CW: Suicide attempt

I don’t know if I’m projecting, or if we could really feel the effects of Covid-altered scripts and shoots in this episode, but: This is about 85-percent comprised of two-person scenes, and Outlander was the better for it, because it means that a variety of characters actually TALKED to each other. Some of them (Brianna) did not have useful things to say, but An Attempt Was Made. And others, like Fergus and Marsali, got meaty material to dig into; I feel like Cesar Domboy has been waiting an eternity for more than three lines an hour, and boy, did he get it. Also, I’m traveling right now, so I apologize if this recap is subpar. I have had two cocktails! I’m LIVING!

FERGUS and MARSALI

Despite what I just said up there, we start with Roger. He notices a baby in a basket floating down the river, as a bunch of kids shout out that there are rapids ahead. Roger bounds to the water. “Oh. It’s Mr. Mackenzie,” one of the kids says, and you will never convince me that child didn’t seem disappointed. Roger then elaborately flail-dives into the water, as if to punctuate the sentence.

well
as jesus says
blessed are the breaststrokers

for they shall stroke the
well anyway i preach now

The baby is, of course, poor Henri Christian. Roger chases this baby down the speedy river but is always quite far behind; suddenly we cut to the basket going over the falls and all the boys staring in silent guilt. Roger then emerges holding the baby. Even a TV show that can do whatever it wants couldn’t come up with a way that Roger believably caught up to that thing.

okay but
how come wetness
works for mr darcy
and not for me
why is the water
and the shirt
playing favorites

Roger yells at the kids, and they confess that they just wanted to see if the baby would float, because if he did then it means their parents are correct, the water rejected the baby as wicked, and he is a demon spawn. Roger is like OF COURSE HE FLOATED, HE’S IN A BASKET, YOU TWITS. (Don’t give them any ideas, Roger.) The Demi-Reverend Dogface Mackenzie then hastily baptizes the baby with zero power vested in he, and tells them that now the baby belongs to God and they will all be dragged off to Hell if they act like flaming dickheads again.

One of the children, unfortunately, is Henri’s brother Germain, so he gets to stare down his parents, Jamie, Claire, AND Roger once they’re back at the homestead. Claire announces that Henri is safe and dry and sleeping. “All is well then,” Jamie says stupidly. What? All is not effing WELL, Jamie. Some neighborhood brats tried to drown your grandson. Marsali agrees with me: “WELL? I should drown the lot of them. IN a well.” Roger explains the test, and Germain says he thought they’d all leave them alone if they just saw the baby wasn’t wicked. Marsali is incensed, so Roger offers to go talk to all the kids. Jamie has a better idea: Bring them all to him that evening for a punishment. Fergus, meanwhile, has stormed outside in a dark mood, and I think we can all relate to how it must feel to be upstaged by Roger.

And yet Claire chases Fergus, not Jamie. NOT JAMIE. NEVER FREAKING JAMIE. He watched Fergus go outside with a shrug. It’s boggling. Claire sits down and just lets Fergus talk, and Cesar Domboy does a very nice job portraying deep sadness that’s still tinged, I believe, with drink. He has horrible memories of the dwarf men and women who would come through the brothel and be treated as fetishes, rudely nicknamed after varieties of mushrooms: “exotic delicacies valued for the rarity of their twisted shapes.” Fergus, by the by, is very poetic when he’s bitter and boozy. He thought the dwarves were treated well until he found one of them murdered in a back alley, and the response from the brothel was merely to sell his body for parts for divination. He is terrified Henri will be stuck with no choices but to be someone’s plaything-for-pay, never truly valued as a human, and it’s all his fault. Claire tries to say all the right things, but Fergus is really blue, so she immediately goes to tell Jamie so that Jamie can JUST KIDDING, she does nothing of the sort, FOR SOME REASON. And that reason is: reasons.

