Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for Outlander Season 6, Episode 6, “The World Turned Upside Down.”
Outlander is out to break your heart. Step on it, revive it, then break it all over again. Claire Fraser just wanted to pick some flowers that fateful day when she fell through the stones 200 years back in time. Sure, she found the love of her life and learned she was a magical time traveler who could rock a corset and tartan. But the pain this woman has had to endure is unmatched. The one person who holds the Outlander world and Jamie’s world together comes close to dying this episode. For almost the entire episode, Claire’s life hangs in the balance in one of the most anticipated episodes of this season. Jamie and Claire (Sam Heughan and Caitríona Balfe) just can’t get a break. Malva and the Christies wreak a new type of havoc in their lives. A pregnant Malva makes a stunning accusation as to the identity of her baby’s father and rocks the Ridge to its core. But let’s start at the beginning: a pandemic-ish virus hits the Ridge. (Too soon, Outlander.) But then again, this story was written by Diana Gabaldon years ago, so maybe she’s the real time traveler. Get ready, we’re about to have only three minutes of peace in this episode, “The World Turned Upside Down.” Indeed, it does.
Roger gives a “RidgeTalk” & the McNeils are missing
Roger is giving a sermon, and Jamie, Claire, and Brianna look like the most adorable little family. (We were robbed). Jamie and Claire are even holding hands. They are so co-dependent and I’m fine with it. Leave us alone! Malva is evil-eyeing the whole place. Don’t forget, her kooky kook cuckoo flag is flying full staff now. Roger asks where the McNeils are. Oh em gee, did Malva kill them?? Wait, were they the ones who disrespected Henri-Christian (and Fergus, in turn, attacked them with whisky and a slap)? Claire brings Malva, Brianna, and Lizzie with her. It seems Marsali and Fergus have left the Ridge.
Claire, Malva, Lizzie, and Bree find the McNeils extremely dehydrated and kind of dead-looking. Also, false alarm, they’re not the couple Fergie hit and whisked. (The term when you throw your whisky at someone). Malva tries to feed the baby water. She looks genuinely concerned — for a murderer. Or a bone collector. “Goddammit!” Claim snaps. And Lizzie tells her to stop swearing! Which will make you laugh out loud. Because excuse me, Lizzie. Claire swears, it’s just who she is. But Lizzie is like we need to send blessings to heaven not curses. Claire says, “Sorry.” The baby and Mrs. McNeil die. Well, this is going to be a super fun episode. Bree comes running back in, but sees Claire and realizes she’s entered a death cabin.
Claire and her wee invisible beasties
Claire looks through her microscope and says she’s found “our villain.” So did I, CLAIRE! She’s right next to you! Malva watches Claire, then says in peak Malva creep way, “Can I see?” Hey Malva, isn’t it nice to watch Claire when she has her clothes on and is not having sex with her husband? What is wrong with you?!
Claire tells Malva she’s looking at an amoeba. “It’s what’s been causing the bloody flux!” Claire says in only a way Claire Fraser can. Then Malva says, ironically, “How can something so small cause so much trouble?” Good question, Malva, you amoeba! Claire explains that it’s amoebic dysentery, and penicillin won’t work. She says it’s passed from tainted food or water. Lizzie rushes in to tell Claire someone else has the “bloody flux!” Jamie says he’ll go to the McNeils to see if he can find the source. Malva insists on going, but Claire warns her it’s very dangerous. Claire bear I’m going to need you to sew yourself a mask, ma’am. She tells Malva to remember there is no cure. Do Claire’s vaccinations (from the future) help?
No weddings and so many funerals
Claire, Jamie, Lizzie, and Brianna are attending yet another group funeral it seems. Eek. Claire says she’s tired of funerals, and Jamie says he’s sorry they can’t figure out what’s causing this. Jamie says Claire looks tired and he’s going to take her home. Oh no. No. No. Then Claire faints and Jamie catches her. Oh crap. I do not need this stress. Has Claire Fraser not been through enough?! Shout out to Brianna and Sophie Skelton for quickly avoiding being kicked in the face by Claire’s boot when Jamie picks her up. He carries Claire back to the surgery and Brianna tends to her. Malva looks on. Eek, don’t take her bones, Malva. You evil little bone collector.
