Welcome back, dear readers. Or bienvenidos, I guess, since it’s finally time to start heading for the island of Hispaniola (that’s the Dominican Republic and Haiti to you and me)! We have a lot of ground to cover in this episode, so I won’t waste too much time.
But before we begin, I want to clear up something from last week’s mock episode five, which you can read HERE, about Jenny seeing a vision of Claire during Jamie’s wedding to Laoghaire. Some of you didn’t really dig that scene, and even had some (pretty awesome) alternate scenes envisioned. And while I agree that it does seem a little “on the nose,” if you will, to have Jenny see her vision during the ceremony, I do just want to remind you that I didn’t make that up.
In the book, Jenny describes to Claire in the root cellar how she had that vision during the wedding, and it upset her so much she had to run out of the room. It’s the moment that confirms for Claire that Jenny has “the Sight,” as they call it.
Anyway, all of that is behind us now, because we have a ship to get on.
Now in the book, there’s a bunch of business about Jamie and Claire hopping over to France to see cousin Jared, who explains that the blue ship they’re describing—the one that kidnapped Ian Jr.—is most likely La Bruja (The Witch) which is probably headed to the East Indies. (PS: Get it? The White Witch is chasing the blue one.) He offers them the use of his ship, the Artemis, to follow it.
And while that’s all well and good, we have a LOT of story to get through, and I don’t want to waste time heading to France only to come right back again. If nothing else, it really dissipates the drama of boarding the ship to pursue Ian Jr. if it’s actually their second ship journey. And while cutting this section will mean not seeing Mother Hildegarde again, or visiting Faith’s grave—both of which are lovely moments—they really don’t move the plot along much, do they?
So I’m going to expedite this action, either by having the information from Jared come in letter form (and The Artemis already docked in Scotland), or having Jared come to them. In fact, let’s do that—Jared comes to them.
And so we begin…
THEME: Uncertainty vs. Faith. Are Jamie and Claire “doing it right”? Is Ian even aboard La Bruja? Is he still alive? Will they succeed in finding him? They will have to visit our favorite old theme, “faith,” in order to stay the course. The B Story of Fergus and Marsali beautifully serves this theme. Jamie is upset because they didn’t “do it right”—ie: get married in a church– and so their union is not official.
BOOK CHAPTERS COVERED:
FIRST PART OF EIGHT: ON THE WATER:
Including: Jared identifying the boat which kidnapped Ian as La Bruja (The Witch), and offering them the use of the Artemis to follow it to the East Indies; Fergus showing up with Marsali; meeting the staff of the boat, including the crotchety cook Murphy (the closest thing to a Murtagh we get in this one, I’m afraid); the business about wondering which of the Scottish sailors might be Jamie’s betrayer; the hunting of the shark, in which Willoughby captures the pelican; Mr. Willoughby’s backstory; the Porpoise on the horizon…
CLOSE ON: A finger. Jared’s finger, to be exact, pointing to a ship’s log. “La Bruja,” he says.
“The witch?” Claire asks, because in my version of events, Claire speak un poquito of Spanish.
They are at the…
END OF THE WORLD PUB, EDINBURGH
…which is where I’m going to set this action, because in the world of television production, once you’ve built a set, you try to use as many times as possible.
Jared is in town on business and has been beckoned by Jamie. He now explains that the ship they’re describing is almost certainly La Bruja. He knows because he does a lot of trade with that ship. In fact, his cargo aboard the Artemis is heading in the same direction in a week’s time from Cape Wrath on the northwest coast of Scotland.
Now in the book, we never are completely certain about anything—is that really the right ship? Is Ian Jr. really aboard it? Is it really heading to the East Indies? Is Ian Jr. even alive? And while I love a degree of uncertainty because it has a profound effect on Jamie, the fact is that having so many factors be unknown makes the action feel a bit murky.
So I’m going to make Jared just a wee bit more certain about a couple things. Ie: Yes, it has to be La Bruja they’re describing because no other ship looks like that. And yes, he’s certain that it’s heading for the East Indies. The only thing he can’t tell them for sure is whether or not young Ian is aboard, alive and well. But he’s always had his doubts about that ship and its crew. Believing that Ian must be aboard and that they must follow it, therefore, will require a little bit of “faith”—see what I did there?
