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Laura Hurley

Outlander Stars Address The Latest Fraser's Ridge Tragedy And Aftermath: 'I Was Literally Choking'

Jamie and Claire in the rain in Outlander Season 7

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Outlander Season 7, called “Death Be Not Proud.”

With a title like “Death Be Not Proud,” the third episode of Outlander’s current seventh season in the 2023 TV season was bound to involve a tragedy of some kind. While Jamie and Claire didn’t experience the loss of any more family members on top of their house burning down, death came to Fraser’s Ridge in an unexpected way. Mrs. Bug is dead, and she was killed by none other than Young Ian, who now is facing a vow of revenge from Mr. Bug. Actors Sarah Collier and Hugh Ross, who respectively played Mrs. and Mr. Bug, spoke with CinemaBlend about everything that happened!

The tragic twist for the Bugs came after Jamie followed up on his realization that they were hiding riches, which turned out to be the lost Jacobite gold. Arch Bug had stolen it from Jocasta Cameron at River Run, whose husband had originally stolen a third of the gold meant for Charles Stuart. Mr. Bug learned that Hector Cameron had been buried with the gold, and he stole it back from the crypt piece by piece. Jamie would have none of Mr. Bug’s claim that he was just taking back what Hector had taken from Scotland, saying that he is a thief, and thieves had just burned down his house. 

And his decision to banish the Bugs from Fraser’s Ridge had tragic consequences. That night, Mr. Bug seemingly returned to the ruins of the Big House to try and retrieve the gold, with Jamie and Young Ian watching from a distance. When he fired a shot off at Jamie, Ian shot an arrow at him… only to learn that it wasn’t Mr. Bug at all, but his wife. Unfortunately, Jamie’s glimpses of the future didn’t alert him to that before it happened!

Murdina Bug only had time for her last words of “I need Arch” and “Archie” before she died. Actress Sarah Collier shared her thoughts on Mrs. Bug’s decision to return for the gold:

I knew that Murdina was such a hostage to fortune and impulsive and seizing her moment to do something and salvage something from what clearly felt like a lot of hard work, for what exactly? And at the mercy of other people's agendas, never mind history, the kind of place they were in and all the dangers that are around every corner in such a place and such a time. I think, absolutely, it was the kind of end that was likely to happen to her. Obviously, she doesn't know it's coming, but I think she's acting impulsively and desperately trying to achieve something and salvage something, and her blood is up. In that sense, she's being very risky, and we didn't think that she probably shared this plan with her husband, so there was no one to say, 'Darling, I don't think this is wise.’

If she hadn’t made the unwise decision to go after the gold, would Arch have done it in her place? Or would the Bugs have simply left the Ridge together to try and rebuild their lives elsewhere? That wasn’t clear in the episode, but they did very clearly love each other very much. When I noted to Sarah Collier that her character didn’t have time for a long final speech, she shared her thoughts on Mrs. Bug’s last words and death: 

Her last words are about her husband because he is so important to her. They really do have a profound closeness. Obviously, I haven't died personally, so I don't know what happens. I mean, it's just fascinating, isn't it? The only thing we know, even taxes… death is coming one day to all of us. I don't know how I'll feel but I could... absolutely go with the notion that she would think about Arch. Her world closes in and Arch is the one thing she's thinking about, the one person she's thinking about.

Outlander took the time to show off the strength of their bond and love for each other in “Death Be Not Proud,” only for them to be torn apart halfway through the episode when she was shot and killed. Young Ian was immediately distraught when he discovered that he’d shot Mrs. Bug in her husband’s clothes rather than Arch Bug himself. Sarah Collier continued to share her experience with filming it:

Dying is always very technical for actors... You do have to act and it is emotional, but actually I was literally choking because of the way I was lying and my head slightly back. The blood, once it was in my mouth, it was actually then going down my throat, so the gurgling was me keeping it technically from going down my windpipe and literally choking. The technical thing brought its own urgency, if you like, and so in that sense, it wasn't difficult to feel appropriate urgency because I thought, 'Oh, crikey, I'm choking here.' You know? [laughs]

Apparently, Mrs. Bug choking on her own blood was easy for Sarah Collier to perform, given that she was choking on the fake blood in her mouth! Luckily, she could laugh about it during our interview, so she evidently wasn’t traumatized by what happened. She elaborated on how Mrs. Bug died: 

It's a sad moment. It was a sad moment, and then of course it's all over very quickly. It all happens very quickly. And then of course, when a person dies, they've gone. We don't know what happens next, so it's then all about how it affects everyone who's still alive.

It was immediately clear that Mrs. Bug’s death affects those who are still alive, with Young Ian’s grief and remorse that he’d shot her, which was made all the worse for how she helped him and Claire hide the body of Allan Christie after Ian killed him for the murder of Malva Christie. When Arch returned to the Ridge for his wife’s funeral, Ian offered his life to Mr. Bug, but the widower had something different in mind. After asking Ian to kill to Rollo, Mr. Bug vowed that the young man would see him again once he had something worth taking. 

Whether that resets what actor John Bell described as Young Ian’s priorities remains to be seen, but it was certainly a dire threat! Of course, the whole mess might not have happened at all if Jamie hadn’t banished the Bugs from the Ridge. When I asked actor Hugh Ross his thoughts on whether his character would assign any blame to Jamie as well as Young Ian, he shared:

Essentially, no. I don't think so.... Although Jamie has now told him to go, I think probably something deeper has developed between them that in fact no, I don't think he probably blames Jamie. I think they both blame Jamie for sending them away and putting them in this position, and everything because of the fire. Everything's kind of upside down and topsy turvy. But I suppose it's then you kind of struggle to survive, however you can. And I suppose Mrs. Bug thinks, 'Well, we better take the gold, make the most of it.'

Their attempt to “make the most of it” backfired just about as badly as it possibly could have, and Mr. Bug is now alone, with a vow for revenge against Young Ian. In light of his despair and what seemed like a single-minded goal of getting his vengeance, I asked the actor if he thinks Mr. Bug feels that he has anything else to live for now other than his promise to Ian. Hugh Ross shared:

That's an interesting question. Well, perhaps not. I think [after] having been with Murdina for such a long time, the idea of being alone is probably quite frightening, perhaps. But he has a decent long time to come to terms with it. I mustn't go into any detail but it doesn't happen overnight. He gets his vengeance.

With plenty happening on Outlander – not the least of which is the coming American Revolution – Arch Bug’s vow for revenge is just another complication for the extended Fraser family. The question is how long it will truly take for him to try and hurt Young Ian. 

Season 7 will be the longest since Season 1, and executive producer Maril Davis addressed the super-sized season in an interview with CinemaBlend. The 16-episode season will be split in two, with the second half airing in 2024. Hugh Ross shared that while he’s “not quite sure” if Mr. Bug will appear again in the first half, there’s “certainly a little bit more… in the second part.” 

See what’s in store in the remaining episodes of the first half of Season 7 with new episodes of Outlander on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz. If you prefer to follow the Frasers streaming (or watch earlier), you can also find new episodes on the Starz app on Fridays at midnight E.T.

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