#TT: The two sides of Laoghaire in just one episode of Outlander Season 4

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

Outlander Season 4 gave us an episode with Brianna and Laoghaire, showing a different side to the woman many have come to hate. It’s time to delve into that transformation and what it meant for the character.

Hate her if you will, Laoghaire MacKenzie has always been a woman of her time. From the beginning of Outlander (the TV show, specifically) she has believed she and Jamie were meant to be. However, it was always meant to be Claire and Jamie. It’s not surprising that she’s a bitter woman but we got to see a different side to her in Outlander Season 4.

When Brianna made her way from the stones at Craigh na Dun to Ayr Harbour, she collapsed close to Laoghaire’s house. Laoghaire showed compassion and kindness for this lone traveler. Without even knowing who Brianna was, she took her in and helped her gain the strength to travel the rest of the way.

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This was a chance to see that the side of Laoghaire Claire came to know if not the true depths of this character. In fact, up to this point, Laoghaire had been one-dimensional. Thrown in to offer a villain while at Castle Leoch.

Outlander Season 4’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” gave us the view of a mother, simply wanting the best for her children. Despite Marsali’s husband being French, Laoghaire was happy her daughter had found a man she loved. Marsali may have been on the other side of the Atlantic, but Laoghaire was excited to be a grandmother. It was clear she lived for her daughters.

Had it not been for the view Jamie was her’s (a view that wasn’t all that surprising considering the time period), Laoghaire and Claire would have likely got along. We just had to look at Laoghaire before Claire went with the rent party in the first season to see the sweeter girl that she was, the one just looking for a love spell.

However, there is no denying that Laoghaire became a bitter woman. She married men who weren’t kind to her. They may have given her two kind and independent daughters but they weren’t kind and attentive husbands. Considering what it sounds like she went through, it’s not surprising that she couldn’t be happy with Jamie in the end.

She’d blame Claire for Jamie not being her first husband, ruining marriage for her by the time she was with Jamie. She never once believed that Jamie had never loved her.

It was clear the bitterness and anger were still there. She was upset that she would have to fend for herself – which wasn’t something any woman of the time would have wanted to worry about – and scared of the future. That meant lashing out against the one woman she blamed. And since she blamed that woman, Brianna was to blame because she was there.

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One of the reasons I enjoyed “Down the Rabbit Hole” so much is that we got that character development for Laoghaire. Good, evil, or just plain mean, I want to see all characters get development. An explanation for their actions or seeing layers to them is important in works of fiction, but side characters are often forgotten about.

Getting these two sides of Laoghaire in one episode of Outlander Season 4 helped to show why Marsali wanted her mom by her side during pregnancy. It showed why Marsali had initially sided with Laoghaire against Claire until she realized what Claire was actually like – and what the love between Claire and Jamie was genuinely like.

After all, there were many who would wonder why Marsali would like a mother like Laoghaire. Marsali never saw the mean side to Laoghaire that we did, while we never saw the motherly side. Seeing the two sides developed more than just Laoghaire’s character and added more to the overall story.

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What did you think about seeing the two sides to Laoghaire’s character? What would you have liked to have seen from Laoghaire in “Down the Rabbit Hole?” Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Outlander Season 5 is now filming. Follow Claire and Jamie on Facebook for more updates straight to your feed.