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Outlander Fans Torn Down the Middle Over Claire Twist: ‘I Hope They Do It Well’

Dark times ahead have been teased for Claire (Picture: Robert Wilson/Starz)

Outlander fans were overjoyed to welcome Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Jamie (Sam Heughan) and the Fraser-MacKenzie crew back for season 6 on Sunday after a two-year Droughtlander with no new episodes.

However, some were a little unsure over darker plot lines that were set up during the season’s opening feature-length episode, namely concerning time-travelling nurse-turned-doctor Claire.

The Starz series opened with a lengthy flashback to Jamie’s time at Ardsmuir Prison 20 years prior in 1753, to set up his relationship with new settlers at Fraser’s Ridge, led by the pious and cold Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones).

However, it’s not just the uneasy arrival of the Christie family and the nearing of the American Revolutionary War that is set to cause ‘tension’ and ‘disruption’, as teased by stars Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton, for our favourite settlers – it turns out there’s trouble brewing in the Big House itself.

During the episode, Claire is shown experimenting with an early form of anaesthetic and triumphs in recreating ether as a gas, which she hopes to use on patients going forward, rather than having to rely on laudanum or whisky.

As Jamie remains slightly concerned over its power, having had trouble rousing Claire from a testing attempt early on, she is then shown turning to the substance as she struggles to sleep later in the episode.

Tom Christie is a link with Jamie’s past, 20 years ago (Picture: Robert Wilson/Starz)

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This stems directly from the PTSD she has developed, following her ordeal at the hands of Lionel Brown and his men at the end of season five, who kidnapped, attacked and raped her for practising modern methods of medicine.

Following the season six premiere, fans flocked to share their initial thoughts online on the development, which is not a plot from Diana Gabaldon’s books.

One poster on Reddit commented: ‘I’m not sure how I feel about Claire using ether. She must know that doing that regularly can cause brain damage. We’ll see how it plays out.’

‘Cool so Claire’s a drug addict now,’ wrote another, to which one viewer replied: ‘I was sad too! But given what happened to her, I can understand why she’s using this route to escape her trauma.

Claire survived a horrific ordeal last season (Picture: Starz)

Claire and Jamie’s relationship could be tested (Picture: Robert Wilson/Starz)

‘Not saying this is the method, but we’re seeing Claire’s clearly in need of help, but doesn’t want to ask for it!!’

‘It’s going to be interesting to see how this issue plays out between Jamie and Claire!’ they added.

Another shared: ‘Dang Claire, easy on the ether.’

As one viewer mused over the ‘quite Sam [Heughan] heavy’ episode, with multiple plot points including the Christies, brewing war and Indian agent issues, they asked: ‘Does that mean he ends up distracted and misses what Claire’s up to?’

However, not all fans were immediately concerned, with one posting: ‘I was not expecting the Claire substance abuse plot line but it is perfect and I hope they do it well.’

More: Outlander

With Fergus (César Domboy) also shown to be struggling with the effects of alcohol, and distanced from his pregnant wife Marsali (Lauren Lyle), is substance abuse set to be a main thread of the latest season?

Outlander season six episode one is available to watch on STARZPLAY now, with further episodes releasing on Sundays.

Worried about drugs?

Frank offers confidential advice about drugs and addiction (email, message 82111 or call 0300 123 6600) or the NHS has information about getting help.

Adfam has local groups for families affected by drugs and alcohol and DrugFam offers phone and email support to people affected by other people’s drug or alcohol misuse.

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MORE : Outlander star Sophie Skelton reveals what Sam Heughan gave her as a memento in her first season

MORE : Outlander star Richard Rankin warns fans not to get ‘attached’ to scenes from the books

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