Previously: Claire gets impressed on a typhoid ridden British navy ship
On board the Artemis, everyone waits patiently for Claire to come back, and Fergus has made a potpourri for Marsali. That’s…actually very sweet. Jamie and Fergus are like, inches from a heart to heart when they see the Porpoise making sail. Jamie tries to get the Artemis to follow. The captain won’t give chase- first the Artemis can’t go that fast, and Captain Baby Face Leonard can’t make the journey he needs to make without Claire’s help. They’ll meet up with the Porpoise in Jamaica. Jamie is so crabby about this development that he’s locked up in the brig. Or whatever serves as a brig in so tiny a ship.
The title card is breaking open barrels somewhere.
On the Porpoise, Claire is doing her best. There’s still a lot of vomiting involved, so there’s a lot of cleaning. Some of the men aren’t thrilled out it all, but Claire has Mr. Pound, another baby faced Midshipman (I’m guessing, based on my repeated viewings of Master and Commander), to enforce her orders. He may be a toddler, but he’s got rank, and rank is what matters in the Navy. Claire has a bucket of grog for people to dip their hands in before going in or out of the sick room, because it’s the best disinfectant she’s got.
Mr. Pound finds Claire a hat, and also asks Claire if having people distilling pure alcohol would be handy – they have a couple of people who were imprisoned for distilling illegal whiskey. The pursuer doesn’t like this plan, since it’ll cut the grog rations in half, but Captain’s orders! Rules is rules! They’re only 250 leagues from Jamaica so this might work. Maybe. “How many casks will you require?” “How many men would you like me to save?”
Below deck, Claire is doing the rehydration therapy as best she can. Mr Pound’s given name is Elias, and he’s been in the Navy since he was seven. (So, like, a week.) (I KID I KID I know he’s like 14.) One of the dead men is a friend of his, and he’s handling things as best he can. So is Claire, but it’s a bad situation.
Claire goes to the Captain to get the surgeon’s log, and is able to figure out that the carrier for the disease was a carpenter, but after all the rest of the carpenters died, he was reassigned to the galley. After some very patient explanations (and then less than patient), the captain has the carrier locked up for everyone’s own good.
On the Artemis, Fergus is granted five minutes to talk with Jamie, who is seasick again without the regular acupuncture treatments. Jamie tries to get Fergus to get the keys to the cell, and they’ll take over the ship. Fergus: the math is against us. Jamie: Improve the math! Fergus: what’s your plan? You don’t have one! Jamie: See, you don’t know what love is, so I was right not to give you my blessing to marry Marsali. Fergus: Low blow, milord. LOW BLOW. Jamie says some shit about moving heaven and earth and then tells Fergus to get the keys and he’ll get Jamie’s blessing.
On the Porpoise, the dead are being sewn into their hammocks, and Elias tells Claire that the last stitch must go through the nose, and it’s done by a friend. Claire watches as he sews up his friend, sadly. On deck, the captain reads from the Bible, and the dead are given to the sea.
That night, Claire is taking a few moments on deck, and the cook gives the butcher’s bill for the day, which is getting higher. Elias sends him away, and they have a conversation about compartmentalization. She then tells him that there will be more burials at sea, but with luck, they can get through it. Elias smiles and says he’s seen her at work for three days- that’s not luck, but if it’s luck she needs, she better take the rabbit’s foot his mother made him. “Luck and health” is the blessing she gave him, and that’s what they need. Claire asks when the last time he saw his mother, and it’s been some time, since she’s dead.
Another sailor finds Claire and tells her another man is ill, the husband of Mrs. Johansen, the woman who tends the goats. But it turns out that Mr. Johansen isn’t sick: he’s been drinking the distilled alcohol. Claire explodes into a tirade about the goddamn ship and the fucking alcohol, and Elias looks at her in wonderment: he’s never heard a gentlewoman use such language!
Claire assures Annekja that her husband will be fine, and thanks her for all the work she’s been doing with the goats.
