- Outlander -What Is Malva Up To On 'Outlander'? The Show Is Building Up To Something Bad For Jamie & Claire
Spoilers ahead for Outlander Season 6, Episode 4, "Hour of the Wolf."
Even if you don't know what happens in the Outlander books, Malva's wide, unblinking eyes and her morbid curiosity should have made you suspicious. But if not, Malva spying on Jamie and Claire having sex should definitely have shifted you over to the stance that's something's Not Quite Right with Malva. The show has been subtly building to this moment throughout Season 6 but the last moment of "Hour of the Wolf" hints that Malva has bad plans for Claire and Jamie on Outlander. So let's look at the moments leading up to this unsettling spying.
In Episode 2, when Fergus helps Marsali along in her labor by having sex with her, Malva comments to Claire, "At first, I thought she was in pain. But some women... like it?" When Claire tells her, yes, indeed, women like sex, Malva's immediate reaction is, "Sinners, you mean? Whores?"
When you think of Tom Christie, of course, Malva has an unhealthy understanding of sexual relations — thinking only "sinning" women could possibly enjoy sex. Her father is scared to be touched by a woman, with Outlander author Diana Gabaldon telling The Dipp that Tom "fears touch as sinful" and that "his fears constrain him and warp his relations with the world."
Malva's scared herself when Jamie brings up the idea that she has suitors in Episode 3. But this is more about how her father and brother would react to men being attracted to her than any concern she may have at that notion. (In fact, she seems to delight in the attention given to her by Young Ian.) Her fear of her brother and father goes beyond a young woman noting a sort of protectiveness her male relatives may have about her — there's a genuine panic there that indicates something is off in her household.
Tom's strict beliefs have influenced — or "warped," to use Gabaldon's term — Malva's relation to other elements of the world as well. That may be why she has such a bizarre power trip when testing the ether on Lizzie and Jo. Her father hits her, presumably trying to beat the wickedness out of her, blaming her "dark soul." Malva does have darkness in her (she may look sweet, but as she told Ian, "Looks can be deceiving"). But could not some of that darkness stem from the conflict she feels by desiring to learn things that her Tom claims are evil? Or from how the pious Tom preaches about godliness but takes out his own frustrations by abusing her? No wonder she delights in seeing him in pain.
Book readers know that Malva's headed down a path that's going to be hard to forgive. And yes, she's totally being a little creep watching Jamie and Claire. But for all her father's worrying about the health of her eternal soul, Tom's religious views and keeping her in the dark about the ways of the world have only seemed to poison her sense of right and wrong. And Claire's mentoring for a few short months can't undo all the damage that young Malva Christie has experienced in her life. But with that said, buckle up, because Malva's only going to engage in more disturbing behavior from here.