WTF Just Happened in Outlander? S6, E8, "I Am Not Alone"

We made it! The Outlander season 6 finale has arrived! The "Committee of Safety" is stirring up trouble, the Frasers are under fire, and we have our popcorn (or whatever your favorite TV-watching snack is) at the ready! Let's dive into the happenings. 

Spoiler Alert: We are recapping the episode, so there will be spoilers past this point. You've been warned! Turn back now if you wish to stay unspoiled.


The episode begins with a very quick scene of Claire and Brianna (I'm assuming, since we couldn't see her face) back in Claire's original time at a diner. I have two theories for this! First, this is reminiscent of the scenes Claire imagined when she was kidnapped by Lionel Brown, and she was envisioning herself and her family (Jamie and Co.) back in her own time, safe and at home sharing a 1970s Thanksgiving. Second, it could be a reference to Claire's love for cheeseburgers at her and Brianna's favorite diner, which she discusses later in the episode. Either way, I assume it's included for a reason, and it could be one theory, both, or neither.

Jamie's not having it.

We're quickly thrown back into the 1700s, though, and Richard Brown's "Committee of Safety" has arrived at the Ridge and is demanding Claire's arrest for Malva's murder. Claire, still inside their house, discreetly sends the nearest woman she can find to go get help. Jamie, who's walked out to meet the Browns, exchanges some "you know what's about to go down, be ready" eye contact with Lizzie across the yard. Richard, the fabulous ray of sunshine that he is, says he doesn't expect Jamie to just give Claire up. Of course, he came prepared. Like we expect anything less from this guy. Ugh. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fraser.

Claire rushes to grab the nearest gun for self-defense, but one of Richard's men snuck around the back of their house. He holds Claire at gunpoint, but she quick-draws and shoots him in the stomach with her pistol. Jamie panics, thinking she's been shot, and Brown's men take the opportunity to seize him. He takes a beating but holds his own well enough until Claire starts scaring everyone off with her rifle. This gives Jamie an opening to run toward the house, and they both make it inside before bullets start flying through their windows. I got strangely upset watching all that nice fictional furniture be destroyed. Maybe this means I'm successfully adulting? Who knows! Regardless, the Frasers barricade themselves inside their home. I was definitely getting some Mr. & Mrs. Smith vibes in the first part of this episode. They even have an armory in their basement and waste no time loading up on ammo. 

Considering that Richard arrived with wagons and a bunch of men, it's no surprise he's ready to stick around for a while. They prepare for an overnight stay by putting wagons at ideal locations around the house in order to use them for cover. Claire and Jamie station themselves next to the windows and hope for the best. Their communication is really highlighted here, and you can tell they've been through a lot of wild stuff together because of how they work together like a well-oiled machine. Whatever oily puns you're thinking of, maybe grab a glass of water, ‘cause you're just thirsty.

I gotta admit, all this gunfire had me feeling like Jack Sparrow: "Quit blowing holes in my ship!" But the Browns also just so happen to have stormtrooper aim, which is really good news for our Frasers. 

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During a break in the gunfire, Jamie gives us a quick exposition dump by mentioning Brianna and Roger have already left for the seminary so Roger can be ordained. He also tells Claire (okay, the audience) that Richard Brown found out Marsali killed his brother Lionel, so they're using Malva's death as an excuse to exact revenge. 

Speaking of that asshole, Richard approaches the house. Though he's out of range, he's close enough that Jamie can hear him promise that they won't hurt Claire. Yeah, right. He says they're going to take her to the nearest town (Salisbury) for a trial. Jamie answers by returning fire, and the Browns get ready to wait them out.

Roger and Brianna are traveling.

I'm gonna go ahead and sum all the Roger and Brianna stuff up in one place because this episode went back and forth a lot. These two are traveling and are just living their best lives venturing through woods like all manner of dangerous animals can't eat them alive at a moment's notice. They do the whole "let's forget we're in the woods and get stark naked without a lookout because that's not how horror movies start at all" thing. 

Later on in their travels, they discover their son Jeremiah has picked up some lice. When they cut his hair, they find a mark on his scalp similar to one that Roger has. When Roger states that it's a hereditary condition, he realizes that he is, in fact, Jeremiah's biological father. There had been understandable fear he may have been Stephen Bonnet's son (the pirate who raped Brianna), so I'm overjoyed they resolved this and that Brianna and Roger finally know for sure. This is a really wonderful moment, and they deserve that happiness. That pretty much sums up the Mackenzie family's screen time in this episode.  

We leave them meandering through wooded scenery and return to the Ridge where all the action is. Jamie is afraid the Browns will fire the house as soon as it gets dark in order to smoke them out in their makeshift siege, which… is a good plan for the siege-ers, but not so much for the siege-ees. The writers take this chance to remind the audience that Brianna and Roger originally came back in time to warn Claire they'd read in an obituary that she and Jamie died in a house fire. But the time that was supposed to have happened has passed, so we're left wondering if this is really it for the Frasers or if it's a fake-out.

Richard Brown holds the Frasers under siege.

Despite the assailants milling around outside, Jamie and Claire eat dinner while the Browns wait for nightfall. In a bout of morbid humor, Claire tells Jamie about the tradition of prisoners condemned to death requesting a last meal. They both share their pick for final meals, and while Claire goes for the classic cheeseburger and fries, Jamie's the more romantic of the two this time and says he'd choose the meal he and Claire are sharing at that moment. You know, just in case we forgot the show was based on the heavily romantic best-selling novels.

They eventually figure no one is coming to help them, considering Ian is out hunting and the people from the Ridge haven't shown up yet. It's time to prepare for whatever's coming, so they pray together for forgiveness just in case it's their last chance. Then they count all the times Jamie almost died. Let me tell you, he's had quite a few near misses! We learn that an old fortune-teller once told Jamie he had nine lives, so I guess they were checking to see if he'd made it to eight. I guess he hasn't, ‘cause Claire says hearing the count gives her peace. I wish I'd been counting! If I'd been keeping track, I'd have known if I should actually get nervous or not…

The fisher folk bring torches and pitchforks.