Marsali is playing around on a spinning wheel that Brianna designed. She’s very impressed. Then there’s a throwaway moment where Jemmy is fighting with someone over a toy and he throws it, and Brianna picks it up and says, “No more vroom unless you behave,” which makes Marsali wonder why they call it that. Brianna fumbles and punts that it’s based on the sound Jemmy makes when he plays with it, and Marsali gives her a look that says she doesn’t buy it in the least. Marsali strikes me as someone who would buy into the time travel thing, and also keep a pretty tight secret, so I’m surprised they didn’t tell her. This then gives way to Brianna wondering how Roger is doing, rounding up all those jerk kids. “It’s the parents that need thrashing,” spits Marsali. They’re all worried that no one is home, particularly Fergus, who had promised to stop drinking. His absence makes her fairly sure he is. Marsali is upset and scared, and the best Brianna can muster is, “It will get better. You’ll see.” That isn’t useful, Brianna. You can make spinning wheels, but not sentences?

Jamie’s fancy punishment is to give the kids a choice: touch the baby — who they believed would burn them with his hell skin — or touch this scalding hot poker he’s just pulled from the hearth. Everyone touches the baby, who giggles and coos and is STUPID CUTE and these child actors cannot resist smiling. They ask if it’s true what Roger said, which is that the baby belongs to God. Jamie’s all, “I mean, if Roger said so, WHATEVER, I guess,” and then says that what he really wants them to remember is that no matter WHO else claims this baby, it very definitely belongs to him as he is Henri’s grandfather.

Outlander Season 6 2022

Then he crouches down to Germain and says that Henri belongs to him, too, and needs his protection. “Yes, grand-père,” Germain mumbles, as Jamie, looking 35, nods wisely.

He’ll freeze you with his hotness
Eyes piercing like a laser.
A fight can’t be won
Against the Bonnet of Dun
Truly, don’t f*ck with a Fraser.

Marsali arrives home from this little errand with Henri and hears the kids yelling for Fergus from their bedroom, while Fergus sits emptily in his chair, drinking from a tankard. She visibly crumples. What ensues is a great scene for both of them in which Marsali veers from indignant to quietly supportive to firm. First she pokes at him for neglecting the kids, then whispers that he’s so much better than this: “I’ve seen what drink’ll do to a man. I watched my mother put up with it. Me and Joanie suffered because of it. And so help me God, I will not put up with it again.” Fergus yet again blah-blahs that he didn’t protect them, and she tartly points out that being blasted all the time doesn’t make him especially useful on that front either. Then she cocks her chin a little and says she can help protect them, too. “Not against men like Lionel Brown,” he drools. Marsali is like OH YA THINK, BOY, and confesses that she killed Lionel, and that she has felt exactly zero remorse about it because he was gross and now he can’t hurt anyone else. “Let this be a comfort to you, Fergus, for I mean it to be,” is how she frames the confession, but of course Fergus has to be all macho-dumbass about how he doesn’t need a woman’s protection, but he does need a drink from one. Marsali fetches a pitcher and then dumps its contents over his head before kicking him out: “You promised me, Fergus Fraser. I will have a whole man, or none at all.” This is a strange choice of wording to give her, when Fergus has also been super sensitive about his missing hand. Marsali would never throw that in his face, nor would she be that casual with his insecurities; as it does not become a plot point that Fergus mistakenly THINKS she is doing that, I think maybe it’s just careless writing?

The show’s one big crowd scene is Quarter Day, which seems to be one of four each year when everybody pays their taxes to Jamie as the Fraser’s Ridge landowner — I believe based on a percentage of their own profits off their estates. Anyway, Jamie and Roger and the others hold court at their table, and Fergus staggers around outside, hammered, drawing disdainful looks from a lot of the residents. I am, it forever bears repeating, so mad at Jamie. Literally everyone in this settlement knows Fergus is barely able to function, and Jamie has either turned a blind eye or legitimately not noticed, and neither one says much good about his parenting skills. He’s basically only Fergus’s father when the script remembers it, and that’s a low percentage of the time. Finally this crabby woman pisses Fergus off enough that he yells, “ARE ME AND MY SON SO HIDEOUS,” and she sniffs, “Hideously DRUNK,” but then calls poor Henri Christian “grotesque,” and adds, “You tell us if you can bear to look at him yourself.” Fergus hurls his drink in her face and then punches out her husband.

