Saturday, April 30, 2022

“Confessions of the Soul” - A recap of Season 6 Episode 7 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

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What is a soul? There are many definitions, but one of the most useful is: “the part of you that consists of your mind, character, thoughts and feelings.” Under this definition, people can keep their true soul hidden - and this is something that a lot of the characters have been doing up to this point. Claire has told no-one of her inner torment and the thoughts that are plaguing her. We do not know what caused Malva to accuse Jamie, nor the identity of the soul who ultimately chose to take her life. The remaining Christies - Tom and Allan, are mysterious souls, keeping their feelings and thoughts tightly hidden behind a cloak of religious belief. Indeed, most of the main characters - Roger, Brianna, Fergus, Marsali - have all had moments of soul searching throughout this season. But it is in this penultimate episode that events take an even more emotional turn.

The episode begins with a flashback of Malva’s testimony in the meeting house. She is telling the congregation, on the orders of her father, about the man who abused her and stole her innocence. The Devil is real, Malva says, although he visited her in the guise of a man, not an angel. This man was someone she had trusted, someone who was meant to be kind to her. Ending with a plea, Malva says that although her baby will be a bastard, she hopes that people will still treat her kindly. 

It is a testimony reminiscent of the tearful performance given by Laoghaire in season 1, when Claire was on trial for witchcraft. Claire was there to witness those lies, whereas Jamie, the unnamed accused in this version, is not. There is an interesting parallel to be drawn between these two women: both from unhappy family backgrounds, both obsessed with a Fraser (albeit a different one) and both adept at tearful confessions where they appear to be the wronged victim. 

Malva does become the victim though, and following the opening credits, we see the shocked face of Tom Christie, fighting for control as he looks upon the body of his daughter, lying in the vegetable patch. The baby has been laid on her chest and Allan covers her with a sheet, asking Claire if she had seen or heard anyone. Claire tells him that she had been busy in the surgery, and although she thought she saw Malva approaching the house, if the young woman had knocked, she hadn’t heard. 

Allan challenges Claire’s story, asking why she went outside with a knife. Claire replies that she was carrying a pruning knife and had been going to the garden. Jamie asks what Allan is implying,  but Tom responds that there is no implication - Claire stands before them “up to her elbows in blood.” Claire explains that while it had been too late to save Malva, she had had to try and save the baby. 

Tom asks Claire how long it would have taken for Malva to die and Claire answers that with the cut to her throat, it would have been quick. But rather than wanting to know if his daughter had suffered, Tom merely wants to know whether there would have been time to pray for forgiveness - a short prayer to make her right with God. He announces that Malva and the baby will be buried out in the woods, as a whore with an illegitimate child cannot be buried alongside God-fearing men and women.

It is a shocking, yet not unsurprising, comment. 

“She was your daughter!” Jamie says.

“He was your bastard son!” Tom retorts. 

“He is not,” Jamie declares, before saying that whoever the baby belonged to, both Malva and the child will be laid to rest properly. 

Again, Tom puts his religion before his daughter, saying that he will not have the angels weeping and the demons rejoicing because a sinner has been laid to rest in holy ground. But Jamie has the last word. If Malva is to be buried on his land, he tells Tom, then it will be after a funeral and in consecrated ground. 

Tom wants to know what can be said about Malva during the service.

Claire answers, “That Malva Christie was full of life and light, that there was fire in her eyes. And when I held her tiny baby, I felt that same light in him.” 

Claire promises to take care of Malva, to ensure that her body is made fit for a funeral. Jamie tells Tom and Allan that they will gather at the meeting house in a few days and that Roger will perform the service. 

Without a word, the Christies go, leaving Jamie and Claire to move Malva’s body from the garden. Jamie carries her inside and as Claire follows, walking almost as if in a trance, she notices the eyes of other people from the Ridge watching her. 

Steeling herself to begin the restoration of Malva’s body, Claire begins with the ritual of washing her hands. She is unsteady and the ether mask sits temptingly close. Claire’s hands shake as she struggles to thread the needle and she hears the voice of Malva as it spoke during her hallucination, telling Claire that the ether is of the devil, as is she. But it is not only Malva who is haunting Claire. A montage of images races through her mind, culminating in the voice of Lionel Brown, who asks whether Claire had plucked up the courage to kill Malva herself. 

