SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t yet watched the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” entitled “The Fiery Cross,” streaming now on the Starz app.
In the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” Brianna (Sophie Skelton) gets confirmation of something viewers have suspected since the Season 4 finale — that her rapist, Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), managed to escape from jail before it blew up and is currently on the run. It causes Brianna to have a flashback to her rape, which is something that she was still dealing with even before she found out that Bonnet was alive.
“It’s one thing that I really wanted to make sure that we don’t lose sight of through the season,” Skelton tells Variety of Brianna’s struggle with post-traumatic stress after her attack. “Even sometimes when it’s not in the writing, I’ll make sure that we have flashes of Bree’s pain. In Season 4, Bree always put on a very good facade and the audience didn’t really know Brianna very well. It was only when we got those quiet moments with Bree on her own that we got to then see what she was feeling. In Season 5, now that the audience knows her a lot better, we know what she’s going through the whole time. So it’s easier to embed that in the performance, knowing that the audience is feeling Bree’s emotions.”
Skelton says Brianna’s pain will manifest itself in a way this season that “stops her sleeping [and] gives her trust issues.” She explains, “She’s jumpier.” And that pain is “still far more prominent than she’s letting on to either the audience or her family,” she adds.