Caitlin O’Ryan and Paul Gorman on Their Outlander Season 6 Storyline

Season 6 of Outlander has delivered on the Fraser’s Ridge drama, but a certain storyline has added some levity. I’m talking about the relationship between Lizzie Wemyss and the Beardsley twins, Josiah and Keziah. Episode 607, “Sticks and Stones,” took that relationship to a surprising new place: a throuple.

Actors Caitlin O’Ryan (Lizzie) and Paul Gorman (Josiah and Kezzie) sat down with me to talk about what transpired with their characters in this episode. Read the interview below, and watch the Season 6 finale of Outlander this Sunday on W Network in Canada and Starz in the US.

Caitlin O'Ryan as Lizzie in Outlander

This storyline took me a bit by surprise this season, even as a book reader. What were your thoughts and reactions when you first learned about it?

Caitlin: When we both got the roles, we also got the character breakdowns. And we read the books so we knew how wacky this storyline was going to get. It was super exciting, the thought of being able to play it. We also understood that it brought lightness to the story. It surprised you as a book reader because where it takes place within the series is not where it takes place within the books. The entire episode is also set amongst this backdrop of something traumatic and awful. That coloured how we played it and changed my expectation of what I thought we were going to be faced with.

Paul: Absolutely. Elements of it are comical, but there is a love story at the heart of it. Relieving the audience from the awfulness of Malva’s and her baby’s deaths was kept in mind when creating the episode.

Caitlin: Also, whilst it’s comical for viewers because it’s not what we’d expect, it’s life or death for these three characters. There’s nothing funny about what they’re doing, and it makes the most sense in the world. So we captured that as well.

Paul: There’s a verity to it that’s really moving.

Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Caitlin O'Ryan as Lizzie on Outlander

Caitlin, I appreciated the scene between Lizzie and Claire where they’re discussing the situation. It was so nuanced, and at no point did Claire shame Lizzie for what she was doing. Claire was a sympathetic, understanding ear. Could you share a little bit about performing that scene with Caitriona Balfe?

Caitlin: That was actually the scene that I auditioned with. A few lines here and there had changed and it had grown, but it felt like a full-circle moment. To come to that point after I’d been waiting so long to shoot the scene, and that I was getting to do it with Caitriona, it was really special.

When I first received the script, it was hilarious. Some of the things that Lizzie says, and she goes so in-depth, my cringe-ometer was high. Like when she was describing the twins’ paps — the nipples — and all of that. A challenge for me was being faced with this scene and thinking, “My God, how do I not just cry with laughter having to do this in front of a roomful of crew members that I’ve been working with for three or four years?”

Working with Caitriona was amazing, and Jamie Payne, the director, was phenomenal. He’s so rooted in how he works with actors and knows how to get the best performance out of everyone. It was special for me to share that moment with Caitriona. It felt like it’s what my journey on Outlander has been building towards as well as Lizzie’s storyline. Not only was Lizzie being vulnerable and sharing this information with Claire who she looks up to so much, but I also was in a situation with Caitriona where I’ve looked up to her for years, and now I was acting alongside her in a way that I hadn’t in other scenes.

We wanted to get the sincerity and the earnestness across because it’s important that the audience buys into the fact that for Lizzie, this isn’t a joke. It is love. It’s innocent. They’ve not been messing around and rolling around in the fields or whatever. There’s no lightness in her decision to have this relationship with these twins and the audience has to get on side with that. They do go behind Jamie’s and Claire’s backs, but what Claire sees in that moment with Lizzie is honesty and innocence as well as the love that Lizzie has for Josiah and Kezzie. I don’t necessarily think Lizzie understands that it is a sexual thing. It’s merely an extension of the love and care that she already has for the twins. This is the language that she can think to use to show them how much she loves them.

Paul: You played it with such honesty as well, Caitlin. It makes sense for the audience to be unsure at the start. By the end of it, it makes complete sense. It comes from a place of love.

Paul Gorman in Outlander Season 6

Paul, you have quite the task of playing two roles and adding subtle differences to each. When you look at them, it is tough to tell them apart but there are little tells that distinguish them. Can you share a bit about the experience of bringing these two characters to life?

Paul: Thank you so much for noticing those wee things. A big thing for this season, in particular, is that Kezzie and Josiah are indistinguishable. Lizzie has a line talking about the twins being one soul in two bodies, which was vital when I was preparing for the characters. These are two very similar people, but they do and feel things in different ways. Although they have similar feelings towards Lizzie, they portray it in different ways.

For Josiah, it was focusing on what he does for a living and how that impacts who he is. He’s a hunter, and that affects his physicality, the way he speaks and the way he engages with people. For Kezzie, it was going back to the work that we did in Season 5 about his partial hearing ability and knowing how that might affect those around him and how he reads the environment. Now we’re at a stage where he’s getting a sense of that back again, but it’s still there. We focused a lot on the vocal quality of Kezzie, and developed a kind of language between the twins because they have such a special bond and a way of communicating with each other. I tried to have a nimbleness in the hands for Kezzie to have those subtleties.

The twins are one soul and two bodies, but they are two separate human beings. I don’t know if Caitlin felt the same, but I was thinking about how Lizzie feels about the twins as well. Does she read them as two separate identities? Are there things from each twin that she loves that maybe the other twin doesn’t have? That’s what makes this bond work.

Caitlin O'Ryan and Paul Gorman in Season 6 of Outlander

By the end of Episode 607, the trio has done something a little tricksy with a double handfasting. I’m assuming that this might cause some trouble during an already tumultuous time on the Ridge. Do you have any spoiler-free teasers for what’s coming up for your characters in the finale?

Paul: Because Claire and Jamie mean so much to the three of them, it might not affect the relationship in a way that could be viewed badly. They are so supportive of each other and maybe now they can have the liberty to go and explore what it means to be in this relationship. Both the twins and Lizzie have had dreams of building a home with each other, so that would be something that we could take the next step toward.

Caitlin: All the characters understand that none of them are doing anything maliciously. Claire and Jamie are doing what they think is right, and Lizzie and the twins are doing what they think is right. They’re all quite stubborn in that regard, but they understand and love each other enough to make allowances for it. By the end of Episode 607, bigger things are afoot. When your home and family are under threat, those minor things — although they don’t seem minor at the time — get brushed aside quite quickly because the family and its survival are more important.

Photos Courtesy of Starz

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