Dive deeper into this episode with exclusive sketches, production designs, and fun facts delivered directly from the Outlander crew.
We talked a lot in the room about what it would look like for Jamie and Claire after the initial glow of their long-awaited reunion. Episode 306 is this perfect warm and fuzzy bubble where Jamie and Claire experience the rush of seeing one another again after 20 years apart. They have an incredible 24 hours of reconnecting and lovemaking, but in 307, we wanted to explore—what happens next? What does it look like when the rubber meets the road for Jamie and Claire? How do they fit into one another’s lives after all this time apart? Both have changed and evolved as people over the past 20 years and while their love for one another is undeniable, their life experiences have shaped each of them in different ways. This is the episode where they start to realize that and we wanted to explore what that looks like. And right off the bat they are at odds with one another—Claire, being a doctor, who has taken an oath to save lives, wants to heal her assailant, while Jamie wants to let him die, since healing the Exciseman puts members of his smuggling crew in jeopardy. Their reunion is ultimately an upheaval for both of them, which makes their emotional journey in this episode interesting, and grounded. As much as the years apart have changed them, they’re still the same. Jamie’s line, “Stubborn as always, Sassenach” hits the bullseye. Even though it’s bumpy for Jamie and Claire in this episode, they are still the people that they initially fell in love with.
I love this scene with Jamie and his crew having to suddenly off-load their illicit barrels of booze. It’s where we get to establish a bit more character with Willoughby as well—since Willoughby is a Buddhist, he of all the guys in Jamie’s crew understands and respects Claire’s desire to help a man who everyone else believes isn’t deserving of her mercy. And it was fun to highlight how bizarre Claire’s behavior is to Lesley and Hayes, who don’t know much about Claire at all. They can’t fathom why she would want to save a man who was trying to kill her. As far as they’re concerned, if a man raises a blade to you, you run him through and you’d be completely right to do so. Our actors nailed it in this scene.
Claire meets Archibald Campbell! Mark Hadfield, who we cast as Archibald, is an utter delight. He brought such life and dynamism to the role. This scene between Archie and Claire pops because he’s taking his sweet time ordering tonics for his poor sister, Margaret, while Claire is in an absolute hurry and wants Archie to hurry the hell up.
This scene was in the original script, but was cut due to length issues. But once the episode was cut together, we needed it back since the episode was short…so, we wound up shooting this scene that takes place in Edinburgh on the backlot in Cape Town. Not only do we demonstrate Young Ian’s burgeoning business acumen, we explore his curiosity concerning his Auntie Claire, who he heard stories of as a boy.
Again, so fun to have Jamie and Claire with differing points of view regarding Claire’s patient. Claire is concerned for his well-being and Jamie is desperate to keep the man’s presence a secret, since there is so much at stake.
It was important to ratchet up the story stakes and tension in this scene with Sir Percival’s arrival and intention to find Jamie’s illicit casks. We also introduce Sir Percival’s blind-eyed henchman, who was more interested in being a brothel customer instead of searching the premises. But who can blame him? There was a lot of available flesh in that brothel—our supporting artists did a wonderful job. We wanted Jamie and Madame Jeanne to have to tap dance their way out of a tight spot. Sir Percival and the blind-eyed man make such an “Odd Couple” pair—Percival, the focused, fastidious Officer of the Crown and his easily distracted, disheveled, henchman. My hat goes off to our make-up department who got a great, memorable “milky eye” contact lens for the blind-eyed man.
In the writers’ room, we discussed the importance of building a bond between Willoughby and Claire that started in this surgery sequence. We talked about how both of these characters would identify with the other since they know what it’s like to be treated like an outsider whilst in Scotland. Claire was certainly met with skepticism by Scots the first time she came through the stones as an Englishwoman and Willoughby has been marginalized as well. They both understand what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land, which bonds them. And they both share healing backgrounds. While they have different medicinal influences—Eastern vs. Western—they both desire to ease people’s pain and suffering, which is why Willoughby is intrigued by Claire’s medical tactics in the surgery scenes. His Eastern medicine wouldn’t prescribe drilling into a person’s head.
When Jamie enters and learns that Barton is dead, he’s understandably relieved. One of his problems has solved itself, and while it pains Claire to have lost her patient, she realizes her actions have put Jamie and others in danger. There’s a bit of thaw between them, both realizing that assimilating back into one another’s lives won’t be seamless. It will be a process, which is natural after spending two decades apart. It’s another step towards the two of them getting to understand/becoming more comfortable with who the other is now.
