Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 3 episode “Uncharted.” If you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet, go back through the stones and return once you have.
Ahoy, sassenachs! It is me, your tried-and-true Outlander recapper, back once again to give you the lowdown on everything that’s happened since we last checked in with our favorite characters. Last week, Claire found herself somewhat playing the role of Wendy Darling to a bunch of Lost Boys -- if they were all dying of typhoid, that is. Jamie tried to fight his way to her and got thrown into maritime jail for his troubles, but none of that matters anyway, because Claire just went and jumped overboard to get to him first. These two are always so extra.
This week: Claire goes all Man vs. Wild after washing up on the shore of an unfamiliar place, but eventually finds respite with an unlikely party of individuals. And there’s a wedding. (Apparently, there’s also a shipwreck and lots of people die, but we don’t get to see any of that.)
The title card for this episode plays over a calming backdrop of a big turtle swimming through the ocean all lackadaisical and carefree, and I think this is supposed to lull us into a false sense of security about how the next hour is going to play out -- not just for Claire but for all of us watching at home. (Narrator: Turns out she was right.) When we do pick up with Claire, she’s clinging to the makeshift raft she chucked into the water before jumping overboard last ep -- and there’s definitely land in sight, so it doesn’t look like she’s drifted too far. But has she fallen asleep? She’s fallen asleep! I’m starting to get the sense that she must have been swimming for a while to get so tuckered out, and that’s when a giant wave surges in to wake her up, rolling her off the raft.
Fortunately, said waves only push Claire further inland without getting her caught in a riptide or basically drowning her. She hasn’t lost her knapsack full of money and other assorted items (like shoes) either, which is doubly lucky even though she’d gotten separated from it when the waves upended her raft. After drying out her clothes, she explains via voiceover that none of this looks familiar and makes the decision (as most of us probably would) to walk further inland in order to find some semblance of civilization. Another voiceover reminds us of the rule of threes, which probably means we’ll have to pay a little attention to the passage of time. Humans can survive three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. I’m gonna guess that the water issue will become more prevalent the longer Claire spends underneath that hot sun.
Her boots aren’t made for walking either, and at the hottest time of the day Claire decides to rest her feet and create a makeshift shelter out of the clothes she sewed together back in Boston. Hey, at least they're doubling as sun protector. Later, she’s walking and kicks over a couple stones, but then chooses to pocket them, and all my knowledge acquired while watching Survivorman starts to reassert itself at this juncture. Sure enough, she uses them in the evening to start a fire, but when the spark doesn’t ignite right away she takes the padding from her bustle to repurpose as kindling. The fire eventually rages on and Claire settles in for the night, but she’s in for a rude awakening. Why? Because, apparently, in all her fire-starting, she neglected to notice that she was going to sleep on a NEST OF FIRE ANTS. The upside is that she wakes up with them only on her legs rather than crawling all the way up to her hoo-ha. The show had me real worried on that front there.
After wrapping her legs (to keep herself from scratching, I'm assuming), it’s back to more walking for Claire. When she spots a few coconuts on the ground, there’s a brief moment of hope -- but then she turns them over and finds them empty and rotted out, and all of the fresh ones are still up in the tree, too far away for her to try and reach. At the end of day two without finding any water, she comes to rest against the trunk of another tree and drifts off -- only to wake up in the morning with A HUGE FREAKING SNAKE slithering across her body. At first, I thought it was some kind of boa attempting to squeeze the life out of her (I don’t know reptiles), but snake is just trying to get from point A to point B and finds itself needing to go over Claire rather than around her. The expression of absolute terror on Claire’s face is what sold the moment for me. Didn’t she used to go on archaeological digs as a girl with her uncle, though? I guess it’s a little different to wake up to a snake literally on top of you.