Later on that night, the "fisher folk" from Christie's camp arrive. They call Claire a witch and a murderer, and Allan is acting super shifty as always. It's time to reach some sort of decision without getting burned to death, so Jamie and Claire agree to come outside under the promise they won't be harmed. Richard says they'll take Claire to trial. If she's innocent, there's technically no reason to refuse. Jamie turns the tables, though, and accuses Richard of wanting to kill Claire to get revenge on Lionel Brown's death. Allan also wants them to try Jamie for debauching and killing Malva, which leads to them all agreeing that Jamie and Claire should go to trial together. Phew, that was a lot of back and forth.

Right before they cement the decision, Lizzie arrives with the members of the Ridge to help. I almost started cheering before I realized the Browns still greatly outnumber them. Jamie doesn't see another way to resolve the situation without him and Claire dying, so he thinks they should go. Christie decides he will travel with them to ensure no further evil is done. Richard agrees. Christie, who now apparently has decision-making power with the "Committee of Safety," tells the Frasers they can leave in the morning. They get to sleep in their own bed one more night, but there will be guards posted. 

Claire and Jamie face the Browns.

At any rate, Jamie and Claire get a last night in their lovely home, and I get time to fume. If they go to trial, there are no witnesses and no one there to testify that Claire didn't do it. How is it supposed to be fair and just considering these circumstances?

So far, "I Am Not Alone" has a bottle episode feel that I wasn't expecting when I saw the episode preview. I thought we'd get more edge-of-your-seat moments, and though we certainly saw some action (cue the eyebrow wiggle), it wasn't the kind I was expecting. 

The next morning, the Browns load the Frasers into a wagon and begin their journey to the trial. Christie is strangely nice to Claire on the way. Maybe he knows who the actual murderer is and doesn't want to say anything because it might besmirch the family name. Maybe he's actually going with so he can testify in court and not out in the open where it can be stricken from the known record or he could be killed for whatever he has to say. He'll have to keep quiet a little longer, though, because the nearest court in Salisbury is closed due to politics. They have to go on to Wilmington, which is 200 miles away (that's a hell of a walk). During the trip, Richard spreads the tale in every town they pass through that Claire is guilty of murder, muddying the waters for her trial wherever they go. He also starts to lose control of his men who aren't ready for the lengthy march ahead.

Tom Christie knows something.

The longer they're on the road, the more uncomfortable Christie looks. I sense guilt. He knows something! But he's not speaking up. While stuck in the back of the wagon, Jamie and Claire speculate on Christie's purpose in all this mess. Is he protecting them just to see her killed? I want answers, too!

Farther along their trail, Jamie leaves the wagon to relieve himself and spots Ian in the trees. Lizzie told Ian what happened when he returned from hunting, so he found help and caught up. Jamie doesn't want to escape, though, because it'd be seen as an admission of guilt. Is it too late for him and Claire to run off together and live in the woods for the next fifty years? Much to my chagrin, they decide to wait for the right timing. After exchanging a heartfelt "God go with you," Ian departs and Jamie returns to the wagon. 

Claire and Jamie are separated.

The right timing arrives soon enough. The group stops for a drink. Jamie is the only one allowed out of the wagon. They seize him. We all definitely saw it coming. They seize Claire in the wagon, too, because what else would they do after such an obvious setup? With her subdued, they drive away just as Jamie is knocked unconscious. Claire's first concern is for her husband, but Richard tells her that he isn't trying to get revenge. All this drama isn't because of his brother, it's because she committed murder. Except she didn't, so this is extra frustrating. 

After they're a short distance down the road, Christie rides up. Claire, panicking, tells him she's afraid the Browns are going to kill Jamie. Christie pulls Richard aside for a hushed conversation, and, afterward, he tells Claire that Richard gave his word he wouldn't kill Jamie. Christie must believe him for some reason because he won't go back to protect Jamie despite Claire's pleas. He wants to stay and make sure she remains safe as they travel the rest of the way to Wilmington. Why? Why, why, why?

They arrive to find Wilmington in complete disarray. I'm seriously hoping John Grey is somewhere nearby. He'd be super helpful right about now. Richard locks Claire in the prison where we saw that time traveler guy, but they don't meet. Because why would they? It's not like they set that up a couple episodes ago and haven't delivered.

Richard bribes the sheriff for something unknown, and Christie gives Claire money for her maintenance. He tells her Jamie is alive, and asks her to trust in God to deliver the righteous out of danger. Christie's also gonna stick around in town and make sure she's okay. Maybe he's staying to testify about who actually did it like I speculated earlier. Before leaving, Richard tells Claire he'll see her at the gallows. Cue the villainousness. 

Chief Bird to the rescue!

The next time we see Jamie, he's tied to a stake at low tide. I was afraid they were going to let him die as the tide rolled in, but they're plotting to put him aboard a ship that's going back to Scotland and away from Claire. They say he'll never see his "witch of a wife again." Rude! But Ian and the Cherokee show up and kill the small crew that was holding Jamie hostage. Aha! At least the good guys don't have stormtrooper aim! 

They know where Claire is, and Chief Bird (Glen Gould) tells Jamie he promised he'd fight with him. Yay! That's my favorite moment in the whole episode, right there. Ian frees Jamie from his bonds, and I'm guessing in Season 7 they're gonna go rescue Claire. No surprise there. 

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We have a special guest for the "WTF" section of this recap! Couch Soup's own Drewseph J Drewsephine weighs in on what he thought about this season (and of course, this episode): 

WTF is a pretty good summary for this entire season. I'm going on record here and saying this is by and far the worst season of Outlander so far. I'm sure Liz will point out all the reasons why this season should get a pass (COVID, the production cut short, it's true to the books). Whatever, I was bored to tears this season. 

The writers spent so much time setting up chess pieces with absolutely no payoff whatsoever. Why give us 5 episodes of Malva learning to be a healer under Claire when she ultimately doesn't use any of those skills or defend Claire in the end? Are we to believe she was just truly broken and evil? We never got an explanation for why Malva was making those love spells or whatever with finger bones. Did they work? Is that why she slept with half the Ridge? Also, did we really need an entire 7 episode story arc on Roger becoming a minister? While it makes sense from Roger's background and what he's gone through (we shan't forget the time he almost died by a hanging), it still feels random considering he knows time travel is possible and Brianna is all about science like her mom (she made matches this season…which had no damn point or pay off, either!!!). 

