[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 7 of Outlander, “Sticks and Stones.”]
After the previous week’s Malva (Jessica Reynolds) death reveal, tensions are at an all-time high on Fraser’s Ridge between the overseeing family and the Christies. Plus, a shocking revelation about someone close to the Frasers could lead to even more trouble. Below, we’re breaking down all of the episode’s drama so beware of spoilers ahead.
Opening with a brief flashback, the episode begins with a scene featuring Malva as she informs the Ridge’s congregation of her pregnancy, saying that the devil came to her in the form of a man, seducing her and impregnating her. She asks the people for their mercy and hopes they’ll show her and her child kindness despite knowing her baby is considered a bastard.
The action then cuts to the present as Jamie and Claire inform Tom (Mark Lewis Jones) and Allan Christie (Alexander Vlahos) about Malva’s death. Claire asserts that she didn’t see anything when Allan suggests she’s not being up front about what happened. The Christies’ accusatory tone is apparent as Tom asks Claire whether Malva’s death was quick or if she had time to pray before she took her last breath. Claire says it was likely fast due to her throat being slit.
Tom then makes the argument that she can’t be buried in a cemetery on consecrated grounds. Jamie asserts his dominance as the Ridge’s leader to tell Tom that Malva and her baby who also perished will be buried in the settlement’s cemetery. Tom wonders what could be said of his daughter and Claire says that she was full of light and life. Claire and Jamie tell the Christies that they’ll handle organizing the funeral service and will prepare Malva’s body for burial.
While Claire begins to suture Malva’s neck in her surgery, she hears the girl’s voice say, “you’re of the devil.” She also hears Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy) in her ear hinting that she’s to blame for Malva’s death. Eyeing the ether in the corner of the room, Claire rushes out to try and avoid her metaphorical security blanket by swapping it out for a dram of whiskey.
When Jamie walks into the room, he tells Claire that he wouldn’t blame her for drinking it all, adding that there’s been no luck in finding Malva’s killer on the Ridge. Claire wonders who could have done it just as Mrs. Bug (Sarah Collier) walks in to tell the Frasers that people are poking around the garden where Malva was found. Mrs. Bug further adds that Claire must have hated Malva for her accusation about Jamie fathering her baby, a suggestive sound in Mrs. Bug’s tone makes it clear what she’s saying. Claire walks away and tells Jamie that she can’t let people see her this way.
The accusatory tones continue when Hiram Crombie (Antony Byrne) speaks with Jamie, hinting that Claire is responsible. When Jamie picks up on the suggestion, he tells Hiram that he’d choose his words wisely if he values his life. Back in the surgery, Claire tries to continue her prep on Malva, but an apparition of Lionel still haunts and taunts her, making Claire doubt herself regarding the murdered woman. Still horrified by what’s passed and Lionel’s words, Claire turns to her ether once more.
Meanwhile, Roger (Richard Rankin) and Bree (Sophie Skelton) show up to speak with Jamie and Roger wishes he was comforting the Christies, but Bree argues that they probably need space. When Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) walks in to inform Jamie that Mr. Henderson (Euan Bennet) is looking for Ian (John Bell), Bree can’t help but wonder if Lizzie is okay as she has some grass strands in her hair. She tells Bree that she was feeding the horses. Outside, Mr. Henderson complains about Ian questioning people on the Ridge about Malva, Roger mentions that the man should keep quiet considering he was caught in a compromising position with Malva before her death.
Later on, Lizzie is seen feeding the horses and as she apologizes to the animals for lying earlier, Ian walks in and asks her where the Beardsley twins (both played by Paul Gorman) are. She avoids answering at first because she doesn’t want them to get in trouble. But ultimately, Ian wants her to be honest, at the moment, it’s unclear if she opens up to him.
Meanwhile, most of the Frasers convene in the main house to discuss matters but Claire has turned in for the night. Ian covers for the Beardsleys, telling Jamie that they weren’t involved, and also mentions that he found the sin eater dead, but the most peculiar part of the corpse was his missing fingers. Bree takes that detail and questions if it was the same person who performed a love spell in the woods, unaware that Malva was the one cutting the dead man’s fingers off.
With a mystery this intense, Roger and Bree wish Perry Mason was around to help them figure it all out. When Ian asks who that is, they explain that it’s a lawyer from their time, and say that he asks what the means, motive, and opportunity would have been. Claire tells Jamie that it sounds like she has the means, motive, and opportunity, admitting she’s a primary suspect. She tells her husband that she has a weird feeling that she can’t shake that she’s somehow responsible.
Claire tells him about a half-remembered dream in which she saw Malva coming to the house and she put herself to sleep, and when she woke, Malva was standing over her. Claire tells Jamie she threatened the girl with a knife, but Jamie tries reassuring Claire that it’s her mind playing tricks. As the couple snuggles in bed, Claire turns over to see an apparition of Lionel sitting in the corner, taunting her.
As preparations for the funeral continue, Allan makes coffins for his sister and her baby, and Tom gives the Lizzie and the Beadsleys a black gown for his daughter. In a revelatory moment indoors, Ian tells Jamie and Claire that Lizzie is pregnant and reassures them it’s not his baby, but informs them that Lizzie isn’t sure who the father is but it’s one of the Beardsleys. Jamie and Claire tell their nephew they’ll handle the matter.