Outlander Season 6 2022

This is a super action shot of the actor playing Evan Lindsay, whom we’ll meet later, as he LEAPS into Helpful Action. Allan Christie also helps break it up; Lizzy says the woman started it, and Allan the Doofus is all, “I just saw him throw his drink at her!” The woman rages that the child is a demon and drink is “the devil’s juice,” and asks Tom Christie for backup on this. Claire is furious, and Tom clears his throat and says, “The Frasers have opened their doors to us, and we will respect them in the eyes of the lord. With pity… and kindness.” Claire does not look super thrilled at either of those nouns, like, take your pity and shove it up your blowhole, Tom. But it’s better than stoking the tension.

Later, Jamie is wandering around the Ridge and he sees Fergus staggering into the woods. After weeks and weeks and probably months of Fergus doing this, NOW suddenly Jamie is curious about where he’s going, and how he’s feeling? And he stalks him like prey, rather than calling out to him, which is also hard to believe — except it’s what he must do, because he needs to stand there silently and witness Fergus slitting his wrist. THEN he runs down there to try and patch the wound. Fergus says, “Marsali can remarry. Roger saved him, you protect him… I’m nothing.” So Jamie lists all the reasons he’s proud to be Fergus’s father — helping with the print shop, helping keep the family together, making excellent hooch — and says he’s the only one in this world who can show Henri Christian how a person branded “useless” by the world can in fact make a mark. Then he says, “It’s YOU, not what you do or give or provide. It’s YOU we need.” Excuse me, Jamie, but where was all this before? This could have been super helpful quite a while ago. You knew Fergus was blotto all the time. You knew he was depressed. You even knew why. And all that was BEFORE he had the baby. But because the writers decided this one scene had to be the catharsis, they basically made Jamie act like a crap father and person — and honestly, Claire, too, because she only showed marginally more interest and did absolutely nothing proactive about it herself. Their characters were sacrificial to narrative convenience, and thanks, I hate it.

Fergus, however, is very touched to be reminded for the first time in a LONG TIME that Jamie considers himself his dad. So he allows Claire to patch him up and walk him home, where he promises Marsali, “Never again.” Everyone seems happy. It’s that easy!!!!!!!

Who’ll cure your cruel addiction
With a hug and a wave of his hand?
MacDubh’s your dude
For kicking the booze.
Twelve steps? No! THIS man.

CLAIRE and TOM

These two spend a lot of time together this hour. So instead of Claire getting sexual with Jamie, she sexually confuses Tom. I think Tom fears, respects, AND hates the fact that Claire has complete ownership of her own life and her own tongue, so as much as he hates her zingers, he also has to tip his hat to her a little. Claire finds him waiting for her at the clinic, and snipes that she hopes he wasn’t the one telling everyone that her grandchild was a demonic fire seed. He promises to tell everyone to calm the hell down: “They know I disapprove of superstitions.” And yet the next thing he says is that, while he’d like the hand surgery now please, he refuses to use the ether because “it’s the devil’s work to use potions.” The line between superstition and religion is real blurry at times, Mr. Christie. But not even Jamie smirking at him can convince Tom to huff the giggle juice. He would rather sit there and quietly read his Bible while Claire slices him into pieces, and the look Jamie and Claire exchange over this is quite funny. Jamie is like, “WTF is this dipshit’s deal,” and Claire is all, “I KNOW, I cannot.”

