It’s kinda hard out here for a Dunbonnet.
Outlander‘s second episode found Jamie unkempt, unhappy and nearly unsuitable for human interaction after six years of living and grieving in solitude. “He’s just in pain all the time. He sees Claire everywhere. He’s reminded of his loss,” star Sam Heughan tells TVLine, “so he’s living with his instincts. He doesn’t really care about himself, he’s just living day to day with no real purpose.” (Sound familiar?)
Though Jamie is no longer the legal owner of Lallybroch — you’ll remember that he signed the estate over to Jenny and Ian’s son, Jamie, just before the Battle of Culloden — Heughan points out that his character still feels a great responsibility to keep the land and his loved ones safe… and that the Scot thinks that’s best done in his absence. “It seems that everyone around him gets hurt. He’s responsible for Jenny and Ian, and every time he gets close to them, something bad happens to them,” the actor says.
Take, for instance, the scene where Jamie holds his infant nephew, Ian, for the first time. “Jamie is desperate to have his child, and he didn’t hold Brianna and see her when she was born. And when he gets to hold the newborn, it’s like that’s it,” Heughan points out, referring to Jamie’s having to keep the baby quiet while British soldiers sniff around a few feet from where he’s hiding. “And then suddenly again. he puts the family in jeopardy.”
When Fergus then loses a hand (read our episode recap for all the details), and Jenny points out that Jamie did the most responsible thing by not trying to stop the Redcoats, Jamie’s reserve cracks and he winds up sobbing in his sister’s arms in front of the family hearth. But Heughan points out that when Jamie does regroup, he uses Fergus’ injury to jostle him back into himself.
“That’s the point he realizes that people are actually relying on him, and that he needs to fight a little bit to live for something,” Heughan adds, calling the whole incident “kind of a win” for Jamie in an odd way. “It brings him around a little bit. And Fergus has always been his sort-of surrogate son.”
As for fan ire at Jenny’s supposed betrayal, which the Season 3 trailer teased but (shocker!) didn’t explain in full?
“Yeah, that’s funny,” Heughan says, chuckling as he recalls shooting the scene with Laura Donnelly, who portrays his down-to-earth sibling. “We were both sort of trying to overplay it.” He can’t keep a straight face as he reenacts the characters’ exaggerated facial expressions and body language — Jamie’s arms flung wide open! — while trying to fool the Redcoats at the end of the episode. “It was so fun.”