Episode 309, The Doldrums, was a bit doldrumey for me. Is that a word? Wait, don’t beat me up yet! I’m not saying I didn’t like it.
I did like it, Jamie.
Ooops! Sorry, I forgot who I was talking to. (I’ve watched The Wedding maybe ten x 1000 too many times. I hear the lines in my head. Do you?) Yes, I did like the episode but I guess after First Wife almost anything that follows would be somewhat of a letdown – unless it’s a repeat of The Wedding episode, of course. There were some moments I truly loved. The Man in the Moon scene was wonderful, Jamie’s comments about Claire’s silver hair and her reply that he would be considered the King of All Men in the 20th century for saying such things made me giggle and then Mr. Willoughby’s tale was great! You know, I didn’t like Willoughby in the book but I really like his character in the show. The show has done for Willoughby what it did for Murtagh – made his character layered, lovable and sympathetic. I went back to last week’s blog post for my Top Ten Must See Moments for Episode 309 and I didn’t include Willoughby’s tale. In the book, it just wasn’t something I cared about seeing on screen but the way it was adapted into this episode was a nice touch. Speaking of last week’s post, I have gathered my statistics and six of my top ten “must see moments” were included – #’s 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 – although maybe not exactly as written in the books. I’m pretty excited about that and hope I can continue with my better than 50 percent streak in Episode 310, Heaven & Earth. It’s getting more difficult as we go along because I have to guess where the episode may be going in relation to the book. There’s a lot of material to cover and not a lot of time to do it in.
Just so you know, I’ve tried to figure out the meaning of the title of Episode 310, Heaven & Earth. Last week I could give you a pretty sure guess on The Doldrums. I can’t do that for this upcoming episode. Of course, we’ve all heard the expression “move heaven and earth” to do something. Maybe it will be a line? Or perhaps a scene or scenes? Or perhaps it has a more literal meaning. I guess we will see. Do you have any ideas? If so, please share. If not, we will find out soon enough as Season 3 seems to be going by at warp speed. Nooooooooo!!!! I can’t believe we only have four more episodes!!! Let’s not talk about it because I will slip into the doldrums!
OK, now it’s time for me to get on with listing my Top Ten Must See Moments for Episode 310, Heaven & Earth.
Number One: The Gunner’s Wife
In Mrs. Johansen, the gunner’s wife, I had found an unexpected ally. An intelligent woman in her thirties, she had understood—despite her having only a few words of broken English, and my having no Swedish at all—what I wanted done, and had done it.
If Elias was my right hand, Annekje Johansen was the left. She had single-handedly taken over the responsibility of scalding the goats’ milk, patiently pounding hard biscuit—removing the weevils as she did so—to be mixed with it, and feeding the resulting mixture to those hands strong enough to digest it.
Just as I said last week about Aloysius O’Shaughnessy Murphy, the cook for the Artemis, I’m not sure the role of Annekje Johansen has been cast. I love her in the books and it would be nice to see her in the show. She is such a key character for Claire (and Jamie) on board The Porpoise and I would love to hear her broken English! Ja?
Number Two: The One-Eyed Man From Edinburgh
He knew who I was, all right; I had seen it in his face when I opened the door. There was a great deal of tension in the leg under my hand. The injury was gory, but not serious, given suitable care; a deep gash scored down the calf of the leg. It had bled substantially, but there were no deep arteries cut; it had been well-wrapped with a piece of someone’s shirt, and the bleeding had nearly stopped when I unwound the homemade bandage.
“How did you do this, Mr. Tompkins?” I asked, standing up and reaching for the bottle of alcohol. He glanced up, his single eye alert and wary.
“Splinter wound, ma’am,” he answered, in the nasal tones I had heard once before. “A spar broke as I was a-standing on it.” The tip of his tongue stole out, furtively wetting his lower lip.
“I see.” I turned and flipped open the lid of my empty medicine box, pretending to survey the available remedies. I studied him out of the corner of one eye, while I tried to think how best to approach him. He was on his guard; tricking him into revelations or winning his trust were clearly out of the question.
My eyes flicked over the tabletop, seeking inspiration. And found it. With a mental apology to the shade of Aesculapius the physician, I picked up the late surgeon’s bone-saw, a wicked thing some eighteen inches long, a rust-flecked steel. I looked at this thoughtfully, turned, and laid the toothed edge of the instrument gently against the injured leg, just above the knee. I smiled charmingly into the seaman’s terrified single eye.
