Outlander actor, producers reflect on that shocking death
This post contains major spoilers about the latest episode of Outlander, “All Debts Paid.”
There have been no shortage of tragedies in the two and half seasons of Outlander, but Sunday’s gut-puncher was definitely among the more painful: a major character dies in Ronald D. Moore’s epic tale of love and (why must it be so?) loss.
The pitiable marriage between Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Frank (Tobias Menzies) came to an abrupt end when his car crashed after a solo drive — a reckless one, no doubt, after he and his wife argued over his wanting to take Brianna (Sophie Skelton) to England. For readers of Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling books, the death was certainly expected. But viewers not schooled on the Gabaldon narrative will likely mourn Frank’s passing, especially given how sympathetic he was depicted in the last two episodes. Frank could never compete with a memory, and his suffering was palpable.
But in an interview well after his final day on the set of Outlander, Menzies wasn’t so sad about how he died twice in the course of three episodes. (His alter-ego, Black Jack Randall, was stabbed to death by Jamie in the premiere episode.)
“I’ve entirely moved on,” he quips to EW. “I’ve forgotten them all. I’ve deleted their numbers from my phone. I’ve put a block on their emails. Yup, it’s over.”
Maybe, maybe not! When asked if Frank and Black Jack Randall would ever return to the saga, executive producer Matthew B. Roberts was delightfully circumspect.
“I’m not going say that,” Roberts tells EW. “I’m not going say it because we can always do … well, we have the power of the flashback.”
Maybe they’ll do it for sentimental reasons? “The saddest thing was losing Tobias,” admits Roberts. “He was such a big part of the show, and that was the toughest thing.”
For now, Menzies isn’t waiting by the phone. He’s already looking forward to his TV project — a period piece for AMC called The Terror. Bowing in 2018, the series is based on the best-selling 2007 novel by Dan Simmons that chronicles a mysterious attack on a Royal Navy expedition crew searching the northwest passage.
“We shot in Budapest and Croatia,” he said of the long shoot. “I hope it’s going to be wonderful.”
When asked who he’ll miss playing on Outlander, Menzies replies, “Am I allowed both? I had a great time doing them, both of them. It was kind of a blast.”
So was the unexpected adoration from women who appreciated both of his bad-boy-good-boy alter-egos, he admits.
“It’s sort of completely unreal though. It’s very nice to know there are some people who have a heart for Jack, I suppose. Whatever that means.”
For more on episode 3 of Outlander, tune it to EW Radio, Sirius XM 105, at noon ET on June 25. Amy Wilkinson and I will interview Wil Johnson, who plays Claire’s medical school chum Joe Abernathy.