desperate. It was heartbreaking.

    You wrote that Claire has never been as open about her feelings as Jamie is – I thought, going back through those stones for the 3rd time spoke volumns! But, I know exactly what you mean!

    So looking forward to the rest of the season!

  5. Beth, thank you for another great commentary. At first it seemed so out of character for Jamie to say what he did to Fergus. My heart hurt for Fergus and for Jamie. But after I watched several times, I came to the point that you did.
    However, I hope that sometime this season we see who Jamie really is.

  6. I always feel better reading your synopsis on an episode that I have trouble coming to terms with. I actually liked this episode, especially the time spent on the Porpoise. It was Jamie’s actions that confused and bothered me. In the book, we never really spent much time on the Artemis so this was new. But reading your take on this makes complete sense. Jamie was going out of his mind from losing Claire yet again and his complete inability to do anything about it other than manipulation and deceit. Let’s hope he can mend things with both Fergus and (God love her) Marsali. Good episode.

  7. Molly

    Well said. Another time when the writers have to fill in the gaps that weren’t in the books, such as what did Jamie do when Yhe ships were saparated.

  8. Wonderful summary, Beth. Caitroina Balfe was brilliant in this episode., trying to use her 20th century medical knowledge to treat the typhoid epidemic on the Porpoise. But she and Jamie knew the danger she was in, and they were again separated by ocean and pain. I’ve read the book, so I know what occurs next. I agree that Jamie was out of character, but with good reason. After suffering for 20 years and then getting Claire back, he realized that he cannot live without her. So we need to give him a “pass” here. I wonder if the character of Lawrence Stern will show up
    In the next episode. I hope so, because he became a good friend and helped both Jamie and Claire in the books.

  9. Thank you Beth for another brilliant blog. I too was shocked at the way Jamie spoke to Fergus and actually said – “there’s no way Jamie would treat Fergus like that”. After 2 viewings and reading your blog I now see it.
    I think I need to practice compartmentalizing when viewing. I shall imagine a wee box (with a lock and key) where I shall place my copy of Voyager and lock it away out of sight when watching.
    I loved Elias, Captain Leonard and Anekje (sp) They were all just as I has imagined them. I missed seeing LJG but totally agree with the decision to omit Claire and his meeting.
    It was nice to see Fergus & Marsali work together in getting Jamie to see he was behaving irrationally.
    I’m sorry you had such an awful experience last December. I can recall being in situations where I was helpless to manipulate the outcome and how frustration very quickly turned to rage. It’s not a pleasant place to be.
    Think I’ll watch episode 10 again then off to bed. BTW Love your wee pooches.

  10. Great review, Beth. I, too, have read others complaining about how Jamie wouldn’t act this way, but your review put it into perspective. Albie Marber as Elias Pound was wonderful. We meet all of these people in the books who we get to know for a little while and then lose. I got teary-eyed over young Elias, which I hardly ever do. That’s life, though, isn’t it? While we have family and friends who remain close to us (hopefully) for years, there are many others who touch our lives for a little while and then are gone. Thanks for your views on the episode, Beth.

  11. Nancy C.

    Hi Beth. This was a great episode for me. Everything you said, of course, but really I turned some kind of weird corner. I moved on from wanting the sex part with tears and kisses and got back to the actual story. If that makes sense. Don’t get me wrong. I love all of love. Outlander – with all of the books, the characters, their lives, the stories – is rich with detail and sharp corners and jagged edges. I totally got that with this episode. It felt like some kind of homecoming.

    While at first dismayed at Jamie’s cruelty towards Fergus, I just knew it was coming from his fear for Claire. And Fergus, who seemed bewildered by this cruelty, ultimately realized where it was coming from. From love. I loved Claire in her element. The whole sick ship and her handling of the issues really brought out her strength. I did cry at the sadness of Mr. Pound’s passing. (I love his name – Mr. Pound – the 14 year old true friend and help-mate of Claire).

    So on we go. In a strange way, this time apart from one another is what is needed to really bring Jamie and Claire back together heart and soul. Not 20 years 200 years apart. This time. It is tangible. This episode and I think the next is pivotal.

