After the unrelenting grimness of last week’s episode, Uncharted brought us back to happy territory. I was so happy to see that this episode was lighthearted, warm, and faithful where it counted to Diana Gabaldon’s text. While there were deviations from the book, and some of them will, I’m afraid, mean changes in the final couple of episodes, this one had a couple of moments that have moved into spots in my personal highlight reel.
That doesn’t mean that it was a perfect episode. Written by Karen Campbell, who penned one of my least favorite episodes, Creme De Menthe, and Shannon Goss, who wrote the uneven Doldrums, I was pleased and surprised that this one turned out as well as it did. But let’s look at some of the highs and lows.
Moment #1: Run Through the Jungle
First, click Play and get in the mood.
This was a little long for me, given how much material could have been put into this episode, and how much they actually cut out of the story. It felt like another example of putting Claire ahead of everything else in the series – yes, we know it wasn’t easy, and took some time for her to actually find some kind of help. But – biting ants? Snake? It’s a cruel, cruel world. We got it. And, for reference, Ick. (I don’t have any trouble with snakes, but bugs are another thing.) Nearly one quarter of the episode spent on this was too much. Some of it reminded me of this season’s first episode, the long opening scene of Jamie struggling to die on the Culloden battlefield. But that didn’t feel extraneous or unnecessary, and this did.
(This is what was left out, in case you were asking yourself. In Voyager, Jamie goes after Claire, secretly boarding the Porpoise, is found out, attacks Captain Leonard and is beaten, then helped by Mrs. Johannsen the goat lady; jumps overboard, takes over a crew of soldiers, and reclaims the Artemis, which was more badly damaged in the storm than it is here. A lot of it seemed like filler, and how did he know where the Artemis was anyway, so oh well, not a big deal. And there’s a character left out, Laurence Stern, who is the person who actually finds Claire. And I suppose it’s more PC to have Father Fogden be a pothead than a drunk?)
Moment #2: Coco, as in Cuckoo
There’s something screwy going on Father Fogden’s casita, and I’m so glad the writers played with it! Mamacita was wonderful – willing to do her “Catholic duty” with a bare minimum of courtesy, and then out the Jezebel goes! I love the minor characters throughout the Outlander series – every one of them written beautifully. When they’re well done on screen, they’re terrific – and we’ve had some great ones this season. The side eye Mamacita gives a sunburned and dehydrated Claire upon seeing the strange fastening contraption on her corset – what a strange contraption, obviously fancy, what good, God-fearing woman wears fancy undergarments? So this must not be a decent woman, she must be a whore! I loved many of the other little moments – the obvious sadness as Father Fogden relates the sad story of the departed Ermenegilda; the “you stink” before the bath. Terrific!
And Father Fogden himself – he seems so normal at first, doesn’t he! This lovely English priest, tending to his flock (goats, not sheep like in the book, but in the “Inside Outlander” segment, Toni Graphia said that sheep weren’t readily available, but goats were everywhere). If ever there seemed a candidate for sainthood – or the nuthouse – it’s Father Fogden. First sign of screwball is when he admonished Coco not to stare at the pretty lady – how long has it been since we laughed at Outlander! The humor from the books hasn’t translated well to the TV series, for the most part. So it was really nice to have a few more light moments in this episode. And Claire, attempting to get Father Fogden to agree to leave for the town, enlists Coco’s help – the look Father Fogden gives her! Somewhere he understands that Coco isn’t real, and nobody else should be talking to “him.” How many of you thought of Wilson from Castaway? I can’t imagine that Mamacita is a sparkling conversationalist, and someone as gregarious as the good Father has to have someone to chat with!
I was disappointed, though, that the writers decided not to have Father Fogden be a drunk, blissing out on sangria, but instead a regular smoker of “yupa.” He does smoke hemp in the book, but his pacifier of choice seems to be drink rather than drug. Minor point, to be sure, but not one that really needed to be changed.
One bittersweet moment was done well, when Father Fogden explained to Claire that Mamacita has never gotten over the loss of her daughter. “The agony of losing a daughter haunts her still,” he tells her. “I understand,” Claire answers, and we know that she does. “When you love someone as much as I loved Ermenegilda,” he adds, “It never leaves you.” “No. It doesn’t.”
Moment #3: Abandawe
Remember seer Margaret Campbell and her interpreter brother Archie, from Creme de Menthe? “Abandawe! Abandawe will devour ye!” she prophesied to Claire. What was the meaning of that? We have another clue, now, thanks to Mr. Willoughby killing poor Arabelle the goat. This scene needed just another moment to make sense, I think – not about Abandawe, but in why Father Fogden was unleashing those bugs from the caves onto the goat’s skinned head. Nonetheless, his description gave me a chill: “They’re from a sacred cave called Abandawe. It is hallowed to the natives of Jamaica. A place of great power. It is said that people disappear there.” We know of other places in the Outlander world where people disappear, don’t we! What really happens at Abandawe? How will Claire be “devoured”? This reminds me that there’s an awful lot of story left in only two more episodes.