Outlander Season 6 2022

What follows is a scene where Claire basically flays Tom’s hand so she can convert it from a claw to what Tom can use as a strong slapping paddle (that’s what he wants, not what I want), and he of course promptly loses his shit and keeps twitching and moving and requiring Jamie to feed him whiskey. Jamie stands there casually reading the prayers, and at one point reads one all about the right hand of the Lord and makes fun of how apt it is. JAMIE FRASER. Do you have an actual sense of humor? You get a haiku for that, pal:

He’s quick with his tongue
That’s not a euphemism
But it sure could be

If Tom uses the vomit bucket Claire unceremoniously hands him, then — thanks be to the writers — we don’t see it. He makes it through awake, but is such a puddle that he has to agree to stay overnight for observation. Later, Claire is thinking while moisturizing, as I’ve learned from TV that all women do. Something Jamie says triggers a memory of Lionel Brown, so she pretends to go down to check on Tom, with the actual intent of snagging the ether and knocking herself out someplace else. Before she can, Tom wakes up, so she checks his forehead for a fever and he asks why she never covers her head. He quotes a bunch of sexist stuff from St. Paul about women and their hair, and she more or less says that St. Paul is welcome to get bent. Tom cannot stop talking about her hair, so she ignores it and takes his hand and teaches him how to stretch it. The way he moans and squirms, I genuinely truly for real absolutely thought he was going to pop a bone. Once again, I have to thank the writers for their restraint, because he does not — at least not that I saw, though it’s true I was not particularly hoping to see it. Then Claire goes to get him some water and he hears her talking to her cat, and when he asks her about the cat she says wryly that it’s just a cat and not her familiar. Claire is very amusing this season. She REALLY enjoys poking at Tom Christie. Tom insists he doesn’t believe she’s a witch, and she’s like, “Mmmhmm, sure,” and he changes the subject and apologizes for the shouting and squirming. He says a lot of self-flagellating stuff about how surely Jamie did not do any of that when Claire fixed HIS hand, and she doesn’t deny it, but says all the Highlanders she treated were pretty stoic. Tom then tells Claire about the “stripes of flogging” on Jamie’s back, as if Claire has not traced every last one of them with her tongue, which is more or less what her facial expression says in response. He tells her the story of the tartan at Ardsmuir, and how incomprehensible it was that Jamie would be so selfless and brave. “He’d do anything to protect one of his men,” Claire says. Tom asks if that’s why Jamie stood by at his surgery: “Does he think I’m one of his men? I assure you I am not.” Claire, openly amused, says she’s fairly sure Jamie is just a nice person who doesn’t like to see strangers scream for sweet sweet death when their hands are sliced apart, and that she’s sure Tom would do the same for a stranger. Tom totally would not, and they both know it, so he just pretends it’s time to go to sleep.

Then an odd scene takes place. Upstairs in bed, Claire asks Jamie if Tom is afraid of women, because he seemed super tense when she touched him. Claire, I think he was probably horny. This man has not been touched by a woman since his wife first swan-dived into Satan’s flame pool. Jamie tells her a super long-winded story about how Ardsmuir was hardsmuir, and most of the time they forgot women existed, until they’d “wake up with it in the night” — and he defines “it” here as a memory, a smell, a dream, but he means “erection,” and he basically says that sometimes the men would reach for each other to “help each other out.” But never Tom. He didn’t lash out OR reach out. Claire briefly does some math and wonders if Malva’s age doesn’t make sense as it relates to Tom being in prison (the implication being, maybe he’s not her father). But Jamie doesn’t care, so then Claire decides to ask him if a man ever tried to touch him in prison. Jamie says no one would ever think to touch him, because they loved him as their chief. I don’t think The Man Touch is meant to be an INSULT, Jamie. But I guess the idea is, everyone knows you don’t get funky with your boss. Claire asks if Jamie ever wanted anyone to touch him, and he says no, he hungered only for her. This whole conversation is exhaustingly oblique. Just say what you mean. Did Jamie have a prison lover? Did he want one? And yet, Claire is asking this of a man who was brutally raped and tortured when he was imprisoned by Black Jack Randall. Being touched in a prison has happened to him before, and it marked his psyche, and Claire knows it and saw it and had to pull him back from the darkness. So this line of questioning from Claire is extremely strange. And Jamie being so philosophical about it is also a little off — I mean, it’s great that a man in that era isn’t judging other men, for sure, but he has a lot of baggage associated with men and touching. It’s just odd. It feels like everyone just forgot Jamie’s history.

