She's a married World War II battlefield nurse unexpectedly swept back in time to strife-torn 18th-century Scotland. He's a chivalrous Highlander. Together, they're television's hottest couple. The passion between Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) has made Outlander, the romantic adventure saga based on Diana Gabaldon's best-selling novel series, a hit for Starz, drawing an average of 5 million multiplatform viewers per episode since it debuted last August. We talked to the leads about feeling the fan love.
TV Guide Magazine: You were insulated from all the buzz while shooting in the remote Scottish countryside. What did you think of the fans once you encountered them last July at San Diego Comic-Con?
Balfe: They're extremely quiet and really shy. [Laughs]
Heughan: They're amazing. During the screening of the premiere, they recognized every line from the books and were talking amongst themselves!
TV Guide Magazine: What makes Claire and Jamie such a compelling couple?
Balfe: Individually, they're very strong characters — but they don't try to tame each other. They encourage each other to be the best they can be.
Heughan: They have quite a journey and face some really tough challenges. It's fun to watch them go through that.
TV Guide Magazine: And then there's the sex. The most-watched episode of the season was "The Wedding," in which your characters consummated their relationship. Can fans expect more steamy love scenes?
Balfe: Oh, for sure! They are deeply connected. They have a very passionate relationship in all aspects.
Heughan: The wedding night was about them beginning to discover each other. It's the very start of the relationship. The second part of the season develops their relationship — but the show gets darker.
TV Guide Magazine: Darker how?
Balfe: Claire is trying to adapt to the specific code of morals and justice of this time. It causes really dangerous situations for her and Jamie. The political workings cause a rift between them. But they battle through it. That's what's so great about them.
TV Guide Magazine: The midseason finale ended with Jamie poised to rescue Claire from sadistic English army captain Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies). Will Black Jack continue to be a threat?
Heughan: He's at the forefront of the second part of the season.
Balfe: He doesn't go away easily!
TV Guide Magazine: And will Claire continue to struggle with trying to get back to her 20th-century husband, Frank (also played by Menzies)?
Balfe: Being in the clutches of Black Jack, with Jamie coming to rescue her, it all comes to a head. Claire has to decide what she wants.
TV Guide Magazine: The second half of Season 1 doesn't return for another four months. How can fans deal with withdrawal?
Heughan: If you're like me, you find yourself a bar and just stay there.
Balfe: Reruns are good.
TV Guide Magazine: What are the most memorable gifts fans have sent you?
Heughan: Jamie spends a lot of time getting beaten up and hurt, and I just received a wonderful T-shirt that has a picture of Jamie labeled with all his injuries and scars. It's really accurate!
Balfe: I got a beautiful handwoven scarf — a tartan designed and registered especially for me. It was the most incredible gift I've ever gotten.
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