Claire Randall (nee Beauchamp, and now Fraser) has had a rough couple of weeks on Starz’s “Outlander.” Since accidentally time-traveling from post-World War II era Scotland to the same area in the 1740s, she’s been in near constant danger. Luckily, she’s had the dashing Jamie Fraser to save her. At the end of the first half of the season, we saw him come to the rescue once again, but Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, says it’s not all about saving the day.
“I think, especially, in the first half of the season, he does come across as this dashing hero who is always there at the right time and can’t do anything wrong, but obviously it’s from Claire’s point of view, and when we start to dig deeper in the second half of the season, we see a lot more of where Jamie’s come from and what he’s had to go through to get there,” explains Heughan.
That’s not to say he’s completely done with heroism. “He’s still very dashing and does certainly save Claire a couple of times, but we start to realize he doesn’t do it without some effort,” says Heughan.
His relationship with Claire has seen its fair share of ups and downs. She doesn’t always understand the social mores of the world she’s traveled to. “What he’s attracted to, but what is also a constant source of frustration for him is the fact that she is headstrong and does what she thinks and he’ll tell her to do one thing and she’ll go and do something else,” says Heughan.
But Jamie is doing the best he can, considering the circumstances. “I think Jamie’s a quite modern man, quite forward thinking for the time, but he’s also a product of the time. He’s been brought up a certain way,” says Heughan. “But he’s very well educated and he’s traveled a lot, and I think that’s what gives him the ability, further down the line, to appreciate where she’s from and not run a mile when she tells him the truth.”
As to what's coming up next, Heughan promises, "The second half [of the first season] really gets a lot darker. There's a lot more trouble." And Jamie in particular has some tough times ahead. "He has a lot more responsibility now, being married, and then at the end of the season, it gets very very difficult, and he faces a lot of physical and mental challenges."
Tough times for Jamie are a little more positive for Heughan as an actor, though. "That's the sign of a great character and a great part, is that you get to dig deeper," says Heughan. "I think any actor relishes that. You don't want a character to stagnate, but I think that's the great joy of our series. We've got fantastic writers and producers who want to push it further."
About that big scene...
Readers of the books know that a somewhat troubling scene is coming up soon. After Claire’s disobedience leads both her and Jamie into danger, he spanks her to teach her a lesson. The scene was a difficult one for the creative team to work on.
“That was probably one of the harder scenes to pitch right, coming from a modern perspective, but ultimately he’s a man of the times and that’s the way he’s been brought up. She disobeyed his word and she needs to learn a lesson. If she’s going to be his wife and live in this time period,she has to understand that he believes that the quickest way for her to learn that lesson is to give her corporal punishment,” says Heughan.
He says he understands Jamie, even if he doesn’t agree with him. “She’s put everyone in grave danger. They could have all been killed,” he says. “I think quite clearly as the season progresses, he learns that that isn’t the way to go about things, and he learns a very big lesson, as does she, and that then leads them to move forward in their relationship.”