We’re back! Once again Outlander 6×03 “Temperance” made us vibrate with emotion and tore our hearts as we watched Fergus fight with his demons while Roger remains the character he should have always been and one unexpected thing follows another. Time for a review!
Here we go!
Let’s go with the elephant in the room of Outlander 6×03 “Temperance”: Fersali and the attack on Henri Christian. Ignorance is dangerous and can cost lives. Henri Christian is a sweet, cuddly, wonderful boy, just like any other baby in the world. But ignorance makes some children (instigated by their parents) almost kill him. Roger, in a way that’s starting to become natural, saves the day.
I can only repeat this scene over and over again in a loop because at this moment I would kiss Roger. Yeah, I said what I said. He can’t speak more clearly. Plus, Roger knows how to fix things. The parents of these children say that Henri Christian is the son of the devil…a baptism makes him a son of God and against that, they cannot argue if they don’t want to deny what they believe. A conversation to try to make the ignorant understand would have served no purpose, but this does.
So, for a second time in a row, olé, Roger! It seems that they finally figured out how to write this character. In season 5 they improved but it’s not until this season that they’re writing Roger brilliantly and making us love him. Chapeau.
And chapeau for Jamie too because that punishment makes the children stop being afraid of Henri Christian and realize that he is a child exactly like them.
Although Roger rescues Henri Christian, this attack has other consequences within the Fraser family. Fergus feels guilty that his son has dwarfism and worries about what it means for his future. His conversation with Claire broke our hearts because he saw the horrible things being done to people like Henri Christian and he can’t bear to think of that happening to his son.
Fergus is so scared…and he feels so guilty that he doesn’t know what to do because neither he, nor Marsali, nor Claire, nor Jamie will always be there to protect Henri Christian and they are only one day away from not arriving in time for something horrible to happen. He’s not to blame for anything but he can’t help but feel that way, he can’t help but hate himself for it.
So Fergus wants to forget that guilt, that hate, that feeling of being useless…at the bottom of a bottle. Marsali trusted him and believed him when he promised her that he would never drink again, she believed that they would defend their son together. But she comes home to find him drunk, with the children screaming for food. Marsali arrives at her house and doesn’t find her husband, only a rag drowned in alcohol who doesn’t even listen to his children clamoring for food and who only thinks of having another drink.
And we were never more proud of Marsali than at this moment in Outlander 6×03 “Temperance.” The moment she tell Fergus one truth after another. She even confesses to him about the murder she committed to defend their family.
Because she can protect them too, she is not a damsel in distress. We didn’t expect this sexist attitude from Fergus because it’s not about him providing and protecting them, it’s about them protecting their family, together, and yes, Marsali is a strong, brave woman who is willing to do anything to defend her family and he should be proud to have a woman like that by his side, if he isn’t, he can go to hell.
We love Marsali in this scene, making Fergus see that alcohol is never the answer and that he’s losing his family to the bottom of a bottle. But if he wants to drown himself in alcohol, she won’t stop him. No more. But he will do it outside of her house. That house is hers and her children’s, it does not belong to a drunk she no longer recognizes as her husband. Proud mama here!
After this fight, far from reflecting, Fergus sinks deeper and deeper into his dark well of self-pity. He points out his drunkenness on the day of the fundraiser, and while that ignorant woman deserved every word Fergus said to her, Marsali didn’t deserve to be embarrassed like that.
Fergus is in a self-destructive spiral and feels…so useless. He wasn’t the one who saved his son, he wasn’t even there to defend him and only brings pain to his family. How long had it been since he had heard Marsali laugh as she did at the fundraiser? Fergus feels like a burden to his family and believes they would be better off without him. What happens to Fergus is called depression and that’s what it does for you, that you feel so little that ending your life seems like the best option, for you and everyone else.
As we discussed in the episode 1 review, Milord and Milady, his parents, are the only ones who can make Fergus react. After the conversation with Milady, it’s Milord‘s turn. Jamie makes Fergus see that they never cared what he could do for them, which is a lot. They welcomed him into his family because of who he is. He is the one that matters.
And he has always been there, even when no one else could, even in the darkest and most horrible times, even when there was nothing but darkness. And he has brought them forward. But it was never about what he could do or what they needed him to do, it was about him.
Marsali doesn’t need any man to provide for her family, she needs him. His children don’t need any man to take care of them, they need him, his father. And Jamie and Claire and the rest of his family don’t need someone who can do jobs on the Ridge, they need their son, they need him.
That is what Fergus must realize. His family loves him, not what he can do for them. And what better person to open Fergus’ eyes than his father by choice. Jamie and Claire chose him, Marsali chose him, and they continue to do so every day. Fergus and Jamie broke our hearts with this heartbreaking conversation. But in the best possible way.
Malva and Ian spent some time together in Outlander 6×03 “Temperance.” And we don’t like it at all… Malva’s past is like a great unknown that nobody is willing to talk about and that adds to our suspicions about her. We care too much for Ian to see him near her.
