Toil and Trouble

Hello the house, my friends! It’s been awhile, but goshdarnit if all the promotional tidbits coming out of New York Comic Con this past weekend didn’t get me all excited and the blog juices flowing. Shall we discuss the Season 6 art?

Gah, it’s so beautiful. And, as is my way, I must overanalyze this thing.

“‘Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.'” (Macbeth, 1.3.146-147)

And wouldn’t you know it, doesn’t this poster look a bit eerie? Fog and snow swirling, a deserted landscape…perhaps the perfect place for three witches to descend upon a Scottish character and cause all sorts of havoc?

Yes, yes, I know they aren’t actually witches. Stick with me through the metaphor.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Outlander writers have referenced Shakespeare in their promotional art; Season Four’s “Brave the New World” alluded to The Tempest. But this season’s artwork and its suggestion of Shakespearean themes seems particularly apt and relevant. Macbeth, after all, is an examination of the destructive nature of political power and ambition. What better subject to reference for a season that will certainly delve into the unchecked and tyrannical power of King George III? Moreover, what better scene to reference for a series in which fate and the future are overarching themes?

Macbeth says the “come what may” line to himself as an aside in the first act, telling himself that whatever happens happens and essentially absolving himself of responsibility for what the future holds. The future is written, he figures, and he is only going along with what is already planned.

It’s an interesting line if we look at it within the context of time travel. Outlander consistently positions its characters against historical events which they ultimately cannot change; they entangle themselves in historical fate no matter how hard they attempt to escape. This season is sure to be no different–they cannot escape the Revolutionary War and at this point, over twenty years in, they know it. “It’s coming,” Claire tells Jamie in the Season 6 trailer. The future is theirs to endure…what will happen is already destined to happen. Come what may.

But “come what may,” beyond its somewhat cynical meaning, can also serve as a pledge of loyalty. More romantically and beyond Macbeth, we can interpret the line as two people promising to stand by one another, through thick and thin, through peace and war…through the past and the future.

So bring on Season 6! And, possibly, some themes from Macbeth. A season in which motivation blurs morality (ahem, Malva), political hubris creates turmoil, and the supernatural plays a heavy hand. Fair is foul and foul is fair…love endures, come what may.


p.s. Wouldn’t you know it? Our own Richard Rankin is back on stage in Yaël Farber’s production of The Tragedy of MacBeth at the Almeida Theatre. I’m hoping it’s streamed at some point, but if you end up going please report back!

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