A new relationship has blossomed on Outlander, but it’s not one that any of the characters could have seen coming.
In Sunday’s episode, “If Not For Hope,” Brianna (Sophie Skelton) began to feel the pressure from Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) to find a suitable husband, and fast, before the baby came. Bree couldn’t have a child out of wedlock as it would doom the baby to forever live without a proper title and honor, despite her having been handfast with Roger (Richard Rankin).
Fearing she wouldn’t have a choice in the matter (and knowing one of Aunt Jocasta’s visitors was ready to make a proposal), Bree became desperate. Lord John Grey (David Berry) surprisingly showed up to River Run to check in on her at Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) request, and so when she witnessed him in a late-night tryst with another man, she decided to blackmail him into becoming engaged to her to fend off any other suitors.
Their friendly relationship briefly turned hostile as Lord Grey went toe-to-toe with Bree, but he saw through her bravado and they ended up confiding in each other about their “shameful” secrets. He agreed to an engagement until they found out for sure what happened to Roger. While their engagement may be for show for now, the ruse only succeeds in bringing these two unlikely friends closer together. It’s a relationship completely born out of Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn, upon which this season of Outlander is based, and it’s one the producers couldn’t wait to bring to life.
“We all love, in the books, the Brianna-Lord John relationship. It’s so unusual,” executive producer Maril Davis tells The Hollywood Reporter. “This episode is just the beginning of that, and it’s so special because Lord John has this close relationship with Jamie, but not as close with Claire [Caitriona Balfe]. There are so many mixed feelings there. With Brianna, Lord John sees a combination of Jamie and Claire and someone he can be close with and has a kinship with, but without the baggage.”
But the scene in which Bree tries to force Lord John into an engagement was harder to bring to life onscreen than it appears on the page because of the limited time in which the producers had to develop Bree and Lord John’s dynamic.
“We really wanted to try to capture that, but it’s difficult because, as you saw, she tried to blackmail him, the poor guy,” Davis says. “That scene, we tried to walk a line because you still need to like Brianna. You’re pulling for Lord John in that scene where she calls him out and tries to get him to do what she wants, but at the end, you feel like they can share things with each other and be vulnerable. She knows his secrets and he knows hers. That’s the start of this bond between them.”
Cutting down the amount of time Bree and Lord John spend together naturally meant letting go of some of Gabaldon’s writing, but it was necessary to streamline the story, Davis says.
Go through the stones to read more from the source: Outlander’ Hurries Along an Engagement in Departure from Books