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‘Outlander’ Midseason Premiere Preview: Claire Must Make a Choice

When “Outlander” returns to kick off the second half of its freshman season on April 4, we find heroes Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) in the unenviable positions in which we left them in the midseason finale — Claire in the hands of the villainous Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) and Jamie perched in the window, gun in hand, poised to rescue her.

Starz has released a new trailer for the midseason return, which previews plenty of action, intrigue and — of course — steamy love scenes as Claire and Jamie’s relationship deepens and new dangers are thrown in their path.

Balfe, Heughan, executive producer Ronald D. Moore and author Diana Gabaldon were on hand for Starz’s presentation at the Television Critics Assn. press tour Friday to discuss the latter half of the season, which promises to dig deeper into Claire and Jamie’s burgeoning romance and, according to Heughan, give us further insight into his character.

“I think in the second part of the season, you discover a lot more about Jamie. He’s kind of finding his place in the world,” the Scottish thesp explained. “He’s got new responsibilities. He’s got to deal with relationships that he would rather not deal with: with his sister, with his personal relationship with his dead father. And we start to see his stubborn side and his pride. So he’s less of the idealistic man in the second part of the season, and we start seeing his failings or the chinks in his armor.”

Heughan and Balfe admitted that their characters have changed them for the better over the course of filming season one — both in terms of their work ethic and in absorbing Claire and Jamie’s more positive character traits.

“In terms of getting through this amazing undertaking of putting in so much time into the show and every day showing up and playing this really strong, very resilient character, I think it showed me how much strength and resilience I have,” Balfe said. “So I think, if anything, Claire’s just either brought my inner strength out or shown me that I’m maybe stronger than I thought I was previously.”

Fans of the book know that both characters have plenty of trials ahead, and while Heughan praised the prosthetic he wears to portray Jamie’s scarred back, he teased that the highlander will have even more injuries to contend with in the final eight episodes, including “almost full body prosthetics” that he describes as “remarkable and pretty shocking.”

The show has already been renewed for a second season, which will begin filming in May, and while the narrative takes our characters to a foreign country for a portion of the story, Moore confirmed that production will continue to be based in Scotland, using a combination of built sets for interiors and location shooting for exteriors.

Outlander” returns April 4 at 9 p.m. on Starz.

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