Let's talk about the whole episode dedicated to Ian and his Mohawk wife that he couldn't get pregnant… Which, myself and I'm sure others thought, "Okay so that's a good reason to put Ian and Malva together as a couple and to explain why she's making weird bone charms…" But no, that went nowhere as a plot point. Just more character development. While I enjoy the moments in between the action, suspense, and danger, it felt egregious this season. I won't even get into the major episode cliffhanger they pulled mid-season by not showing what was hinted at as another time traveler with no reveal in the next episode or this entire season. That's not how cliffhangers work Outlander! 

This last episode did deliver some great action, and we get to see Jamie channeling some John Wick shot accuracy. But the episode quickly slows down again and resolves what could've been an epic showdown at the Fraser house into another "let's go to trial to prove our innocence" plot. I was seriously hoping for a big shake-up on the story this season. We've been doing the Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman reboot for a while now and I, for one, miss the seasons where there was a sense of adventure and suspense for our characters. I miss Scotland and Paris and pirates and, oh yeah, fucking time travel!!! Nope, now we are stuck in the little house on the prairie and it's dull. What's the point, Outlander? I'll watch the first few episodes of next season but honestly, if this season is indicative of how the show will be moving forward, there are better shows on TV to give my time to. 

Thanks for adding your Outlander fan plot skeptic passion, Drew!


This season just felt different. More character-focused. I'm going to chalk it up to them having to film this season during the pandemic, which may have made scheduling and logistics even more complicated than usual. It's been a whole season of build-up, but I'm not giving up hope! If they're planning on giving us pay off in Season 7, there's probably a lot of action awaiting us. 

As for what stood out, it's more of what didn't stand out. We didn't get much Revolutionary War action or any payoff for several of the plotlines they started. I was really hoping for some super juicy conflicts with Jamie on one side of the war and a few friends or family on the other. Instead, we have to wait a year for the next steps. I don't want to be overly critical, though, because the pandemic shook the world, so I think losing a few episodes or events is a minor inconvenience, all things considered. Season 7 will have to have the final say, in my opinion. 

Also, Tom Christie knows something! He's been keeping his mouth shut, and I want to know why. If he knows who did this and is waiting until court to testify, he better live long enough to do so.

Season 7 is filming!


Season 7 is already in production, so we should hear more soon!

What did you think of Outlander's sixth season? How do you think Season 7 will start off? I'm going to refrain from making a "the bang heard 'round the world" pun…

WTF Just Happened in Outlander? S6, E7, "Sticks and Stones"

Please, please, gather around for your regularly scheduled Outlander rant. Sticks and stones may break bones, but this episode hurt me! How are they just gonna make us sit through an entire episode of accusations plus the good ol' TV Show Avoidance Maneuver (when they refuse to answer the question they set up in the last episode)? It's like the writers conferred and went, "So should we leave them still guessing or leave them on a cliffhanger?" And they decided to do both.

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Okay, enough with my complaining. Let's jump into the recap!

Spoiler Alert: We are recapping the episode, so there will be spoilers past this point. You've been warned! Turn back now if you wish to stay unspoiled.


The episode opens with a flashback inside the Ridge's church. Malva announces in an emotional speech to those gathered that her innocence was taken from her by someone she trusted, and she's now with child. It's unclear when this speech occurred, but the scene is shot with a tilting and fading focus, leaving viewers wrapped up in Jessica Reynolds' moving monologue. I'm assuming at the time the speech happened, Malva was still trying to lay the blame on Jamie for reasons unknown, but we're quickly reminded where things now stand. Malva lies dead in Claire's garden, her late baby on her chest, and Claire is literally covered up to her elbows in blood.

Jamie and Tom Christie argue over Malva's burial.

Malva's brother Allan (Alexander Vlahos) covers her body, and he and his father, Tom Christie, accuse Claire of the murder. She explains she only found Malva and tried to save the baby, but it was too late. Christie wants to know how long it would've taken his daughter to die, which is probably the most paternal question he asks for the whole episode. Yes, I'm throwing shade his way. Due to the nature of the wound, Claire tells him Malva's death would've been quick. He laments that she may not have had time to say a prayer before she passed and worries about her eternal fate. But then he keeps talking… and says he doesn't think she should be buried in the Ridge's cemetery because of her premarital pregnancy, which he considers sinful. This guy really wants his daughter ostracized, even in death. Just hurtful.

But Jamie basically strongarms him into the better option by saying it's his land, she'll be buried where he says, and he says she'll be laid to rest alongside the other community members who have passed on. You tell him, Jamie! Claire offers to prepare Malva for her funeral, and Jamie carries the bodies indoors. But prying eyes are everywhere, and people are already starting to talk…

Claire begins preparations by gathering her needle and thread to mend the gash on Malva's neck, but she hears Lionel Brown's voice sowing doubts in her mind. Instead of resorting to the ether, she takes a drink this time, and Jamie joins her. One of the women who helps with the Fraser's household duties enters the room, demanding to know what they'll tell everyone. There's a time and place, lady! Can't you see Claire isn't doing well? 

But there's no rest for the weary. The entire community is suspicious that Claire and Jamie killed Malva because Malva lied about her intimacy with Jamie. One resident even brings Christie's Bible to Jamie for Roger to read from during the service. It isn't a kindhearted visit; he uses the opportunity to accuse the Frasers of the crime. The audacity! Jamie, in no uncertain terms, makes it clear he won't be listening to any unfounded rumors.

Claire battles her demons.

My heart is just in pieces for Claire. Every time she tries to tend to Malva, Lionel Brown taunts her. I see now that I've been using the wrong term for these experiences. They aren't flashbacks at all. Rather, the memory of Lionel is haunting Claire's subconscious and giving voice to her worst fears about herself. She soldiers on and continues to prepare Malva's corpse even as Lionel digs up the many traumatic experiences from her past. He accuses her of being the reason for all of her family's pain. He says she abandoned Frank for Jamie and, in doing so, brought Brianna and Roger into the past. Claire is fearful that everything bad that's happened since then has been directly tied to her actions.

Speaking of Roger and Brianna, while Roger isn't the official minister, he's been acting in the capacity for a while. He visits Jamie and Claire to help, and it turns out he stops by at just the right time! The young man Roger caught Malva with in the church in episode 5 arrives at the house, spouting more questions. At this point, the Frasers are fed up with the Ridge community acting brand new, so Roger is like “What are you playing at? I know you saw me see you.” The young man gets upset, accusations and threats start flying, and the tension ratchets ever upward. Plus, we're still no closer to solving the murder! Longest whodunnit episode ever.

