TV Shows

The OUTLANDER Cast Discusses THAT Scene

The OUTLANDER cast is speaking out about a controversial scene in the mid-season return.

When OUTLANDER returned Saturday night, it featured one of the more dividing scenes in the series so far: After Jamie saves Claire from Fort William, the rest of the Highlanders shun her for disobeying their rules. To win back their trust, Jamie must employ a fitting eighteenth century punishment and spank Claire.

It’s a scene that many felt uneasy about, but the decision to include the pivotal scene from the book was made early on. Now, the OUTLANDER cast has lots to say about how they dealt with it.

For Claire actress Caitriona Balfe, remembering the book setting was key. Claire’s punishment was not only common but fairly lenient for the era, after all:

“We really had a lot of conversations about it. We went back and forth with the writers about how they wanted to do it and what we felt comfortable with, but we had the blueprint of the book, which was great. But we really wanted to give it the respect that it deserved, because it’s not something that can be taken lightly. And the thing we always came back to is that we have to understand that, no matter how we as modern people perceive it, this has to be taken in the context of 1743, and this was a perfectly acceptable justice in that time.”

Meanwhile, Sam Heughan (Jamie) considered how Claire’s actions affected her relationship with the Highlanders who had been protecting her, but now refused to help her survive in any way:

“He has to punish her, whether or not he believes in it. He says he doesn’t, but he has to because otherwise the Highlanders won’t protect her. She’s in danger. There’s a moral code, and it’s the way he’s been brought up, and he’s now got responsibility, and he’s trying to do everything that’s right.”

Executive producer Ron Moore gets why fans might be shocked by the scene, but asking them to be equally understanding toward the culture and times portrayed as authentically as possible on the show:

“As he says to Claire, if she was a man, she would’ve had her ears cropped, or something worse. And so there was a sense of righting the scales of justice. To her mind and to ours, as 21st century people, we kind of recoil from it like ‘oh my god,’ but I think we also understand the context of the time and why he’s doing it and what it’s about.”

In the same way that you’d expect death and debauchery from GAME OF THRONES’ medieval-esque setting, OUTLANDER is in many ways contingent on the time period on which it’s set. The scene is many ways proves to be a defining moment for both Jamie and Claire and it certainly helps to move the story along.