Consider this Outlander top actor piece almost the cop-out to end all cop-outs, mostly because it feels almost impossible to narrow down the list of contenders at all.
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For the better part of the past two and half days since we first watched ‘The Birds and the Bees,” we tried to figure out what to do with our weekly feature. We’ve been able to single out someone for an extraordinary performance — for the past two weeks, the honor has went to Sophie Skelton. It could easily go to her again for the painful scene with Lizzie, her getting to meet Jamie for the first time, or her discussion with Claire about her pregnancy.
Then, you’ve also got some of the wonderful content from Sam Heughan in this episode. Think in terms of Jamie meeting Brianna and the gamut of emotions that he runs; or, think about him finding common ground with Bree during their bee hunt, or even the violent side that she showed during his attack on Roger. It wasn’t an easy scene to watch, but it is a wonderful exercise in contrast that an actor can do that and then also some of the tender stuff earlier in this episode.
Finally, you then have Caitriona Balfe, who delivered one fantastic emotional sequence after another. While her reunion scene with Brianna was brief, it was beautiful. Claire’s reaction to Brianna’s assault was soul-crushing, and she also had some wonderful scenes with Heughan discussing the reality that someday, Bree would likely leave Fraser’s Ridge and head back to her own time.
There’s noting else to do here other than to say that all three were the top actors for this episode. We can’t choose. If Outlander as a cast were eligible for the SAG Awards, this would be an easy episode to submit for the entire ensemble. All of these performances were extraordinary, but the reason that they worked was the interplay. It was the commitment that each person had to getting these pivotal moments right and everything that was said or unsaid. Given that Heughan and Skelton had never worked together on a scene before, there certainly was potential that this could have fallen apart. Yet, it didn’t.
There’s a good reason why season 4 episode 9 is a top ten episode for the series — it’s hard to find any fault in any of the performances across the board. It may even end up making it into our top five, thought we probably need a little bit more time to reflect before saying that for certain.
What was your favorite performance from Outlander season 4 episode 9, or can you even choose? Share in the comments! (Photo: Starz.)