- Outlander -Caitlin O'Ryan & Paul Gorman On Their Surprising 'Outlander' Storyline
Diana Gabaldon doesn't shy away from unexpected storylines in her Outlander books. So for many book to TV show fans, they're expected, and often, highly anticipated. But for those that haven't read the book series, you may find yourself surprised by the direction certain plotlines take — and one plotline in Season 6's "Sticks and Stones" is no exception.
The Beardsley twins, Josiah and Keziah, and Lizzie's three-way relationship was revealed in the season's penultimate episode. And The Dipp reporter, Caitlin Gallagher, spoke to actors Paul Gorman (the Beardsleys) and Caitlin O'Ryan about the relationship's reveal and where the three go next in the series.
The Dipp: Did you both know when you signed on for the show that the love story between Josiah, Keziah, and Lizzie was coming?
Caitlin O'Ryan: I knew about the storyline. I thought it was pretty wild. It was part of the reason I took the job, really, because I thought it was so exciting to be able to explore that side of her character and she does something so surprising.
The Dipp: And very different from the Lizzie we saw in Season 4...
O'Ryan: She's grown so much. And I think to have the opportunity to play that over such a long amount of time, like three seasons, is such an opportunity that not many actors could turn down really.
Paul Gorman: So I knew as well, from the books, and also we had a chemistry test back in, God, was that 2019? I think sometimes for auditions, they write fake scenes. So we had a scene where — I don't know if you remember, Caitlin — where we were pretending to shoot a bow. And I think both twins were hinting at a relationship. I never fired a bow before, so that was fun.
As Caitlin said, the growth of these characters has been just exciting to see; from the boys becoming more confident in themselves and feeling a part of a community, and Lizzie has just been a complete focus point for that as well. She's key in their social development and them as people. She's their gal.
The Dipp: Considering everything else going on in Episode 7, this storyline does provide some lightheartedness. How have you been playing the comedic aspects, but then also how are you going to feel once the world finally knows officially this is what's happening?
O'Ryan: We had a lot of fun with it. Obviously we've known that this has been what's been building for both the characters, well all three... two actors. It has been fun leaving little Easter eggs in each episode. It's interesting, because there's so many book fans and we knew the storylines, so to try and take yourself out of that and to just view it as someone who is just watching the TV show... how obvious is it going to be that this was unfolding?
The Dipp: How important was it to have those moments where Lizzie can really explain how happy she is with the setup? Obviously fisherfolks in the 18th century are never going to accept this relationship, but there might be some people in the modern audience who might be like, this is too out there for me.
O'Ryan: ... In the book, it's the lighthearted elements of the episode, but it's not a joke and it's not a joke to Lizzie nor the twins. This is life or death to them. They found each other against all odds, and love each other, and they're at risk. They would never want to lose that.
I think what was important to everyone involved in the writing and performance of this was that it's very consensual, and Lizzie knows what she's doing, and her decision to go to Roger after having spoken to Jamie is proof of how consensual it is for her and her taking ownership of her own sexuality.
I've had to confront my own biases in order to play the character, because she wholeheartedly believes that there is nothing odd or strange or wrong about what she's doing. So to get into that headspace, it does make you open up to what love is and what love can be. They feel such a deep connection for each other that the sexual aspect of it is just an extension of how they show their love for each other.
Gorman: It's absolutely rooted in love. For them, as Caitlin is saying, it's life and death... It's not something they want to fight for, as well, but they understand and they're aware of the kind of unconventional-ness of it all and know that they would have to adapt to suit the time that they're in and the kind of perception of what the people feel at that time as well. But they'll still fight for it because it's love, and they don't want to give that up.
The Dipp: It is such a testament to the three, and their relationship, that they would go behind Jamie and Claire's backs. That has to be a big deal for them... Jamie and Claire have been there for them.
O'Ryan: What Paul and I discussed was they found each other on this wild journey. THey've been brought to Fraser's Ridge under very similar circumstances. They're all kind of orphaned. They don't have parent roles around and they've therefore found each other and clung to each other, and that is their family. You're right, it is a defiant thing that they're doing against Jamie and Claire, but I think that speaks to how important it is.
I know it's not in the books, but in the episode, it is in the light of Malva's death. So they understand the severity of being pregnant out of wedlock, and for all they know there's a killer on the loose who's going after people out of wedlock. I think it just makes them realize that they just have to grab their situation with both hands and take joy while they can, because life is short.
Gorman: There's also not wanting to add any more pressure to Jamie and Claire's worries, because they know how severe the situation is with Malva and her babies. So they know they don't want to add more drama to the Ridge.
The Dipp: Paul, you're playing these two different characters... How does Jo treat Lizzie versus how does Kezzie treat her? How do you play up those moments?
Gorman: I think they treat Lizzie with the same love and care, equally. There's no difference between that at all. I did always think that what if Lizzie chose one twin over the other, what would the other think? I think it would be just that the other would support it because they love Lizzie. They have Lizzie on such a pedestal, that they would not want to jeopardize her happiness.
The Dipp: Were there any particular scenes you guys really enjoyed filming this season?
Gorman: I love their marriage scenes. It has been such a journey for me and Caitlin, these past two or three years, it is lovely to see our story come to fruition and to celebrate their love...
O'Ryan: Yeah, when we were finally doing the handfasting scenes, it was almost like, wow, we've reached that point that we've been bilding to for so long.
The scene with Caitriona [Balfe] — the Claire and Lizzie scene. This episode was really special for me for lots of reasons. I think what it spoke to for me was that Lizzie's been on this huge journey with this family, but so have I. And to have had that moment where it's my biggest scene that I've had in the three seasons I've been in it... it just felt like everything of met and made sense for me.
The Dipp: Anything you can tease about Lizzie, Jo, and Kezzie in Season 7? Or where can you see them going from here?
Gorman: Build a home and--
O'Ryan: Go on a little cruise or something.
Gorman: Oh yeah, a cruise!
O'Ryan: Hold a little pool party in the bar.
Gorman: I suppose to focus on building a home, building a family. It's been their dream for so long, and to have an opportunity and a chance to do that is something that they just kind of grab at the first chance.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Original reporting done by Caitlin Gallagher.