Do you like palm trees? And running? And thirst? Deep, deep thirst? Do you often wish Cast Away had more women, and goat heads? Then this is the episode for you.
Last we saw our intrepid Dr. Claire, she leapt off the Porpoise and onto a flotation aid so that she could find land, beg or buy her way onto a ship, and find Jamie. This seems doubly cockamamie when you consider that she couldn’t just text him, or Google the location of his ship, or DM him, “Don’t go to Kingston. Meet me in Hispaniola. Bring lube.” There was no backup plan for ever finding him again. Which is narratively refreshing. Modernity really has ruined mankind’s ability to be true star-crossed lovers.
You may have surmised that Claire survived her leap into icy waters, though she’s been floating a long time in the hot, hot tropical sun.
Dr. Claire, in the sun and a-bake,
Simply could not stay awake.
She dozed off on some junk
While in search of her hunk
It’s exactly like modern Spring Break.
It seems she passed out on her empty barrels, rousing only when a wave rolled her off them, at which point she managed not to drown and instead swam to the beach to see if she might win a wet undercrackers contest. Alas, it was unpopulated. She gleans enough to know that the current did not take her to Grand Turk, but isn’t clear which tropical paradise this is. I hope it’s Richard Branson’s island. It does have magical Ouidad qualities in its water and air, which combine to create an artful head of curls in a way that my own head does not acknowledge as possible.
What ensues is a wordless twenty minutes with Claire — well, unless you watch with the captions, in which case it’s all “AH” and “OH” which are the same things they type in for sex noises, when they aren’t using “[MOANING].” She begins her trek across the beach, over the hills, through the jungles. Her voice-over is useful here because it would be bonkers of her to start expositing all this at empty air, and it also helpfully teaches me the rule of threes: that a human can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Of paramount concern, then, is water, and Claire is so desperate for it that she sucks whatever moisture she can off nearby leaves.
She also finds some flint, in a magical coincidence, which I cannot really argue too hard because this entire show is based on magical coincidence. If you can touch a rock and zap back in time once, much less twice, then you can stroll a beach and trip over some firestarting materials. However, Claire did not get her merit badge in this, so she can’t start the fire until she pulls some batting out of the bum roll she built out of a throw-pillow. This works so well that she then, in a fit of triumph I guess, throws the whole THING on the flames. Um, Claire? It’s been a day. You MIGHT have wanted to save some for other fires.
Dr. Claire slept the night in the jungle,
It went well but one thing she did bungle.
Her legs crawled with ants
Enough to make pants
And holy shit you guys that is a lot of goddamn bugs for any human person who isn’t on Survivor.
Once Claire slaps the bugs off her body, and my skin slowly slinks back onto mine, she’s left with a bunch of itchy bites and the kind of thirst only Gatorade can quench. Her second night is even worse: When she opens her eyes, there is a snake slithering languidly across her chest. It is here that I had the thought — I apologize in advance — that I am very grateful Outlander didn’t decide to get all nitty-grity on us and give Claire her period during this escapade. Claire, too, must be grateful that her cycle cooperated.
On and on she goes, staggering alone, until finally she hears a voice in the distance. Blurrily, she lifts her head and sees a man in the distance raising his arms to the sky. Alas, before she can call out to him, she face-plants.
When she awakens this time, she’s lying in a bed… to which she is fully strapped.
Dr. Claire sometimes likes her sex rough
But not even Red Jamie used cuffs.
Yet here she faints
And wakes up in restraints?
Hasn’t her year been irritating enough?
She’s at the tiny, forgotten compound of one Father Fogden, whose stern and Spanish-speaking mother-in-law (he calls her Mamacita) yoked Claire’s limbs to the bed so she wouldn’t scratch her legs into a pulpy pile. She also put a green paste on them to heal the bites, which I had thought Claire might find rather intriguing, given her background as an amateur herbalist. But there’s no discussion of it nor questions about it. Instead, Crankypants also pours water straight down Claire’s open mouth without a whole lot of thought as to whether Claire would choke on it. She seems extremely put-out about having to nurse this wandering misfit.
