Dive deeper into this episode with exclusive sketches, production designs, and fun facts delivered directly from the Outlander crew.
We wanted to reset the reunion story to Jamie’s POV in the opening scenes—to give a sense of Jamie’s world: the place he’s chosen to live and build a life for himself, showing that he’s an integrated part of the community and that he has cultivated a reputation as a respectable tradesman in Edinburgh. We were able to delve into Claire’s mind-set and preparations in Episode 305, and we felt it was just as important to the series to show how blindsided Jamie would be by Claire’s re-entry into his world.
During this scene, we see a little more of Jamie’s work at the print shop—we see the skill involved in what he’s doing as he sets out the type face, rolls out the ink, etc. This is important because we wanted the audience to be truly immersed in Jamie’s world: not only to get a feel for what he does each day and to have true sense of what he’s been doing during Claire’s absence, but also, to show that, for Jamie, it’s just another ordinary day at the print shop. It’s with Jamie’s line “is that you, Geordie?” that we come to realize that we’ve seen this moment before, in the previous episode. We decided to show what had happened in Jamie’s world before Claire arrives, and to repeat this aspect of Episode 305, as we wanted to ensure that we captured both Jamie and Claire’s two different viewpoints and responses in depicting what is such a pivotal and iconic scene from the book—the moment we have all been waiting for. Jamie’s reaction is extreme because he’s had absolutely no warning of what’s about to happen, whereas Claire has had time to think carefully about the decision she has made, to anticipate the moment, and to savor the excitement and trepidation that comes with meeting a lost love after twenty years apart.
We wanted to preserve this moment from the novel with the “amber liquid” that leaks between Jamie’s legs when Jamie sits on the “ale pot” because it brings a certain element of humor and levity to what is a very serious moment for our characters—something which is further amplified when Geordie enters the scene. Mistakenly believing that illicit behaviour is taking place, Geordie is scandalized by the sight of the pair half-dressed—the irony being that, although both Claire and Jamie have been longing for one another’s touch during their separation, they are, here, merely responding to an innocent, albeit embarrassing, situation. While both of them feel a little awkward as Jamie goes to remove his breeches, at the same time they are both testing the waters, hesitant, trying to glean as much information as possible about one another and, as it says in the script, “measuring each other, unsure of the right move”—and this is especially true of Claire’s line, again testing the waters, as she says: “it’s alright, we’re married”.
Jamie’s back room at the print shop is described as being “Spartan at best” and “lacking a woman’s touch”—these details are the things that Claire is noticing too as she takes in her surroundings, hoping to learn all she can about Jamie without prying too much. Both she and Jamie are haunted by questions to which they’ve been deprived of answers all this time—Claire is eager to find out if Jamie has moved on and whether or not he has made a life with someone else during her absence, while Jamie is desperate to know what became of the child they conceived together—not knowing the child’s name, whether it was a boy or girl, or indeed, whether he or she survived at all. Both are vulnerable in their mutual ignorance about one another’s lives.
One of the most important moments is when Jamie asks about “the child.” He’s probably thought about Claire and their child every day of his life since Culloden—prayed [she] not only survived but was healthy and happy. After all, the sole reason they separated was for the “sake of the child.”
In the previous episode, we have a sense of Claire’s insecurities about her appearance in that she is worried about how much her looks have changed since Jamie saw her last. Now we see Jamie’s insecurities as we find out that he needs reading-glasses to look at the photos. We also loved the fact that Jamie would never have seen a photograph before—a fun element which Sam [Heughan] really brought to life for us when shooting this scene! The glasses were not originally scripted but both Ron (and Sam) thought it would help visually age the ageless Jamie.
We debated this one in the writer’s room—a lot—with many varied opinions. But ultimately the powers that be decided to have Jamie tell Claire about Willie in this scene. Jamie fetches the small portrait of Willie—we wanted to make sure that he was clear with Claire from the very beginning that he fathered a son. At the end of the day, JAMMF is an honorable man. He’s keeping one secret—two felt a little much. And in keeping as faithful to the source material as possible, I borrowed “the telling” from later in Voyager. I felt that if we were going to do it, it should be in similar fashion to the novel.
Again, in this scene, we see that both Claire and Jamie are hesitant and guarded with their answers to one another’s questions. When Jamie asks Claire if she was “happy” with Frank, Claire is very deliberate with her choice of words— “I was happy raising Brianna with him. He was a good father to her”. We wanted to convey that, although Claire and Frank were not happily married, neither one would ever say that they regretted the time that they devoted to raising Brianna, who they both loved with all their hearts. Claire is therefore able to be very honest with Jamie here.
“Wild horses couldn’t stop me”—this line from the novel was a favorite of ours and we wanted to make sure it was incorporated into the script.
As they walk through Edinburgh, we watch Jamie and Claire revisiting places they’ve been before and that they’ve seen before—once upon a time. Giving them the opportunity to reminisce was a way for them to really begin the process of re-building their relationship, and also to reflect on how things might have been without dwelling too much in the past—that is, in a negative way. We wanted to convey here the sense that they couldn’t have changed what happened, even if they wanted to.
Claire is reunited with a now grown-up Fergus in this scene and it’s here that she is forced to tell her ‘story’ for the first time—that is, to reveal that she has been in the ‘colonies’. She’s forever juggling information—a constant balancing act of past and present, of information old and new, of knowing when to tell the truth of a matter and when to hold back. In many ways, this echoes Brianna’s line in 305 about History being a kaleidoscope: a story which changes depending on who is telling it. The way that Claire chooses to tell her own story informs the way she shapes her identity in the present. As we see later, this is also true for Jamie—the picture Claire has of him is based on snippets of researched information she has found here and there; a fragmented history presented through the eyes of those documenting it. In this episode, Jamie has the chance to tell his story in his own way—with some dramatic consequences.
