After the hiatus, we’re here again! Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones” is the most emotional episode of the season. It shows us Claire vulnerable, broken but as raw and real as life itself and is proof of how and why Jamie and Claire’s love is the basis of everything. Time for a review!
Here we go!
“YOU KILLED HER DESPITE YOUR OATH”
In Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones” Claire’s trauma reaches its tipping point as we see the intense confrontation over the use of the ether that Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe told us about. But let’s start from the beginning.
After Malva’s murder and everyone at the Ridge being ungrateful enough to blame and despise her for it, Claire feels…out of place in her own home. The Ridge is the home that she and Jamie built. And after everything they both had to go through to get there, Claire was finally able to find a home with the love of her life.
But Malva’s accusation and her murder put an end to that. Now, everyone looks at her with suspicion, with hatred, and Jamie lost everyone’s respect, not only because of Malva’s accusation but because of protecting her. In that situation, it’s no wonder Claire’s demons take human form and it’s all too much for her.
It’s too much for anyone.
Lionel Brown symbolizes for Claire the hell she went through in that forest…and all the fears and trauma that come with it. She didn’t forget the bastard’s words, just as she hasn’t forgotten the smell of the forest, the taste of her blood in her mouth, or the weight of the bodies on top of her. His words are stuck in her, in her mind, in her heart and they made a dent there. After all, isn’t that exactly what everyone at the Ridge is thinking right now?
When Jamie, along with the others, rescued her, she was broken. She came out of that forest broken. All the time, she tried to rebuild herself, and, for the most part, she succeeded. But just when Claire thought she was getting the pieces of her soul and her spirit back together, this happened and broke it all up again. Her refuge, her home, her solace… it fell apart. And with it, her fears, her demons, and her trauma rear their ugly head out because she’s back there, in that forest, broken.
Ether is the poison and antidote for Claire in Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones.” It was the whole season. She refuses to use the ether at the beginning of this episode. She needs to stop doing it because it’s a momentary relief… but everything gets worse when the effects wear off. But, in the end, it’s too much. She can’t stand it. She’s devastated and she feels the need to rest for a moment, to stop suffering, to let go of Lionel and her trauma if only for a few hours. The ether is the only thing that makes everything disappear.
“I WANTED TO DO IT”
Claire knows that she should stop using it. For her, killing Malva is a very real possibility. She’s afraid that she did. Because she wanted to. Claire, like Jamie, is capable of anything for her family and that includes dying and killing for them. Thinking about it coldly, killing Malva was the solution to all of their problems. Killing Malva would save her family. And Claire wanted to save her family more than anything…and it’s not the first time she’d brandish a knife to do it.
So she’s afraid that she really did. Claire tries to be as sure she didn’t do it as Jamie is, but she can’t. Claire can’t because she knows that she not only wanted to do it but that she is quite capable of doing something like that. So getting rid of ether is a priority for Claire. She cannot let her actions slip away from her again. She can’t lose control again.
But, at the end of it all, she can’t help it. It’s the only thing that gives her peace…Claire needs it. When Claire learns the truth about her innocence in Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones,” she feels hopeful. Her remorse for letting her control slip through her fingers and what might have happened in the meantime haunted her.
That’s why Lionel was so present, why he didn’t disappear. But now that Claire knows it was Lizzie who knocked on her door and not Malva, she has nothing to feel guilty about. Claire hopes it’s time for it all to go away.
However, Lionel reappears in front of her as real as he always was. Although Claire refuses to take ether. The ether controlled her life for so long…in the end, nothing happened, but it could have. She can’t risk it again. Besides, even the ether doesn’t seem like enough now. Not when Lionel and his words feel as…real as they ever have. Not when Claire feels like she can’t get away from them.
Then, when Claire feels worst when she feels so caught up in her own demons that she can’t breathe, Jamie appears right next to her, ready to take her hand and lead her into the light. This is the moment where Claire snaps and opens up to Jamie.
“OTHERWISE IT DOESN’T DISAPPEAR…”
At first, she tries to hold back and only tells him about how, in the mist produced by ether, she thought Malva knocked on her door. We’re surprised by Jamie’s lack of reaction to this. We mean, he knows there’s more going on here than Claire trying to sleep without nightmares, so he freaks out with the tea, but still doesn’t say a thing.
