The Call Of Home

The Timede­fy­ing lovers of Out­lander are back... and build­ing a new life. Tara ben­neTT Tells us whaT sea­son four holds for Jamie and claire

SFX - - Outlander -

IIn just three sea­sons of the tV adap­ta­tion of Diana Ga­bal­don’s Out­lander books, the star-crossed story of jamie (sam heughan) and Claire Fraser (Caitri­ona Balfe) has time-hopped the pair from 1948 to 1744, had the lovers sep­a­rated for 20 years in their re­spec­tive ori­gin times, and then re­united them again in 1766. that’s a lot of time trav­el­ling for a se­ries with­out a tarDIs or Quan­tum Leap ac­cel­er­a­tor. and in this show, the timey-wimey hap­pens via stand­ing stones that work their magic in ways that the char­ac­ters still don’t fully un­der­stand. But the twisty tale will get more com­pli­cated in sea­son four, when jamie and Claire’s grown daugh­ter, Bri­anna ran­dall, and her suitor, roger Wake­field (richard rankin), be­come big-time play­ers in the para­dox party of it all.

While it all sounds su­per com­pli­cated, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and di­rec­tor Matthew B roberts as­sures fans, and cu­ri­ous po­ten­tial view­ers, that the new sea­son will ac­tu­ally be the most rooted of them all. “We al­ways start with the Claire and jamie story, so when you look at the first three sea­sons, they spend more time apart than they do to­gether, and then they spent a lot of time try­ing to fig­ure out ways to get back to each other.”

the new sea­son, based on Ga­bal­don’s fourth book Drums Of Au­tumn, finds the Frasers in 1767 colo­nial north Carolina look­ing to set­tle down and build their own homestead to­gether. “When we started break­ing book four, you re­alise jamie and Claire are to­gether,” roberts ex­plains. “they’re lit­er­ally just to­gether the whole time and they’re not sep­a­rated by time, by space, by ad­ven­ture. so, this sea­son is about what do you call a home? Is a home a piece of prop­erty? Is a home your house? Is a home just the peo­ple you have around you, and is that ul­ti­mately what re­ally de­fines a home, the ones you love? that’s what we’re ques­tion­ing and an­swer­ing over sea­son four.”

that ex­plo­ration is a real change of pace for the cou­ple, and for the writ­ers’ room. roberts says when it came to fig­ur­ing out the sea­son’s arc, “the one thing that we had to start look­ing at is what af­fects both of the char­ac­ters at the same time, and can they have dif­fer­ent takes on the same thing be­cause Claire and jamie don’t have the con­flict that a lot of cou­ples do in lit­er­a­ture and in tele­vi­sion, of, ‘Will they stay to­gether, or won’t they stay to­gether?’ that’s some­thing no one will buy, so we don’t even pre­tend to go down that road,” he chuck­les. “so, we have to [ask], what can af­fect them to­gether, and how can they, as a team, over­come the ob­sta­cles in the sea­son?”

new rO­man­tics

some of that con­flict will come from new char­ac­ters, like jamie’s aunt jo­casta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and the new neme­sis of the Frasers, stephen Bon­net (ed speleers). “they both bring so much new blood and new tal­ent to the show,” roberts en­thuses. “they def­i­nitely spice things up for the cast as they get to play off new char­ac­ters and there’s new dy­nam­ics. Like there’s a whole new level of in­trigue with Bon­net as he’s re­ally dif­fer­ent than the Black jack ran­dall (to­bias Men­zies) vil­lain. With Black jack, you didn’t want to be in the same room with him very long, but with Bon­net he’s a lit­tle more charm­ing and you get lured in by him and you walk away go­ing, ‘Why did I like that guy? I was duped into lik­ing that guy,’ and then you feel bad. With Black jack, I don’t think you ever felt bad. You just knew he was bad.” Mean­while, jo­casta’s plan­ta­tion of river run will wel­come jamie and Claire for a bit, but it will also force the cou­ple to come to terms with real mo­ral is­sues of the time, like slav­ery. roberts says jo­casta is a wealthy woman and a strong scot who speaks her mind and will have her own way of do­ing things. “she’s a Macken­zie so you’re both wary of her, but you also find your­self, in a weird way, very en­deared to her,” he teases. “she may have her own agen­das and she may want things to hap­pen in a cer­tain way, but she’s also a car­ing per­son and she cares about you, es­pe­cially if you have Macken­zie blood in you.”

