Category Archives: Mark Lewis Jones

Outlander Season 6 Finale, I am Not Alone

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We have reached the end of the very short Outlander series 6, and it’s the battle for the Fraser’s, the darkness of vengeance, and the MacKenzie Family Road Trip all in this episode.

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Mob Vengeance

Let’s talk about the one character in the series who had to wait two seasons for its lines. That’s right, the Big House. When one has to do battle for what they hold dear, The Frasers retreat to the house they have painstakingly built. Which becomes part of their night-long defense again the Browns Committee. We watch all that lovingly made woodwork shot up, which if you check out the Instagram account for Outlander Starz there’s some information on how they had to set up the sFX on the shots to look realistic and feel realistic to Catriona Balfe (Claire), and Sam Heughan (Jamie).

The battle takes up the first part of the episode, showing Claire and Jamie willing to go down with the house. The Brown’s take on Claire wonders if this is the right time, the newspaper article telling of the fire that kills the Frasers in four months. Jamie reminds Claire that printer dates aren’t always exact, having been one himself. Claire tells Jamie she would rather die than go with them. In the course of the long night, the couple reconfirms their love, even in desperate sex scenes( juztaposed with the MacKenzie’s joyful camping trip, in tents). So huzzah for the house, that many feared would be fired this season. Just wait.

Road Trip

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While the MacKenzies are on their way to Edenton to see if Roger can get ordained or go into seminary training, they have a family road trip with a real wagon instead of the station wagon they would have had in the 1970s. Along the way that young rascal Jemmy picks up lice from the fisher folk kids, has his hair cut off (wait, there is a part of this that they didn’t follow up on. Just cutting hair doesn’t get rid of lice and Brianna should know this, turpentine?). She notices a weird scabby thing on his head and Roger states it’s a natural thing, sometimes hereditary, and starts talking about his…and the realization that Jemmy may really be his son makes everyone all smiles. Roger then asks Brianna to cut off his hair, too. It’s a father and son thing to do.

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Surrender

Mr. Crombie comes to the big house with the fisher folk and tries to reason with the Frasers that they should go with the Committee and everyone can see justice before a judge. In the debate that heatedly follows, Tom Christie offers himself as surety to make sure that no harm comes to Mistress Fraser since he is the aggrieved party, he should have a say. So another long, unpleasant road trip reminiscent of Season 1 continues, where Claire is a prisoner and Jamie stays by her side. The Browns make sure that the countryside knows who they are taking to the goal, and they are pelted with rocks and physical assaults along the way. And seemingly the Revolutionary War is there to add to, or keep them from justice, as the towns they go through have had uprisings and destruction, and no real courts can be found. All along the way, Tom Christie rides behind them and sees for himself that there is justice, true justice. Jamie verbally jabs at him a few times. Claire is separated from Jamie, and Tom vows to protect her, to make sure that she is safe until trial.

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Tom’s Infatuation With Claire

Since Malva’s death, we have watched Tom Christie realize that this is not true justice, and he questions the whole of the situation. He was hellfire and fury over Malva’s sins and refused to have a Christian burial for her. He has gone from an understanding and uneasy friendship and respect with Claire, which is if you had not picked on this by now, really he has a crush on the woman. When Allan vehemently accuses Claire of Murder, Tom sort of falls to the wayside, where you can see him questioning how someone who has pledged to do no harm, to treat the sick, and quite frankly put up with Tom’s self-righteousness to help heal his hand. He has respect for her. He also has feelings for her. And recognizes this is becoming another witch trial.

He seems to be under the burden of not wanting vigilante justice, but true justice. When he sees that the Brown’s Committee of Safety is encouraging violence and vengeance against the Frasers, which is really about how they have prospered and others have not. His common sense makes him more determined than ever to make sure that Claire isn’t harmed before coming before a judge. When finally they find a justice of the peace, Claire is thrown into the jail cells. Tom assures her he will stay in town until her husband comes. Good thing Jamie got his rescue from being taken back to Scotland.