“Mr. Tompkins,” I said, “let us talk frankly.”
He’s back!!! Remember Sir Percival’s sidekick in Episode 307, Creme De Menthe? He was in the Print Shop when Young Ian and Brighid were, ah, let’s say getting better acquainted. After the fire started, he made off with Jamie’s stash of seditious pamphlets putting Jamie at risk of being hangit – again.
Since it would be terribly tragic to subject that gorgeous neck to a hanging, Claire is loaded for bear – well, actually, she is loaded with a bone-saw. In the book, that’s enough to get Tompkins talking about everything and everybody, especially Sir Percival.
Number Three: The Moment of Grace
As I came up from the galley, the sun was going down into the ocean in a blaze that paved the western sea with gold like the streets of Heaven. I stopped for a moment, just a moment, transfixed by the sight.
It had happened many times before, but it always took me by surprise. Always in the midst of great stress, wading waist-deep in trouble and sorrow, as doctors do, I would glance out a window, open a door, look into a face, and there it would be, unexpected and unmistakable. A moment of peace.
The light spread from the sky to the ship, and the great horizon was no longer a blank threat of emptiness, but the habitation of joy. For a moment, I lived in the center of the sun, warmed and cleansed, and the smell and sight of sickness fell away; the bitterness lifted from my heart.
I never looked for it, gave it no name; yet I knew it always, when the gift of peace came. I stood quite still for the moment that it lasted, thinking it strange and not strange that grace should find me here, too.
Beautifully written by Diana. Is this where the “Heaven” reference in the episode title comes into play, I wonder? This would be a wonderful scene with a voice over by Claire, in my opinion.
Number Four: The Death of a Friend
It was a virulent infection; he came to the sickbay heavy-eyed with fever and wincing at the light; six hours later he was delirious and unable to rise. The next dawn he pressed his cropped round head against my bosom, called me “Mother,” and died in my arms.
I did what had to be done throughout the day, and stood by Captain Leonard at sunset, when he read the burial service.
I don’t really want this to happen but it happens in the book. It is such a moving and emotional moment for Claire and leads her out onto the deck for the meeting with…
Number Five: The Governor
“Stop that!” a voice spoke behind me, and a hand seized my wrist, preventing me from slapping the rail yet again.
“Let go!” I struggled, but his grip was too strong.
“Stop,” he said again, firmly. His other arm came around my waist, and he pulled me back, away from the rail. “You mustn’t do that,” he said. “You’ll hurt yourself.”
“I don’t bloody care!” I wrenched against his grasp, but then slumped, defeated. What did it matter?
He let go of me then, and I turned to find myself facing a man I had never seen before. He wasn’t a sailor; while his clothes were crumpled and stale with long wear, they had originally been very fine; the dove-gray coat and waistcoat had been tailored to flatter his slender frame, and the wilted lace at his throat had come from Brussels.
“Who the hell are you?” I said in astonishment. I brushed at my wet cheeks, sniffed, and made an instinctive effort to smooth down my hair. I hoped the shadows hid my face.
He smiled slightly, and handed me a handkerchief, crumpled, but clean.
“I hear you,” he said quietly. “You shame me, Madam. I had kept to my cabin at the Captain’s orders, but I had no idea that the circumstances were such as you describe, or I assure you that I should have come to help, in spite of them.”
“Why?” I said blankly. “It isn’t your job.”
“Is it yours?” He swung around to face me, and I saw that he was handsome, in his late thirties, perhaps, with sensitive, fine-cut features, and large blue eyes, open in astonishment.
“Yes,” I said. He studied my face for a moment, and his own expression changed, fading from surprise to thoughtfulness.
That’s right. His expression changed, fading from surprise. Claire doesn’t recognize him but he sure recognizes her….and should!
“What it comes to, I think, is the knowledge that you are not God.” He paused, then added, softly, “And the very real regret that you cannot be.”
I sighed, feeling some of the tension drain out of me. The cool wind lifted the weight of my hair from my neck, and the curling ends drifted across my face, gentle as a touch.
“Yes,” I said.
