A happy Christmas indeed!
After what feels like and actually kind of was many years, Claire Fraser has officially landed back in the 1700s, thanks to a poem she quoted to Jamie when they were together, which he then quoted in a journal when he was working as a printer in Edinburgh.
That discovery was what brought Roger to Boston, where Claire and Brianna were about to celebrate a rather unhappy holiday. Brianna was struggling after the revelations in Scotland, and now wanted to quit Harvard and move out of her mom's house.
Claire was actually kind of angry at Roger's news, especially considering how upset Brianna was. But both Roger and Joe Abernathy encouraged her to go (though Joe didn't truly know what he was encouraging her to do), and after finding out about what Roger had found, Brianna encouraged it too.
Then everything got real weepy on both sides of the screen for a while. Claire protested at all the things she'd miss in Brianna's life (marriage, kids) and we wept. Brianna and Roger got Claire presents, like antique coins and a necklace of Brianna's birthstone, and we wept. We stopped weeping when, incredibly, the Batman theme song played while Claire sewed herself a badass 18th century dress filled with secret pockets, but we wept again when Claire got into a cab and said goodbye, leaving Brianna and Roger behind in Boston.
(We didn't weep while Claire inspected the 200 year-old skeleton of a murdered white woman found in a cave in Jamaica, which was sent to Joe at the hospital, but we also don't want to ignore that very curious discovery...)
Suddenly, Claire was getting out of a carriage in Edinburgh 200 years ago, and she very easily found the print shop in Carfax Close. She walked in, and suddenly Jamie was yelling to someone named Jordy. Claire explained that she was not Jordy, Jamie slowly turned around, and then he promptly passed out.
Of course, Starz isn't airing the next, reunion-filled episode until October 22, so for now that look and that fall to the floor are all we get. The rest of that episode, though, was such a beautiful goodbye to Brianna and Roger (for now) that at it might have been enough to tide us over, just thinking of the two of them making out and watching TV and eating lobster rolls.
For book readers, many of Claire's final days in the 1960s were a little different. Scroll down to find out why!
In the book, Jamie does not rush to tell Claire about his son, Willie. In fact, he's not the one to tell her at all, but EP Maril Davis explained that Jamie just had too many secrets to keep them all.
"Ron [Moore] felt very strongly that once Jamie and Claire get back together, there's obviously a lot they haven't told each other, and with [Jamie's other big secret], you know, there were so many things that he didn't tell her that that became such a big thing that it seemed odd..."
After certain events later on this season, Claire and Jamie make a pact to tell each other no more lies, so the minds behind the show thought it was "too much" for Jamie to continue to keep Willie a secret.
"[Moore] just felt like when they're discussing their daughter, he would also blurt out the thing about Willie," Davis said. "It's not the time to talk about anything, because they're obviously rushing off and going to do other things, but he felt very strongly that it would be hard for that to come out later if he'd also promised her that he would be forthcoming about other things after the marriage."
And honestly, as jarring as that sudden admission was to watch, we're pretty glad it happened.
In tonight's episode, Claire and Brianna both went back to Boston, where Brianna struggled to adjust to regular life after learning who her real father was. In the book, only Claire goes back to Boston to get her life in order before going through the stones. Brianna and Roger even follow Claire to the stones, but in the show, Brianna and Roger stayed behind and we didn't even see Claire's journey back in time. EP Maril Davis says there are a few reasons for that change.
"One, we've seen that journey through stones with Claire before," she tells us. "This is not the first time we would have seen it. Two, the location where we go and film the stones is not easy to get to, and sometimes it's difficult if you're only doing one scene there. ... I mean, creative is always our first guidepost in terms of obviously, if we think creatively it works, we'll push for it. But I think this time, because I think we felt like we'd seen that before and you know, the logistical issue, combined with the fact that we wanted to put a little spin on it with bringing Roger out to Boston instead of taking the ladies back out to Scotland, we thought was an interesting little twist as well, so I think all of those factors combined for us to do it this way and do something a little different and put a little spin on the story."
While Brianna doesn't get to be the protagonist in very many scenes in the book, she gets some time here to start to dissect how she feels about what's going on—the news about her father, the reality that they may find her real father, and the fact that she may lose her mother to him forever.
We'll see a lot more of Brianna in episode five, and Davis says this is a perspective that the writers didn't want to overlook.
"Brianna and Claire have always had a tough relationship. It's certainly loving, but it seems like Claire has always held Brianna kind of at arm's length. And Brianna's always kind of wondered why and has always been closer to Frank, and to find out the reason for that is because your father was somebody else, and maybe every time your mother looks at you she thinks about your real father and that is a very complicated relationship," she says. "To then question your own identity and what that all means was important to us, because if it was glossed over in the books, we felt that was something that was so interesting to portray and such an interesting character beat for that character, to see those emotions."
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Nobody's a huge fan of Frank Randall, but you have to admit that you kinda feel bad for him this season. Poor guy finally found his wife after she's been missing for three years, and she's pregnant with the baby of a man from the 1700s, who she's desperately in love with. That sucks!
There are more scenes in the show featuring Claire and Frank than there were in the book (at least in this particular book), both in this episode and in the episodes to come.
"Book Frank is a little different than TV show Frank," EP Maril Davis explained to us. "And you're never going to root for Claire to stay with Frank, you just aren't. I mean as soon as she meets Jamie, it's like Frank's off the table. But the thing from the books that we really enjoyed and wanted to continue in the show is that Frank was an outstanding father to Brianna. And you know, Claire makes the ultimate sacrifice to stay with Frank for her daughter. I think if she had come back and she wasn't pregnant, I don't think she and Frank would ever have been together or stayed together, but I think she knows that it's a certain time and place and Brianna needs a father, and if it can't be Jamie, she wants Brianna to have a loving man in her life, and Frank, for me, is one of the tragic figures of Outlander because he loves Claire desperately, but that love is not reciprocated."
Forget watching the Battle of Culloden. Thanks to tonight's opening scenes, we were in that battle.
"It's wonderful, it places you in the action, and obviously it's a memory of Jamie's, but he's sort of coming to and remembering the moments that happened there, and of course he meets Black Jack Randall in the midst of the melee and they have this great sort of finishing chapter to their relationship," Sam Heughan told us of the scenes, which he says took a couple of weeks to film.
"Doing it in flashback like that gives it a slightly surreal, unworldly kind of atmosphere to it," Tobias Menzies added. "It's kind of a more interesting way of doing it than just straight on, kind of battle sequence."
Watching that jerk of a doctor force Claire to be knocked out for the birth was infuriating, but it was historically accurate.
"Up until the late '40s, early '50s, childbirth was mostly done with midwives and it was very much a female thing, and it was only in the '50s that it became much more medical, and it started being treated as some sort of an operation," Caitriona Balfe told us. "So women, they were sort of taken out of the process completely. They were told to just sort of lie there, shut up, and do what they're told. So it was really interesting to have Claire—obviously she's coming to it having already lost a child, and she had a lot of nerves about it. She was worried about it. So to have this man sort of come in and dismiss any concerns she might have or any knowledge that she might have, or desires...it was pretty frustrating for her."
Stay tuned for more scoop on season three!
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Jamie and Claire are apart for now, and while many of us are going to be waiting with bated breath for their reunion, don't discount the stories that need to be told before they find their way back to each other. Executive producer Maril Davis says their separation was a major concern going into season three, but the writers quickly found that there's a lot of excellent story to be found in their separate journeys.
"I think going into it you do worry that these two people who are the backbone of our show not being together, that's what makes this show very special, is their relationship," she told us. "But quite honestly, while we do all prefer having them together, I do think we were pleasantly surprised how well the stories worked on their own, because each have such strong stories, and the reason it works is that they have such a longing for each other. And there's a despair there. There's a hole missing because they've lost the loves their lives. So I think that's actually what makes Claire's story with Frank so interesting, because it's like there's a ghost in the room, and then also for Jamie, he's like a walking ghost himself, because it's almost like he's missing an arm or leg, because he doesn't have the person who makes him whole. So we just felt like those stories, while at first we were concerned with how that would be, I think we're all pleasantly surprised and thrilled about how well this turned out."
"The journey had to be earned," she continued. "They are separated, and then you feel like if it's a chapter before they're together again, you're not living their lives with them separated. Even as a book reader, I think while you want them desperately to be back together, you appreciate that time that's apart because it makes their reunion all that much sweeter."
While this season follows the third book in the series, "Voyager," there are going to be a lot of changes from book to screen—some minor, some major. But they're all in service of making the show as good as possible.
"We're never going to be able to make the books exactly as they are," Davis explained. "There's so much detail in the books, and there's certain things we've always said that read well but sometimes don't translate well to screen. So for us the perfect balance is keeping all the beats of the book and keeping the spine, but also infusing into it things that we feel are interesting or want to see, or maybe filling in the gaps in certain places."
"Jamie's story is laid out very well, and with specific tentpole moments and Claire's story was a little more difficult, because not all of her story with Frank is told in this book, so we did kind of have to add and just wanted Jamie and Claire to be on a similar emotional journey over those 20 years that they're apart."
Trust us, that journey's going to be good.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.