Dive deeper into this episode with exclusive sketches, production designs, and fun facts delivered directly from the Outlander crew.
At this point, Roger has been through hell. The rational move would be for Roger to escape through the stones into the safety of his time, but Brianna would be left behind and love isn’t always rational. This shower scene was inspired by a fun conversation in the room. A writer was talking about how after she learned a second language, she would still think in her first language. We applied this logic to time travel. If you were to travel back in time, would you think and dream in the past or the present?
We thought it could be interesting to have Lizzie observe some of the drawings that Brianna was doing as a sort of therapy, to work through the aftermath of her assault. Without the context of having seen much art, Lizzie is disturbed by the dark images and interprets them as Bree being possessed, but the meat of the scene is Lizzie’s question about whether Brianna can forgive her father. It was important to delineate that although Brianna might forgive him for what he did to Roger, she was extremely wounded by the things Jamie said to her—things she felt that Frank would never have said—and thus, we drive a wedge into the newly forming relationship between Brianna and her 18th century father, who loves her deeply. Even though Jamie is a progressive man, sometimes his 18th century values can cause pain to those he cares about.
Observant viewers might have heard a hint in Phaedre’s line about “a Lord from Virginia… Master of Mount Josiah” coming to visit. Others won’t know it until the distinguished guest walks in the door—Lord John Grey!
Brianna, like Claire, is a modern woman and doesn’t believe in slavery. We wanted to show here that she doesn’t hesitate to draw Phaedre, who she finds beautiful. It certainly throws Phaedre who’s not used to being noticed this way and will ultimately be a scandalous comment at the dinner party, when Brianna’s desire to draw slaves raises brows among the guests.
Brianna is in a tough spot in this episode. Family can be therapeutic when facing hard times, but Brianna’s visit with her Aunt is complicated by the expectations of this time. We see here some of the machinations of a MacKenzie at work when Jocasta presses Bree regarding a new dress, but Jocasta can empathize; after all, she too has been through a lot, enduring the deaths of three husbands. Since Brianna wasn’t able to hear about her family from Jenny at Lallybroch, we really wanted to find time for Jocasta to talk to Brianna about her Fraser heritage.
This scene was a nod to a story in Dragonfly in Amber where Jenny requests that Jamie ask Ian to go with him to fight—even if Ian can’t, it makes him feel needed, and is a boost to his confidence.
The writers’ room loved the part in the book where Brianna comes down the stairs with her baby bulge swelling proudly before her. It was such a juicy moment on the page, but in the context of production, it wouldn’t have played. You simply couldn’t tell that Brianna was pregnant through her period clothing at this stage in her pregnancy. In the end, it allowed Brianna’s pregnancy to be revealed in a more intimate moment with Lord John Grey.
The interplay between Bree’s suitors was fun to write. The actors all did a terrific job and the looks on their faces when their competition, Lord John Grey enters, is priceless.
Some of the writers were surprised to learn that the concept of psychology was known in this time period, but it was, and we had fun having Bree use it to entertain the table. John Grey’s answer, that he pictures her father, ends up revealing something about him to Brianna when she figures out later that Grey has romantic feelings for Jamie…
Jocasta isn’t exactly pleased to be confronted by Brianna about the matchmaking, especially when she realizes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that Bree is very much her mother’s daughter, just as spirited and outspoken. But in her own way, Jocasta, knowing the mores of the time, is only trying to protect her pregnant grand-niece by encouraging her to marry and not wanting her to have false hope about Roger’s return. This is Jocasta’s version of tough love.
This was a great scene in the book and in the show. We knew it would be tricky for Brianna to blackmail Lord John, and yet we had to understand the motive of a desperate woman. John Grey needed to have the right mix of outrage and yet compassion. The “teach you to play with fire” line was important, to show the John Grey could strike back—reminding the audience that he was a husband to Isobel in every way and that Brianna needs to be careful what she wishes for.
A sweet and poignant moment as Lord John comes to Brianna’s rescue. There’s no end to what Lord John will do for Jamie Fraser and his family, making us love him all the more, and Jocasta gives Bree the ultimate compliment for landing such a great catch: “a MacKenzie ye truly are.”
Brianna is surprised to learn that Lord John has a son, and has no idea that it’s her half-brother, but his words make an impression on her as he speaks of hope… the theme of this episode. He seeks to reassure Brianna that it’s possible for Roger to love a child, even if that child doesn’t share his blood—something that gives Brianna hope.
The Jamie and Claire story here was gratifying to explore. They have such a rich and mature love, that it is very difficult for anything to come between them. Having their daughter here complicates things in a way that is new to their marriage. They need time to process their feelings on the misunderstanding about Roger. Claire had to respect their daughter’s wishes by not telling Jamie it was Bonnet who raped her. Jamie was protecting their daughter from a supposed rapist when he attacked Roger. This causes dramatic tension and guilt within a very stable relationship. Issues with family are relatable, timeless issues.
Kimberley Bright from the Art Department spent time developing Brianna’s drawing style, wanting her artwork to subtly evoke seventies style but, at the same time, not seem too incongruous in the eighteenth century.
“I started off making bright, colorful pastel drawings but, after much discussion, we ended up making them much darker and monochromatic to reflect her angst! The most anguished drawing features in Episode 411 in the dining room of River Run. This drawing started out as a ‘self-portrait’ and progressed to the black and white drawing we see in the scene itself with multiple angst-ridden faces. This drawing represents Brianna, Lizzie, and Phaedre and the turmoil they all face as women—particularly Phaedre as a slave—living in the eighteenth century.”
Murtagh’s ‘wanted’ poster is based on proclamation broadsides from the eighteenth century. In reality, these types of proclamation probably wouldn’t have depicted images of the accused during our period, but to make sure the audience knew Murtagh was the ‘wanted’ man in question, the Art Department added an image of his face. His face is drawn in the style of an eighteenth-century etching which was then digitally manipulated and added to the printed poster.