Following an action-packed eight episodes, Outlander Season 6 concluded this past weekend and we spoke with executive producer Maril Davis about the finale. If you haven’t watched it yet, here’s your spoiler warning.
In our conversation, Davis discussed the standoff at Fraser’s Ridge, Claire and Jamie being torn apart from each other, and finally confirming Jemmy’s paternity. We also touched on the fan-favourite relationship between Lizzie, Josiah and Kezzie, plus she gave us a tease for Season 7 to help us get through another Droughtlander.
If you’d like to listen to the full interview, check out this Fem TV podcast minisode.
Even though Season 6 was only eight episodes, you managed to pack a lot into it. How did you and your team decide which storylines were the most important to include in the season?
It was such a jam-packed season and we got so much into [eight episodes], so I’m thrilled about that. Every season we do the same thing. Our writers sit down, take the book, pick out all the tentpole moments, try to fill out what happens in between, and [determine] what we can’t and can do. Hats off to our writers because every year, they do such a great job. It’s so hard adapting these books. I know it seems simple, but you can’t always film everything that’s in them and translate it exactly to the screen. As soon as you shift something, or don’t use it in exactly the right way, that moves other things. I’m impressed with them and their ability to adapt the books. Season 6 is one of our most faithful seasons of adaptations so far. Also, we took a huge chunk of his book and put it in Season 5. Amazingly, we were still on that same book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, for this season. And it’s one of our most exciting seasons.
The standoff at the Fraser home was so tense. I was holding my breath through a lot of it, and it ended with Jamie and Claire being taken into custody and later separated. It’s not the first time we’ve seen the couple apart from each other, but it feels different this time around. Why would you say this separation is different for Claire and Jamie from the ones in previous seasons?
You’re absolutely right. This has happened so many times over the seasons, but to me, this did not feel the same. This is one of the first times that it’s just them against the world with their backs against the wall. They’re together fighting their way out of something like Butch and Sundance, you know, “If we’re going down, we’re going down together.” We’re thinking, “What’s going to happen? Is Claire going to get a fair trial? At least they’re together.” It’s only at the end that they’re snatched apart. That dang Richard Brown always gets in the way.
There’s one story thread that has been lingering for a while now, and that’s Jemmy’s paternity. In “I Am Not Alone,” it’s confirmed that Roger is Jemmy’s father. Why was it important to include that reveal confirming his paternity in the Season 6 finale?
We always wanted to include that moment from the book. It just happens in a different place, and we were trying to figure out where the best place was [in the series]. We loved the idea in this episode that Roger and Brianna are on such a different path from Jamie and Claire. They’re blissfully unaware that Jamie and Claire are fighting for their lives back at the Ridge. For us, it also highlighted the isolation of Jamie and Claire that it’s literally them against the world. No one’s going to come back and save them.
This season, we wanted to show them trying to put down roots and come to grips with this [time and place] is where they’re supposed to be. Brianna is pregnant again, things are looking up, and Roger’s found his purpose. It is a bit of a setup for where we’re going in Season 7 in that the waters are going to get a little rougher than we’ve seen for Brianna and Roger. For a while now, this cloud has hung over their heads. Roger has not cared about Stephen Bonnet. He is Jemmy’s true father by blood or not, but it was nice to confirm that Roger is actually his father, and we can finally put Stephen Bonnet to rest.
The storyline that had everyone buzzing was the Lizzie-Jo-Kezzie relationship. Did you expect that it would have such an overwhelmingly positive fan response?
I imagined it because I’m a fan myself and I loved that storyline. I’ve been rooting for them, and I don’t even care, like fine, marry both of them. Lizzie’s like, “If we’re so happy, why does anyone else care?” It’s a wonderful moment, and something we’ve all reflected on in our own lives in terms of judging other people for what they do. I’m glad that Episode 607 turned out the way it did because the Lizzie storyline is a lighter moment in a very heavy episode. Claire’s going through so much. Claire and Jamie as a couple are at this crucial point in their relationship with Claire’s PTSD and Lionel Brown haunting her. Lizzie’s twin moment is the levity that we all need after. I knew people would be looking forward to it. If you’re a book fan, you’ve been waiting for this moment. They did such a great job with those scenes and you’re rooting for them.
At the very end of the season finale, it looks like Jamie’s about to be shipped back to Scotland until Ian arrives with some friends: Chief Bird and the Cherokee. Was this scene always going to be part of the finale, or did you and your team contemplate saving it for the Season 7 premiere?
We talked a lot about where to end Episode 608. There is a little bit of it that we are putting into Season 7. We did talk about whether or not we should just end it with Claire in the jail. Maybe we wouldn’t see Jamie at all and wonder where he was. But then we liked not leaving fans on that much of a cliffhanger. You see that Jamie is okay. He’s not shipped off to Scotland. We don’t know if he’s going to save Claire and get to her in time, but we liked having that slightly uplifting moment in this jam-packed episode. Will he save her? I’m not sure, but he’s going to try.
I know you’re currently in production on Season 7. Do you have any spoiler-free teases to help us get through this Droughtlander?
All I can say is I’m super excited about Season 7 for so many reasons. It’s our biggest season yet. We cover so much territory and see many different storylines. Young Ian is going to have an amazing story. We’ve seen him grow into a man in Season 6 and I love where his character is going next. Also, we talked so much about “the Revolution is coming! The Revolution is coming!” We’re finally going to see it arrive. It’s going to be a huge season.
(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
Images Courtesy of Starz