Ready for more seafaring adventure, my friends? We have reached episode seven out of 13 of our mock journey through Voyager (see the others here), and I’m pretty excited, because the drama is really kicking in now.
Without further ado, I present…
TITLE: MAN O’ WAR
THEME: Futility. Our favorite old theme rears its head as Claire’s medical knowledge isn’t enough to save the dying men on the Porpoise. Will any of her actions be enough to change the future?
BOOK CHAPTERS COVERED:
SECOND HALF OF PART EIGHT (ON THE WATER): The Porpoise—the British Man-Of-War— led by young Captain Leonard, kidnaps Claire and forces her to be doctor on their typhoid-plagued ship.
Including: Claire meeting Lord John Grey, on his way to be the new governor of Jamaica; Claire escaping to the island of Hispaniola where she meets Lawrence Stern and the priest, Father Fogden; Claire reuniting with the temporarily beached Artemis (sans Jamie); Jamie sneaking onto the Porpoise to rescue Claire and fearing her dead when he hears she went overboard, but subsequently feigning a French persona to lead a troop of French soldiers to the beach and reuniting with Claire; and finally Fergus and Marsali being “officially” married by the bat-brained Father (and Fergus taking Jamie’s surname in a particularly sweet moment).
When last we saw our fearless heroes, they were standing…
EXT. ON DECK, THE ARTEMIS – DAY
And they were watching the approaching British man-of-war ship the Porpoise, wary of what it might portend. So let’s pick up there, shall we?
The ship is approaching, and Jamie quickly explains to Claire that, should the Porpoise be shorthanded, they are within their rights to “press” the British sailors aboard the smaller ship—in other words, force those sailors to go work for them, indefinitely. Generally speaking, they would release the men upon reaching shore, but not necessarily.
PS- You’ll have to forgive a bit of Monday-morning quarterbacking here, but there’s a scene at the beginning of this chapter in which Marsali approaches Claire for advice on how to avoid pregnancy. I would stick that somewhere in the last episode.
Okay, back to the action:
Jamie promises Claire that, should he be taken with the other Scots, he will try to meet up with her at cousin Jared’s property once they reach Jamaica. Claire quickly suggests he feign his French accent in order to avoid being indentured to the man-of-war, but Jamie, being a man of honor, will never leave his men to serve while he stays behind (even though, you’ll recall, one of those men might be plotting to kill him).
And now we meet CAPTAIN LEONARD, of the Porpoise, who comes aboard and promptly asks, just as in the book: “For the love of God, have you a surgeon aboard?”
We continue this conversation and learn that the Porpoise has been struck with “an infectious disease” (we don’t know which one yet), and could Claire possibly come aboard to check out the men? Jamie refuses to allow Claire onto a plague ship, but Claire is fairly certain she knows what the problem is—typhoid. And if so, she has been vaccinated. (PS: According to the CDC, typhoid vaccines actually lose effectiveness after several years, so, kids, don’t try this at home.) Anyway, long story short: Claire agrees to go aboard the Titanic—er, the Porpoise—to check out the men while Jamie and the Artemis wait for her.
And I think we all know what happens next.
INT. PORPOISE- DAY
Claire is examining a horror-movie-worthy sight of men draped in various stages of death and decay in the underbelly of the great ship when she hears something nobody ever wants to hear aboard a death boat—THE MOTOR RUNNING.
Having just confirmed that the problem in question is indeed typhoid, she runs up to confront young Captain Leonard. And although the young man feels just awful about it, he confirms that he will be kidnapping Claire and using her for her services until they reach Jamaica. It’s interesting that Claire can’t bring herself to hate this guy—he’s only 19, his superiors are all dead, and he’s completely desperate.
So Claire gets to work trying to clean the ship with alcohol to kill the typhoid, and ordering the sick men brought above for fresh air.
Here I might throw in a little montage of Claire trying to treat the men, only to watch most of them die. In voiceover, she tells us of her devastation to realize that she was simply too late to save them. And so we get a THEME ALERT: Futility.
All her medical knowledge, all her years at the hospital, and none of it was enough. She has never felt so impotent.
