As someone watching “Outlander” without the foresight or the knowledge of the Diana Gabaldon source material, we were not aware going into Saturday’s episode that the appearance of Laoghaire would be considered much of a surprise. It felt organic to the story, and where Jamie and Claire Fraser were. Ultimately, it made sense.
It was not until reading the reaction after the fact when we learned that she did not appear in the second novel Dragonfly in Amber that serves as the inspiration for this show. Her inclusion was still in our minds a smart move, and it is reminiscent in some ways of “Game of Thrones” continuing to visit the story of Theon Greyjoy throughout his torment at the hands of Ramsay; these scenes were not always in the books, but they serve as a means to keep TV show viewers reminded of a particular character. With Laoghaire here, you want to remember that she is alive and important, since she will potentially play a role down the road.
We saw during this episode Saturday a repentant and contrite version of this character, but we were also made to question how genuine it was based on one simple statement at the end of the episode, where she admitted that she still wants Jamie’s love. How serious is her transition? This is something that Nell Hudson described in a postmortem to TVLine:
“I think that she is genuinely striving for humility and penitence, and most of all forgiveness. But it’s just that her love for Jamie never [goes away]. I do think there’s a transformation that happens in the episode… When she sees him again and is thwarted by Claire, it’s a bit of a slap in the face. It’s a bit like, ‘Screw it, all this hard work and piousness.’ …I think she does mean it in in the beginning. She’s fully in earnest, asking for forgiveness in the beginning of the episode.”
Ultimately, these actions by Claire and Jamie towards her here will smartly inform what’s to come, provided we get a third season to explore this further. Hudson confirmed in the interview that this will be her only appearance this season.
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