Jamie looks at Claire exactly the way Claire looked when Jamie got bitten by the snake and almost died. Why is no one wearing masks?! Malva puts a cloth on Claire’s head to bring her fever down. Allan comes to get her and says it’s late. Jamie tells her it’s okay to go. Am I going to be in distress for over an hour?! Yes, I am. Malva refuses to leave her so Allan leaves. Jamie carries Claire to their bedroom. Remember when Jamie thought he was dying and said he just wanted to be in his bed with Claire next to him. He definitely thinks Claire is going to die.
Brianna and Malva come to sit with her as Claire’s shivering and her breathing is strained. Jamie sits by her bedside holding her hand with tears in his eyes. Okay, one complaint here. This scene should have been a scene. Not just a flash in a montage. Give Heughan his time to shine as he shows Jamie’s panic that his entire world might come crashing down. Heughan most likely filmed more than that scene, and it was cut. His eyes have tears in them! Who cut that scene short?! Bring them to me. Keep emotional scenes, please and thank you. Thanks for coming to my TearsTalk.
Claire almost dies and Malva makes tea
Later, Lizzie is with Claire, so Malva goes down to the kitchen and makes willow bark tea for Jamie. Stay away, bone collector! Jamie says this is the same tea Claire made for him when he was hurt with a snakebite. Malva and Jamie start chatting about snakes; turns out Malva is terrified of snakes. That’s exactly what a snake would say, Jamie. Run.
She tells Jamie that a settler got bitten by a snake recently, but didn’t want Claire near him because many think she’s a witch. Jamie should not be alone with Malvemort. (Yes, Malva is Voldemort of the Ridge. Her father’s name is Tom. Voldemort’s real name was Tom Riddle. Hence she is Malvemort. Simple Harry Potter Outlander math). Jamie asks if Malva thinks Claire’s a witch. Malva says no, “I want to be just like her.” Then Malva asks about Jamie’s grandfather. Jamie, do not confide in her. Go sit next to Claire with your willow bark tea. Nothing good can come from this. Malva looks at Jamie with creepy love eyes.
Meanwhile, Claire is having a fever dream and we see a heart beating, thunder, an amoeba, a snake, and then Claire is holding a heart. Does this mean something? Or is this a normal dream that surgeons have? When Claire opens her eyes, she sees Jamie and Malva by the window. She falls back asleep. The Jamie by Claire’s bedside scenes could have been extended, and replaced some of Jamie and Malva’s tea party.
Claire wakes up
Roger is sitting by Claire and she wakes up! Praise Jesus and H and Roosevelt and Christ as Claire would say. She says, “Roger.” Aww, this is sweet. Gosh, Roger you really got me this season. All of a sudden Claire feels her hair and realizes most of it’s gone. She says, “What on earth?!” Roger grimaces and says Malva and Mrs. Bug cut it off. They thought it helped with a fever. Pardon me?!? ROGER! BRIANNA, why would you let them butcher her hair like that?! Claire is about as upset as I am. Then Roger explains that he and Brianna weren’t there and would never have let them, and Bree was furious. Roger says he’s going to get Jamie. Claire says, “I don’t want him seeing me like this.” Roger says, He’s already seen you. It.” (Ahem, terrible haircut). Claire asks what he said, and Roger says, “He didn’t say anything, he just cried.” Again, would have been nice to see that. Then Roger panics because Claire closes her eyes. Luckily Claire opens her eyes. “Nothing could make you less beautiful.” Roger Mac got me. Wow.
Bree comes racing in and jumps into bed with her mom. Aww, we didn’t get to see enough of Bree and Claire, either. She kisses Claire on her head and says you are not allowed to die. Bree is me. Bree tells Claire, “I love you I can’t be without you,” and then tells her mother she’s pregnant. They hug and it’s the sweetest. Then Bree says, “Let’s get that hair of yours sorted you, you look ridiculous.” A plague on Malva’s house. Malva Scissorhands is responsible. Don’t forget what Tom said about Claire’s hair. Luckily, Twitter fan Ali captured this memory. This was a crime! Arrest Mrs. Bug and Malva immediately. Claire Fraser can rock a headband, a wild “just landed in the 1700s in a thin white gown and was attacked and rode a horse” hair (see below) or this, the world turned upside down cut.
