Anyone who watched the preview for this Sunday’s Outlander (Starz, 8/7c) knows that, like the bad penny he is, Stephen Bonnet is poised to return.
The Irishman is a scheming, unrepentant scoundrel who has stolen, raped and murdered — and that’s just taking into account what’s happened since Jamie and Claire made his acquaintance in this season’s premiere. But is he a worse villain than Black Jack Randall, a misogynistic sadist who derived both physical and emotional pleasure from breaking Jamie’s body and spirit in Seasons 1 and 2?
We posed that question to Outlander executive producer Matthew B. Roberts… who told us we were barking up the wrong bad-apple tree.
“I don’t think they compare,” he said. “Black Jack, in his own heart, always had a good reason for doing whatever he was doing.”
Take Jamie’s brutal violation at Wentworth Prison at the end of Season 1, an attack that left the Scot suicidal in its wake. “To Jamie, it was a rape. But to Black Jack, he made [Jamie] agree to it. So in Black Jack’s mind, it was consensual,” Roberts observes, noting that the Brit’s take on the situation is a highly messed-up mindset to have. However, “That’s not Bonnet… The core difference is Black Jack showed genuine emotions, because he wasn’t a psychopath.”
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The cagey Irishman, whom Roberts deems a bona fide psychopath, uses mimicry of emotion — rather than genuine feeling itself — in order to manipulate people and situations to his benefit. “That’s what makes him more dangerous than Black Jack, that this guy is a chameleon,” the EP adds. “You know what you get with Black Jack, but you don’t know what you get with Bonnet, and that’s what makes him more of a frightening character.”
Bottom line? Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, they’re both demon spawn — just in different ways.