This Outlander Recap contains spoilers for S03E10 “Heaven and Earth”.
A lot happens in “Heaven and Earth” : The plot thickens, antibiotics are missed and Marsali saves the day. Also, Claire learns to always trust a woman that makes you cheese. Heaven and Earth is a plot-heavy episode in a show whose main appeal is its characters. And while the episode doesn’t give us the type of interactions I loved in “The Doldrums” , it’s still a fantastic episode.
I will continue doing emetophobic warnings for this episode, not just for all the emetophobic Outlander fans out there, but for all the people who feel it’s really unnecessary to see THAT much of it.
In the same style as “A.Malcolm”, the episode begins with the ending of “The Doldrums”, as seen from Jamie’s perspective. From the Artemis, Jamie was keeping an eye out for the Porpoise, and Claire in it. He gets distracted when he sees that Fergus is purchasing a set of herbs for his bride. Jamie is still reluctant about the relationship, or at the very least, the sincerity and depth of Fergus’s love. There isn’t much time to dwell on this, as Fergus quickly notices that the Porpoise has started moving, and with Claire still on it.
Now, as we all would have imagined, Jamie’s immediate reaction is to freak out and start yelling at the crew of the Artemis to follow behind The Porpoise. He is quickly shut down by the Captain, who had pretty much planned/arranged with Captain Leonard to hand over Claire to the other ship, and didn’t think to mention this to Claire or Jamie. In his anger, Jamie makes an attempt to attack the Captain but stops when he realizes that he’s outgunned and outmanned (also outnumbered and outplanned?) against him.
One of my favorite moments in this episode is when, after stepping back from his attack to the Captain, Jamie says: “Just keep me in sight of her, man”, because you can see how anxious and afraid he is over losing her again. The Captain refuses him and orders Jamie’s arrest.
Now, as you can imagine, this scene also contains people being sick. It’s tricky because while we don’t properly see anyone be sick, we can still see and hear it happen in the background. I’d advise the more sensitive to either watch this scene muted or skip it all together. You should skip from 6:14 until 7:23. It sucks because it’s such a long scene, but I will use my amazing recapping skills to share with you a sick-free version of this scene!
Claire’s first command is to clear out more space for the sick men since typhoid fever is transmitted through touch and feces. One of the men on the crew assigned to assist her, Mr. Jones, is reluctant to follow Claire’s orders. His reluctance is mostly driven by the fact that she’s a woman. He begins to protest about this, but before Claire can respond, the young crewman Mr. Pound quickly informs him that Claire’s orders are pretty much the Captain’s orders and that she deserves to be respected.
Mr. Pound is one of the healthy crewmen that had been assigned to help Claire out last episode. But, as we later find out, Mr. Pound is only 14 years old.
Claire’s second step to stop the epidemic is to make sure that all the passengers wash their hands with grog (the closest thing they have resembling isopropyl alcohol). Mr. Pound licks his fingers clean after washing with the grog and Claire is all like “NO, NOT LIKE THAT YOU IDIOT”.
(What she actually does is explain to him how licking his fingers after disinfecting them is counterproductive, but the sentiment is the one above.)
Claire has been separated from Jamie for less than a day but she already misses him. But when you’re a 20th-century Doctor and your husband is an 18th-century Highlander who’s had no vaccines ever, you can’t help but to be happy about the fact that they’re not on an illness-filled boat.
Mr. Pound is a total MVP and gets Claire a hat. He also asks her if having someone to distill pure alcohol for rum might be a good idea. Claire and Mr. Pound go talk to the purser so they can get two men in the crew to start distilling alcohol. Mr. Pound is right behind her to remind everyone that opposes Claire’s directions that her orders are the Captain’s orders. Claire and Mr. Pound then begin giving water and feeding light meals to the sick.
While they’re doing this, Claire asks him what his age and name are. He’s only 14, and his name is Elias. Claire asks if she can call him by his name, and promises not to do so in front of other members of the navy. Elias had been at sea since he was 7 (yikes), and we can see in Claire’s eyes that she’s decided she’ll adopt him.