This journey shot of Claire is VFX at its finest. Our VFX supervisor, Richard Briscoe and his team, as well as our very talented camera department, manage to pull rabbits out of hats all the time. While it looks like Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, we shot it in front of green screen on our backlot—movie magic at its finest!
This scene was not only really fun to write; it was really fun to shoot. Norma Bailey, our director, and I were thrilled with the actors’ performances. It’s one of my favorite scenes from this episode. While we meet Young Ian in Episode 306, we only get a glimpse of him. He’s such a delightful character and John Bell does a great job of imbuing Young Ian with youthful exuberance and awkwardness. Young Ian is away from home and having yearnings that any teenager would have. There are some elements of human behavior that span centuries—boozing, chasing girls, shenanigans. And since Fergus grew up in a brothel, and is naturally a ladies’ man, it’s not surprising that he lost his virginity in a ménage à trois, but it’s Young Ian’s reaction to hearing what a ménage à trois is that’s priceless In the writers’ room, we discussed what the dynamic between Fergus and Young Ian should be and decided that since they would have spent years together at Lallybroch and would have developed a brotherly relationship, it would be natural for Fergus to give Young Ian advice on how to pick up girls. John Bell and Cesar Domboy nailed this scene.
Claire meets Margaret Campbell! We were all so happy with who we cast for Margaret and Archie Campbell. Mark Haddington and Allison Parteger not only delivered brilliant performances, they were delightful people. Since this is Margaret’s introduction, it was important to hit the right notes with her character—she had to be both vulnerable and odd. When it comes to Margaret’s “gift”, we went around and around in the writers’ room trying to define it. What are the rules? Does Margaret really have visions? Or is she crazy? We settled on the following: Yes, Margaret does indeed have the gift of sight, but must make physical contact with another person (or object) to have a vision. And her brother, Archibald, exploits her gifts for financial gain. That said, we didn’t want to play Archie as a one-note, moustache-twirling villain. Caring for his sister has fallen solely on his shoulders. And since she’s so bizarre and requires a good deal of looking after, he couldn’t find a wife who could tolerate Margaret’s erratic behavior. Claire picks up a bit on this exploitative family dynamic, but is ultimately powerless to do much since the Campbells are departing for the West Indies.
Our production designer and his team created an amazing print shop on our stages. Their attention to detail is incredible. And we tried to take advantage of it, shooting a nice, high wide as Young Ian and Brighid spill into the empty print shop after a few hours of drinking. It was nice to juxtapose Young Ian and Brighid’s brand new, carefree romance with that of Jamie’s and Claire’s, which is deeper and spans years, but is laden with conflict in this episode. Since it’s such an emotionally charged episode between Jamie and Claire, it was great to be able to cut to a lighthearted story. Also, John and Zoe were fantastic together in this scene.
While Brighid would likely have been a whore, since she worked in a tavern in 1767, it was important that we made it clear that she’s off the clock with Ian because she genuinely likes him. And since it is her night off, she wants to be bedded the way she likes to be bedded since this romp is “on the house.”
We explore more of Jamie and Claire’s differing points of view in this scene. Jamie can’t wrap his head around why they would leave the brothel right away. It’s perfect in his eyes—they have their own room, food whenever they’re hungry and it’s rent free. Whereas Claire doesn’t plan on living there any longer than they have to. They both try to move forward and make plans for their future, when another obstacle presents itself—Ian Murray, Young Ian’s father, who has come to Jamie looking for his son. And Jamie makes Claire complicit in withholding their knowledge of Young Ian’s whereabouts from him. We were cognizant of putting another complication in front of Jamie and Claire as they continue to try to work their way through their differences.
This is where we dig further into Claire’s cover story. It’s important exposition because of course Ian would wonder where the hell Claire has been all these years and she and Jamie obviously can’t tell the truth. Claire’s story needs to be plausible, but concise. Ian takes in her explanation without further question in the moment because he’s consumed by thoughts of finding his missing son. And that’s when Claire gets swept up in further dishonesty when Jamie tells Ian that he has no idea where his son is. Jamie will have some ‘splaining to do once they’re alone.
This is where we further tease that Jamie is hiding some rather pertinent information from Claire.
Young Ian vs. the blind-eyed man! John Bell and Ian Reddington really went for it in this scene and SFX were all over it with great pieces and elements that kick-off the print shop FIRE!
