Claire and Jamie stepped aside as the focal points for Outlander Season 6 Episode 3 to uncover details surrounding Tom Christie and Fergus.
To understand what lies ahead after Tom's arrival, we needed more insight into his character.
Similarly, Fergus's suffering has impacted his entire family, so helping to resolve it was also imperative.
First, let's discuss the curious case of Tom Christie.
The man is an enigma, and what we learned from "Temperance" barely scratches the surface of what we need to know to fully understand him -- if that's even possible.
Tom leans heavily on God's teaching through bible verses to form his thoughts. While we don't know if he has always been so pious, indications are that this occurred after his time at Ardsmuir.
As Jamie and Claire tried to understand Tom, including his strange relationship with his daughter, they considered whether Malva was his child.
From what they can tell, the timing of her birth and Tom's stint in Ardsmuir coincide, which would suggest Malva and Allan have different mothers.
Jamie was surprised that Malva said she was born in Scotland and shared a mother with Allan. From what Jamie recalls, Tom was sent to the colonies after Ardsmuir. But from his recent arrival in the colonies, wouldn't that have required Tom to have returned to Scotland?
Nonetheless, even more pertinent to Tom's persona is what happened to Malva's mother rather than who she was.
Malva's mother was burned as a witch. Or, at least that's what she's been told. It doesn't account for why Malva is treated so much more poorly than Allan, but she's a little spitfire, and that resemblance to her mother might be putting Tom off.
Malva: My mother was not so spiritually inclined.
Ian: What do you mean?
Malva: She was hanged as a witch.
Losing his wife in such a way would surely send Tom seeking comfort and understanding, but leaning into religion, which likely had a hand in his wife's death, seems strange. It's interesting, for sure.
It seems to coincide with his continual need to share with others that he's an educated man. It's almost like Tom uses that as a defense mechanism since he knows that if you're ruled by religion, it suggests you're not open to ideas.
Claire, in particular, has a difficult time with Tom taking his cues from the word of God.
Tom said God was ready for him to get his hand operated on, but he wasn't willing to use Claire's "potions" to get through it, making it difficult to accomplish.
Even if you dislike someone, it can't be easy to offer medical services to someone in pain. Tom's refusal to use the latest medical advances suggests he's not using his educated mind to make decisions, and his choice to do that makes life more difficult for those around him, from Malva to Claire.
Claire was as surprised as we were to learn Tom had tried his hand at reading fiction. It wasn't a shocker that he forbade his wife to do it (or that she did it anyway), and after his repulsion at reading the "filth" that is Tom Jones.
It's also ironic since Tom Jones is a satirical take on human relations and failings since Tom Christie could certainly use a few lessons in that area.
It surprised me, it not Claire, that Tom agreed to stay in the infirmary for the night after his procedure, but it led to a very strange encounter worth the effort.
Tom: Your hair. There's a great deal of it.
Claire: There is a great deal of it.
Claire later asked Jamie about Tom's thoughts on women, leading to the discussion about Tom's wives and children, but Tom's comments on her hair were just bizarre.
Tom: Why do you never wear a proper kerch or cap?
Claire: Why should I?
Tom: 'Cause every pious married woman should. "And every woman who prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head. For that is just as if she were shaven."
Claire: Are we back to Saint Paul again? Ever occur to you that man had quite the bee in his bonnet about women? Besides, I'm not praying right now. I want to see how this does overnight before I risk prophesying about it.
Once again, he used the bible as his source, and Claire's counterargument is something I think of regularly.
Tom also fully understood what Jamie did by claiming the tartan, although he didn't understand why he had done it. The man appears to have very little compassion and even less insight into human nature.
But somehow, that experience placed Jamie into his esteem, even if he sure didn't allow it to affect his actions while they were in Ardsmuir.
Despite his belief in the word of God, those very human traits are off the table, but he was quick to remind his people that how they treated Henri-Christian was not acceptable and shared with Claire that although he believes in witches, he doesn't believe her to be one.
Germain: See! I told you he wasn't a demon.
Boy: Is it true, what Mr. MacKenzie said about the bairn belonging to the Lord?