As they’re going through the six, they see that one dead crewman. Elias tells her that this is a friend of his, from his hometown. Claire is briefly distracted as more patients come in, but Elias goes to his friend and closes his eyes.
We can also hear some men being sick from 12:12 to 12:34, but we see nothing, so muting the scene might be alright.
Claire asks the Captain if she can see a record of all the sick men, so she can track down how and where the spread began. In classic Mary Mallon fashion, the illness was being spread by a healthy carrier of the disease that had been working in the kitchen: a man named Joe Howard.
Joe and the cook have a hard time believing this, again, because Joe is a healthy carrier. It’s small details like these that really make Claire an incredibly captivating time-traveler. For the audience, the concepts of bacteria, infections, and asymptomatic carriers are easy to accept because even as non-medical professionals, there is a general understanding of these concepts. For a sailor in the 18th century “a man is either sick or well”. It’s very interesting for me to see Claire in these situations, particularly because they’re always accompanied by a dose of sexism. I love it because we always see Claire standing strong in these situations since her commitment to doing her job surpasses all the BS that is sent her way.
This is also the first time we see Claire in this position since she has come back (and since she has gotten her medical degree). And even though Claire had never been insecure or reluctant in the past, there is a level of confidence and certainty that we see in her now that is stronger than before.
Luckily for Claire, this confidence is enough to get Captain Leonard on her side, and Joe Howard is put on isolation.
Meanwhile, on the Artemis… Jamie is in a cell, without Claire AND sick again (It’s like ALL of the bad things that have happened to him this season, in only one scene…yaaay). No visuals once again, but you should either skip or mute from 12:25 until 12:58.
Fergus is bringing lunch a meal that he’s clearly not going to eat, and tries to reassure him that Claire’s going to be alright. Jamie is sort of delusional in this scene: he wants Fergus to set him free so they can start a mutiny on the ship, take it over, and chase after Claire. As Jamie tells Fergus, this is what love is: being able to move Heaven and Earth for someone and risking even hell.
While Jamie’s speech is powerful, and it does indeed have an impact on Fergus, there’s still the fact that overall Jamie’s plan is not a very good one. While taking over the boat and chasing after Claire is certainly the best way to track her down, the majority of the men on the Artemis would not follow Jamie’s order. This has lead me to give a new name for Jamie: James Alexander I MAKE DUMB DECISIONS Fraser
Fergus tries to reason with him, but Jamie takes this is as evidence of Fergus not knowing or understanding the depths of his feelings. But, he does tell Fergus that if he frees him and starts a mutiny, he will grant him his permission to marry Marsali.
Back in the Porpoise, the bodies of the deceased are being prepared to be thrown overboard. The men are sown into cannonball-filled cloth. The final stitch of the cloth goes through the nose of the deceased, to make sure that they are truly dead. This is always done by a friend, and Elias proceeds to do this to the body of the friend he had lost.
A ceremony is then held on-deck for the deceased
Later that night, the cook approaches Claire to tell her how none of her actions are working. Elias shows up to defend her because he is the best.
After the cook leaves, Elias asks Claire what her secret is to stay strong in the face of so much death. Claire introduces him to the concept that’s been driving Claire’s life for over 20 years now
Claire tells him that there are many more men that will die on the boat, but he feels confident in her skills. But, for luck, he gives her the Rabbit’s foot that his mother had given him when he had first sailed out. This is also one of the many rabbit reference for this season, a metaphor for Bree that honestly, I feel like is being overplayed given that I am getting hit over the head with it each episode. Also, why rabbits?
Claire begins to ask about his mother, but he tells her that she had passed away. As they are talking, Mr. Jones comes to inform Claire that another man had fallen ill. This man was Mr. Johansen, the husband of the woman who took care of the goats and provided cheese for the men.
