Oh, Outlander. A show that titillates with hot sex a little less often than it explores the mental effects of trauma and the intricacies of festering wounds. Sadly, “Monsters and Heroes” is another entry in that latter category…
One fine autumn day on the Ridge, Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Roger (Richard Rankin); along with Fergus (César Domboy), Young Ian (John Bell) and Josiah the Hunter (Paul Gorman); ventured into the wild in pursuit of meat for the winter. They espied a herd of bison, and Jamie and Roger peeled off from the group to scare their prey into a trap, where the others would be able to easily pick off some animals. Alas, almost as soon as they were alone, Jamie stepped on a venomous snake and was bitten badly.
The rest of the group returned empty-handed to the womenfolk, who had spent the day dying fabric with indigo. Nobody worried much, assuming that Roger and Jamie had set up camp for the night. That was kind of true, but only because Jamie hadn’t been able to walk after Roger cut open the snakebite and tried to suck out the venom.
The next day, Young Ian spotted one of the missing men’s horses back in the yard without a rider. He grabbed Fergus and another man and rode out in search of his uncle and Roger. Happily, they found them just as Roger was losing his battle with dragging Jamie home on a travois.
Anyway… once Jamie is safely in Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) surgery, it’s clear that the venom isn’t as great a threat to him as infection. She sends everyone on the Ridge out in search of maggots to clean the wound, which is every bit as gross as it seems like it will be. They find a dead animal crawling with them, then they bring the maggots to Claire in a bowl and then she puts them in Jamie’s open wound and we have to look at them squirming around in there. It’s the yuck. If only that awful Mr. Brown hadn’t smashed Claire’s only syringe! She would be able to shoot Penicillin into Jamie’s bloodstream and save him and his leg!
While the maggots are living in Jamie’s leg wound, he makes Claire give her word that she will let him die rather than amputate. When Young Ian hears this BS, he rips into Jamie for being more of a coward than his father or Fergus. The blow lands, and Jamie gives Claire his blessing if an amputation becomes necessary.
It’s a close thing. At one point, Jamie seems like he’s dying in the night. He does see the white light, but he makes the conscious choice to stay with Claire because she’ll need him in the coming war. After that, she takes him into the surgery and is juuuust about to cut off his leg when Brianna (Sophie Skelton) appears with a Hail Mary!
Brianna has been having a bit of an identity crisis. Who can she be in the 1700s, when her heart still yearns for a career in engineering? Fortunately, Roger impulsively grabbed the severed head of the snake that bit Jamie and brought it home. When he shows it to Brianna, she realizes she can use her engineering skillz to turn one of its fangs into a makeshift syringe. She marches into the surgery with her invention at the exact moment Claire is about to make her initial cut. The syringe works, and Jamie’s life and leg are both saved… after a lot of gross wound shots.
Meanwhile, Marsali (Lauren Lyle) gives birth to her third baby in the woods with only Fergus and their two young children present. This happens while Claire is not amputating Jamie’s leg.
Also, a bison wanders into the yard while Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) is hanging the wash with Jemmy at her side. Brianna happens upon them, and she draws the animal’s attention towards her to save her son. She runs away, the bison charges and throws her, and Claire comes out with a rifle and shoots the beast. They have meat for the winter, and Brianna pops up unharmed by the massive hit she took.
And underlying all the leg wound drama is the fact that Jamie finally loops Roger in on the plan to kill Bonnet. When he thinks he’s dying, he begs Roger to promise to kill Bonnet in his stead– both for revenge and to prevent Bonnet from making any legal claims on Jemmy. When Jamie is out of the figurative woods, he releases Roger from the deathbed request, but Roger says he still wants to be there when it goes down.
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