The hallucinations continue, with Lionel taunting Claire, telling her to pull herself together, lest Jamie be forced to rush in and save her. 

“Because you know something?” the voice continues, now becoming a shadowy figure behind Claire’s shoulder. “He can’t save you from yourself.” 

It is too much for Claire and she runs from the surgery. Instead of using the ether, she has chosen a different method of trying to numb herself (and it is a very small nod to how Claire dealt with her PTSD in the book) with alcohol. She pours and drains two glasses in quick succession.

Jamie has come into the room. He stands watchful and concerned, but merely tells her that he wouldn’t blame her if there was nothing left in the bottle and decides to join her. Claire turns away, asking if Jamie had found anything in the search. Jamie replies that nothing has been found yet, although Ian and the Beardsley twins are out looking and will warn Roger, Brianna and the other settlers. As he expresses the hope that they find something, Claire asks: “Who could do something like this?”

Mrs Bug marches into the sitting room, demanding to know where Lizzie is to answer the door, as Hiram Crombie is standing on the back porch wanting to talk to Jamie. He has been poking about the garden, Mrs Bug tells them, wanting to see Malva for himself, but both Jamie and Claire are adamant that Malva has suffered enough indignity. 

Mrs Bug is indignant and speaks far more boldly than she has up until this point. It is clear that the tide has turned: she is no longer a happy member of the Fraser’s Ridge staff, but a member of the Ridge with her own suspicions about her employers. She tells Jamie that others will be asking questions as well, and comments that they all have to live with a scandal. She recalls the moment that Malva had told everyone in the meeting house that she was having Jamie’s child and looks directly at Claire: “You must have hated her guts,” she says. 

Jamie immediately admonishes the older woman, saying that the dead cannot speak for themselves.

“Shall I show Mr Crombie in?” Mrs Bug responds, with a hint of defiance. It has not been an open challenge, but further evidence that her feelings towards Jamie and Claire have changed.  Jamie tells her to instruct Crombie to wait outside and she turns with a curt nod and leaves. Claire doesn’t want anyone to see her in her present state and Jamie tells her not to worry, saying that he will speak to Hiram and find out why he has come. 

At first, it seems that Crombie has only come to bring the Christie family bible for Roger to use at the funeral service. Jamie thanks him for bringing it, but as he turns to go back inside, Hiram continues to speak. He tells Jamie that he won’t forget the look on Tom and Allan’s faces when they had spoken of what happened. Jamie agrees, adding that it was a terrible shock for everyone.

This is the opening that Hiram needs.

“Was it then?” he says, challenging Jamie. 

Jamie turns back from the doorway, telling Crombie to speak plainly. If he is to make unfounded accusations on Jamie’s doorstep, he needs to do it in no uncertain terms. 

This Hiram does, accusing Jamie of sinning in the eyes of the Lord, and wondering whether Claire has forgiven Jamie for “lying with a flower faced Scottish lass?” He doubles down on the accusations, wondering aloud whether everyone on the Ridge has to suffer for Jamie’s regret of marrying a sharp tongued English woman with even sharper knives.

Jamie moves menacingly towards him and Crombie takes a step backwards, next asking whether Claire had forgiven Malva. 

“I(f you value your life, choose your next words wisely, Mr Crombie,” Jamie says.

But Crombie has no more words. He merely puts on his hat and stalks away. 

Claire makes another attempt to sew up Malva’s slit throat. Once again, Lionel’s ghost is at her elbow, asking Claire whether she had truly thought Hiram had only come to borrow a cup of sugar. 

“He just about has the measure of you,” Lionel says. “And he won’t be shy about telling his friends.” 

The hallucination continues to taunt Claire, accusing her of taking Malva’s life to protect Jamie, when she had sworn to do no harm.

“Not as though you haven’t done that before though, is it?” Lionel says. “The lying, the loveless marriage, leaving when you should have stayed, staying when you should have gone.”

As Lionel continues to taunt, Claire reaches for the ether mask and bottle. 

Brianna and Roger are discussing whether Roger should pay a call on the Christies to find out how they are. Brianna says that they need time with their grief and that they wouldn’t be expecting Roger to call in any case. Jamie comes in and Brianna asks if she can do anything.

