SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the fourth season finale of “Outlander.”
The “Outlander” finale brought to a close another adventure-filled season, this one focused on the main characters finding a family and a place to call home and settle down, something executive producer Toni Graphia tells Variety was the goal from the beginning.
“The arc of Season 4 is really about finding a home. It’s something that Claire has wanted way back since the pilot when she looked in the window at the vase and said that she’s never really had a home and she wanted a vase, which would make her feel at home,” Graphia says.
The fourth season brought Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) to America, and being in that new world, Graphia continues, was the first time they were able to build a home together. Then, they unexpectedly had more of their family — including daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) — show up there, so, she notes, “it’s kind of like if you build it, they will come, in a weird way. This season [was] about finding and building this home together.”
The fourth season ended somewhat happily for the Fraser clan, as Jamie and Claire traveled back to be with their daughter, who had her baby and reunited with Roger (Richard Rankin). However, it is far from the show’s end (thus far Starz has renewed it for two more seasons), so Graphia cautions that the family is still “a work in progress.”
Going forward, she says Claire and Jamie will face new challenges simply by having to navigate life alongside their adult daughter — who also has a child of her own.
“It’s always been the two of them, they’re this strong couple that’s completely bonded to each other, and now they’re really a trio. They didn’t get to raise a child together and as you know with parenthood, once a child arrives, it’s a different dynamic,” Graphia says. “Suddenly Claire’s loyalties are very torn. She’s actually lived with Brianna for 20 years, which is longer than she’s been with Jamie. So suddenly she’s torn between her husband and her daughter.”
There is also the added variable of Roger joining the family. Brianna obviously loves him and Claire knows him to be a good man, but Graphia says that Jamie is still going to be pretty hesitant about his son-in-law after all that happened in Season 4.
“I think Jamie is naturally a protective father and is very hesitant about Roger — or any man. Would any man be good enough for his daughter?” Graphia says.
The relationship is extra complicated because Roger found out Brianna’s baby might not be his, and he hesitated before deciding to go back with Jamie and Claire to be with her.
“Jamie sees him as a coward if he doesn’t man up and do the right thing, but I think Claire sees the subtleties and the complexities of this decision,” Graphia says.
But Graphia also notes that Roger’s hesitation didn’t make him a bad person; he simply needed to take some time to know if he could make the relationship work — especially after having been held captive and been tortured for months. And, she wants to stress, the hesitation was not because the child may have been conceived when Brianna was raped.
“Roger’s a good guy and he was raised by parents not his own and so was Claire and so was Brianna,” she says. “We have a history in the show of people raising other people’s children, so I think he is open to that. But whether he wants to be with Brianna at all. He loves her deeply but it seems like fate is almost against them because at every turn something is in the way of them getting together.”
Graphia adds that even though Roger did come back to Brianna, that doesn’t immediately solve everything between him and Jamie — though it does go a long way with healing Roger’s relationship with Bree.
“I think Jamie will never forget that Roger took more time than Jamie may have thought he should have taken to come back. He’ll still have to do some proving of himself to Brianna’s father, so I think there will be some conflict in that relationship next season that they’ll have to sort out,” Graphia says. “But I think [Bree is] more forgiving than her father. I think her father is being protective, but Bree knows that she and Roger have a fraught, turbulent beginning to their relationship. She’s so happy to see him when he comes back and he says, ‘Take me to my son.’ I think for her that’s the moment.”
Of course, just when it seemed like the Frasers and Co. could finally take a minute just to be together at the end of the season, word came down from the governor that Jamie had been called to form a militia to fight the Regulators. Graphia says that it will be just one adventure after the next for the Frasers as the show continues.
“We’re very, very excited about ‘Fiery Cross.’ We’re deep into it already and I would say I don’t think people will be disappointed,” Graphia says of adapting Diana Gabaldon’s fifth novel in the “Outlander” series for screen.
But because it is the show’s mission to “throw the cards up in the air and maybe put them back together in a different way,” Graphia says, the writers are not looking at the fifth book as the only source material options for the upcoming fifth season of the show.
“In this season, we used stuff from previous seasons that we weren’t able to get to when we did that season and we’ll do the same with season five,” she says. “Anything we couldn’t get in from [fourth novel] ‘Drums [of Autumn]’ that was a favorite part we’ll get into Season 5. … Anything that doesn’t make it to the final version, it can be used somewhere else. There’s just so much material.”