‘Outlander’ Star Tobias Menzies Talks Black Jack Randall’s Return And Why It Went Off-Book

The re-emergence of Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) has threatened to tear Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) relationship apart in the second season of Outlander. In the most recent episode, Claire came face to face with Black Jack for the first time since the end of Season 1. What does Black Jack have planned for the couple in the coming episodes?

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Menzies talked about his character’s return and what his appearance means to Jamie and Claire. For starters, Menzies revealed that Black Jack is not his old, confident self anymore.

'Outlander' Stars Sam Heughan And Ciatriona Balfe Talk Black Jack Randall Reveal And The 'Rift' Between Jamie And Claire [Image via Starz]
Jamie and Claire first run into Black Jack Randall while at Versailles. [Image via Starz]

“I think he’s got what he wanted. Initially, in the early drafts of [the meeting in the garden at Versailles], the writers had him again quite cocksure, and it felt very similar to the Jack we met in the first season,” Menzies shared. “I wanted to come away from that and have someone a little less confident, so that we saw someone away from his own country, in a foreign land.”

While Claire was terrified to see Black Jack in person, Menzies went on to explain the curious relationship between the two characters. Considering everything Jamie endured at the hands of Black Jack last season, he believes that all three characters share a strange bond with each other.

“I think what’s nice about that meeting at Versailles is that Jack is curiously excited to see [the Frasers]. He’s excited to see Claire, because he perversely, and however sort of twisted that is, feels a profound connection with these two, because they have been through something remarkable,” Menzies said. “He always has that unusual take on the present moment, which I think is what’s interesting about him as a character.”

Black Jack Randall must live in order for Claire's husband in the 20th century to be born. [Image via Starz]
Black Jack Randall must live for Claire’s husband in the 20th century to be born. [Image via Starz]

While the garden scene in Versailles was tense for both Claire and fans, it differed from what unfolded in the books by Diana Gabaldon. According to Vulture, the books have Claire bumping into Black Jack in a hallway in France. Not only is Claire surprised by the fact that Black Jack is still alive, but she’s only rescued after Jamie comes on the scene.

When explaining why the show switched things up, Ron D. Moore revealed that they wanted to break up the scene over the course of several episodes. Instead of having Claire meet Black Jack and discover his fate at the same time, they spread it out to take advantage of the emotional encounter.

“In the book, lots of interesting things happen, small vignettes,” he stated. “But we knew that the format wasn’t going to work dramatically for the TV show. As we started to line up the pieces, we tried to figure out what was the most effective way to reveal that Jack was still alive, when does Jamie find out, and when does he finally run into him.”

Of course, Black Jack’s appearance is anything but simple. According to Den of Geek, Claire needs Black Jack alive in order for him to have a child with Mary. That child is pivotal to her future husband, Frank Randall’s family tree, who is also played by Menzies.

Tobias Menzies also plays Frank Randall on 'Outlander.' [Image via Starz]
Tobias Menzies also plays Frank Randall on ‘Outlander.’ [Image via Starz]

While Claire tried to play matchmaker in the episode, her mission created a major fight between her and Jamie. While Claire told Jamie to spare Black Jack’s life for another year, it is unclear how her plans will affect the future.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Jamie interacts with Black Jack in future episodes. He can’t go through with his own plans for vengeance, which will definitely make for some awkward moments in the near future.

The second season of Outlander continues Saturday nights on Starz.

Tell us! Were you more surprised by the return of Black Jack Randall or by the fact that the Outlander writers went off-book? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image via Starz]

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