#Outlander’ EP on Portraying Rape — and Its Aftermath — on Screen | hollywoodreporter.com

One of the worst moments of Outlander finally came to pass.

In Sunday’s episode, “Wilmington,” fans were taken on an emotional roller coaster as Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) were joyously reunited after traveling back in time. The episode began on such a high note as their romantic reunion resulted in them becoming “handfast,” a traditional commitment ceremony essentially meaning they’re now married. They consummated their relationship, Brianna lost her virginity to Roger, they were happy and all seemed well.

Until, that is, Roger let it slip afterward that he knew that Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) were destined to die in a fire and didn’t tell her before she went back in time on her own. The argument that followed between the newly married couple was only the beginning of a long line of disastrous events for Bree. In the heat of the fight, Roger said he should just go back to the present, and when Bree didn’t call his bluff, he left in anger. Bree then ran into the evil Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), who was in possession of Claire’s wedding ring after he stole it from her earlier this season. Bree immediately recognized the ring and offered to buy it from him, not knowing who he was or what he had done to get the ring in the first place.

Instead of accepting her money, Bonnet raped her in a moment so horrific that the camera didn’t stay on them. The sound of the act was traumatic on its own, but the fact that he did in in the middle of a packed pub — where everyone could hear Bree’s screams and yet did nothing to help her — made it all the worse. In fact, someone even went to pick up Bree’s boots that Bonnet had thrown out of the room and line them up neatly outside the door as everyone tried to pretend they didn’t hear what was happening behind the closed door. “Complicit” doesn’t even begin to describe all the cowards in that pub.

Having years to prepare for this pivotal yet controversial scene from Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn helped give Skelton the time to figure out how exactly she could do it justice while remaining sensitive to viewers who experienced the same kind of trauma in real life.

“It’s one of the hardest things that a person can go through in life. The main thing we follow is the aftermath of the event,” Skelton tells The Hollywood Reporter. “For me, the challenge was getting into that headspace and making sure that I played it in a way that can hopefully in some way help women who have been through it. I know it’s going to be an exceedingly difficult thing for women to watch, and I have spoken to a few fans who have been through a similar situation and they are saying that they are kind of dreading watching the episode because they’ll be reliving something through Brianna.”

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