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Outlander season 5: Caitriona Balfe’s explanation of the show’s best plot is why we love her

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The actor just perfectly summed up why the new episodes of everyone’s favourite time-travelling romance are going to the most romantic yet. 

This weekend, Outlander will return for its fifth season.

We all know what that means, right? The Droughtlander is almost over. Very soon, we’ll be back in the warm embrace of Claire and Jamie Fraser, watching this beloved time-travelling couple try to make their way through life, love and the pursuit of happiness in the pre-American Revolution world of North Carolina.

In many ways, the Claire and Jamie Fraser that we will see in season five are not the Claire and Jamie Fraser that we first fell in love with all the way back in season one. They were mere bairns back then, 20-something-year-olds in the first blush of love. 

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Now, they are in their 50s with an adult daughter named Brianna who wants a family of her own. Their lives, and their love, look completely different from season one. And that’s what makes Outlander so special.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Caitriona Balfe perfectly summed up why watching her character Claire and Sam Heughan’s character Jamie grow in their love is the best thing about the television show.

Outlander Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.

“I think the beauty of this season is that they are in this settled place, they do have that time, and we do get to see them working as a couple,” Balfe said. “And we get to really see the inside of their marriage and, as you said, their love just deepens year after year and it’s a really beautiful thing to be able to play.”

Balfe continued: “It’s amazing that we have season five. It’s amazing that we still feel so great about it and I think it’s a strong season. Old Claire and Jamie are very settled right now. They have their family. They have their forever home – Claire got her Barbie dream house. Yeah, it’s all good things.”

The actor, who recently attended the 2020 Oscars to support her nominated film Ford Vs Ferrari (or Le Mans 66, as it was known in the UK), explained that the fifth season is about tying together everything that has happened in Outlander previously.

“I think it’s a culmination of every season before,” she said. “You have to earn these moments and you have to get there and I think they are finally in a place where they are settled. Last season, it was so much about building, [and] finding Fraser’s Ridge, setting up that. There was not, really, the time and space to invest as much time in those relationship moments as we do this season, which I think is really important. And I think that it’s great that we get to, but it has to be part of the story.”

Outlander season 5 epsiode 1.
Outlander season 5: will Murtagh and Jocasta replace Jamie and Claire as this season's big love story?

Outlander fans will agree that the way that this television series allows audiences to watch Jamie and Claire as their relationship grows is one of the great pleasures of the series. 

How many television shows can you name where you meet the characters when they are in their 20s and, by season five, you are watching them when they’re in their 50s? How many television shows prioritise an exploration of how a marriage can transform over time? How many television shows try to show you how love “deepens” and expands with age?

Sure, there are plenty of other things that make Outlander a particularly enjoyable series to stream of an evening. But it’s this dedication to documenting the growth of its central characters that makes it remarkable. Bring on season five! 

Outlander will return to Starz in the US and Amazon Prime in the UK from 16 and 17 February. 

Images: Starz, Amazon Prime, Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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