Father Fogden, who in many ways is the Richard Branson of small homespun demi-religious goat farms on remote island paradises, kindly unties her and explains that she alit on Sant Domingue — known today as Haiti (and not to be confused with Santo Domingo, a city in present-day Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti). Fodgen is very deferential, comes bearing food, and does not try to get inside her knickers — a refreshing change, although he does make a few comments about how pretty Claire is, and whether she might look fetching in “Ermenegilda’s dress.” Mamacita is not amused. Fodgen’s backstory, revealed over a lovely meal of fried plantains that I honestly think Claire does not praise enough because plantains are GREAT and she’s got to be starving, is that he was ministering in Cuba when he fell in love with a beautiful married woman named Ermenegilda. They fled together from her dastardly husband, but she got sick and died, and now he’s stuck living there with her cranky and still-grieving mother who would prefer he never forget. On possible pain of death, or at least the wrong end of her temper.
However, Fogden is also Batshit McGee, as his chief confidante appears to be a coconut that he has named, wait for it, Coco. I am curious if this detail is in the book, as it feels pilfered from things that the book predates, ranging from Cast Away to Last Man On Earth, in which Will Forte made himself a series of pals — with distinct names and personalities — out of sportsballs. I can’t actually tell if Fogden has gone nuts from being lonely, or if it’s the grass he’s puffing in his pipe, or if he simply uses The Will of Coco as a way of saying things he doesn’t want to take blame for himself. Such as when he tries to insist he should accompany Claire on the long hike to a nearby village (“Coco and I would never forgive ourselves”), or has Coco throw up all manner of “practical” reasons for why she should stay for two weeks to regain her strength. Mamacita, however, is protective of Ermenegilda’s memory, reads all this as Fogden hoping to have a love affair, and determines: “The whore must go.”
It’s bad enough that I deal with this Coco.
But now here comes this British Yoko.
If she turns up on our land
And breaks up this band
I am gonna go fucking loco.
Later, as Claire and Fogden gaze upon the left-behind dress of Ermenegilda’s, they bond over the fact that they’ve both experienced the kind of true love you can neither forget nor abandon. It’s like Miracle Max’s hovel up in here, y’all. Mamacita can be Carol Kane, and they can make a pill for Jamie that works like Viagra. Claire begs Fogden one more time to let her go, all, “Stop right there! I gotta know right now! Before we go any further! Can I leave here? Can I leave here forever?” and he’s like, “Let Coco sleep on it, baby baby, let him sleep on it. Let him sleep on it, and give you an answer in the morning.”
And Coco, who does not listen to Meat Loaf, privately is like:
Girl, plz, why would I let you go?
It’s so boring here, as you well know.
They can’t even watch soaps
You’re my only hope
Show some pity for Obi-Wan Coco.
Claire gets the idea to stage a conversation with Coco for Father Fogden’s benefit, and she is spectacularly unconvincing, all, “OH HEY THERE, COCO WAS JUST TELLING ME IT’S SUCH A GOOD TIME FOR ME TO GO TO THE VILLAGE.” I’m really bummed that we didn’t end up in a three-way argument in which Claire and Father Fogden were both translating wildly different intentions from Coco, and had to devolve into insisting the other wasn’t truly listening to Coco. Instead, we’re interrupted by a distress call from Mamacita. It seems an intruder has killed and eaten all but the intact-yet-skinless head of Fogden’s favorite goat, Arabella. He grasps the bloodied stump and stares deep into its eyes, and I’ve watched this twice and almost barfed both times even though it’s clearly so fake.