    Their life story is just not the two of them. It is an amazing web of characters and stories. This is what we have loved about Outlander. It’s time to go with the flow.

  12. Anna

    Beth, thank you for your new emotional comment! Jamie and Claire here are like two parallels which manage to cross, being separated they seem to be even closer.

  13. Nancy C.

    Just one more comment from me. The music at the end – the music that so moved me at the end of Season 1 – used as Claire jumped ship was nothing short of genius. It felt right. It felt futuristic in every positive sense of the word. Lovely.

  14. Marge

    I, too, loved the character of Elias Pound, and teared up when he died. When Claire added the Friend’s Final Stitch, I almost cried because I could truly FEEL that loss. I have suffered the loss of loved ones in these autumnal months in the past and the losses suffered by the characters in this beloved series bring them anew to the brink of my memory.

    Both book and television series are a catharsis for me. Despite the fact that they are fiction, the works have the power to uncover the readers and viewers deepest, hidden feelings. That is the works’ genius.

  15. Thank you for this review, Beth!
    I was so dissapointed to read all those negative comments about Jamie being so out of character, that I almost lost the pleasure I felt watching this episode. You gave words to my feelings about Jamie acting as he did. Thank you!

  16. First of – yay! Hope you’re feeling better and I was psyched to see your post so early in my morning.
    “To protect someone I desperately love” – my brain went to many trips to the hospital with my husband years ago, and I teared up. I watch Claire and Jamie and cannot imagine the pain they’ve experienced.
    Jamie out of character? Personally I didn’t think that. Desperate? Yes. (It’s not the book it’s not the book). We know Jamie has done plenty to survive. We know the mother of his child was manipulative….why should he not try it to retrieve what he’d lost AGAIN.
    Elias Pound. That precious face. I cried.
    I really enjoyed every moment and and your post really sums it all up so well!

  17. Kathie Manes

    Excellent review! I , too, feel we need to compartmentalize when watching. There is no way possible to include everything in the book. In fact I usually do not like movies based on books when I have read the books. However I feel the writers have done a great job bringing it the screen!

  18. Prue campese

    Thank you Beth ..i have just finished watching tonights episode , andhad seen some negative comments about Jamie beforehand , but when i saw the way it played on screen it seemed quite like Jamie ,,in later books when they are apart ,,the NEED for her to ,be with her, is like agony for Jamie ,,when she taken prisioner by the Browns ,,when she thinks him drowned and he returns but they have not yet reunited , its like a phisical drain on his body and sprit ,,i quite see that is just how Jamie would act..

      • Exactly! We don’t read about what Jamie did or thought while Claire was abducted in the Porpoise. But it’s realistic to see him so totally beside himself – angry, and desperate to get Claire back! I love your blogs, Beth! I totally agree with you!

      • I was thinking the same while reading your post – it is wonderful to see his point of view! I only found the show a few weeks before season 3 premiered. After binging the show, I read the series. So, while still new to this phenomena called Outlander, I am very attached to the essence of Claire and Jamie. I agree with you and Prue – I can see the undercurrent of future desperate Jamie. Especially after the Brown’s take Claire. I can imagine the drum is sounding and McKenzie war cry, and the intensity on Sam’s face when he tells the men Claire has an oath upon her, and he/they will exact revenge for her.

  19. Judi Evans

    I watched this morning…just an hour ago…and ive realised that this is the first episode, since the start, that took me completely out of myself. I watched it fresh and with no expectations! I know the story and like you Beth have been trying hard to separate books from film….it happened this week like a blessing! From the opening credits and wondering where this episode would take us, I was entranced by the details, the atmosphere and Catriona Balfe’s magnificent performance. Young Elias was a treat as was every other character in this ep. I certainly wasn’t expecting that ending! I think think 310 may just become an all time favourite. Thanks again Beth for your insightful essay….always a pleasure to read you! I know from your “title” that you live in a lovely place but your photo confirms it! X