Jamie and Roger confront accusations.

Later that night, Claire tells Jamie she's worried that she murdered Malva. First off, again with the trust shared between these two! She very well might be confessing to murder in front of Jamie, and he ain't no snitch. They are just the definition of ride or die. Anywho! Claire finally tells him about her ether use, saying she took it at that time to keep from talking to Malva. When she shares the fuzzy dream in which she threatened to kill Malva if she continued to cause trouble for their family, Jamie comforts her. He tells Claire she wouldn't have hurt Malva, she's only doubting herself because of the situation.

Claire is worried she killed Malva.

They go to bed, but Claire doesn't sleep well. She's seeing Lionel Brown everywhere, and damn if that cinematography isn't creepy as all get out! Brown's figure huddles in the dark shadows of their bedroom, just watching Claire like something straight out of a horror movie. It's the stuff nightmares are made of! I was waiting on the jump scare, but it never happened.

In happier news, a romantic subplot has sprouted! I'll backtrack just a little to get you all caught up. Brianna's friend Lizzie (Caitlin O'Ryan) has been flirting back and forth with two twins who live on the Ridge, Josiah and Kezzie (both played by Paul Gorman). Come to find out, it's been more than just heart eyes. Lizzie, Josiah, and Kezzie are in a throuple, and Lizzie has been afraid to tell anyone because of all the outdated drama surrounding premarital sex on the Ridge right now. It's an unsafe time for anyone to find out about their relationship, so they've been keeping things on the DL.

However, Lizzie is pregnant and she's unsure which of the twins is the father. Claire has a conversation with her and explains that due to the attitudes of the time, Lizzie is in a very dangerous situation. Back then, they would stone people for fornication. Lizzie doesn't want to choose between the twins, though, because she loves them both, and they love her in return. Claire is pretty understanding, but Jamie wants to see her married to keep her safe from stoning. He makes the twins draw straws for who gets to say "I do" and pronounces Lizzie and Kezzie handfast.

Claire and Lizzie have a chat.

But Lizzie shan't be deterred from following her heart! Later in the episode, she and Josiah convince Roger to pronounce them handfast, too. It didn't take much persuasion, considering they didn't tell Roger she's already handfast to Kezzie. When the Frasers find out, they figure they'll just say she's married to Kezzie and leave it at that. Lizzie, Kezzie, and Josiah can keep doing their thing. No one on the Ridge other than the Frasers needs to know what's up. Nothing to see here, folks! Just three consenting adults living their happy life. Here's hoping the other members of the Ridge will keep their noses out of Lizzie's business.

Handfast at last!

Meanwhile, Roger is working on a sermon for the funeral, but he's having a bit of a moral crisis. He's killed someone before and is worried he lacks the moral standing to preach to the residents about “thou shalt not kill” when he has most definitely put someone 6 feet deep. He wants to step into the official shoes of minister on the Ridge, but, from what I gathered, this means he won't be actively fighting in the war. Well, he won't fight with the army, but he can take up arms to protect their home and those in need. Jamie's here for it, and we are too.

Roger is worried Brianna will think he's a coward, but Jamie tells him not to worry. And he's right! Brianna is supportive of Roger's choice, provided he keeps their family his priority. He explains he feels this is his calling and assures her he won't jeopardize their family under any circumstances. With all that settled, she agrees to go with him when he gets ordained. Nice news for them!

Claire and Jamie attend Malva's funeral.

But now we're getting back into the stuff. Claire and Jamie attend Malva's funeral service and let me tell you, it is T.E.N.S.E. They sit in the back and weather the judgmental glances as Roger gives a message on the Lord's forgiveness, reminding the community that just because Malva wasn't a mother or a wife doesn't mean she was less of a person. There aren't enough men to carry Malva's coffin, so Jamie offers his help, but Allan won't let him. The situation gets worse when Claire sees the baby's coffin and tries to carry it. She did try to save the child, after all! But Allan straight-up snatches the tiny casket away from her. I spent the whole scene hoping it wouldn't be one of those horrible movie scenes where the casket opens due to all the jostling. Thankfully, both remained firmly shut. Cue the sigh of relief.

After the funeral, Lizzie tells Claire she's the one who knocked at the door while Claire was unconscious. She'd come to tell Claire about her relationship with the twins, and Claire is so relieved. This means it wasn't Malva who knocked, as Claire originally thought. Plus, if Claire had done anything suspicious, Lizzie would've noticed. The information clears Claire's conscience, and she's confident she didn't kill Malva. Her dream was just a dream, after all. I knew it!

Lizzie gives Claire some much-needed good news.

Claire takes this opportunity to put the ether away, feeling she can trust herself again, but Lionel is right there waiting on her. He tells her she's still guilty, dredging up her past again. Jamie catches her walking out of her surgery in distress, and she finally tells him what's been going on. She expresses to Jamie that there's a part of herself she doesn't recognize. Lionel Brown is haunting her, and that's why she's been using the ether. Claire has always compartmentalized her experiences, but she can't any longer and is struggling under the fear that everything is her fault because she changed things when she time traveled. She's worried she was selfish because she wanted to be with Jamie and her choice to return to him is the reason for all the pain her family has endured over the years. Someone tell me how to jump through a screen! This wonderful woman needs support, people!

But Jamie is all the support she needs, so I'mma sit myself down and let them do their thing. He's quick to remind Claire that if she hadn't met him, Brianna wouldn't've been born. Roger wouldn't have a wife or a son. They wouldn't have met Fergus when they went to France to stop the rebellion, and Fergus wouldn't have met Marsali. Jamie helps Claire see that although there is pain, there is also so much more. She has been pivotal in bringing happiness to her family, as well. 

Even so, she's afraid she can't make Lionel's voice go away. Jamie tells her that after his abuse by Randall, he was in a dark place as well. Claire found him in that darkness and did everything she could to help him. He offers to support her in the same way. They'll face it together, but she has to let him help and not put herself to sleep. These two always choose each other, and it's a beautiful moment of love between our Frasers who have faced so many odds to be together.

The Browns arrive with their own brand of law enforcement.

At the end of the episode, there's still no solution to Malva's murder. But that doesn't mean Outlander's done wrecking us! The Browns ride up with their "Committee of Safety" (sense my sarcasm) and announce they've come for Claire. To arrest her. For Malva's murder. Because of course they are. And, because this show loves causing us pain, we're left on that cliffhanger until next week. I almost threw my iPad across the room before I realized I can't break it because I have to watch the finale. That's right, the finale is next week! Clear your schedules, 'cause shit's about to go down.


