Outlander returns tonight after the controversy hit the media over the handling of the Brianna Fraser rape on the last episode. Sophie Skelton, who plays Brianna Randall Fraser on the Starz hit, weighed in. She offered her thoughts on the way they handled the sexual assault and the aftermath on the show.
Outlander Spoilers – Brianna Fraser’s Rape – What Comes Next?
After a marriage pact and sleeping with Roger Wakefield MacKenzie (Richard Rankin), Brianna becomes infuriated with him. She learns Roger didn’t tell her what he knew about the fate of her parents. Yet he knew it all along, so it was a game changer for her on the last episode of Outlander.
The two shared tender and consensual sex just hours before Brianna’s horrific sexual attack. She experienced a polarized and demoralizing event in comparison to the moments she shared with Roger. First, Brianna Fraser goes back to the tavern where she is staying. This is when she runs into Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), who is a stranger to her.
#Outlander shows that you can tell a story about a horrible rape without showing gruesome images of it…. #TheBirdsAndTheBees was perfectly done! @SkeltonSophie #EdSpeleers@Outlander_STARZ @TallShipProds @TheMattBRoberts pic.twitter.com/b5AucAA6O2
— CeciliaNordioMoughty (@cecynor) December 30, 2018
Brianna Randal Fraser and Her Mother’s Wedding Ring
Bonnet is gambling with the wedding ring of Brianna’s mother. When she assumes he’s going to let her buy it from him, she follows Stephen Bonnet. He leads her into the back room then violently attacks and rapes Brianna. Outlander is based on a series of acclaimed and beloved books by Diana Gabaldon.
Several incidents of rape play out with more than one woman the victim. The show has been both praised and chastised for its handling of the topic. This time around, the violence was depicted in sound and seen through the faces of those within earshot of the incident. To be fair, assault like this was far more common in the eras when these books (and TV adaptation) are set.
OMG that episode was everything I wanted and more! Beautifully acted between Sam, Sophie and Cait. I'm so happy Bri met Murtagh as well. It was a roller coaster of emotions I was close to tears when Claire found out about the rape. That ending though poor Roger #Outlander ?? pic.twitter.com/jQBMahzvlL
— Sophie x (@Sophie_cannon2) December 30, 2018
Closed Door Rape
Outlander literally closed the door on Brianna’s rape so the actions couldn’t be seen, but they were heard loud and clear. While the act of sexual assault is no different in the 18th century than it is today, the mindset towards this horrific deed is very different today. The patrons of the tavern were indifferent to the horrors of those sounds coming from the backroom of that tavern.
One woman, a prostitute, looked uncomfortable at the screams and violence she heard going on. But most of the patrons went about their conversations and their typical tavern behavior as the attack played out. According to Outlander executive producer Maril Davis, they tried to realistically depict the mindset towards rape from the 1700s.
— Brittany Green (@BrittanyGreen13) December 30, 2018
PTSD and Sophie Skelton
As far as Skelton’s preparation for both the horrifying scene and the aftermath of the violent attack, she wanted to make sure of one thing in particular. She conveyed that the PTSD you develop after an assault doesn’t just go away. It was important to Skelton to add that in the Starz show.
When Bree walked into the tavern after her attack, she showed the effects of PTSD. It was the next morning after the attack when she flinched away from people. Skelton wanted to show the different ways this trauma can affect people. She believes the attack was an important scene going forward for the storyline on Outlander. According to Skelton, the “rest of the season falls on it.”
Baby News Written in the Book
Another twist from the books that may play out on the show. In the novels, Brianna got pregnant. And since she lost her virginity just hours earlier to Roger MacKenzie, she won’t know if the baby is his or Stephen Bonnet’s child.
Tonight’s episode, “The Birds and the Bees” on Starz shows the struggle Brianna faces while attempting to compartmentalize the trauma of the rape. She sets her focus once again on finding her parents, Claire and Jamie Fraser. The award-winning period drama airs Sunday at 8 pm EST on Starz.
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