Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan break down the action-packed season 6 finale
Warning: This article contains spoilers about the Outlander season 6 finale.
Jamie and Claire make a hell of a team — but sometimes that's not enough to keep them out of harm's way.
On Sunday night's season 6 finale of Outlander, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) faced off against Richard Brown (Chris Larkin) and his Committee of Safety once again as Brown came to arrest her for the murder of Malva Christie (Jessica Reynolds).
Claire refused to give herself up, resulting in a Western-worthy shootout between the Committee of Safety and her and Jamie. But after an hours-long standoff and much discussion of Jamie's seeming nine lives, the couple decided to give themselves up and let Claire stand a fair trial.
Unexpected mercy came in the form of Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones), who insisted on allowing Claire and Jamie to spend one final night in their bed and then commenced to follow them on the road to the nearest town.
As things devolved, Brown and his men became restless, ultimately separating Jamie and Claire, threatening Jamie's life, and taking Claire to Wilmington where she may or may not get that fair trial. Tom stuck by Claire's side, promising to ensure Jamie's life and that she is handled justly.
But Jamie didn't waste any time taking matters into his own hands. After being rescued by Ian (John Bell) and the Cherokee, he set out for Wilmington with vengeance on his mind.
We caught up with Balfe and Heughan about getting to film their first action scenes together, when they knew they would have a shortened season that ended here, and what lies ahead for our favorite Scot and his Sassenach.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: At what point did you know you would stop with eight episodes and that this would be the finale?
CAITRIONA BALFE: It was quite late, wasn't it, Sam? The original plan for this season was always 12 episodes. Obviously, COVID made it slightly difficult. I made it slightly difficult. There was going to be a point where I wouldn't be able to shoot anymore. Instead of writing Claire out of a few episodes, they decided instead to stop at a certain point, and then tack whatever episodes we didn't do on to this season that we're shooting now. But that decision wasn't made probably until halfway through shooting.
SAM HEUGHAN: There was a point where we were going to break for a bit and come back and continue after you'd given birth, which would have been interesting...
BALFE: I think they were like, "You can come back after eight weeks, right"? I was like, "Ahhh, maybe not."
Did that lead to any rewriting of this episode, as far as you know?
BALFE: Not really. I don't think they adapted any scripts really at all? This was the story that was always going to be told. We had the final four episodes that we're shooting now. They've since been kind of changed since we've started season 7, but this was always the way it was going to be shot.
We've seen Claire and Jamie stand by each other through thick and thin, but this is the first time we've seen them in a shootout together. What was it like filming that together?
HEUGHAN: Claire — or Caitriona — is pretty good at loading rifles, and also a pretty damn good shot. It's sort of them against the world, right? They're a good team, and it's fun to see them now literally fighting people off to protect their home. It's the first time we've done action together.
BALFE: It's the first time I've ever smoked a gun, unintentionally. Note to self: when you fire and there's a flash in the pan and you've got all this smoke going up, don't inhale at that moment because you literally will smoke the gun.
Sam, why do you think Jamie ultimately relents and gives themselves up?
HEUGHAN: There's no other option, and it's an interesting one because they talk about death in this episode in the scene. Jamie's weighed up all the odds and this is the only option. Their salvation, or not salvation, but at least, an option, comes in the form of the fisherfolk and gets them out of this situation with the Browns and the standoff. But are they going to something worse? I don't know. Or Jamie doesn't know. But at least it's a way out. You can see that there's no other option. No one's coming to rescue them, or the people that are coming won't be able to be able to be effective. So, they're stuck. They're completely stuck in a dead end.
Tom seems oddly protective of Claire. What do both Claire and Jamie make of his sudden kindness and his change in behavior?
BALFE: I don't know. It's funny. Tom's just a funny one. You never really know what's going on in that strange little man's head. But it's been so lovely working with Mark Lewis Jones and watching the evolution of that character, and the evolution of the relationships that Claire and Jamie have with him. Is he just wanting true justice as he sees it? Does he want Claire to have a fair trial because he believes so piously in truth and fairness and all of those things? Maybe. Maybe there's another reason. But at least it is nice for her to have a face — I was about to say a friendly face but I don't know if you can really call him that — but it's nice to have Tom there in that capacity because at least Claire feels like she has some protection once Jamie's gone.
Should we still be suspicious of Tom, though? I think Jamie would be.
HEUGHAN: I mean, look, we started the whole season with flashbacks to how their relationship started off and it's always been very confrontational. They've been on different sides. But there is this strange respect between them. And at this point, in this episode, Jamie's beginning to question why Tom is helping and he may be working out the reasons why. But salvation comes in the form of Tom Christie, which is very unexpected. And as Caitriona said, working with Mark Lewis Jones has been incredible, but also the character has this incredible arc and you may find out more later on in new seasons.
Claire is in danger of losing her life, but Jamie and Ian are hot on her trail. She's been in tight spots before, but how worried should we be? Can Jamie get there fast enough?
BALFE: It's very dangerous times at the moment. There's multiple threats. There's the threat of the Browns and all of that, but this is a time where law and order is completely breaking down. We don't know if there's going to be any form of trial, what that might look like, are people willing to take justice into their own hands. There's a lot going on, so you better hurry up.
And we know Jamie will protect Claire at any cost, so is there more bloodshed coming to Wilmington?
HEUGHAN: Well, Jamie's lost many of his nine lives. It's all about allegiances and what side are you on? We see the Cherokee at least side with Jamie, interestingly, but as Caitriona said, the world is breaking down around them. You can't rely on the traditions or the moral code that we're used to, so who knows where salvation will come from, where rescue will come from. But Jamie certainly will do everything he can to rescue her from prison.
Caitriona, did you really just say you had to stop working so you didn't have to keep wearing that wig?
BALFE: Which one? The short one? I like the short one! Not the short-short one. I wasn't a big fan of that one. But the like bob-y one, I'm into it.
HEUGHAN: Jamie didn't like it.
BALFE: Jamie didn't like any of them.
HEUGHAN: Jamie cried.
BALFE: Jamie cried over her hair!
Will next season pick up right where we left off, since it's those last four episodes?
HEUGHAN: We actually pick up with Claire's hair.
BALFE: In fact, we're just dedicating an entire episode to Claire's hair. We're just going to sit there with it for one hour.
How much easier was this finale for both of you? I imagine it was significantly less emotionally taxing than the end of season 5?
BALFE: It was much, much easier. I'm going to say that.
HEUGHAN: It was definitely easier. We have the same director, Jamie Payne, who's brilliant and he did such a great job last season. There's a reason we brought him back. He works so well with the writers and the crew, but also with us as well. And he really involves us in the conversation. But yeah, it was nice to do something a little more lighthearted. The end of last season was pretty, pretty horrific for all the characters. We enjoyed the shooting stuff, right? Even though Caitriona was how-many-months pregnant?
BALFE: I think it was six-and-a-half months.
You're already back filming season 7. Can you tease it at all?
BALFE: There's a lot going on next season. We're almost done with our first block, and it's been really, really great. It's felt super positive. Everybody's really excited about it. We have some amazing actors that have come in. I don't know what we can say. Usually we get a list of, "Don't say this and don't say that," but nobody said anything. Maybe we can just say everything right now.
HEUGHAN: It's going very well. And it feels really positive. It feels like a really strong start. So there's a lot to look forward to.
BALFE: What we can say is there will definitely be conclusion to some of this, some of these threads will have been tied up early on. And we will then have a lot of new characters join that are going to be very meaningful to the series.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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