I'm going to be petty. You want to know my "WTF" moment? It's the damn cliffhanger. Why they gotta leave us with no solutions? Nothing was resolved whatsoever. In fact, let's recap all the nothing we have so far:

Jamie prepares to defend his wife.

And now they're trying to take Claire away! I'm not even sure if it's for an actual trial or some hastily put together “We already think you did it” kind of thing. Plus, it's the Browns and they are the last people on the face of the planet we want Claire to have to go anywhere with. I'd bolt the doors and batten down the hatches, too. They won't take our Claire!


Again, you can count on me to bring the salt, and I am salty about this ending. Two things stood out to me in this episode:

  1. How long they're making us wait to solve this murder. 
  2. How strange Malva's brother is acting. 

I get it. His sister died. I'm not a callous unfeeling human. It is sad. But he's acting even shiftier than usual. I never liked him; he gives off a weird vibe. But there's something in his eyes that's just giving me the creeps. You know that sense you get that tells you not to be in the same room as a person? Yeah, that's the one.

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I get that every time he comes on screen. He may have had something to do with all this. If he told the Browns what happened and is the reason they're coming to arrest Claire, I'm gonna have to jump through the screen and throw hands, penguin style.


The next episode preview shows Claire and Jamie stuck inside their home as the Browns basically hold them under siege. I doubt the residents of the Ridge will be of any help. In fact, they may side with the Browns. 

Claire prepares to defend herself.

This whole thing just makes me sad! They've worked so hard and come so far, and whoever killed Malva undermined it all so fast. Jamie says they'll have to go together, he doesn't see any other way. I really hope he means "go" as in "go with the Browns," and not "go" as in the mortal sense of the word.

I'm usually pretty good at spotting the buildup to a finale, but I gotta say, next week's episode snuck up on me. I can't believe we only have one more Sunday to go. I've been so wrapped up in the story! I don't want to wait another year to find out who killed Malva, but if I have to, I'll put all my theories together in the meantime.

How do you think Outlander Season 6 will end? Lemme hear it!

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WTF Just Happened in Outlander? S6, E4, "Hour of the Wolf"

Ah, the "Hour of the Wolf." What is this hour, you may wonder? It's the hour between night and dawn, a moment of deep darkness before the light breaks through. I tried to look up the actual meaning but got the absolute creeps, so suffice it to say that this is a scary hour where people die, babies are born, and all manner of stuff goes on. It also fits all the major themes of this episode, so let's start recapping, shall we? 

Spoiler Alert: We are recapping the episode, so there will be spoilers past this point. You've been warned! Turn back now if you wish to stay unspoiled.


The episode opens with a flashback to the ceremony where Ian is adopted by the Mohawk. After he has been welcomed into their family and named Okwaho'rohtsi'ah, or "Wolf’s Brother," he and a young woman lock eyes, and we automatically know this is the woman from his mysterious past. 'Cause, why else would they share that level of prolonged eye contact?

Fergus receives a mission from Jamie

With the central story now set up, we cut to "present-day" at the Ridge, where Jamie sends Fergus on a journey to sell goods and check on Jamie's aunt Jocasta. Fergus sees through Jamie’s plans to give him some space from his worries as a way for him to heal, and Fergus shares his gratitude that Jamie saved his life. Jamie responds that he’s simply balanced the scales. The score was as uplifting as my super sappy smile at Fergus appearing hopeful once again. 

Meanwhile, Major MacDonald is staying with the Frasers and sneezing all over the place because of his cat allergy. The Fraser clan is outside firing the newly delivered muskets, and Roger’s aim is improving (he wasn’t the best shot last season). I was happy to see Brianna (who’s a great shot, considering she shot her rapist and much-hated villain Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) in the head at a considerable distance) out there, as well. The major tells Jamie that the guns he brought for the Cherokee are tried and true, but he calls the chief by the wrong name. Ian promptly corrects him, in true clapback style, and the now-miffed major conveys that the Governor wants the chief to swear loyalty to the Crown. 

Jamie is concerned for the Cherokee

At that point, Brianna excuses herself. Jamie finds her on their porch, where she explains that the guns won’t be enough to protect the Cherokee. They discuss the cruelty that the American government would show toward the indigenous people in about 50 years, and Jamie expresses that he knows what governments are capable of. His history as a highlander in Scotland around the time of the Highland Clearances gives him a unique, personal perspective of what's coming. When Brianna shares that the removal of indigenous tribes from their homes will be known by history as the Trail of Tears, Jamie is visibly moved.

He carries this knowledge with him when he and Ian take the guns to the Cherokee. Ian sees Kaheroton (Braeden Clarke), a member of the Mohawk tribe who was pretty much a brother to him, but Ian is not–I repeat not–happy to see him. Later, he tells Jamie the full story about the woman we saw in the opening of the episode. Her name is Wahionhaweh, though he called her “Emily" while he was still learning the language. We cut to a flashback where she gives him a small amulet she had carved in the shape of a wolf’s head. While hunting in the woods, Kaheroton flicks the wolf’s head amulet, now on Ian’s necklace, explaining Wahionhaweh (Morgan Holmstrom) has chosen him as a partner. 

As is the nature of flashbacks, things progress fast. We see some glimpses of their relationship, and boom, she’s pregnant. Sadly, there are complications, and while Wahionhaweh lives, their baby does not. Ian was not able to see his daughter’s face before he buried her. Jamie and Claire lost a child as well, so Jamie sympathizes deeply with Ian’s pain. Wahionhaweh and Ian continue to have trouble conceiving, so the Mohawk tell him to return to his family, the Frasers, believing that the reason they’re having so much trouble conceiving is because his spirit isn’t Mohawk. Angry, Ian storms back to Wahionhaweh, only to see her with Kaheroton. And yikes, the betrayal is real. She sends Ian away, but she is clearly very unhappy for having to follow this cultural tradition of moving on to another partner for the sake of producing children.

