Outlander’s season two episode ‘Faith’ is an emotional one, packed with plot and more than its fair share of shocks and sadness.
Which is why, if you haven’t watched episode seven already, you should bookmark this page, go away, and come back when you have. SPOILERS FOLLOW.
Claire loses her baby, baptised Faith, during a traumatic labour and is left to deal with it alone while Jamie is under lock and key. She then gives up something else – “If it comes to sacrificing my virtue, I’ll add it to the list of things I have already lost in Paris” – and sleeps with King Louis to free her husband from jail.
“It’s a life-changing sort of thing,” Outlander author Diana Gabaldon tells RadioTimes.com, and the events of this episode will continue to affect Claire and Jamie. “It’s not as though they are constantly returning to the issue of their lost child, but that thought is always, of course, on the viewer’s mind. And in the final episode we will see that return with a very pronounced resonance.”
Their relationship is rocked by the trauma they suffer, but the Frasers’ love remains true, assures Gabaldon.
“At the basis of everything there is this very strong love between Jamie and Claire. There is no doubt in Jamie’s mind [that they should stay together] and she feels the same. She’s feeling numb and removed from everything and is dealing with stuff by not feeling.
“Jamie shows up and she has to feel again. She hesitates but she does take his hand. That’s it. Yes, they are together. Yes, they do still love each other. You know, if you have that sort of assumption you don’t have to keep remaking that decision. You make it once and then you know it’s true.”
However strong their relationship remains, there are undoubtedly big changes ahead for Outlander.
“The second half of the season sees a major shift, not only in location and in plot but also in the rhythm and the entire feel of the show. Not only are we now back in Scotland, but it shifts almost immediately into the actual rebellion, to the political machinations in Scotland and also to the military preparations and fighting itself,” Gabaldon says.
“This is where Jamie takes preeminence,” she adds. “You might say that the Parisian story was very largely centred on Claire, not only because of Master Raymond and the hospital, but because she was pregnant and we were following that story. Jamie was dealing with Charles Stuart and politics, but his was not so much of an emotional story at that point. Now Jamie takes his place as a leader of men, a linchpin of the rebellion – which he didn’t want to be, but he hasn’t got a choice. So it is very much focussed on him.
“It’s not that Claire goes away or is not important, it’s just that the focus is shifted slightly. It’s very colourful, very well done, but it is quite a shift.”
The content of ‘Faith’ won’t have come as a shock to fans of Gabaldon’s novels, though this episode, which the writer herself dubs “gut-wrenching”, does condense pages and pages of prose into one hour-long instalment.
“I thought they preserved the emotional immediacy and truth of it very well. You also get a particular visceral effect just by the fact that it is visual,” says Gabaldon. “You have not only got the surroundings and the work of the actors, but also things like the musical score to reinforce the story.”
Some aspects were lost, though. “I saw all the footage they filmed and they filmed a great deal more than is actually shown, because, of course, there are time constraints. Consequently they have to make decisions about what they do put in and leave out. Do we have to put this in because it’s an important bit of explanation? Maybe this is a fabulous scene but it’s not totally vital so it has to go.
Turning her “really complicated book” into a TV show is always “a very delicate and interesting process,” says Gabaldon. “I think they do a wonderful job… and in fact I’ve done it myself. I wrote one of the later episodes.”
But she’s not afraid of being honest about the fact she doesn’t always agree with the decisions showrunner Ronald D Moore and his team makes. She admitted online earlier this year that she “thought they were jumping the shark” at one point this series.
“It’s a later thing in the series. It’s not in episode seven. And, although I used the phrase ‘jumping the shark’ I meant it in a larger sense, just as in something I thought was going a little too far, or was slightly inappropriate. And, you know, the viewers may not see it that way at all. So I’m not going to talk about what it is until they’ve seen it for themselves.”
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news