Dive deeper into this episode with exclusive sketches, production designs, and fun facts delivered directly from the Outlander crew.
The title of this episode is the last line of a poem called “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats. In the script and in the book, Brianna quotes the poem to Jamie. She explains that it was a poem Frank recited whenever he’d see Claire in her garden, and that Frank used to joke that Claire would move to the woods and live alone with her plants if she could. In the script, Brianna notes the irony that Claire, in fact, is living in the woods now… though not alone. Alas, the poem didn’t make the final aired version of the show, but it still lives in the title.
The way this was first written, Claire was outside looking at the ring… and then she came inside and found Jamie, having just returned from beating Roger. The way we ended up shooting it was to have Claire already inside… and then Jamie enters. It just streamlined things—mostly this was a production decision… fewer scenes, fewer setups.
This scene was filmed as written, but in the end, we decided we didn’t need it to tell the story—a later line by Jamie to Brianna that he hurt his hand in a “wee accident near the still” gave us all we needed in terms of plot and information. We really liked the scene as Cait and Sam played it—we liked the idea that both characters had a chance to say more but didn’t take it—but the show was running quite long and unfortunately the scene had to be cut.
This is a really important scene and it’s a long scene, and a difficult one. For a lot of reasons, mostly weather, the shooting of this scene had to be rescheduled a number of times. When we finally shot it, it was in the middle of a blizzard. Literally. Not just a snowfall, a blizzard. And we had nothing else to shoot. That’s a rare thing for us or any show. We almost always have what we call “weather cover”—scenes we can shoot inside if need be. On this day, we didn’t have that, and the snow came out of nowhere, so we shot the entire thing—seven pages—in a blizzard but of course… if you’ve watched the episode, you saw that it was a beautiful day. That’s because after we’d shot it and cut it together, we realized that it just didn’t look right. Why would Jamie and Brianna go for a walk, and talk of such intimate matters in this kind of weather? So, we made the hard choice of reshooting the entire scene—basically a whole day’s work. That was a tough call, because Sam and Sophie had done AMAZING work the first time around. Asking them to play this emotional and challenging scene a second time was a tough ask, but they were troopers, and the final result is amazing.
There were a lot of conversations about the moment where Jamie “fights” Brianna to prove that she couldn’t have done anything to stop her attacker. It’s a shocking, iconic and powerful moment in the book and we wanted to get it perfect—Jamie realizing that this extreme measure is the only way to get Brianna to see the truth. We discussed it amongst ourselves, and with the actors, and then we rehearsed it well in advance of the shoot. As always, when you go from page to screen, you have to make it work visually. I think in the end, we got it right.
This idea that you can take a baby through the stones when you’re pregnant, but possibly not when the baby is in your arms, is a really interesting and important idea for our series—that you couldn’t be sure a baby would make it through because you wouldn’t know for certain that they could time travel. I remember reading that in the book and realizing I’d never even thought about it before but it was eye-opening—and of course it makes Brianna’s decision here really urgent.
One of my favorite scenes of the episode. I love how it turned out. It’s so sweet and moving on so many levels and played so well by all involved. Here’s the poem. It was, once again, one of those things that just had to be cut. If you’ve never read it, you should. It’s a beautiful bit of writing.
Another favorite scene. Cait and Sophie loved playing these moments together as mother and daughter and I love how this scene turned out. Of course, the loveliness of this moment belies the earth-shattering revelations that are about to come in this episode. It was important for us to find moments where we see Brianna struggling with the trauma of what happened to her in Wilmington but it was also important to find moments of simple pleasure and rest—especially in the company of her mom. Led Zeppelin’s eponymous first album came out in 1969—after Claire went back through the stones and before Brianna came after her. Perfect timing for it to be referenced in this scene.The burger place Claire mentions—Carmi’s—is a nod to STARZ president of programming Carmi Zlotnik.
The idea for this dream came late in the writing process. We wanted to show that Brianna was still struggling with the rape in a visceral way. Sophie plays that lingering trauma powerfully, but we also wanted to show visually what it is she’s going through. It was also a reminder of Jamie’s nightmares in Season 2 after his rape by Black Jack Randall. That moment where Roger turns into Stephen Bonnet is a shocking moment—a visual trick conceived by our fantastic director David Moore.
We needed a way for Brianna to learn the truth, that Jamie beat Roger and sent him away. We used this scene as a vehicle for Lizzie to tell her, but since Jamie had ordered Lizzie in Episode 409 to “speak nothing of this to my wife and daughter,” we had to justify Lizzie telling Brianna because she was so worried about Brianna’s violent nightmares that Lizzie wants badly to soothe and reassure Brianna and thus reveals the truth. I love how the truth slowly dawns on Brianna here through her confusion.