As Claire is leaving, she sees a Portuguese flag, and has a moment of remembering that the Bruja is a Portuguese ship. The flag came from a Portuguese frigate they boarded two weeks before looking for a surgeon. Claire goes to the Captain’s quarters to find out if it was the Bruja. He wasn’t there, but she pages through the (very tidily written) log. It wasn’t the Bruja, but Claire also sees a note about Jamie, that one of the able seaman, Harry Tompkins, said they recognized Jamie as a wanted seditioner. Claire is about to leave when the cook comes in, and accuses her of trespassing, and he doesn’t trust Claire at ALL. In order to get him to back the fuck off, she tells him that she’ll accuse him of trying to assault her, and it won’t go well for him.
Once alone, Claire muses that she needs to find the guy who recognized Jamie.
On the Artemis, Marsali is cleaning Fergus’ stump, and considers Jamie’s request of Fergus. (I actually like this bit, because it’s showing them working through an issue as a partnership.) Fergus is willing to take the risk if it means they can be together, but Marsali points out that if it doesn’t work, she’ll be without protection. They start making out, and she goes for his pants, but he won’t have sex with her without actual marriage. Marsali isn’t particularly happy, but she also understands Fergus.
In the morning, Elias finds Claire and she asks him about Harry Tompkins. He doesn’t know Tompkins off hand, and Claire, after a minute, says that she’s concerned that Tompkins is another carrier, so they need to find him forthwith, but quietly-like.
Fergus overhears a conversation between some of the sailors that Jamie and his people should be tossed overboard (and because it’s 1766, Marsali would be raped a bunch first). The captain is firm saying he won’t allow that shit, but also won’t let Jamie out. Fergus, still doing the math, skitters away before they catch him eavesdropping.
Tompkins is brought before Claire, and he’s the guy that Young Ian found in the print shop. Claire sends everyone away, and Tompkins is like, I know who you are. You’re Malcolm’s wife. Claire picks up her bone saw and faces him. Tompkins is like, you’re gonna kill me? Great. My life for the past three months has been shit- I had a good job, and then got badly burned for my trouble, then I got pressed into service on this ship, so death would be great. Claire: Maybe I should, they can’t arrest my husband on Baby Captain’s word alone. Tompkins: Oh, they have warrants out for his arrest for treason and murder, since we found the body of the guy went sent after him in a cask of creme de menthe.
Claire is determined to talk the captain out of arresting Jamie, but Tompkins thinks that Baby Captain is ambitious- he’ll want his own ship for real, and he can hasten that along by bringing in a wanted traitor. So authorities will be waiting for Jamie in Jamaica.
(How does anyone know Jamie’s real name? Jamie didn’t use it in Edinburgh, and… seriously, this doesn’t make a lot of sense in the book either, as I recall. My copy is somewhere in the no man’s land under my bed, so I haven’t read it in a while, but this is one of those squishy, “okay, Diana, we’ll go with it, I guess.”)
Claire has Tomkins locked up across from the actual carrier of the typhoid, and tells him not to get too snuggly.
Down in the goat hold, Annekja gives Claire a bit of goat cheese. Annekja asks Claire “what sad you?” (Why are you sad?) and Claire’s like, they’re gonna arrest my husband. Annekja says that she’ll help, her goats need grass. Claire: ???????? Annekja: I said what I said.
On the Artemis, Fergus brings Jamie some water, but no keys. Jamie is really angry that Fergus didn’t try, but Fergus tells him, firmly, that if they don’t succeed (which they won’t) they will die. “They will kill us, and Marsali will be alone. And I won’t leave her alone, and I won’t send you to your death.” Fergus won’t do something so ill-advised just to get Jamie’s blessing for marriage.
On the Porpoise, there’s no sound of dying men, or vomiting. The sick are just sleeping. Claire picks up the rabbit’s foot, and on the deck, there’s singing men and a fiddle playing. She finds Elias in his hammock… but he’s got the rash all over his arms and chest. She brushes his hair from his face, and he asks if she’s his mother. “Yes, Elias. It’s mother. It’s time for you to come home now.”
