Welcome to what is a new Outlander article series! With us gearing up for Emmy campaign season, and with the season 4 premiere of the show on Starz still so far away, this feels like the right time to kick off discussions on great performers, why they shine, and ways in which they can continue to do so over the course of the upcoming season. After all, we do want to see some of our favorite contenders in the spotlight for a long time.
We’re kicking things off today with a character in Jamie Fraser and an actor in Sam Heughan that viewers appreciate through just about every episode of the series. Despite being routinely snubbed by major awards shows, Heughan has brought us a heartfelt, passionate, and at times harrowing performance as a man who has been put through the wringer. He’s done that for the people he loves, for Scotland, and also simply because others like Black Jack Randall love to abuse their power at his expense. Jamie is a charismatic survivor who finally seems to have much of what he wants from his life — a sense of family and an exciting future ahead of him. Yet, he is also far away from his home entering the latest season upon his arrival in America. Rather than speculate as to what the story will bring (there are already Outlander character questions articles out there on this subject), the idea of this article is to spotlight three individual things that will allow Heughan to shine the brightest over the coming episodes.
1. Jamie the action hero – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a man at the center of a fitness initiative like My Peak Challenge would hold his own when it comes to action sequences. Heughan excels in the more physical scenes and these should be a component for season 4 for him. We do think that with actors like Kit Harington, awards-show voters are starting to recognize more individuals who test themselves physically as well as mentally. Heughan has such grit and determination that he makes Jamie magnetic and engrossing in everything from a full-fledged battle to a hand-to-hand duel. He’s perfectly believable in this venues and it sucks you into his world.
2. Jamie the nurturer – We think a big component of what made “Of Lost Things” such a landmark episode was the love and, simultaneously, the distance that Jamie showed towards William. It was such a difficult, desperate challenge for the character to determine how to care for someone without bringing so much obvious attention to the true nature of the relationship. Jamie has learned so much over his life that there’s something remarkable about having him in that sort of paternal mentor-like role. We saw some of that with Young Ian from “A. Malcolm” on in season 3 and there is certainly untapped potential when it comes to everyone from Young Ian to Brianna in season 4.
3. Jamie the husband – Obviously, anytime that you can put Heughan in a scene with Caitriona Balfe is an opportunity for acting fireworks. You want the two to have everything from extreme passion to extreme conflict to show the full extent of what they do. (“First Wife” was great for that.) Claire showcases what Jamie is fighting for, and their disagreements are at times reminders of why the two love each other so much: They are strong-willed and hardly wallflowers. They challenge one another. Seeing them at odds ultimately can help to only further cement their bond, just because they do need to continue to fight for this relationship. It keeps the two from growing stagnant. Seeing Heughan play this relationship conflict, whether it be through the tenor of his voice or the way he expresses himself through his body, is what helps to elevate him above the average actor playing these sort of intense scenes.
What do you think Outlander season 4 could do to further help Sam Heughan shine the brightest as Jamie? Share in the comments!
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