Intense. Heartbreaking. Challenging.
These are words that could describe Outlander Season 1, along with how viewers will feel when they watch the next eight episodes that start airing Saturday on Starz.
But, in much the same way, it’s the way that stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan felt about filming this half of the season, which challenges newlyweds Claire and Jamie more than ever.
Having seen the next five episodes of the season, I can attest to their power and sheer entertainment value, as we get taken on a new journey that begins in Outlander Season 1 Episode 9.
Recently, I grabbed some one-on-one time with both Balfe and Heughan to talk find out just how dire and dark things will become by the end of the season. One word of advice? Hold on tight!
TV Fanatic: Is it possible to get used to the fangirl-ness of people in terms of the show and you and Sam?
Caitriona Balfe: I’m always amazed by it, but I always think of it as…it’s not about me, it’s about Claire and it’s about the books that Diana has written. It’s just so exciting that our show has connected with people and the people have gotten behind it. I feel like I’m always like, “What?” It’s a really cool thing.
TVF: As an actor, how much do you feel like you’ve grown since doing this? I feel like you’ve been challenged in so many different ways with playing Jamie.
Sam Heughan: Yeah, actually [episodes] nine and ten actually were shot out of sequence. We shot those after three and four so we had to just get ahead. So, the first time Caitriona and I were doing intimate scenes, those were the first scenes we shot. But watching the show recently I was like “oh my God, I’m so much better now than I was,” but I think that’s probably the same for anyone. You know, you learn on set and you settle into the character more and into the moments.
But I think I’ve grown up a lot I think over the last year. I think Jamie, certainly in the show, he’s forced to grow up and address a lot of issues, a lot he’s left lie and he has to learn what it is to be in a relationship as well.
TVF: These next episodes that come, how would you describe them to somebody as far as Claire’s journey? Episode 111 is just terrific.
CB: It’s great. Toni Graphia wrote that episode and it’s such a great episode. I love it. You know, I think the upcoming season the action gets a lot more intense. Jamie and Claire’s relationship is really tested. I think a lot of the political alliances that we’ve seen get tested. Scotland, in this time is a very dangerous, shifting place and Claire is very unsafe there and I think we see that all come to a head.
TVF: In terms of Black Jack Randall, do you think Claire understands him? Or does she just see him as a beast?
CB: I think she’s smart enough to know that there’s more to him than just being a beast. I think that she’s seen the effects of his sadism and that she’s been in his presence and seen how sadistic he can be with her. But I don’t think she underestimates him…perhaps she underestimates him a little.
TVF: Randall is always such a threat to Jamie and Claire even when he’s not in the episode. Do you and Caitriona make sure that that’s just a part of your process that you are always aware that there are a lot of threats against the two of them?
SH: So much danger involved in this world and the second part of the season is so testing for them. They encounter so many different challenges along the way, Redcoats, but also Scots. There are many moments…Jamie asked the question does he want this kind of life? Does he want to do this? Is this the woman he should be with? Her as well, just due to the fact that she gets punished, they have to really discover what it is that they really want about each other.
Then at the very end, the last two episodes, pretty horrific, Randall comes back with a real bang. They’re some of the most challenging, emotional, physical things I’ve done and I’m really proud of them. So, I think viewers are going to be kind of shocked actually. They’re pretty intense, but it leaves Jamie and Claire in a very tender place and it’s kind of heartbreaking.
TVF: Besides Jamie, who would you say Claire’s closest ally is in all of this? It feels like, in some ways she can’t really trust too many people.
CB: I think in the beginning of this part of the season, she’s really sort of adrift. There is no safe haven for her. I think her relationship with Geillis, that’s very fractured. At the end they come to some sort of a resolution and you see that these women actually really care each other and Geillis makes a huge sacrifice for Claire, which is just absolutely heartbreaking. But as the season goes on, I think that you will see that Claire finds an ally in Jenny Fraser and again in Murtagh. I think Murtagh really will surprise some people.
TVF: Sam, working as closely as you are with Caitriona, the fact that it’s such an intimacy, not just the sex scenes, but also everything, their relationship is so deep.
SH: Yeah. I think as soon as I left this year having finished and wrapped then having come out here, we went back for some pickups and a photo shoot and I suddenly realized, wow this is actually really special. I’m very lucky that we get on so well. I think it feeds into the show and I really enjoy that.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.