It’s finally happening, Bri and Roger fans. But how much will actually happen?
In Sunday’s episode of Outlander, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger Wakefield (Richard Rankin) take their relationship to the next level — but not in the way you would think (or hope). We asked Skelton and Rankin to tease the episode, and what to expect in the coming months (and years).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Gosh, it’s taken a while to really get to know your characters.
SOPHIE SKELTON: We know from the books that Brianna and Roger kind of build and build, so we are aware of how much they are in each season. That’s a good thing because we can plot the characters. We knew they’re quite the slow burners, in terms of what the audience sees.
RICHARD RANKIN: Yeah, we always knew they were going to be gradually introduced in the story as it moves forward. Although it makes you kind of anxious to dive straight in, it gives you time to think about the characters and what you want to do with them. We’re quite lucky in that respect.
We’ll see your personal relationship really developing this season, right?
SKELTON: Yeah, I think for Brianna and Roger — at least I know for Bri — we start to peel away the layers of Brianna so the audience can see a little more of her. Bri’s a very stoic person, very much like Jamie, and it’s nice to let the viewers see more of her inner thoughts and inner emotions. She’s a very strong character and outwardly strong too, but she doesn’t let a lot on. She’s very good at hiding her emotions so it’s very nice this season to see a bit more. With Brianna and Roger, we see that relationship develop. They get closer, they get torn apart, and there’s a lot of that dynamic in this season which I think makes it really interesting because it’s not as straightforward as you would expect.
RANKIN: You know what is great about it? There’s just so much to play. It’s an awesome opportunity as an actor because even individually these guys have so much going on in their lives before you even get to the aspect of their chemistry. Roger just lost his dad at the end of season 2 and he hasn’t had the time to process that. All of a sudden you have Claire and Brianna on the scene with all the circumstances. The drama that unfolds with time travel and historical fathers, 18th-century warriors and politics … I think you get a really profound glimpse of what’s going on for him and Bri.
SKELTON: Just how much this whole thing has affected each one individually.
RANKIN: Because you find them in such a place of vulnerability, that accelerates the relationship quite a lot. I mean the whole relationship is born from a chaotic revelation so there’s just so many elements.
SKELTON: I think — as I was saying before — this season is very much about Brianna getting to know herself. In light of this new information [about Jamie] it’s answered a lot of questions in terms of the distance between her and Claire for so many years, but at the same time it’s opened this whole new can of worms because Brianna’s now questioning her own identity, which parts of her are actually embedded in her DNA and which parts she’s actually picked up for fun. She studies history and now she wants to know whether that is something that she genuinely has a passion for or whether it’s something she just adopted from Frank.
We’ve seen in the trailers that you have your first kiss. How sexually adventurous do your characters get this season?
SKELTON: I think what’s nice with Brianna is that it takes a long time for her to get to that point.
RANKIN: Because there’s so much going on in their lives, it isn’t just a straight-up romantic kiss. We want to tell a story with that.
SKELTON: Bri and Roger have this wonderful bond in that they’re trying to find Jamie and it’s this wonderful adventure, and then once they achieve that goal, their worlds crash a little bit and then they both have to deal with things that they’ve been hiding from. Bri has only let her guard down to Roger, so I think that kiss scene is really nice because it shows that vulnerability. Roger is the one person who in this situation makes her feel better. But then there’s almost some guilt there that she pushes him away. He’s this whole reminder of this hard situation. There’s so much said in that moment. It’s not just a mutual attraction kiss, it almost a reflex.
RANKIN: It’s like it runs really deep, and hopefully we convey that. We just wanted to say quite a lot in that moment because they’re forging a really strong bond that doesn’t break.
SKELTON: It’s an apex moment. I think for Bri and Roger, one thing in their relationship that hinders it moving forward is that they’re both stubborn, but in a way, they don’t ever tell each other how they feel. I think that kiss is the moment where Bri is saying, ‘You know what? I do have this love for you but…’ They still don’t quite sit down and say to each other, ‘Oh wow, that was wonderful, let’s continue on this road.’ Bri stands up and leaves.
How do you get along off-camera?
SKELTON: We have a lot of fun. He actually has me in genuine hysterics to the point where my stomach hurts. We’re both a bit geeky and I think we actually have some good laughs, don’t we? Most of the time at my expense, but still funny.
Do you know what’s in store for your characters?
SKELTON: I do, yeah. So, I’ve read up to book four, Rich has read up to book five, haven’t you?
RANKIN: I’m on five now. It’s so good.
SKELTON: Everything that could happen to a character in season 4 happens to Bri and Roger.
RANKIN: You couldn’t foresee the story that unfolds in four! The story just opens up so much more. It takes so many new elements and just really broadens the scope of the whole thing. It becomes much more of an adventure.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.