“It might be your turn to pacify Mrs Bug,” Jamie replies.

But there is another interruption. This time it is Lizzie, announcing the Obadiah Henderson is now at the door, asking about Ian.

Brianna is curious. Pulling grass from Lizzie’s hair, she asks what the younger woman has been doing. Jamie adds that Mrs Bug has been looking for her and has been worried about her. 

Lizzie replies that she was just out feeding the horses, but had returned to the house as soon as she heard the terrible news. Jamie warns her about going out alone, adding that they don’t know who’s about. 

Roger and Jamie go together to confront Obadiah Henderson. He is incensed, wanting to know why Ian is “roaming around like the damn Spanish Inquisition” and adding that Ian had hit him a few months before, giving him a black eye. 

Roger tries the compassionate approach, telling Henderson that he understands how upset he must be and offers condolences. 

Henderson is immediately defensive. He has offered condolences of his own to the Christie family, he says and doesn’t need any offered to him. Roger presses further, saying that he knew that Obadiah was “friends” with Malva and that perhaps the friendship was something more. 

“What are you suggesting?” asks Henderson. “Do you think I had something to do with this?” He presses further, asking whether that has been said to Ian, and asking why Roger has the gall to suggest anything like this in front of Jamie. 

“Everyone on the Ridge has questions about you and your wife,” Henderson says to Jamie, asking if the rumours are true that Claire had cut the baby out of Malva before slitting her throat. 

“Or was it the other way around?” 

Roger shuts the door to the house so that Henderson’s accusation cannot be heard inside. Jamie is trying hard to maintain his composure. 

“I’m glad to have you on the Ridge, Mr Henderson,” he begins, “ but…”

Henderson cuts him off, asking whether Jamie plans on threatening him the same way he had threatened Hiram Crombie. 

Roger intervenes again, reminding Henderson that he himself had witnessed Obadiah with Malva. Slightly more contrite, Obadiah says that he hadn’t seen Malva for a long time. He wants that information passed on to Ian, or else he will give Ian a black eye in return. Jamie says that they will keep that in mind, but as he turns to go inside, Henderson fires one last accusation to Jamie’s back, suggesting that perhaps Ian should start asking questions closer to home. 

Lizzie is in the stables with Gideon, one of the horses, apologising for lying and not feeding him earlier. Ian comes in and asks her whether she has seen the Beardsleys anywhere. He explains that Jamie had asked him to take them to search the Ridge, but he hasn’t been able to find them. 

Lizzie is evasive, telling Ian that she’s not really sure, but that they should be home by now. Ian asks if there is something she isn’t telling him. Lizzie is again evasive, saying that she doesn’t want them to be in any trouble. 

“What trouble could they be in?” Ian asks. He tells Lizzie that she needs to tell him the truth, as Jamie will ask why the twins were not with him, and that if she knows or has seen anything, she needs to say. 

Jamie, Roger, Brianna and Ian are eating dinner at the table, discussing the fact that it is hard to imagine anyone on the Ridge doing anything like what happened to Malva. Lizzie comes in with cold potatoes and butter, asking if she should set a place for Claire, but Jamie says that Claire is upstairs, resting. 

The group continue trying to rule out suspects. Roger doesn’t think it was Henderson, given that Henderson knew that Roger had found him and Malva together. Ian adds that they know it wasn’t the Sin-Eater, given that Ian had found him dead in his hut. Jamie asks if the Beardsleys had helped Ian to bury him and Ian lies, saying that the twins had gone to search in a different part of the woods. In the background, we see Lizzie look obviously relieved. The conversation returns to the Sin-Eater and while Ian thinks that the older man died in his sleep, he shares the news that all the finger bones on one hand were missing. Brianna links the finger bones to the love charm and Ian wonders if a jealous woman could have made it and killed Malva. Roger says it might be circumstantial evidence, but they could hardly prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Where’s Perry Mason when you need him?” Brianna asks. 

Roger agrees. They can’t report the matter to the police, or to anyone, he says. Where can they start?

Ian asks who Perry Mason is and Brianna explains that he is a lawyer from their time who defends the falsely accused. Roger surmises that Perry Mason would want to know who had the means, motive and opportunity to kill Malva. 

“Me,” says a voice. Claire has entered the room. 

