This is an excellent articlefor Eonline!
If there were an award for best sex on TV last year, Outlander would win it. Hands down.
Outlander is not necessarily about sex, but that might as well be in its description, thanks to Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Jamie (Sam Heughan), and their welcome lesson in how two people can communicate with each other and find common, human ground, even when they might have centuries between them.
Season one featured countless moments that left us breathless, and we can barely speak of the infamous wedding episode—in which Jamie lost his virginity and we lost track of our minds—without blushing furiously and wondering why on earth this has to be the show we discuss in depth with our moms.
Of course, season one was not all sunshine and daisies and consensual orgasms in the sex department. In the last few episodes, Jamie was brutally raped by Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies), and then later found out that his wife, Claire is pregnant. It’s a show that runs the whole sexual gamut, from first-time sex to great sex to horrific sexual assault and everything in between.
Season two of the Starz hit will still explore those extremes, but in a different way. As the show becomes political, so does the sex. Jamie not only has to relearn how to have sex with his wife while she’s pregnant, but he also has to recover from major sexual trauma.
“I think Jamie’s sanity has been saved,” Sam Heughan tells us. “Physically, he’s still recovering. He’s still definitely damaged by it. He doesn’t know quite how to deal with it, so he throws himself into this mission to try and stop fate, which is a pretty big undertaking. Basically, he kind of loses track of himself and of Claire. It does have a detrimental effect on their relationship and his psychology also it will sort of implode on them at some point.”
Claire, meanwhile, has to help Jamie through his recovery, while also sort of rediscovering her sexuality while pregnant and learning just how much of a tool sex can be in her new world of French royalty.
The show will still be sexy, but it’s also going to get messy, and it will never be the same as it was last season.
“The role of sex does change, but it’s because people’s lives change,” author Diana Gabaldon tells E! News of the upcoming season. “They’re no longer newlyweds so it’s not just about lust and sexual attraction. Sex has always for them been a means of communication, and it continues to be that, but now there’s pregnancy involved.”
According to Gabaldon, the sex scenes in her books (and similarly, in the show) are no different than a scene of dialogue.
Sex almost always has a purpose in the Outlander world, even when it might seem gratuitous. Sometimes, it’s used as a power play, or a bargaining chip, or political strategy, or as a way to mend a relationship or person. Season two will partially focus on helping Jamie recover from his assault, which is a large part of the first book. The scenes didn’t make it into the first season due to time constraints, so Jamie’s recovery will be worked into the second season, even if it’s not quite the trip to the cave that many book fans might be imagining.
“They were not able to do the end of season one the same way that it ends in the book, so because they didn’t do that, how were they going to carry on in the next book?” Gabaldon said of the conversations had about season two. “So I said since you weren’t able to give him that catharsis at the end, he’s going to be left with these feelings, these dreams at the end and you’re going to have to address that.”
Balfe was also invested in making sure this story was represented on screen.
“I think it was really important to all of us that he doesn’t just snap out of it and recover immediately, because that’s not how it would have been. What happened to him was absolutely horrific, and I think we all felt it was really important that we allow the space for him to grow and that you show that not only does it affect him but it affects the people close to him.”
Claire’s pregnancy will also play a major role both in their relationship and Jamie’s return to full health.
“Claire’s pregnant and she almost has to put that aside or have that as her private journey while she tries to help him heal,” Balfe explains. “It’s wonderfully complex, and they’re struggling with their own demons or their own issues separately but still trying to come together and still trying to retain that bond that they have.”
Unfortunately for Jamie, the 1700s did not have much in the way of resources for this kind of pain, so Claire and Jamie are going to be fairly on their own.
“Keep in mind that these people, in the period they live in, they’re not people that are going to see a therapist or they don’t even know what PTSD is,” executive producer Ronald D. Moore tells us. “They’re not going to be talking about it as overtly as you are with contemporary characters. They’re going to try to put this behind them and move on, and then realize that they really can’t, that it’s actually living with them even if they try not to deal with it.”
Gabaldon knew that this particular part of the story was incredibly important, partly thanks to a message on her Facebook page.
“Someone had reposted a message from her own board that someone had left—a rape survivor, explaining exactly what the emotional significance of the book and that part of the story had been to her,” Gabaldon says. “I asked if I could repost it. I did, and immediately I got, like, 200 similar stories from rape survivors. Very, very moving, just what this had meant to them that healing is possible and that you haven’t been deprived of power. I showed those to Ron [Moore], and I said we owed those people. You have to show them the way it is, and that’s what they did.”
Of course, it’s not as if the second season of Outlander will deprive us of those artfully pornographic sex scenes in the midst of the healing and relationship-fortifying. They may be fewer and farther between, but they’re more meaningful than ever.
Outlander returns Saturday, April 9th at 9 p.m. on Starz.