Terrible news: Tom’s hand has healed nicely, so he can go back to beating his daughter. While Claire examines it, he flips through some novels on her table, and she congenially says they’re what she reads when she’s trying to sleep. What she means is, “I keep them on my nightstand for show, knock myself out, and read the inside of my eyelids.” Tom says he threw out all his wife’s books way back in the day — Claire speculates she did not appreciate that, and Tom affirms this — but that Jamie would tell everyone stories from fiction in prison, and he began to see that it was not merely lies and nonsense. He is all, “OBVIOUSLY retreating into prayer is BETTER buuuuuut…” and says he understands now that fiction has merits as a diversion and a distraction. Man, Jamie sounds like he was a top-shelf prisoner. Grade A stuff. The Ardsmuir Yelp reviews are gonna be amazing. Claire offers to lend Mr. Christie Tom Jones, and he accepts. Then he casually tells her that Richard Brown, whom they did not have the budget to pay to do this in person, popped by and offered Christie the protection of his safety committee. Claire is like, “HE’S GROSS, SAY NO.”

Tom, however, takes home Tom Jones and is horrified to see that it has saucy bits. So he returns it to Claire with a note that says, “This is filth. I thought better of you.” And he gives his new hand a workout on poor Malva’s behind, while Allan hides outside sobbing. Allan is, to put it extremely mildly, a weird bird.

ROGER

When Roger has to round up the guilty kids, we learn one of them is Aidan McCallum. His mother, The Widow Amy, starts yelping from inside the cabin, so Roger goes inside to help. She immediately praises the Lord for answering her prayers by sending a minister.

um
it’s just
i’m not exactly

Amy then says, “But we loved your sermon!”

so then yes
i am sort of

if you want
yes yes
im reverend run
from run rmc
walk this way

She thinks her milk is haunted, so Roger removes the cloth and they both scream when a noise comes from the pitcher. I respect this show for making Roger very uncool at every opportunity. But he then laughs and removes a truly massive frog from the milk, placed there as a prank. So wait. No one throws out the milk. Do they still DRINK the milk? I hope it becomes hallucinogenic. Amy slumps against the wall and complains that she hates this stupid town and these stupid people and she isn’t sure why God made her come here.

well
if you ask me
as god’s right hand roger
i will say
wisdom
which is
um
just trust

Amy is not impressed. But Roger appears to be her sounding board at the moment, whether she OR he wants it that way. Later, Roger gives a sermon all about a baby in a basket, and right when the kids look extremely ashamed of themselves, Roger is all, “And that baby was… MOSES, and he BALLED HARD,” and mic drops his way back to the lectern.

MALVA and IAN

The show seems to be nudging these two together, which I believe is a departure from the books? We get three scenes of these two giving each other googly eyes.

Outlander Season 6 2022

First, Ian catches her spying on Tom’s surgery and refers to her as Claire’s apprentice, which Malva loves to hear. She makes a crack about how her father is too obsessed with the state of her eternal soul, and then Ian offers to walk her home, during which time he asks why Tom is so stressed out about her sins. Malva flirts that she’s flattered Ian thinks she couldn’t possibly have sinned. Somewhere in here Malva reveals that her mother was burned as a witch. Well! Apparently all those hell-flames Tom Christie bangs on about were semi-real in her case. Ian is taken aback but doesn’t push, and we get no more details; Malva skips away, claiming her brother will not be super pleased to see her with a young man. But she gives Ian the long look over her shoulder.