He’s still waiting for her to tell him, in her own time. And just when we thought Jamie couldn’t wait any longer, Claire begins to really talk to Jamie about what she feels for the first time this season.
Claire carries a very heavy load on her back. A load is full of guilt and fear. Claire hadn’t dealt with her trauma until this point in Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones.” Until now, she avoided it, hoping that it would just…fade into the background of her memory over time. But an unfaced trauma is never completely forgotten, and forgetting doesn’t mean overcoming it.
SELFISHNESS, DECISIONS, AND FEARS
It’s here that Claire’s trauma is exposed with full force. And it’s cathartic. Claire went through horrible things before that forest but we were too used to seeing her contained. We were so used to seeing her compartmentalize everything in a way that she could move on, that this, this broken and vulnerable Claire makes us admire her even more. Compartmentalizing didn’t work for Claire this time, perhaps because she compartmentalized too much for too many years.
This time, Claire had to allow herself to break to rebuild herself. This time Claire, she had to look at her past and her decisions from a new perspective. A perspective flooded with the fears that her trauma left in her but also full of small doubts, small fears that were always there and she kept in a drawer. Fears and doubts that she compartmentalized.
What would have happened if…? Ever since Claire really met Jamie, she chose him. She chose him over everything. Claire would have accompanied Jamie to Culloden Moor and she would have died with him, pregnant with Brianna or not. That’s how desperate she had always been to be with him. Because he is the love of her life and she chooses him every day, even if that choice has consequences that neither of them would want.
Is that selfish? I guess, up to a point. But, again, we find that, for the most part, it is not. Love is precisely about that, about choosing the person you love every day, despite everything. And everyone made their own decisions. Claire chose Jamie, Brianna chose to travel back in time, and Roger chose to follow her. Claire is responsible for her own choices, not anyone else’s.
And yes, Claire’s choice had consequences, but doesn’t a choice have consequences in and of itself? The world is not black or white. Claire’s choice brought moments of pain, but also, as Jamie points out, happiness. Such is life, such is the world. There is happiness and there is pain and it’s just about living it all with the right person.
“I WOULD CHOOSE YOU AGAIN”
Claire rationally sees the logic in what Jamie is saying. She realizes that it’s true. But she’s afraid that his voice will never go away, will it always be like this? Will she only be able to make him disappear with ether? But it’s not like that. Claire just has to choose Jamie again right here, right now.
Jamie went through something similar after his forced encounter with Black Jack. He was in such a dark place that he saw death as the only way to find peace. As the only way to escape from reality. But Claire, despite his refusal, broke into that darkness to get him out of there. Claire fought for him, for them. She chose him again then. And Jamie just needs her to do it again now, to let him get to her, to trust him to do it.
Jamie just needs Claire to let him fight for her and them. But he can’t do it if she uses ether. When she sleeps, he cannot reach her, if she allows herself to languish and die, he cannot reach her. They must face this together, as they always have.
And Claire does. They have been through so much, they have suffered so much…but they have also loved so much and been so happy…she would do it all over again. Claire would choose him again. Always. And the best thing is that Jamie would do the same for her. He already does it every day.
This interaction was so emotionally intense and heartbreaking that it brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing that can break Jamie and Claire. There is nothing that can separate them. They’re unbreakable, they’re inevitable. They’re the basis of everything and it’s wonderful to see that Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones” is not only a proof of that but a tribute to it.
“YOUR WIFE HAS EYES”
While all of this is going on, Roger has his own dilemma in Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones.” He’s a minister at the Ridge but is not officially ordained. He wants to do it, to make it official, but he’s afraid of what it would mean for Brianna and their family.
He’s afraid that Brianna will not agree because it would mean that he would be responsible not only for his family but for all the inhabitants of the Ridge. It would mean getting up in the middle of the night and leaving his family behind if anyone in the Ridge needed him. It would mean marrying someone off in the middle of the night and having less time to spend with his family.
The situation with Amy nearly shattered the family he built with Brianna, and Roger would never risk that happening again. But being a minister…is what he is. It’s part of who he is and he feels that if he gave it up he would be betraying himself.
Brianna slowly found her place at that time and the Ridge. He’s clear from the beginning what his role is but his heart is divided because he doesn’t want to betray himself… but he doesn’t want to do the same with his family either.