Bree trims Claire’s hair. Claire says well I guess this is as good as it will get. Jamie helps her back to bed and on their way over — he says will you consider wearing a cap ’til it grows out. Side-eye Jamie, but I think this is definitely a 1700s thing. Claire says absolutely not and he laughs. She says it will be good for a laugh when other people see her. And Jamie says, “You’re very beautiful Sassenach. And I love you.” Twitter fan @TinyTunney caught another parallel with this scene.
Claire asks, “My hair will grow back, won’t it?” Claire’s insecurity about her hair is very real, and I’m glad they showed this on screen. Jamie tells Claire he found a dead elk in the river near the McNeils. Jamie Fraser, Elkenstein! He figured out the cause of the virus! Jamie mentions Tom Christie is still ill. Claire says, “When we were in Paris and we lost Faith.” Wait, stop. First, Jamie talks about Faith in episode 4, now Claire?! Are you two trying to break me? Claire tells Jamie when she was sick, she saw the color blue in her delirium, but this time she saw “storm clouds, my heart, and a snake.” Master Raymond told her blue was the color of healing. Jamie promises her if any snake tries to come into the house, he will kill it. Then Jamie says what Claire said to him after he almost died from the snakebite. “You did try to die on me. I’d be very angry Claire if you died and left me.” (Twitter fan @fraserscomfortstatus also noticed this parallel). Same, Jamie. Same. She replies, “I didn’t and I won’t.” Did they just renew their vows? Then Jamie Fraser covers her and feels her legs, and says, Christ, Sassenach you have hardly any ass left at all!” and kisses her. Only these two could make dysentery seem romantic.
Tom Christie, Claire, and a giant hat
Claire wakes up and turns Adso into her cat alibi. She tells Adso not to tell anyone where she’s gone. Then she walks around the Ridge to see Tom Christie. It’s funny Claire thinks she can walk around the Ridge not being noticed. Tom Christie sees her haircut and is like what in the sweet hair hell?! And Claire’s like oh, your damn daughter — no she actually says, “I would have thought you’d be pleased I’m not going about outraging the public with my brazen display flowing locks.” Tom replies, “You look like a monk.” Which is the funniest thing Tom has ever said in his life. Tom says he can’t believe she walked all the way here in her condition. (Anyone else picturing Jamie interrogating Adso, “Where did she go?!”). Claire tells Tom she didn’t have dysentery; his symptoms match hers. Hmm, Claire and Tom had the same infection. Claire says, “How did you and I end up with the same thing?” Malva! Common thread.
Claire whips out a bottle and tells Tom she needs a small sample. Tom recoils and says “A sample of what?” Claire, the comedian of the Ridge: “Um, a small sample of fecal matter.” Oh shit, Tom. Sorry, too soon. Tom says, “Good Lord woman!” These two are a hilarious comedy team. Tom is mad she wants his… fecal matter and says I’m walking you home and demands she put on her hat. Claire looks like Indiana Jones and this scene is pure joy. Watch it over and over.
Jamie is mad Claire went for a walk and tells her she’s the color of bad buttermilk. Okay, is everyone funny in this episode?! Jamie is mad. Claire tells Jamie she and Tom had the same disease but not dysentery. Remember when Malva looked at the microscope? What if Malva poisoned them?! She also had access to Claire’s book of medicine!
Jamie & Claire
Jamie sits with Claire on the bed and says the sun coming up and going down makes him feel as safe as he does when she’s “rustling about her surgery.” He says if you were no longer there, the sun would no longer come up. This is a call back to what he said on their wedding day. This man has loved her the same way since he married her.
We got a lot of Jamie and Claire scenes in this episode, and this might be the best one. Jamie’s sleeping on the floor because he didn’t want to “trouble her sleep.” She says it reminds her of when he slept outside her door in season 1’s episode, “Rent.” Please note Jamie popping up is adorable and ridiculous. This man has slept on wood floors for this woman since he was 23. And now he’s not 23, and sir, that’s bad for your back.
