The Randall marriage certainly spiraled down quickly! But first, a SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read this until you’ve seen Sunday’s episode of Outlander.
In the final scene of the second episode, the camera pulls away from the action to find Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Frank (Tobias Menzies) sleeping in separate twin beds. It’s like a scene out of I Love Lucy — except Ricky and Lucy still adored each other, even though they didn’t share the same mattress. That’s definitely not the case for Claire and Frank.
“In many ways, the relationship we all want is Claire and Jamie but the relationship most of us get or have had experience with is the one between Claire and Frank,” Balfe tells EW. “It just feels very real and it’s tragic. These are two good people, they’re trying to do their best, but they’re never going to be able to give each other what they need. That’s very fertile ground for good drama.”
Balfe said she and Menzies worked hard to make sure the couple’s time together in the 20th century wasn’t simply an exercise in “oh they’re unhappy and they hate each other.”
“Obviously they’re unhappy but you can’t live with somebody for 20 years unless you find moments of joy and mutual respect, and there is love there even though it’s platonic,” Balfe explains. “I think it’s really heartbreaking when you see moments of them as they were way back in the beginning of season 1. They enjoy each other’s company and that they’re both smart people. Intellectually, they stimulate each other. But there’s just too much there, there’s too much pain and there’s too much disappointment. That will always be the thing that bubbles up and drives them apart.”
Going forward, expect the chasm to grow even wider, teases Menzies.
“As we head into the ‘60s, you see Brianna growing up and them drifting. They start to live quite separate lives,” he explains. “They cobble together a relationship that kind of works for the child. It goes through disappointment and rage, and then it sort of settles into something a lot more kind of friendly and a kind of resigned.”
Outlander airs at 8 p.m. ET Sundays on Starz.