  20. Laurel Bierovic

    JHRC, Beth. How do you do it? I always re-watch the episode after reading your blog, and every week you give a clarity, insight, and focus that deepens my understanding and enjoyment of that week’s storyline. Thank you!
    Anticipation of a long-awaited event can be two-edged and often ends in disappointment. (Reality can rarely meet that level of sustained emotional expectation and, in the case of Outlander, it may be an anticipation decades in the making). There are so many memorable moments in Gabaldon’s books – we all have our favorites – but our emotional investment in some of the iconic scenes makes it nearly impossible to translate from imagination to screen. Of the Fraser’s reunion you wisely wrote, “they just didn’t give it to me as I expected.” An important message to disaffected book-lovers: watch – really watch – and withhold rash judgement. (And read Beth Wesson’s blog!)
    This talented group of writers, directors, and actors are bringing our beloved story to life each week…just not in the ways we may have imagined.

  21. Sharon from S.I.

    Once again, your insights are spot on.

    I was so glad that you spent time to describe the personal impact Claire’s coping mechanism, compatmentalisation,had on you. It also spoke volumes to me because my Dad taught me that lesson when I was a young adult. I asked him how he managed as a young widower with a two year old child, the need to support a family, and other disasters happening around him, he told me how he compartmentalized. It always helped me during my own turmoil because it helped me to be present when It was important to others.

    I also think that so many fans keep commenting about how out of character Jamie’s actions have been this season. I don’t see it that way. In the books (and I’ve read them all) Jamie is not one dimensional. He falters, e,g, with Miss Dunsaney, or in his relationship with Jenny;, and is quite human. I think that what makes his character so wonderful is his humanity, flaws and all. So, I was impressed to see Jamie with all of his emotional baggage, that causedb him to lash out at Fergus. In the end, he makes amends and calls him “Mon Fils”, my son; just as it called back to his reconciliation with Jenny at their parent’s grave.

    And In Jamie’s most dire moment, I was so happy that he took comfort in Brianna’s photos, quickly hiding his precious possessions away, when he perceived danger Those “sneaky” writers did it again!

    So sorry that this went so long. You have a way of getting to my heart strings…

  22. Anne Hetherington

    Yes! to all. Jamie was desperate and totally impotent causing him to become irrational. Another thing that I liked about that story line is that it shows Fergus being a man. Jamie had been his role model, he learned from the best. Fergus assessed the situation and realized that Jamie was desperate and wrong. To protect both Jamie and Marsalie he had to say no to Jamie, whatever the consequences. He was strong enough to do that. I liked that character development as well as testament to Jamies parenting skills.

  23. Shelley Riskin

    As usual, your analysis is so brilliant—thank you! In spite of my efforts, I bring my “book self” to this series. I watched this episode one time and said, “That’s not the honorable Jamie that I know!” “Where is Lord John?” Afterwards, I immediately read your review, and the essence and emotional truth of the episode unfolded for me through your words and insight. Don’t we all lash out most—in our darkest moments, even when it isn’t a crisis—at those we love? And doesn’t the foundation of love and caring of and for our loved ones lead, hopefully, to understanding of ourselves and the asking of forgiveness for hurtful words and human frailty? You also bring a “big picture” viewpoint to all of the episodes, and I look forward to your thoughts once Season 3 ends and we see the arc of the season from beginning to end. I’ve been saying that the first part of Season 3 was so powerful and amazing (through the reunion) that the back part can’t compare. I’m not saying that anymore, thanks to your insightful thoughts. Now to go back and re-watch. Thank you so much!