She tells him to get into bed, and he says, “Are you sure you want me near?” “Always,” she replies. These two, who the heart eyes emoji was made for. One of the best parts of season 6 has been the domestic moments between Jamie and Claire. Every episode has included long scenes where they are discussing their relationship and benign things. Most shows wouldn’t allow space for this intimacy, especially this far into a marriage. Jamie tells Claire he has to go away in a couple of months to speak at the Sons of Liberty. He looks at his calloused hands, and she tells him she finds them deeply erotic. He tells Claire he finds her short hair arousing. Adso, you may want to leave the room.
Jamie goes on to say that he’s drawn to Claire, because she’s brave, bold, and “fierce as a badger and proud as Lucifer.” Swoon, Jamie. Wait, did you just call her a fancy rat and the devil? She says, “Did you just call me arrogant and ferocious?” He replies you’re kind and very clean. But you’re not much of a cook.” Claire Fraser can’t do everything well! Jamie asks Claire for other virtues he might have missed. She replies, “gentleness and patience.” He laughs, “You are one of the most ruthless and blood-thirsty people,” and so not patient! Jamie Fraser’s pillow talk might need work. But then he ends with, “Above all the creatures on earth, you’re faithful.” I mean, these two. No one ever had a chance once they laid eyes on each other. I’m actually glad this didn’t turn into a love scene, because quite frankly, Claire’s had a fever for a long time, and sex takes energy. Plus, this conversation was equally as intimate.
A bun in the bone collector’s oven
Jamie and Roger get ready to leave and Jamie asks Claire if she’ll come with them. She’s like, listen I got a bad haircut and have been in bed for a few weeks, I need to catch up on stuff. But then Tom Christie, Malva, and Allan arrive, and they look super unhappy. Tom asks to speak to Jamie in private, and Jamie says, “My wife can hear anything you tell me.” Tom says Malva is pregnant and Jamie and Claire look at each other, and then Jamie says, “Well what can I help you with” Tom says well she won’t name the man she says unless she’s in your presence. This isn’t good. Claire looks at Jamie confused. Claire asks Malva how far along she is? Allan encourages Malva to say.
Malva says Jamie is the father! Jamie is so confused and says, “What?!” He actually says what twice. Then evil Malva says, “I’m so sorry Mistress Fraser, we didn’t mean to hurt you.” Claire looks at Jamie, “What the hell is she talking about?!” And poor Jamie is completely confused. Malva, nice try. Jamie Fraser would never cheat on his wife. Period. Tom Christie screams, “You ruined my daughter!” Allan punches Jamie, and Jamie throws him to the ground. This is very exciting and equally distressing. Jamie turns to Malva and is basically like, why are you lying? Then Mrs. Bug asks if they need anything!! Everything is fine Mrs. Bug! (Not fine).
Malva claims it happened when she was tending to his wife! Claire looks at Jamie. There’s no way she can believe this. Whilst Claire was sleeping, remember she saw two people by the window? Malva describes when it happened and describes what Claire saw. Jamie was by the window drinking. Claire starts to look irate. Jamie says, “I said ‘No, thank you kindly, I’ll be alone.’” Malva says, “He took me against the wall whilst you were sleeping!” Claire slaps her! Like a very good satisfying slap. Do it again, Claire!
Claire runs out. Jamie looks at Malva and says, “Is she mad?” Tom says the man who did this had her a dozen times or more. Jamie spits, “She’s lied a dozen times or more!” I love this episode so much. Malva says, “Your wife believes me!” Jamie retorts, “My wife has better sense.” Malva says she’s seen the scars on his naked body. Basically, Jamie calls Malva a “wee, evil, beastie,” and he is correct. Jamie says a lot of people know about his scars, then Malva names the other scars on his body! She knows about them because she watched Claire and Jamie have sex in the barn! Holy Jerry Springer, Malva is a lying little…. Wait a minute, is young Ian the father?!