And his family comes first.
This dichotomy in Roger leads him to seek advice from Jamie. Roger admires him, respects him, appreciates him, and knows that he will always speak the truth to him. It was always like that between them. Roger tells him about his fears, and how he feels that his heart is split into two parts and each part is stretched in the opposite direction.
Roger confesses to Jamie what he wants to do, what he knows he was born to do…but he’s afraid to take the step because his family comes first and if all this is going to hurt them, he’s not going to do it, no matter how much he wants to do it.
And Roger tells him not only for Jamie to somehow soothe his feelings about Brianna but also for Jamie to tell him how he feels about everything. Jamie is like a father to Roger and his opinion matters, Roger needs to know that he supports and stands by him. He needs to feel that Jamie is proud of him.
As always, Jamie speaks the truth to him. He already knows it, he has eyes on his face, and he sees him. Being a minister is who he is and you cannot turn your back on who you are in your heart. Brianna is aware of what it would mean for him to officially become a minister but she is also aware that, for all things that matter, he already is one, because it’s part of who he is.
He is always willing to help others, always with his heart in his hand. Asking him not to do what he is born to do would be like asking him not to be him. Brianna has eyes on her face and sees him. Roger doesn’t have to be afraid to say anything to her.
And this scene, as simple and short as it is, is perfection. Roger sees Jamie as a father figure and loves him that way. Jamie became a father to him in all the ways that matter and we see that here. It’s a shame that Outlander doesn’t give us these scenes more often because they create special magic on screen and seeing how their relationship evolved is one of the best things this show gave us.
Now that Roger (finally) found his place in Outlander, now that the show managed to establish these dynamics that are so real, so emotional and so beautiful, it’s time not to take a step back from this and show us more of what Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones” had to offer.
I SEE YOU…
Once Roger talked to Jamie, it was time for Roger to tell Brianna in Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones.” The fear of what she might say still lingers in his mind and his heart, but Jamie’s conversation finally gave Roger the strength he needed. And she reacts just like Jamie told Roger she was going to.
Yes, Brianna is afraid that Roger will have less time for their family and what will happen if Roger’s duty as a minister and his duty to his family ever converge, but she sees him. She knows that Roger was born for this, it’s part of him, of his heart. And his big heart is one of the reasons why she fell in love with him.
Brianna can make peace with the people of the Ridge looking to Roger when they need it, but she couldn’t make peace with asking Roger not to be himself. Especially when she is so proud of the man Roger is. So he has her full support. They will do this…together.
And this is one of the most beautiful moments of this ship to which we ship more every day for things like this.
“I’M COMING TO ARREST HER…FOR MURDER”
Of course, Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones” couldn’t leave us with a calm ending…so the last minute of the episode puts us completely on alert again and makes our asses on the edge of the chair. Richard Brown intends to arrest Claire. What will happen now? Because it’s clear that that bastard is taking advantage of what happened with Malva to take revenge for the death of his disgusting brother.
Claire can’t even imagine willingly going with him, not only because she didn’t do anything but try to save a life but because the situation reminds her so much of the forest, of…him and everything that happened there. And Jamie is not going to give in. If Richard wants to take Claire it will have to be over his dead body. He will die defending her.
As it is, none of this can end well… and it makes our hair stand on end as only Outlander can. Where is Ian when he is needed?
Other Stuff In Outlander 6×07 “Sticks and Stones”
- The way Claire’s face contorts when she sees Richard Brown and how she hides from him… we’re used to seeing a strong, brave, determined Claire, and seeing her so shaky and scared… it breaks something in me. It’s logical for Claire to feel and behave like this but I hate it.
- Roger’s face when someone reminds him that he’s not *really* a minister. Yeah, that hurts.
- I’m sorry Claire but you have to be dumb to take the baby’s coffin after what happened when Jamie tried to do the same with Malva’s like 10 seconds before.
- If anyone has the right to blame anyone for Malva’s murder, it’s Tom, and yet he doesn’t blame Claire (in fact, I think he knows she’s innocent) while Allen blames her too hard and hatefully. That gives me food for thought…don’t you?
- How hot Jamie gets when he defends Claire with everything he’s got.
- Give all the awards to Caitriona Balfe right now!