Outlander: How did Sam Heughan feel about shooting Jamie Fraser near-death scene?
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Starz time travel drama Outlander saw Jamie Fraser (played by Sam Heughan) thrown into mortal peril in season five. After being bitten by a rattle snake, he was left close to death. Jamie was adamant he would rather die than have his leg amputated, believing it was better this way.
He was later called out on his attitude by both his adoptive son Fergus Fraser (César Domboy) and his nephew Young Ian Murray (John Bell).
Fergus, of course, lost his hand in a tragic encounter with a group of Redcoats, while Young Ian was critical given his own father Ian (Steven Cree) also lost his leg in a conflict.
Jamie eventually changed his mind, much to his wife Claire Fraser’s (Caitriona Balfe) frustration as the venom from the snake seemed to have spread across his body and there was little she could do.
At one point, it looked like Jamie was close to death and Claire managed to bring him back from the brink. However, it did seem the character could perish in the tense moment.
Jamie was eventually saved after Claire was able to inject an antivenom into Jamie’s bloodstream, using the head of the dead snake no less.
Roger MacKenzie (Richard Rankin) had decided to keep the head for some reason and his wife Brianna (Sophie Skelton) realised it could be used to administer medication after Claire’s syringes had been destroyed.
Speaking to GoldDerby about filming these scenes, actor Heughan explained: “That episode really comes out of nowhere and to be honest, I’d been so consumed by the storyline with Murtagh and losing Murtagh. That storyline had been so immersive for me, the snake bite kind of came out of nowhere. It is like its own little chapter on its own.
“It’s fantastic because it’s not only Jamie having to confront his mortality but also this relationship with Roger that is finally being formed, this bond between them.
“Again, it was a really interesting episode to see Jamie having to rely on everyone else, having to rely on Roger – the man who he thinks is the most incapable man in this time and Roger does it.
“He does it. Roger has his own abilities that Jamie’s beginning to realise. He may not be a man of the time, but he does have his own attributes that are special.”
Heughan seemed to suggest Jamie was close to the edge and may well have died in the episode, but he did have one saving grace.
The actor said: “It’s great and to see Jamie at the end. He chose to come back for Claire because he loves her but it’s probably the second time Jamie’s come this close to death.
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“I think he has probably taken his last breath – at Culloden was probably the other one. It’s interesting when he does, he has this monologue about going through a tunnel and going towards whatever, it is that it’s Claire that brings him back.”
He added: “It’s a conscious decision for him to remain on this planet for her.”
Heughan’s words underscore the bond between Jamie and Claire is as strong as ever and the character made a choice to fight on for his wife.
Some fans may be wondering whether this moment or indeed the near-death-experience as Culloden may have been the moment Jamie’s ghost travelled through time to the future.
As fans of the show and the books will know, shortly before Claire travels through time for the first time, she sees a strange spectre of a Highlander outside her window in 1940s Inverness.
This figure has been revealed to be Jamie’s ghost and Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has confirmed the story will also finish with this moment.
Claire and Jamie’s ghost will encounter each other but what transpires between the two remains a mystery at this stage.
American writer Gabaldon is busy working on her ninth book and will be finishing with a 10th instalment, which will feature this emotional moment.
Outlander seasons 1 to 5 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now
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