‘Outlander’s Sophie Skelton on Brianna’s Time Traveling, Wearing a Corset & Scenes With Tobias Menzies
[Warning: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 7 of Outlander, “Down the Rabbit Hole.“]
As if we didn’t already know, Brianna Randall Fraser (Sophie Skelton) is resilient just like her parents.
In Outlander‘s latest episode, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” we find Bree in the Highlands of 18th century Scotland, having gone through the stones. With nothing but a sandwich and an old map, she struggles to find her way in the rough terrain.
Luckily, on her journey to find passage to the colonies, she runs into a few familiar faces (to Outlander fans) — Laoghaire (Nell Hudson), her daughter Joan (Layla Burns), and uncle Ian Murray (Steven Cree) — although Bree learns quickly that the Highlands are a dangerous place.
Also in this episode, another character returns: Frank (Tobias Menzies), who died last season in a car accident. He raised Brianna, knowing that she was Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) daughter, and this week, their father-daughter relationship is highlighted in flashback scenes.
TV Insider spoke with Skelton about her spotlighted episode and what’s next for Brianna as she makes her way to America.
TV Insider: Did filming this episode feel different because of the time travel aspect?
Sophie Skelton: Very much so. It’s always funny because whenever we film in studio, we’re in the ’60s with vibrant outfits and there’s this happy vibe. So it’s felt like we’re doing two different shows, but it was cool that these two worlds collide.
I’m very excited for people to see this episode because we get to see Frank and I think fans will see a side of Bree we didn’t see before. It shows how much Bree has been going through that people didn’t realize. Of course, she’s this ’60s woman in a different century. I wanted to keep Bree’s lighthearted demeanor but you have to adapt to the times quite quickly.
How did it feel getting fitted for those 18th century costumes?
It’s always weird when you put a corset on for the first time. [It’s] a very, very different feel and it changes everything — how you breath, stand. I’ve been spoiled with Bree in that she’s been wearing baggier clothing so to jump into a corset — it’s like a completely different character.
You shared this episode with many actors for the first time [Steve McCree, Nell Hudson] – how was that experience?
It was really great. As an actor, I was excited for it because [the audience] has been slowly introduced to Bree. I’ve only shared scenes with Caitriona [Balfe], Richard [Rankin], and a very short one with Tobias, so it was very exciting to work so many who have been in the show since Season 1.
It really felt like a proper introduction to the show, into that world. I like how many people we interact with this season.
Frank knew that Claire was going to go back in time. That’s what that scene in the study was about, right?
Yeah, he learns from that obituary that Claire and Jamie die in a fire. I feel like Frank gets a lot of bad press because he had affairs but I do actually think Frank is getting a bit of justice in that scene. You really see what he’s going through; I think Frank kinda felt used. To know that Claire will go back, it was just heartbreaking for him. I hope that scene gives people a newfound sympathy for Frank.
Fans will also see Bree’s relationship with the man who raised her. She was a daddy’s girl and he was very much the one who was there for her. They did have this special bond and she feels such a guilt about going back in time — like she’s betraying Frank. It just adds so many more layers to the story. It’s one of my favorite scenes.
Keeping the American accent was briefly touched upon in the episode. Did you talk to producers about that choice?
It wasn’t really talked about particularly. One thing I did want to make sure is that we saw that Bree was out of her time. Some of the language she says — I wanted to put little words in like ‘OK’ or something, which back in [the 18th century] wasn’t a word. You can’t fully monitor yourself all the time.
One thing that was an advantage was that people didn’t travel in those times. Since people are arriving [in the Colonies] from all over, people would just assume it’s a funny accent.
What can you tease about Bree’s reunion with Claire and Jamie?
I think the reunion with Jamie was the first scene I ever shot with Sam. Quite funny really because we’ve been doing press and are around each other but never worked together. For Bree, as relieved as she is to finally find Jamie — in that moment I think she thinks of him as just being one step closer to finding her mother. He’s just a friendly face but when Bree sees Claire, it’s more emotional.
Also Laoghaire put into her mind that Jamie might not accept her. So there’s so much going on in her head.
Outlander, Sundays, 8/7c, Starz