We are introduced to Mr. Willoughby for the first time during this scene. We had a lot of discussion in the Writers’ Room about how we wanted to portray this somewhat controversial character. We decided that we wanted to embrace what we considered to be the strongest aspects of his personality—his talent for poetry and penchant for romance. We decided to make some adjustments…the actor playing him, for instance—the brilliant Gary Young—speaks Cantonese and so we adjusted the original Mandarin of the book to Cantonese in the script
When Claire introduces herself to Mr. Willoughby we see her hesitate, stopping mid-sentence: “Hello, I’m Claire Ran…”. The theme of ‘identity’ emerges quite strongly throughout this season—especially in this episode. It’s not only about knowing who you are, but who you are in a particular place and time. As well as getting into the habit of introducing herself as Jamie’s wife, Claire must also adjust and adapt in relation to Jamie’s particular circumstances and his new alias as ‘Alexander Malcolm’. Here, Jamie steps in, offering Claire reassurance and finishing her sentence for her, she is now Claire “—Malcolm, my wife”.
“It was a pleasure Yi Tien Cho”. Claire shows respect for Mr. Willoughby throughout the season by addressing him by his given name—‘Yi Tien Cho’. We liked the idea that, also being an ‘outsider’ herself, Claire is known by the name ‘Sassenach’, and although it becomes a very affectionate nickname, it’s something that does serve as a reminder that she is an outsider. Continuing with the theme of identity then, we wanted to show that Claire is empathetic, sensitive and—having come from the future—does not harbor the kinds of prejudices held against people of different ethnic backgrounds that were so prevalent during the eighteenth century. She tries to make Willoughby feel accepted and essentially, less of an ‘outsider’, by using his given name.
You may notice that this scene is long in comparison to other scenes—and deliberately so. In writing this episode we wanted to offer up a true portrait of a relationship—in this sense, the scene isn’t driven by plot, it is rather a chance for the audience to spend time with our hero couple as they (finally alone at last) get to know one another again. We allowed these moments to breathe—to play out almost in real time—to get to know them as a couple after having watched them lead separate lives over the course of so many years. Scene 12 is about 13 pages long—probably the longest single scene in the Outlander series to date.
“The area of Edinburgh that was used to create the bustling street market en-route to the print shop has its own publishing history dating from the early 1800s. It is also the scene of one of Edinburgh’s most notorious and unsolved murders.”
-Hugh Gourlay, Supervising Location Manager
“For the long-awaited return, we needed to drop Claire suddenly right in amongst the hustle and bustle—and grime—of 18th Century Edinburgh, into the famous and well-recognized 'Royal Mile’.
The real place being such a busy and rather confined street in modern Edinburgh, it was entirely impractical to actually stage there, especially for scenes playing over multiple episodes that would have required cleaning up shots to remove modern artefacts. The decision was made to digitally recreate the street as a 3D CG environment that we could move our cameras around in as we pleased and generally have much more freedom during filming. The cast and some appropriate crowd were filmed at the studio on a short cobbled section of street, created especially. This was almost wholly, apart from the immediate street surface and a couple of small stone-textured flats (for close-up coverage) a green screen environment, with green screens positioned as required for each framing.
Using a process called photogrammetry, many thousands of detailed photographs were taken of the real location and surrounding streets, from multiple angles. Specialized software is then used to derive and calculate a 3D geometry or form.
Cleaned of modern artefacts like signage or lights, the photos going through the photogrammetry process, are blended into large textures that can be effectively ‘projected’ onto the derived geometry. Taking note of extensive historical research by the Art Department, we also added some components to upper floors that for the most part, no longer exist to photograph, and replaced all windows.
The result is convincing 3D photo-real buildings that we can view from almost any angle.”
Richard Briscoe, VFX Supervisor
“Here a Jamie ‘double’ waits for his turn at the printing press as the printer is being set up for him, ready to create artwork for the title cards of Episode 306 (using the printer itself). The result is below…”
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer
Printed artwork, created for the title cards in 306.
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer
Rumor has it there’s a hidden letter ‘J’ and ‘C’ in this sign…can you spot it?
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer
“In the print shop every little thing is made, the printing presses, all the thousands of letters, all the trays—hundreds of those—the cabinetry, all the stuff that goes around the printing press…it’s all made from construction to prop builders to prop men. There’s tons of stuff that’s made that you think ‘oh, they just rent that from a prop house.’ Well, that’s not true. When it’s period, it’s hard to find the right stuff usually.”
-Jon Gary Steele, Production Designer
“We’ve had to make all the type, of which there are thousands of pieces that have to go in all the typeset cases—all the little bits and pieces that you need for the massively complicated process of actually printing in those. We had to create everything.
-Gina Cromwell, Set Decorator
“We started working on the print shop last season because we knew it was going be quite a complex, really of the time. We were lucky enough to find a man called Alan May, who has made printing presses before. He had made a printing press like the ones we have in the print shop, which are based on the Benjamin Franklin patent for making printing presses.
So, he made two of them for us and they function and they print, which is really exciting because I think anything that actually works that has moving parts that work takes it to a whole new dimension. We’ve had to make virtually everything in this print shop because it just doesn’t exist in shops. So, we got all the reference together, and with the help of Alan, who made the printing press, and Martin Andrews, who’s at Redding University, they helped us put together what we needed. Everything was made from scratch and it is a proper functioning print shop, and really true.”
Pulling off a print from the actual printing presses and knowing that you’re doing something in exactly the same way they would have done it 250 years ago, I get a real thrill from that. You learn so much from how people lived by the tools that they had. For me, it’s kind of special.
-Gina Cromwell, Set Decorator