Ready for battle?
After weeks of watching Outlander prepare for war, the time has finally come and the battle begins in this week's episode. The big showdown at Culloden is still weeks away, but this Saturday's episode gets the highlanders out on the field at Prestonpans for a fight that, according to Claire, they're sure to win. However, that doesn't mean the highlanders have nothing to worry about.
While we got a little sneak peek at the Artistry of Outlander exhibit that is currently going on at the Paley Center for Media, we also caught up with a few of the show's stars and producers to get the scoop on what's ahead. In a nutshell, things are about to get real intense, and emotional.
"The pressure cooker is on!" Caitriona Balfe tells E! News. "The action really ramps up, and time is really pushing on Claire and Jamie, and on everyone. It gets really active and really intense, but yeah, we know that it doesn't all end very well, so it's got that doom sort of looming over it as well."
"Prestonpans is a big momentous point, a big turn, in fate for the highlanders," Sam Heughan agrees, "so it's not going to be an easy ride."
That sense of doom, and the fact that everyone knows how this will all end, isn't easy for the characters or for the people making the show.
"It it hard in a dramatic way to keep your characters motivated and moving forward if they know what the outcome is going to be and you know what the outcome is going to be, and still make it feel dramatic, and let them home they can stop it," explains executive producer Maril Davis. "I think we've done an amazing job, though this season we've struggled a bit because we had to fill in some gaps, and we were dealing with this issue of how there's a doomed cause at the end. How do we keep them fighting for it?"
One thing that has kept the show interesting despite us seemingly knowing what's going to happen is Jamie and Claire's marriage. It's gone through some incredibly rough patches this season, but currently seems stronger than ever, despite the fact that Claire and Jamie are in two very different places.
Jamie, for instance, is totally in his element on the battlefield. "At the start of the season, he's not himself," Heughan tells us. "He's suffering the effects of what happened to him and he's dealing with a lot. He's not in a relationship with his wife and he loses his child, and then he goes to Scotland and becomes the man he's supposed to be, which is the king of men, or the leader of men."
Claire, meanwhile, is about to witness her second major war, and after everything else she's been through, she's not at her best.
"I feel like the miscarriage has changed Claire's core," Balfe says. "Before, she was almost indestructible. She had this strength and this armor around her, and ever since that happened, she's a much more fragile woman. Her skin is thinner, she's much rawer, and when we start preparing for war, it brings up everything. All of her past experiences, and the horror that we saw that she went through, it's much closer to the surface now, so when she's triggered, it all just comes flooding back."
Not only does Claire know the outcome of this particular war, but she knows what war can do in general, and it's not easy on her.
"She's been through that before, she knows what's ahead of them, she knows the horror that they're about to walk into," Balfe continues. "It weighs on her, and it weighs on her deeply. In some ways, Jamie has blossomed into the man he's always supposed to be, and Claire is resigning herself in some ways to be the woman that she is. They're in different places, but yet I think she does become a good partner to him, and they are sort of there side by side in many ways as well."
Needless to say, the rest of the season is going to be tough, but at least we know the Frasers will (probably) always find their way back to each other.
To get a bit of a behind-the-scenes peek at the look of the show, click through the gallery below to take a walk through the Paley Center for Media's Artistry of Outlander exhibit, which will be open throughout the summer.
Outlander airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz.