Post Mortems

Outlander Stars Caitriona Balfe & Tobias Menzies on the Aftermath of Randall's Desire to 'Dismantle' Jamie

Outlander Season 1 Finale

Outlander‘s Tobias Menzies is sitting in a Manhattan hotel lobby and conversing so casually, a passerby might think he’s discussing the weather or a recent sporting match.

Think again.

“Sam and I both felt that it couldn’t just be the fact that I f—k him,” Menzies says. “That wasn’t enough.”

RELATED Post Mortem: Outlander Boss on Jamie’s Rape, Season 2 in France and Why Tobias Menzies Went Full-Frontal

It’s a few months before the Starz’s historical drama’s intense first season finale — which aired Saturday — and the actor is recalling shooting the crowning episode, which includes his character’s graphic rape of Sam Heughan’s Jamie.

In addition to the physical violence depicted during the hour, the mind games Randall plays with a wounded and disoriented Jamie make for “the most complete recitation you’ve seen so far of Jack’s sadism, really,” Menzies says. “It’s the tenderness, the precision, the emotion, the lovingness of it, which makes it more chilling.”

RELATED Outlander Season 1 Finale Recap: Prison Broken

He adds that the fleeting touches and loving gazes Randall directs at his victim — as well as Jamie’s unwilling response to them — are what will ensure that the incident stays with Fraser into Season 2 and beyond.

Randall “wants to take him apart, find out what makes him tick. He intuits that Jamie’s well-being, his rock, is this woman, Claire. And so he attempts to poison that relationship,” Menzies says.

“There’s a moment when I get him to respond physically and emotionally, and that’s the thing that Jamie could never forgive himself — that he was somehow turned on,” he adds. “And out of that would come a sense that maybe he couldn’t be the man he wants to be to Claire.”

RELATED Outlander Stars, EP Talk Finales Tough, ‘Tricky’ Jamie-Randall Scenes

As viewers saw Sunday, Claire eventually is able to get through to her violated, ashamed husband with a combination of unwavering support, some if-you-die-I-die-too sobbing and a little manhandling — “It’s an interesting way she goes about it,” portrayer Caitriona Balfe tells TVLine with a wry smile when the topic comes up the day after Menzies’ interview.

“Her methodology is quite strange, but it works for them, and that’s what I love about them as characters,” she continues. “It’s not always pretty, it’s not always the easiest way, but they always manage to fight their way through and be there as refugees for each other.”

She adds: “It’s quite beautiful how they manage to limp their way to the finish line.”

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59 Comments
  1. Alanna says:

    This episode, and every player’s performance, was nothing short of incredible. It’s been two full days and I’m still thinking about it.

    • ? says:

      I thought this Sam Heughan guy was going to be just another flat romantic lead who got pushed around by a strong woman in the name of wish-fulfillment for female viewers, and that this was going to be some silly melodramatic overly contrived romantic drama, but boy was I wrong. Glad I decided to watch a few episodes for the awesome Scottish scenery (wink wink . . . but I do mean the Highlands, too) and got an awesome show with it.

      • Zeenz says:

        This^. I hope the “hunk” label does not cloud Emmy voters’ eyes. Same for Caitriona Balfe.

      • rowan77 says:

        I felt that way about Jamie as well since he would react to Claire’s 20th century ways by giving in so quickly and it felt contrived that a Scottish Highlander as masculine as Jaime would just go with the flow so readily. It’s only been this last half of the half of the season (try to follow) where his character started to really flesh out (no pun intended) and become more complex in his reactions and thoughts. Claire was very well written from the beginning. Jamie took longer to cook.

  2. 1mars says:

    Sorry KIm, I just don’t care, I only feel a giant lump in my stomach when I think of Outlander now. Oh, I’ll prolly be back in a year but I feel no joy in my heart at this point, not even with the 5 minute reveal.

  3. Louise Wilson says:

    Jamie promised to protect Claire with everything he had including his body. Obviously this what not what he intended when making the promise. Claire then validated what happened to him as part of fulfilling that earlier promise of protection.

  4. lori says:

    Not sure I’ll be back for season two. I am an original reader of the books, so I know the content. However, the show, IMO, spent too much time on the sensationalistic aspects and not enough on the central theme of the books, the development of the central relationship. Not taking away from the performances because each actor was phenomenal in playing their character. For me it was all too graphic, too much and I didnt get the central connection. Not sure where I’ll stand when season two comes around.

    • Tranquil@KaoStn says:

      I agree with a portion of your post – the writers gave more time, effort and development to the horror of the rape, but I don’t think the writers gave the equal amount of effort pulling Jamie (and viewers) out of that horror.
      It seemed to quickly healed on the screen. In the books, they spend more time on the healing, which rings truer, and helps the reader heal too.
      I would not call the elements sensationalistic – the entire cast and crew have done more to bringing that book to life than many adaptations have in the past, and they deserve accolades for their efforts.
      The graphicness is key to taking the viewer down the dark hole with the character. That is why it was necessary to bring us back out equally. I understand there is a certain majority out there who feel this is gratuitous violence/sex, but it does speak to character development. As for those who choose not watch further, – your loss.

  5. J says:

    The finale aired on Saturday at 9:00 pm PST.

  6. Zach says:

    After watching this episode, I’m done with Outlander. The fact that the majority of the show was devoted to the rapes and only a few minutes were given to the recovery showed me they (producers, etc.) were going after the lowest form of entertainment – if that’s what you want to call that episode. Sad really…there were times throughout this season where I thought they had potential.

    • ScottJ says:

      Two thirds of the episode dealt with the aftermath and a little bit more with the rescue. That’s hardly a majority of the show.

    • willa says:

      Zach, I can see that you haven’t read the books. This episode was not the producers “going after the lowest form of entertainment.” It was spot-on with what was in the book and that is the point of the whole show (and those to follow)…to bring Diana Galbadon’s books to life. Everyone, cast and crew, are doing a wonderful job with the whole production.

      • Kim says:

        I agree 100%! They did an amazing job bringing the books to light! These actors are exceptional! I don’t feel any of it was gratitutious! They have managed to take a novel and pull out these hour long pieces to take us in a ride! I for one appreciate what they all cast, crew and production have put into this show the authinticity of costume, acting, etc is amazing!

    • dman6015 says:

      Go read the book.

  7. Robin says:

    I think they played it spot on. The books were brutal to get through on this part. And the way it impacted both Jaime and subsequently Claire seems to be holding true to the hurdle it’s going to place on both of them. It wasn’t gotten over quickly or lightly (if ever as I’m not done with the book series).

  8. Diane says:

    I wish Ron Moore had shown Claire fighting to kill the wolf outside Wentworth prison after being thrown out the door by Black Jack. It showed just how much she wanted to find the men to save Jamie, not only to save her own life. It’s impossible to use everything from the books. The cast did an amazing job with that material. Special kudos to Mr. Menzies, Mr. Heughan and Ms. Balfe! Well done!

  9. joan says:

    I love Outlander, but I watched the season finale with a sense of dread because of the preview I read – I had to fast forward thru the worst parts of it because it was too brutal. I just don’t see the point of showing so much graphic detail – it could have been done in a more tasteful way.

    • Maui says:

      And how would you depict rape in a “more tasteful way”?

      • John Lindsay says:

        I don’t object to the graphic nature. I object to almost two hours of it. Over and over and then,over again. It’s like a crime movie where someone gets their throat slit and instead of carrying on with the story, they repeat the throat slitting over and over for an hour. Ten minutes could have established Jamie’s fate and they could have moved on with the story….assuming they had a plot. My guess is they ran out of ideas.

        • Jewels says:

          But that isn’t how rape work. You don’t get it done…and it’s over. No one just moves on. The book spends a lot of time depicting the emotional damage that Black Jack Randall causes. To only spend 10 minutes on something that has such a profound influence on these characters would have been disrespectful.

          The reason so many are outraged is because it struck a nerve. Seeing this strong, capable man broken. To watch his face. His reactions. To see him shrink into a “happy place” to avoid reality. People are appalled by it. Because it was so incredibly honest. So incredibly truthful. That a normal human being can’t fathom it…they call it sensational…they call it gratuitous.

          I call it very real. If that sickens you. It should. And it should remind you (and anyone) that this reality exists for women…and men…every single day. Bravo to Starz for allowing the story to be told.

          • Cheryl says:

            Very well said! Thank you.

          • John Lindsay says:

            That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard so far…..disrespectful? really?

            I wasn’t outraged. I was bored! I felt like screaming OK I got the message can we move on. Any repetition of any situation to that level amounts to “filler” and given the subject, in this case, sensationalism. An effort to appeal to the baser instincts of viewers….just like roller derby or WWE wrestling.

            I’ve had enough. Better things to do. Won’t be revisiting this site.

            One last thought….I bet you watch a lot of re-runs….like repetition?

          • Kim says:

            Perfectly said and such good points you brought up! I think what they showed us made us feel what they were out to. It took us to the place the books did and left us feeling what we should have, down the rabbit hole of despair. The acting was impeccable! This in my opinion was a work of art!

  10. John Lindsay says:

    It seems to me the producers ran out of plot line and simply filled the last two episodes with sensational sadistic garbage. I’m surprised the author of the books did not veto (assuming she had the power to do so). Bad enough we had to sit (some of us left) through a full hour of repetitious sensationalism in the penultimate episode. Then the final episode resurrects it again through flash backs. The dramatic equivalent of WWE wrestling. Hopefully, with months to go before second season they can now resurrect the plot line as well.

    • willa says:

      No, John Lindsay, they did not run out of a plot line or make it up. They followed the plot of the books and this is what happened in the book, so Diana Gabaldon, the author of the books, wrote it, so why would she veto it. There is nothing to be resurrected here, because, like I said this was the plot taken straight from the book.

      • Alichat says:

        And it was actually less than what was in the book. They left out the whippings, the cut across his chest, licking the blood, and the ‘Alex’ moment. It could have been worse if they’d followed the book exactly.

        • Shannon says:

          I watched it after my sister had seen it (she hasn’t read the books) & was saying how awful/gruesome it was. When I watched I kept waiting for Jack to cut his chest & lick the blood & wipe it on himself for Jamie to lick, so it didn’t seem so bad to me. It could have been so much worse. & it did go on for the whole night – pretty true to the book! Def needed to set the tone between the two.

      • John Lindsay says:

        Willa

        How many pages of the book were devoted to this torture/rape( it was not just rape although many seem to miss this in their comments)? 50? 100? 150? That’s about the equivalent of the TV production time spent(over 2 episodes) . To spend that much time on it,repeating the scene over and over can only be termed morbid sensationalism. Yes, that will appeal to those who like morbid sadism or perhaps those who like looking at Jamie’s naked body.

  11. pam says:

    The whole point of the episode was to make you feel uncomfortable and repulsed by black jack and his mind rape of jamie. Reading the book did the exact same thing to me. But, you have to get thru it. Same as the characters. Excellent acting by all of the people who are representing this amazing story.

    • Kimberly M says:

      I agree. I applaud all involved making this incredible story, especially the actors. I read the books and watched every episode at least twice. I am amazed at the creativity of this show on so many levels. This creative artistry pulled out every emotion I could muster: love, hate, passion, dispair, courage, hope, anger, the list goes on and on. Whether we agree or disagree on how we feel about the season finale, know this: the season made us FEEL. That is the most important part of storytelling. And if we feel the finale was too much to watch, we watched anyway! Past history had some horrific periods, some very dark days. We can’t close our eyes to it. Finally, historical fiction at its best!!

  12. hwardale says:

    I wish they spent more time on Claire’s efforts to bring Jamie back from the brink and less on the actual rape. It was well portrayed, but at the cost of losing a very significant part of the story. Claire’s strategy to force Jamie to fight back, so he might begin to heal was much more dramatic and realistic than the rapid recovery prompted by her declaration, “You die, I die”. Major fail in my opinion.

    • Cheryl says:

      Not a major fail. But, it didn’t give the time frame proper perspective. The violence was overnight but the physical and emotional recovery takes much longer in the novels. If you hadn’t read the books you likely wouldn’t realize how long all of that was. But, I can see how the timing was hard to produce. They didn’t have time to take Jamie to France for treatment, they couldn’t show how fully draining this was on all. EX: “he has a fever” was much more important and you couldn’t tell how long it took to get him to eat. The cave. So they had to show what was important to the future relationship , upcoming story and tying in vital characters to come. The nuances of the filming are better recognized on repeat watching. Kudos to all,. I love to hate Black Jack ( and feel a little sorry for who he could have been.). And Jamie, well he’s awesome Jamie!

  13. Liz says:

    It was an amazing episode, with some incredible actors…. Emmy people, please pay attention.

  14. Jan Mc says:

    History tends to get cleansed through time, but the times were brutal, there were no therapists, people endured hardships of all manner. As awful as BJR torture of Jamie was, in the context of how hard daily life was, it is yet another hardship that must be endured. I may be wrong, but I think that is part of what DG wanted the readers to understand and feel. Evil has existed since the beginning of time, and as hard as it is to watch it molds the characters and makes them who they are as the struggle to move on in an era when life was not taken for granted.

  15. Jim Barr says:

    This has been discussed before…rape is a horrific event that can transform a person forever. All of the dignity and values of a person are crushed, and surgically removed as shown, especially someone, such as Jamie. The core values are defiled and used against a person in such a reprobate manner. This scene is repeated over an over again by the victim without any relief. The sheer evil of the act is most hedious. Now what I mentally captured, was the power that Randall had over Jamie to force him not to endure the pain, but to mix it with the pleasure, that is so precious between two people who love….Regardless of the man or woman, this scene helps address the growing issues of degrading women (or men) through these events, either through reality or fantasy. The entire story is much deeper than entertainment, it speaks loudly of social reform. I believe the media is a teaching and learning tool, much like an expanding parable, telling a story of mercy, grace, fogiveness, trust, epathy, caring actions, devoted permanent and lasting love, and the presence of a redeemer within us. The books,story, and series transcends it’s

  16. Susan Treglia says:

    I can’t get enough of this series. Superb acting by all. Season 2 can’t come soon enough!! Bravo to all involved.

  17. segment banzai says:

    The final elbow was about sadism. BJR is a sadist and the role he plays is to break Jamie and Clair. Get over Tobias’ frontal nudity and Sams’ brutal rape. It is part of the storyline and Ron and all of his team did a ripping good job of portraying the desire BJR has to ruin Jamie and Claire as only a sadist can.

  18. I have read all 8 books of Outlander, and I think that Mr. Moore came very close to the scenes, concerning what happened to Jamie. Knowing on advance what was going to happen I was surprised that he stayed so close to it. Of course it was not quite so simple to reach Jamie in the rescue part. At first while watching the show I thoughit it was going to be a cliffhanger, cos they only got an hour. I advise , read the book!

  19. Christopher Wallace says:

    It’s so sad that most people here are completely missing the point and are so hypocritical about it being so different between showing a man or a woman in this gratuitous scene. There is no difference whether a man or woman goes through this, it’s the fact that a human being is going through this and for those who think that it needed to be drawn out this long and have this much detail and be this brutally cruel are absurd and rather disgraceful. Some are trying to say that rape is brutal and that’s what this depicts but this is a fictional story so you can’t compare this to an actual rape which in all cases are different. Lastly, I started watching and enjoying this show based on the beautiful scenery, the struggle of the highlanders against the British and even the connection between Jamie and Claire and now this show just took an amazingly weird turn for the worst and I will never be able to look at Jamie the same way again. He is a completely different character and not the person I thought he would go on to be and I blame this on the writer’s sick and twisted imagination and her sadist tendencies that thought up something so unimportant to the story that most fans were in the midst of enjoying. It’s sad and annoying and definitely enough to make me and lot’s of others never watch the show again. What a waste of a great premise. Just lost lot’s of viewers over this sensationalized finale.

  20. I have to say these final two episodes are some of the most disturbing TV I’ve ever seen. I’ve never considered myself a squeamish person, I can watch all sorts of stuff without a flinch, but this episode was the first thing that actually made me want to skip forward and continually made me look away. I know, I know, rape IS brutal and horrible and yes it was spectacularly acted and yes that might be how it’s written in the book, but you know what; if the same proportion, or more, of the book is dedicated to that kind of gruesome minutiae then I’m glad I haven’t read it. I’ll leave it off my Christmas list. I don’t object to what happened in the story, I don’t object to them showing it. But returning to it over and over and over, just relentlessly and gratuitously,genuinely made me question continuing to watch the show. It actually made the scene LESS powerful and took the edge off it for me because it just felt like they were stringing out the torture-porn rather than focusing on the rounder picture. I never thought I’d say this, but less is more Starz. Massive thumbs-down for the season finale producers.

    • Susan Treglia says:

      I totally disagree with the naysayers,thought it was superbly acted and was able to let the viewer really understand how sadistic Black Jack is. He wanted to break Jamie mentally and he finally won.

      • It was superbly acted, as I said, but I could have understood it all just as much if it had been half the length. More so actually because, as it is, it lost a lot of it’s effect because they were just endlessly stringing it out and milking it for every shock-value point possible, before skipping merrily over the recuperation in a few quick scenes.

      • Cheryl says:

        Agree! If you watch it again you can see the finer points of the story and not just the grimness. Just wish we could have gotten a better picture of how long the recovery takes and how that affects everyone. It seemed to go so quickly and then off to France. When you watch the first time you are so engrossed in the big picture you miss so much. How many realized Claire’s clothing and hair were what took Jamie back to Randall? You really didn’t see as much as you think you did. What a superb episode when I can only find that as an issue! Ready for more!

  21. Jennifer says:

    I have NEVER hated a character as much as I hate Blackjack Randell!!

  22. Taylor Howard says:

    I think it is so beautiful that Jamie realizes through his experience with Jack Randall that he is Gay. You can just see it on his face after Jack puts the lavender oil on him. I don’t know why he felt so guilty afterward. Claire will never be able to satisfy him again.

    • Cheryl says:

      Boy I hope you’re being sarcastic. Otherwise this is just disgusting.

    • sixela872 says:

      You can’t be serious. Or think you’re funny.

      • This is in response to that ignorant child who made the remark about how great they thought Jamie’s “realizing” he was gay was portrayed. Neither Jamie nor Randall is gay! Randall gets off on anyone’s pain and humiliation no matter what is in their pants. Jamie is in so much pain and was first savagely raped, tortured and burned, his hand smashed by a iron mallet then nailed then confused into thinking this was Claire rubbing oil of lavender on him to use as a lubricant, the first time it was some spit! Also in the book the lavender was what Randall uses as cologne. That was why Jamie hates the stink of it. If anyone thinks this is a sexually enjoyable experience you have my sympathies. Let’s not forget Randall flogging Jamie ‘s skin off his back , twice!

  23. Ash says:

    I don’t know who I hate more as a TV bad guy…Joffrey or Black Jack..hmm

  24. Shirley G says:

    Are they filming series three yet, or are there any plans for it ? Will keep my Amazon Prime going for the rest of the year, just in case we’re lucky enough to see what comes next.

    • Cheryl says:

      Yes, filming now. They have been in Fife in Scotland. If you go to outlander tv.com you can see some still photos of the production. BTW Fife and the bay are beautiful. Spent time there while visiting Scotland. It’s near Culloden Field. Easy drive to Loch Ness. Hoping to return to Scotland soon.

      • Shirley G says:

        Did you mean stills of the new series currently being filmed ?
        Can’t wait to see how filming will progress after their sailing away into the French sunset! Wonder why they brought the story of Jamie’s “healing” after his ordeal into an Abbey here rather than a French one, as in the book. Is there a date yet for screening the next series ? Am totally hooked. Have ordered the first DVD but it’s not available here till Sept apparently. Pity, as the pages are falling out of my books after being read so often !

        Will be attending a weekend course in Cambridge UK studying how the words of two of Jane Austen’s most popular books are translated into film. Should give a great insight as to what hoops have to be jumped through on the technical side of things.

        • Cheryl says:

          Yes, the stills are of the current arrival in France. They show the ship they sailed upon. I believe they screenwriters decided they needed to make some changes so the episode would flow better on film. So, it was moved to an Abby in Scotland for the recovery and then off to France. Not enough time to follow the book exactly. Assume we’ll see more of this as the series continues. All of the “French” scenes will still be filmed in Scotland. Don’t expect the show will be back until sometime in the fall. Already have my first half of season one DVD. It’s currently available on Amazon. Didn’t check Amazon UK though. Still waiting for the second half to add to my set.

  25. Being of Scottish ancestry, I could not get enough of each and every episode. Jamie pulled me in with his bullish(awesome) physic, his curiosity and willingness to learn from his surroundings. Diana’s(author) fantasy scot permeats every romance novel with a sensitive gentleman and powerful lover. I was engrossed with their soulful connection and lived it over and over again. The actors was excellent. Very believable. Offering an understanding that true actist are renowned. Tobias Menzies is very capable of good and evil. Loved every minute, pining for Season 2. Thanks for “Outlander”, a fantasy journey!