Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) settled in America during Season 4 of Outlander, but setting up shop on a new continent, reuniting with their daughter visiting from 200 years in the future and then chasing down said daughter's estranged husband left little time for the romance that Outlander fans have come to expect from the series.
"This season, we were introducing more characters, and there was a lot of story to get in," executive producer Maril Davis told a small group of reporters including TV Guide at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "We've always talked about the sex scenes -- we love them, too -- but they have to be organic to the story. Sometimes that story, or the network or the studio, don't allow for those slow down times. In the book, you can slow down...You have enough time to do the quiet moments between Jamie and Claire, and sometimes we didn't have a chance this season."
Davis is not wrong. While the couple were able to find a few intimate moments together early in the season, there was never a logical time for them to stop and have sex between John Grey (David Berry) showing up with Jamie's long-lost son, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) arriving in Wilmington, and the subsequent hunt for Roger (Richard Rankin) after Stephen Bonnett (Ed Speleers) raped Brie. The couple's constant traveling, as well as the nature of the drama in this season, didn't leave a lot of time for setting the romantic tone that viewers and book readers are used to.
However, that is potentially going to change in Season 5, which Davis and the creative team are pre-producing right now. Now that the Frasers have settled on their land and Brie is safe with Roger, there should be more time for Claire and Jamie to spend together.
"I do anticipate a return, hopefully, to that [intimacy] next season," Davis said. "Every season has its different storylines and where we're going. We can't always re-create the first season, which was very special. It just has to be within the story and feel like its organic. That's something we work on and the actors work on. It's a collaboration."
Davis is a fan of the Outlander story herself, so she understands why the fans are frustrated, but said she has to strike a balance between giving them the fire of the romance and putting her actors in compromising positions in front of the camera.
"I'm a fan myself, so I totally get it. I know the fade-to-black moments drive everyone crazy. Sometimes you're asking actors to do things, and this is the fifth season," she said. "Trying to find those intimate moments without always having to show everything and putting your actors in that position...I want [the fans] to be satisfied."
Outlander has been renewed for Season 5 and 6 on Starz.