At home with Bree and Roger, he practices his sermon, and Bree worries about how Malva’s death is impacting Jemmy. Apparently, their child has been told by the fisherfolk that murdered people become ghosts and that Claire is responsible for killing Malva.
Back at the main house, Claire sits down with Lizzie who explains that she became involved with both of the Beardsleys at the same time, hence her confusion over the child’s paternity. She explains that when she was ill with malaria, the Beardsleys helped with the ointment Claire sent and one thing led to another and all three of them ended up under the quilts together.
Claire worries that the twins may have tricked her, but Lizzie is adamant that there is nothing malicious about their relationship, adding that the Beardsleys are like one soul in two bodies. Claire is happy that Malva is happy but tells her that this is a risky scenario as she puts herself in danger of a scandal as well as the Frasers. As a result, Claire tells Lizzie she will have to marry.
Jamie and Roger set off to look for the Beardsleys and Roger tells his father-in-law that he’s been struggling after killing one of the Brownsville men when they saved Claire. He knows that the revolution is coming but isn’t sure he’s prepared to fight and suggests that becoming the Ridge’s minister might be a way for him to help without fighting. Jamie tells Roger he doesn’t see that as weak and neither should Bree as that’s Roger’s main concern and reason for talking to Jamie about it.
Meanwhile, Claire continues to unravel by hearing Lionel’s voice and feeling guilt over Malva, she turns to ether and has a terrible nightmare mixed with memories of the past and present. Later on, the funeral for Malva is attended by the Christies and Frasers and some folks from around the Ridge.
Roger oversees the service and talks of sinners and measuring worth, when it’s time to carry Malva’s coffin out, an extra pair of hands are needed, but Jamie is denied the right to help by Malva’s family. While they carry the body out, Claire goes to the baby’s coffin and tries carrying it out, but Allan stops in his tracks, dropping Malva’s coffin and yanks the baby from Claire. He gets angry and says the woman who is responsible for their deaths shouldn’t touch it. It’s very uncomfortable to say the least.
Following one traumatic event, the Frasers follow-up with their other big problem as Jamie informs Lizzie she needs to be wed. Leading her to the barn to find the Beardsleys, he asks her to choose one but she claims she can’t. Lizzie tells Jamie that Josiah and Kezzie are one soul, but he won’t listen. He has the twins pick straws and it’s determined that Kezzie will be her husband. Handfasting the couple there and then, Jamie tells Josiah he’ll have to leave the Ridge until the baby is born to keep up appearances and they’re all told to not speak a word of this.
That evening, Bree chats with Roger and says she feels bad people think Malva’s baby isn’t in heaven because they weren’t baptized. Roger wants to believe that the baby is and uses this chat as an opportunity to discuss him becoming a minister. She is a little reluctant at first considering the time commitment it would be for him, but Roger promises that he’ll always be a husband and father first and so Bree gives her blessing.
At Jamie and Claire’s house, she gets up and tells Jamie she’s going to get some tea downstairs, but he looks worried. Perhaps it’s another moment to get some ether? It’s never revealed as the next morning Claire greets Lizzie who is upset that Josiah has to leave. As they chat, Lizzie mentions knocking on Claire’s door the day Malva died, and this insight brightens Claire because that means it wasn’t Malva.
Going inside, Claire goes to put the ether in her surgery away, but when she turns, Lionel is standing there and continues to taunt her, saying she still has guilt. Rushing out of the room upset, Claire is noticed by Jamie who follows her and seeks answers. Claire tells him that she feels like she’s going crazy. She doesn’t recognize herself and she doesn’t want Jamie to see her this way. Claire says she didn’t kill Malva but says, “what if I wanted to?” We all have a darkness Jamie tells her, but Claire tries driving her point home by telling him about Lionel’s ghost haunting her and the ether.
Everything is crushing her and she feels responsible for all of the pain her family has felt because of her decision to travel through time. Jamie tries reminding Claire that none of the happiness they have would exist if she didn’t. Jamie tells Claire he’ll help her through it but she just needs to let him in. The couple shares a comforting hug and things finally feel a little hopeful for once, but knowing Outlander, that comfort never lasts too long.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the night, Lizzie goes to Roger and Bree and asks Roger to marry her and Josiah, explaining that she’s pregnant. Despite the urgency, Roger sees no reason to keep from handfasting them on the spot. The next morning, Roger and Bree prepare to leave so he can seek becoming ordained for the Ridge’s church. Bree goes to hand her mother a wedding gift for Lizzie, mentioning how she handfast Josiah last night.
Claire and Jamie are shocked and Jamie plans to have a talk with the Beardsleys and Lizzie when they return to the main house. As Bree, Roger, and Jemmy ride off, Claire and Jamie receive some unexpected guests. The Browns ride up and announce that Claire is to be arrested for the murder of Malva Christie. Unfortunately, this story isn’t resolved by the episode’s end as the installment ends with this cliffhanger.
Hopefully, the finale will provide some further insight as the Fraser family’s story continues. Don’t miss the conclusion, tune into the Outlander Season 6 finale on Sunday, May 1 for answers.
Outlander, Season 6, Sundays, 9/8c, Starz