After Outlander Season 6 Episode 6, things at the Ridge will never be the same.
Personal tragedy overtook the more interesting theme of Jamie's involvement with the Sons of Liberty when Malva's evil twist upended an otherwise happy existence.
We'll never know why she waffled so greatly between admiration for Claire and the desire to stab her in the back because someone slit her throat.
Although all the evidence points to Claire, Claire is a healer, and even on her worst days, with evil plaguing her from all angles, murder was never at her fingertips.
If she could survive the likes of Black Jack Randall and others who abused her terribly time and again, lashing out at Malva makes no sense.
Malva surely gave it her all to provoke Claire, something that had been brewing in her mind far before she poisoned Claire and Tom.
And, of course, Malva did poison Claire and Tom. Claire's dreams were pointing her in the right direction. She didn't see things vividly, but what she did see was her heart crushed by a snake in the grass.
Sadly, Claire's trust in Malva as her apprentice allowed it to happen. After everything she has suffered, Claire's hope and faith in humanity blind her to snakes slithering around her. Her kindness is one of Jamie's favorite traits, but you have to wonder what this latest debacle will do it.
Claire's illness only bonded Jamie and Closer together, something Malva couldn't have seen coming.
Although she had been plotting her attempt to take over Claire's life for a while, it must have been incredibly insulting to her fragile ego when Jamie spurned her advances.
All that she learned from Claire and being accepted into the Fraser family couldn't soften her troubled mind, which was only aggravated by her father's oft-misunderstood religious beliefs.
Although I initially believed Tom to be inherently evil, there's more to him than that. Lurking under his tough veneer is a contradictory man with an ever-so-slight sense of humor, which was apparent when Claire visited him to discuss their illnesses.
All at once, he considered her daft for traveling just after her illness, an oddity for her shorn hair (oh, Malva), and disgusting for asking for a sample of his fecal matter. Yet after it all, he wanted to see Claire home, taking her arm to get her there safely.
He cannot adequately express himself, which leaves his children at an even bigger disadvantage. They don't understand the contradictions of their father and the world they live in because they haven't walked in his shoes.
Tom doesn't support Allan's penchant for violence, but it seems when Allan is violent, he's seeking that approval. After all, he's seen how Tom deals with Malva.
When Claire visited Malva after Malva's accusations, Malva seemed to be seconds away from sharing something with Claire when Allan intervened.
When you look at his behavior and Tom's simple request that Jamie acknowledge the baby and make it an official heir, the behavior points to something very wrong within that family.
Between the violence Malva suffers at Tom's hand and the way that Allan leaps to protect her, it's hard not to consider that she died at the hands of someone who claimed to love her.
So, Malva's behavior isn't surprising. It is disappointing, but she didn't have to die for it. Although aggrieved by Malva's accusations against her and Jamie, Claire didn't do it. How long until they can prove it?
Unfortunately, as we all know, dirt sells, and gossip spreads like wildfire. It's just not as exciting to wag your tongue about how wonderful someone's life seems. Our nature is to drag people down rather than lift them up.
So, on the cusp of a revolution, the Ridge is suffering a revolt of its own against the very people who made it possible for their new lives.
As Claire and Jamie reunited after her illness, they clung to each other, teasing one another about their better traits. They're drawn to each other in ways we can only dream about.
But words are easy, and they were immediately put to the test once Malva's accusations came to light.
Claire ran from the room after slapping Malva, which left Jamie reeling when they had just reconnected so beautifully.
Instinctively, Claire knew that Malva was lying, but her nightmares were still fresh. And Jamie didn't behave appropriately because a past indiscretion weight on him heavily.
Even the very best relationships are tested, and so soon after this latest test, the Fraser family is going to have to work hard to prove Claire's innocence when she'll likely have a hard time believing it herself.
A few last words:
- The way Ian spoke about Malva sure makes me wish that he finds another love soon so that he can have a family. He's got so much to offer.
- Death is terrible, but it's worse when kids die, and we saw two infants suffer and perish during this episode. Hopefully, that will be enough for a while.
- Claire's short hair sure caused a stir, but by the time it was a short bob, it looked great!
- Malva's nasty words to Claire about aging (was that real or an ether-induced nightmare?) hit to the very core of every woman's concerns over aging. It was very uncomfortable.
- With all the talk about their love, does that mean that Claire and Jamie will be torn apart as a result of Malva's murder?
Those of you who have read the full series know what's to come. The rest of us will be waiting for Outlander Season 6 to return.
Either way, watching what unfolded on screen during "The World Turned Upside Down" was shocking.
Share your thoughts on it in the comments below, and watch Outlander online if you need to catch up.
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.