Later, Jamie asks Claire why she would even have suggested such a thing. Claire explains that she has a feeling she just can’t shake. She admits to Jamie that she had seen Malva coming towards the house and had taken some ether for a “lie down.” 

Jamie is shocked. 

“Christ, Sassenach, you put yourself to sleep?” he asks.

“Only for a little bit,” Claire replies, adding that she didn’t want to talk to Malva. She tells Jamie of her nightmare, where Malva was banging at the door, and then was suddenly inside the surgery, shaking her awake. Claire tells Jamie that in her recollection, she then lost her temper and threatened the young woman. 

“What if it wasn’t a dream?” she asks Jamie. “What if I did do it?” 

Jamie is dismissive of the thought. Claire couldn’t have harmed Malva, he says. She isn’t capable. 

Claire points out that she had the means, motive and opportunity and everyone thinks that she is the culprit. 

“So what if they do?” Jamie answers. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, he tells her. Whoever the real culprit was, they will find them. 

But in the dead of night, Lionel’s ghost has ventured further from the surgery. He now sits menacingly in the fireplace of their bedroom and Claire puts her hands over her face in horror.

The next morning, Claire stands at the window looking out. She sees Mr and Mrs Bug outside, gossiping with another woman and looking up at the window. Her voiceover muses about the phrase “only human” and how people only use it to justify their mistakes, in an effort to convince themselves that the person looking back at them in the mirror isn’t so bad. Against a montage of images where Lizzie and the Beardsleys collect a black dress from Tom and Allan makes a baby-sized coffin, Claire is having a crisis of identity. Who is she? Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, Dr Randall, Mistress Fraser, a wife, mother, grandmother, witch or murderer?

“Murderess suits best,” whispers Lionel’s ever present voice. 

Coming downstairs, Jamie and Claire are met by Ian, who is waiting with news, not about Malva, but Lizzie. Ian tells them that Lizzie is pregnant, but not by him. Jamie demands to know who is responsible for debauching her and Ian replies with one word: Beardsley. When Jamie asks which one is the father, Ian explains the real problem. Lizzie doesn’t know. 

Jamie decides to meet with both of the men to find the truth, but is worried about the story spreading. Ian apologises for not saying anything at dinner, but explains that he hadn’t wanted to embarrass Lizzie. However, with the scandal of Malva having also been unwed and with child, he felt they needed to know. For Jamie, the solution is simple: he will have one of the twins married to Lizzie he says, or both of them dead at her feet. 

Meanwhile, Roger is preparing his sermon, while Brianna comes to tell him of a problematic development. Conversation between the Bugs has frightened Jemmy, who now thinks that murdered people turn into ghosts. Even worse, when Roger suggests telling Jemmy to say a prayer if he thinks he has seen a ghost, Brianna replies that Jemmy asked her if that would stop his granny turning him into a ghost too. The fisherfolk are blaming Claire for Malva’s murder and Jemmy has overheard the gossip. 

At the house, Claire is talking to Lizzie about her pregnancy. In possibly the only lighthearted scene in the episode, Lizzie explains how her ménage à trois with the Beardsleys began. When she had been afflicted with malaria and the twins arrived with her gallberry ointment, she had told them to rub it all over her. One of the lads had worried it would spoil his shirt and so she had suggested he remove it and one thing had led to another. 

Claire asks her to clarify : had she really slept with them both at once, or had the twins fooled her into thinking she was only sleeping with one person? Lizzie assures her that she had not been duped and that it had been her choice. After waxing in lyrical detail about their bodies, Lizzie assures Claire that she had known what she was doing. She had felt safe with their arms around her and had enjoyed being naked and slippery under the quilts. But it had not been a one-off occurrence, as Lizzie tells Claire it has happened more than once with each of them since. 

“It feels so nice, Mistress,” she says, adding that it hasn’t seemed wrong at all. 

Claire warns Lizzie that she is risking a huge scandal and the younger woman is stunned to learn that people like Hiram Crombie would stone her for fornication if they were to find out. 

“Why?” Lizzie asks. “It’s not harming anyone. And it’s no one’s business but ours.” 

“Everything that happens here is everyone’s business,” Claire replies. “You know that.” 

She asks Lizzie if the three of them have a plan. Lizzie will have to marry and she cannot marry the both of them. 

