A war is forming around Fraser’s Ridge, a slow-burn build-up to a revolution that Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Brianna (Sophie Skelton), Roger (Richard Rankin), and now Jamie (Sam Heughan) know is coming. But many of The Ridge have experienced conflict in their own country of Scotland, and suspicions and superstitions always are inflamed prior to a conflict. So begins episode 606 “The World Turned Upside Down”, with Roger Mac giving a sermon in which he tries to use the bible to illustrate how people should not allow fear and superstitions to cloud their good judgment. Of course, we know that this will be ignored for the most part, as especially the fisher-folk are very superstitious and look to Tom Christie as their leader.
After the sermon, Roger remarks ” Has anyone seen the MacNeill’s lately?” It’s not like them to miss a Sunday service. Claire remarks that she and Brianna can look in on them to see if a health issue is keeping them away. Brianna remarks that it shouldn’t be a problem getting Malva to come, she rarely leaves Claire’s side. Claire admits to missing Marsali as her assistant and hopes that her and Fergus’ new life in New Bern as printers is working out for them. Jamie is remorseful for not seeing the solution sooner, Fergus needed to provide for his family.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Lizzie, Claire, Brianna, and Malva arrive at the MacNeill’s cabin and see the yard in disarray. There are Corbies on the roof and as Lizzie remarks, ” There’s something dead nearby.” helpful as always, there is a stench of death on the wind. Claire whips her troops into action, barking out orders as they enter the fetid cabin and open all the windows to get the light in. They discover several children, Mr. and Mrs. MacNeill are all ill. Mr. MacNeill tells Claire it’s the Bloody Flux. Malva takes the baby out of the crib and tries to revive the baby (hint: very un- characteristic for her since she is never really seen with any of the children on the settlement), Claire orders the boiling of water. Mrs. MacNeill dies after Malva cries out that the baby is dead.
Later, Claire shows Malva an amoeba under the microscope that is the culprit. She is determined to find the source and how it got into the water supply for the cabin. Malva is all too eager to assist. Over the course of the next few weeks, there are many cases on The Ridge, and during a burial service, Claire, Jamie, Brianna, and Roger, who is comforting the families. Claire becomes weak and faints in Jamie’s arms.
Storm Clouds, My Heart, and a Snake
Claire falls very ill with all family members, and Malva never leaves her side, even refusing to go home when it is late and her brother comes to fetch her. In Claire’s delirium she sees Malva and Jamie together, in intimacy, visions of stormclouds, the amoeba under the microscope, holding her beating heart in her hand, and a snake (Eastern Kingsnake). We can guess much of the meaning. She finally awakens to Roger sitting by her and discovers that Malva and Mrs. Bug have cut her hair off, claiming it would help with the fever.
Claire recovers slowly, and after discussing her symptoms with Jamie, tells him that her illness was not the same amoebic dysentery that struck The Ridge. She learns that Tom Christie is still ill, and when no one is around, Claire sneaks off to check on her patient. Tom is shocked she is out of bed, and she sarcastically mentions that he should approve of her shorn head. They discuss their symptoms of severe headache, delirium, and disturbing dreams. Claire and Tom discuss how could they have gotten sick when neither has seen each other for weeks. Claire suspects poisoning, but who and how?
The She-Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
The Christies arrive in a wagon, full speed and anger. They arrive at the big house and Claire and Jamie meet with them. It is announced by Tom that Malva is with child. Allan tries to attack Jamie unsuccessfully and has just been awaiting his revenge for being publicly humiliated by Jamie in front of The Committee of Safety. Please keep that in mind. Malva puts on a fine performance as the innocent woman trying to comfort and care for a distraught Jamie, that she and Jamie had lain together more than a dozen times, and keeps imploring Jamie to admit to it. While Jamie knows that she has been seen with several men, as he had warned her to be careful of, he denies it is his child. Tom demands support for Malva.
Claire is furious, and while she doesn’t believe any of it, she is betrayed after taking Malva under her wing. She slaps Malva and stocks to the stables. Jamie finds her there and asks if she could possibly believe this. Claire admits that she doesn’t think it happened, but the rage and fear that has built up, and her recurring fears and hauntings by Lionel Brown’s ghost, bring to a head her feelings. She sacrificed everything to come back in time to find him. Brianna, Roger, and young Jemmy, shouldn’t be there.
Despite the rumors and accusations on Fraser’s Ridge over the next weeks, Jamie and Roger the historian, are off to the Continental Congress. It’s a historic event that Roger in his geekiness must see and hear, and Jamie hopes to become a part of The Sons of Liberty.
The Hand That Feeds
Claire walks unsteadily to the Christies to try to reason with Malva and find the true father of her child. She has already had Young Ian admit to having Malva once, and offer to marry her if it would take the heat off of uncle Jamie. Claire implores Malva, who she has taken under her wing and teaching her, to admit the truth about the baby. Malva seems on the verge of admitting what is going on when Allan rushes out of the cabin. Allan accuses Claire of being a witch. Malva then turns on Claire as well.
Jamie and Roger return and Jamie tells Claire that the Provincial Congress did not pick him as a delegate to go to Philadelphia, it appears the rumors of his begetting Malva with a child even reached the Provincial Congress. Jamie is disappointed to not be part of the Continental Congress meeting.
After Claire has another ghostly encounter with Lionel, who haunts her surgery regularly, Claire sees Malva heading for the surgery through the window and grabs the leather ether mask. She retreats to hide with ether taking away the pain and frustration. In her groggy state, Malva confronts her and says how she is going to take away everything that belongs to Claire, especially Jamie. She threatens to kill Malva. When she wakes again, she is disturbed and staggering. She decides to go out for fresh air and goes to her garden to weed and gather. She comes to her senses and knows that something isn’t right. She looks past her garden, standing, then finds Malva with her throat cut lying just outside of the garden. Going into Claire the surgeon mode, she tries to remove the child that is near to term to rescue it. Alas, Claire finds herself cradling another dead child. We’ve been here before with Claire, and know where it leads.
Remember, the person who accuses the most, has to most to gain by the destruction of the other. Who really is the father of Malva’s baby? The rumors fly in the next episode.
The BTS on the accusation scene gives insight into betrayal and where all the characters and actors are coming from.
Malva and Mrs. Bug are co-conspirators in cutting off Claire’s hair. Why you may ask? Simply both women see Claire as being better than they are, one who covets her property, skills, and Jamie. The other, spoiler’s here, has another beef to settle with Jamie. Claire’s glory, and Jamie’s, was her curly hair, and cutting that hair was symbolic in taking Claire’s power away, think Biblical again, as she was also held suspicious for her medical practices.
Alas, it’s a two-week mini Droughtlander. Rumors abound on Fraser’s Ridge. Who killed Malva? The Committee of Safety come back, and guess who for? Catch Episode 607, Sticks and Stones on Starz® Sunday, April 24
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