Okay, so they have a week to get ready. Jamie sets a plan:
-Claire will take Willoughby, who is probably propped up on a bar stool burping up last night’s whiskey for most of this scene, and head for the apothecary’s to prepare herbs and medicines for the trip. She will act as ship’s surgeon.
-Jamie will compile a crew for the journey.
-A letter will be sent to Fergus, back at Lallybroch, to join them at Cape Wrath… and don’t be late.
So we’ll do a wee little montage in which we see all three of these people doing the actions described. This will include Claire and Willoughby’s scene in…
…originally set in M. Raymond’s shop in France, but here transposed to Edinburgh. This scene will be a lovely callback to when they first were in this apothecary and met the creepy Reverend Campbell and his catatonic sister Margaret. (Remember them? We discussed them in EPISODE THREE.)
In fact, while we’re here, let’s go ahead and stick Reverend Campbell in this scene for a second. He’s back, getting more herbs for his sister. Claire recalls that they were headed for Jamaica on a religious mission. She mentions that it’s a coincidence—it seems she will be headed there as well.
Campbell doesn’t take the news very well. He nods, distracted. He can’t leave the room quickly enough. Meanwhile, Willoughby has been collecting herbs. He shows Claire his bounty, naming everything in Chinese. “Good for kidneys. Good for seasickness.” Claire nods, impressed with Willoughby once again.
Okay, so we’ve planted a few seeds here for later: Campbell is weird and we’ll see him in Jamaica; Willoughby is deceptively resourceful and educated in ways he often doesn’t let on.
And with that, let’s cut to…
SAM HEUGHAN’S GREEN-TINGED FACE
Sorry, I mean Jamie Fraser’s green-tinged face. I need to stop doing that.
He is already feeling the beginnings of seasickness as he looks out from the bow of the…
We are aboard the still-docked Artemis in Cape Wrath—a dark and stormy place that lives up to its name.
And Fergus is late.
At this point, I’ll adhere to the scene in the book, highlighted here in yellow:
Fergus rides up, the ship takes off, and by the time Jamie realizes that Fergus has not boarded the ship alone, they are already caught up in the tide. There is no turning back.
Fergus and Marsali– Laoghaire’s daughter and Jamie’s stepdaughter– reveal that they are “handfast,” meaning that they married in an unofficial ceremony in front of witnesses. You’ll recall that Jamie is very unhappy about this for myriad reasons, not the least of which is that Marsali is only 15 to Fergus’s 30. But Marsali says simply, “I want him,” which has quite an effect on Claire.
At this point, I’m going to have Claire step in. In the book, she’s not terribly active during all this, but I never like to let a good woman stand around with nothing to do. It irks me. So let’s make it Claire’s suggestion that if Fergus and Marsali have a real wedding ceremony—that is, in front of a priest when they arrive in Jamaica—then Jamie will bless the union.
Jamie agrees, but insists that Fergus and Marsali will not “have relations,” if you will, until then. In VO, Claire says: “I was trying to help my husband accept the inevitable. When a woman says, ‘I want him’ about a man, there’s nothing anyone can do to dissuade her. I should know. But I seem to have shot myself in the foot.”
SLEEPING BERTHS – NIGHT
Cut to Claire sleeping next to Marsali, who is snoring loudly. Unable to sleep, Claire heads next door to check on Jamie, who is puking his guts out. Fergus is helping him and insists that he’s got it under control. But Claire stays to doctor him for a moment.
She places a cool washcloth on Jamie’s head as he lays back down. They have a moment of heart-to-heart about Fergus and Marsali. Jamie is worried that he’s not “doing it right”—not taking care of Fergus, not protecting Marsali, not on the right track to rescue Ian. And this is where Claire brings up our favorite them—faith—to let him know that she believes in him.
To cement the theme here, I’m going to stick in the following exchange, originally placed as they set out from the Scottish coast and Jamie feared he would never see his homeland again. Claire reassures him with the following:
Okay, so in the…
…Claire comes down to the head—or the bathroom to us land-lovers—and meets some of the crew: Raeburn, Kennedy, Innes, Meldrum, MacLeod and Gordon. They introduce themselves too quickly for Claire to remember their names. But that’s when she hears it…
A RAT. Followed by ANOTHER RAT.