Roger takes Mr Bug to task about the stories that Jemmy has overheard, asking the older man to be more careful around the young boy. But Mr Bug is unrepentant. He tells Roger that Jemmy cannot be sheltered from things forever. Sarcastically, he comments that a sow needs slaughtering for bacon and that he would ask Roger to help, were it not for the fact that it could spoil Roger’s lunch. 

Roger and Jamie continue the conversation about slaughtering animals for meat, with Roger assuring Jamie that he hasn’t yet joined the rank of vegetarians, but that the idea of killing the animals does bother him. He finds it ironic, he says, that he should be troubled, given that he himself has killed a man. 

“What I did to that Brownsville man,” Roger says, “isn’t that the same as what happened to Malva?” 

He begins to quote the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” but Jamie stops him, pointing out the inaccuracies of the translation. In Greek and Hebrew scriptures, the same commandment is “Thou shalt not Murder.” 

“It makes me wonder where God is in all this,” Roger muses, “and where I stand.” 

He asks his father-in-law how he can preach to others and Jamie interrupts, saying that he can see that Roger wants to take care of the people of the Ridge.

“It’s the burying and christening and maybe just being able to help,” Roger continues. It doesn’t look like a minister is coming to the Ridge and someone has to do the job. I’m thinking it’s me.” 

This is not news to Jamie, who replies that he has eyes to see it. Roger will need to see about being ordained, but there is the added complication of the approaching war. Roger admits that he also hasn’t told Brianna yet, not wanting her to think him a coward. He couldn’t fight with an army, he tells Jamie, but he could take up arms to defend those in need. 

“And that is enough for me,” Jamie says, adding that Brianna has eyes too. 

Having Jamie’s support is important to Roger and he smiles as his father-in-law walks away.

Claire continues to be tormented by Lionel’s ghost, now hearing it blaming her for everyone’s trials, including Brianna’s rape at the hands of Bonnet while trying to recover Claire’s ring, and even Lizzie’s current predicament. How, Lionel asks, can she make it right? Once again, Claire turns to the escape of ether, but this time she hears the voices of many characters from the past, including Dougal and Colum MacKenzie, Geillis Duncan, Father Bain and Geillis Duncan, mingling with voices from the present.

As Jamie and Claire walk to the meeting house for Malva’s funeral, Claire comments that they are going to meet her prospective jurors, as she stands trial in the court of public opinion.  Jamie says he won’t entertain any such rumours with a response, reminding Claire of the “Sticks and Stones” rhyme that she says to the children. He puts his arm around her shoulders, declaring that if anyone wants to say anything to her, they will need to say it to him first. 

The funeral itself is a small affair and Roger takes the opportunity to remind everyone that they are all sinners and that God does not judge someone’s worth by their label, their actions, or what has been done to them. God forgives, Roger tells the group. He asks them to stand, before taking Malva and her child outside to be buried. 

But while God may forgive, Allan Christie does not. When Jamie steps forward to help carry Malva’s coffin, Allan says, “No, not him”, prompting Ian to step forward and take Jamie’s place. When Claire moves to carry the baby’s coffin, Allan almost drops his sister’s, so intent is he on wrenching the infant’s coffin from Claire’s arms. 

“They’re dead because of you,” he hisses. “You took my sister from me and yet you still get to live your perfect little lives as if nothing has happened.” 

Outside, Malva and her son are finally laid to rest, and Jamie and Claire walk away from the rest of the group. They know they are not welcome and suspicion is everywhere. The music is suitably sombre to match the gravity of the situation. 

Jamie is perhaps not in the best frame of mind to deal with Lizzie’s predicament, telling her curtly that she needs to be wed and the sooner the better. When asked which brother she will marry, Lizzie replies that she doesn’t want to choose as she loves them both. She rejects the suggestion that she will be branded a whore, but Jamie tells her that’s exactly what will happen - spreading her legs for two men and married to neither, with a child in her belly whose father she cannot name.

“I can name him,” Lizzie retorts. “His name will be Beardsley.” She tries to make Jamie understand. Jo and Kezzie are one soul, she says, in two bodies. 

But Jamie is not convinced.

“If you care about the fate of that soul, you’ll have those two bodies standing before me imminently,” he replies. 

