Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser’s (Sam Heughan) storyline was secondary on this week’s episode of Outlander as the show shifted gears to the couple’s daughter, Brianna (Sophie Skelton).
While Brianna’s journey back in time to reunite with her parents was the main focus of the episode, it was a surprise cameo from an old character that really upended things — and was a major departure from the books.
Outlander brought back Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) for a few flashbacks and one emotional ghostly arrival in “Down the Rabbit Hole.”
Combination of seeing Frank, and the music of @bearmccreary broke my heart ???? @TobiasMenzies #TobiasMenzies @TheEmmys #TeamFrank #AndTheEmmyGoesToTobiasMenzies @TribeTobias #Outlander #DownTheRabbitHole ????? pic.twitter.com/N9IBpU1xZ6
— Kathy P. (@Okiemom50) December 16, 2018
The move added emotional depth to Brianna’s journey, and Skelton opened up about the decision in an interview with Vanity Fair.
The actress explained how the books do not explore the relationship between Frank and Brianna as much as the show has, which leads to them being “a little bit misunderstood.”
Skelton hopes that by sharing more of Frank’s story, and exploring his emotional bond with Brianna, the series will change how the characters have been viewed in the past.
One of the consequences of diving into Frank’s story is that Brianna is more torn when she travels back in time. Having her acknowledge her upbringing also adds a little more weight to her and Frank’s storyline.
It also gave Frank a proper good-bye, and the emotional tie between Brianna and Frank could complicate things between her and Jamie.
Skelton described how fans want a quick reunion between Jamie and Brianna, but her emotional bond with Frank complicates her relationship with Jamie, the father she never knew.
“But I think people have to remember that Frank really did raise Bree and he did a very good job. There’s that guilt she feels going back. She feels like she’s betraying him,” Skelton shared.
The move is a big risk for the series, especially given how fans have reacted to changes in the past. But overall, Frank’s involvement in Brianna’s journey adds layers to both of their stories, which should benefit the show as a whole.
New episodes of Outlander air Sunday nights on Starz.