Meanwhile, on the Ridge, Claire is testing her ether. She shows Malva how to administer it, and Malva gets quite excited about the prospect of being able to operate on someone without them feeling it. She still makes me a wee bit nervous, but I’m still withholding my judgment… for now. In case you can’t tell, I’m a bit back and forth about his character. Is she cool peeps, or is she suspicious? I haven’t decided yet. Whatever my feelings maybe, she and Claire are getting along well. They’re being super sneaky and aren’t telling her father all the medical stuff she does while helping Claire. 

Ian confronts Kaheroton

Back with the Cherokee, Jamie delivers the guns, and Ian confronts his Mohawk family. He learns that Kaheroton and Wahionhaweh had a son. It’s heartbreaking for Ian; his friend has a son, but he lost his daughter. Ian stalks over to Kaheroton, draws a knife on him, and a fight ensues. Jamie and another Indian agent named Alexander Cameron (Michael Geary) break up the fight, but Alexander is clearly not the type of person we want our characters hanging around. He's like that friend someone brings home who you just know is bad news. Alexander draws a knife on Kaheroton and tells him to pack and leave, but things don't stop there. Alexander is drunk and taunts the Mohawk. Just super, super disrespectful. Kaheroton is about to club him, and I was 100% here for it, but Jamie convinces him not to. Instead, Kaheroton demands an apology, and rightfully so. But Alexander pulls a gun… because he’s horrible and unfair bringing a gun to a knife fight. When Kaheroton readily accepted Alexander's challenge to a duel, my heart sank. Jamie tries to dissuade Alexander, but he refuses to reconsider. 

While they prepare for the duel, Ian shares with Jamie his concerns for his daughter’s afterlife, fearing God brought Kaheroton to the village to punish Ian for something. Jamie reminds him that God is merciful, and tells him he lost a daughter as well. Based on Ian’s reaction, he didn’t know. For some reason, I thought Jamie had told him before now, but this was good timing. It’s a very emotional moment (there are a lot of these this season), and they pray that Jamie’s daughter will find Ian’s in Heaven. This brings Ian comfort and a sense of peace. Afterward, Ian offers Kaheroton Jamie’s pistol in a moment of forgiveness. Kaheroton takes the pistol and gives Ian his war club in return. Kaheroton then expresses concern he may die. He asks Ian to look after his wife and son if that happens, and he gives Ian a beaded bracelet like the one that Wahionhaweh had originally given Ian during their time together. Ian accepts by taking the bracelet, and it's a bit of a complicated brotherhood there, but I’m here for it. 

As far as political matters go, the chief does swear loyalty to the Crown. Jamie pulls him aside, however, and, once they're in private, tells him about the Trail of Tears. He does this in a veiled way by explaining that the women in his family see the future in dreams. Pretty clever cover if you ask me! The chief agrees to tell his children and grandchildren about this warning, so when the time comes they may hope to survive the events. This is where Jamie drops his line from the Season 6 trailer, "Whoever you fight for… fight for yourselves."

Kaheroton vs. Alexander - the duel begins

They all get ready for the duel, but Alexander, the dirtbag that he is, cheats and turns early. Ian stays ready, though, and knocks the gun out of Alexander's hand with the weapon Kaheroton had given him, effectively saving Kaheroton’s life. Cue the meaningful eye contact. Jamie, once again bringing the "well damn, bruh" to the screen, says Kaheroton can return fire at will. Alexander turns into a sniveling mess real quick, and Kaheroton lets him off easy, choosing to let him live in his cowardly shame. Ian gives Kaheroton the bracelet back, and Kaheroton departs. Before leaving for the Ridge, Ian lets go of his wife’s memory by sending the wolf’s head amulet down a calm part of a nearby creek. He decides he doesn’t have to live conflicting lives but can merge them together. This ties up a long storyline, and I'm happy to see Ian has made peace with his past.

Back on the Ridge, Malva is helping Claire with some work when Jamie returns from his time with the Cherokee. Claire excuses herself, leaving Malva to stay and clean up. In the stables, Jamie drops another line from the trailer, telling Claire he’s struggling between his life as a rebel and a loyalist, an Agent for the Crown and an enemy of the King. He says he’ll resign as an Indian agent, and Claire is her lovely supportive self. They get down to their regularly scheduled roll in the hay, which I use as a euphemism because they’re in a barn so it seemed appropriate… and, wait for it: Malva is watching through a window.


Malva... what is she thinking?

Okay, we need to talk about it. 'Cause… ewww. Malva stood all up on her tiptoes just to peek through a window and watch Mr. and Mrs. Fraser knock boots… and other things. I knew it! Something was just off about her. She's got guts like I said in my other recap, but yikes. Maybe she's got a bit too many guts. Too much guts? You know what I mean! Outlander is a sex-positive show, but watching without permission is a no-no, and Malva seemed mighty interested. Creeeepyyyyy…


It's taking me considerable effort to get away from the creep factor that is Malva right now. I really want to know what her significance will be to the greater story. For her to be this much of a focus character, it must be something important. Will she be helpful somehow? Will she stir some stuff up? I haven't read the books, and we show-only peeps have yet to see what's up.

Jamie gives Alexander a piece of his mind

All the yuck aside, this episode drives home the point of "choosing a side." Tying in with the title, "The Hour of the Wolf," Ian confronts his worst fears, and his past is resolved. Loose ends are tied up. Jamie, seeing Ian's journey and hearing what Brianna has told him, has chosen his side: enemy of the Crown. After seeing how Alexander behaved, it may have even given him even more clarity that most European colonists are just in it for themselves. Even Malva's true colors showing fit the overarching theme. There's no more time for false pretenses, and the show is going to jump right into the conflict. 


Something I've been a bit suspicious about is coming to the surface and requires a bit of explanation because I haven't really focused on this side story in my previous recaps. Remember the woman that Roger “rescued” from a supposed haunting by discovering a stowaway bullfrog in her milk pail? Welp, he's been helping her out, building her house, and such. She's a widow with some kids, and they've been spending a lot of time together. Now, we aren't jumping to conclusions, but based on the next episode preview, something is afoot. Brianna expresses concern about the time Roger and the woman spend together, and this jumps us right into the theme of loyalty. Jamie is breaking his oath to the Crown and is worried about what his family might think. We get some glimpses of his aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and his friend John Grey (David Berry) presumably reacting to the news. John Grey, who I am super happy to see returning to the screen, is a ride-or-die character. I think he'll understand where Jamie's coming from. But Jocasta… we’ll see how she reacts. In short, the tide has turned, and we're probably getting some more action in the next episode. The Frasers' allegiance is to the new nation being born, and it's a rare birth that's without blood. 

