[This is not a spoiler-free review of the episode. If you have not seen the episode yet, read it at your own spoiler risk.]
Episode 607: “Sticks and Stones”
Written by Danielle Berrow, Directed by Jamie Payne
This week we open with a flashback of Malva (Jessica Reynold) standing up in church saying the devil is real, and he spooked her in the guise of a man, seduced her, and she lost her innocence; it was stolen, taken by someone she trusted. Allen (Alexander Vlahos) has his head dropped, and Tom (Mark Lewis Jones) is watching her…closely.
Tom, Allan, Jamie (Sam Heughan), and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are all standing in the garden over Malva and her baby’s body. Allan covers her and questions Claire about why she didn’t see anyone and went outside with a knife when she thought she heard Malva knocking on the surgery door. Claire attempts to tell her side of the story, but Tom quickly interrupts her, asking how long it would have taken for Malva to pass and if she would have had time to say a prayer of forgiveness. He also wants to bury Malva and the baby in the woods. Jamie starts to get irritated and quickly controls his mounting anger that Tom would have his daughter buried in the woods instead of the cemetery they have set at Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie says they will see her buried properly on HIS Ridge. Tom wonders what they will speak about her at a service, which leads Claire to say Malva was full of “light and life” and that she will take care of the body in preparation for a service. Jamie announces they will gather at the meeting hall in a few days, and Roger will perform the service. Jamie carries Malva’s body to the surgery while members of the Ridge look on in horror.
Claire, in her surgery alone with Malva’s body, starts to prepare to “close the wounds.” She is still very shaken; she looks to the ether mask and hears Malva saying she’s “of the devil.” Lionel Brown’s (Ned Dennehy) ghost comes back to haunt Claire while she hears knocking at the door. Lionel tells Claire that “Jamie can’t save her from herself.” Instead of ether, Claire runs to the whisky. Jamie joins her and sees she is distraught and that he “wouldn’t blame her if there is no whisky left.” Claire asks Jamie if they found anything in searching for Malva’s killer. Mrs. Bug (Sarah Collier) interrupts to say that Mr. Harim Crombie (Antony Byrnes) has arrived to come to see Jamie and that he has been looking around the garden. Mrs. Bug says she “knew Malva was trouble the first she laid eyes on her” and asks Claire if she thought so as well, especially since Malva went on about how it was Jamie’s baby she was carrying. Mrs. Bug lets her thoughts known on the matter quite clear. Jamie goes to speak with Mr. Crombie (who has brought Tom’s bible for Roger to read from), and Claire heads back to her surgery.
Mr. Crombie states he will never forget Tom and Allan’s faces when they told him the news of Malva. He then blames Claire for the murder of Malva, asking if she forgave Malva for lying with Jamie and carrying his child. Lionel is continuing his torture of Claire, vocalizing all of her self-doubts. She finally reaches for the ether…again.
Roger (Richard Rankin), sitting with Bree (Sophie Skelton), says he should go see Tom and Allan to see if there is anything he can do, offer some words of comfort. Bree says he isn’t the minister, and they will not be expecting him to come to them. I still haven’t seen the reason for why she is so strongly against Roger filling this role on the Ridge. Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) comes in, slightly disheveled with hay in her hair, saying Henderson (Euan Bennet) is at the door looking for Ian (John Bell). They question where Lizzie has been since Mrs. Bug was looking for her earlier. She very quickly replies that she was out, feeding the horses.
Jamie and Roger go out to speak with Henderson. When Roger offers his condolences to Henderson, it causes a heated exchange when Roger reminds Henderson that he knew that Henderson and Malva were a bit more than friends. Henderson immediately deflects to Jamie, asking if it was true that Claire cut the baby from Malva and if it was before or after she slit her throat. I feel Jamie is questioning his acceptance of all of his settlers.
Lizzie is actually in the barn now feeding the horse and apologizing for lying that she said he had fed him earlier when Ian walks in. Ian asks if Lizzie has seen the Beardleys (Paul Gorman) anywhere since he couldn’t find them earlier in the day to search for clues for Malva’s murderer. Lizzie says they should be home. “by now,” and she doesn’t want them to get into trouble. Ian tells Lizzie she has to tell him the truth because Jamie will question where the twins were.
At the dinner table, Ian brings up the dead Sin-Eater and that his finger bones were missing. Bree says she wonders if they were a part of the love charm that the women had found in the woods previously. I do love that even though Claire has serious doubts about herself, Jamie is steadfast in his belief in her innocence. Claire admits to taking ether to Jamie, tells him about her dream, and asks what if it wasn’t a dream. Jamie lets Claire know it is her mind playing tricks on her. When the ether was brought up or found out, I really thought that it would be a bigger deal. Jamie was just like, “huh, Christ Sassenach” and that was that. I get that Jamie is older now and better and controlling his emotions, but where is JAMMF this season??? First, he did not cry when Claire was seriously ill, and now he is like, “oh, no, you took ether.” Is this another plot device that is just fizzling out?
While Claire does a voice-over saying that “we are only human” is only used when doing negative actions. We see the preparations for the funeral. Allan is making coffins, Tom is handing Lizzie a black dress for Malva, and denies the food offering Lizzie and the Beardsleys have brought. Ian comes to Jamie and Claire and lets them know that Lizzie is also with child. Jamie asks if it is Ian’s, and he lets them know that it is one of the Beardsleys, but Lizzie doesn’t know which one. Jamie goes in search of the twins, and Claire says she will speak with Lizzie.
