The penultimate episode of Outlander Season 1 saw a dip in the live ratings. This wasn't a bad thing considering the content.
Outlander Season 1, Episode 15 was certainly a heavy episode. It aired on this day in history to a drop in the live ratings compared to the previous episode. This isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The penultimate episode saw a 20% drop in the live demo from the previous episode. It also saw a 6% drop in the total audience, according to TV Series Finale. These ratings will seem disappointing, but it's important to remember which episode this was.
Outlander Season 1, Episode 15 saw the start of Jamie's time in Wentworth Prison. We wouldn't find out the full story until the next episode, but the trauma Jamie faced during this episode was hard to watch. It was extremely graphic, and in an interview with L.A. Times, Sam Heughan admitted that the material may not have been covered in the same way if done now.
Book fans would have had an idea of what to expect. They knew the material from the first novel, and there was always that fear of how it would be covered. So, it's not surprising that not everyone tuned in to watch the episode live. Even when I watched it on Netflix for the first time, I had to take longer breaks between the two episodes to prepare. Now when I rewatch, I have to be mentally prepared for this episode and the following one.
The lower live ratings wouldn't have been anything for STARZ to worry about, even though the app wasn't as big as it is now. The show had already been renewed for a second season based on the results from the pilot episode and the network would have partially expected a drop. What mattered was the number of people who watched through the app and those who watched on their DVR afterward.
Outlander Season 1 throwbacks continue to mark the anniversary of each episode.