SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses Episode 4 (titled “Company We Keep”) of Starz’s Outlander Season 5. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all available episodes and wish to avoid potential spoilers.
While Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Marsali (Lauren Lyle) bonded in the most recent episode of Outlander, things could have gone in an entirely different direction, according to Variety.
Episode 4 saw Brianna having a panic attack after her son, Jemmy, went missing. This was a result of learning that a man, who is likely Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), had seen her son leaving a token coin for Brianna to find. Subsequently, Jemmy was found safe and well, but it left Brianna unsettled.
Marsali attempted to rationalize Brianna’s reaction when she only knows a part of the tragic story. Previously, Brianna was raped by Bonnet, and as a result, her son may be his. Brianna went on to wed Roger (Richard Rankin), and the assumption by many is that the child is his.
Brianna has not disclosed any of this information, so her reaction was seen as quite dramatic by the others staying with her at Fraser’s Ridge. Regardless, Marsali attempted to reassure Brianna by telling her a story about her own life. The pair bonded over these events and led to a blossoming friendship. However, one of Outlander’s executive producer recently explained how these women could have just as likely been adversaries in the historical drama series.
“[Bree’s] relationship with Marsali, we talked about it — would it be fraught?” Maril Davis told Variety.
“Would they like each other or would they be at odds? And we kind of went the path of then bonding together. They’re in similar positions and those two actresses have such great chemistry on screen.”
The actor who plays Brianna further expanded on the notion that the pair might not have been friends in Season 5 of Outlander.
“I think originally the writers wanted there to be more animosity between them, and we really fought against it,” Skelton said.
“It’s like, ‘C’mon, it’s a female-led show, let’s show that women can support each other and get along.’ So we really fought for them to be bonding as sisters.”
As a result of the actor’s commitment to their characters, viewers got to see Marsali supporting Brianna as she struggled through the overwhelming emotions arising from the knowledge that Bonnet was likely in the area. As yet, it is unclear whether Bonnet will meet up with Brianna further on down the track, but viewers can likely bet that Marsali will have her back should this situation arise.
Season 5 of Outlander will return to Starz on March 15 at 8 p.m. ET.