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All Hail The Production Crew and Actors

While many of you are perplexed, and some of us readers know a bit more, it was a rather choppy way to leave off the season. Now, let’s look at it from the productions view point. A massive worldwide shut-down and slow reopening of filming began. In the studios and local shoots, the production team had to have the parking lots turned into a Covid testing station, then deciding to cut down to 8 episodes from the 12 typical of Outlander production had great challenges. I believe that they did a remarkable job in getting the production completed at all. Filming is currently underway for Season 7, which they have promised to add on extra episodes to help make up for the shortened season. I say have a little faith.

If the filming was dire and not what you typically take for Outlander quality, let’s look at the fact that several of the original crew have left, and gone on to their next big project. The times are changing in the world and will be reflected in some of the production. Life during the 18th century was not all rosy and much of what we think of our 13 colonies was not grand and beautiful for some time. There were Loyalists and rebels. It was a revolution after all. One of several in the world at that time. And it dragged out for some years.

So what do we have to look forward to in Season 7?

  1. Jamie has to meet his son, again, and be on opposing sides of a conflict again with someone he loves.
  2. 2. The Ridge needs to get over the petty anger and distrust if they are going to survive a revolution.
  3. It will not be until Spring 2023 before we see Outlander Season 7, so reread An Echo in The Bones.

Sticks and Stones Break More Than Bones: Outlander’s Penultimate Season 6 Episode

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Welcome to the penultimate episode of Season 6, 607: Sticks and Stones. We left our last episode with Claire up to her elbows in Malva Christie’s blood after performing an emergency Cesarian to try and save Malva’s child. With Malva’s throat cut, and Claire holding a knife, we know where this is going.

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Who Killed Malva Christie?

Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) know that Claire did not kill Malva. However, the burden of proof will come to be too much. Everyone begins to speculate, pointing the finger at the Frasers. The Frasers and their household, as well as the Mackenzies, help to prepare for Malva’s funeral despite Tom’s (Mark Lewis Jones) declaration that she will not have a proper Christian burial. Jamie asserts his authority, she will be buried properly.

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Hiram Crombie, Obidiah Henderson, The Bugs, and the fisher folk all turn on the Fraser’s, regardless they would not have a home without being invited by Jamie to settle. They are all resentful of the Laird and the Big House.  The Christies certainly have been doing their best to wreak havoc.


Know Your Enemies

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Tom has been very forthright about everything so far, and of course, at his assistance, Malva was made to confess her sins in front of the congregation of the fisher folk. Malva, of course, turned this to her advantage, making it clear that she was the victim of Jamie Fraser and hoped that the congregation would look kindly upon her and her child.

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Jamie, Claire, and the Mackenzies attend a small memorial for Malva where Roger (Richard Rankin) gives a sermon. While there are not enough men in the service to bear her coffin when Jamie offers to help, Allan Christie (Alexander Vlahos) says “Not you!”, and continues to blame Jamie, fiercely, for her death. Remember, he who casts…. When the coffin goes out, Claire notices no one has taken the child’s coffin and picks it up. Allan comes in and berates Claire, and grabs the coffin from her. If you haven’t guessed it by now, for a brother who was so mean to a sister, he sure is over-protective now. What’s really going on here?


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Oh, then there’s Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan). We should be used to her getting herself into predicaments if not everyone else to boot. Or should we just say that Lizzie is just ahead of her time? It certainly seems so when it’s found out that not only is the big scandal of Malva’s death weighing heavy on the Frasers, but Ian enlightens them to their maid Lizzie, who is really a part of the extended family, being with child. The thing is, she doesn’t know which of the Beardsley Twins, Jo or Kezzie (Paul Gorman), is the father. Claire takes on Lizzie while Jamie flies off to mite justice as only Jamie can.

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Claire finds playing a psychiatrist a difficult role when Lizzie explains how she ended up in a Thruple with the lads. If it hadn’t been for the medicine that had to be coated all over her skin for malaria, and her chills, well once Lizzie starts telling her story and pure joy comes out of her, you start cheering all three on. But as Claire has to point out, society will not accept such a thing and Lizzie will have to wed one of the lads.

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They are two people, but one soul

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“You can’t save you from yourself.”

