Episode 407

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

Dive deeper into this episode with exclusive sketches, production designs, and fun facts delivered directly from the Outlander crew.

INSIDE THE SCRIPT:
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

See what the crew says about your favorite scenes.

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This was chosen as a reference to Alice in Wonderland. It’s a good way to characterize Brianna’s experience.

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This first scene, and the others of Brianna traversing the Scottish countryside, were designed as a bit of a parallel to Claire’s journey after washing up on the islands in the West Indies. The difference is that while Claire was going through the sweltering jungle, her daughter is dealing with the frigid and rocky landscapes of the Highlands. Both are a woman alone, a stranger in a strange land.

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Brianna falls and spills the contents of her purse, so we could show the things she brought: a compass and a map—to help navigate and find her way to the harbor—but also waterproof matches, something Claire did not have on the island, which would have been handy! We had Brianna bring the wax paper-wrapped peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as a nod to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the book, which Claire brought with her when she went back in time—something that didn’t make it into our screen version.

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This was included because we initially wanted Brianna to be robbed, as another obstacle to her getting to her destination, learning that it’s hard to trust people on the road. Ultimately, the “tinker scene” was cut in editing, as once we viewed it, we felt it was stronger to show the barren landscapes and Brianna’s loneliness and difficulty. It was a more powerful image to precede her encounter with Laoghaire, and she didn’t need to interact with travelers beforehand. We wanted Laoghaire to be literally the first person she encounters.

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We wanted to reestablish that Roger can hear the buzzing of the stones and thus is one of the rare people who can time travel, and that likewise Fiona cannot hear them. You may notice that in the main titles, a woman’s hand is seen touching the stones. It was a bit of a mystery we planted for viewers. The one thing it did tell us is that this person was not a time traveler, since any time traveler disappears instantly upon touching the stone, which rules out Claire or Brianna. Once this episode airs, people will realize the hands touching the stone belong to Fiona!

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We always knew we wanted to bring back Tobias Menzies for an episode. We debated where the best place to use him would be, and even though it seems strange in a way to integrate him in a story about Brianna searching for Jamie, our thought was that it was very organic for Brianna to be flooded with thoughts of the man who raised her and the man she knew as father, the closer she got to meeting Jamie. So here we start the flashbacks, with a sweet scene of her dad lifting the sleeping child out of the car, something that positions father as “protector,” something that many of us perhaps have experienced. That brings a warm feeling and tells us that Frank is “with” Brianna, even as she starts her journey away from him and her Boston home.

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Due to a scheduling conflict, we were unable to get Laura Donnelly to return to Outlander this season. We knew it would be difficult to play the Lallybroch story in the book, since Jenny was such a large part of that, so we had to come up with something new. We had the idea of crossing Brianna with Laoghaire… to build a tense situation where two people who may not like each other were unknowingly interacting and finding comfort and friendliness until their true identities were revealed. The audience, admittedly, are not big fans of Laoghaire. However, the idea was that though they might dislike her for being an enemy of Claire, Laoghaire was a good mother to her daughters and perhaps a nice and kind person if you met her in life and didn’t have a conflict with her over a certain red-headed man. ;) It was a chance to see the other side of Laoghaire, in the warmth of her home and being a good parent and kind person.

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We see Frank again, but this time it’s not such a good memory. Hearing Laoghaire and Ian arguing downstairs triggers a memory of Brianna’s parents arguing. The cool thing is that we link it to an argument that the audience saw in Episode 303. In that argument, Frank is urging Claire to keep her voice down so Brianna won’t hear. The irony is now we show that Brianna did indeed hear the argument and was saddened, and we were able to use the exact dialogue played off-camera and lifted from the earlier episode.

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We designed this scene to take advantage of the tension that we could get from having Brianna cross paths with Ian Murray, so that the audience would be yelling at the TV! We knew they’d be rooting for these two people to realize who each other are, but then we leave it that this is a missed opportunity and the feeling that Brianna is in great danger staying with the enemy of her mother, even though she doesn’t realize how loaded this situation is.

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Many fans will remember this scene from the book where the stones spit Roger back out. However, it was cut for time and will possibly be included on the DVD deleted scenes. Also, Roger getting spit back out necessitated Fiona giving Roger her engagement ring. Even though this happens in the book, we thought it might be too much for a woman to give away her engagement ring and wanted to portray that Fiona was truly happy with Ernie. Even though she and Roger are friends, we didn’t want to make Roger more important to her than her husband, so in Scene 5, Roger brings his own gemstone, so he doesn’t have to use her ring.

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It’s chilling to hear Laoghaire talk about her “former husband” and have her complain about him in front of the man’s own daughter. Of course, without Brianna knowing it, Brianna even sympathizes with her! We also wanted Brianna and Joan to bond since they are stepsisters in a way and they are both red-headed, so it’s easy to imagine there’s a sweet connection between them, even though they are not blood-related. As they both discuss their fathers, another interesting aspect of this story is that Frank and Laoghaire are both tragic figures in that Frank loved Claire and Laoghaire loved Jamie before the two soul mates met. Then, after they’d each lost the love of their lives when Claire and Jamie got together, their lost loves returned to them. Claire goes back to Frank and Jamie eventually marries Laoghaire. Both the tragic figures have a second chance with the person they love, only to be rejected once again, so putting Laoghaire and Frank in the same episode had a certain synergy to it.

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We liked the idea that Frank has found the obituary and that he learns that Claire leaves him, not realizing that it was after his death. We knew it would be emotionally fraught for Brianna to see the obit—though she doesn’t realize it’s about her mother at the time. Frank is tempted to share his secret with his daughter: that Claire is a time traveler whose her heart belongs to another man. Being the great father that he is, Frank holds back and doesn’t spill the beans to her, because no matter the pain he is in over Claire, he would never hurt Brianna.

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One structural challenge of this script was that to integrate Roger’s journey with Brianna’s meant that Roger would arrive in North Carolina before Brianna, so we came up with the device of having Stephen Bonnet say there are four ports before Wilmington, so that his journey takes longer and he arrives after her.

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The big reveal. We wanted the suspense to build until the audience couldn’t stand it any longer, so we finally have Brianna say something that cues Laoghaire that Claire is her mother…

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To further extend the suspense, we had Laoghaire realize who Brianna was before Brianna realizes it, and how here, because of Laoghaire’s machinations, Brianna doesn’t understand why Laoghaire is being discouraging of her goal of finding her parents until she finally realizes who Laoghaire truly is! Then all hell breaks loose!   

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This scene was a call back to Episode 303 when Frank said he would take Brianna to England and boasts to Claire about how he’ll have no trouble getting her to come with him. We thought it would be interesting to show the conversation before his death, and that the reverse is true—Brianna, stunned by the news of divorce, refuses the offer. This is something Brianna ultimately regrets, as after tonight, she will never see her father again and feels guilty for not returning his “I love you.”

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We originally included the pearls in this scene and have Brianna and Laoghaire fight over them, but ultimately decided that a physical fight was awkward to play and since she did not need the pearls to prove to anyone who she was, like in the book, the pearls did not serve a purpose in this version of the story.

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In the writers’ room, we always talked about playing a scene with Brianna at Frank’s grave, and this was the right place for it.

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We thought it’d be ironic for little Joanie to be the one to help Brianna escape her mother’s clutches.

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Even though we didn’t have Jenny and couldn’t play out much of the Lallybroch story from the book, we couldn’t have Brianna travel through Scotland and not visit the home where Jamie grew up, so we took her to Lallybroch so she could meet Uncle Ian and he could help her get to the ship.

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Brianna giving her name as Brianna Randall was a pointed statement to show that Bree is not abandoning Frank. She definitely has Fraser in her but was raised a Randall and is not leaving behind the man who loved and cared for her for 20 years.

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And now we watch as Brianna sees a ghost of Frank on the dock—our way of showing that Frank will likewise never abandon his daughter.

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It’s difficult to play long monologues in a TV episode. We only have an hour to squeeze in much good material. However, we felt it was important to know this part of Stephen Bonnet’s backstory, so we would know that his coin-flipping routine was not merely a gimmick that he takes lightly, but something deeply rooted in his psyche from pain and fear he suffered as a young man, making him a truly dangerous villain.

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Wardrobe:
Brianna Time Travels

Co-Costume Designer Terry Dresbach on Brianna’s time travel clothes: “Her costumes leading up to her time travel were deeply personal for me. Her ‘through the stones’ dress was quite the dilemma. We had previously decided that Claire knew too much of life in the eighteenth century to think that a “Jessica Gutenberg” (Gunne Sax) dress would pass muster, but I knew how much it meant to the fans and made the case that we should have Brianna wear it. There was no way we were going to have her make something—we had done that with Claire—and, as a headstrong teenager, I could believe she’d shrug her shoulders and say, “this will be fine, I’ll just wear my cape over it”, in that casually unconscious way of teenage girls, and so we made a version of a cape I had in 1971. We established it in North Carolina at the festival, so it didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. I reminded the writers that it was all wrong for the eighteenth century and people should look at Brianna strangely because of her clothing—we would need to get her out of it quickly, before someone threw her in a madhouse or a brothel.”

I always knew I wanted to get her into Claire’s old clothes. Clothing was too valuable a resource to discard casually, so I knew we could justify it still being around—that would be absolutely normal—and the idea of Brianna wearing Claire’s old dresses and her jacket was just too impossibly wonderful to pass up. I think it is a beautiful visual connection between a mother and her daughter, an emotional thread that every mother and daughter will recognize.”

Wardrobe:
Roger Time Travels

Said Co-Costume Designer Nina Ayers on Roger’s time travel outfit: “Roger’s eighteenth century looks consist of his late 1960’s/70’s wardrobe which 'he has done his best' to transform into something which resembles what he believes could pass as eighteenth century. The look was made to fit in with sailors and a general population as opposed to high society. His old check shirt becomes the stock, the bobble is taken off his woolen hat, he finds a ghillie shirt and takes the sleeves off his Scottish jacket worn to the festival to turn it into a waistcoat. His cord suit is variously adjusted and finally his duffel coat undergoes some crude remodeling. We kept seams raw cut and top stitched to indicate the maker doesn’t have vast sewing skills.

Added Ann McEwan, Make-Up & Hair Designer, “The first surprise when people see Roger back in the eighteenth century is that he has shaved to fit in better (it wasn’t customary for gentlemen to have facial hair at this time). Makeup was used to ‘weather’ his face and hands from the time we see him on the Gloriana.”

Casting:
Frank Randall is Back...the Memory At Least

Executive Producer Maril Davis on the flashbacks to Frank: “As we brainstormed what Brianna would have been thinking about on her dangerous, lonely journey from the 1970s to the eighteenth century to find her mother and her birth father for the first time, we thought she would be thinking of Frank, the man who raised her…memories being conjured. We wanted to explore that struggle and conflict, remembering the day he died and wondering whether she would be betraying his memory by accepting a new father figure. We also loved the comparison of Laoghaire and Frank, who both loved and lost and suffered the terrible effects of unrequited love, linked in a beautifully tragic way. There is also an ‘Easter egg’ in the Frank story—we show that he has found the obituary for Jamie and Claire that Brianna finds several years later.”

Set Design:
The Gloriana

The interior of Stephen Bonnet’s ship, the Gloriana, is the same boat that was the hero ship of Season 3, the Artemis. The set was sent back from the Cape Town film studios to Scotland on a ship.

EXPLORE
  • INTRO
    DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
  • INSIDE
    THE SCRIPT
  • Wardrobe:
    Brianna Time Travels
  • Wardrobe:
    Roger Time Travels
  • Casting:
    Frank Randall is Back...the Memory At Least
  • Set Design:
    The Gloriana