Spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of Outlander Season 6, called “The World Turned Upside Down.”
If Outlander ever released an episode with the most fitting title imaginable, it would be “The World Turned Upside Down.” In the span of just one fast-paced installment, the story went from the bloody flux to Claire on death’s door to Malva accusing Jamie of fathering her unborn child to the Ridge turning against the Frasers to Malva being murdered with her throat slit. It’s pretty safe to say that Claire will end up in some serious trouble as the person with a motive for revenge against Mlva and the one to discover the body, but Outlander also dropped a clue about Malva’s actions that could potentially help Claire if she can catch it.
Admittedly, Malva is dead, so she won’t be able to confirm or refute anything. Still, if Claire can connect the dots about her own near-death experience and Malva’s actions, it could at least make Claire seem more sympathetic to those who think her a murderer at best and witch at worst. In light of Malva's pregnancy announcement, accusation that Jamie was the father, question of who the real father may have been, and then her death, it may be easy to forget the big mystery from earlier in the episode actually had to do with both Claire and Tom Christie.
While people of the Ridge and the fisherfolk alike were dying due to the bloody flux, nobody really questioned what the cause was when Claire (and Tom Christie off screen) fell terribly ill. It wasn’t until Claire woke up that it became clear that her symptoms were of something other than the flux, and only Tom Christie – who previously seemed like the biggest Christie threat on the Ridge before Malva showed her true colors – shared them despite not crossing paths with her in quite some time.
Claire didn’t get much farther than asking Tom for a sample of fecal matter – and bless her heart for thinking that would actually work! – to try and determine the medical link before other matters distracted her, but there’s really only one common denominator between the two of them: Malva. Could it really be a coincidence that the young woman who had been learning about germs and infection was the one link between two people who became gravely ill with a mysterious sickness?
Tom certainly gave Malva enough reasons to want to poison him based on the physical and verbal abuse he inflicted upon her. Claire had been nothing but kind to her, but if she planned on accusing Jamie of fathering her child, wouldn’t it be more convenient to get rid of Claire and potentially replace her as the new Mistress Fraser, wife of the recently widowered Jamie? As it is, she came close to driving another wedge between Claire and Jamie, before Claire declared that she believed him.
Admittedly, Malva having a motivation to poison Claire during the flux crisis might highly depend on the timeline of when she found out that she was pregnant. If she already knew by the time of the bloody flux on the Ridge and her cozy conversations with Jamie, then poisoning Claire could have the first step of an elaborate plan to replace her. Nobody would be able to prove that Jamie hadn’t done it beyond his word, and if Young Ian truly was the father of the child despite his lingering love for Emily, then it was even possible that the baby would resemble Jamie.
I’m a little fuzzy on the timeline overall in this episode, honestly. Malva went from not showing to looking about ready to give birth over the course of what was supposed to be a two-month time jump, whereas Claire’s hair hadn't grown out all that much. Brianna’s physical state in the next episode might be telling, since she’s pregnant.
Timeline questions aside, I feel pretty comfortable saying that Malva probably poisoned her father and Claire to try and kill them. I don’t think any of the Frasers would particularly mourn Tom if he’d died, and he certainly gave Malva reason enough to want to get rid of him. As for Claire... well, Malva's threat to blackmail Roger in the previous episode and then blaming Jamie for getting her pregnant in “The World Upside Down” showed a malicious streak that Claire didn’t expect, and makes it pretty believable that she’d try to kill her to take her place.
If Malva truly did poison her father and her mentor, and if Claire can figure that out and convince even a few people, then that could work in her favor in the aftermath of Malva’s murder. Ether hallucination aside, I think fans can be confident that Claire didn’t actually kill Malva. All things considered, it’s hard to believe that it was just one episode ago that the biggest twist seemed to be the reveal of another mysterious time traveler! Find out what happens next in light of Malva’s death with new episodes of Outlander on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Starz in the 2022 TV schedule.
Outlander only has two episodes left in the shortened Season 6 and plenty of unresolved stories, so it will be interesting to see what kind of closure the show will give and what kind of cliffhangers are on the way before the next Droughtlander. The good news is that Season 7 is already guaranteed, and received a super-sized order for 16 episodes, so the Fraser family's saga isn't anywhere near finished.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).