It’s now day three without water (I’ve been counting!) and Claire is delirious -- so much so that when she comes to a clearing where a priest is giving a sermon to seemingly no one but a bunch of goats, I’m half-convinced she’s hallucinating the whole thing. She’s found civilization after all, and after collapsing on the ground wakes up in a bed with both her arms and legs tied to the posts. For a split second, I’m concerned about people with more bad intentions, but a sour-faced woman comes in and informs Claire (in Spanish) that she tied her up to keep her from scratching at the bites on her legs -- which are now covered in some kind of natural ointment. Severely sunburned and very weak, Claire barely has enough energy to drink water before falling asleep again. She rouses to the sight of an Englishman -- the priest we saw earlier, in fact. His name is Father Fogden, and he seems harmless enough even after we witness him doing his best Cast Away impression and talking to a coconut he’s appropriately named Coco.
Fogden’s story is pretty straightforward: He was once a priest and missionary in Cuba, and later eloped with a married woman named Ermenegilda. They lived together in Hispaniola for two years (along with her mother, Mamacita) until Ermenegilda passed away. Now Fogden and Mamacita live in this strange sort of found family scenario in which neither of them are willing to leave the other even though their relationship is anything but peaceful. They even fight in front of Claire, about Claire (and, of course, Mamacita has to get in a jab about Claire being a whore, because that’s what the show defaults to). Now that Claire knows where she is, however -- the island of Saint-Domingue (which would later become Haiti) -- her main concern isn’t about those who would call her names; it’s finding out a way to get to Jamaica to warn Jamie about the soldiers waiting to arrest him. According to Google Maps, it’s only about a 4-hour flight -- but for Claire, it’s going to take around three days to walk to the closest village and charter a boat to Jamaica.
In the meantime, Claire gets to wash up and change into some clean clothes and enjoy some home cooking -- all under the judgey stare of Mamacita. Later, we discover that Claire’s original clothes have been washed and mended, though, so clearly the woman has a secret softer side. At one point, Claire pockets a mirror that I’m guessing is going to come in handy sooner rather than later. She agrees to spend one more night with Fogden and Mamacita, but her voiceover explains that she’s going to be leaving in the morning with or without their help. It looks like Jamie may be closer than Claire realizes when Mamacita discovers that one of Fogden’s goats has been killed and eaten -- by a Chinese soldier, no less. My mind and Claire’s both go to the same place: Could it be Yi Tien Cho? Is the Artemis here?
Claire races to the beach after receiving some less-than-helpful directions from Mamacita, and we cut away to said beach to find not only Jamie there -- but Fergus and Marsali and several crewmen, many of them working to repair the ship's foremast. Apparently there was a bad storm and several people died, including Captain Raines? We don’t get to see any of that, which is kind of a shame -- but not so much for Jamie, who doesn’t have to be a prisoner on the Artemis anymore. In fact, it sounds as if the crew is two seconds away from making him their new captain, and all I can think about now is Captain Jamie Fraser meeting Captain Flint from Black Sails. Two redheaded pirate captains. My brain can’t take it. Anyway. Back to the actual show.
For a split second, I believed Outlander was going to pull a fakeout by revealing that Claire and Jamie were on two separate beaches. Imagine my relief when that’s not what happens, but when Claire finally gets there (slicing her arm up good on a poky branch in the process) the men have fixed the mast and got back on the ship, about to set sail once more. Time for that pocket mirror to do its job! Claire is able to reflect the sunlight directly into Jamie’s eyes long enough for him to spot her through the spyglass. The episode doesn’t waste any time on Jamie rowing back to shore; the next time we see them they’re running toward each other on the beach and it’s all huggy-huggy smoochy-smoochy. (I’m pretty sure the book took more time getting these two back to one another, but I’m not complaining.)
