‘Outlander’: Claire & Jamie Have ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 6 of Outlander, “The World Turned Upside Down.”]
After Outlander‘s time traveler cliffhanger in the previous episode, the latest installment, “The World Turned Upside Down,” is introducing another.
As a mysterious illness afflicts the Ridge and surprising developments are uncovered, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) life is changed forever. Below, we’re breaking down all of the 18th-century drama so beware of major spoilers ahead because they’re quite juicy.
The episodse kicks off with Roger (Richard Rankin) speaking to the Ridge’s congregation as his family and the Christies look on. Claire, Jamie, and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) all commend him for his sermon but Roger can’t help but notice one family’s missing from the gathering — the MacNeills.
Claire invites Malva (Jessica Reynolds), Brianna, and Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) to accompany her in order to check on the MacNeills who they find in a state of sickness. When approaching the family’s cabin, the women notice a strong and foul odor coming from the home, when they burst in, the adults and children are all in a state between waking and death. It’s a scramble for Claire to try and treat them as she orders the girls to hydrate the ill. Mr. MacNeill tells Claire they’ve all come down with the flux as his baby and wife die in front of all their eyes.
When Claire examines a sample of the germs under a microscope with Malva, she discovers that they’re suffering from dysentery. Claire explains to Malva that it can’t be cured with penicillin and it probably spread after the family ingested contaminated water or food source. When Claire sets out to see if anyone else is sick, Malva wants to join, but she warns the girl that it’s contagious and untreatable.
As time passes, Claire helps as many as she can with the help of Malva and others, but deaths take a hold of the Ridge and amid yet another funeral service, Claire takes a weak spell and it is carted back to the main house. As Brianna, Jamie, and Malva watch over Claire, Allan (Alexander Vlahos) shows up and tells Malva she needs to come home. She wants to stay though and defies her brother’s orders to return.
After Claire’s transported from the bed in her surgery to her own bed upstairs, different members of the family along with Malva and Lizzy look in on Claire as her sickness takes hold. Meanwhile, Malva tries tending to Jamie by making him tea that he reveals is the same kind Claire gave him while he was recovering from a snake bite.
Malva tells Jamie about someone she knew who was bit by a snake and mentions how she wants to be like Claire one day. As she gets Jamie talking, she asks about his family history and calls Jamie a fine gentleman, getting in the Fraser patriarch’s good graces. Upstairs, Claire has a nightmare that includes flashing images of snakes, her own beating heart, and a vision of Jamie standing by the bedroom window where Malva puts a comforting hand on his shoulder.
When Claire’s illness finally begins to subside a week later, she wakes to Roger sitting by her bedside and discovers that her hair has been chopped off. Roger tells her that Malva and Mrs. Bug (Sarah Collier) were responsible as they thought it would help with Claire’s fever. Bree was supposedly angry about it, and would not have allowed it if they were around when it happened. Roger also assures Claire that nothing could ever make her less beautiful.
An ecstatic Bree then enters the room to hug her mother, telling Claire she’s not allowed to die before then revealing her pregnancy. Once Claire musters the strength, Bree helps Claire fix her new do, evening out the choppy crop that Malva and Mrs. Bug left behind. Helping her back into bed, Jamie lays beside her and says he loves her as they acknowledge her hair will grow back at some point.
Jamie fills Claire in on who has gotten sick and died since she was out of commission, thankfully cases have diminished, and although Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones) appears to have gotten ill like Claire, the cause of dysentery on the Ridge was uncovered — it was a dead elk in the water. Claire then tells Jamie about her nightmare with the snake and heart, and how it differed from the delirium she went through when they lost Faith in Paris. Jamie assures her that he’ll protect her from any snakes before adding that he’d be angry if Claire died and left him.
As she continues to recover, Claire’s left on bed rest, but she can’t sit still and so she tells Adso to keep her spot warm as she sneaks out to check on Tom Christie. He can’t believe she’s come all that way to check on him and admits that he’s feeling better. She points out that they had the same illness, which wasn’t the flux, and that she’s trying to uncover what it might have been, considering they had no recent contact with each other. As she continues her pitch, Claire asks for a specimen of fecal matter.
Tom is outraged but not too outraged to walk her back to the main house. At home, Jamie is upset that Claire went out in her condition, but she explains her desire to investigate, explaining that she and Tom didn’t have the flux as everyone else on the Ridge did. But Jamie won’t hear of it as he tells Claire he can’t live in a world without her.
Later that evening, Claire wakes to find Jamie sleeping on the floor next to their bed, he says he didn’t want to disturb her and she says it reminds her of when he once slept on the floor outside of her room to make sure she was safe. When he gets into bed, Jamie tells Claire he’ll be by her side until his first meeting with the Sons of Liberty in New Bern. As their conversation continues they talk about strengths and faults, Jamie pointing out how Claire’s a bad cook, but she’s faithful, and she says the same of him.
