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Temperance

This new episode opens with the family drama surrounding the particular birth of Henri-Christian.

Suspected by the inhabitants of the Ridge of being begotten by the demon, he is the subject of an experiment conducted by the children who throw him to the river in his basket to see if he floats or not, because they have been told that the water is supposed to reject his malice.

The baby is saved in extremis by Roger who baptizes him in front of the culprits.

"Have you heard? His name is Christian, he belongs to the Lord, if you bother him again, Satan will appear among you and drag you directly into hell! 

Among them, Germain finally admits that he does not believe that his little brother is evil, but that he has accepted this experience so that his comrades stop saying bad things about him and leave him alone.

 

Desperate, Fergus confides to Claire that he knew dwarves, when he lived in the Parisian brothel, which were a "delicacy of choice" for consumers of "exotic products". He was friends with one of them whom he found in an alley, his throat slit.

Claire tries to reassure him by promising him that Henri-Christian would be pampered at the Ridge and that they would never let anyone hurt him.

"You are not eternal," Fergus replied. However, my son will remain dwarf forever, and it's my fault. 

In addition to his despair at not having been able to save Marsali from the brutality of Lionel Brown, there is the certainty that the child was the victim of the blows that Marsali received in the stomach. None of Claire's scientific words can reassure him.

 

Breaking his promise to his whife not to drink anymore, he plunges back into alcohol more than ever, ruminating alone his overwhelm of not being able to protect his family.

"I too can defend ourselves," Marsali told him, running out of arguments. You're not the only one! 

And to finish convincing him, she confesses to him that she killed Lionel Brown with a syringe filled with cigüe.

"I thought it would eat away at me, but it's not. An evil man is dead, and our family is safe. 

Alas, this reinforces Fergus' despair, who sees this admission as further proof of his uselessness. He asks for a drink, so Marsali spills the mug of beer on his head.

 

"I want a man fully there," she told him before he went out, "if not as much to be alone. 

For his part, Jamie addresses the children he has summoned to his home. Rather than lecture them, he gives them the choice: to put his hand on a white-heated helmsman or on Henri-Christian. They touch the baby and realize that he is not evil.  

Is it true that it belongs to the Lord? Do they ask Jamie?  

— What is certain is that it also belongs to me. You'd do well to remember that.  

Unlike Claire who tries to rationalize her grandson's condition by using scientific arguments, Jamie decides to intervene as a clan leader. He is convinced that children can learn to love Henri-Christian because he, Jamie, whom they trust, tells them that it is possible. In doing so, it allows them to choose their posture, to emancipate themselves from the unfounded fears in which they are raised.  

Then, taking Germain aside, he personally urges her to protect her little brother.  

 

"It belongs to you too.  

Season 6, Episode 3

Valérie Gay-Corajoud 

By Valérie Gay-Corajoud

Still upset, Claire returns home and finds Tom Christie outside her door.

Half-heartedly, she accuses him of having, like the others, peddled beliefs about dwarf children.

"I have done nothing like this," he replied, touched alive. I am an educated man. 

And it is indeed important to remember this, especially since this knowledge is often stifled by its misogyny and religious fundamentalism.

"I'm going to talk to the boys about it," he proposes to Claire, "perhaps in order to convince her of his good faith.

"It'll be fine," she replied. My husband will take care of it.

It is a way of making him understand that he is not the master of Fraser's ridge and that this is not about religion, but about knowledge and rights. Moreover, she is not yet willing to trust him.

 

In truth, Tom Christie had come to have surgery. However, he refuses to let Claire use the ether, despite Jamie's warnings about the pain he will suffer.

— There is no point in inflicting this suffering if there is a way to escape it, concludes the latter.

"Except that I've made my decision," Christie replies stubbornly.

It is difficult to know what predominates in this decision. The need to prove one's worth? A religious prohibition in which he firmly believes? The fear of being asleep, even more terrifying than that of suffering?

Anyway, from the first scalpel he screams in pain.

Jamie stands behind him and reads Psalm 118 that Tom had chosen before and which is of circumstance.

« The right hand of jehovah is raised. The right hand of Jehovah manifests his power. I will not die, I will live. I have encountered the works of Jehovah. The Lord chastised me, but He did not deliver me to death"...

Finally Christie joins her word to Jamie's and manages to bear the terrible suffering that Claire, impassive, inflicts on him.

We already knew this, but here is further proof of the importance of faith for this man who built himself through the scriptures. It is then easier to understand why he resists so strongly anything that does not correspond to his belief, because his whole world would collapse and he would no longer be able to face his fear.

 

As Claire sews her hand back together once the operation is over, Tom and Jamie recite Psalm 23 together:

« When I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me. »

Their faces side by side, their voices in unison, we then realize that Christie may not be that fragile and that he could be, as Jamie had already suggested, a valuable ally. His faith consolidates him as much as it locks him up.

He contemplates his hand, which can now open in its entirety, then looks up at Claire. We can see in his gaze that he agrees to trust her, if only for a moment. He is too exhausted to oppose her and how he feels anyway.

He will spend the night at the Ridge in order to remain under medical supervision.

In the evening, Claire, still struggling with her demons, goes to her infirmary, perhaps with the idea of surrendering to the anesthetic virtues of ether. But she can't, because Christie is there. She takes the opportunity to observe the condition of her hand and encourages him to move it regularly.

