‘Outlander’: Fergus & the Frasers Get Caught Up in Feelings (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 3 of Outlander, “Temperance.”]
Outlander‘s sixth season has reached its most dramatic installment yet with Episode 3, “Temperance,” as the Frasers deal with family struggles and the new settlers’ religious views make way for potentially devastating consequences.
Whether it’s Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) treatment of Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones) or her own PTSD, or even Fergus’ (César Domboy) challenges following the birth of his son Henri-Christian, there’s plenty of discord to go around. Below, we’re breaking down all of the noteworthy moments, so beware of major spoilers ahead.
The episode opens with a harrowing rescue attempt on Roger’s (Richard Rankin) behalf as he must fetch Henri-Christian from the river after some of the Fraser’s Ridge boys set him afloat in a basket. After managing to save the baby, Roger is eager to gather answers and they explain that it was a test due to religious superstitions. Unhappy with their explanation, Roger tries dispelling any negative thoughts they might have towards the baby by baptizing him in the river.
When Roger arrives at Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and Fergus’ cabin with Jamie (Sam Heughan), Claire, and Brianna (Sophie Skelton), he explains that the kids were performing a test that could have had deadly consequences. When the phrase “demon born” is brought up, Fergus gets upset and walks out, where Claire follows him.
She tries reassuring him that the family will surround Henri-Christian with love and acceptance, but Fergus recalls growing up with a dwarf boy named Luke in the French brothels. He remembers how badly treated Luke was until someone killed him in an alley, now with his own son, Fergus is fearful of what will happen due to other people’s cruelty, as he notes Jamie, Claire, and himself won’t live forever to watch over Henri-Christian.
Leaving things on a somber note, Claire returns home to find Tom at the main house, she brings up the baby incident and he agrees that it’s a terrible thing as he doesn’t condone such superstitions that lead to the test. He also informs Claire that his hand wound has healed, making his other hand available for surgery. But before anything can happen procedure-wise, Tom informs Claire that he won’t be taking her ether to sleep while she operates. Both Claire and Jamie try convincing him otherwise but his mind is made up as they plan for the upcoming event.
Meanwhile, Roger and little Germain (Robin Scott) go around the Ridge to find the other boys who helped put Henri-Christian in the river, including Aidan McCallum (Caleb Reynolds). Roger promises not to tattle to his mother but informs the boy and his cohorts that they must report to Jamie at the main house for punishment later on. While outside, Roger hears a scream and rushes into the McCallum house to find Amy (Joanne Thomson) cowering away from a bucket of milk she thinks is cursed. The vessel has a stowaway though as Roger plucks a frog from the liquid and tries reassuring the widow that all is well.
At Marsali’s she and Bree chat about the punishment to be had at the main house as Marsali thanks Bree for providing a spindle that will make producing clothes much easier. When Jemmy (Matthew and Andrew Adair) runs through the room with his toy “vroom,” Marsali asks why he calls it that, unaware that Bree’s fashioned her son a wooden toy car, but she just shrugs it off and offers a half-hearted response. During their conversation, Marsali claims that Fergus has promised her that he’ll stop drinking, but with him currently absent, the vow doesn’t seem so solid.
Back at the main house, Claire begins Tom’s surgery and she and Jamie do their best to make him as comfortable as possible without Ether by offering a bite stick and whisky. Malva (Jessica Reynolds) watches from outside through the window when Ian (John Bell) walks up beside her and suggests she go inside for a closer look. Malva opts out of that noting that her father wouldn’t want her to see his weakness and so Ian walks her home. During their conversation, Malva talks about the eternal fate of sinners and reveals that her mother was hanged as a witch. Could it be a hint of wicked things to come?
After the surgery, which Tom manages to get through by reading prayers with Jamie, Claire asks the patient to stay overnight so she can check in on his hand. On the other side of the house, Jamie meets with the boys for their punishment and asks them to choose between touching a burning hot poker or baby Henri-Christian. Of course, they opt for touching the baby who doesn’t burn their skin and stands as a lesson to not believe superstitions.
Back at the home of Fergus and Marsali, she walks in to find him sitting at the table alone, ignoring the children as he drinks. She asks if he’s drunk and he says if he is still talking he hasn’t had enough. She tries telling him that he’s better than this, but Fergus is resolute. So is Marsali who complains that she lived with drunks growing up and she won’t do it again. He admits that he feels inadequate and responsible for Henri-Christian’s condition due to Marsali being attacked by the Browns.
