“It was the Bree I was really wanting to play,” admits Sophie Skelton about the eventful fifth season of Starz’s epic fantasy drama “Outlander.” “I’ve had some amazing material to play in this show,” she says, adding “I’ve had so much to play with. Right now I’m just living and breathing ‘Outlander.'” Watch our exclusive video interview with Skelton above.
The celebrated fifth season of the fantasy romance saga, based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, saw the Fraser clan forging a new life in pre-Revolutionary North Carolina as Jamie (Sam Heughan) must find a way to defend all that he has created, while Claire (Caitriona Balfe), with her family finally together, uses her modern knowledge and foresight to prevent them from being ripped apart. Meanwhile, daughter Brianna (Skelton) and husband Roger (Richard Rankin) raise their infant son under the looming specter of the villainous Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers).
This season was particularly eventful for Brianna, who is brutally raped by Bonnet early on in the season, after which she is haunted by the lingering trauma of the assault. To add insult to injury, Bree also deals with Roger almost dying after being captured and hanged by thugs, Jamie almost dying after a venomous snake bite and Claire being violently tortured and raped by the nefarious Brown clan, all while keeping her newborn son safe from looming threats lurking in the wild rugged surroundings of colonial America.
“She has a lot thrown at her and I was really excited for the season,” she declares. “I think Brianna is a really hard character to peg down, to understand her can be quite challenging, so it’s been good for me and the audience to finally get inside of Brianna’s head.”
Brianna’s journey culminates towards the end of the season when she overcomes and defeats her tormentor Bonnet. In the tenth episode (“Mercy Shall Follow Me”), Bonnet is captured and sentenced to death by drowning. As the villain is tied to a post, awaiting the terrifying tide to drown him, he is dealt a killer blow by Brianna who shoots him in the head. It is a satisfying ending to both characters’ arcs over the season, as Skelton acknowledges that Brianna’s motives for doing so are left intentionally ambiguous. It is ultimately up to the audience to decide whether she was being merciful or punitive or vigilant.
“You don’t always have to have the answer,” she explains. “It’s one of those things I said I would never say what Brianna was thinking in that moment because I think it’s a great moment that I think people can project, the audience can project their own character into Bree at that point and what they were to do in that moment, whether it’s revenge, mercy, just making sure he’s dead.”
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