***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for Outlander through Season 3, Episode 10, and Book Spoilers through Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager follow. Spoilers***
As readers well know, Voyager is a sprawling, jam-packed tome, and bringing it to any screen requires judicious editing. And while every episode can’t be all bodice-ripping sexual tension, or centered on the love between Jamie and Claire, “Heaven and Earth” did manage to tread the line of playing out their independent stories in an affecting way. Split by the sea, aboard separate ships, the Frasers each assessed their situations, adapting accordingly as they tried to navigate back toward each other, with varying degrees of aid and success.
If watching men retch as decks are swabbed isn’t your thing, thankfully the opening montage didn’t last longer than it took for Claire to explain the spread of disease by hand and infected feces to the incredulous remaining crew. Making do with grog for disinfectant (at least, until a couple of onboard distillers can root pure alcohol from rum), Claire is assisted by a surprisingly stirring 14 year old midshipman, Elias Pound (Albie Marber); together they carry out necessary measures to slow the Typhoid as best they can.
Fergus attempts wheeling and dealing with Jamie, hoping to secure his blessing to marry Marsali. When Jamie hears his wife has been taken captive by the Porpoise with a promise she’ll be safely delivered to Jamaica, his temper and threats land him in the ship’s brig … leaving his charge (and Marsali) in a markedly better bargaining position. As Claire traces the sickness to its galley worker source, jailed Jamie’s own stomach roils without access to Willoughby’s acupuncture treatments.
A quick alcohol poisoning diagnosis pays much needed dividends when Claire discovers the Captain knows Jamie’s true identity, and plans to turn over her husband for sedition and possibly, murder. Knowing she has to find a way to stop him from reaching Kingston, Claire twice accepts grateful Annekje Johansen’s (Chanelle de Jager) help. As Marsali negotiates her Jamaican marriage and Jamie is freed from his cell, Claire bids her painful adieu to a sweet, young boy, and jumps ship — literally — in the hopes of reaching shore and help with saving Jamie’s life.
Overall, this hour felt mostly like filler, but because of its actors — both regular and guest — it managed to be a decent episode. I didn’t necessarily want to watch the progression of Claire’s dealing with a diseased ship; while parts felt slow and yawn-worthy, there were enough good moments sprinkled through to outweigh the boredom.
That’s another round of great casting, especially in the case of Albie Marber as Elias Pound. In the space of a single episode, Marber quickly worked Elias’ way into our hearts. That scene near the end, when Claire found him in the hammock, answered that she was his mother to the delirious lad, was utterly heartbreaking — both because of Caitriona Balfe’s continued excellent performance, and Marber’s lasting impression.
Likewise, with only a few words of broken English, Chanelle de Jager’s delightful Annekje made the most of a couple small scenes.
I’m really glad Claire gave back Elias’ rabbit foot, because that thing brought the poor kid neither luck nor health.
GOOD GODS, THE NOSE SEWING ALMOST BROKE ME … TWICE. Yes, “the last stitch” is a real thing.
Many fans are ***Book Spoiler*** upset that Claire didn’t meet Lord John Grey on the ship, as she did in Voyager, but the writers promise that moment will take place in a a different way. Since the decision was made for Jamie to tell Claire about Willie, it didn’t necessarily make sense for the meet-up to happen now, and I don’t mind that the series plays around with the story. As long as the main beats are hit, it’s expected that things get switched up a little bit. ***End Book Spoiler***
Is it just me, or was Jamie being a total dick to Fergus? I’m actually glad Ferg didn’t do exactly as Jamie wanted — stood up for himself and for Marsali, who points out her life would be in danger if something happened to Fergus. And good for Marsali, standing up for Fergus to Jamie.
In case you hadn’t realized, yes, that is Game of Thrones‘ Stephen Dillane’s (Stannis Baratheon) brother, Richard Dillane playing Captain Raines.
The cook on the Porpoise is über creepy, and for a minute there, I was genuinely worried for Claire. Chalk up another good Outlander casting with Lawrence Joffe as Bernard Cosworth.
Claire, explaining that Joe Howard is the Typhoid carrier: “They’re dying because the source of the disease is serving food.”
Jamie to Fergus: “There’s more than disease on that ship, boy. There are three hundred men. I lost her once, Fergus, I can’t lose her again.”
Jamie when Fergus refuses to help him out of the cell: “I see I was right to withhold my blessing from you; It proves you dinnae ken what love is … Because if you did, you would move heaven and earth. You would risk arrest and death. Even hell. Until you risk all, you cannae speak of love.”
Elias to Claire: “The cook’s always been a disagreeable man.”
Claire (razor in hand) to Harry Tompkins: “Now, you’re going to tell me exactly what you know about my husband.”
Claire explaining compartmentalizing to Elias: “If you let yourself be affected by every death, then you’d never save a life.”