She tries telling him that she doesn’t need his protection as she killed Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy) herself, via lethal injection. Shocked and upset, Fergus says he doesn’t need a woman to protect him and Marsali charges that she’ll only have a whole man or none at all, suggesting Fergus clean up his act.
Claire and Jamie have a conversation of their own at home about the punishment and he hopes the message got through to the young boys. When she experiences a vision of Lionel, she rushes to find some ether, telling Jamie she’s going to check on Tom. As she eyes the ether, Tom wakes up and she’s forced to focus on that instead. As she looks at his hand, she tells him to practice movement with exercises and goes to fetch him food. He makes an odd comment about how she has a lot of hair and there’s an awkwardness that hangs in the air following it.
When he hears her talking to the cat in the kitchen, he asks if someone is there, but she mentions the pet, saying it’s not her familiar. He tells her he doesn’t think she’s a witch and apologizes for squirming during the surgery. He then makes a comment about how Jamie probably didn’t squirm through his own hand surgery Claire performed before. Tom then asks Claire if she knows about Jamie’s floggings, and she says yes. Tom then brings up Jamie’s time in Arsdmuir and how he was courageous.
The exchange leads Claire to ask Jamie an interesting question as she wonders if Tom’s scared of women. He admits that most men have a hard time in prison and sometimes turn to each other, but Tom turned inward and Jamie thanks Claire for helping him get through the dark times with her memory. She then wonders about Malva, mentioning that her age doesn’t quite compute considering Tom’s prison time, something that remains a mystery as the episode carries on.
The next day, Malva and Ian talk some more as she brings up making mistakes for the right reasons, Ian says he doesn’t know exactly who he is but he always feels at home with his uncle Jamie who loves him like a son. When Malva asks Ian about the markings on his face, he reveals that they represent things he’s proud of and things he isn’t proud of without elaborating much.
A week later, Tom’s hand is healing up and Claire takes a look at the table in her surgery. When he notices her books, she talks about how she reads at night and asks if he likes novels. He admits that he didn’t approve of them in the past, but prison changed his outlook. As they continue to chat, he brings up the Browns and how their Committee of Safety offered his people protection, but Claire tells him that the Browns are not to be trusted and hopes he forgoes the offer.
Out in the woods, Jamie happens across Malva who is picking mushrooms. When he makes a comment about her probably having a lot of suitors, she tells Jamie not to say that to Tom as he proceeds to help her look for what she needs. Meanwhile, later we see Tom reading one of Claire’s books and certain words appear to offend the man.
Back at the main house, it appears to be a payment day as tenants give their shares to Jamie an celebrate their continued success in North Carolina. Among some of the notable happenings are continued flirting between Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) and twins Kezzie and Joshiah (Paul Gorman) which he points out to Brianna. Things turn tense for Fergus who accuses settlers of being prejudiced towards his baby. Things come to a head when he throws a drink at one woman and a fight ensues. In the argument though, Tom defends the Frasers, noting that prejudice isn’t right.
As things calm a little, Roger preaches and utilizes the story of Moses as a good parallel for Henri-Christian. In the house, Claire finds her book she lent to Tom with a note that reads, “this is filth, I thought better of you,” suggesting he isn’t too pleased with her reading habits. Back at the Christies, with full use of his hand, Tom now whips Malva as punishment for her sins according to him.
Meanwhile, as Marsali works on clothing inside her home, Jamie nears the cabin to see Fergus outside and cut into his wrist with a knife. The suicide attempt is thwarted and Jamie tells Fergus how much everyone needs him, specifically him, and that he’s always been the one to keep the family together.
Together, Jamie and Claire bring Fergus home after being treated for his partial wound, and he takes Henri-Christian into his arms, kissing the baby and cuddling with Marsali. Is it the end of their struggles or only the beginning? We can’t help but feel concerned about Marsali and Fergus moving forward.
And on a historical front, Jamie and Claire return home to find that Major MacDonald (Robin Laing) has sent the guns requested by the Cherokee. Catching sight of some papers, Claire sees that the Boston Tea Party has just occurred and she warns that “it’s starting,” referring to the revolution, but we can’t help but think there’s a double meaning to the statement. See what’s next for the Frasers as Outlander‘s sixth season continues on Starz.
Outlander, Season 6, Sundays, 9/8c, Starz