Outlander season 3 premiere: Reflections on Tobias Menzies’ Black Jack Randall


Tobias MenziesThe Outlander season 3 premiere has come and gone, and as we anticipated, it was an assembly of beauty, power, and dismay for many characters. Tobias Menzies’ Black Jack Randall is one that we will all remember for quite some time.

You can check out  our full CarterMatt review for the premiere episode over at the link here, but for the sake of this article, our focus is more about saying farewell to one of the most loathsome villains in recent TV history. As a man, no one will miss Jonathan Randall. He was brutal, violent, and horrific to anyone who crossed his path. He murdered many, he committed multiple acts of sexual abuse, and he loved nothing more than enforcing the suffering of his enemies through mind, body and soul. The quickness in which he often performed such acts made him all the more appalling and the events of the final two episodes of Outlander season 1 are perhaps the most heinous examples of what he is capable of doing.

Now that we’ve spoken about Jonathan Randall the man, let’s turn to what will miss: The presence of such a powerful adversary, and a villain to root against. He was a driving force in Jamie Fraser’s mind, an inescapable evil. Our interpretation of some of the final scenes between the two men were so effective that they were the only two that mattered to each other, and that whether in life or in death, they will continue this back and forth. We have a hard time envisioning that Randall will ever be truly gone from Jamie’s mind, and that was precisely his goal the whole time. Anytime you lose a presence like Black Jack, (even when said presence is terrible and horrific) there is still an irreplaceable void left behind.

The performance of Menzies is what makes this character stand out so. He took on the role with such fervor and fearlessness that you never quite knew what he would do next or how much damage he would inflict. How Menzies has not garnered an Emmy nomination for this role is shocking beyond measure, especially when you contrast this to what he does as Frank, a very different man with his own complications and moments of rage. He deserves all of the credit in the world for embodying a character whose sole existence is to be a source of torment and create a mental roadblock between Jamie and Claire. Losing Black Jack so early in season 3 creates an interesting void for Jamie’s story, one that could be replaced by other struggles and other people. The one positive here is that clearly Frank is still around, so for those of you who are fans of Menzies’ work, you’ll get a chance to see him alongside Caitriona Balfe for a little while longer.

What is the legacy of Black Jack Randall to you?

Are you equally upset that Tobias Menzies hasn’t received Emmy love for this character? Be sure to share in the comments below, and be sure to come back to CarterMatt at 9:00 p.m. Eastern following every Outlander episode for more coverage.

Preview what lies ahead on Outlander season 3 episode 2

You can watch a promo for what is next at this link. Also, be sure to check out our review for the episode tonight. (Photo: Starz.)


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