How do you think Jocasta and John Grey will react to Jamie's decision? I do like some good old-fashioned fictional family drama, but Jocasta didn't look too pleased…

Everything You Need to Know About Outlander (That Badass Show You've Been Missing) Before Season 6

If you're casually scrolling through your recommended shows, you may stumble across Outlander and think it's just another historical romance novel adaptation. In reality, it's a time-traveling glimpse into Scotland's history and an expertly crafted lesson in character development. Focusing on themes of love, loss, family, and conflict, the show adapts Diana Gabaldon's insanely popular book series for television. I found it after watching Game of Thrones, and the lush world and complex storytelling keeps me interested while I await House of the Dragon. If you're an Outlander skeptic, allow me to convert you over the course of this article. Trust me, this show is way more badass than you might be expecting for a show known for its steam.

Season 3 Reaction GIF by Outlander - Find & Share on GIPHY

Now that you've been introduced, let's get down to business…

Let me start off by saying this article will not be discussing Jamie Fraser's kneecaps. Yep, that's a whole thing the internet concocted and we're not going there. If you're looking to read about the more…ahem, romantic…aspects of the show, you're gonna have to go elsewhere.

Secondly, I haven't read the books, and I shan't pretend like I have. This article is going to stick to the TV show content. I shall stay in my lane.

After this point, spoilers abound!

The real-world history in the show

Historical fantasy fans, fasten your seatbelts: Outlander was inspired by real events. The show begins around the time of the Jacobite Rising of 1745. That's when supporters of James the VII of Scotland formed a rebellion in the hopes of restoring James (or his heirs) to the British throne. James had been usurped by his Protestant son-in-law, and his grandson, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, tried to regain rule. The Bonnie Prince Charlie garnered a good deal of support from the Highlanders as well as other factions, and they eventually advanced into England. However, the devastating Battle of Culloden brought his advancement to an end in 1746. We meet the Prince and experience that historic battle and its aftermath in Outlander. Expect political intrigue, betrayals, and poisonings right from the start.

The super-short summary of what happened in Seasons 1-5

Season 1

Claire Randall (played by Catriona Balfe, who's now a BAFTA Nominee for Belfast), a combat nurse in World War II, and her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) find each other again after the end of the war. They've been through a lot of things while apart, but they're committed to rekindling their relationship. While taking a trip to the Scottish Highlands to spend some quality time, they secretly visit the standing stones called Craigh na Dun to watch a ritual. Later on, Claire returns alone to the stones in search of a certain plant she had noticed (she has an interest in botany) and finds herself pulled through time by the stones to a point two hundred years into the past. 

There, she meets Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) whose family takes her in. Also, throughout the season, they contend with Captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, Frank's ancestor. To the audience's horror, he looks exactly like Frank (and is also played by Menzies). Henceforth referred to as Captain Randall in this article, he can be described as Jamie's archenemy. This man is cruel with a capital "C" and we hate him.

Fraser and Co. go to great lengths to keep Claire safe from harm and out of Randall's hands. She and Jamie marry to change Claire's legal status from English to Scottish so Captain Randall won't have jurisdiction over her as an English subject. The season ends with them trying to escape to a new home only to find themselves embroiled once again in Captain Randall's sadistic schemes. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the timeline, Frank struggles to come to terms with his wife's disappearance and finally leaves her suitcase behind in the Highlands in an attempt to move on with his life.

The concept of being flung through time two hundred years into the past, with everyone you’ve known and love now nonexistent, is fucking terrifying. Add being caught up in the underpinnings of war to the mix, and you have a real nail-biter. As if that wasn’t enough, Captain Randall sends it all straight to hell. The end of this season sees Jamie and Claire set sail, hoping to change the course of history. 

My take on Season 1: This season boldly tackles the moral dilemmas Claire faces in her new situation. One thing that really stood out to me as a viewer was the way Outlander handles the repercussions of each character’s decisions. Claire, someone who knows history and which side won, now finds herself on the side that lost. Not only that, she finds herself newly widowed (I guess?), ignorant to the way of life around her, and embroiled in politics she can now influence to some degree. How strong can newfound loyalties really be in the face of an unshakeable threat? Season 1 isn’t afraid to find out.

Season 2

Claire and Jamie go to France to infiltrate the Jacobite rebellion and hopefully prevent the Battle of Culloden. Their attempts to alter the future become increasingly desperate, and viewers feel a great sense of foreboding because it could very well be Jamie, Murtagh (Jamie's godfather, played by Duncan Lacroix), and others falling on that battlefield. While in France, they navigate French society, a world of intrigue, and lavish parties. However, Prince Charles Stuart (Andrew Gower) is difficult to persuade. Changing history proves challenging, and Jamie and Claire do everything they can to stop the uprising that leads to the end of the Scottish lifestyle they hold dear. 

They are thwarted at every turn and end up back in Scotland with The Battle of Culloden rapidly approaching. Dougal MacKenzie, War Chieftain of Clan MacKenzie (played by none other than Couch Soup guest Graham McTavishUncharted fans rejoice!), overhears Jamie and Claire’s last-ditch plan to stop the Jacobite efforts before it’s too late, and he violently confronts them. Loyal to his cause until the end, in a heart-wrenching scene, he becomes one of the first casualties of the finale.

My take on Season 2: Watching this season felt like racing toward a rock wall, the end looming and seemingly inevitable. The characters don’t run from it; rather they attempt to confront the plot’s conflict head-on. They show agency, courage, and tenacity. But it's human will versus the sands of time. Is history truly unchangeable, even against our protagonists' best efforts?

Season 3

To keep Claire and their unborn child safe, Jamie had sent her back through the stones right before Culloden. Her return to her own time was heart-wrenching, to say the least. Once back in her own time, she and Frank reunite, and though their relationship is troubled and clearly never the same, Frank agrees to raise Jamie and Claire's daughter. 

Jamie survives Culloden and kills Captain Randall. Afterward, he struggles with the trauma of surviving the battle, losing Claire, and not knowing the fate of their child. They were concerned that while Claire could time travel, the baby may not be able to. This season also sees their daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton), alive and well, and developing a relationship with a young man named Roger (Richard Rankin). By the end of the season, Claire and Jamie have reunited again after Claire journeys once more through the stones to find him. They travel across an ocean and endure disease and unrest on the voyage. Our protagonists end the season in Jamaica facing off against an old adversary (we hate her, too).

