Executive producer Maril Davis gave a rather extensive interview with Parade about season five before it premiered. Maril responded to various questions (and they were good ones). She hints about what is in episode 503, which airs this Sunday. Included below are excerpts from the interview, but it is well worth your time to read the entire thing over at Parade.
The Fiery Cross doesn’t have the big moments, like when Young Ian [John Bell] was kidnapped and they go in chase of him. But what it has is time to spend with these characters that we’ve come to love. Do you think this season, we’re truly seeing Jamie and Claire defined?
I don’t know if we’ll ever see exactly who they’re going to become. I feel like Jamie and Claire are ever-changing. I feel like they’re constantly trying to figure out where they fit in into this world. We talk about last season being about: What is home and what does that mean? This season, we define as: What would you do to protect that home?”
So, I feel like the problem with Jamie and Claire is they never get a chance to rest, and sit there, and define themselves in that way. But I think you’re right. I think Jamie is finally rebuilding his rightful place in the world in Fraser’s Ridge. I think he’d like nothing more to do than sit there with Claire on their porch, watch their family, and see how this community grows. But history won’t allow him to do that. That’s the tragedy of, in some ways, the Outlander books is that they’re never allowed to rest on their laurels, and sit there. History always shoves them along.
Having seen the first four episodes and recently re-listened to The Fiery Cross, I realized the series is more different than previous years have been from the books.
It’s weird though. A lot of it is the same. The second episode is, obviously, a bit of a departure and where we pick up, but the Gathering was such a long part of the book, I think we felt we had to condense it and also make it a little more personal to our family. Doing it at the Ridge just seemed like the way to do it.
With these differences, share with us what goes into the decisions. How do you decide what stays, what goes?
It’s so hard. Every season, we do the same thing. We break out the books, break out the chapters, and see what happens. Then we try to figure out what tentpole moments we want to hit, which makes it really difficult, because if you’re trying to hit those moments, sometimes how you get there has to be a little different from the books. Obviously, the books are huge, and there’s so many wonderful moments, and great moments, and small and big moments, but you can’t hit them all. So, if you’re not going to have everything, getting to point B isn’t always as easy as it is in the books.
Sometimes we do have to change things. But when we do, we look at the whole season, what’s the arc, what’s the shape of it, and where do we want to get to. From there, we just start figuring it out.
Like I said, we try to hit the big moments that we feel like are the important ones, and the things that you can’t do without, and, unfortunately, some things get left behind. We do try to then in the next season or in other ways, get a moment in if we haven’t hit it. So, we’re constantly trying to remember moments that we have to get somewhere else.
I think fans will love episode three because it’s almost all Jamie and Claire. But I was surprised that you picked that part of the story, because in the books, there’s no payoff down the line for this storyline.
There is, actually. It does come back. I can’t say how, but we just thought it was such a creepy, cool moment. It stood out to us, and it was also a great moment to have Jamie and Claire isolated from the rest of the group, to see them on their own.
For us, it was a chance to see an environment that we don’t normally see, a creepy, cool setting, and an interesting dilemma for Claire with this man who is essentially torturing his wife and the Beardsley twins, and what do you do? What’s your duty as a doctor to save this person you know is not a good person?