Jealousy, anger, revenge, and pure resentment of the people of Fraser’s Ridge are taken out on Claire and her strange witchcrafty ways. Claire’s haunting by Lionel Brown intensifies as she doubts her sanity, and whether or not she was the one who killed Malva. Lionel Brown will not leave Claire alone, or should I say that Claire’s ether addiction is blurring the lines between reality and the demons in her mind. Flashes of voices from her past of accusations from Dougal MacKenzie, Geillis, and Frank taunt her as well. It gets so bad that Jamie finally realizes there is definitely something wrong, as Claire sees Lionel clearly in her surgery and Jamie does not. Finally, Claire tells Jamie what she has been doing, using the ether to deal with the fact she can no long compartmentalize her traumas, as a physician should. Whether it’s whiskey or ether, Jamie tells Claire that she can count on him to help her through this dark part of herself. After all, she was there for him after Wentworth.

Caitriona Balfe pours so much of herself into this role, all while being pregnant during filming. A fantastic way to use all this emoting from future motherhood into a character. It could not have been an easy block to film.


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Revenge Is Most Definitely Served Cold

Too late Lizzie, who is always late with a thing, tells Ian that it was she who knocked on the surgery door, not Malva, when Claire retreated to her ether avoidance. Claire begins to believe it was not her after all that could have harmed Malva.

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When it seems that the Frasers had had just about enough, and they realize after Roger Mac tells them he wed Lizzie to Josiah after they had wed her to Kezzie, that they can finally have a moment of peace. Richard Brown (Chris Larkin) and The Brown’s Committee of Safety, you know the ones that are the colonial version of The Watch, turns up in full force. Richard Brown announces they have come for Claire Fraser for the murder of one Malva Christie. Of course, this all conveniently happens when Roger and Brianna have left The Ridge.

Are you ready for the battle of the Big House, as Jamie and Claire fight for their lives? Watch the season finale on an extended episode 608 I Am Not Alone on Starz® May 1, 2022 at 9pm CST.

Outlander Season 6 2022

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Outlander 603 Temperance; Superstitions, Power, and Fear

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Photo: Robert Wilson ©2022 Starz®

Episode 3, Season 6 has so many themes, but what it all comes down to is fear. There is a war brewing and the Fraser’s know it. The people of Fraser’s Ridge have been in conflicts in their homelands, fear the new world and fear and superstitions came with the fisher folk. It is an episode that sets up the story archs for several characters on Fraser’s Ridge, Marsali and Fergus, The Christies, The Fraser’s Ridge Gang (The Weeans), The Cherokee, and of course Jamie and Claire.

Our episode opens with a view of a wide river and a tiny basket carrying a crying baby heads to the rough waters and a sudden drop at the falls. The Fraser Ridge Gang, including young Germain , are rushing down the riverside trying to catch up with the basket. Roger MacKenzie (Richard Rankin) hears and sees the basket carrying the baby, and charges into the waters to retrieve the baby. When the lads think all is lost and the basket goes over the falls, Roger shames them and reveals he has rescued baby Henri-Christian. He quickly begins to Baptise the infant, even though he is not ordained, as his 20th century mind knows this is about superstions and fear. The boys admit that their parents have told them that the child, born a dwarf, is a demon. If they touch it they will burn in Hell. Roger uses the baptism, and uses Henri-Christian’s name, emphasizing the Christian part. He then singles out Germain after telling the boys to go home and that Mr. Fraser will deal with them all later at the big house. He points out that Germain should be protecting his brother, how did this all happen. Germain, shamed a bit, admits that he did not defend his brother due to peer pressure.

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Later, Roger decides to aid in protecting baby Henri-Christian in reminding the people of The Ridge in the Bible story of Moses, the child in the basket found and raised by Egyptians. Good job, Roger.

Stramash

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Photo: Robert Wilson ©2022 Starz®

Later, after Henri-Christian is brought to safety to be with his family again and there is much discussion about how could this happen on The Ridge. Marsali (Lauren Lyle) comes home to find her bairns asking their father for food, and Fergus (César Domboy) continues to drink. After weeks of Fergus pulling away from he and the family, Marsali finally has it out with him. She will not have a husband unless Fergus is really there with them. Fergus, fuming, tries in vain to discuss what is wrong, but it all comes out wrong, as in making excuses. Having had enough, Marsali tells him to leave.

