Warning: This article contains spoilers for season 5, episode 7 of ‘Outlander’.
Sam Heughan, the male lead of Starz’s hit series ‘Outlander’ knows that the show builds us up with its grand romance and gallant heroes, only to tear us down by torturing its characters when we least expect it–and he loves it. In this week’s tragic installment, Heughan’s character Jamie engaged in battle with the Regulators, discovered the hanging corpse of his son in law, and dealt with the death of his godfather. In an interview will “Elle’ magazine, the actor revealed his joy in making the episode.
Well, at least one person enjoyed themselves: “It was my favorite episode,” he told ‘Elle’. He also recognized that, although the events of last week’s episode were painful, they were necessary to keep the plot moving forward. “This was a tough season to break from the book and I think it’s going to be one of our best because of that storyline,” he explained. And in a way, the show actually did us a favor: In the books, Murtaugh died way earlier.
Nevertheless, Murtaugh’s death was very difficult for Heughan’s character, Jamie Fraser. “It felt [like] the most grief,” he revealed. “He’s not only losing his godfather—basically a stepfather—but he’s losing the last real contact with Scotland, the last member of his blood apart from his aunt and daughter.” Murtaugh’s loss was a very symbolic death for the show, not just an intensely emotional one. Murtaugh represent Scotland, and he represented safety for Jamie. With his death, Jamie will likely step into an even stronger leadership role and be braver than ever before.
This season, Heughan, along with his leading lady Caitriona Balfe have become producers of the show as well. This meant that Heughan had more control over the episode, and it was his choice to have Jamie wear the red coat of the British army in this episode. He made the choice to don the garment in this episode because it symbolized not only everything Jamie stands against, but “more about Tryon testing him,” the actor explained. Though not completely historically accurate, Jamie wearing the coat sure made a statement.
Even though Heughan enjoyed filming this episode, he admitted that the battle scenes were not easy. On an emotional level, Murtaugh’s death alone took several takes due to continuity issues, so Heughan was likely spent after that shoot. And physically, action sequences can be very taxing. “It was summer in Scotland, and we don’t generally have a really hot summer, but it was pretty hot at that point. They were tough days,” Heughan remembered. However, he still loved the work, adding, “We shot over a number of days in the forest with a second unit, and we all loved being part of that.”