In the writers’ room, we called this scene the one where “all cats come out of all bags.” So much is revealed, reacted to, felt, processed, denied, admitted, misunderstood, and figured out… so much fun to write. I love Murtagh’s line when he gets up and makes his escape. It’s a pretty basic line, but Duncan played it so well. Always gets a laugh out of me in an otherwise tense scene. Young Ian almost escapes… but no luck. We went back and forth on what hurtful things Brianna could say to Jamie here. We tried various lines with various curse words. We kept coming back to the question: Is this something that Brianna, a Catholic girl from the sixties, would say, even in anger?
As is often the case, in post production, we rethink the pacing and placement of scenes. At some point it was decided that we needed to see Roger earlier in the episode, so a lot of this stuff comes much earlier than it did in the script.
“You don’t get to be more angry than me.” Probably my favorite line of the script. I went back and forth on whether it should be “more angry” or “angrier.” Did I get it right?
Our First Nations actors were so fantastic. They had to learn all of this Mohawk dialogue phonetically, as none of them were actually speakers of the Mohawk language. They did an amazing job.
This is a real creation story of the Mohawk people.
Richard and James MacKenzie, who played Caleb, were both fantastic in these scenes.
I love the tension in this scene. This was a fun one to write. We knew it would be a hard sell for Claire to leave her daughter, especially with a baby coming, but we needed Claire to go on the journey with Jamie, so we had Claire protest and Brianna insist she go because it was best for Roger.
We were originally planning to have the Mohawk warriors throw Caleb’s body into the river, but we learned through talking to representatives of the Mohawk nation that they revere water and would never intentionally place a dead body in it. We went to great lengths to achieve authenticity in our depiction of the Mohawk and Cherokee people—from their customs, to their dress, to their language and stories—on down to things like hand gestures and social practices.
We knew we wanted to work Young Ian’s proposal into this episode, but we didn’t know where and how until we cracked this scene. In an earlier draft of the script, Jamie and Claire took Brianna to River Run themselves and parted from her there. I’m glad we decided to let them part here at Fraser’s Ridge and have Murtagh take her. The sense of dual missions, of leaving home and being separated from family, is really what this scene is about. The guilt that Jamie has over what happened, the lengths he and Claire are willing to go to to get Roger back, Young Ian’s part it in, Lizzie’s regret, Murtagh’s determination… this was a moving scene to write.
You see here our original plan to hear the rest of the poem being recited. It’s one of those things that works on the page and then… when you see it play out… it doesn’t quite work. You wonder why you’re hearing the poem again after so long. The words don’t quite match up with the images. We felt in the end that the montage worked better without the poem.
When we wrote and filmed Episode 402, we knew we’d be coming back to River Run eventually. It took us a while to get back, but here we are. It’s a beautiful location and set from Gary Steele, and we wanted to maximize it in the show.
Hopefully this scene is both touching and funny.
Another few scenes that were cut from a too-long episode. Ah well. The good news is that you will see them in the Deleted Scenes on the DVDs.
So much fun to conceive of this sequence. So much fun to write. So much fun to scout these locations and plan this complicated shoot. So much tension and excitement and pain and fear and hope…
I wrote this whole sequence in my mother and father-in-law’s spare bedroom in Sun City, AZ, looking out at cacti and roadrunners. I love how this episode ends. I hope you do too.
Said Make-Up and Hair Designer Anne McEwan, “The journey was scheduled in story order so we had the luxury of allowing Richard’s own beard to grow naturally—his beard grows quickly so it was effective. A wig was used to lengthen his hair, and in the later stages, weft was added to lengthen the wig. Bruising, weather beating, and broken bones were a mixture of make-up and physical acting for Richard. When he was beaten by Jamie, one eye was made swollen shut with a silicone piece and the other swollen with a smaller piece of scarring silicone. Five in all were applied to his face and filled with make-up scab and blood. At the start of the journey with the Mohawks we used lenses that had been custom made and painted to look bloodshot, added redness and bruising on his face and eyes, and painted his wrists raw. Once he was mid-journey, we added a make-up scab to the raw painting of hands and wrists to show rope cuts and friction burns. A smaller swelling was used on the eye and the same cuts were used, but glued closed, to show some healing. Weathering and dirt were increased, his lips were dry and cracked with a custom product, and his eyes were reddened and darkened to show extreme fatigue. The scar above the brow—this will be a scar that will remain in the future.”