Claire takes a few swigs of alcohol while Cho stitches up her arm and Jamie fills her in on everything that’s happened since they’ve been gone. He doesn’t seem very concerned about the numerous warrants out for his arrest. As of right now, finding Young Ian is still the number one priority -- and Jamie reminds Claire he’s no stranger to being wanted by the law. Lest we forget, he was a fugitive when they first met back in Season 1 too. Eventually, they do need to continue on toward Jamaica -- but now that they’ve got a place to chillax, Jamie thinks it might be time for a wedding after all. Before Marsali and Fergus can get hitched, there’s one simple matter of making amends first. Cho offers Fogden a chicken as an apology for eating his goat, and then they share the equivalent of a little island weed.
This episode also gives us a scene where Claire and Marsali start to bond, and it happens in the middle of dressing for the wedding ceremony. Of course the conversation turns to what to expect on the wedding night, and Marsali asks Claire for some birth control methods so she won’t get knocked up on her first time. Don’t worry, girl. Claire’s got you covered. I think this is the first week I’ve started to really enjoy Marsali as a character. She doesn’t have reservations about sassing Fogden a little when he starts to go off on an unrelated tangent during the wedding, and she even makes a particularly sly comment about waiting to get Fergus in bed for months. When it’s time for Fergus’ portion of the vows, he realizes he doesn’t have a last name to give -- until Jamie gives him one. He’s basically been a Fraser in all but name already, so it’s a sweet moment between the two men (and also serves to remind us that Jamie’s essentially giving his adopted son and daughter permission to get married, which is somehow less creepy than it reads).
Claire and Jamie take things back to the captain’s quarters on the Artemis, where Claire’s started to develop a bit of a fever from that gash in her arm. Good thing she brought that penicillin back through the stones, but Jamie can’t quite bring himself to stick her in the rear with the needle, so Claire goes and does it herself. Not only is she burning up, she’s also a little drunk after eating Cho’s turtle soup (which he dumped an entire bottle of sherry into), so obviously the thing to do is to get it on with her hot Highlander husband. Jamie’s got some reservations about doing Claire in her current state, but Claire eventually talks him into bolting the door and the two of them start getting frisky. Cho chooses that exact moment to check in on them, but Jamie and Claire are not in the least bit subtle while trying to stifle their moans and groans through the door, and Cho walks away with a knowing smile. And that’s the end of the episode! It was a funny, light-hearted way to finish things this week, and I would like more scenes like that one, please, especially after all the epic drama and ridiculous circumstances working to keep these two lovebirds apart.
- This episode joins the ranks of several others over the course of the series that have been directed by women: Charlotte Brandström directed both this episode and the one following next week. I’ve written about this before, but there are certain things you notice the absence of -- and I appreciated that Claire and Jamie’s sex scene revolved more around the humor and spontaneity of it than any gratuitous nudity for nudity’s sake.
- One of my favorite emotional beats in this episode happens when Claire is looking out at the ocean after first making her way to land. Caitriona Balfe masters the subtle tremble of her lower lip combined with that quintessential British stiff-upper that makes it seem as though she’s about to cry without actually doing so.
- Most of the time, I don’t mind Claire’s voiceover. It’s a nice nod to the books where she’s the only first-person narrator. Just this once, however, I would’ve liked to see the first half of this episode where Claire’s literally on her own sans voiceover -- maybe to add to the sense of isolation even more. It’s a minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things, though.
- Fogden references a place called “Abandawe,” which Claire recognizes from treating Margaret Campbell back in Edinburgh (“Abandawe will devour ye!”). I’d believed Margaret wasn’t the seer her brother claimed her to be, but as it turns out Abandawe is purported to be a sacred cave in Jamaica where people disappear. Could it be a location similar to the stone circle at Craigh na Dun?
That’s it for now, Outlander fans! Feel free to sound off in the comments about your favorite moments this episode, as well as your predictions for the rest of Season 3, or tweet at us over at @Syfyfangrrls. Will Jamie and Claire finally catch up to Young Ian, or will those warrants catch up to Jamie first? How will Fergus and Marsali adjust to married life? And what’s the deal with this Abandawe place? We’ll find out next week!