Dive deeper into this episode with exclusive sketches, production designs, and fun facts delivered directly from the Outlander crew.
We always knew from the beginning, when we first started talking about this episode, that we wanted to start with the image of Claire wrapped in the sail, drifting down to the bottom of the ocean and that the opening line would be “I was dead.” We wanted to make the image surreal and provocative, something that made the audience wonder how Claire got here…and then later catch up to the same image, where we’d now understand what happened and why. We also loved the juxtaposition of dying, yet being filled with happiness and peace.
You might recognize the music cue here…it’s Bear McCreary’s theme from “Faith,” when Jamie and Claire are at the grave of the baby they lost. We purposefully chose it for its sad yet beautiful melody, and Bear slowed it down to make it even more ethereal.
We wanted something mysterious here. Matt came up with the idea of Claire seeing the chanting slaves pass her on the road to Rose Hall—a bizarre sight that unnerves her and gives her an eerie sense that this is not just an ordinary night.
We decided to have Claire unnerved further by finding the bodies of the two boys who were with Young Ian to elevate the suspense here—is Young Ian dead too? It confirms Claire’s suspicion that Geillis is up to no good and that Claire’s entered a dangerous world here. Claire doesn’t give up, but it puts her even more on guard for her confrontation with her old friend. It also tells the audience that the blood they saw in the bath may not have been just goats…
Here we see that Young Ian is indeed still alive. But Geillis is not happy with him—she now suspects Claire is also after the Silkie treasure. We’d already shown Young Ian’s fear, confusion and terror in earlier scenes, so here we wanted to show that, knowing the other boys were likely killed and he’s got nothing left to lose, Ian hits back at his captor—he’s like his uncle and is not going down without a fight.
Then Claire is ushered in. Toni was especially looking forward to the reunion between these two old friends/adversaries. It was hard keeping the secret from non-book fans who said how much they missed Geillis and were bummed that she died! The key here was that they’re both hiding something and seeking information from each other: Claire wants Young Ian, and Geillis suspects Claire is involved with the treasure. It’s exciting to watch them circle each other like two tigers.
As we know, Jamie was arrested at the end of the previous episode. We made this decision because we wanted a strong cliff-hanger for Episode 312 and because it was more dramatic to have Claire face Geillis alone. We also relished the thought of John Grey getting to dress down the ambitious Captain Leonard, who was greedily trying to use Jamie to further his career even though he was indebted to Claire for saving his men during the typhoid outbreak. We knew in this episode that we didn’t have the screen time or budget to stage both the Porpoise chasing the Artemis and the hurricane (two big events which occur in the book), so we went with the hurricane. In light of that, we wanted a satisfying last moment where Jamie evades Leonard—and what better way than with the help of Lord John, who deliciously puts Leonard in his place by repeatedly calling him “Lieutenant—Captain Leonard.” David Berry does a wonderful job turning his emotion from steely military speak to aching loneliness at Jamie’s parting, knowing he may never see the man he loves again.
Back with Geillis who shows her teeth now, echoing her question from the witch trial in Episode 111, “Why are you here?” She suspects Claire is on a mission to stop her. Claire is confused and doesn’t understand Geillis’s aggression here. In the book, while Claire goes to lend medical help to a slave in the kitchen, Geillis goes through Jamie’s coat and finds Brianna’s photos. We didn’t have time for a medical beat here—but needed Geillis to get those photos. We knew Claire wouldn’t just show them to Geillis, so we came up with the idea to have Geillis using Hercules to threaten Claire—thus Claire is forced to use the photos to prove to Geillis that she travelled back to the past. Although Claire doesn’t want to open up too much to Geillis, she has no reason at this point to think Brianna will come to harm or that Geillis would travel back to kill her.
We hear more about the prophecy in this scene and why Geillis is so determined. In the writers’ room, we changed the prophecy from the book because we wanted Brianna to be in direct peril—Geillis wants her dead. So when Geillis sees the photos, she backs down, now having the information she wants. Recall that Geillis had actually met Brianna when they were both in 1968 —a plot point that we intentionally planted last season in Episode 213. Even back then, we knew we wanted this moment where Geillis would recognize Claire’s daughter.
The Obeah (akin to voo doo) ceremony is another piece that we were super excited about writing. We wanted to start it with Claire and Jamie secretly watching it, an echo of Claire and Frank watching the original dancers at the stones, and we decided early on that we wanted the Obeah dancers to echo the Craigh na Dun dancers at our original stone circle. Our editor Mikey O’Halloran did a great job blending the shots of the dancers as Claire flashes back to a memory of the place that brought her to this time, and to Jamie.