This is my favorite scene of the episode. Jamie and Claire have been trying so hard to play nice with one another throughout the episode, suppressing their true feelings at times to avoid further conflict, but after Claire witnesses Jamie’s conversation with Ian, she can’t keep quiet any longer. She genuinely can’t understand why Jamie would lie to a family member like that—something she has never seen him do before. But Jamie doesn’t see it that way. He remembers what it’s like to be Young Ian’s age and understands his nephew in a way his parents don’t. But when Claire tells Jamie that it’s not his choice to make since he’s not Young Ian’s father, that strikes a nerve, which leads to them calling the other out on things that they’ve been biting their tongue over—Jamie judges Claire’s parenting choices regarding how she and Frank raised Brianna—and Claire questions Jamie’s decisions regarding his nephew. Their years apart in vastly different time periods have created a disconnect. It’s 18th century vs. 20th century values. They clash here and it’s great to see Jamie and Claire have their first fight in 20 years. Sam and Catriona did a great job with this scene. It’s natural for couples to have conflict, and for Jamie and Claire it’s amplified by the fact that they haven’t been together for so long and have missed out on large chunks of one another’s lives, so there’s a failure to understand where the other is coming from. And just when you think things can’t get any worse, Jamie learns that there is a fire in the close where his print shop is located.
Print shop fire! There were so many elements that went into building/shooting/creating this epic fire. Our crew absolutely crushed this sequence. Construction built a print shop exterior that matched the Edinburgh location on our backlot that SFX actually burned down. (The building we used for the other exterior print shop scenes is a museum in a close right off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and as a result, we couldn’t burn it down). VFX built on what was shot in camera on the backlot and the combined result is stunning. I’m so proud of the amount and quality of work the crew and cast accomplished on that cold night in January (turns out working in a stone close is akin to working in a giant refrigerator). It was a massively successful team effort from everyone.
Jamie’s super hero leap down from the balcony is classic. The King of Men at his most athletic.
Fergus and Willoughby make it just in time to see the print shop collapse.
We finally reveal Jamie’s big secret to the audience—that in Claire’s absence, he married someone else! It’s a nice cliff-hanger to end the episode on.
“The interior of the print shop was built as a studio set, and while an amount of fire could be done practically, there is a very real limit to what can be done safely, so visual effects were required to add more flames, sparks, and smoke to further enhance and balance what was there originally.
The exterior of the print shop was a genuinely historic building in Edinburgh, with absolutely no way to do any real fire at the location. To solve this with visual effects required a great deal of detailed planning of camera angles, and devising a coherent chronology of which parts caught fire and in what order, plus a large scale physical build and some magnificent assistance from the Special Effects Department, who were tasked with creating some enormous practical fire elements, in a safe, controllable, and repeatable environment.
For wider views, we filmed on location covering the scene from predetermined angles. We later shot exactly matching angles on a facade of the building built at the studio to be a 1:1 match for the real building. This whole built facade was specially prepared and constructed to allow us to do multiple burns, using black (fire board) surfaces and platforms behind to allow the Special Effects Department to rig their gas pipes and burning debris.
Once we had filmed all our material, we were then able to combine shots from the location with fire plates shot at the studio, which would marry correctly on and appear to interact correctly with the underlying real building. There was then a lengthy process of finessing; to add appropriate interactive lighting and smoke to create the final shots.”
Richard Briscoe, VFX Supervisor
“We had a brothel in Season 2, so, we felt it was only necessary and important to have a brothel in Season 3. Now a brothel in Season 2 in Paris is quite refined, and the brothel in Edinburgh in Season 3 a little less so. Much more plain, much more of a city brothel without the finesse of Paris. It’s a wonderful set, which integrates with a real exterior in Edinburgh. The exterior of the building in Edinburgh is dated 1648. It’s just up the Royal Mile. What the Art Department has done there is taking some of the exterior features and allowing them to blend in onto the interior, with multiple rooms and then a wonderful staircase leading off up into Jamie and Claire’s room. At the back end of the set there is the warehouse for all the barrels of which is Jamie’s business.”
David Brown, Producer
“During 2nd Unit filming of the EXT Print Shop. Filming took two nights as we progressively intensified the burn until we had the set fully engulfed in flames.”
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer/Writer
“2nd Unit filming of the burning of the Print Shop (on the backlot). Night one.”
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer/Writer
“Night two. No s’mores were made in the filming of this scene.”
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer/Writer
“The Royal Mile (today). We took the main filming unit and shot on the Royal Mile for two nights.”
-Matthew B. Roberts, Executive Producer/Writer