  24. Nancy Skellenger

    Great insight, as usual. I understood that Jamie was desperate & using anything to get Fergus to help him get Claire back. It reminded me of his conversation w/LJG in Ardsmuir. He stated, in essence, that caring for someone you cannot help is the greatest burden. I feel that was coloring his viewpoint & actions. So, I cut him some slack. In the end, he came to his senses. I enjoyed this episode more than I expected. As usual, the OL team took the book & crafted a stellar hour of TV. Absolutely loved Mr. Pound! His 7 yrs on ships made him mature beyond his years. Kudos to the young actor that played him. RIP

    • Jacquelyn F. Kerner

      As everyone else has said–you’ve done another wonderful job of analysis and bringing up points that I, too, recognized only in my third or fourth viewing this morning (first two had interruptions) and a few I hadn’t thought of, but when I read your piece, I go (as I usually do), “Oh yes, of course!” Loved your comments on what excessive need, fear, and anger (all of which Jamie and Claire are dealing with) can do to people, and what a great illustration the show gives us of it. It’s very human; we all do it or have done similarly, and Jamie is very human.” I thought the same as you and others when I first heard Jamie talking to Fergus, “Wait a minute! How unfair! That’s not like Jamie!” and later realized the differences in the mediums: Diana has an entirely different way and time-line to give us these same ideas and how the show has to do things so differently sometimes to illustrate the same thing. I noticed this viewing the parallels of Captain Leonard telling Claire, justifying his kidnapping of her, because he is “desperate,” and the desperation exhibited by Jamie, Claire, and even Captain Rains.

      I also had some understandings and connections between the books and the show: the dangers women face in general –mentioned by Jamie when he tells Fergus that there is more danger for Claire on the Porpoise than just the plague.
      I saw it with Marsali’s mention of the danger of her being without Fergus’ protection on the ship, and Claire’s particular danger in this 18th century due to both being a woman and being who she is in personality an example her being when Claire being menaced by the cook of the Porpoise. I’ve just recently re-listened to Drums of Autumn and The Fiery Cross (and am now on Echo of the Bone again) and you may recall when Jamie is bitten by the snake, he tells Roger that “if he dies Roger must see that Claire goes back” because she isn’t safe in this time without him and again later when the young Indian tells her he recognized her as a 20th century person because “you don’t act afraid of men; you should act more afraid.” Both her modern sensibilities and her personality sometimes lead her to occasionally underestimate some of the dangers as it does Bree later too.

      I also loved your mention of the importance of oaths, a cornerstone of integrity that most of us these days don’t give much thought to, but it’s a basic part of the core of Jamie’s character, something here that Marsali reminds him of when his emotions have blinded him, and it’s illustrated and paralleled in this episode several times–Claire doesn’t recite the entire Hypocratic (sp?) oath (as I heard someone complain about), but she mentions an oath, and as you noted, we see Jamie’s illustration in his understanding as he touches her wedding ring. Maybe I’m reaching, but I even see a bit of it in Captain Rains’ (is there an e at the end of his name?) mention to Jamie that he has more to think about than just Claire when the safety of his ship and men could be threatened by an official “request” with assurances of Claire’s safety. I liked that after that, which could have been taken as him being “high handed,” he shows his integrity by being persuaded by Marsali to give Jamie a second chance.

      Loved your catching the “jumping into the sea” as a visual metaphor because I missed that until you mentioned it! And like everyone else I’ve read, I totally loved Albie Marber’s Elias Pound! He was wonderful as were his scenes with Caitriona/Claire. He has a very sweet, expressive face and just, to me, looked like the quintessential young British seaman of the time.

      Well, sorry, I think my “comments” are darn near as long as your analysis and not nearly as well put, but I enjoyed the episode and your blog this week and have nothing but kudos to all involved. Thanks again!

  25. Beth, thank you for talking me back from the edge again. LOL Seriously…that scene…those cutting remarks to Fergus…oy! After my 2nd watching, I wasn’t quite as offended, but I wasn’t really ready to forgive Jamie or cut him any slack as Nancy (in the comment above) did. And I never thought I’d hear myself this early in the game saying, “Thank goodness for Marsali!” I loved the episode for a lot of reasons, but Elias and Claire were heartbreaking magic. How in the world do you gather your thoughts so wonderfully so quickly! Takes me days to digest what I’ve seen fully. You’re a marvel! – Dawn

  26. Lee

    You are right, of course. There has never been such a fantastic show made from such outstanding, interesting multifaceted books and I am thankful for it all including the MUSIC. And the wonderful casting.
    Your dogs are adorable.