roberts adds that they were thrilled to land Doyle Kennedy as jo­casta af­ter her suc­cess­ful run on Or­phan Black. “she read the char­ac­ter and then re­ally wanted to play it,” he says. “My first meet­ing with Maria, she had a lot of great ideas. We re­ally sparked to her ideas, and then we told her what we felt about the char­ac­ter,

it all comes down to love and how much they’re will­ing to sac­ri­fice for their love

and she sparked to that. and once you get her in cos­tume, she looks com­pletely dif­fer­ent. she em­bod­ies jo­casta and she’s just amaz­ing. Look­ing back, I don’t know if there’s an­other choice for jo­casta. she’s jo­casta to me now.”

there will also be sto­ries around the na­tive amer­i­cans liv­ing in the re­gion, the his­tory of scot­tish set­tlers in north Carolina, and the evo­lu­tion of ex­ist­ing char­ac­ters, like jamie’s nephew Ian Mur­ray (john Bell) and Lord john Grey (David Berry). But the big­gest nar­ra­tive to play out this sea­son will be the ex­pan­sion of Bri­anna and roger’s story, which will start in 1971 and then take an epic jour­ney through the sea­son. roberts ex­plains, “We in­tro­duced them in sea­son three a lit­tle bit, and we knew that they were go­ing to grow in sea­son four. they ac­tu­ally take on that new love [story] that we had with jamie and Claire in sea­sons one and two. that’s the nice thing that mir­rors the jamie and Claire re­la­tion­ship. Will this cou­ple stay to­gether? how does this cou­ple stay to­gether? how does this cou­ple get back to­gether be­cause they are sep­a­rated?” in­fin­ity stOnes

as it turns out, roger and Bri­anna will dis­cover some his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments that cause them both grave con­cern about jamie and Claire in the past, which means those stand­ing stones could be warm­ing up for a re­turn en­gage­ment. “We do lean into [time travel] in sea­son four,” roberts con­firms. “as a show, we will never show the jour­ney through the stones, just the jour­ney to the stones. But for me, it’s al­ways im­por­tant to show the de­ci­sion to go. how that weighs on the char­ac­ter, and the choices that they’re mak­ing. What they’re giv­ing up, and what they’re hop­ing to find. and with the folks trav­el­ling through this sea­son, it all comes down to love and how much they’re will­ing to sac­ri­fice for their love of some­one else. I think that’s the theme of the time trav­el­ling.”

What that will even­tu­ally lead to is an­other iconic book mo­ment that read­ers are bristling with ex­cite­ment to see played out. roberts says he can as­sure fans it’s a mo­ment worth wait­ing for, with all of the emo­tional re­lease one would ex­pect. “We set the tempo early [in the writer’s room] with, ‘Let’s get to that meet­ing be­cause that mo­ment is what it’s re­ally about when we talk about the sea­son be­ing about home.’ so, if you want all your loved ones around you, then that’s the mo­ment. then off of that, you have to fight to keep it to­gether. that’s re­ally what hap­pens in the sea­son. It’s the lead-up to get­ting your fam­ily col­lec­tively to­gether, and then to watch that ex­plode in your face, and to find a way of get­ting it back to­gether,” he smiles. “I’m re­ally ex­cited for the fans to see that, and then I’ll be heart­bro­ken when they see it fall apart al­most im­me­di­ately.”

With a wicked smile of a showrun­ner who knows good drama, he adds, “You can’t let them en­joy too much en­joy­ment for too long be­cause you’ve got to rip it away from them.”

Out­lander is stream­ing on Ama­zon Prime Video.

The star-crossed lovers are fi­nally to­gether again. Fam­ily out­ings were so tense.

Bri­anna Ran­dall and her beau Roger are back. It was so ro­man­tic here, if you ig­nored the horse ma­nure.

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