Allan says to Jamie, “Lower your breeks and give us a look then.” Um no. This is not Allan’s weird naked court of law. Tom says he’ll draw up a contract and demands Jamie provide for the child and declare it an heir. “You can take the bastard for your wife to rear,” Tom says. Jamie spits, “Get out.” Malva cries. Allan puts his hand on his knife and Jamie is like I’ll behead you, you little shrimp. Shout out to Jessica Reynolds. What a powerhouse. She goes head to head with Balfe and Heughan and not only holds her own but made me want to run through the screen and Claire-slap her again. If that’s not great acting, I don’t know what is.
Jamie confesses to Claire
Jamie finds Claire in the stable. She’s mad. He says, “I don’t know what to say.” She replies, “I can think of many things.” He says he will not apologize for something he didn’t do. Claire says, “You don’t seem to have a lot of faith in my faith in you.” He asks her if she believes Malva and why she ran away. “I was in shock and if I’d stayed, I would have bloody well killed her.” You don’t not want to be on Claire Fraser’s bad side. Also, back up, how did Malva not fly across that room with that slap. Claire is like 3 Malvas tall.
Jamie asks Claire if she thinks it’s true. Claire says, “I saw her at the window with you and how she touched you.” And then Claire delivers the best speech. “Jamie Fraser, if you could do such a thing as that, and I don’t mean lying with a woman, I mean doing it and then lying to me about it, then everything I’ve done and everything that we have is a lie and I’m not prepared to admit to such a thing. I don’t belong here. Brianna and Roger do not belong here. Jemmy shouldn’t be here, yet we all are, all of us, because I loved you more than the life that I had. Because I believed that you love me in the same way, because you do, and I know that Or are you going to tell me that’s not the truth?”
Jamie replies, “I will not tell you that, not ever.” Standing ovation for Balfe and Heugan for this scene. Oh wait, it’s still going on. Then Jamie says, “I have something to tell you.” And Claire is like oh no, “Don’t do that.” He looks at her and she says this feels like a punch to the gut.
Jamie says, “I’m sorry, there’s no way to tell your wife you’ve lain with someone else.” Jamie! Excuse me. Man. Claire says,” Who? And when?” Jamie says, “When you were gone. And only once.” Claire is like who? Jamie says Mary Mcnab. Claire asks, “Who the hell is Mary Mcnab?” But not in a mad way, more in a confused, “Who?” way. Jamie says Claire knew her, it was Rabbie’s mother. Jamie tells Claire the night before he gave himself up to the Redcoats. Hold up, this man is talking about 20 years ago?! And Jamie Fraser only had sex once after Claire left?! Who made this man?!? And yes we are actively ignoring the fact that Jamie married Laoghaire. Who? See. Ignoring it.
Okay, Jamie, you did not need to introduce this insignificant sex fact like that to me and Claire. How about, “I didn’t sleep with Malva, but 20-plus years ago I had sex with someone because you were basically dead and I was lonely.” Claire is very understanding. And said she just wishes he had told her. Yeah me too, and not right now. He says do you believe me about Malva? She says yes and but what do they do now?
The fact is anyone who’s ever watched this show knows that Jamie and Claire are about Jamie and Claire. Jamie would never have sex with someone else for comfort with Claire dying in bed in the same room! Now the show probably chose to favor the tension of, is Malva telling the truth? and sacrificed the scenes of Jamie being a wreck by Claire’s bedside. We already knew Malva would lie without remorse when she threatened Roger, so there was no need to try and fool the audience into thinking Jamie would ever do this. He wouldn’t. The screen time should have been used the way it was in Season 5, episode 9, seeing Claire panicking that Jamie was dying. Thankfully, we got a lot of great Jamie and Claire intimacy after she woke up.
Bree wonders if Jamie cheated like Frank
Bree and Roger are walking through the woods angrily. Bree curses, “Damn Malva!” and wonders if her Da did this. Roger quickly tells her there’s no way your dad would do that. And Brianna recalls her other dad, Frank, had a mistress who she met. “My Two Dads: the Brianna Randall Fraser MacKenzie Story.” Roger says this is totally different. “Jamie and Claire love each other. Jamie is honorable.” And Bree says, “I thought daddy [Frank] was too.”
