Season 5 of Outlander has been one of its best to date, from the heartwarming wedding in 501 “The Fiery Cross” to the heartbreaking loss in 507 “The Ballad of Roger Mac.” Last week, I hopped on the phone with Sam Heughan to discuss Jamie’s arc this season and what’s coming up in the final four episodes.
[Please note that there are spoilers ahead for Episodes 501 – 508 only … in case you’re not currently up to date.]
Jamie’s had many inner conflicts in this season of Outlander but still manages to stay true to who he is. He treads the line between who he is and who he has to be to keep his family safe. Does he continue to face that inner struggle throughout the rest of this season?
I think that’s a great observation. He absolutely is called this season to tread a fine line. He’s a man of his word and a man of worth since we first met him. For him to be duplicitous and disguise who he truly is, it’s tough because he is an honorable man. We see that in the scenario with Lieutenant Knox, with Governor Tryon, and what happens to Murtagh. It’s a tough one for [Jamie].
Does it continue throughout the season? Without giving away spoilers, things happen that force him to throw off the mantle of disguise, and he’s forced into action. We see the Jamie Fraser of old where he acts first and thinks later. In the last few years, he’s aged and become quite the politician or the clan chief. When he was younger, he was very tempestuous and would act before thinking but he’s grown up now and certainly has a lot more experience.
Murtagh’s death was absolutely heartbreaking, especially because Jamie was saying goodbye not only to his godfather, but also his closest connection to home. How does that loss affect Jamie going forward?
Murtagh’s the last remaining connection to Scotland and that old way of life, and it was bittersweet shooting those scenes. Not only were we saying goodbye to one of the greatest actors that we all love to work with — Duncan Lacroix is a fantastic man to have around and great fun — but Jamie’s losing that part of his life, his connection to his mother, all the old Highlanders, and home. But in a way now, he really is in the new world and with his new family and that’s the future they’re facing. Now. It’s an uncertain future. They know that this great battle is looming and that they supposedly die at Fraser’s Ridge in a fire, so there’s a lot of uncertainty. Jamie only has the people around him now to rely on or look after. It’s a real turning point for Jamie.
On the heels of losing Murtagh, Young Ian returns. Does that help Jamie restore some of his ties to Scotland?
It does, but Ian has changed as well. He’s not the man he was and has gone through some experiences that we’re going to learn about that has changed him. It’s not only his exterior; he’s gone through something emotional as well. But they still have that great bond. Young Ian is Jamie’s family and Jamie has always had a soft spot for him because he sees a bit of himself. There are some nice moments between those two. They’ve been through a lot together and shared a lot. Jamie’s happy when he has his family around him and I think just seeing Ian back is comforting.
I don’t want to give anything away about this weekend’s episode of Outlander, but I’ve loved seeing Jamie and Roger become closer. Have you enjoyed sharing more scenes with Richard Rankin and seeing that relationship grow?
Definitely. Richard’s been on the show now for a couple of seasons but we never got to work together. It’s the same with Sophie [Skelton]. When they came to Fraser’s Ridge, it was finally a chance for us to work together, and it’s great fun. The scenes that Richard and I have had were always quite difficult for the characters.
Jamie doesn’t feel that Roger’s quite the man for the job and not the son-in-law that he would have chosen for his daughter. This season we get to see that friendship and that trust in each other grow. From the very first scene of the season where Jamie’s shaving Roger to where we get to at the end of this week’s episode and later episodes, there’s a real arc for Roger. He becomes a man of this time. Roger has his own attributes and qualities that Jamie sees and [recognizes as] worthy, and a friendship has formed there.
I wouldn’t say that Jamie understands Claire’s medical skills, but he’s not as surprised by her abilities as he used to be. However, like in the scene following Murtagh’s demise, there are still moments where Jamie’s looking for magic rather than medicine. Will he ever fully understand her skills or is it simply a matter of faith and trust in her?
I think that’s it. He doesn’t fully know everything that she knows, and there are still these rose-tinted glasses when he looks at her. He’s still deeply in love with her, and he feels she could do anything. She can still travel through time, so there are definitely some things about her that he doesn’t understand. He’s happy that he can leave her in her surgery and create her own profession while he deals with the rest of the goings-on at Fraser’s Ridge. They are a strong team, and it’s nice to see those moments when they’re alone and we see the Jamie and Claire of old enjoying each other’s company.
Do you have any final thoughts about the rest of this season of Outlander?
I think it’s one of the strongest seasons we’ve done, and I enjoyed shooting it. The story ramps up from Episode 7 onwards, and the finale is going to have one of the most challenging, interesting and difficult scenes — not only for the viewers but also for the Frasers. They are — for want of a better word — attacked, and as a family, they must draw together to overcome this challenge. It’s going to be gripping stuff.
Outlander Images Courtesy of Starz