The Bugs have been spreading their tall tales (I mean, they aren’t 100% wrong, Claire does have her Lionel Brown ghost that she is fighting with), and Bree lets Roger know that Jemmy (Andrew and Matthew Adair) is scared of the ghosts of dead people now, and wonders how to keep his granny from turning him into a ghost too. Meanwhile, Claire speaks with Lizzie, asking her how far along she is in her pregnancy and which Beardsley is the father. Lizzie explains how she ended up with both of the twins…at the same time. I wonder how many takes this scene took for Caitriona and Cailin to get through without the giggles.
Roger approaches Mr. Bug (Hugh Ross) to ask him to be more cautious when speaking around Jemmy. Mr. Bug is sharp of the tongue while quiet in voice, letting Roger know he speaks of life. He and Mrs. Bug are very much a match. Jamie dismisses Mr. Bug and takes Roger. They discuss Roger’s issue with killing (and vegetarianism). I find this came out of nowhere for me, but now it is a little more telling or clear why Roger is quick to want to be a minister on the Ridge and how he is finding the calling this calling. Even though I still don’t know why Bree is so against it.
Claire is again in the surgery with Malva and Lionel’s ghost taunting her. She grabs the ether and uses it again. This time she hears the voices of those past seasons that have put her in uncomfortable and threatened positions.
At Malva’s funeral (where there are not many in attendance), Roger leads the service, asking who among them is not a sinner. Everyone is stealing glances at Claire, except Tom. The men move forward to carry Malva’s coffin, but Jamie is denied a place. Claire sees the baby has been left and moves forward to carry it out with Malva. Allan freaks out and grabs it from Claire, blaming her for the death of Malva and the baby and that the Frasers still get to live their lives as if nothing has happened. Tom shows remorse that Allan is lashing out at Claire but does not step in or intervene. Allan carries the baby’s coffin out the door, and we see that they are both buried together in the graveyard.
We come back to Jamie, Claire, and Lizzie at the house, and Jamie tells Lizzie she has to choose which twin she is to wed. Lizzie says she can’t decide, so he makes the twins draw straws. He then performs a handfasting in the barn between Lizzie and Keziah. He tells them to speak to no one until they can get it blessed and sends Josiah away until after the child is born.
Bree and Roger at their home are discussing the fate of Malva’s baby since it was not baptized before dying. Bree comments she is “glad Roger is more husband than minister,” and Roger asks her if it is his calling to become a minister. Bree recognizes he is good at it, but “what would it mean for their family.” Oh, my word, she is selfish. I have been wondering why she is so against Roger preaching and becoming the Ridge minister, and it is because she is selfish! With all of the liberties the writers have taken with characters, I wish they would have taken some more with Bree. Are they trying to make her as unlikable as possible?
While Bree and Roger discuss him becoming a minister, Claire and Jamie are in bed at the big house. Claire gets up to get some tea and says a cup of tea makes everything right in the world. Jamie has his questioning face on; he is worried but does not follow Claire downstairs.
The next morning Claire asks Lizzie if she is avoiding her, and Lizzie admits that she was going to tell Claire about her predicament, but when she came to the surgery door, it was locked. She had knocked and knocked, but Claire didn’t answer. It was the morning of Malva’s murder, so it was Lizzie knocking and not Malva that had knocked at the door. Claire feeling relief that she now KNOWS it wasn’t her that killed Malva, goes straight to the surgery and puts the ether and mask away in the cupboard. As she turns, she is still confronted by Lionel Brown’s ghost, he says she may not have physically killed Malva, but she is still guilty. Jamie sees Claire upset and goes to look for the cause in the surgery. Claire finally tells Jamie about what has been going on with her dark thoughts. While Claire crumbles, Jamie recognizes the feeling from his own past. His face goes from questioning to complete understanding. I do love how Jamie’s first question to Claire in response to Claire’s feelings of selfishness is, “Do you think Bree feels that way?” and I thought, “No, but she should because she IS being selfish.” Even though it was meant to be, does Bree think Claire is selfish? I just thought it was a funny moment after realizing that Bree is being super selfish herself. Jamie consoles Claire and says that she found him after Wentworth, and she needs to let him find her. She needs not to put herself to sleep so he can be there with her in her darkness.
Lizzie and the twins have shown up at Bree and Roger’s home, so Lizzie can be handfast with Josiah before Bree and Roger leave in the morning. Roger agrees to the handfasting. The next morning before going, Bree lets it known that Lizzie and Jo were handfast the night before, while Jamie says he handfast Lizzie and Kezzie a few days prior.
While Claire and Jamie are getting ready to sit down for a meal, they hear a wagon and horses. Jamie looks out and sees Richard Brown and all of his men arrive. Richard announces that they have come for Claire, and they have come to arrest her for Malva’s murder. They are leaving us to see what will happen next week.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Can you believe there is only one more episode left in season six?
IN ONE WEEK, SUNDAY, MAY 1ST, AT 8 PM ET: EPISODE 608: “I AM NOT ALONE”
Synopsis: “Richard Brown and his Committee of Safety arrive to arrest Claire for murder but finding a judge to try their case proves difficult.”
Photos courtesy of STARZ