And remember the scene in Freedom and Whisky, episode 305, where Joe Abernathy asks Claire to look at bones he receives. “She’s from a cave in the Caribbean. There were artifacts found with her, ” he explains. “A secret slave burial, they think. But this lady’s no slave, no sirree.” Could these both be clues to something still to come?
Moment #4: You’re Invited to a Wedding
Marsali finally gets her man. Lauren Lyle is doing a terrific job as this practical, smart young woman, who recognizes that there has to be more to marriage than the examples she’s seen in her home with her mother. And she has nobody else to talk to about what she wants and how to get it. “For now, with Fergus, I just want to enjoy it,” she confesses to Claire. “Fergus says he knows what to do, and I’ll like it fine once I get past the first time. I’m not sure that’s true. After Jamie married my mother, I saw how it was between them. When he held her close, she’d shrink away. But when I saw you with Daddy on the ship, I think ye enjoy being together. I want to enjoy being with Fergus. The way you do with Daddy. Without having to worry about a bairn. You being a wise woman, I though ye’d be worth asking.” But Claire, do you really think this ought to wait until you get back to the ship? Bairns happen even the first time, you know!
Oh, for sure, here’s a moment that will definitely end up in my top 10 for the season. Fergus and Marsali, finally being given their wish, married by Father Fogden in what has to be one of the most beautiful – and sweet, and funny – weddings we’ve seen! Taken nearly word for word from Diana’s iconic scene, because who could improve on that? “He’s missing a hand,” our impaired officiant says, “Won’t the bride mind? I don’t suppose it’s an impediment. As long as he’s not lost his cock. He hasn’t, has he?”
But the most tender moment isn’t between Fergus and Marsali – it’s between Fergus and Jamie. Fergus has adored Milord since he was rescued as a young orphan from life in a brothel. Jamie is the sun that Fergus revolves around, the center of everything that Fergus knows and believes. Even Marsali recognizes this, telling Jamie in the last episode that Fergus didn’t disobey Jamie’s order to get the cell keys and release him for her sake. “If you believe that, you don’t deserve to be let out of here,” she told him. Here, as the priest asks for Fergus’s complete name, and says that he can’t complete the ceremony without it, Jamie formalizes their relationship, and gives Fergus what he’s wanted, but couldn’t articulate, all of his life – a father, a name, a place.
Fergus needed this validation, this sign of acceptance, in order to complete his sense of self. Maybe he never realized this was what was missing, but when it comes, the joy that radiates is so visible. I’m sure most of you teared up, as I did, when Jamie said, “Fergus Claudel Fraser.” His son.
Moment #5: Love on the High Seas
Another iconic moment, handled with a light touch, and terrific acting on the part of both Caitriona and Sam was the long-awaited “turtle soup” scene. More so than the sex (really? Practically, could Claire have managed that position, injured as she was?), I appreciated that the true affection, care, and deep love between the couple was so beautifully written and shot. For the first time since they reunited, they seemed at ease with each other, even if it took a whole bottle of sherry in Mr. Willoughby’s turtle soup to lower her prickly defenses. We can only hope that she’s realized that it wasn’t a mistake that she came back to Jamie, that yes, it’s much harder than she ever thought it would be, but that the amazing love they have for each other is worth every problem.
Watching them at the beach wedding, their complete happiness at this second reunion looked real and solid. I haven’t liked the uncertainty that she’s had – it hasn’t been true to the foundation of the story, and it’s changed the basic nature of not only their relationship, but the characters themselves. So let’s hope a destination wedding and a bowl of turtle soup can convince Claire that she’s done the right thing, and she’s where she belongs, in Jamie’s arms.
Just a Bit More
How long did it take for Claire to run through the jungle to get the beach? The way that scene was edited made it look like either that run took hours, or the mast was rowed out to the Artemis, which sure looked a fair distance away, and put up, in the blink of an eye! I’m sure neither of those are really the case, but the way the scenes were cut was awkward, time-wise. Dealing the mast must have taken hours – it’s a big job – and the distance between the casita and the beach couldn’t have been that far, since that’s where Mamacita found the pirates roasting the goat, and I’m sure she didn’t go that far from home. It’s difficult to show two different activities that have to intersect, working at two different speeds, but I think there’s probably a way this could have been cut together to be more cohesive. But in the end, they found each other, and that’s the important thing.
Thank you to outlander-online.com for allowing us to use their HQ screencaps!
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