He hesitated a moment, as though not knowing what to say next, then bent, picked up my hand, and kissed it, very simply, without affectation.
“Good night, Mrs. Malcolm,” he said, and turned away, the sound of his footsteps loud on the deck.
Good night, Governor. We’ll see you again soon!
Number Six: The Escape Plan
“We come to land?” I asked, and she nodded, with a wide, happy smile. She waved expansively upward, where sunlight fell through the grating overhead.
“Ja. Smell?” she said, sniffing vigorously in illustration. She beamed. “Land, ja! Water, grass. Is goot, goot!”
“I need to go to land,” I said, watching her carefully. “Go quiet. Secret. Not tell.”
“Ah?” Annekje’s eyes widened, and she looked at me speculatively. “Not tell Captain, ja?”
“Not tell anyone,” I said, nodding hard. “You can help?”
She was quiet for a moment, thinking. A big, placid woman, she reminded me of her own goats, adapting cheerfully to the queer life of shipboard, enjoying the pleasures of hay and warm company, thriving despite the lurching deck and stuffy shadows of the hold.
With that same air of capable adaptation, she looked up at me and nodded calmly.
“Ja, I help.”
Ja, I love Annekje! How do you pronounce her name anyway? It sounds like this in my North Carolina brain – Ank-e-gee. I am quite sure that is not correct. Help!!!
Number Seven: The Disclosure
Captain Leonard bit his lip, then looked up.
“I had not meant to say anything to you, ma’am. But I—really I cannot in honor keep silence. Mrs. Fraser, I know your name, and I know what your husband is.”
“Really?” I said, trying to keep control of my own emotions. “What is he?”
The boy looked surprised at that. “Why, ma’am, he is a criminal.” He paled a little. “You mean—you did not know?”
“Yes, I knew that,” I said dryly. “Why are you telling me, though?”
He licked his lips, but met my eyes bravely enough. “When I discovered your husband’s identity, I wrote it in the ship’s log. I regret that action now, but it is too late; the information is official. Once I reach Jamaica, I must report his name and destination to the authorities there, and likewise to the commander at the naval barracks on Antigua. He will be taken when the Artemis docks.” He swallowed. “And if he is taken—”
“He’ll be hanged,” I said, finishing what he could not.
Captain Leonard, do you want Claire to take the bone-saw to you too? You might want to talk to Harry Tompkins, then just take your quill and mark through your entry in the log. Mistakes happen, dude. You’ll thank me later, believe me!
Number Eight: The Foiled Escape
Standing just out of sight, I watched as she went on arguing, thrusting her goatling urgently in his face, forcing him a step back, a step to the side, maneuvering him artfully just far enough that I could slip past behind him. No more than a moment, now; he was almost in place. When she had drawn him away from the head of the gangplank, she would drop the goat and cause sufficient confusion in the catching of it that I would have a minute or two to make my escape.
I shifted nervously from foot to foot. My feet were bare; it would be easier to run on the sandy beach. The sentry moved, his red-coated back fully turned to me. A foot more, I thought, just a foot more.
Run for it, Claire!
Directly before him stood Annekje Johansen and her goat, still in heated conversation with the sentry.
“What is this?” Captain Leonard demanded angrily. “Remove this animal from the deck at once! Mr. Holford, what are you thinking of?”
Annekje’s eyes flicked from the captain to my face, instantly divining what had gone wrong. She stood still, head bowed to the captain’s scolding, then marched away toward the hatchway to the goats’ hold, clutching her yearling. As she passed, one big blue eye winked solemnly. We would try again. But how?
Dang! Captain Leonard is such a spoilsport but I shall not give up on Annekje!
Number Nine: The Leap
“Jump,” she said simply.
“You’re crazy!” I said in horror.
She chuckled in deep satisfaction at my understanding. “Ja,” she said. “But it vork. Vater move you.” She pointed to the end of the Mouchoir Passage, to the coast of Hispaniola, and stirred the water in the pan once more. We stood side by side, watching the ripples of her manufactured current die away.
Annekje glanced thoughtfully sideways at me. “You try not drown, ja?”
I took a deep breath and brushed the hair out of my eyes.
“Ja,” I said. “I’ll try.”
Ja, ja, Claire! It vill vork. Vhat vould be vorse than drowning? Living vithout Jamie, you silly voman!
Number Ten: The Search
“Tell me where my wife is!” he said, in a tone that had made stronger men than Harry Tompkins fall over their feet to obey.
“She’s lost!” the man blurted. “Gone overboard!” “What!” He was so stunned that he let go his hold. Overboard. Gone overboard. Lost.
“When?” he demanded. “How? Damn you, tell me what happened!” He advanced on the seaman, fists clenched.
The seaman was backing away, rubbing his arm and panting, a look of furtive satisfaction in his one eye.
“Don’t worry, your honor,” he said, a queer, jeering tone in his voice. “You won’t be lonesome long. You’ll join her in hell in a few days—dancing from the yardarm over Kingston Harbor!”
Too late, Jamie heard the footfall on the boards behind him. He had no time even to turn his head before the blow fell.
Somebody just stepped into a big pile of doo doo and don’t blame the goat! There will be a price to pay for that!
There was the sound of a door opening, and bright light struck him in the eyes with the force of a blow.He winced, closing his eyes against the glare of the lantern.
“Mr. Fraser,” a soft, well-bred voice said. “I am—truly sorry. I wish you to know that, at least.”
Through a cracked eyelid, he saw the drawn, harried face of young Leonard—the man who had taken Claire. The man wore a look of regret. Regret! Regret, for killing her.
Fury pulled him up against the weakness, and sent him lunging across the slanted deck in an instant. There was an outcry as he hit Leonard and bore him backward into the passage, and a good, juicy thunk! as the bugger’s head hit the boards. People were shouting, and shadows leapt crazily all round him as the lanterns swayed, but he paid no attention.
He smashed Leonard’s jaw with one great blow, his nose with the next. The weakness mattered nothing. He would spend all his strength and die here glad, but let him batter and maim now, feel the bones crack and the blood hot and slick on his fists. Blessed Michael, let him avenge her first!
There were hands on him, snatching and jerking, but they didn’t matter. They would kill him now, he thought dimly, and that didn’t matter, either. The body under him jerked and twitched between his legs, and lay still.
Sorry about your nose, Captain, but obviously you only thought you knew who Jamie Fraser was. See, if you had only just taken your quill as I suggested earlier and scratched out that log entry then Claire wouldn’t have been forced to jump overboard and Jamie wouldn’t have had to beat you to a pulp.
He had been nearly unconscious, in fact, when the door to his prison had opened, and a strong smell of goat assailed his nostrils. He had no idea how the woman had got him up the ladder to the afterdeck, or why. He had only a confused memory of her babbling urgently to him in broken English as she pulled him along, half-supporting his weight as he stumbled and slid on the rain-wet decking.
He remembered the last thing she had said, though, as she pushed him toward the tilting taffrail.
“She is not dead,” the woman had said. “She go there”—pointing at the rolling sea—“you go, too. Find her!” and then she had bent, got a hand in his crutch and a sturdy shoulder under his rump, and heaved him neatly over the rail and into the churning water.
Hummmm….according to Merriam-Webster, crutch is defined as follows:
Vell, Annekje, you sly voman! It’s all goot, right? Vink, Vink!
So, there you have my ten moments of Outlander Must See TV for Episode 310, Heaven & Earth. What’s your thoughts about the upcoming episode? If you are book reader, what are the moments you most want to see? If you’re not a book reader, I hope I haven’t spoiled too much for you and would love to hear what you think might happen in the episode.
I’ll be taking a break from the blog next week to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. I have so many things to be thankful for this year and I am especially thankful for the people this blog has brought into my life and for the new friendships I have made. Yes, I am talking about you, my dear readers. I am very humbled by the support I have received. Thank you so much for allowing me into your lives and for taking time out of your busy day to read my crazy ramblings. I do not take it for granted and I pray all of you who will be celebrating Thanksgiving (I know all of you don’t live in the US) have a wonderful holiday with family, friends and loved ones.
By the way and speaking of family, if you haven’t joined the Outlander North Carolina Facebook group, you’re missing out! The group is a great Outlander family! Being a resident of North Carolina is not a requirement to join the group and we’d love to have you! Click here to join: Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group.
Until next time, Je Suis Prest! Are you?
All quotes used in this article are from Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. Photo credits: STARZ