[SPOILER ALERT: This post includes plot information about Outlander and makes references to later books in the series.]
It wouldn’t be fair to exclude Frank Wolverton Randall from my Outlander tributes, so today’s post is in honor of Frank and his darker ancestor, Jonathan Wolverton Randall. They are two men who play a vital role in Claire’s life, especially in the first three books of the Outlander series written by Diana Gabaldon.
Both characters in the Outlander Starz television series are being portrayed by the same actor, Tobias Menzies. Mr. Menzies is a stage actor who was born in London and has had an illustrious career thus far. Not only has he starred in several well-known television series such as Foyle’s War, Rome, and Game of Thrones, but he has also graced the silver screen with his talents in several features films.
Forget Me Not (2010) is one of his more recent achievements. The love story between his character Will Fletcher and his romantic interest, Eve Fisher (played by Genevieve O’Reilly) has become a particular favorite among Outlander fans. It’s a contemporary tale set in London, and provides Mr. Menzies’ audience with a more extensive taste of his romantic performance abilities.
Frank’s tender scenes with his wife, Claire, are cut short when she disappears through the standing stones. Ron D. Moore, executive producer of the series, promises to provide more background information between Claire and Frank through flashbacks not included in the books. It’s his way of showing the audience the depth of both Frank and Claire’s loss.
Mr. Menzies has the additional challenge of playing a character who is the exact opposite of Frank Randall in temperament. His great ancestor, Jonathan Wolverton Randall (notoriously nicknamed Black Jack Randall for the blackness of his heart) is a ruthless Captain of His Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons.
Throughout the book, he holds a suspicious fascination for Claire after meeting her in the woods shortly after her arrival in the 18th century. But his real fixation is for Jamie Fraser with whom he has a love-hate relationship. Of course, it’s all hate from Jamie’s side due to the treatment of his countrymen, his sister, and himself. In the end, Black Jack forces Jamie to make an horrendous sacrifice to save the life of Claire.
Among the fans of the series, there is a controversy surrounding Frank and Claire’s relationship both before she is whisked back to 1743 and after she returns. The crux of the matter is Frank’s fidelity. There are several other issues which come up whenever Frank is discussed, but his fidelity seems to be the main sticking point. Personally, I tend to view things through grey-tinged glasses and have chosen to stay out of the line of fire. The sole purpose for my bringing it up now is to explain the upcoming poems.
For the purposes of this posting, Frank is a good man who loved his wife. He may not have been the perfect husband, but he’s a helluva lot better man than Black Jack Randall. I don’t believe anyone will disagree with my assertion that Captain Randall is an evil man, so ’nuff said about him.
The first series is entitled The Face of Good and showcases Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall at his best – at the side of his loving wife, happy and looking forward to the future.
The second series is entitled The Face of Evil and showcases Tobias Menzies, this time as Black Jack Randall. It is also his best side because we know how much worse he can truly be – and it’s why we love to hate him.