The twins are out in the stables, which Jamie declares is as good a place as any for a hand fasting, given that Christ was born in a stable. Using the short straw method, Keziah is chosen and Jamie performs the quick ceremony, declaring them hand fast until a priest can be found, and telling Josiah that he needs to leave until the child has been born. 

Brianna tells Roger how saddened she is by the fact that many people believe that Malva’s baby is not in Heaven because he had not been baptised. She asks Roger if he believes the same. He replies that as a father he wants to believe that the child is in Heaven, but as a minister, he isn’t sure. When Brianna comments that she is glad that Roger is more husband than minister, he takes the chance to raise the subject of his profession. 

“But what if it’s my calling here, Bree?” he asks. “What if I want to make the preaching official?” 

He gets the same thrill as when he teaches, he tells her, only this stirs his soul as well. He wants to see about becoming ordained. Brianna understands, saying that he is so good at it, but wants to know what it would mean for their family. Each of them had been raised with parents constantly on duty, she says. Having grown up with Claire as a doctor who would leave at the drop of a hat whenever a patient needed her, Brianna says that she suffered because of it.

Roger assures him that whatever happens, he has been called to be her husband and a father first and that he will not doing anything at the expense of his family.

“You really want this, don’t you?” Brianna asks. 

“Just think how amazing it would be if I could baptise our child myself,” Roger replies, adding that he has heard of a presbytery in Edenton. 

“Well,” Brianna says, “I suppose we have some time until the baby comes.” She begins to think of the possible complications: what would she feed crying people at their kitchen table? What about the fact that she is Catholic? 

“If they don’t like it, they can go to Hell,” Roger replies, prompting Brianna to say that she hopes he will have a more diplomatic response when the time comes. But it is an acceptance, and the two make plans to begin packing for Edenton. 

The next morning, Claire confronts Lizzie, who has been avoiding her. Lizzie is upset - does Josiah really have to leave? She tries to explain, telling Claire that she had been planning on telling her about the pregnancy, having come to see her on the morning that Malva died. Lizzie had banged on the door, but had found it locked.

This is an important revelation to Claire, who had assumed it was Malva who banged on the door that fateful day. This means that Malva couldn’t have come into the surgery and she couldn’t have threatened her. 

Thanking Lizzie for telling her, she walks back inside and heads into the surgery. Putting the ether mask and bottle away with the hint of a relieved smile, Claire turns around, only to clearly see the ghost of Lionel looking at her. But this time, he doesn’t appear ghost-like, but as real as anyone else. 

“I didn’t do it,” she says desperately.

“That doesn’t change a damn thing,” Lionel retorts. 

Claire cannot get rid of him so easily. She may not have killed Malva, Lionel says, but she led the young girl to her grave.  Claire repeats “I didn’t do it” over and over, as Lionel tells her that it doesn’t absolve her of her guilt. 

Running out of the surgery, Claire finds Jamie, who immediately asks what is wrong. It is obvious that Claire is scared to go back into the room, so Jamie goes first, walking past the spectre of Lionel, who only Claire can see, putting a finger to his lips as if to quieten her. 

Tentatively, Claire enters the room, finally admitting to Jamie that she feels like she is going crazy. For the first time in her life, she says, she doesn’t recognise herself. There is a darkness inside her and she can’t bear for Jamie to see her in such a state.

“I didn’t kill Malva,” Claire begins, “but what if a part of me wanted to?” 

Jamie says that everyone has a darkness inside of them, but Claire admits that she feels like it is possessing her, eating away at her. 

Much as he did when Claire confessed to being from the future in the first season, Jamie says nothing here - just listens and watches, as Claire talks. 

Tearfully, she tells Jamie that she can hear the voice of Lionel Brown, taunting her. The only thing that drowns him out is taking the ether. She has tried for so long in her life to compartmentalise everything, in order to cope. She has put things into neat little boxes she says: Frank, her patients, grief, the past, the present, Jamie - all have gone into a box. But now the floodgates have opened and it’s not just Malva, but everything. Everything is her fault, Claire says, because she has changed things. Brianna’s attack, Roger being sold into slavery, everything since she first arrived in the 18th century, has happened due to her selfishness, all because she had desperately wanted to be with Jamie. 

