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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Saturday’s episode of Outlander, “Not in Scotland Anymore.”]
It takes a lot more than a cattle stampede to take Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) down on Outlander.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) initially believed that their escape from Wentworth Prison resulted in Black Jack’s death back in the season one finale. But Claire learned from his brother, Alexander Randall (Laurence Dobiesz), that he was only injured in the stampede, and was still very much alive. Claire received the shocking news with a horrified look on her face, faced with the knowledge that she would have to be the one to break the news to Jamie that his tormenter still walked the earth … or did she have to tell him at all?
Unaware of the news that just rocked Claire’s world, Jamie pushed forward in his mission to finally meet Bonnie Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) to sabotage the Jacobite rebellion from the inside. When Jamie came face-to-face with the iconic figure, he finally realized why the rebellion would fail: Charlie was not the man everyone he thought he was.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Balfe, Menzies and Heughan about Black Jack’s fate, the eye-opening introduction of Bonnie Prince Charles and more.
Now that Claire knows Black Jack is still alive, how does that knowledge affect her going forward?
Caitriona Balfe: There’s a great fear that this is going to be something that breaks Jamie. She felt that they were finally getting to a place where they could put that to rest. Even though she still sees Jamie struggling with the torment of all that happened last season, she felt like they were perhaps on the road to recovery. Now with the knowledge that he’s actually not dead and his brother is now in Paris, she’s so scared that it’s going to break Jamie.
Jamie has been having nightmares about Black Jack. He isn’t sleeping well and can’t be intimate with Claire. How is he going to be handling this trauma moving forward?
Sam Heughan: He continues to suffer from this trauma. He’s still got scars, physically but also emotionally. And he doesn’t deal with it. He just pushes it aside. He throws himself into the mission and tries to change history. But what happens is that actually creates a rift between him and Claire. They’re not physical with each other anymore. He can’t get close to her without seeing Black Jack. And actually, without spoiling it, the only way he’s cured is with Black Jack himself. The fact that Black Jack is still alive will give 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.
Claire sees that Jamie is still struggling a lot psychologically from the trauma he endured at Black Jack’s hands, so what is she going to do with this information? Will she tell Jamie?
Balfe: Her and Murtagh decide that it’s probably best not to tell him. I think her fear is that he will suddenly run back to Scotland and try and kill him or do something really rash. But there’s a lot of secrets and a lot of distance between both of them and here is another piece of information or another event that drives a wedge between the couple again.
That seems to be a common theme throughout this season.
Balfe: Yeah, this is a show that is partly about how a marriage works. How does a marriage stay together? [Author] Diana [Gabaldon] puts them through all of these really terrible tests and it’s like, can they survive this one? How about this one? We will see them this season get very close to breaking.
Heughan: Exactly, they drift apart. They lose contact with each other. They lost their intimacy. The thing that pulls them together is this unborn child. Those are the moments where they reconnect over this child. But it really does have a detrimental affect on their relationship. And this whole Black Jack issue has a ripple affect on their relationship. It asks or demands a lot of trust and a lot of promises that unfortunately are maybe not all kept. It’s tough because they just lose contact with each other and Paris is this poison, it’s not conducive to a good relationship. And actually, the thing that heals their relationship is when they go back to Scotland. Scotland for them is a restorative and healing place.
Speaking of Black Jack, in the next episode we actually get to see Frank (also Menzies) again via flashbacks. What was it like getting to play Frank more this season, knowing that he was hardly in Dragonfly in Amber and executive producer Ron D. Moore added him in for the show?
Tobias Menzies: It’s the same in how the season started when you see Claire go back to Frank and they try to wrestle with their marriage and all that’s happened. Ron added more of Frank in this season than what is in the book. I think it’s a really good addition to the season, not just because I can play this other side more but because of what it adds to the story. There’s a lot of crunchy good stuff to dramatize in both of these relationships. I think it’s important to be confident with adapting the book and not feel like we have to just do exactly what the books do. We have to make a TV show and sometimes that means doing things differently.
Claire meets a young girl named Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) in the next episode. What does this new character mean to Claire?
Balfe: Initially, Mary Hawkins is such a shy, nervous young girl that Claire is slightly bemused by and maybe even a little irritated by. But she’s very endearing and over time she becomes quite a close friend of Claire’s. Part of it is a fellow Englishwoman in France, and they have that connection. But I don’t think Mary gets the best introduction from Louise. There’s this scene where you see Louise waxing when you meet Mary and it’s so brilliant. It’s so funny. I felt so sorry for the poor girl because they were using honey as wax and we did so many takes. They were layering it on thick and there was honey flying everywhere. The poor girl was just a sticky naked mess. (Laughs.) Welcome to Outlander!
Jamie finally met Bonnie Prince Charles for the first time. What does he think of this man people give their lives for without ever having met in person?
Heughan: Jamie is not a Jacobite, but he loves his country and he would certainly do everything he can to save it while he’s there. For him, Charlie in a way represents the destruction of his country because he knows what’s going to happen in history. He knows that Charlie will lead them to their doom. He has to stop him, but the way he has to stop him is by pretending to be his friend, his ally and advisor. That’s really the theme of season two, not knowing who is your friend or your ally or your enemy. Charlie is just a really interesting character. He has a strange relationship with Jamie that, in a way, you can’t help but feel sorry for Bonnie Prince Charlie. He’s also a bit of an outsider. He’s been treated so well and sheltered so much that he’s lost contact with his people. He’s so far removed from Scotland and his own people but he just doesn’t know any better.
It was really eye-opening when Charlie told Jamie he had never even been to Scotland, and yet he believes he is God’s choice for Scotland’s leader.
Heughan: Exactly. You can’t help but feel sorry for him, and Jamie certainly does. Charlie has grown up with these stories and ideas and responsibilities from his father, and he clearly doesn’t have a great relationship with him. He’s trying to live up to his name and his image. But you can see why people would want to follow Charlie as well because there is this passion, this fervor that he’s got, this single-mindedness that in a way is appealing. But it’s also romanticized as well, and me growing up as a Scotsman, the image of Bonnie Prince Charlie is very much romanticized. There’s music about him and you fall in love with this romantic idea of him but actually, the reality is that he was a terrible leader. He really shouldn’t have been there.
Going back to Jamie and Claire’s relationship, when Claire got a job at the charity hospital, Jamie wasn’t happy about it. Why did he react so negatively to her choice?
Balfe: Claire has a calling. She’s a healer. She’s used to feeling vital and she needs to be active and have a purpose and do things. She definitely doesn’t feel like she needs Jamie’s permission to do anything. His frustration – I think under another circumstance he would understand her happiness in finding this place and he would understand her need to go and work there. But I think they’re both in such tough places within themselves that he’s experiencing his own frustration with what he’s doing and how that makes him feel. He’s not feeling good about himself so he lashes out at her, which Claire swiftly tells him is not okay. (Laughs.)
Outlander airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz.
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