It was the homecoming Outlanderfans have been waiting years to see as Jamie (Sam Heughan) finally met his daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) in a monumental episode.
“The Birds & The Bees” featured the long-awaited first meeting of father and daughter almost exactly how it happens in Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn, the basis for season four of the Starz drama. But it was hardly the only major moment from the book that took place in this Sunday’s episode. The hour began almost exactly where last week’s left off, after Bree’s horrific rape at the hands of Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), as she began to process her trauma. Her roller coaster of emotions took her to another high as rumors of Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) miraculous surgery from the night before traveled to Bree and her handmaid.
Bree knew the female surgeon at the center of the gossip couldn’t be anyone other than her mother, so she followed the news until she ran into Jamie, who, not knowing he was about to meet his daughter for the first time, was peeing in an alley. Bree recognized Jamie’s hair and face from her mother’s descriptions and introduced herself to Jamie as his daughter, and the two tearfully embraced.
“We very much wanted to try to keep it as close to the book as we possibly could,” Outlander executive producer Maril Davis tells The Hollywood Reporter of Jamie and Bree’s first meeting. “But obviously we can’t do the exact replica every time. This one was important to us because we wanted to see it. For the book fans in the [writers’] room on staff, we wanted to see that moment, and we’ve been waiting for it. It was really exciting for us, and [writers] Matt Roberts and Toni Graphia did such a nice job with this scene because there is just so much emotion with how Sam and Sophie played it.”
Because “the lead up to it was enormous,” the Outlander producers took extra care in making sure every emotional beat was hit and given its due.
“It’s two people that have so many expectations for seeing each other,” Davis says. “Certainly for Jamie, because ever since Claire came back, he found out she survived, and not only that, but their child survived and it’s a girl! So we see his excitement but also the bittersweet moment of, ‘Wow, how did she turn into this beautiful woman and I didn’t get to see any of it?’