I only mention any of this because it’s another time when Outlander is like, “HANG ON A SECOND AND LISTEN UP OR ELSE YOU WILL BE LOST LATER.” Father Fogden places Arabella’s skull on a table and douses it with critters from a jar that will presumably lick clean her bones. He intones for Claire’s benefit that those vicious creatures are from a cave known as Abandawe that has a nasty habit of making people disappear. Claire flashes back to Batshit McGee 1.0, aka the vaguely insane women she tried to help out in Edinburgh, who clutched at Claire and screamed that Abandawe would claim her. So, obviously Claire’s path is going to cross with Abandawe — which is pronounced, if it helps, kind of like “ABANDON WAY.” Subtlety is winking at you right now. Even Coco is like, “Uh, maybe DON’T go there?”
HOWEVER: Claire doesn’t push for more Abandawe stories because she realizes that Mamacita was ranting about a Chinese man who killed and ate Arabella. And I guess there can only be one Chinese man who can cook, so she immediately asks for directions to the culprit and takes off running. Coco heaves an exhausted sigh.
Forgive me if I come off quite gruff
But I cannot now stress this enough:
I am over these dopes
And their weird thing for goats
TAKE ME WITH YOU DEAR CLAIRE IN YOUR STUFF.
Over on Convenience Beach, it would seem the Artemis has experienced some catastrophe, which occurred entirely off-camera and thus saves packets of money. In a nutshell–
Not that word! You don’t know how it’s been
To live trapped deep within this hard skin!
No legs to escape
That wack dude and his vape–
FINE, sorry Coco. How about in summary–
That’s much better, thanks.
You’re welcome. IN SUMMARY, the Artemis hit some ill winds indeed. Apparently someone must have pried the horseshoe off the post and then befouled it before throwing it into the sea, because a crisis aboard the ship broke the mast and killed a bunch of people — including the captain, which just so happens to leave Jamie in charge. What a happy thing when the weather commits a beneficial mass murder AND mutiny for you. They washed up on Wackadoo Island, ate a goat, and chilled out with some cocktails. But I gather it takes Claire a long while to run there, because by the time she arrives, the men have made a number of jokes about their sad sad celibacy, repaired the broken mast, carted it back out to the anchored Artemis, and prepared to run up the sail. Luckily, Claire had a mirror from Father Fogden, and reflects the light to catch Jamie’s eye. The gang rows back to rescue her, and their hug is really pretty cute, if ginger, as Claire caught a twig and cut her arm.
Willoughby stitches up Claire’s arm as Jamie marvels at her adventures, and the fact that Sir Percival found their corpse. Willoughby correctly grouses that they should’ve chopped up that body and left them with no evidence. Yet again, these people prove to be TERRIBLE AT PLANS. They have never had a plan that worked as intended, other than sending Claire back through the stones. I think there is a way to prolong this narrative without having them fail all the time, but what do I know. Anyhoo, Jamie decides that since they can’t set sail until morning and they’re all depressed about the dead, maybe they should throw a party. Specifically, he thinks Marsali and Fergus should be allowed to have sex — um, I mean, marry. And hey! We have a nearby priest! Convenience Island is the jam. Maybe they should stay. There are goats! A good-hearted priest! A chef! And poor Coco needs more company.
Oh God if you stay I will love you
But you’d be wack not to leave for someplace new.
This dullard of a rock
Doesn’t even have a John Locke
Much less the rest of that hot-ass crew.
First, our gang needs to beg Fogden’s forgiveness for slaughtering his dearly beloved, so Willoughby goes to him and proffers a chicken, and waxes poetic about how he didn’t know better because his country does not put goats in their rightful place of honor. It’s amusingly done, because the whole time he’s kinda side-eyeing Claire, as if to say, “AM I SUCKING UP PROPERLY?” It works: Fogden respects “a stranger in a strange land,” and offers him a hit of the wacky tobacc-y.