Now, as it turns out, the new patient is not suffering from Typhoid fever, but from alcohol poisoning. He had drunk an entire jar of the alcohol that was being distilled for the patients. Claire is rightfully pissed off and gives Elias instructions on how to tend to the man. As she’s starting to leave, she notices that there’s a Portuguese flag. Mr. Jones tells her that they had boarded a Portuguese ship to try to find a surgeon, but that he did not remember the name of the ship.
Thinking there’s a chance this might be the Bruja Claire immediately goes in search of the Captain. She finds his office empty but with the book detailing everything about the journey open. The Portuguese ship had not been the Bruja, but while she’s closing the book she still finds out a pivotal piece of information: Someone on this ship had identified Jamie as Alexander Malcolm when the Captain boarded the Artemis, and this person had informed Leonard of who Jamie was. This person not only knew who Alexander Malcolm was but knew of his criminal activities back in Edinburgh. While she’s in the Captain’s office, the cook comes in and tries to threaten her. Claire is not afraid to threaten back and tells him that if he doesn’t move away from her she will scream and accuse her of assaulting him. While I can’t fault the protagonist of a show that has been given the nickname Rapelander for using this tactic in a particularly desperate situation. I am very surprised that this moment wasn’t cut in the current climate the film industry is regarding sexual assault.
In the Artemis, Fergus is telling Marsali about Jamie’s promise to let them marry. She’s doing this while she’s washing his arm — that is, the part of his arm where his prosthetic hand is placed, and putting the prosthetic back in. I love this action because it shows us the level of intimacy that these two characters have. Marsali isn’t slightly fazed by this, and in fact, it looks like it’s something she’s done before. And seeing that interaction between the two says so much about their relationship.
Fergus is willing to go along with Jamie’s plan, but Marsali is reluctant. Following Jamie’s plan will likely leave her alone on a boat with no one to look out for her. And, without Fergus to be by her side. But she doesn’t insist, because after all, she is alone with her not-quite-husband for the first time, and if there is one advantage to Jamie being locked away is that no one is going to cock-block them.
The two start kissing and touching, but Fergus is quick to cut the fun since he wants them to wait until they are married since they now finally have a chance.
Back in the Porpoise, Claire asks Elias about Howard Thompkins, the man that had recognized Jamie and pointed him out to the Captain. Elias mentions he doesn’t know him, and then continues to say that he was surprised they had four new cases that day since the carrier had been isolated. Claire uses this opportunity to her advantage and tells Elias that Thompkins might be the second carrier. She asks that he ask around for him discreetly amongst the crew as if to not make a stir with the cook.
Meanwhile, Fergus begins his attempt to steal the keys to free Jamie. As he’s doing that, he overhears a conversation between the Captain and some of his men. He hears how reluctant the crewmen are of Jamie and the rest of his men. As if it weren’t enough, he hears how some of his men would be more than happy to get rid of the both of them and have his way at Marsali.
Elias is able to find Howard Thompkins and brings him to Claire. This man is none other than the exciseman that had broken into Jamie’s print shop and had a confrontation with Ian. Claire tries to get more information out of him and pretty much threatens it with a bone saw.
Thompkins needs no threatening though, and it would be pointless to do so. The body of Barton, the man Claire had inadvertently killed in “Creme de Menthe” was found and his murder attributed to Jamie. As such, he was being chased not only for High Treason but for murder. Captain Leonard was too much of an ambitious young man to not hand in Jamie to the authorities. Kidnapping Claire had then not only been an act of desperation over the illness, but also a trap: When Claire was to be handed back to Jamie, he would be arrested and hanged.
To stop Howard from further interacting with the Captain, she falsely accuses him of being the second carrier.
Claire pays a visit to Annekeje (Mrs. Johansen). She gives Claire some cheese but notices that this gift doesn’t make her immediately happy (as it should). Claire briefly explains what’s going on. Annekje is like “Oh, it’s ok I’m going to help you. My goat needs grass.”
Claire doesn’t understand what she means by this. And Annekje insists.
In The Artemis, Fergus goes to see Jamie to tell him that he won’t be following his plans. He had realized how unlikely their success was, and the danger he was putting Marsali under by following.
We return to the Porpoise, where Mr. Jones points out to Claire that not one single man can be heard moaning or begging for their death. This is Mr. Jones’ way of saying “Sorry I was a dick earlier, you actually know what you’re doing and you’re awesome.”
Things aren’t altogether well on the Porpoise: Claire notices that Elias had fallen ill. He dies shortly thereafter. Claire had dismissed a lot of his symptoms as tiredness. Before you know it, they are preparing Elias to be buried at sea. When it comes the time to sew in his nose, the sailor hands the needle to Claire and tells her that it should be done by a friend.
(I’m not crying you’re crying)
The Captain reassures Claire that despite this loss, all her work has proven worthwhile: Elias had been the only one to die, and no other sick men appeared.
However, only Annekje and Jones are able to cheer her up, when they come to tell her that they’re soon going to reach land. Not Jamaica but Turks Island, further north in the Caribbean. It’s not until now that Claire understands that “my goats need grass” is code for “I’m going to help you escape”.
But Claire isn’t able to go too far until the Captain and his men find. She tries to play dumb but Leonard isn’t buying it. He knows she’s seen his logbook, and that she was trying to get away to warn Jamie. He tells her that as much as he doesn’t want to arrest her husband, it’s his responsibility to do so. Claire asks him if he could please look the other way and let him go, but his reaction is to send her back to the ship.
In the Artemis, Jamie is looking at the pictures of Bree, which he had safely been keeping in a leather pouch. A weird nit-picky comment: I hate how all these pictures are the same size. While it’s perfectly reasonable that Claire picked only the smaller pictures because they’d be easier to carry, I’d find it ridiculous that these are the exact same size. I can assure you that everyone in the production of this show grew up with photos, so they have no excuse.
Now, it’s pretty clear that throughout the season Jamie has seemed a bit uninterested in Bree, and a lot of the book moments where we see him miss her have been cut out. I don’t personally think this is a sign of him not loving her; after all, he does speak of her as one of the people he had lost in “Of Lost Things”.
I’d like to believe Show!Jamie’s seeming disinterest in Bree comes more from the fact that she’s not someone that he can yet feel as tangible or real since all of his interactions with her are through a piece of technology that he doesn’t understand. At the very least, this is how Sam seems to be playing it. I’d like to think that the show is going in the direction of him slowly trying to learn who she is and that this scene as a “Jamie internalizes Bree as his daughter, a real person” moment.
He’s also wearing his glasses, which I would like to nominate as “Jamie’s signature Dad!Look”.
As he’s looking at the pictures, Captain Raines comes in with Marsali in tow. Marsali had convinced the Captain that Jamie was a man of his word and that if he promised he would not cause any trouble on the ship, then he would follow that vow. Marsali also informs him that Fergus ditching his plan was done for Jamie and that if he believed Fergus was only doing it for Marsali then he deserved to stay in his cell.
After this, Jamie gives the two of them their blessing. I’m guessing he was able to see how dedicated they were to each other through his last few interactions with them, but it also would have been such a #DickMove if he hadn’t.
Back in the Porpoise, Annekje is still willing to help Claire. Since the goats planned didn’t work, the plan B was, of course, a draft. Now Annekje is not sending her to the middle of the ocean: land is visible from the boat. She also gives Claire money. Claire’s reluctant at first, but Annekje reminds her of everything that’s at stake. Claire then takes a leap of faith, and jumps head into the Caribbean waters, on a draft, and with no clue to where she’s going.
Now, this episode is definitely not the shining pearl of the season, but it still has one very important element to it. Say it with me: Who runs this episode? GIRLS.
Claire, Marsali, and Annekje are moving the plot forward and making decisions (and cheese), while the men are a. Locked up, b. Indecisive, or c. the patriarchy. For a show that doesn’t always give its (awesome) female characters the treatment they deserve well, it is nice to see them take charge of their own destinies.