  27. Phern

    Every time I read your blog post I’m left in a state of amazement as to your ability to perfectly capture the essence of the episode. I’m reading and shaking my head in agreement with your accuracy and the depth of feeling your words evoke. Thank you Beth☺️

  28. Oh Beth ! You Nailed it ! I gasped at Jamie’s acid tongue, his kiniving ways, then I thought back to times in my life when I’d have done anything for one more hour, one more day, with a loved one. Yup, I’d have taken on the Devil himself and” YOU get out of my way”! I thought then, it will’ come ’round’ this is not ‘the real Jamie’. I have only watched this episode 2 times, once on my PC and the other on my big TV. I continue to get frustrated that sometimes accents are so thick, or voices muted, that it takes me 3 or 4 viewings to catch it all. I wept at loosing mr Pound, what a marvelous young Actor, to think a 14 yr old stood between Clair and almost Mutiny…amazing ! Our current 14 yr olds might not put down their I Phones nor turn off Video games to engage in life, let alone death . Elias was an extraordinary Boy in a Man’s world. I wept at all the deaths, my brain not “compartmentalizing” as it once was, age seems to have it’s toll. This was an excellent well crafted episode IMHO.
    LOVE those Doxys ! That is a wonderful fun breed. I raised and showed them , the long hair variety, in another Chapter of my life. They are happy little Clowns who make life such a joy. They will always be my favorite breed.
    BTW a “Swabbie” is an unlisted sailor, one who has no Rank save Boot Camp Graduate. Most of what they do is “scut work” until they prove themselves. One could say they are lowest on the deck…therefore. I love the Name for your Uncle’s dog and now yours, They are quite low to the Deck you see. ( Says this former US Navy Wife of some 21 years)

  29. MsGeorgie68

    Congratulations on a most compelling and engrossing article. My food has gone cold reading this as I had to read this from beginning to end. Describing and understanding human emotions and actions can be really difficult but this piece has explained perfectly the complexities and raw actions and emotions these two characters must be going through after once again being forced apart, and not being able to do anything about it. A first class piece.

  30. Judy Ferguson

    You really gave me insight into the way the characters are being portrayed in the Starz episodes. Thank you for your perspective.

  31. As usual Beth, you are able to capture the emotional matrix of the characters and what they are facing, and how they are responding to what is unfolding. I don’t know what we would do without you!

    Many people reviewing/re-capping the episodes seem to be reacting to what they describe as melodrama, without looking deeper. Claire and Jaime are fragile and will be for some time. Perhaps this is not so obvious in the Voyager book, as there is such a massive story playing out , but eventually in the Drums of Autumn, Claire does express to Jaime how scared she is of losing him when she thinks he may have to return to Scotland to recriut settlers for the Ridge. She speaks of how she has only had him back for a few months and how terrified she is of losing him.

    I am coming to feel part of the challenge of Voyager in adapting it to screen has everything to do with how big the story is, and how many players there are that play pivitol , even if fleeting parts. Annika for example, is who helps and gives Claire the courage to escape by her knowlege of where they are. She needed to be included. There are so many events, people’s actions( many of them fully interelated) happening simultaneously, the writers have had a mammoth task to decide what to keep and what to omit. Not to mention locations and the events happening in the locations: Culloden, Lallybroch, caves, Arsmuir, Boston, Helwater, Edinborough, the high seas, islands and eventually the Colonies, with each place having a distinct emotional landscape. . I really feel for them! They likely would have been helped if they had double the episodes to tell the tale of Voyager, but not to be…

    • Sharon from S.I.

      Adela makes a good point about the challenges of adapting Voyager. It pained me to read the weekly show synopsis by Roxane Gay,the feminist author, in Glamour. She has said that she has not read the books. This week she found the plot twists to be implausible. She liked strong Claire but did not seem to get so much that we readers see in the series.