Nerd Note: Roger is related to Dougal MacKenzie from seasons 1 & 2 among others in the story.​​ Time travel and family trees…

My take on Season 3: I want to take a moment to acknowledge the villains in this show. To say they are shocking is an understatement. Randall’s death in particular has stuck with me, and I’m not sure I’ll ever forget it. There are few characters I have hated–no, loathed–more. I'd rank Captain Randall right under Joffrey and Ramsay from Game of Thrones, only because Joffrey was unpredictable as hell and Ramsay literally skinned people.

Season 4

Claire and Jamie move to colonial America and start up a new life for themselves. Claire is aware of the American Revolution that's not far down history's road. With this knowledge, they face difficulty balancing their loyalty to the British ruling class of the time. They meet a pirate named Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) (we hate him, too, too), and he goes on to do many terrible things throughout the show. Brianna and Roger, still in the 20th century, search for clues recorded throughout 18th-century history that prove Claire successfully reunited with Jamie. They do find the clues, but they also uncover something terrifying. The new information has them hurrying to follow Claire through the stones to find Brianna's parents while there's still time. 

My take on Season 4: Outlander has never been an easy show to watch. This season is no exception, and trouble follows our characters from the start. The show highlights how dangerous, complicated, and complex it would be to not only navigate the past but experience it firsthand. This season juxtaposes some of the worst attitudes of the time with Claire’s more evolved attitudes toward equality and her commitment to saving lives. Our main characters grapple with what’s right, what’s wrong, and how to act when your hands are tied by history itself.

Season 5

Claire has reunited with Brianna and Roger, Jamie has met his daughter for the first time, and disaster was staved off. The Frasers previously established a home on an acreage known as Fraser's Ridge, and, in this season, they focus on protecting their growing foundation. 

Nerd Note: You can actually get pretty close to where Fraser's Ridge is supposed to be by going to Grandfather Mountain State Park (and other locations) in North Carolina. In fact, Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2022, a fan event celebrating the history of Outlander’s North Carolina backcountry wilderness, is hosting an exciting gathering that Graham McTavish is attending as a special guest. You can learn more about that here.

Jamie has tenuous loyalty with the British. However, Murtagh, Jamie's godfather, has no such loyalties. Murtagh has been Jamie's friend, father figure, and confidante since Season 1. Jamie is tasked with hunting down and killing Murtagh, who is part of the Regulator Rebellion. The Battle of Alamance occurs during the War of the Regulation, and I won't spoil what happens. Suffice it to say it's been about a year since I saw this episode, and I'm still not okay with it. 

Brianna and Roger are building their relationship, Roger struggles to earn Jamie's respect, and the season finale sees Jamie going on a rescue mission to save Claire from brutal captors.

My take on Season 5: The standout episode for me was "The Ballad of Roger Mac." Murtagh's death and the way it comes about was devastating. It highlighted, for me, the central theme of consequences. Jamie gave his orders, and they were followed, but damn. At what cost? This complex and visceral question has been a theme since Season 1, and, for better or for worse, it shows no signs of letting up now. I was left asking myself, "What else can they stand to lose if it all goes wrong?" I’m afraid to know the answer.

This is the most straightforward series summary I could come up with, and I'm actually surprised I was able to streamline it this much. Some of it crosses seasons, but I kept it chronological. There are many pivotal characters I've left out and many, many experiences and events I haven't mentioned for the sake of keeping this recap short (otherwise this article would be a novella). Please also be advised that this show includes many instances of violence, physical and sexual abuse, and other possibly triggering content. If you are wanting to watch but are concerned with the content, you can reference this list of trigger warnings to inform your viewing discretion.

What to expect in Season 6

Here's what we know so far: Claire and Jaime have founded their home, Fraser's Ridge, on land in North Carolina granted to them by the Crown. Their world is undergoing extreme political upheaval, and the American Revolution is rapidly approaching. Against this backdrop, the two have to navigate increasing conflict on both Fraser's Ridge and between themselves and the Crown. Lines will be drawn.

Outlander may be your new favorite show if…

Do you enjoy a lush world, complex storytelling, and romance set against a historical backdrop? How about villains you’d like to strangle, sword fights, and politics that will have you willingly picking up a history book? If you slept through it in high school, don't worry because it comes alive in this kickass show! Outlander depicts strong friendships and explores themes of loyalty, love, and loss. Some badass characters are involved, as well as some morally gray ones. (I'm looking at you, Dougal!) There are some terrible, terrible, terrible characters that pollute the screen, as well. Jamie, Claire, and their family have fought hard to be who they are "today," and it's moving to watch their stories grow. 

I learned a good deal about Scottish history while watching (though I know they take creative liberties), and I've enjoyed the show's dialogue overall. And about that violence, even if you've seen Game of Thrones or a similar show, be advised that Outlander has some scenes that were hard to watch for me even after watching GOT episodes like "The Mountain and the Viper." Viewers grow very attached to these characters, and the show is not afraid to hurt them. On that note…

A few personal thoughts

I, for one, am terrified of what's about to happen. I have no idea who lives. I have no idea who dies. I have no idea who is about to have their ass handed to them. 

These characters have overcome so much in the past five seasons. I've been rewatching from Season 1 as a refresher, and I've noticed that Claire, for one, has grown exponentially from who she was when she started out. As a viewer who hasn't read the books, I have no idea what to expect. And that’s scary as hell. 

I'm genuinely worried about the Frasers. They'll be navigating the thin ice between loyalty to the British and loyalty to their newfound home. Everyone looks to be in a great deal of danger, and many characters have recently survived exceedingly difficult situations. I'm also nervous to see how the show handles the many historical events they may possibly cover in this season. I hope they include respectful and accurate representation for all parties involved. 

To be frank (no "Frank" pun intended), this season's gonna be a nail-biter for me. I've done my best, even while researching, not to get too far into spoiler territory for Season 6 so that I can be surprised when I watch it. I may regret that… it feels like (more) tears are on the horizon. 

You can join me and watch Outlander on STARZ, with Season 6 premiering on March 6, 2022. Some past seasons are available on Netflix if you want to catch up.

Are you tuning in to watch Jamie and Claire face the Revolutionary War? If so, let me know your favorite stress management tactics. I'm gonna need them!

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