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Photo: Robert Wilson ©2022 Starz®

The family has not been able to reach Fergus, truly, since Marsali and Claire were attacked. He was in charge of the Ridge at that time, and should have been able to protect them. When Claire, his adoptive mother, tries to reason with him later, he opens up at last about what his life was like in the brothel in Paris, how Dwarf children were mistreated, sold as objects. In France, dwarf children were often left for the wolves. Domboy has truly grown as an actor in this series, and makes the audience really see the real, deep Fergus. He doesn’t want that sort of life for his son. Fergus has been dealing with his own short comings with missing a hand, a very severe handicap in a world filled with labor intensive work and providing for his family has been difficult. He refuses to go back with Claire.

Later, Jamie comes upon him trying to suicide by the creek. He cuts a gash in his arm and Jamie tells him he is a man of worth, he would be lost with out Fergus, that Fergus is his, of his family. Not to mention the damnation of his soul. He drags Fergus back with him for Claire to treat, and eventually they bring Fergus back to Marsali, where they are reconciled and must discuss how to keep baby Henri-Christian safe with the fearful people of The Ridge pointing fingers at the child and ready to blame him for crop failures or any other bad circumstances at Fraser’s Ridge.

Devil’s Work

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Photo: Robert Wilson ©2022 Star®

Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones) is a very difficult man. Claire finds herself pushing back at Tom’s blows of self righteousness, the blustering he furls out to protect himself from sins, in every conversation they have. What it really is, and what Claire recognises, that it is fear of loss of control that is really bein dealt with. Tom wants to be the leader, and is often outshined by Jamie, an truly struggles with it. We see the angry side of Tom, as he takes the strap to Malva. In his failed attempt, he realizes he would have better use of his hand to administer the strap if it did work properly. So this is what drives him to Claire for the operation, or so we think, his only motive is to be able to punish the wicked girl.

What is really happening, and if you haven’t seen it, look again, is that Tom Christie is a moth to a flame. He wants what Jamie (Sam Heughan) has, and despite himself and his blusterings, begins to soften towards Claire (Caitriona Balfe). While Jamie tries to encourage him to take the ether for surgery, and Tom refusing on his high moral ground, Jamie discusses his hand surgery and explains to Tom it is no easy matter. Tom of course refuses, saying it’s the Devils work (ether) it is not natural. Claire explains, as if talking to a brick wall, that he needs to hold still while she performs the surgery the ether will make it so. Tom agrees but only with whisky and  Jamie must hold him down. She calls him a masochist out of frustration, and has to explain the term to both men. With a few drams more and Jamie holding Tom in the surgery chair, and some great surgery FX from the crew, Claire manages to do some fine surgery work. Claire then talks Tom into staying in the surgery for the night to keep an eye on him. Tom gives in, but as we see him softening, we must realize that the man is becoming absolutely besotted with Claire. Watch out for the brewing of sin in this little drama, the man has fallen under her spell.

Watch all the drama and kettle boiling while we slowly head towards war. Next up, Episode 4 “Hour of The Wolf”.

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Outlander Season 6, The Echoes Just Keep Coming

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Outlander Season 6 Episode 601 Echoes, Written by Mathew B. Roberts, Directed by Kate Cheeseman

We begin the break from the longest Droughlanders on record with a back story after a long intro by Claire (Caitriona Balfe) talking of echoes, and how they always come back, memories are like echos, and usually interchangable in discription. A long “previously on” montage opens the episode, ending with a backstory of when Jamie first arrived, broken, at Ardsmuir prison.

Freedom of Religion and Politics

And now we have one of the most contentious and bizarre conflicts of the Outlander Universe, the Jamie Fraser v. Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones) for the control of Frazer’s Ridge. After waiting nearly two years for a new Outlander season, we get a wam, bam, backstory to this contentious pairing from the Aurdsmuir prison days for Jamie (Sam Heughan). While we get some welcome characters back from Ardsmuir days, echos being as they are, Hayes (James Allenby-Kirk) and Lesley (Keith Fleming) butting heads with the Protestants, Tom Christie is a whole other kettle of fish.