As they prep for the ceremony, Claire gently probes whether there’s anything Marsali is nervous about or wants to discuss, and Marsali admits to some trepidation about the post-ceremony banging. Apparently Fergus told her that she’ll be fine with it after the first time — do we think men in this century were really that attuned to a women’s virginal agony? — but she’s not sure, because of how Laoghaire would recoil from Jamie’s embrace. Except that now she’s seen Jamie and Claire together, cuddling like lusty old rabbits, so sex must not be that vile after all. And the truth of it is that half of what’s scaring Marsali is getting pregnant. Marsali, I like you a lot, suddenly. Because of COURSE you don’t want to get knocked up right away and be stuck with a baby on a barge. Claire promises to teach her all about birth control — hopefully Marsali doesn’t know how ineffective some of her methods are, like that ginger tea — and Marsali decides maybe Claire isn’t Satan’s toenail fungus after all.
The wedding is quite funny, in a way that felt almost off for Outlander. Father Fogden is somewhat distracted by the romance in the air, almost climaxes over the feeling of Marsali’s name rolling off his tongue, and generally nearly forgets all the vows. He also assumes Fergus isn’t the groom because he is missing a hand. “Will the bride mind?” he asks, befuddled. “SHE WILL NOT,” snaps Marsali. Father Fogden shrugs and says, “I suppose it’s no impediment,” then says conspiratorially, “It’s not as though he’s lost his cock.” Pause, then some fear: “He hasn’t, has he?” Marsali snaps back, “If you’d hurry up and get on with it, I could find out.” Coco and I are officially on Team Marsali.
“And you have a name, too? And a cock?” Father Fogden says to Fergus. What will Coco make of all this raunch?
I’ve not heard this much talk of cock
Since that time Mamacita took a walk
And Father Fodgen did find
Wait never mind
I don’t want that memory unlocked.
There is a truly sweet moment next: Fergus is asked for his full name, and doesn’t feel he has one to give. He seems so sad. Jamie pipes up, “Fraser. Fergus Claudel Fraser.” And in that moment, without saying as much, Jamie makes Fergus as much his child as Willie or Brianna or I guess Marsali. It stamps their relationship in a way that neither one of them has articulated and it makes me want to hug them both.
Back on the ship, in the captain’s quarters that now belong to Jamie, Claire is slurping down a bowl of Willoughby’s turtle soup while Jamie fetches her medical kit. It seems she’s got a wee infection and needs penicillin. She’s very chill about it, and playful, and that turns out to be because she’s drunk on the immense amounts of cooking sherry in her dinner. (Doesn’t alcohol content burn off on the stove? Maybe Willoughby stirred it in late. Maybe Willoughby is a genius.) It’s so nice to see Claire and Jamie back to having fun again, as she paws at him a little and then lustily invites him to jab her in the butt with the needle as revenge for when she did it to him. He balks, though — Sam Heughan’s facial expressions are wonderfully skeptical of this contraption — so she cheerfully thrusts it in herself and then devours him with her eyes while he pushes the plunger. Then they flirt, and he pretends to be scandalized by her drunken feverish advances, until she crawls over the desk and they bolt the door and GET IT ON. Willoughby comes by to ask if Claire is enjoying the soup, and rather than stop thrusting, the two of them try to bone quietly while politely shooing Willoughby away and fail SPECTACULARLY. This is not a very thoughtful thing to do to a man who has just recently told you all, very loudly and publicly, that he is REALLY BUMMED that he’s not getting any right now. Fortunately, Willoughby is a man of good temper, so he just listens for a second — maybe a few more second than is strictly necessary — and laughs at them and then leaves. I hope he swims back and finds Mamacita for some You Killed My Goat/Yes I Know And I’m Not That Sorry About It hate sex.
In all, this episode was all over the map, tonally, beginning with a desperate feel and then turning slightly bizarre with poor Coco, and then it’s almost verbal slapstick, and finally a light romance. We badly needed a dose of Jamie and Claire free and in love, and it’s too bad we had to wait so long for it, but at least it finally came. No pun intend… well, okay, pun intended. Sorry.
Next week: WIGS. And the return of Young Ian.