Outlander's Caitríona Balfe Talks How Claire Will Deal With Her Trauma In Season 6

outlander season 6 starz claire caitriona balfe
(Image credit: Starz)

Over the course of five seasons, Outlander has thrown a true shit-ton at our favorite characters. There have been multiple battles (in and outside of war), spying, double-crossing, love triangles, imprisonment, beatings, torture, rape, and long separations of loved ones because of distance and time, just to name a few of the extreme circumstances faced by Claire, Jamie and their many allies. Claire was hit the hardest when she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a gang at the end of Season 5, and now her portrayer, Caitríona Balfe, has opened up about how the lady of Fraser’s Ridge will deal with that trauma in Season 6.

Claire went through a shocking ordeal in the penultimate episode of Outlander Season 5 when she was abducted by Lionel Brown and his men. The finale then showed her being repeatedly beaten and raped (though in a somewhat subtle way) by all of them until Jamie, Young Ian, Roger, and Fergus finally showed up to kill (most of) the men and take Claire home. As you might imagine, she’ll still, very much, be living with what happened when Season 6 rolls around, but from what Caitríona Balfe said in a Starz video about the new episodes, it’s not going to be easy for Claire, at all. According to Balfe:

We pick up the season a few months after the end of season five. Claire, even though she's putting on a very brave face, I think she's still very traumatized by what happened at the end of last season. It kind of resurges and comes to the fore in other ways. So it's unusual that we see Claire not be in control and not be able to manage what's going on with herself. She's someone that has always been able to compartmentalize different parts of her life, but we see her start to unravel this season. It was good material for me to be able to play.

Honestly, no one who witnessed what Claire went through while she was with Lionel’s men could have thought that she’d be totally cool by the time Outlander Season 6 starts, barring a pretty large time jump. And, seeing as how the show will pick up mere months after her kidnapping and sexual assault, the idea of Claire still being deep in the throes of trauma is understandable. However, I can’t be the only Outlander fan who is very worried by the thought of Claire beginning to “unravel” when we see her again.

Of course, it sounds like some of this will be due to the many, many difficulties already in the way for the Frasers, and how they’ve both always needed to try to bounce back quickly so that they could keep their wits about them in dangerous times. The Revolutionary War is getting ever closer, and tensions on Fraser’s Ridge will get to a fever pitch in Season 6, especially with the arrival of the Christie family, who are set to cause even more trouble for everyone.

So, while Claire is trying to get on with life, it will be a definite struggle for her, and Caitríona Balfe has hinted at Claire’s trauma possibly showing up in some intriguing ways. While Balfe seems to have enjoyed working though those scenes, you can probably bet that it will add a lot of drama to Outlander Season 6.

Outlander returns to Starz on March 6, 2022, until then, be sure to see what’s coming your way this month with our Christmas movies and TV schedule, and to look at all of the other upcoming romantic TV shows

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.