WHO’S STUDLY AND A MUFFIN
AND DRIVES THE LADIES MAD?
WHOSE EGO GOT A FLUFFIN’
AND IS NOW A WANTED LAD?
FORGET IT, I HATE THIS POEM, SO SPOILER, IT’S ME, IAN!!!!!

Next time, they’re gathering weeds or plants or somesuch, and Malva flatters Ian by saying she hears he’s a fearsome hunter. Ian looks pleased and says he does feed himself well. “As I used to say to my father when he asked what I must do to avoid the fiery pits of hell: Be sure to eat well and take good care not to die.” This family’s obsession with fire and hell cannot be overstated, and it’s odd how Malva insists on bringing the conversation back to that at every opportunity and even at times when it makes no sense. I can’t tell if she’s doing it to inspire pity in Ian, or whether she just freaking hates her family. I suspect both. Ian reaches for a polite way to say, “Wow, your dad is a jackwagon,” and comes up with, “It must be hard to live up to those expectations.” Malva shrugs that sometimes people do bad things for the right reasons, and is curious whether Jamie much minds what Ian does, or what he believes. Ian says he doesn’t even know what he believes, but he knows Jamie is his home and would lay down for Ian in a heartbeat. Malva then fishes for, and gets, the intel that Jamie has granted Ian some land but Ian hasn’t done anything with it yet. She coos that Jamie must really like Ian, and Ian puffs up and says that yes, Jamie sees him as a man of worth. Malva cozies up to him and touches the marks on his face, and asks what they mean. “That I’ve done much that I’m proud of, and much that I regret,” Ian says. They stare at each other for a while and that’s the last we see of them. Malva has some issues but I would very much like Ian to be happy, so I assume that is impossible.

NONSENSE YOU GUYS, I’LL BE FINE
I AM A MANLY FLIRTATION MASTERMIND
I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING
AND SOON I’LL BE VIEWING
A LADY OF MY OWN WITHOUT HER CLOTHES ON, WHICH WILL BE VERY WELCOME INDEED, AS I AM GETTING BORED OF MOPING AROUND WITH A CROSSBOW AND WOULD LIKE TO PUT MY ARROWS TO BETTER USE! IAN!!!!

Outlander Season 6 2022

Jamie bumps into Malva while she’s mushroom-hunting, and indiscreetly starts asking questions about her family — I assume to figure out if there is a scandal, or if Tom remarried in the Stares after he was sent from Ardsmuir and had Malva then, or what. Malva confirms she was born in Scotland, so I assume her mother had an affair at some point and that’s why she was rudely lit on fire. That seems thoroughly on brand for Tom Christie. She seems to find Jamie’s questions a little nutty so he pivots the conversation to Scotland. She says she doesn’t remember, so they tromp through the woods together as he gives her all these sweet little reasons how North Carolina and Scotland are similar and how they are different. It’s also very meta because of course in this case, North Carolina IS Scotland.

OTHER BITS AND PIECES

– Major Mac arrives at the end of the episode with a) guns for the Cherokee, and b) news of the Boston Tea Party. “It’s starting. The storm, the war… it’s almost here,” Claire intones privately to Jamie, because I guess the show felt like it had dropped that thread and needed to knot it to the end of the hour.

– Also, why is Claire surprised about the Boston Tea Party being upon them? Wouldn’t she be keeping pretty close track of where they are in the timeline, given how stressed out they are about the war?

– Did I miss that both twins can speak now? I thought one of Josiah and Kezzie was mute, but they both talk in this episode.

– We meet an amiable single dude named Evan Lindsay, and Brianna wants to set him up with Lizzy. Roger makes a crack about having to get him past the twins first, and Brianna is like, “What do you mean?” Roger can’t believe she hasn’t noticed them being protective and flirty with Lizzy. OF COURSE SHE HASN’T NOTICED. She’s Brianna and she is awful. She wouldn’t notice Roger at all if he didn’t shed beard hairs all over her.



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