There are some Outlander characters you love, some you hate, and some you love to hate. Today, I’m taking a look back at Black Jack Randall and Stephen Bonnet.
There are some characters that you love and others that you hate. Then there are the characters that you tolerate or the characters that you could just do without. But what about the Outlander characters you love to hate? For #ThrowbackThursday today, I’m taking a look back at two of those characters you love to hate: Black Jack Randall and Stephen Bonnet.
What makes a dislikable character so likable? It’s a weird feeling that you know the characters are up to no good and you don’t really want them in the same vicinity as your favorite characters. Yet, at the same time, they light up the screen. There’s an energy that comes from them that makes a scene immediately more invigorating and exciting.
That’s what happens with Black Jack Randall and Stephen Bonnet. Before Outlander Season 4, we were warned that Bonnet would give Randall a run for his money. Honestly, Ed Speleers did an excellent job, but it’s going to be extremely hard for him to beat Tobias Menzies’ portrayal of Black Jack Randall. The two characters are entirely different under the evilness to them.
The horrors and sadism of Black Jack Randall
There’s no doubt that Randall is evil. The first time we meet him, he tries to rape Claire. It’s clear that this is a man who wants his own way and will do whatever it takes to get it.
But it’s not just Claire he’s interested in. In fact, it’s not just women. He wanted Jamie, and before that in the novels, he wanted another prisoner called Alex. As much as we hated Randall and wanted him gone, the show wouldn’t have been the same without him. This character brought so much drama, intensity, and fear to the screen that made the viewing compelling.
Quite honestly, I will rewatch the last two episodes of Season 1 purely because of Tobias Menzies and Sam Heughan’s abilities. The two of them had this undeniable chemistry that, through the difficult subject, makes it impossible to skip.
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Yet, Black Jack Randall also had a softer side, one that we saw in the second season. When his brother was dying, Randall was there. He wanted to be there for the final breath, and he even married Mary Hawkins because it was his brother’s dying wish. The book goes into more detail of his love for his brother, but there’s something there, a side to him that makes him feel human.
The show hasn’t been the same without him. For men, one of the hardest parts of Season 3 was not having him pop up now and then to cause trouble.
The sociopath that is Stephen Bonnet
Outlander Season 4 introduced us to a sociopath. Stephen Bonnet is a charmer. He’s able to be what he needs to be to get his own way, but don’t expect him to have any feelings for anyone else. He took the place of Black Jack Randall, but he’s not quite everything that Randall became.
However, there’s still time for Bonnet to grow. To me, Bonnet became more of a foe to Brianna and Roger in the way that Randall was a foe to Claire and Jamie. While there were instances against Claire and Jamie, the worst of the actions have been against the younger couple. And it makes sense as the two become more integral to the story.
Bonnet seems to have a little more humanity, but that could all be a façade. After all, he’s more of a sociopath, able to mimic the emotions he needs to just to get his own way. He makes his own luck.
Of course, he does have fears. When he has offered something, like the gem to Brianna, it was more out of fear of being forgotten.
Bonnet doesn’t instill the same level of fear that Randall does. Maybe it’s because Randall’s actions were so horrific in the first season that I’m ready for anything or that Bonnet is a pirate and I expect him to rape and pillage. However, Bonnet still has time and that’s what we’ll, likely, see in Outlander Season 5 and beyond.
What did you think of Randall vs. Bonnet? Which Outlander characters do you love to hate? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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