When we last left Outlander at the end of Season 5, the men of Fraser’s Ridge had freed Claire from her abductors and rapists and Marsali had poisoned one of the men behind the attack, while Bree and Roger failed to travel back to the late 1960’s. Season 6 picks up the thread of increased political and social tensions in the colony of North Carolina as the story is now very close to the start of the American Revolution. Jamie has to appear loyal to the Crown because he was granted Fraiser’s Ridge but he knows from Claire, Brianna and Roger that the colonists will eventually rebel and win.
As the men of Frasiers’ Ridge become entangled with political and social conflicts or try to avoid them over the course of the season, it’s more important than ever that the women of the Ridge stick together. “You don’t always see it on screen, women supporting one another out without it being about men,” Lauren Lyle says. “And they really do come together as a family.” The same is true from Claire’s point of view. “Her [Claire’s] relationship with Marsali grows deeper and deeper by the day, which is lovely,” Caitriona Balfe says.
Interpersonal conflict is inevitable in a family unit, but it is clear Outlander is intentionally avoiding the “mother-in law from hell” or related tropes in translating the novel series to the screen. “Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton, and myself have all come together before it to talk about making sure that the women all do support each other and it doesn’t become women hating one another, and sisters hating each other, and any sort of rivalry being the daughters of Claire,” Lyle says. “We spoke to the writers about that, and fought for that to be the case.”
Season 5 was a rough one for many of the characters after the attack on Frasier’s Ridge. Season 6 has not forgotten that Claire and Marsali are living with the trauma. “We see Claire unravel in a way that we’ve never seen her before,” Balfe says. “Claire is such a resilient character and it’s not easy for her to ask for help. I think that that’s one of things that probably is why she’s struggling so much, because really when you’re experiencing the darkest of times, you should be sharing. Her inability to sort of share in that way was hard for her as she’s usually the ear for people.”