Freemasonry is one of author Diana Gabaldon’s ways of dealing with the obvious frictions of so many people coming together with so many political and religious beliefs, in the confines of a prison, and later the powder keg of the American Colonies. Jamie, being the clever man he is, always adept at learning new languages and cultures of any kind, sees the creation of a lodge in the prison as a way to get the Governor of the prison on side, who has shown masonic signs when communicating with Tom Christie in his chambers that Jamie picked up on, and the prisoners all as equals to stop the feuding. Jamie uses this knowledge later after a conflict between the work gangs of opposing Catholics and Protestants ends with the death of one of the prisoners. Jamie claims he will make a lodge of all prisoners regardless of politics or religion, and challenges Tom to join in, with the consent of the Governor. This is also his way of having an upper hand with Christie over his power with the Governor. By uniting all under a brotherhood where cooperation instead of conflict could happen, Jamie sees a may to managing the mayhem. We see that Tom Christie is seeing Jamie as out smarting him, and using his ways to have the upper hand. A sort of truce is brokered with the men. Of course Jamie get’s flogged again, taking the blame for something he did not do at the prison. Winning the praise of many prisoners. Tom just can’t win.

Can I just say this now, where the heck is Murtagh? This is a flashback to Ardsmuir, and in TV Outlander, Murtagh was there with Jamie after Culloden. Just saying what we were all thinking. Maybe there will be another flashback. I can only assume that the writers did not want to detract from the conflict of Jamie and Tom at the prison. Maybe Murtagh shows up later?

Bad Pennies Turn Up

Unknowingly Roger and Brianna receive Tom Christie in 1773 on Fraser’s Ridge while Jamie is away. Tom Christie turns up with one of the posters that Fergus had printed inviting men from Ardsmuir Prison to settle the Ridge with the Frasers. Unknowingly and in their usual youthful exuberance, Roger and Brianna welcome Tom, his family Alan (Alexander Vlahos) and Malva, and the fisher folk that are his flock, to settle on the Ridge. Later Jamie and Claire return and Jamie is shocked to find Tom Christie in the parlor with the MacKenzies. There is some clipped and not so suble animosity between the two, and Jamie reluctantly welcomes the newcomers. Roger appologizes to Jamie, he did not know that Christie was atrouble maker, as Jamie had never mentioned the man. Jamie makes the best of the situation and rounds up the men of Frasers Ridge to make a cabin building party for the new fisher folk who are obviously used to shoreline living, not deep woods with winter snows beginning.

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Pride Before Sense

Later they are invited to meet with Christie’s flock. When the MacKenzies and Fraser’s arrive to hear Tom’s breaking of the bread speech, where Tom rallies the bedraggled fisher flock with a symbolic loaf, quoting scriptures and declaring that they will build a church. Jamie takes acception right away, stating that is not how we do things on the Ridge. While being a fact of necessity, the folk must have cabins to live in before they begin building any large structures that they have no experience with building. But as often is with religious fervor, it’s about being seen to be giving and giving big to the community, before helping the community to actually survive the winter. And there is a bit of ego involved. Jamie rightly puts Tom in his place in a matter of fact pragmatism. We can see Tom processing this deflating of his pride.

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Tom Christie later comes injured to Claire’s surgery and in helping to address his wounds, notices some disfigurement. Tom, the ever conflicted man, has his sense of propriety, no alcohol shall pass his lips, bettered by Jamie factual praticality. Take a dram or something while she fixes your wounds. Tom gives in a bit and we see some softening when Claire matter of factly takes charge, tossing two male egos aside to do her work. She mentions that she can also see to the other long term injury of his hand, and make Tom’s hand work better at a later date. There are a few more Snapping Turtle bites, but Christie leaves possibly falling under Claire’s spell.

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And of course why have one conflict when you can have two bad echos at once? Latter the Brown boys show up, Richard Brown (Chris Larkin) as you will remember as being the head of Clan Brown, is now head of a Committee of Safety, which is the colonial version of The Watch from Season 1. Earlier his men had spotted Alan Christie with Young Ian hunting and noticed a particular stolen powder horn. When confronting Jamie about this, who is annoyed that they have come to the Ridge as it sets Claire on edge as she goes in the house.

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Tom finally steps up and states that if the horn has been stolen, young Alan will punished for this. A whole lot of testosterone is flying about and finally Jamie, in aserting his leadership bargains with Brown, that he will lash the boy himself. All Jamie can do is try to control a situation that can get well out of hand. And one that get’s young Alan, who was obviously petrified of his father, beaten publicly and humiliated. We’ll see how he get’s his revenge on Jamie, later.

