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With the premiere of its sixth season, ‘Outlander’ defies any notion of slowing down. Without sounding too dramatic, season 5 left many viewers in complete emotional turmoil, wrecked beyond repair, and mentally wounded. It was violent and brutal, but yet, we couldn’t get enough. Since the series first premiered on Starz, every season has been wildly unpredictable leaving audiences inevitably hooked on a unique period drama that knows how to deliver steamy romance, unspeakable cruelty, and jumps through time so seamlessly that we all feel like a sassanach enveloped in the rugged arms of a Scottish Highlander from the 18th-century. Maybe it’s just me.
That’s right, steamy. In an interview with the podcast Happy Sad Confused, Heughan shared that as a producer, he hired an intimacy coordinator to change the way sex scenes are filmed. “I brought on board the intimacy advisor Vanessa Coffey because, with intimate scenes, it’s important that everyone is protected, but also we find a way to explore these scenes and actually maybe get something more out of them,” Heughan noted. “I think this season we’ve done an even better job with those types of scenes because she really helped us understand what we are doing and how we build up this relationship and take it somewhere else, so she’s been terrific…”
But there’s more to this story than the insane chemistry between Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jaime (Sam Heughan). It seems that with every season, ‘Outlander’ rarely shys away from addressing real-life issues, avoiding the common mistake of feeling forced or like a PSA moment. Instead, it’s based on the simple context of a woman who slips through time, effortlessly allowing the story to compare the treatment of women through time. Obviously, we’re making progress. Sadly, it’s very slow. But now, we’re in season 6 and Claire has chosen to remain in the 18th century with her husband. Because of that, she unintentionally becomes an Early American navigating a new world with Jamie by her side.
Touching Up on Season 5
At this point in the series, it becomes an emotional investment for viewers to once again get caught up in the high-risk adventures of Jamie and Claire. But it’s all worth it. In the end, they are very good people equally guided by an unfaltering moral compass but keep getting side-tracked by thieves, rapists, murderers, witch-hunters, corrupt politicians, you name it. However, season 5 didn’t just focus on Jamie and Claire. It offered a new point of view and gave recognition to a host of Native Americans, trying to tell their story with the backdrop of European settlers carving out a space for themselves. Season 5 features cultural clashes that leave many wounded and even killed.
Unsurprisingly, Claire and Jamie are caught in the crossfires of social turmoil. The collision of cultures also pivots the narrative to reveal that neither of these characters are perfect, but in a new world, they are willing to learn and grow from their faults. It’s a moment to appreciate the history of America through a new perspective. It seems as though Claire and Jamie have been on a perpetual path to finding peace. Of course, season 5 hinted they’re not even close to finding it. Keeping in mind to not spoil the fun for the questionable few who have yet to watch ‘Outlander,’ season 5 presented the death of a major character with a very traumatic experience for another. Every violent scene gets more and more intense, keeping us enthralled by what happens next.
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The Ripple Effects of Trauma
Without saying too much, by the end of season 5, Claire is brutally attacked and while she’s physically healing from her wounds, mentally there’s an agonizing road that awaits. It’s a presumably excruciating processing period for Claire, especially since she’s trying her best to mask the emotions that are coursing through her body. Throughout the series, Claire has been the designated healer, a calming presence that feels comforting and reliable. Now, she’s vulnerable and it’s hard to watch.
Hopefully, season 6 doesn’t just gloss over the attack and its significance, this should be a powerful moment that addresses the historical violence that is still directed towards women. “And as our journey goes on, we’ll see that Claire really starts to unravel in a way that we haven’t seen her before. She really needs to find a new way of coping and really learn how to ask for help. I think is the biggest thing that she’ll have to learn this season.” Caitriona Balfe revealed to Town & Country. We have to mention the casual attitude of Claire’s perpetrators as they were harming her, it made the experience feel even more cruel. Unfortunately, it says something that even though the series is set in the 1700s, the pain feels very raw and relevant for 21st century women.
Outlander Season 6 – What to Expect
And so the eventful journey continues. The people within Jamie and Claire’s inner circle have faced their own battles. At the core of their existence, it’s clear that every character deeply relies on loyalty and virtue to guide them through their toughest moments. Right now, the stage is set at Fraser’s Ridge with the younger generation seeking purpose and reconciling with their past. Roger (Richard Rankin) has taken on the role as the Ridge’s minister while Brianna (Sophie Skelton) is trying to apply her engineering education by trying to create scientific inventions ahead of their time.
We’re finally given an answer as to what Ian (John Bell) went through during his time with the Native American tribe, the Mohawks, and why his experience left a serious mark. This time, audiences are given a more intimate look at Fergus (César Domboy) and Marsali’s (Lauren Lyle) relationship while we witness Fergus grapple with the fact that he feels limited in what he could do and blames himself for Claire and Marsali’s attack. Fergus’ life has taken many turns that seem to be weighing heavy.
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Meanwhile, Jamie is now working as a mediator between the British army and local tribesmen, navigating delicate lines of communication. Following how things ended in season 5, Tom Christie and his family take up a notable presence this season. We’re introduced to Tom’s daughter Malva (Jessica Reynolds) and her brother, Allan (Alexander Vlahos). At the moment, they seem harmless but it’s too soon to assume what their intentions may be for the Frasers. However, they may be the least of Fraser Ridge’s worries, given there’s mumblings of the Revolutionary War waiting to erupt. We’ve already met the most important figure of the war, George Washington himself.
So yes, you can take in the beautiful foliage and idyllic scenes of the American frontier but the echoes of war sounding off in the distance which drastically shift America’s landscape. Times are changing and so are the characters who have made ‘Outlander’ the major success it is today. It is a rapid paced story that momentarily pauses for tender exchanges and steamy romances.
If you can’t get enough of the series, we suggest reading the book the show is based on. Diana Gabaldon published a series of novels that gave us the perfect show to indulge.
‘Outlander’ airs every Sunday night on Starz.
Cast: Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, John Bell, César Domboy, Lauren Lyle, David Berry
Director: Jamie Payne
Creator: Diana Gabaldon
By Gina Michele Yaniz
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Gina Michele Yaniz is a writer and digital media content creator with a deep love for storytelling. Charmed by the notable influence of the entertainment industry, Gina is passionate about uplifting the voices of artists and celebrating powerful material. She likes to embody the philosophy of writing through a non-judgmental and a genuine perspective while expanding the perception of film industry. Along with Hollywood Insider, Gina values the responsibility the media holds and wishes to use her writing to provide meaningful content. During her free time, Gina loves to watch period pieces, stand-up comedy, and indulges on her avid interest for reading articles on self-care.