What is the best Outlander season 4 performance from Sam Heughan? If you recall, last week we posed this question as a part of our ongoing Perspectives series. There was so much great work from Sam over the past year — emotional, heart-wrenching, powerful, caring, physical, and poignant are just some of the adjectives we would use to describe it!
Yet, this particular article, it doesn’t quite matter what we think! This is more about what you, the reader, feels about Sam’s recent body of work. There were a lot of great episodes and moments to choose from, but in looking at the voting results, there were three that stood out above the rest: “Man of Worth” (the finale), “The Birds & The Bees” (the big Jamie – Brianna meeting), and also “Blood of My Blood” (where Jamie and William have some time bonding in the wilderness).
It’s easy to see why these three episodes appealed to Outlander viewers — they showed Jamie at perhaps his most vulnerable. Through “Blood of My Blood” and “Man of Worth,” you saw just how far he was willing to go to sacrifice himself for the sake of someone else. He was ready to stand in front of William, Roger, or Young Ian to make sure that they were safe. This sacrifice is one of the reasons why we do love Jamie so as a character — it’s the size of his heart and his commitment to those he loves. We also know Jamie to be this enormous presence, so any chance you can break down some of those walls is a chance to revel in.
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In the end, though, our readers determined that “The Birds & The Bees” was the strongest season 4 performance from Sam. We certainly understand the reason for the choice. The Jamie – Brianna meeting had so much hype leading into it and it did not disappoint. It started with humor, thus demystifying the legend behind the man a little bit in Bree’s eyes. Sam played the comedy of the moment wonderfully, and then after that translated over into something powerful and sentimental. You could see in his eyes and in the way he held his daughter how much that moment meant to him. That performance in that moment was extraordinary, and then you got to see more vulnerability from him in some of his scenes alongside Sophie Skelton back at Fraser’s Ridge.
Then, there was the violence and the rage at the end of the episode with Roger. It may not be the easiest moment of the season to watch back, but playing this level of anger is not an easy thing to do when filming the moment. You have to commit your mind, your body, and your temper to doing it right. You need to have the proper relationship with your colleague (who you almost certainly are fond of in real life) and an understanding as to how every move in the metaphorical battle will go. Sam and Richard Rankin both played this like professionals and it added to the roller-coaster experience of this episode.
While there are no shortage of moments in Outlander season 4 that could make Sam a genuine Emmy contender, you have to mark “The Birds & The Bees” high on the list. (Let’s just hope, in general, that there is more awards-show love coming his way.
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Do you agree that “The Birds & The Bees” was the best performance from Outlander season 4? Sound off now in the comments. (Photo: Starz.)