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So begins the long awaited and quiet contentious introduction to The Christies and the havoc they will bring to the Ridge.

Watch a preview of Episode 602 “Allegience”, where Jamie struggles with his Indian Agent Role and Marsali survives a dificult birth. And where the heck is that drunk, Fergus. Sundays at 9 pm EST on Starz®

Edenton Freemason Lodge had brush with Tory plot

Outlander Season 6: Freemasons and Ether History Explained

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The Fraser’s Set the Christie’s Straight

The Fraser’s School the Christie’s and their flock on the realities of the life on the Ridge. Cabins before churches are built, or the people will not survive the winter. Just goes to show you what damage Zealots can do from the get-go. Join us tonight as Jamie and Roger try to educate the newcomers that you can’t worship or serve your lord if you are not able to survive to do so. Religion will be a big force of conflict, just goes to show what our founding fathers pointed out at the beginning of this nation. Tolerance is best.

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Claire and Jamie’s Trials are Just Beginning in Outlander Season 6

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It’s almost over, the longest Droughtlander ever. You are barely surviving, hanging by threads. Binge watching past seasons with pals. Well here’s more for you to think about, as you have probably done a thousand times in the last year plus. So a few spoilers may be ahead for you if you haven’t read the book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) was and still will be in a fragile state this season. After being kidnapped and raped by the Brown’s her recovery after the  men of Fraser’s Ridge rescued her bruised and bleeding. She will spend the time of Season 6 trying to repair her mental state, as well as dealing with the knowledge of war to come.

In a recent teaser, we see that Major MacDonald brings forces to the Ridge and that Claire and Jamie see a newspaper article about the Boston Tea Party. With the Boston Massacre happening in 1770, Claire, Roger, and Briana know this means that small skemishes aside, this leads down the path to the American Revolution.

She must deal with the fact that she  knows the hsitory of the Revolution, having lived ina a future Boston. She fears for Brianna(Sophie Skelton), Jemmy, and Roger(Richard Rankin). They would not be here in these war torn times if she had not left the safety of the future to be with the man she loved, Jamie.

More changes come to the ridge, and Claire finds she must rely on additional help in her administrations of the Ridge’s population with illness and wounds. She begins training a young Malva Christie (Newcomer Jessica Reynolds) to help with nursing, and when a severe illness plagues the ridge, she may lose all she has.

And as always, her skills as a healer bring the curse of witchcraft upon her, and there will be a murder.

Jamie

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Jamie (Sam Heughan) has the responsibilities of being a Laird piling on him. As part of the requirements of the land grant for Fraser’s Ridge, Jamie must encourage more people to come settle The Ridge. More men from Ardsmuir prison join the community, and with them Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones), a past thorn in Jamie’s side at Ardsmuir Prison. Determined to unite the Ridge under all religious and community beliefs, Jamie inlists Tom and Roger to find even more settlers for the Ridge.

While this is going on, he has an uneasy alliance with Major MacDonald form. Why he’s a countryman, he is in the employ of the King, and as a half-pay soldier he must go around and do odd jobs for the government, as well as try to find other employment along the way. This could be dangerous for The Ridge. One of them is trying to convince Jamie to become an Indian Agent for The Crown. When Jamie is confronted with the Browns again, who have formed a Committee of Safety, Jamie knows what that will mean. It’s another form of the Scottish Watch, men with a loose protection racket who exact a price. After the Brawns threats after Claire’s abduction, Jamie decides being an Indian Agent will gain him allies with the Indians and get him reports of an more lootings and burnings.

Jamie receives a visit from his friend Lord John Grey (David Berry), asking Claire to assist his servant, a former Brittish Soldier named Bobby Higgins with the branded M on his cheek. The are going on to Lord John’s Estate and have come from Boston. But is it really Jamie he has come to see, and a game of chess? Lord John gives his view on the Boston Massacre and begins to set a rift between himself and Jamie.

This season, while shortened, will have Jamie making decisions on who to trust, who side to appear to be on to keep the land grants, and how to protect The Ridge and his own extended clan, and his new Indian allies.

A Fresh Look at the Boston Massacre, 250 Years After the Event That Jumpstarted the Revolution

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