Jamie: I certainly wouldn't argue about what Mr. MaKenzie said about that. But whoever else he belongs to, Henri-Christian belongs to me. Best ye all remember it.
Things with Tom get curiouser and curiouser with every new interaction, and it's worrisome because he's easily influenced.
When Claire warned him away from Robert Brown (an offer we knew was coming), he didn't respond. An educated man should know better by applying logic. A religious man may falter if logic cannot be applied.
With his hand healed, Tom had no problem punishing his willful daughter. How much worse will that become when Tom discovers the blossoming friendship between Malva and Ian?
Their discussions are naturally flirtatious, and it's lovely to see Ian let his guard down a little bit with someone outside of the family. It's not been easy for him since he lost his family, and making new friendships could be a game-changer.
While many are fearful of what Ian represents, Malva embraces it. Her mind is always questioning, which is why she fits in so beautifully with the Fraser family.
Ian: Why would your father ever be worried about your eternal fate?
Malva: I'm flattered you don't think he should be. But why not? Are we all not sinners, Mr... it is Fraser, isn't it?
Ian: It's Murry. My ma's a Fraser. And aye, we are all sinners, but a young lass like yourself? Surely, you've done no wrong.
Malva: Looks can be deceiving.
But I still can't rid myself of the look on her face on Outlander Season 6 Episode 1, when she rose up against her father as he tried to beat her. She had a look in her eyes that teased a girl struggling with something inside of her, and it didn't lean toward piousness!
As I didn't read this far into the novels, I have no idea what's coming next with Tom and his family, but a cursory Googling of Malva shows that she's got a few secrets up her sleeves and might not make the best family friend.
Since she's getting closer to them all the time and even Jamie is in the mix, it's a valid concern. I wasn't sure if I was projecting my 2022 mind on their brief encounter in the woods or not, but there were alarm bells going off as Jamie teased her and offered his friendship.
It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
All of this brings us to Fergus, Marsali, Germain, and Henri-Christian.
Fergus's actions after Henri-Christian's birth didn't do much to help Germain with his little brother.
Surely, if Fergus had seemed less upset after the birth, Germain would have done more (even at his young age) to stop the neighborhood kids from putting Henri-Christian on the water to see if he could float, a sure-fire way to determine if the child was a demon or not, according to their parents.
Things could have gone far worse had Roger not been nearby or, God forbid, if they hadn't been wise enough to use a basket.
Jamie's lesson for the children revealed how sweet and loving Henri-Christian really is, which turned out to be an easier task than getting Fergus to realize his son's condition wasn't his fault.
Fergus believed that his inability to protect Marsali from Lionel Brown was because of his missing hand and that failing to do so led to Henri-Christian's condition from the beating Brown gave Marsali.
None of it was true, of course, but the more Fergus disappeared into his cups, the less rational he became.
Marsali could see what was happening, but nothing she said or did helped relieve Fergus of his anguish. Her attempt to prove that she, too, can protect their family only made things worse.
Fergus: You're right. Only I wasn't drunk when I failed you before.
Marsali: I can fight for us, too. The burden is not only on you. I can protect us, as well.
Fergus: Not against men like Lionel Brown.
Marsali: Aye, I can. And I did. [long pause] Let this be a comfort to ye, Fergus because I mean it to be. Lionel didn't die. I killed him.
And it might not have been the best wording on her part to use the phrase "whole man" when she relayed her demands on her husband, as the combination of the two seemed to have left him reeling to the point of suicide.
Fergus: I am the man of this house!
Marsali: Well, then you can come back when you're actin' like one. You promised me, Fergus Fraser! And I will have a whole man or none at all.
Has Fergus finally reached rock bottom? It's not easy to stop drinking, stop wallowing, and walk away from suicidal thoughts, but with war on the way, they're going to need family strength to survive.
Roger's new role in town should help in that regard. The more the residents of Frasers Ridge rely on him for comfort and moral platitudes, the better.
It's been a slow progression to becoming a minister, but it not only fits given his father's profession, but Roger's personality to care for others.
What comes next for the ridge? If you watch Outlander online, I'd love to know what you think.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.