TV Reviews

Outlander Season 3 Episode 9: The Doldrums Review

A change of scenery has come to this episode from the Scottish countryside and bustling streets of 18th century England to a shipboard adventure on the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean. It finds Claire and Jamie on-board a vessel bound for Jamaica and tackling several issues from seafaring sickness to a crew suspicion mutiny to an end that pulls the two-main protagonist away from each other once again.

Synopsis: Claire and Jamie leave Scotland, sailing to the West Indies on an urgent quest. But when the superstitious crew looks for someone to blame after a string of bad luck, rescue comes from an unlikely source. (IMDB)

Writer: Shannon Goss

Director: David Moore

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 60mins

Picking up sometime after the events of the last episode, we find Claire and Jamie getting ready to set sail on a ship named the Artemis (arranged by Jamie’s cousin Jared) to track down the vessel ship that kidnapped Young Ian. Learning of the ship’s name and where she makes birth, Claire and Jamie set sail to cross the Atlantic Ocean with their destination to Jamaica. Procuring men (Fergus, Mr. Willoughby, etc.) and supplies, their ship set sails as Claire and Jamie settle in for the long duration of the voyage.

However, Jamie is caught off-guard as Fergus secretly has brought Marsali, Laoghaire’s daughter on-board for the voyage and that the pair are lovers and are planning to be married (or rather already married in a hand-custom marriage). Fearing superstitions from the men and for her own welfare, Jamie insists that the Artemis’s captain (Captain Raines) make for land, so that Marsali can be escorted off. However, after protest from Fergus and Marsali, Jamie begrudgingly agrees for Marsali to sail on-board for their voyage.

As the men (and the two women) on the Artemis settle in for the long duration of the sea voyage, some time is spent in this episode of introducing the new setting upon the open water as we see the crew interacting with each other (as well as Claire and Jamie), with Claire tending to making herbal medicine / tending to minor crew injuries and bearing in mind of the superstition traits that all must endure for the crew to believe in. However, their voyage runs into a bit of a snag as the prevailing winds that have guide the Artemis across the open waters faded away, leaving the ship stranded in the middle of the sea. This prompts the crew’s superstition ways to be heightened as they believe that one of the people on-board is a “Jonah” (a person who many believed to be “bad luck”).

The crew eventually singles out one of Jamie’s men (a man named Hayes), who thinks he may or may not touched the crew’s sacred “good luck” object prior to starting their voyage. The crew then tries to round up Hayes, with the intention of throwing him overboard to end their streak of bad luck. Fortunately, Mr. Willoughby sees a change in the favorable wind that’s coming and makes a quick plan to adhere to the crew’s superstition ways; regaling his story from China and how he came to live in Europe. It was quite an interesting and powerful piece for the character of Mr. Willoughby. And, going off as clockwork, as Mr. Willoughby’s story ends, the winds upon the air begin to roar back to life, which allows the ship to continue to set sail once again. Also, during the course of this episode, we see that relationship with Claire and Jamie is beginning to mend from all the shocked revelations that has occurred since their reunion. It’s touching to see their romance beginning to rekindle once more.

Soon after, the Artemis is upon a British Man-o-War that’s named the Porpoise, which hails their ship to be boarded, with many of the men, including Jamie, fearing that the British vessel is looking for “extra men” to be employed in their forces. Fortunately, that’s not the case as the Porpoise’s acting Captain Leonard is need of their help as most of the men are sick and are need of medical assistance. Of course, Claire offers to help and (after examining the sick crew members) discovers that the men have typhoid. The episode ends with Claire, suggesting to stay and provide the initial care for the sick crew members onboard the Porpoise, but Captain Leonard sees Claire’s surgical skills too valuable to the task at hand and decides to have the ship make posthaste towards Jamaica, leaving Jamie and the rest of the crew on the Artemis. Leonard promises to have Claire returned to Artemis once they arrived in Jamaica. So, Claire and Jamie are torn apart again, with Claire left stranded onboard the Porpoise.

All in all, this episode was a bit slow (in comparison to the last episode), but had to be as this installment changes the setting from land to sea and charters a course for a new destination setting within the Caribbean. It followed the standard trope of a classic seafaring narrative thread of superstition and mutiny but it worked within the context of the show as we got more time to see Mr. Willoughby as well as the passionate flame of Claire and Jamie reigniting once more. Will Claire and Jamie be reunited? Will they make it to Jamaica? Will they ever save Young Ian? The answers haven’t been revealed, but all these answers will come to light in the upcoming episodes. Just as Claire and Jamie venture across the Atlantic Ocean, this episode acts as a “bridge” from the show’s old setting to a new one.

7.5 Out of 10

If interested, check out my movie blog @ Jason’s Movie Blog for my reviews of current movies.

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