Later, he’s sewed into his hammock, and Claire puts the rabbit’s foot back in his hand, poor kid. “Your mother would be so proud.” Claire does the last stitch. It should be done by a friend, and Elias goes to his rest.
[spoiler spoilerwarning="Click for more sadness"]
On deck, Baby Captain finds Claire, and she confesses that she missed the signs with Elias. Baby Captain tells her that she’s been heroic, and even if they’re low on drinking water, they’ll make it. Annekje and her husband find Claire and tell her that they’ve smelled land- which means that the ship would make anchor and get water, and Annekje, with Claire, would hop off to feed the goats. Annekje tells Claire to make a run for it, and she’ll take care of the sick. (The captions tell me this is rousing music.)
Claire makes it not far when she runs into Baby Captain and a few marines. Claire’s like… I was gathering herbs. Really. Baby Captain: I can’t let you warn your husband, I just can’t. I’m sorry, but I cannot. He escorts Claire back to the ship.
On the Artemis, Jamie (and his spectacles) are looking at the pictures of Brianna (which are looking a little worn around the edges). The captain comes into to tell Jamie that they’ll be in sight of land by the morning, and he needs “all good and able men” to navigate the shoals. Marsali is there, too – she’s convinced the captain that Jamie doesn’t break his word, so if Jamie would just GIVE HIS GODDAMN WORD that he won’t try to…make them go faster to where they are going….? Seriously, both ships have the same destination, for fuck’s sake. Anyway, Marsali convinces Jamie to chill the fuck out for once. “You can’t see what he did for you, can you? Fergus?” “What he did for YOU.”
“If you believe that, you don’t deserve to be let out of here.”
I like this Marsali. I like her a lot. It’s not her fault who her mother is.
Jamie does give his word, and tells the two lovebirds that they can have his blessing, but they have to be married by a priest in Jamaica. He then calls Fergus “mon fils” and my heart melts a tiny bit.
That night, the Porpoise is sailing past a port town, and Annekje tells Claire to make a jump and a swim for it. Claire: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND I CAN’T JUST JUMP IN THE OCEAN WHAT THE FUCK. Annekje: I thought your people could conquer the globe. It’s not a fucking fjord, Claire. It’s very warm. Also here’s a barrel to hold on to so you don’t don’t have to swim the whole way. And I hear things, they’ll hang your husband. AND HERE IS SOME GODDAMN MONEY. JUST JUMP OFF THE SHIP CLAIRE.
Claire strips down to her underwear, and they toss the barrel over, and Claire, with a final “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” jumps in after it.
Elyse: Oh sure, Starz, introduce me to sweet Elias Pound and then break my heart by killing him off. It’s fine. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
I find it odd that Claire’s Hippocratic oath would prevent her from letting a man who tried to rape and kill her die of his injuries, but would allow her to put a healthy man in a jail cell across from one who had Typhoid Fever. I suppose the odds of him getting sick were the same in the cell as out of it, but it still felt too convenient.
Now I really want to know whose bones Joe had. Claire’s? Marsali’s? This is gonna drive me nuts.
RHG: Elias Pound: a cinnamon roll too good, too pure for this world.
Excellent point, Elyse, about Claire’s actions.
I loved how they were able to use some of the Black Sails stuff Starz had on hand for this section, and even though typhoid is a super disgusting disease, I liked this section of the book (I’m very into all of the medical/healing stuff- that’s the constant in the portions I usually like the most in each book). Also epidemics terrify me.
Marsali isn’t given much from the book, but I love what Lauren Lyle is doing with her. She’s a teenage girl with some strong opinions, has learned a lot of lessons from her mother and stepfather, and is, at this point, determined to go her own way.
Sure, a lot of her actions are motivated by her desire for Fergus and her own safety (can we blame her for that last one? No) but she also has a firm grasp on how got Jamie’s head out of his own ass. That’s a good skill.
What did you think of this week’s episode?