  32. Angela Hickey

    Thanks for another very thoughtful blog. As someone who struggles sometimes with the show’s occasional mischaracterizations of main characters (POV characters like Jamie, Claire, and Roger, Bree, Lord John, Young Ian to come), I too took some issue with the things Jamie said in this episode to Fergus. I thought it went over the line. However, reading your blog does help me find a way to embrace it.. I can accept Jamie doing out of character things lime this much easier when he is in this hot blooded crazed state of mind. It is much easier to justify this, than it was to accept him intentionally breaking his word in cool calculated blood and acting like.a dishonorable jerk. Reading your post really did help me to accept the change.

  33. chicagoshari44

    Thank you for helping me feel a bit better about the, to my mind, uncharacteristic Jamie of this episode and the uncharacteristic Claire since episode 6. I am anxious for both Claire and Jamie to get past the changes brought about by 20 years of half living and to fully commit to one another again. I think for me, one reason some of the episodes feel a little unsatisfying is due to the show’s timeline being much quicker than the book’s. Because the show does not have unlimited time to explore the relationship, that commitment that I am looking for does not coincide with the events of the book. Claire and Jamie do not have the adventure on the way to Lallybroch to enjoy refinding each other before she is devastated by the news of his marriage to that woman. They don’t have the time the night at Lallybroch to feel “home” and to enjoy each other in a safe place before Laoghaire and her daughters barge in. Claire does not have the ride home with Young Ian to come to the realization that she never would have actually left Jamie, because there was no attempted escape to the stones. There is no time for recommitment during his convalescence because the wound is not as bad and his recovery very short and they are off immediately to take Young Ian to the Silkie Island. This portion of the season has gone at such a breakneck pace with so much missing that fully round out the characters. I missed Young Ian and Jamie going to confession. I missed Nunkie Jamie surrounded by his nieces and nephews. I missed Lord John on the Porpoise protected from the Yellow Fever meeting Claire for the first time. I still can’t imagine what else they will need to cut in order to get Claire and Jamie where they need to be at the end of Voyager and to transition to Drums of Autumn.

  34. Thank you Beth for sharing your reflections on this (and all) episodes. You got it right! Sometimes I struggle with the how or what happened and why is it I feel so strongly about these characters. Being a book fan for over 20 years and now falling in love with the show as well, I am surprised by the depth and breadth of their story. You expressed it so well.

    When I watched Season 1, I thought Sam was a real Scots hunk. Now when I watch the show I only see the man that Jamie has become and the truly beautiful love he and Claire have for each other…especially when either of them is being “unlivable.” What a gift you have to express and explain those actions and feelings so well. And kudos to Albie Marber for a terrific performance. He will be one to watch as he continues his acting career.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  35. Anna

    A new review and a new thank you, Beth! I’m still a bit shocked as it feels weird how much some of your thoughts repeat those of my own. I admire Fergus showing himself to be wise and patient, and Marsali supporting both Jamie and Fergus. I’m so much of the same opinion all the characters are bound by their own oaths not to boast, not to show off but because they really believe in them and need to keep them. How much we are especially touched by the moments which wake our personal emotions and experience, and how much clearer we understand what is going on in the show, and how we are trying with our redoubled passion to explain it to others. I adore the work of the Outlander whole friendly team: they work on every scene with warmth and accuracy, last few episodes show us defferent sides of life aboard the ship, traditions, and coordinated teamwork of the sailors, and reality of the deck covered with vomit, and peace and tranquility of the night sea around. And like the keynote there is this bond between Jamie and Claire felt through the whole episode – it is just there!

  36. Dori

    Another great analysis, Beth. I always question my husband about the show after we watch it. He doesn’t enjoy the process, but I learn a lot. 🙄😊. I specifically asked him about Jamie’s reaction to being unable to help Claire, after Diana agreed on Gacebook, I believe, that Jamie would not react that way. My husband admitted that it seemed a bit out of character, but he elaborated that Jim is gone nuts. He can’t help Claire, he can’t help Fergus or Marsali, or even himself. My husband thought it wasn’t out of character as much as another side of Jamie we hadn’t seen yet. My husband thought it was totally plausible that Jamie would overreact, considering the situation he found himself in, and that he would also write himself by the end of the episode.
    I loved Elias, too! 💕

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