The lives of Claire (played by Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) won’t ever be the same after the latest gripping season of Outlander. Following an intense battle on Fraser’s Ridge, the couple have once again been torn apart to be reunited again when the Diana Gabaldon-created drama returns on Starz. Series lead Caitriona has opened up on the show’s jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending now the dust has settled on the short yet impactful sixth season.
Caitriona has explained why the sixth season of Outlander needed to leave fans hanging with several major unanswered questions at the end of the finale.
“We originally were supposed to film 12 episodes,” she confirmed.
“That was the original idea. But this felt like a really natural point.”
Throughout the latest season, the founders of Fraser’s Ridge were locked in a constant struggle with disgruntled local Richard Brown (Chris Larkin).
Getting revenge for the death of his brother Lionel (Ned Dennehy), who kidnapped and raped Claire the season before, Richard has falsely arrested Claire for the murder of Malva Christie (Jessica Reynolds).
She was dragged hundreds of miles away from the Ridge to be imprisoned, while Jamie was left to the mercies of Richard’s men, only a last-minute rescue from Young Ian (John Bell) and Chief Bird (Glen Gould) keeping him from a watery grave.
Due to Covid, the adaptation of Diana’s sixth book, A Breath of Snow And Ashes, had to be cut short, so fans will have to wait another year or so to see all the loose ends tied up.
The show’s leading actress has since explained why it was necessary to cut the story short, rather than trying to fit the entire narrative into just eight episodes.
“If we had to stop somewhere, this felt like a good place to stop,” she told Variety. “It’s such a great cliffhanger to be on.
“There’s that point of hope, but you’re definitely left kind of on the edge of your seat wanting to see what’s gonna happen next.”
Next time on Outlander, Jamie, Ian and Chief Bird will have to race against the clock to break Claire out of jail before she receives the death penalty.
While fans were thrilled to see Outlander return to screens this year, the cliffhanger ending proved a point of contention for some who were frustrated to see the story cut short.
However, Caitriona’s co-star Sam has also come out in defence of the producers’ difficult decision to interrupt Claire and Jamie’s journey after eight episodes.
“I mean it’s pretty breathless, right?” he said. “The last two episodes, so much happens.
“So in a good way, I think it’s good that we have this ending and give time for the viewer to catch up.”
Caitriona also confirmed the episodes weren’t rewritten to adapt to the shortened season.
“The interesting thing about that is none of these episodes were adapted,” she explained.
“That was always the way they were written, even when we were going to still do 12 episodes.
“I think we had a long time before all that lockdown, the writers were thinking very deeply about everything they wanted to put in and it just sort of was organically like that.”
Thankfully, fans who were left somewhat unsatisfied by Outlander’s truncated sixth outing have an extended season of a whopping 16 episodes to look forward to in the near future.
Outlander season 6 is available to watch on Starz in the US and StarzPlay in the UK.