- Outlander -Caitríona Balfe & Sam Heughan On The Trouble That's Coming For Jamie & Claire In 'Outlander' Season 6
With the roar of thunder at the end of Outlander Season 5, darkness was on the horizon of Fraser's Ridge. In a roundtable with reporters, Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan made it clear ahead of the world premiere on Feb. 24 that the storm is here for Claire and Jamie in Outlander Season 6 . Whether it's from the looming war, new settlers, or even their own relationship, Balfe and Heughan shared that Claire and Jamie will experience challenges on the Ridge this season that they never have before.
Even with the 20th-century knowledge that the British will lose the American Revolution, Jamie is aligned with the Crown at the start of Season 6. "He really doesn't want to be involved and knows at some point that he will have to switch sides," Heughan tells media outlets, including The Dipp, over Zoom. The Outlander stars note how the outcome of the American Revolution isn't the first time that Jamie and Claire have had knowledge of the future. But rather than simplifying things for them, it can complicate their personal decisions.
"We've seen it many seasons, haven't we, that they always have this knowledge of what's about to happen and that they're trying to fight or find a way around it, and it's inevitable that it's going to happen," Heughan says.
This inevitability of major historical events will stay true in Season 6. "What they've discovered — and they learned this with the events of Season 2 and Culloden — is that they can never actually change the grand events of history," Balfe says. "They can't pervert that, but what they can do is they can change their position within it. What they're really struggling with [at] this point is, how do they make sure that where they have aligned themselves is safe for them?"
"At what point do they change tactics? How much can they play each side without having to make this huge declaration?" Balfe adds, saying that Jamie's character will predominately bear this burden, a sentiment that Heughan echoes. "He's a lot more political this season and being pulled in different directions," Heughan says. "He really does need to switch sides and it's just about choosing the right moment to do that."
There's also the fact that, even though they know America will win, there's other factors to consider. "It's frustrating for them sometimes because they don't know the full story, whether it's the outcome of a battle or which side the Native Americans fight on," Heughan says. Unfortunately for Jamie and Claire, viewers shouldn't expect that their 20th-century American daughter to offer much assistance in that department. "If only their daughter had stayed as a history major, right?" Balfe jokes. "She probably would've been more use, but she flunked out after one year."
Although Jamie and Claire have been known to dive headfirst into danger on more than one occasion, that's not the case for Season 6. "What they really want is some peace," Balfe says. But with the war and some newcomers to the Ridge, including book characters Major MacDonald and the much-hyped Christies, "They get anything but peace."
Both Balfe and Heughan note that these new characters strip Jamie and Claire of some of their power and make them expose their true loyalties. "Major MacDonald, almost in a way to control Jamie, gives him the job of being an Indian Agent to work on behalf of the Crown to go between himself and the Native Americans," Heughan says. "[Jamie and Claire have] always tried to control time or change fate, but it's not happening and they're being forced to show their hand."
Balfe agrees that these new characters are catalysts for change that have a cumulative effect on Claire and Jamie this season. "Not only do they get pulled into having to decide much sooner than they probably would've wanted to about which side they're going to declare their loyalty to, but their actual home turns against them. The people in their community turn against them."
According to Heughan, Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones) is the instigator of the favor turning against them on the Ridge. "The Christies with the Fisher-folk come to settle and there is this real power play between Jamie and Tom, which really starts to unravel the status quo at Fraser's Ridge," he says. "There are a lot of other stories with the Christies as well, which it really is the beginning of the end of Fraser's Ridge as we know it and the popularity of the Frasers as well."
"Up until this point, the Frasers were pretty affluent and pretty popular," Heughan adds. "Tom is certainly the rotten apple."
Beyond their unfriendly neighbors, Claire is dealing with her kidnapping and sexual assault from the Season 5 finale. Executive producer Maril Davis told TV Insider that Claire begins to self-medicate to deal with her post-traumatic stress. Balfe says on the subject, "When any one person is going through trauma, there's a side of them that they're trying to protect and they're holding back from sharing with somebody else. And I think we see this with Claire and Jamie."
Heughan adds, "The fact that he and Claire both sort of lose track of each other is something that really unsettles him." But while Jamie might be temporarily distracted by the "many exterior forces pulling at his responsibilities," Heughan does imply that, like always, Jamie and Claire will be there for one another. "Obviously to get through any of these traumas, they need each other and that is the same in this case."
If all that wasn't enough, to add the cherry on top of the storm sundae, Heughan brings up the house fire that's supposed to happen that Jamie and Claire learned about back in Season 4. "The impending doom, the impending knowledge that the Big House is going to burn down I think is always playing on their minds," he says. "This season, the impending doom is really, really close. The war is about to start."
Claire and Jamie's love better persevere because it sounds like they're going to need one another to weather the doom and gloom that is Outlander Season 6.