Outlander Heaven and Earth Review
Starz’s Outlander: Season 3, Episode 10: Heaven and Earth continued the separation of its two protagonists and saw them adjusting to their new precarious environments. Technically, Dr. Claire Beauchamp Randall/Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) was in the more dangerous of two situations because she was literally surrounded by death i.e. the typhoid fever outbreak and once again, the subtle threat of rape was present. Since Claire was inoculated against typhoid fever and a random rape would probably never happen (if it was going to happen, Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall would have been the perpetrator), James “Jamie” MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan) was in the most perilous situation during Heaven and Earth.
The most dangerous portion of Jamie Fraser’s predicament was the part Jamie was totally unaware of. At the outset of Heaven and Earth, Claire dealt with her own situation then conterminously managed Jamie’s situation when it became known to her. Having managed pop-up situations during numerous hospital surgeries (life or death situations), Clare was already mentally prepared for pop-up situations outside the operating room.
When it came to the typhoid fever on the British man-of-war Porpoise, Claire Fraser was a doctor, detective, and a administrator.
Harry Tompkins (Ian Reddington)’s role in that section of Heaven and Earth‘s narrative had its moments (his story and observations) but it was Claire’s quick thinking and manipulation of him and the fear permeating the Porpoise (evidenced by how roughly Tompkins was brought before Claire) that made his inclusion in the episode noteworthy.
When it came to Jamie and the death sentence hanging over his head, Claire became a junior spy and a desperate daredevil – the latter with an advantageous assist from Annekje Johansen (Chanelle de Jager).
Claire Fraser jumping off of the Porpoise into the ocean after nightfall was one of the most courageous things that I have seen on TV since Alicia Clark was forced to euthanize over a dozen infected people on Fear the Walking Dead. Claire’s fear of losing Jamie, a reality that was almost a certainty, must have been monstrous, matching the monstrous nature of what she was about to do, and what she was about to endure in the water i.e. mounting fatigue, uncertainty, fear, and having no one within earshot to help or save her. Love can make a person do things that defy reason. Claire jumping into that water was one of them though to her, it was the sanest thing that she could have done.
British Midshipman Elias Pound (Albie Marber)’s storyline in Heaven and Earth was idealistic, deceptive, and predictable. Getting to know a well-written and acted single episode character happens all the time in TV series and it can be a powerful instrument in driving the implications of a situation home not only for the protagonist or antagonist involved but for the viewer as well. Elias Pound was narrative instrument but one well-disguised, so well in fact that the most knowledgeable viewer may not have recognized his true purpose until he was dying of typhoid fever. When Midshipman Pound was diagnosed, all of the breadcrumbs that led to that moment became obvious and were laid bear. As was intended, Pound’s passing was sad but that would never have been the case if he had not made an impression on the protagonist and the viewer.
As Claire Fraser fought for Jamie on the Porpoise during Heaven and Earth, on the island where the ship stopped for fresh water, and in the sea when Claire jumped, Jamie Fraser fought for Claire on the Artemis. Trying to throttle Captain Raines (Richard Dillane) and incite a mutiny were bold, desperate maneuvers that showed how high on unthinking emotion Jamie was riding. Jamie’s emotional state was fertile soil in which Claudel “Fergus” Fraser (César Domboy) stood during Heaven and Earth and asserted himself for the first time. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Jamie had been the one to act in Fergus’ best interest. In Heaven and Earth, Fergus acted in Jamie’s best interest, defying his guardian and his friend’s wishes, possibly currying the anger and spurning of someone he had looked up to for over twenty years. It was a defining moment in Fergus’ life, a moment that would have never come to be if weren’t for Jamie’s incarceration and irrational request.
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