And speaking of which, let’s cut to…
JAMIE, ABOARD THE ARTEMIS
So in the book, this is a flashback in a later chapter, but we’re going to tell it in real time for coherency’s sake. Jamie looks out to the sea, where the Porpoise has disappeared on the horizon. He tells Willoughby of his frustration. He doesn’t even know if Ian Jr. is en route to Jamaica, and now he’s lost Claire. What if all of this is for nothing?
Okay, let’s cut to Claire meeting a couple of important people. First up, Mr. Thompkins, a seaman who is an agent of Percival Turner. Remember him from Scotland? I know, it’s been a while. Suffice it to say that Mr. Thompkins admits he recognized Jamie aboard the Artemis and has already made note in the log that the seditious Red Jamie had been spotted.
All of this is a long way of stating that Jamie’s identity has been revealed, which will make it nearly impossible for him to ever return to Scotland where he is wanted for sedition. So that sucks.
Now let’s meet John Grey. It’s been several days. The bodies of the dead are being cast to sea. And Claire says the following quote (from the novel):
“To fight disease without medicine is to push against a shadow; a darkness that spreads as inexorably as night. I had been fighting for nine days, and forty-six more men were dead.”
Ay. This is bleak.
In her frustration, Claire slams her fist into a wall, over and over again. And a man shouts: “Stop that!”
Who is it? The gentleman is Lord John Grey, of course, on his way to be the new governor of Jamaica. Claire is immediately taken with him, and the feeling is mutual. Grey is very impressed with Claire’s strength:
“I have been a soldier, an officer. I know what it is, to hold men’s lives in your hand—and to lose them… What it comes to, I think, is the knowledge that you are not God, and the very real regret that you cannot be.”
And that, my friends, is THEME ALERT #2. (PS- How wonderful is it when Diana uses her own experiences as a former doctor/scientist to inform Claire’s story? I love this stuff.)
Jamie, tired of waiting and knowing that they are almost to the islands, where Claire may or may not be released (depending, of course, on which island the Porpoise even ends up going to), decides to take matters into his own hands and rescue Claire himself. But as he is on his way to the man-of-war, we cut to…
CLAIRE ON THE PORPOISE
Where she meets Annekje Johansen and her chickens. Seeing land approach, Annekje informs Claire that she can swim for shore by diving overboard and letting the tide carry her. Which is all a really great plan… expect that it isn’t at all. Seriously, what island are they even approaching?
Doesn’t matter. Claire dives overboard and as she gets caught up in the eddy and makes her perilous way to the swampy shore, we cross-cut with Jamie boarding the Porpoise. Ech, it’s like Romeo and Juliet over here.
Okay, Claire makes her way deeper into the swamp, meeting Lawrence Stern, who takes her to the dilapidated abbey where the bat-brained Father Fogden lives, just as Jamie, aboard the Porpoise, finds that Claire has gone overboard. After a moment of abject fear, Jamie learns from Annekje that Claire isn’t dead, but has just swum ashore.
My original intention was for this episode to take us all the way to Marsali and Fergus’s wedding, but now that we’re in the thick of it, I think it’s becoming clear that that would simply be way too much story to cram into one hour.
So I think we’ll leave off our episode seven in the vein of all great cliffhangers:
Claire, having been brought in by Father Fogden, runs to shore upon hearing of a damaged ship landing. She runs up to the Artemis and finds Fergus and the other men in good health, trying to repair their ship. But someone is missing. Where is Jamie?
Cut to: Jamie, stranded aboard the Porpoise. How will he get back to Claire?
Tune in next time to find out! Because this is…
Personally, I think this is going to be one of my favorite episodes. Even though Claire and Jamie are separated for most of it, we get to see an epic British sailing vessel; Claire doing her doctor-with-a-mission thing that is such a vital part of her personality; John Grey comes back; Jamie’s got a bunch of swashbuckling action/emotional stuff to contend with (and nobody nails that combo better than our leading man Mr. Heughan)… in short, all the juicy bits that made us fall in love with Outlander in the first place.
Oh, and I can’t wait to see who plays Father Fogden. I’m thinking veteran British stage actor of some sort. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments.
This article has been the seventh in a 13-part series. To read part 8, click here: Voyager: “Mock Eight”
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children opens in two weeks; read it before we review it. (I seriously read the whole thing in about two days, so don’t sweat it.) And Chris and I will be posting our book review this week.
Girl on the Train opens October 7. We’ll repost that book review before then as well.
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry