In this episode of Outlander, titled “The Doldrums,” Claire and Jamie set sail for Jamaica in search of Ian, a series of events on board the Artemis leads the crew to believe the ship is cursed and Claire finds herself separated from Jamie once again. 

Jamie learns that the ship Ian is on is a Portuguese vessel, the Bruja, and her home port is in Jamaica. Jamie figures the ship is headed home since it was sitting low in the water, meaning it is filled with cargo.

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The Newlywed Game

Jamie gets a job on board a merchant ship, overseeing the cargo and its sale, working under a captain named Raines. Jamie feels guilty that Ian was taken while trying to retrieve the treasure that Jamie needs to free himself from Laoghaire. He thinks he’s being punished. Claire tries to comfort him, saying no God would take his nephew away just because he wanted to be happy.

Jaime questions if he and Claire will be happy. They hadn’t resolved their issues prior to Ian’s kidnapping, and even though Jamie wants her to stay, he offers to take her back to the stones if that’s what Claire really wants. Claire changes the subject, reinforcing that their primary concern right now is getting Ian back before he’s sold into indentured servitude or slavery.

Coming along to help out are Mr. Willoughby, Fergus, Hayes and Lesley. Jenny and her husband think Claire, young Ian and Jamie are still headed to France, and Jamie tells Claire that he’s written them a letter explaining everything.

Jamie is shocked to learn that Fergus has brought his wife along, Marsali (Lauren Lyle), who also happens to be Laoghaire’s eldest daughter. Apparently, the two have been courting for a while and were handfest before heading out to sea. Claire learns that handfast is a custom that allows two people to be married if they clasp hands in front of witnesses. But it’s only binding if the marriage is consummated, and Jamie learns from Fergus that it hasn’t been yet. 

Jamie decides that Marsali will disembark at the next port, declaring the journey too dangerous for his step-daughter. Marsali has no intention of returning to Lallybroch and threatens to tell everyone that Fergus bedded her, even if it isn’t true. Marsali hates Claire almost as much as her mother does, so this journey just got a whole lot more awkward, especially since Jamie refuses to let Fergus lay a hand on Marsali and insists that his step-daughter bunk with Claire. Claire’s also not thrilled at the prospect of no sex with Jamie for the duration of the journey. She didn’t wait 20 years and go back in time 200 years to remain celibate.

Superstition Supersedes Mutiny 

Claire has other problems. The ship’s crew is incredibly superstitious, and having women and a redhead on board makes them nervous. After a minor accident involving a member of the crew, a man named Manzetti (Cameron Robertson), the first mate, Mr. Warren (Karl Thaning), declares that the mishap is a bad omen for the rest of the trip. So does Captain Raines (Richard Dillane), who thinks someone forgot to touch the ship’s horseshoe — to not do so prior to setting sail is inviting disaster. Claire finds the whole thing ridiculous, stating that there are such things as accidents. 

Raines asks Claire to dine with him to educate her about life at sea. If the men are to trust her as the ship’s surgeon, she needs to put herself in their shoes. Raines believes that anything that provides the men with a sense of assurance should be encouraged. (It’s strange that someone who traveled through time should be so skeptical.)

Days pass, and Claire spends her time tending to minor injuries and making medicines. Jamie is able to overcome his seasickness, thanks to Mr. Willoughby’s knowledge of acupuncture. But the smooth sailing literally grinds to a halt when the winds cease. Again, the crew begins to worry about bad luck and obsesses about someone not touching the damn horseshoe. 

The wind doesn’t return, and the ship is stranded hundreds of miles from shore. All but five barrels of drinking water get contaminated, causing more anxiety among the crew. They want to find the “Jonah” (the person who cursed them) and throw him overboard. The crew eventually marks Hayes (Gustav Gerdener) as the Jonah, and the poor Scot can’t remember if he touched the shoe or not.

Fearing for his life, Hayes gets drunk and climbs to the top of a mast to escape the mob. But Lesley tells Jamie that Hayes is considering jumping, convinced the crew that they’re right about him being a curse. Claire insists that the Captain do something, but he’s only concerned with preventing a mutiny. And if that means somebody goes overboard, so be it. 

Jamie convinces Hayes that no harm will befall him, despite all the heckling and taunting coming from the sailors below. Jamie eventually talks Hayes down, only to have the crew eager to throw his ass over the side. 

Mr. Willoughby (otherwise known as Ye Tien Cho) tries to squash the chaos by reciting his life’s story, something he told Claire he’d been working on but couldn’t speak aloud because once he did, he’d have to let it go. Initially, the men stop their fighting out of confusion, but soon they become engrossed in Willoughby’s tale, which seems mainly about poetry and heartache. As soon as he’s finished, the wind returns. Willoughby was just trying to stall because he spotted a bird flying low, which means rain is coming.

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The British are Coming

The good fortune puts everyone in a better mood, including Claire and Jamie, who sneak away for some long-overdue sexy time. Claire confesses that when she thought about returning to Jamie, she knew they’d have to get to know each other again. Jamie reassures her that no matter what trouble surrounds them, the love between them will never change. 

No sooner does Claire get her panties pulled up than she and Jamie learn that there’s a British war ship behind them. The British fire a signal, indicating that they want to come aboard. The Captain worries that they may need men and, by law, can press any Englishmen into service. That could mean half the crew, including Jamie. He instructs Claire that if he’s taken, she’s to continue to Jamaica to find Ian. 

Captain Leonard (Charlie Hiett) is very young, and Raines learns that the boy is the acting captain. A plague struck the British ship. Out of 400 men, 100 have fallen ill and 80 have died, including the surgeon. After asking Leonard about the symptoms, Claire thinks she knows what might be wrong but needs to examine some of the men. Jamie doesn’t want Claire to go, but she’s pretty certain it’s typhoid fever and assures him she can’t catch it. 

Claire boards the British ship and is able to confirm the diagnosis. She gives Captain Leonard instructions on how to contain the fever and treat the sick. She admits that most of the sick will die, so the Captain’s best hope is to prevent it from spreading. Claire offers to stay and help them get organized, but Leonard will have to head to shore quickly.

What Claire doesn’t count on is Leonard deciding to leave immediately with her still on board. Leonard is heading to Jamaica as well and sends word to Raines that Claire will be staying with him until the situation is under control. So it’s kidnapping but more like kidnapping-lite.

How will Claire and Jamie deal with being separated again? Will Captain Leonard wind up being friend or foe? Will Jamie ever give his blessing for Fergus to marry? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Outlander season 3 airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of Starz)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.