Spoiler alert! Don’t read this unless you’ve seen “The False Bride,” the third episode from season 4 of Outlander.
Intimacy became a very complicated thing for Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) in Sunday’s episode. In a heartbreaking adaptation of a key moment from Drums of Autumn — the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series on which this season is based — Roger reveals that he wants more than just casual sex with Brianna. That doesn’t go over so well with the daughter of Claire and Jamie, who finds his views toward intimacy both old-fashioned and maidenly hypocritical. Here, the actors share their thoughts about the scene and why both points of view are equally valid.
RICHARD RANKIN We spoke at length about that scene, what it meant for each of us, what it meant for our characters, and Roger’s very traditional approach to love. He’s had experience with other women, but when it comes to Brianna, there’s something unique there, and that he loves her very much, and sees a future with her. He sees them being together and the foundations have already been laid for a life together. He’s connected to that, and he’s taking a traditional approach in that he wants to do it right, and he doesn’t want to take that next step until they are fully committed to each other. Therein lies the conflict. Both are very right in their opinions, and that’s what makes for such great scenes whenever Brianna and Roger lock horns. It usually comes from a place where the argument is balanced very evenly either way. Roger has very valid opinions, very valid points, on why they should do this, and Brianna has equally valid points. That’s what brings the scene alive, I think. You could come away from that scene agreeing with either character, because they both have strong ideas on what their next steps should be as a couple.
SOPHIE SKELTON It’s not as if he believes in no sex before marriage. He’s just taking that stance with Brianna, which in a way is quite romantic. But for Brianna’s point of view, it seems a little hypocritical. She’s put herself in this very vulnerable situation which is quite a rad thing to do for a virgin in that time. To kind of throw her top off is quite a bold move. So she’s in quite a vulnerable situation. She just feels rejected by that but I think in the moment everything is a little bit more heightened.
RANKIN There’s obviously a lot going on for Brianna. It’s all very complex. She’s a modern-thinking woman, so it’s just the difference in ideas between the two of them. They obviously love each other very much, and I think deep down they know they want to be with each other, but they just have different ideas, and that is kind of a depth to them as a couple, anyway. That happens time and time again. It’s one of the things that excites me about their relationship. They have such strong views of the world, and unfortunately for them, those opposites bring them conflict now and again.
SOPHIE SKELTON Bree says … and this is actually a line from the book … that she’s seen a marriage made for love and one made for obligation. She knows which one she doesn’t want. Frank and Claire stayed together for Brianna’s sake. And for society’s sake, I suppose. Claire and Jaime were in love and Brianna wants to make sure that she gets married once and only once. Roger’s been around the block a little bit more, as Bree says. And he’s more prepared to settle down and make things official but Brianna just wants to make sure the same thing that happened to her mother doesn’t happen to her.
Outlander airs Sundays on Starz. And don’t forget to tune into EW Radio, Sirius XM 105, at Monday 1 p.m. ET for more of Outlander Live! Executive Producer Toni Graphia will be our guest.