by Crystal Fann
Can we just go ahead and give Catriona Balfe all the awards? Golden Globes, Bafta, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and even though she’s really not eligible – let’s give her a Tony and an Oscar too. I mean any woman who would let a real snake craw over her for the sake of authenticity, “Shivers”.
Seriously though – I’ve seen a lot of talk about “survivor Claire” and I have to be honest, I thought that segment went a bit too long. I know they’re visualizing the lengths Claire would go to protect Jamie. I know they’re trying to show us the skills she honed traveling the world with Uncle Lam. I know they’re trying to harken back to the first show of the series where Claire was in a strange land all alone trying to survive (anybody notice that her undergarments favored that dress she wore in episode one?). But 15 minutes of Claire traipsing around with blisters, ant bites, slithering snakes, sunburn and burning bum rolls, still looking a damn sight better than I do when I just mow grass, I might add – well it was a bit much.
Thankfully though Claire makes it to quasi civilization before passing out. When she awakens tied up – and then is near drowned by Mamacita when she asks for water – we get the feeling that maybe she’d be better off in the jungle with the snakes. Then we meet the sweet, charming Father Fodgen and think that all is well. He’s intelligent and seems eager to help Claire on her journey to Jamaica. He is a kindred spirit that has suffered a lost love just as Claire had for 20 years. Then he talks to the coconut. Coco, just as the erstwhile Wilson from Castaway, gives silent counsel, but one Claire recognizes she needs. With the looming threat that Mamacita will do more than tie her up next time, Claire seizes the opportunity and her soliloquy to the wise and silent Coco does the trick, at least as far as Father Fodgen is concerned.
Yet Claire’s travels hit another snag with the death of beloved Arabella. The skinned goat head with the addition of beetles was a bit yucky but it was the needed segue way for Father Fodgen to mention “Abandawe”. Claire remembers her prior warning from Margaret Campbell and you can just feel the goosebumps skittering down her spine. With the mention of the hateful Chinaman that put Arabella in a pot – Claire gets goosebumps for another reason altogether. Since obviously, Ye Tien Cho is the only Chinaman that’s on a ship in the area, it’s a clue that Jamie might be near. With Mamcita’s direction Claire takes off on another jaunt that proves while she might have some Bear Grylls in her blood, she’s got some Haile Gebrselassie in there as well.
We then get a look at what Claire’s sprinting towards – it seems she’s not the only one who fell prey to the whims of the ocean. The Artemis has been damaged in a squall and while Captain Raines is dead, Captain Fraser is on the job consoling a spiritually conflicted Fergus as well as overseeing the repair of the ship. Jamie’s so good at the construction part that he’s got his people ready to sail before Claire finally limps to the beach, bleeding and exhausted – but too late. Thankfully she swiped a small mirror from Father Fodgen and is able to signal her husband leading to a beach reunion and as I watched Jamie run toward her arms outstretched I had only one thought – why on earth did they land the boat so far up the beach from Claire?
The reunion is “From Here to Eternity” worthy. Jamie can’t believe Claire jumped off a ship but warning him about the warrant was reason enough for Claire. Jamie reminds his wife that he was a wanted man when they first met…and Claire’s comment that she didn’t like it then either reminds us of what came of it. Hopefully, the outcome won’t be so vicious this time. Comments from the Rupert and Angus stand-in’s that Claire does seem to drop in out of the sky from time to time provide a little levity as Ye Tien Cho does the stitching.
Jamie’s so happy to have Claire back in his arms…he wants to share the love. After recognizing last week that Fergus’s love for Marsali is in the same vein as his for Claire Jamie plans a wedding. I giggled the whole time Ye Tien Cho played the penitent, chicken offering, contrite soul – at least he got some ganja for his efforts. Claire’s bonding scenes with Marsali were sweet and Marsali realizes that Claire and Jamie and not her mother and Jamie are the couple to emulate – I think I’m going to like that girl.
Some people’s favorite part of the episode comes at the end, but we’ll get to that in a bit. My favorite part was the impromptu wedding on the beach. Fergus and Marsali – I just loved them – standing before Father Fodgen with a cock – but lacking a name. Marsali is impatient…wanting the Father to hurry so she can, in fact, answer the question about Fergus’s cock. Fergus is sweet and loves Marsali for her spirit and speaking her mind. Like father like son in terms of wives and in one of the most precious moments in the whole book and TV series – Jamie makes that bond official. Fergus Claudel Fraser. The pride of a father recognizing his son – the pride of a son receiving the recognition he has earned through loyalty and love. The look on Claire’s face as she laid her head on Jamie’s shoulder. Was she remembering the time they sent Fergus to safety on the cusp of Culloden? We love you like a son – our own son and the giving of a name made it official. Just as in the book it brought tears to my eyes. It was perfect.
Then we come to the part that they teased with the title card of a turtle swimming through blue ocean waters – Turtle Soup. Book readers knew what to expect and the show didn’t disappoint. Drunk, feverish and horny Claire is adorable – and we can see that fact written all over Jamie’s face. They are at ease with each other, loving and teasing, the Jamie and Claire we know and love. The man who can cause carnage with a sword can’t bring himself to stab Claire in the arse with a needle – she reminds him what it feels like and he can’t cause her that pain.
What he can do however is give us a bit a foreshadowing with a quick stream of penicillin ejaculating from the needle which gives Claire all sorts of ideas. A stitched-up arm doesn’t damper Claire’s lust and while Jamie does give a cursory refusal – well Claire does have a very strong grip. Soon they’re sweating and moaning and biting and bruising (according to Catriona Balfe) and nearly interrupted by Ye Tien Cho, who seems as besotted with Claire as the rest of us. His smile as he walks away speaks for us all – Jamie and Claire are back together…and hopefully will stay that way!