Countdown to ‘Outlander’ Day 5: Why Jamie & Claire’s Historic Love Is Unbreakable

Sam Heughan and Caitríona Balfe in 'Outlander'
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Hi there, Sassenachs! Join us in our 7-day countdown to the Season 7 premiere of Outlander, featuring a deep-dive into the seventh season, a chat with author Diana Gabaldon, as well as a look back at Jamie and Claire’s love story, and more.

Stay tuned and be sure to pick up TV Guide Magazine’s Outlander Deluxe Collector’s Edition, available for order online now at and for purchase on newsstands nationwide.

Millions screamed “Nooooo!” at their phone screens when the news broke in January that the eighth season of Outlander, based on author Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novel series, would be the last.

Luckily fans of the time travel romance are made of tough stuff. And if there’s one thing they’ve learned from this epic saga about independent 20th century doctor Claire Fraser and her heroic Scottish warrior husband, Jamie (played with humor, intelligence, and always-evolving devotion by Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan), it’s to savor every single second together.

And there is going to be plenty to savor! Balfe has said that the seventh installment, premiering June 16, is the greatest season since the saga’s 2014 debut. The 16 episodes will deliver everything that makes Outlander so legendary: characters hopping from century to century; brilliantly realized historical events (it might just feel like the Revolutionary War has come to your living room!), plenty of family drama, and lots of passion.

The epic vibe is a shift from Season 6, which was shortened due to Balfe’s pregnancy and the COVID pandemic. But in its brevity, those eight episodes tightly showcased what makes Outlander such outstanding TV. It’s worth it to revisit — and relish — why they were so great.

A cornerstone: The producers once again sensitively handled an incredibly difficult subject — the lasting psychological effects of sexual violence. Claire was secretly using ether to kill the pain of a horrific kidnapping and rape, yet at the same time she was putting on a brave face and telling her loved ones she was fine. When we saw Claire’s hallucinations under ether, we felt her fear and isolation.

Still, Claire continued to practice medicine with compassion and innovation. Something that’s always made Outlander appealing is its focus on a 20th century professional whose career is a deeply meaningful part of her life. This season, Claire even tried to train the next generation of female healers. She took under her wing doomed young settler Malva Christie (Jessica Reynolds), stubbornly defying the sexism and superstition of the girl’s family.

Outlander Season 6 Jessica Reynolds, Mark Lewis Jones, and Alexander Vlahos


In a show other than Outlander, Malva’s father, Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones), might have been painted as a straight-up villain. And although there was plenty to dislike about him, the writers, as they often do with baddies (like the early seasons’ Black Jack Randall, played by Tobias Menzies), gave Christie depth and texture. A fully rounded character has the capacity to change and surprise — as Christie did in the finale.

And if the epic saga knows how to zoom in on one person’s journey, it also knows how to go wide to look at the bigger movements of history. Since the Frasers arrived in the New World, the stories of the Indigenous population have been told with care. Producers have always turned to consultants and Indigenous actors to ensure accurate and respectful depictions. In Season 6, Claire and Jamie’s 20th century-raised daughter Bree (Sophie Skelton) told her shocked father about the coming forced Cherokee relocation known as the Trail of Tears. In his job as an Indian agent for the crown, Jamie later warned Chief Bird (Glen Gould) about the tragic event that would happen 60 years in the future.

Fantasy scenes like this are grounded thanks to astonishingly detailed sets, costumes and locations. Standouts from the sixth installment: a fully realized Mohawk village; Tom Christie’s rough-hewn church for the humble fisherfolk; and a swoon-worthy fancy party at Aunt Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy), including a garden pavilion where the stunningly dressed Claire took the ladies for some giggly hemp therapy.

Yes, another thing that makes Outlander shine are the moments in which it alleviates the heaviness with mischievous or wickedly weird humor. Season 6 featured a funeral where the deceased wasn’t really dead and a love triangle between household help Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) and both Beardsley twins (Paul Gorman).

Last but not least were the signature love scenes. Steamy sex has always been an integral part of Outlander, but it’s so grounded in character and relationships that it never feels gratuitous. Balfe and Heughan are now playing an older, more confident couple, and the actors (who’ve always had sizzling chemistry) seemed the most relaxed they’ve ever been.

Anyone who finds themselves worrying about the limited time left with Outlander can take comfort in that we have time to prepare for the series finale. We don’t have to say those words Jamie once uttered to Claire: “When the day should come that we must part, if my last words are not ‘I love you,’ you ken it’s because I didn’t have time.” Outlander fans have time. Dinna fash!

Outlander Season 7 Premiere, Friday, June 16, 8/7c, Starz