Claire, Malva & Allan
Claire goes to see Malva and says she’s just there to talk or listen and that she believes Jamie completely. Then Claire says what we all know, “He and I have been through things you couldn’t even imagine. And this, I promise you, it won’t come between us.” Malva, seriously, the things she speaks of, you really can’t imagine, Claire tells Malva she cares about her. And it’s not too late to tell the truth. Malva cries and hugs Claire just as Allan comes out and tells Claire to leave. Then Allan says Malva told us you make potions to bring people back from the dead, and Malva turns on Claire again and says I saw her do it. I told you Claire not to show her your magic ether gurl! Then Malva and Allan call Claire a witch and sort of threaten her. Claire is done. She says, “Stay away from my family.” The Christies are rude.
The Ridge turns on Jamie and Claire
The settlers on the Ridge insult Jamie to Young Ian, who gets into a fight with Henderson. Claire’s in her garden and flashes back to Lionel Brown. Young Ian appears and asks if she’s okay? She says, “Fine.” Young Ian asks about Malva. Claire tells him there’s no way Jamie is the father. Ian says, “But it could be mine.” Garden confessions to your aunt about your sex life, by young Ian. He says he slept with her once. Well, somebody is confident in his sperm. Young Ian says if she’s carrying his child and he will marry her. Claire says Roger saw her with Henderson. She tells Ian she will talk to Jamie, so he doesn’t have to have the awkward sex talk with his uncle, too. Aunty Claire and Young Ian’s relationship has been one of the best relationships since he first met her in the brothel in season 3. Claire reveals that she and Jamie have become pariahs. While Jamie is away preparing to revolt against Great Britain, Claire says, “The Ridge was mounting a rebellion of their own.” This isn’t good. This is Roger’s fault. He let Tom Christie into Jamie and Claire’s house. It’s okay Roger, we all make monumental mistakes that almost cause one of the two main characters of the show to die. *Looks directly at camera.
Claire & Malva’s bloody goodbye
Two months later, Jamie and Roger have returned and Claire’s hair is longer. He tells her he didn’t get picked for Congress because of the Malva allegations. Jamie asks how Claire’s been. She says, “I’ve managed.” Meanwhile, Brianna tells Roger, “The settlers have been awful to mama. No one comes to her for healing, not even people who are sick!” Roger says they’re bloody ungrateful after all she’s done for them! One thing about Roger is he’s always been a Claire fan. Claire’s in her surgery and no patients are there. She’s sad Claire. In a voiceover, she says, “I kept believing that this too shall pass and people would forget.” Claire hears Lionel Brown’s voice, freaks out and voice locks the door and prepares her ether. A very pregnant Malva walks towards her surgery.
Malva knocks and knocks, saying “Mistress?” But Claire is out like a light. She has an insane dream which seems very real where Malva tells her she is the devil, and that Claire is old and that Jamie will be hers. Claire grabs a scalpel! And says if Malva comes near her or her husband she “will f*cking kill her.”
Claire wakes up. Do not mess around with dream Ether Claire. Terrifying. Please tell me Claire doesn’t wake to Malva’s dead body. Hello, Jamie please become aware of your wife’s unhealthy coping mechanism. Claire goes out to the garden with a knife to cut some wee herbs it seems and looks over and sees Malva’s slit throat! She’s dead, has no pulse but her body’s warm! Claire feels her stomach and can tell the baby is still alive. And just when you think Outlander can’t get any more gutting, it does. Literally. Claire guts Malva. Of course, Claire would probably call it a garden C-section. She cuts into Malva’s belly. Not a bikini cut C-section incision there, Claire. Yikes. This scene is a bit traumatizing. Claire delivers the baby and performs CPR on the baby. But the baby dies. Claire weeps over Malva’s dead body. And it ends! This doesn’t look good for Claire. It will be very hard for her to explain that she didn’t kill Malva, when she has a knife, filleted Malva like a fish, and cut that baby out. Was that young Ian’s?
Claire, ether, Malva, murder, oh my! Tune in next time to an undoubtedly traumatic Outlander. Why do we watch this show? Probably because we like pain and sadness. But really, it’s because Balfe, Heughan, and the rest of this cast deliver performances every episode that make it impossible not to watch (with a strong drink).
Before you go, check out the all-time best ‘Outlander’ episodes you need to watch.
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