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What Outlander's Big 'Power Play' With Tom Christie Means For Jamie And Claire In Season 6

outlander season 6 trailer claire and jamie on a cart
(Image credit: Starz)

Spoilers ahead for the Season 6 premiere of Outlander on Starz.

Outlander has finally made its very long-awaited return to TV with its first new episode in nearly two years. Starz went all-out with a supersized Season 6 premiere that ran for over an hour, and spent more than 20 minutes on a flashback to Jamie’s time in Ardsmuir to set up some major conflict in the present. The flashback introduced Tom Christie before he arrived at Fraser’s Ridge and Roger made the well-intentioned but possibly huge mistake of offering for the Christies (who are straight out of the books) and their fisherfolk group to stay. There was an extended power play between Jamie and Tom through the past to the present, and there are going to be consequences for Jamie and Claire.

With so much that happened in the supersized premiere, let’s break down the introduction of the Christies and what it means for the rest of Season 6, including some enlightening comments from Sam Heughan about the “power play” between Jamie and Tom.

Outlander Season 6 Christie family

(Image credit: Starz)

The Christies Aren't Going Anywhere

Unfortunately for Jamie – and probably the peace of the community as a whole – his open offer for former Ardsmuir inmates to settle at Fraser’s Ridge also applied to Tom Christie, and Roger’s welcome meant that their old grievances had to at least be put aside for a time. But it’s unlikely that Jamie will forget what he and the other Catholic prisoners went through, particularly contrasted with Tom and his still fervent Presbyterian faith. Unless Tom Christie has gone through a serious change since the last time they were together, their new living situation will be tense at best… and they’re settling into the Ridge with no evident plans to leave. There’s nowhere else for them to go, and cabins are being built. The Christies are seemingly here to stay.

Outlander Season 6 Claire and Tom Christie

(Image credit: Starz)

The Christie Plot Could Be The Biggest Of Season 6

The opening titles with the “Skye Boat Song” lyrics changed to include “sing me a song of a lad that is gone” as well as the usual “lass that is gone” led to speculation months ago that Jamie would have more of an equal leading role in the sixth season, and the extended flashback sequence that opened the season seems to support that. 

There are plenty of other plots in the works – Jamie becoming an Indian agent, the Committee of Safety targeting the Frasers, the aftermath of Claire’s attack (and her use of ether), Fergus’ drinking with Marsali’s pregnancy, and of course the coming Revolutionary War – but the premiere seemed to set the Christies up as the biggest immediate threat to Jamie, Claire, and the rest of the Frasers. 

Outlander Season 6 Jamie and the fisherfolk

(Image credit: Starz)

There Are A Lot Of Fisherfolk At Fraser's Ridge

Although the majority of the fisherfolk who came with Tom Christie to the Ridge just seem grateful to have a place to settle and no qualms with the Catholic Frasers, Tom is undeniably their leader, and that might bode poorly for peace for Jamie and Claire even at home. Tom hasn’t given Jamie many reasons to believe that he has changed all of his ways since their time at Ardsmuir, and it’s clear that any humbleness is motivated by the fact that Tom needs something from Jamie (and got it from Roger). 

If problems arise among the population at Fraser’s Ridge, they might become worse by the sheer number of fisherfolk. Plus, the resources of the Frasers are evidently going to be stretched even thinner, and hunger among people who used to be comfortable might cause problems even among those who were fiercely loyal to the Frasers before the arrival of the Christies. It's possible that the number of fisherfolk won't cause problems, but it's hard to overlook.

Outlander Season 6 Fraser family

(Image credit: Starz)

The Frasers Could Face Conflict From Within

This is purely speculation, but I can’t help but wonder if the arrival of the Presbyterian Christies at the Ridge will lead to some conflict within the Fraser family itself. After all, Roger is Presbyterian, and the adopted son of a Presbyterian minister. Plus, Brianna and Roger were not married by a Catholic priest, as Jamie would have wanted, and Jamie even dubbed Roger a “heretic” for a time. In the fifth book by Diana Gabaldon, there was a whole subplot about Jamie’s determination to have Jemmy baptized as a Catholic. I can imagine that Jamie could be very sensitive about the arrival of a group of Presbyterians led by a man who Jamie already hates, and it could get ugly if Roger puts himself in the middle of it.

Outlander Season 6 Jamie and Claire

(Image credit: Starz)

Sam Heughan Previews "The Beginning Of The End"

The Frasers' prosperous time at the Ridge was going to end sooner or later, considering the fire that’s on the way unless they finally manage to change history in a way that they weren’t able to with Culloden. Based on some comments from Sam Heughan, however, that end may come a lot sooner than expected, and well before any fire. Speaking with CinemaBlend and other outlets about Season 6, the actor opened up about what’s on the way with the Christies at Fraser’s Ridge: 

We find out, or have a flashback to, the origin of Jamie and Tom's relationship. It goes back to the prison they're incarcerated in, and the two sides they were on in their belief system of being a [Presbyterian] person or staunch Catholic. The Christies come with the fisherfolk, and come to settle. And there is this real power play between Jamie and Tom which really starts to unravel, I guess, the status quo at Fraser's Ridge. There are a lot of other stories with the Christies as well... It really is sort of the beginning of the end of Frasers as we know it, you know, and the popularity of the Frasers as well. You know, up until this point, the Frasers were pretty affluent and pretty popular. I think Tom is certainly the rotten apple.

All things considered, it sounds like the main conflict of Season 6 is going to involve the Christies, or at least be made significantly worse for the Frasers by the presence of Tom Christie. The roles of the Christie kids are a little hard to predict at this point. Obviously Allan wasted no time in causing trouble, and Jamie was forced to whip the young man, which was clearly not a role that Jamie (who will bear the scars of his whipping from Black Jack Randall for the rest of his life) relished. 

Malva seems eager to fit into the Ridge and work with Claire, but there could also be a lot more to her than meets the eye at this point, and Claire may be overly inclined to trust her. She works so well with Brianna and Marsali that she might automatically assume the best of this young woman who is eager to learn. Plus, Claire is obviously still struggling with her brutal attack at the end of Season 5 (which creates a “wedge” between her and Jamie), so she may miss things that she would have caught back before the assault. The ether probably won't help on that front!

With the exception of what Sam Heughan had to say, we can only speculate when it comes to what will absolutely happen for Jamie and Claire with the Christies in the mix, but fans clearly shouldn’t expect the coming Revolutionary War and the Committee of Safety to be the only sources of conflict and danger in Season 6. Find out what happens next with new episodes of Outlander (opens in new tab) on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Starz, and check out more viewing options in our 2022 TV schedule. You can also revisit some of the earlier seasons of Outlander streaming with a Netflix subscription

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.