There is something so sinisterly enthralling about villainous characters that, if done well, gift excellence to a television show. Like the romping Hannibal that illuminates his television show, evil characters are pivotal if they are fleshed out with realism. This is where Outlander and Game of Thrones separates. For example, with Ramsey Bolton, you can loathe him but he is a cartoon character of depravity and rage, set to exert the power shock towards the audience. With Captain Jack Randall, whose similar modus operandi causes alarm for fans, there is a sickening reason and poetic rhyme and reason to his work that fleshes him out as the beast he is - and not merely a device for us to loathe.
As we enter in to the darker elements of Outlander with the penultimate episode, we know exactly the lengths Randall will go to catch and break his prey.
Despite the graphicness of the torture that isn’t dissimilar to the aforementioned Thrones saga, director Anna Foerstar and writer Ira Steven Behr are clear to not make it a device for alarm in a way to compete against other shows by being shocking. Instead, this is the continuous thread for Randall and Fraser. Intricately implementing his desire for Fraser and certainly not allowing the Scotsman to fall away from his grasp, Randall’s turn into enslaver and torturer was an engaging follow through on his baleful promise. Randall demonstrates everything that violence, especially sexual, is - the need and thirst for control. Here, Randall wants Jamie but because of his darkness, he’ll take him without a thought and put him through hell until he submits to him which, as we know, Jamie will do to save Claire.
“You’re a fucking sadistic piece of shit” bellows Claire which is possibly the best summary of Randall and this episode. How next week handles the torturous elements is what will level Outlander above the ranks of Game of Thrones and Vikings. The show, despite flopping between enthralling and fluffy episodes, has delivered some of the most important and vital scenes in the history of television. Handling the rape and the aftermath of sexual violence is how it’ll solidify it’s stance as crucial impacting television.