Claire and Jamie have a long road to travel in season 3 of OUTLANDER before the pair are reunited. In the season 3 premiere we saw Claire and Frank move to America where Claire’s daughter with Jamie was soon born. But the happiness surrounding Brianna’s birth was burst when the nurse remarked on her bright red hair — a trait she inherited from her birth father, Jamie.
During a recent interview with actress Caitriona Balfe, she spoke about how Frank and Claire’s relationship would continue to unravel in the 20 years Claire remains separated from Jamie and how Brianna bonds with the man who isn’t her biological father.
Claire and Frank. We saw a lot of tension between the couple in the season 3 premiere of OUTLANDER, although Brianna’s arrival may ease that tension a little bit. Certainly, Balfe doesn’t want fans to think that there is no hope for at least civility and respect between Claire and Frank, even if just for Brianna’s sake. “Tobias [Menzies] and I really wanted to play with the fact that there had to be hope. That it would be very unbelievable and make both of them somewhat pathetic characters if there was no hope and they just sat in this marriage of misery for 20 years. I don’t think that either of them would do that. So I definitely think Brianna does bring [them together]. You know, we see it at the very end of the first episode — yes, there’s the elephant in the room with the red hair, but I do think that children are such a pure form of hope and life. And I think that you can’t help but be around that and not find some way to build something that may not be perfect, but that there is common respect and common love there.”
Brianna and Frank. One might forgive Frank for feeling a bit cold towards the little girl who isn’t really his, but Balfe actually says this is not the case this season: “I think it’s actually easier for Frank to forget about Jamie, because he’s never met him. For him, looking at Brianna, obviously there’s red hair but he doesn’t look at her face and see Jamie. Whereas every time Claire looks at Brianna it’s such a strong reminder of a man that she knew so well. But for Frank he has no context for that. What I love about Diana [Gabaldon]’s depiction of their family dynamic is that in many ways she flipped the script and Claire became…maybe not the primary breadwinner, but definitely the workaholic or the person who was more engaged in her career. And Frank became pretty much the primary caregiving in the house.”
“I also think that because Claire has a secret in not being able to tell Brianna about her real father, that there’s always this barrier or something there between them. But Frank doesn’t have that burden, so they’re able to form a much stronger bond in many ways. And that’s not to say that Claire doesn’t love Brianna, but I do think that in many ways Frank is able to replace the love that he had for Claire with the love that he has for Brianna. They almost have the better relationship than Claire and Brianna do.”
How Does Claire Deal With the Loss of Jamie? Claire may have Brianna and she may also reach a sort of peace with Frank, but her loss of Jamie will always cut her. “I looked at it very much that this is a widow in many ways. For her, Jamie has died at the Battle of Culloden. She has made not only a promise to him about how she will raise their daughter, but she’s made a promise to Frank to never bring it up again. [She promised] to put that whole side of her life and the whole experience to one side. For me, I think it ties in with Claire’s ability as a surgeon — you have to be able to compartmentalize things. I think she takes all of that and locks it away and I think she pays a huge price for that. Part of that price is her sort of intimacy with her daughter. And I think she becomes a much more reserved and rigid person and she loses some of her freedom and her honesty with herself in a weird way. And I think that you really see in these first few episodes, that she’s a shadow of her former self.”
OUTLANDER airs on on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Starz (U.S.) and at 9:00 p.m. on W Network (Canada).