'Outlander' Team Explains Those Emotional Goodbyes

Executive producer Maril Davis and stars Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin discuss the major events in "Of Lost Things."
Aimee Spinks/Starz

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's episode of Outlander, "Of Lost Things."]

Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are so close and yet so far from reuniting on Starz's Outlander.

During Sunday's episode, Claire, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) — in Scotland in 1968 — finally found what they were looking for: evidence that Jamie survived the Battle of Culloden. They tracked his whereabouts to Ardsmuir Prison, but without any additional evidence of where Jamie went after it closed, Claire and Brianna were forced to give up their search for the Highlander and return to the States.

That goodbye was even more difficult for Bree and Roger, who had just begun to grow closer during the tumultuous time in their lives. They finally shared their first kiss. But as the hunt for Jamie dried up, so did any chance of continuing to see where their relationship would lead.

Meanwhile, back in his own time — unbeknownst to Claire, Bree and Roger — Jamie found a new life for himself after Ardsmuir Prison was shuttered. He was working as a groom at the Dunsany Manor, earning money to send to his family in Scotland. All seemed to be (finally) working out for him until the eldest Dunsany daughter, Geneva (Hannah James), took an interest in him. Betrothed to marry an older lord, she was determined to first have Jamie take her virginity. Using information about his real identity and family, she blackmailed him into sleeping with her — and (unfortunately) got pregnant. Geneva died in childbirth, but gave birth to a boy, William.

However, the lord she married was enraged after she died — apparently they never slept together so he knew the child wasn't his. Jamie wound up killing the lord after he attempted to kill his son. The Dunsany family in turn gave Jamie his freedom, but he opted to stay and continue to earn money for his family. The only issue was that Willie began to resemble Jamie too much as he got older and, in a bid to ensure his son had a good life and inherited the late lord's wealth, Jamie finally left to return home to Lallybroch. John Grey (David Berry) promised Jamie that he would continue to care for his son in Jamie's absence. 

The emotional episode ended on a powerful note, as a cover of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" played over Jamie and Claire both saying goodbye to someone they love. Jamie said his farewell to Willie, the only child he'd ever known, while Claire said hers to the hope of ever finding Jamie again.

The Hollywood Reporter sat down with executive producer Maril Davis and stars Balfe, Skelton and Rankin to break down that sad ending, as well as where Outlander goes from here.

Claire and Jamie's stories were juxtaposed in such a heartbreaking way by the end of this episode. Why did you choose to put those two moments together?

Davis: Not everything lines up perfectly in their two stories, but we always try to have some moment in each episode line up. When Frank [Tobias Menzies] dies, in a strange way Claire is released from a prison of this marriage, this marriage of convenience, and Jamie at the same time is leaving Ardsmuir. At the end of this episode, we don’t usually use songs in our show very much. The first was at the end of season two, but [producer] Toni Graphia came up with this idea of this song and it's an old Bob Dylan song. We ended up finding a version where it was sung by a man and a woman. Seeing as how we are watching Jamie and Claire both leaving places and wrapping up their journeys in some way, and then hearing that powerful song, it was so powerful and such a unique way to end those separate journeys. It's the last time we see them make major decisions before we see them reunited again.

What is going through Claire's mind as she leaves Scotland and has given up hope on reuniting with Jamie?

Balfe: It's so tough for her. At the end of season two, we had that moment of hope, of, "Oh, my God, he survived Culloden. I can go back, I can find him again." It's that moment where anything is possible again. It's the catalyst of all this research and trying to find him and trying to figure out what's going on. To hit such a brick wall at a certain point, she realizes that she's letting every other side of her life just fall by the wayside in this search. It's that thing of, "Am I being crazy? I'm doing exactly what I was told not to do. I can't just keep chasing a ghost. I have to take care of my daughter. I have to take care of my career." It's almost like a loss all over again. As soon as you let a little light in, it stirs up all of those feelings again. She hadn't let herself hope for that kind of happiness since she left him 20 years previous. It's a huge disappointment for her.

Amid all the sadness and loss, Roger and Bree get closer than ever in this episode. What was important for you both to get right about moving their relationship forward?

Rankin: It was about telling the story that we wanted to tell. For Roger and Brianna, it was about just conveying where they are at and eventually as well as a couple. She's just lost her father, whether or not it's her biological father is kind of irrelevant, they obviously loved each other. Roger has lost his father, the Reverend. With all the distraction that's been going on, with Brianna and Claire and all the events that have unfolded, he hasn't really gotten to deal with the loss of his father, he hasn't really had a chance to come to terms with that or grieve his loss. No matter what they're feigning, there's a lot of vulnerability to each of them. In their loneliness, there's a real need for each other amongst all the other things that are going on for them. It's important for us that we capture that. That moment for them isn't just a romantic moment, it's actually much more of a subtext going on. It runs so much deeper so it's a really lovely moment.

Skelton: For Bree, the one person she can really let her guard down with is Roger. Because she's Jamie's daughter, with Claire, there's always this stoic nature and persona, so with Roger she really does let that vulnerability come out. She opens up to him and really lets her façade down. That kiss, it's not just a mutual attraction. They're very lonely people and Bree's really let Roger in, so it's a very intimate scene. It's so much more than just throwing a kiss into the story. There's almost a thank you in that kiss and mutual respect, showing how deep their relationship actually runs without actually saying it. Because that's one thing Roger and Bree don't do well: communicate with each other about how they feel about each other.

That is very true!

Rankin: Exactly. They let their guard down and it's almost like a reflex that they kiss. And then there's this awkward moment where they put their guards back up after and it's so infuriating.

Skelton: You just want them to tell each other how they feel and they don't. (Laughs.)

Rankin: Neither of them have a bloody clue of what's going on. There's so much going on.

Skelton: It's not an uncomfortable awkwardness, it's a geeky awkwardness. It's stumbling.

Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.