Christie asks her why she doesn't wear a cap or headscarf so as not to offend the Lord.

"Every woman who prays or prophesies with her bare head dishonors her head... 

"You are still quoting St. Paul," she replied. You never noticed that he was obsessed with women? 

And this is what we can say about Christie: by dint of trying to defend himself from them, it is to say that he is obsessed with them.

She offers to go and make him food and takes the opportunity to isolate himself and come to his senses.

She will not be able to indulge in ether because of this man who, if you look at it carefully, considers her in the same way as Lionel Brown, the one who is at the origin of this addiction. These men who fear women so much that they constantly belittle them and restrict their freedom. These men who are pampered by them, but who deny them the right to be more learned than them.

Claire treated Brown who beat and raped her and continues to invade her after his death. What about Christie, so deeply convinced that the scriptures are the source of the one truth and that the woman carries within her all the vices?

 

Back in her room, Claire opens up to Jamie, telling him how uncomfortable Christie seemed to be touched by her. .

Jamie confesses to him that it was the same for him after Ardsmuir. He recounts the lack of the woman during their captivity and the fact that some of them, out of spite, were looking for warmth in the arms of other men.

"And Tom?"

"No, Tom was turning inward. I was lucky, you helped me get out of the darkness.

We can then wonder what Tom really experienced during his detention and what interior it is. If we can imagine Jamie's pain, we have to conceive of Tom's just as much.

While Tom is undergoing surgery, Malva walks through the forest alongside Ian who seems to be under the girl's spell. She tells him that her father is worried about her soul, to which Ian replies that she does not seem to be a sinner.  

"We must not rely on appearances (and God knows we will find out later!)  

Of course, this resonates with Ian who, under his Indian accoutrements, wonders about what his mother might think of him.  

 

It is at this moment that we learn that Malva's mother was hanged for witchcraft when she was only a child. This sheds light on her father's words when whipping her, but also on Tom's distrust of Claire. As a reminder, caretakers and midwives were at that time assimilated to witches and thousands of them were executed.  

A week after the operation on her hand, Christie visits Claire again to change her bandages. He sees two books on his table.

— Do you read novels? Claire asks.

— Yes. My wife was reading some, he continues, but I didn't approve of it, so I threw them all away. 

"I guess he didn't like it. 

— Indeed. 

 

During this exchange, it is remarkable to see how relaxed both are as they discuss a sensitive subject. It is possible that a special bond has been forged between them, from doctor to patient. Claire is busy treating him and shows no aggressiveness, so Tom can let his guard down and open up to her.

"What made you change your mind," Claire asks. 

— Ardsmuir. 

He explains that Jamie was telling stories to the other prisoners. This made him realize that fiction could be something other than just an incitement to idleness and unhealthy thoughts and that it could not only serve as a distraction in a place that lacked it, but also help inmates to a form of compassion for the imaginary characters whose adventures Jamie was recounting.

 

Claire lends him a tom Jones novel, but it doesn't have the desired effect and rather than broaden his mind, it offends him to the core. He had the book sent back to the Ridge with a word inside: "A dirt. I valued you more." 

Without indicating the articulation of events, we see him after that whipping his daughter. His hand healed by Claire can now hold the belt and chastise the submissive woman, under the eyes of desperate Allan.

More than ever, we are aware that something is at work in this family.

On sharecropper day, during which the entire Fraser's Ridge community gathered, an altercation took place between the MacGregors and Fergus, who were very drunk as usual.

The MacGregors judge Fergus and his addiction and call Henri-Christian a grotesque and a child of the devil. Fergus throws whiskey in the woman's face and hits her husband.

The men around intervene and Lizzie explains to Claire what happened.

The following Sunday, Roger preaches to the congregation and tells the story of a helpless child who has been floated on a river in a basket.

The children sitting in the front row are convinced that he will denounce their stupidity, but it turns out that this is the story of Moses.

 

« Pharaoh had ordered that all little Hebrew boys be drowned in the Nile. His edict almost killed the child who would later lead the chosen people to freedom. It was fear that motivated him. For months, Moses' mother hid him, risking his life, until he became too big to be hidden. She placed it in a basket on the Nile and prayed. She entrusted him to God, despite her fear."  

"Many of you here are parents," he continues. How far would you go to protect your innocent children? You don't know what you'd be willing to do, until the day when... 

But it is too much for Fergus who can no longer find in him the strength to get out of his torments. He sinks into the forest and opens his veins with his knife.

Fortunately, Jamie sees him and comes to his rescue.

"Let me die Milord, that's the only solution. 

"Marsali and the children need you! 

"It is for them that I do this. 

Convinced of being a good-for-nothing, Fergus convinced himself that when she died, Marsali could remarry a man capable of taking care of her and the children, especially Henri-Christian. But Jamie tells him about his personal value, the one he is and who has brought so much to his family.

"It's what you are that counts, not what you produce! You are needed. 

"I am no longer the man I used to be. I don't know if I can become one again. 

 

"You will succeed my child, my son. 

Claire and Jamie take him home where he finds his wife and baby and we start to hope for a little serenity at the Ridge where love seems to be big enough to overcome all the torments.

But back at home, the Frasers meet McDonald's who brings them the guns for the Cherokees as well as a newspaper clipping evoking the "Boston Tea Party" which, as Claire knows, will be the trigger event of the revolution to come.

 

"It begins, the storm. It is almost there.