Now that death has passed on the Ridge and it feels as though peace has arrived despite the approaching revolution, things aren’t that easy for the Frasers. Just as Jamie’s gearing up to depart for the Sons of Liberty meeting with Roger, who is tagging along as a history buff, the Christies ride up to the main house. Tom asks to have a private word with Jamie who says anything Tom wants to share can be said in front of Claire.
Tom tells them that Malva is pregnant but won’t tell him nor Allan who the father is unless it was in front of Jamie. And so, the spotlight is on Malva when she accuses Jamie of being the father. Jamie denies it and tells Tom he’s mad, saying that Malva is lying. When Malva apologizes to Claire and begins describing what supposedly happened between her and Jamie, Claire steps forward and slaps Malva before walking out.
Tom tells Jamie he expects the child to be paid for since a married man can’t marry Malva to make an honest woman out of her. As Jamie continues pleading innocence in the matter, Malva says she can prove they were together based on his scars since she knows where they all are, a detail she could have learned in conversation while sipping on tea in the kitchen amid Claire’s illness.
Once the Christies, Jamie finds Claire in the barn and he can’t think of what to say because apologizing suggests guilt and he’s not guilty of the things Malva said. Claire is upset because Jamie’s doubting her faith in him, admitting she was in shock but walked away because she was libel to hurt Malva more. Claire tells Jamie she can’t believe he’s a cheater because of how high the stakes are, considering she doesn’t even belong in this time, including their daughter Brianna and Roger.
Jamie does admit he’s slept with someone else, telling her about his one-night tryst with Mary MacNab (Emma Campbell-Jones) before he turned himself in to authorities following the Battle of Culloden nearly 20 years prior. Claire appears relieved to hear it was so long ago, but is also a little hurt that Jamie never shared it with her until now. She then tells Jamie she knows the baby isn’t his because he’d never turn his back on a child of his. The question is, who is the father?
Bree is upset about the accusation, complaining to Roger that although they don’t believe Jamie cheated, she can’t help but be reminded of Frank (Tobias Menzies) who had fallen in love with a woman named Sandy when he was still married to Claire. She thought he was an honorable man, but learned even he wasn’t immune to the temptations of adultery.
Meanwhile, despite Claire’s unhappiness over the situation, she goes to check on Malva and tells the girl she thinks that she’s young, made a mistake, and still has a lot of promise and potential. The kind words bring tears to Malva’s eyes but the exchange is broken up when Allan interrupts, telling Claire to get away from his sister. He calls Claire a witch and gossip begins spreading on the Ridge.
One example of this gossip is Ian (John Bell) overhearing the men talking about Jamie sowing his oats with Malva, leading to a fistfight. Back at the main house, Claire tends to the garden and sees a full vision of Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy) taunting her, but Ian’s arrival dispels the apparition, taking her focus. He mentions to Claire that people are talking about Jamie and he can’t live with himself if he didn’t speak up because Malva’s child could be his.
Ian wonders if she’s trying to scorn him for refusing further advances following their one-time hookup by blaming Jamie, but Claire doesn’t think so. When he mentions offering to marry Malva, Claire stops Ian and says that she believes Malva’s been with quite a few men on the Ridge, making it difficult to determine who the father of her baby truly is.
Over the two months that Jamie was gone for the Sons of Liberty, she’s essentially shunned by the settlers on the Ridge because of Malva’s claim. It’s a difficult existence, but she doesn’t let it show in front of Jamie who tells her about drinking with his fellow rebels. Back at Bree and Roger’s cabin, he tells Bree about Jamie’s bold speech and the historical weight of the event before she shares the hardships Claire has faced in their absence.
One day while Claire seems anxious and takes a step outside of the main house before returning to her surgery where she begins shutting the blinds. As she does so, she sees Malva approaching and hears Lionel’s voice in her ear. This turns Claire to the ether, which she administers and begins succumbing to moments after Malva begins knocking on the door. When Claire appears to wake up, Malva is standing there taunting her and Claire gets up, holds a knife to Malva’s face, and threatens to kill her.
When we see Claire wake for real, it’s realized that this is just a dream, but as Claire goes outside to the garden, she finds Malva’s body, her head nearly separated from her body, laying in the grass. A doctor first, Claire rushes to find a pulse, which Malva clearly doesn’t have, but then turns her attention to the baby bump, performing an emergency cesarean. Claire begins doing CPR on the child, but it appears to have no effect as she screams and cries on the ground. What will the Ridge think of her now? Find out as Outlander Season 6’s penultimate episode arrives the week after next, on April 24.
Outlander, Season 6, Sundays, 9/8c, Starz