The conversation about sins is quite interesting…and revealing. She said something in that conversation with Ian that gave us goosebumps: “looks are deceiving.” We felt like she was referring to herself and that’s the most real thing Malva has said in a long time.
We also don’t like Malva being close to Jamie. And much less, alone. Of course, there was nothing more than a normal conversation between them but, sometimes, it just takes a malicious rumor said by the right person for everything to turn into a mess. Something is wrong with Malva and we prefer that she stays away from the Frasers, including Claire.
Other characters who get unexpected closer are Tom and Claire. At first, their interactions are prickly. Claire, like us, can’t stand that Tom is a religious fanatic and that he carries that fanaticism to the point of causing himself and others pain because it’s “God’s will.” Also, Claire seems to think that he was the one who started the rumor about her being a witch. And we don’t blame her.
Tom is exactly that…with everyone else. But with her, he’s different, almost… sweet? Or smooth, at least. There’s something about Claire that both fascinates and attracts Tom, while at the same time he hates feeling that way. He can’t stand that Claire is so “shameless” as not to wear a coif in public and let her hair down but, at the same time, he loves that she does. Tom hates that Claire behaves so unchristian in his eyes but he loves that she knows by heart the scriptures he reveres so much.
He went out of his way to make it clear to Claire on several occasions that he doesn’t consider her a witch. And he’s not doing it for Jamie’s benefit, so he knows he didn’t start that rumor. Tom does it so Claire knows. Tom had a chance to make that point clear to Jamie when he went to threaten him about it, but he didn’t, he didn’t deny the accusation. However, he goes out of his way to make sure Claire knows that he wasn’t the one who spread the rumor.
It’s like… Tom cares what she thinks of him. He cares that she thinks well of him. Further proof of this is what happens on the day of the fundraiser. That ignorant woman puts Tom in a bind by pitting him against his own words…but he chooses Claire, he chooses to get along with her. He doesn’t support her position here but makes it clear that in his presence Claire and her family, will be respected. He wanted her to see that Tom supported her.
In other things, Tom’s punishments for Malva make no sense or excuse. In Outlander 6×03 “Temperance” we see that it is something he does every day, but why? That she is close to Claire as her apprentice is just an excuse, especially when Tom saw Claire’s way of working and made it clear that he doesn’t consider her a witch.
So why does he abuse her like this? It’s like he’s punishing her for something that’s her fault, like it’s…personal. Maybe it’s because of her origin? Maybe Tom is not Malva’s father and he punishes her for it (although she has nothing to do with it) or maybe it’s a mixture of several things? We don’t know yet, but whatever it is, we’re sure it will be something disturbing and dark…as much as this family is.
In Outlander 6×03 “Temperance” we see both sides of Tom. The man who is capable of physically abusing her daughter and spanking her for the hell of it… and the man who is capable of discussing books with Claire and joking with her through notes. Which makes us wonder: who is Tom Christie?
On the other hand, Jamie doesn’t seem to realize at this point how Tom is beginning to feel about Claire, but he was present at the operation. He didn’t leave her alone with him so maybe his gut is telling him that Tom Christie isn’t someone to leave Claire alone with.
Talking about Jamie and Claire, they had an intimate moment in Outlander 6×03 “Temperance.” Not that kind of moment but still, an intimate moment in which Jamie shared with Claire a part of what he lived through in Ardsmuir and how it felt not to have her around and to dream of her, how she gave him the strength to overcome the moments of greatest darkness and how other men were not so lucky. And if you didn’t already love Jamie Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, surely you do now. Because we would throw ourselves into his arms right now. Without thinking.
But not everything is happiness for them. Claire continues to struggle with her trauma in Outlander 6×03 “Temperance.” It’s getting easier for her to focus on the day to day at the Ridge and pretend she’s okay but then, out of the blue, an innocent prank or that bastard’s name brings her back there and she feels like she can’t breathe, all of a sudden, the memories drown her and she needs help to be able to breathe again …it’s in those moments when she goes to look for the ether.
Only this time, when she was about to do it, Tom Christie woke up, and unwittingly, saved her from a dangerous and traumatic situation. He saved her from falling back down her rabbit hole. Once Tom wakes up, Claire can put her mind on healing his wound, she’s back to being the healer and having something to do, someone to help. That helps her and her conversation with Tom ends up distracting her enough to focus on what she has at hand.
But Jamie realizes that Claire ran from their room in the middle of the night and the reason wasn’t Tom. He is seeing the clues but, as Sam Heughan commented, Jamie is trying to give her the space she needs, the question is, how long will this strange calm full of deafening silences last?
We think not long.
PS: Claire calling Tom a “masochist” and him having no idea what it gives me feelings…for season 1.
PS2: Marsali appreciating her sister Brianna’s invention made my day.