“Do you think Bree feels that way?” Jamie asks, softly. “She would never have been born. What about Roger? Your selfishness has given him a wife and a son.” 

Jamie continues to recount their lives: if they hadn’t gone to Paris, they wouldn’t have found Fergus and he in turn wouldn’t have found Marsali. 

“So although there is pain, your selfishness has brought so much to so many. Without you, our whole world crumbles into dust,” he says.

But Claire is still distraught. What if she can’t stop the voice without the ether, she asks. What if there are no magic words to put it right?

“I feel like I’ll never get better,” she sobs.

Jamie reminds of her of the time after Wentworth, when she had found him in the dark, and he had let her into his mind and soul. He wants to do the same for her now, but can’t do that when she puts herself to sleep.

“We have to face this together,” he says, entreating her not to sentence herself for crimes that no-one is charging her with. “If it’s a sin that you chose me, then I will go to the devil himself and bless him for tempting you to it.”

“I would,” Claire replies. “I’d do it all again and more, to be with you.” 

At last, she allows herself to collapse against him, and he holds her tenderly. It is as if, to quote Lizzie from earlier in the episode, she feels safe with arms around her. 

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan have always had amazing chemistry and both know how to deliver an emotional scene with tenderness. This scene was no exception and the acting was honest and heartfelt. This particular reviewer hopes that this will spell the end of the ether storyline, however. As a book reader who understands the need to tell things in a different way on screen, it has nevertheless always seemed a departure from Claire’s true character, no matter how beautifully portrayed the scenes have been.

Roger and Brianna have been visited in the dark by Lizzie and the Beardsley twins, asking if Roger will marry Lizzie and Jo, with Kezzie as witness. Brianna asks Lizzie if she is in trouble and Lizzie admits that she is with child and says that they want to be married before the baby comes, but it may be a while before they can find a priest. She hastens to add that they love each other very much and Jo adds that they want to do right by each other, a phrase that can easily be read two ways.  Knowing that Roger and Brianna are leaving for Edenton in the morning, they have come now. 

“Go on,” Brianna says to Roger. “Do it for them. Please.” 

Unaware of the previous hand fasting ceremony between Lizzie and Kezzie, Roger does so, after pausing to put on his britches, so that he doesn’t conduct his first wedding bare-arsed. 

The following morning, as Roger, Brianna and Jemmy prepare to leave, Brianna asks Claire to pass on a small wedding gift to Lizzie, explaining the hand fasting ceremony the previous night. Jamie and Claire reveal that this is the second such ceremony, and Jamie and Roger realise that both ceremonies are equally valid. 

“I’ll have a word with them,” says Jamie, solemnly. “All three of them, I swear. God help them.” 

Roger adds that Lizzie and the Beardsleys have become an “unholy trinity”, musing that the Lord indeed works in mysterious ways. 

Back inside after Roger, Brianna and Jemmy have left, Jamie and Claire discuss what will be said to the - now 3 - Beardleys. Jamie uses words like serious business, patience and sacrifice, whereas Claire muses that perhaps they should have started with monogamy. Since Jamie performed the first ceremony, he says, in the eyes of the Ridge, Lizzie will be married to Kezzie. 

They are interrupted by the sounds of horses. The music rises as we see wagonloads of men arriving, armed with rifles. It is Richard Brown and his committee of safety. 

“Mr Fraser,” Richard Brown calls, as Jamie appears on the porch, Claire behind him. “We’ve come for your wife.” 

Jamie tells him that he and his men can be on their way, but Brown informs him that Jamie is wrong.

“We’ve come to arrest her for the murder of Malva Christie,” he calls out.

Claire disappears into the shadow of the doorway, eyes wide, as the music swells and the episode ends.

We have heard many confessions during this episode - from Malva’s false confession in the meeting house, to Lizzie’s scandalous confession of loving two men and not knowing which of them has fathered her child, to Roger’s soul searching confession as to what he believes his true profession to be, to Claire’s final heartbreaking confession to Jamie that she has lost who she is. With so many souls laid bare, it remains to be seen what will happen in the final episode of season 6. As book readers know, there are many possible cliffhangers. One thing is certain though: what a finale is in store!

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She applauds the heartfelt acting throughout this episode and understands the concept of feeling safe with arms around her - although certainly not by two men at once! 

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