The Willoughby/Margaret romance was a little surprise the writers came up with at the very beginning of the season. Back when we dropped the “fiend” storyline, we knew we wanted a happy ending for two characters that we loved and we knew would be audience favorites. We were looking forward to this all season. We didn’t have a lot of story time to play an elongated courtship, but we believed that these two deeply emotional characters could have forged one of those instant connections. And we loved that among all the danger and suspense, these two wounded souls found each other and went off and lived happily ever after.
Margaret’s interaction with Claire and Jamie is one of our favorite moments. We thought it was important to show that Margaret wasn’t just a crackpot, but had a real gift and that her talents were legit. We chose to show this by having her “see” things for Jamie and Claire, things no one else could know—in order to validate her visions. We used images from the season opener—the bird for Claire and the rabbit for Jamie. In fact, we have been using a rabbit all season…a small Easter egg. This is our final rabbit. ☺
This is where the penny drops for Claire, who realizes Geillis’s shocking plan when she hears about the 200-year-old baby and finds the missing photo…
In the book, though Archie is “the Fiend,” he is seemingly kind to his sister. But the twisted relationship of Archie and Margaret was intriguing to us. His cruelty to his sister was disturbing and warranted a comeuppance. We chose to have him appear here to assert his power over her. We show that he is truly a monster—then have Margaret be defended by Willoughby who kills him in the end.
Inside the cave, we see the final showdown between Claire and Geillis. And of course, Jamie must battle Hercules. Claire and Jamie often fight together as a team and here they join forces to save Young Ian as we realize what Geillis has planned. “A life for a life, sweet Claire.” One of the lines that summarizes the Geillis story. She believes Claire owes her—she saved Claire’s life, and she gave up her own child for the cause. It’s Claire’s turn. Geillis wants to change history, but Claire knows history can’t be changed.
Here’s where we got to play out something we’d been planning all season—Claire realizing (through the flashbacks) that the skeleton brought into her hospital was Geillis Duncan—and that Claire was the one who killed her. There’s dialogue with Jamie in the script, but in editing, we elected to go with just Claire flashing to the memory and not talking about it. We decided she was still in shock and it was more powerful in her head than if she could verbalize it.
We loved ending on the line where Jamie says “For now, I must hold ye both.” It was a welcome comfort after the adrenaline and dangers they faced.
We called this the “shaving” scene. We always loved this scene in the book, so we did a variation of it. Jamie talks about what he wants to do to Claire, but in our version, he also does what he wants at the same time he’s talking. In the book, a version of this took place on the ship after they leave the island when they were separated and before the pirate attack. Fans thought we’d left it out, but there was always a plan to save it for here. We wanted a well-earned respite after their month’s long journey to save Young Ian. And we wanted a literal “calm before the storm.” Caitriona and Sam are very good in this scene, so natural and sweet and flirty with each other. It’s a long scene, but we let it play out, feeling that the audience stuck with us during the action scenes and now this is a wee treat.
The storm sequence, which starts here and basically goes until almost the end of the script, was the first thing Matt shot. It was daunting to take that on at the top of the schedule, but necessary in order to have time to complete all the special effects. Way back before we ever started this season, we knew there were ships and a massive storm sequence and started joking about how we needed to borrow the ships from Black Sails. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened, as they were closing down production just as we were ramping up. We used a lot of the incredible Black Sails crew to help out with the complex ship sequences, but had to accomplish much more in a shorter time and with a smaller budget.
Sam and Caitriona did much of their own stunts here and we doused them with water time and time again. They were troopers.
Here is where we catch up with our opening image of Claire floating down into the ocean, knowing she is drowning…Love the “Faith” theme here.
Jamie dives into the ocean to save Claire. Love the underwater kiss as he tries to breathe life into her.
It was important to us to use the line, “I swear if you die here now, I’ll kill you.” It was a favorite of Maril’s and the fans as well. The idea for Claire and Jamie to surface in the calm water and wonder what happened to the storm (and the ship) was Matt’s, as was the idea to pull upward through the eye of the hurricane, which ended up looking super cool. He also came up with the transition to the swirling tide pool on the Georgia beach.
As Claire/Jamie awaken on a beach in Georgia…in the book, the last line is, “I’m Jamie Fraser, this is Claire, my wife.” We kept it in, but didn’t feel it would be as strong as a final line, since we condensed Jamie’s aliases for clarity. So it didn’t have the punch we wanted. The punch was in the fact that they were in “America.” So that’s where we ended, along with a sweeping shot of the beach and up over the hill to the terrain of Georgia, as far as the eye could see.
Matt asked Bear McCreary to compose a colonial pipe and drum piece to lead us into the end credits. As we mentioned earlier, the music at the very beginning of the show was so evocative of Claire and Jamie’s past that we wanted to give a wee taste of what’s to come in their future, through use of the music at the end—a nod towards America and Drums of Autumn.
The slave quarters at Rose Hall.