She asks if they have a problem with infestation on the ship, or if they’ve had any outbreaks of rabies, TB, typhoid… you know, rat stuff. They don’t know what she means until she lists the symptoms: fever, blisters, swelling, and the big one: death. The men say no, the ship is clean. She quickly realizes they don’t equate rats with disease.
“Where is the kitchen?” she asks, quickly correcting herself: “The galley?”
So now we meet Aloysius O’Shaughnessy Murphy, the cook. He’s a fun character who will be playing a bigger role from now on, so we’ll give him his fun intro scene, as in the book. Claire bribes him with some fresh herbs in exchange for several gallons of boiling water, which she uses to disinfect the common areas, starting with the heads.
At this point she will be called…
…for the great “hunting of the shark” sequence.
I’m moving this part up a bit, because it’s a big, dramatic way to close up an episode. To refresh everyone’s memories, the men spot a shark off the side of the boat and try to harpoon him. Willoughby takes advantage of the opportunity to lasso in a pelican that is circling the bloody water, eventually training him be his servant.
Okay, so here’s what I would do with this. In the book, there’s a very long chapter after the shark sequence in which we hear Willoughby’s backstory. And I gotta say, it’s never really worked for me. It stops the action cold, and it’s just not integrated into the main story in any way.
So in my version of events, I’m going to start with Willoughby looking out to sea, and the men approaching to make fun of him. They ask him where he’s from, what his story is. But they’re baiting him, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Meanwhile, Jamie sees an opportunity to be alone with Claire while everyone else is distracted. They haven’t had much time since she’s been sleeping with Marsali and he’s been violently ill. But now, he teasingly lures her below decks. (In the book, he jumps into the sea to rescue Willoughby. But I’m changing that for a couple reasons. One, it makes Willoughby look incompetent, which he is not. And B, Jamie’s going to have a big “jumping into the sea to rescue someone” scene later in the season, and I don’t want to dilute the effect of it by making it something he does all the time. So in my version, Jamie and Claire are heading below.)
Up above, as Willoughby begins to answer the crewmen’s question, telling them that he had an opportunity for a great life in China, but he had to run away because the life would have included him being castrated, he is simultaneously preparing his lure.
The men thought they would have some fun with him, but he’s the one using them. Because at just the right moment, he points out to the shark, knowing that they will try to harpoon the great creature.
Cross-cut this with Jamie describing the frustration of his years at Ardsmuir, where they had chained his hands so he couldn’t even masturbate. How only the thought of her, the pure passion of remembering her, had sustained him.
Above, the men try to kill the shark. Willoughby stands, ready with his lure.
As Jamie and Claire scream in pleasure below, Willoughby captures his prey above.
Down below, Claire gasps for breath. She tries to fix her dress, hopelessly tangled. “I wonder if the crew heard us,” she says. “They seem like a good lot.”
“About that,” Jamie begins. “There’s something I probably should have told you about the crew.”
“What’s that?” Claire asks, still distracted by the blood rushing back to her head.
“One of them is trying to kill me.”
Up above, as Murphy hacks into the body of the bloody shark, Willoughby whistles as he leads his lassoed pelican to a private part of the ship to begin his training.
And that’s when Murphy spots something.
Down below, Jamie and Claire hear him call out, and they rush up to the deck to see what’s upset Murphy.
He points out to the sea, and on the horizon, getting closer every moment, is another ship– an enormous British man-o-war. Claire is the only one who doesn’t understand what the problem is. The other men, including Jamie, look completely panicked.
END OF EPISODE
Okay, what did you think? I know I had to condense a few things, but I tried to leave in all the juicy action without skimping on the sex stuff.
And now we’re all ready for next week, episode seven, in which we’ll finally see our old friend Lord John Grey again. AKA, this guy:
(PS- Is it just me, or is this guy giving off a certain young Cary Elwes vibe? “Fetch me that pitcher, Farm Boy!” All together now: “As you wish.”)
XO, until next week.
This article has been the sixth in a 13-part series. To read part 7, click here: Voyager: “Mock Seven”
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry