Anyone else still ugly-cry-swoon-laughing right now? Thanks to Outlander, that's now a thing.
The season-one finale has assuredly left viewers with a wild disparity of emotion—disgust, infatuation and hope—in what was one of the most gripping hours ever to air on television.
The rape scenes were like a gut punch to the soul..and seemed to never end. But the final 10 minutes? Piercingly beautiful. Emmy-worthy performances all around.
I chatted with executive producer Ronald D. Moore and here are some facts you need to know:
You Can Breathe a Little Easier: The Rape Storyline IS Over. "This is not a new template for the show going forward," Moore explains, "in the same sense that if you look back on the first 16 episodes, they're all different. Each week we sort of gave you a different little movie to look at and they varied in tone and story and what was happening and where they were, and these are two episodes that are very different from all the rest, and going forward, they'll be different yet again. This is not ‘OK, Outlander now lives in this place.' This was a specific story with those specific characters and that story has now ended. There will be reverberations and repercussions, you know, how this impacts Jamie's life, how this impacts his relationship with Claire, certainly those things will continue forward, but no, we're not going back to prison cells every week in season two."
Nothing Will Ever Be the Same. "Season two will be the second book," Moore explains, "which is Dragonfly in Amber (by Outlander book series author Diana Gabaldon). Jamie and Claire will go to France, they'll go to Paris in fact, and they'll try to change history. They'll try to stop the Jacobite rebellion, so they'll meet Bonnie Prince Charlie, a real historical figure. They're going to live in Paris. It's a completely different show."
Season Two Will Look Very Different. "It's a great setting, and what was one of the most populated cities in the world at that time. French society, it's Aristocracy, the colors are brighter. You're talking about fine linens and silks, you're talking about gilt chandeliers, you know, everything that your mind conjures up when you say Versailles or Paris of that era. Suddenly our characters who lived in a Scottish world for all of season one are in that world, so it's going to look and feel very different, which is exciting, you know. And the story is also different in that it's much more political, it's much more conspiracy, it's much more lies and gossips and double dealing in Paris salons and so on, and building towards a war. It's all setting the stage for the Jacobite invasion of Scotland, and will history repeat itself."
Tonight's "Important" Boat Scene Sets the Course for Season Two. "Claire is able to get Jamie to tell her what really happened, that he felt he's broken, and once the cathartic moment happens, the show's over dramatically," Moore explains. "The show's over, now you're in what we used to say is the ‘mad dash to the logo.' You're just moving to the end.
"So what was great about structuring it this way was that then you could cut from these dark horrible cells and literal darkness and metaphorical darkness and then go out into the sunlight and the beach and the open air and the ocean, and the ship literally taking you to what they hope is a brighter future and a better tomorrow. So it was the perfect way to end it, because you had gone through such a harrowing journey over the course of two episodes and it was so emotionally draining, you just wanted a moment at the end to take a breath and kind of feel good again and feel that there's hope in the universe and see our two characters back in each other's arms. She's pregnant, and they're going to go change history, and it is an arrow towards the second season in the tiniest of little strokes. You feel good at the very end, and that I thought was very important."
There's a Reason Jamie's Rehabilitation Place and Timeline Was Different From the Books. "In the books," Moore explains, "they rescue Jamie from Wentworth [prison] but then they leave, immediately and go to France, and the abbey's actually in France in the book, and Claire is helping Jamie to rehabilitate and that's where the whole story of what happens between him and Jack Randall comes out, you know, much later.
"In television terms, I felt that it would be better if the abbey remained in Scotland so you still had the tension of, ‘Are they going to get away or not?' which could still be hovering over them. And it also meant that all the events were much, much closer, that they had just happened instead of many weeks later. And then it also just provided us of a way of getting that romantic big image of being out of the ocean and ‘I'm pregnant' and all that happening at the end.
"So then you start saying, now we can address the scenes differently, because instead of Jamie telling Claire the story, we're going to actually be with him and that lets you tell the story in a different way. It allows it to be an objective scene instead of a subjective one, and then escape, and then we'll still do flashback now, so we can preserve the secret of what happened in there as something that Claire is trying to figure out and understand, but we'll sort of make it more of Jamie's memory and less of him telling the story to kind of preserve his point of view of what happened there and sort of get to the characters' emotions and what happened between them through his eyes."
For You Book Fans: Brianna and Roger Are Still Unknown. "Those two characters have not been cast," Moore tells me. "It's an ongoing process. We have started shooting but we're not shooting those scenes yet, because you cross-board everything aggressively, so we have time, and it's going to take a little while."
"There Will Be More Frank in Season Two Than There Was in the Book." "I love having Tobias on the show," Moore explains. "I love having the character of Frank. I think having her keep touch with the 20th Century life she had was really important to the show."
Ron Moore Does Not Believe Jamie and Claire Are the Most Epic TV Romance of All Time, Clearly Has Bumped His Head. When asked if there's any greater TV romance than Jamie and Clare, Moore pauses and answers with a laugh: "I don't know, who would make that ranking? Maybe Sam and Diane? For me, it's Captain Kirk and Edith Keeler, no question. That's the greatest romance of all!" We'll let you slide. Just this one time.
#EmmysForOutlander Is Not Just Something The Fans Are Hoping For. " I hope the Academy looks at the episodes," Moore says. "I hope we garner awards. I would like the team to feel recognition for their work across the board. The cast especially absolutely, but the writers, cinematography, the art department, costume. I just think we've done an amazing show and it would matter to me for all those people to have some acclaim. They work very long hours in trying circumstances, they create this amazing thing. And yeah, it is nice when somebody gives you a piece of gold and says, ‘Hey you did a great job.' And it would be nice to see that passed around."
So now that we're all feeling happy and hopeful about what's ahead for this show, and Jamie and Claire in season two….I'd feel remiss in not mentioning that although season two is now filming, Starz has not set a premiere date for season two.
The Droughtlander is back, and we'll be drinking all the whisky with you tonight to celebrate and commiserate.
On a personal note: I just want to say that I have had more pleasure covering Outlander in season one than any series since Lost (and you fellow Lost fans know what a deep connection I had to all things Flight 815). Outlanderfans are a fiercely loyal and passionate bunch (my kind of peeps!), bursting with positivity and…let's face it…good taste. The cast, producers and even publicists who work on this show are also the real deal—not just talented but grounded, hilarious and COOL. And after working in this business for more than a decade, there's nothing I love more than seeing good things happen to good people. I have deeply loved this Outlander journey so far. And can't wait to do it all again in season two.