[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for “Outlander” Season 3 Episode 10, “Heaven & Earth.”]
Unrequited, Requited Love
Following last week’s cliffhanger, Claire and Jamie spent the entirety of “Heaven & Earth” separated as Claire battled the typhoid outbreak on the British ship that kidnapped her and Jamie was locked up below on the Artemis for trying to go after his wife. Given how little there was for Jamie to do under those circumstances (other than to brood over his loss), we were forced to navigate the duo’s relationship through monologues and voice-overs. Or, in the case of Claire, the love part of this love story survived through sheer speculation about what might happen to Jamie once all parties reach Jamaica.
Obviously, trouble follows this couple no matter what country (or open body of water) they find themselves in, but it was nice to take a break from that story in order to let each character breathe a little and come into their own. They haven’t had any solo time to digest their reunion since it happened, while tiny old distractions like kidnappings, angry sailors and murderous men showing up in brothels have kept their focus elsewhere.
Knives to a Gun Fight
The conflict between Jamie and the Captain on the Artemis has served as a big reminder of Jamie’s potential for stubbornness and blindness, but it also showcases that Jamie is a character that hasn’t necessarily acquired much wisdom over the past decade. In the past few episodes he’s been quite hypocritical in several situations, but it’s manifested mostly when it comes to Fergus and telling the truth. It’s actually refreshing to see that this male romantic lead is far from perfect, and it’s easy to forgive his shortcomings because they typically tend to happen in the name of love, as his speech about moving heaven and earth proved.
If taken from Fergus’s point of view though, the protégé’s own actions (in spite of Jamie’s guilt trips) were actions taken out of love, both for the man who raised him and for his soon-to-be-wife Marsali. Had Jamie’s escape plan not worked, of course, it would have meant an awful fate for all of Jamie’s men and his adoptive daughter. Jamie was just too blind, in the moment of once again losing Claire, to see it. Luckily, he’s got wise people watching his back.
Losing Your Lunch
Any wagers as to how many puke buckets production went through in the making of this episode? Because between the seasickness and the all-around nastiness brought on by the typhoid fever, we certainly lost count.
A Rabbit’s Foot
Everyone who knew that Mr. Elias Pound’s days were numbered, please raise a hand. As soon as Elias explained to Claire that a friend should be the one to put the final stitch through a dead man’s nose before casting him off to sea, we envisioned Claire doing such an act for her 14-yaer-old assistant-turned-friend. It would have been entirely too Pollyanna for the boy to survive after he had worked so tirelessly with Claire to cure all the others, but his death was a big one for the surgeon. Not only did she fail to see the signs that he had contracted the disease, but the pair had formed a pseudo mother-son relationship that will probably sit with Claire for a good while given her separation from Brianna. Seeing how Elias was dealing with his own mother’s passing must have inevitably reminded Claire of her daughter, and led her to wonder once again whether going back to Jamie was indeed the right thing to do.
A Familiar Face
Sad death or not, the return of the man from the print shop fire who had been so intent on taking Jamie down meant bad news bears for everyone. At this point “Outlander” has become a show so reliant on coincidences and repeat run-ins that it’s not even worth it to dissect the probability of that man being on a ship of 400 people or recognizing Jamie during Captain Leonard’s brief encounter with him. What it does mean is that even in Jamaica Claire and Jamie won’t be safe, now that there’s a warrant out for the Scotsman, and it also means he can’t go home anytime soon. Claire recognized all of this and without being able to escape Captain Leonard’s clutches to warn her husband, she was forced into her most desperate act yet — plunging overboard into the cold waters and hoping the tide would take her to land.
Did anyone else have a hankering for some fresh goat cheese or distilled alcohol after those delicious offerings made their way into the episode? No? No one? Bueller?
At a Stand Still
Despite all of the death and character development coming out of the episode, it’s time the show returned to solid ground where the action can resume. There’s only so much a series can do on a restrictive set like a ship, and while “Outlander” has certainly done a decent job of moving the story along, we don’t need to spend any more time at sea just right now.
By the Book
As book readers probably furiously noted, one John Grey was missing from the British ship and therefore did not have a special bonding moment with Claire the way he did in the book. Considering their conversation was a big catalyst for how the pair regard each other later on in the novel it was a big thing to leave out, and undermined one of Jamie’s most important relationships overall. Whether Grey surfaces later on remains to be seen, but his omission from the story is just one of several from the past few episodes as the story moves further away from Diana Gabaldon’s original vision on “Voyager.” The jury is still out on if that’s a good thing.
Next week: Claire navigates a deserted island while Jamie picks up the crew’s spirits. “Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz and on W Network in Canada.