'Outlander' Stars Weigh in on Jamie's Strange "Salvation," Mary's Brutal Fate

"It's like finally he's been released from Randall's nightmare," Sam Heughan tells THR about Jamie's startling reaction to Black Jack.
Courtesy of Starz

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Saturday's episode of Outlander, "La Dame Blanche."]

Claire's (Caitriona Balfe) big secret is out on Outlander, and she never could have guessed how Jamie (Sam Heughan) would take the news.

Backed into a corner, Claire finally had to reveal to her husband that his worst enemy, the man responsible for all his problems and nightmares, aka Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) is still alive. But instead of breaking down under the weight of that revelation, or making any rash decisions to go back to Scotland, Claire was shocked to see how happy that information made Jamie. In fact, it seemed to bring back the old Jamie, the man she fell in love with back in Scotland before Black Jack made their lives a living hell. Jamie's renewed spirit all hinged on one thing: The fact that he can now kill Black Jack himself out of revenge.

As a result of Jamie's new outlook, his relationship with Claire finally got back on track. They slept together for the first time in months, hinting that things might finally get better for them as a couple. But when they tried to throw a dinner party together to get the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) face to face with Bonnie Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) for the first time to show how unstable the prince really is, things took a sharp turn for the disastrous.

On the way to the party, Claire and young Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) were attacked in an alley, and Mary was brutally raped after Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was knocked out. Claire suspected Le Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber), one of her party guests, was responsible for the attack but couldn't accuse him for fear of how it would affect Mary's future and reputation. But despite trying to hide the injured Mary in a room upstairs with her love Alex Randall (Laurence Dobiesz), aka Black Jack's brother, her uncle believed Alex to be the one who hurt and raped Mary. The entire dinner party escalated into a giant brawl, with Claire looking on horrified.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Heughan, Balfe and Menzies about Jamie's shocking reaction to Black Jack's fate, the brutal attack on Mary and Claire, how Black Jack becomes married to Mary instead of his brother Alex and more.

To Claire's (and frankly, everyone's) shock, Jamie was actually ecstatically happy to learn that Black Jack was still alive. Why did he react that way?

Sam Heughan: I wanted to play Jamie as sort of a shadow of himself for the first few episodes. He's not himself. He's being someone else. He hasn't dealt with this trauma and his post-traumatic stress. He's not quite himself and the thing that cures him or releases him is the knowledge that Randall is alive and there, we see Jamie again. It's like finally he's been released from Randall's nightmare. His cure comes from a very strange place, from Randall himself. But I guess it's like that with any sort of trauma or accident you have or any fears you have -- you have to face that to get over it and move forward. The only way he's cured is with Black Jack himself. The fact that Black Jack is still alive gives Jamie hope again. That gives him the power to once again take control of his destiny and of his life. That finally rids him of the nightmare that is Black Jack Randall. It's strange that the salvation of Jamie comes in the form of the very thing that injured him. It leads to some really dramatic stuff later on this season.

Was that a relief to finally play that old Jamie again?

Heughan: Yeah, absolutely. I was worried that it might not come across or that he just wouldn't be as interesting or captivating, but it's great. It allowed him to find himself again but in a way, by doing that, he makes a big mistake. I can't say anything more about that because it's a spoiler.

The attack on Claire and more specifically on Mary was so brutal. How will that affect Claire moving forward, especially now that she knows her life is in danger in France after her poisoning in the beginning of the episode?

Caitriona Balfe: For Claire, it's an awareness of what the dangers are in Paris. But it also makes her more determined than ever to find out who's responsible and to succeed at their goals so they can get out of Paris and go back home. Paris, they thought it was going to be a fresh start in a new place with a new life, but it's just been the opposite of that. It's been tough on their marriage, it's been tough on them individually, and now it's also not a safe place to be physically. It's pushed them to be more determined to succeed.

How will that attack affect Mary going forward? She really suffered the worst of it.

Balfe: It changes everything for Mary. She loses her marriage proposal because she's deemed to be soiled goods. She was a very innocent, young girl and now that innocence has been taken away. But it's also the beginning of Mary and Alex's relationship. We'll see a very more mature, much tougher Mary Hawkins after that.

We learned pretty early on this season that Black Jack actually survived his injuries at Wentworth, although Jamie only just learned it in this episode. How have those injuries affected Black Jack, especially since he knows that Claire and Jamie caused them?

Tobias Menzies: We are going to meet a slightly less confident Jack in the second season. That's partly due to the injuries that he incurred, but I also imagine there were probably some disciplinary fallout from the events of Wentworth for him. He's not the same person anymore. It's a nice reveal when he finally does turn up, and it's in a very surprising place, but I can't say when and where and how that happens.

Despite the fact that Alex and Mary Hawkins are becoming quite close, we know that in the future, Black Jack actually ends up marrying Mary and they're Frank's ancestors. How in the world do Black Jack and Mary end up together when her feelings are for his brother?

Menzies: This actually happens towards the end of the season, around episode 12. It comes about as a result of the fact that his brother is sick and dying, which we are starting to see now. One of his dying requests is that Jack marry and take on the responsibility for Mary. It's the one thing that Jack doesn't feel able to do because he fears his own nature and whether he'll be able to do right by this tiny, vulnerable woman. You see Jack wrestling with both who he is and his own nature and trying to do right by the one person he cares about in the world, which is his brother.

Alex is a completely different person than Black Jack, to the point where Claire couldn't even see the family resemblance between the two men. What is their brotherly relationship like?

Menzies: You don’t get a lot of chance to see it in action, but my feeling about it is Alex sees good in Jack and that is incredibly important to Jack, that he has someone in the world who remembers or sees the good in him. He does everything to protect that image that his brother has of him. And if Alex dies, the one good bit of Jack dies with him. We kind of get a sense of who Jack was before life impacted him and he became who he is. His brother is a connection to a better version of himself.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz.

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