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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
WHAT STANDS OUT
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 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…