Welcome hame, Brianna and Roger!
On Sunday’s episode of Outlander, Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin will reprise their beloved roles as Brianna and Roger — a pair of young lovers who can’t seem to get it together and make their long-distance relationship work. I asked the actors to tease their much-anticipated return in “The False Bride.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY So where are Roger and Brianna at when we first see them?
RICHARD RANKIN They are in quite an interesting place, because they’ve had that whole drama, that catalyst, that threw them together. It’s a kind of complicated, unreal sort of otherworldly experience they had at the end of season two, and I think, because of that, that forged a very unique bond that I don’t think will ever be broken. But it’s certainly put to the test.
SOPHIE SKELTON This unique experience has made them very, very close. But as much as that’s pulled them together, it’s one of the things that’s also pushed them apart because I think, for Bree especially, seeing Roger is a reminder of everything that’s happened. It’s a reminder of Frank dying. It’s a reminder of her mother leaving, Jamie and Claire, and everything. I think Brianna just needs to separate herself from that and get on her own two feet.
RANKIN After the strangeness of that whole situation, they kind of were immediately thrown back into normal life, or as normal as it can be when your mother is a time traveler and your father’s an 18th century warrior. That’s quite a strange thing to go back to reality from, and must be a bit of a slap in the face for them both. They have very separate lives. Brianna’s at university in Boston, and Roger’s life is in Oxford, so when you find them, they’re in the midst of a long distance relationship, which, I think, is quite testing of them. The world was a much larger place in the ’60s, so communication was even quite difficult at times. They really couldn’t see a lot of each other, and maybe only spoke to each other once a week on phone calls. There will have been letters and that kind of thing, but in terms of seeing each other and spending time with each other, it was maybe only once or twice a year, which is a big test for any relationship.
SKELTON It’s a bit ambiguous as to where the relationship is up to at that point. But she’s definitely trying to make it work. When they go to a fair together, there are high hopes for their relationship.
Why does Roger continue his research into Jamie’s whereabouts? Does he do it out of curiosity, or because he loves Brianna?
RANKIN That’s going to be a bit of both for Roger, isn’t it? He’s like a dog with a bone. He’s a very passionate historian, and that’s his life. It’s not just a job for him, it excites him and discovering things, researching these things, especially parts of history which he already has an interest in, fascinates him. But there is also his love for Brianna that heightens it. There’s an unrest in Brianna that Roger wants to quell. I think that’s very much a motivation for him. One of the defining characteristics in Roger is that he can’t see anyone in any distress. He wants to do his best to fix it.
So what’s the dynamic like off-screen between you two?
SKELTON He’s very fun and goofy. He can be serious when he needs to be but yeah, he’s a great laugh to have around on set. He’s one of my best friends so I’m very lucky in that regard, too. And it’s always nice when you get fans who come up and say, ‘we want to hug Sophie and have Richard look jealous.’
RANKIN They’re just looking for a recreation of what normally goes on in our personal life. That’s generally how we behave off-set.
Outlander airs at 9 p.m. ET Sundays on Starz.