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‘Outlander’ producer on midseason finale, what’s to come after that journey



Warning: This article contains spoilers about the mid-season 7 finale of Outlander, “Turning Points.”

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone, over the sea to… Scotland.

It’s time for another droughtlander (part two of Outlander season 7 won’t air until 2024), but the mid-season finale brought plenty of unexpected trips — after fighting in the Second Battle of Saratoga, Jamie (Sam Heughan), Claire (Caitriona Balfe), and Ian (John Bell) end up sailing for Scotland to return to their family and bring the body of Simon Fraser (Angus Macfadyen) back to his final resting place.

Meanwhile, in the 1980s, Roger (Richard Rankin) and Buck (Diarmaid Murtagh) decide to travel through the stones in search of Jem (Blake Johnston-Miller) who has been kidnapped by Rob Cameron (Chris Fulton).

Before they set sail, Jamie fights in the battle, shooting the hat off William’s (Charles Vandervaart) head (which he later returns). Claire faces a crisis of conscious when she crosses paths with Benedict Arnold (Rod Hallett) and ponders whether or not to reveal what she knows of his treachery.

Ian also faces his own troubles when he kisses Rachel (Izzy Meikle-Small), who slaps him for his advance but clearly is drawn to him. When he decides to go, he leaves Rollo with her, only for them to encounter Arch Bug (Hugh Ross).

We’ll have to wait at least half a year to find out what’s next. In the meanwhile, we caught up with executive producer Maril Davis, who explained the events of the episode and what’s to come.

John Bell, Sam Heughan, and Caitriona Balfe on ‘Outlander’.
Starz Entertainment, LLC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Jamie, Ian, and Claire are finally seeing Scottish shores again. Is it good to be home or does more trouble await them?

MARIL DAVIS: You know that saying “You can never go home again?” That’s definitely true. Home is never the home you knew. It’s never going to be the same. That’s true when we come back — there’s troubling things on the horizon and some painful stuff. It’s bittersweet. It’s a homecoming, but things happen that are more of a sad note.

Jamie and Claire meet Benedict Arnold in this episode. How conflicted does Claire feel about possibly warning someone about what he will become?

She has that line in the show that like what he did was considered so horrible that more than 200 years later, we still refer to someone that’s a turncoat as a Benedict Arnold. For that name to have lasted so long, I can’t even imagine in that time what that would’ve been like. For Claire, it’s like, “Okay, what do I say? Was I always part of the fabric of that and maybe could have contributed to Benedict Arnold doing what he did?” She’s very conflicted. She obviously likes him. He is very likable. What does she say to him? What does she not? What’s her duty there and could she change things? Should she? Because obviously him doing what he did contributed to us being where we are today. I love that part of the head scratcher of the time travel and butterfly effect. It’s a really interesting conflict.

Roger and Buck go through the stones to find Jem. How easy or difficult might that task be?

It’s not going to be easy. But I love the pairing of Roger and Buck. It’s a little buddy dramedy, in the past. They’re so much fun together.

Should we fully trust Buck at this point? Because he was very much an antagonist in the past.

Buck — even though we have played certainly with “What are his motives? Why is he here?” Obviously we know what we saw him do that led to Roger being hanged — there’s something though also for me that’s so endearing about him in the way that Diarmaid plays him, but I want to trust him. You just want to believe that his motives are pure. At the end of the day, he’s family. We’ll unpack what his reasons are for his nervousness about trying to go back, or if he can go back.

Bree (Sophie Skelton) was already living with only having the letters as knowledge of what has happened to her parents. How hard is this going to be for her not knowing where Roger and Jem are in the world or in time?

It’s so hard. Knowing that time travel’s so tough anyway, and then to think your son is out there somewhere with a crazy person. It’s the not knowing that’s the hardest part. Not going on this journey with Roger and Buck and not knowing what’s happening or where they are or if they found him and where Jem is. As a mother that has got to be really heartbreaking.

Charles Vandevaart on ‘Outlander’.
Starz Entertainment, LLC

We have this big moment where Jamie shoots the hat off Williams’ head, but then does ultimately return it to him. How emotionally complex is this whole thing for Jamie?

We’ve been building to this all season. One of the things we played with Jamie and this conflict, is that he’s torn between two children. He’s fighting on the right side of history, for the America that his daughter will live in. But it also means he’s fighting across enemy lines from his son. His worst fear is facing him across the barrel of a gun. In episode 8, we see that worst fear come true. It’s such an interesting dilemma for Jamie and will continue in the second half, of wanting to know his son, but having to keep that secret, wanting to keep him safe, but knowing he’s on the wrong side of history. It’ a really juicy dilemma.

Jamie said he wants to talk to William just once as a man, except now he’s gone to Scotland. How likely are their paths to cross again? Is William getting at all suspicious yet of who Jamie really is?

It’s very likely that their paths will cross. I don’t think William is suspicious. I think he has been brought up since he was young to think he was the ninth Earl of Ellesmere. He firmly believes that. Certainly deep down, maybe if he found out there will be questions answered about certain things in him that buck the trend of his upbringing that can’t be explained that are different from those of his adoptive father, Lord John. But I don’t think those suspicions are things he thinks about.

Izzy Meikle-Small and John Bell on ‘Outlander’.
Starz Entertainment, LLC

Rachel and Ian kiss for the first time. It’s very complicated for her, but is she all-in on Ian at this point, or is some part of her still drawn to William?

William’s a safer choice. There’s that conversation that Rachel has with her brother Denzell, and it’s basically, “Pray for me.” Her heart knows where it belongs, but her head is conflicted. She’s drawn to someone who is the opposite, in terms of violence, of where her beliefs are. But the heart wants what it wants. Ian left Rollo in her care, which is the greatest thing he could do in terms of showing his where his heart is.

Rachel encounters Arch Bug, who we know pledged to take something Ian loves. How worried should we be for both Rollo and Rachel going forward?

Pretty worried, because the great thing about the Arch Bug storyline is we know that he is waiting. He’s like, “I have time. All I have is time and I’m just going to wait until you find someone thing you love and I’m going to take it from you.” Now we have something that Ian loves.

Will most of the back half of this season take place in Scotland? Can you say?

Some of it will, but not all of it. A lot will be back in the New World.

We still have eight episodes remaining of season 7. Can you tease what’s coming?

The first half was so amazing, but the second half is even better in terms of notching up the tension. Everyone’s worst fears are realized in the back half. The emotion and the drama that comes with that is breathtaking in a way that our characters are pushed to the limits. There’s so much heartbreak. Buckle in, because the back half is just insane.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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