If you knew me, which you probably don’t, but if you did, you’d know I almost always love the villains best. My favorite Supernatural character? Rowena.
Everyone was buzzing about Affleck as Batman in the new movie, and I was jumping up and down over Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor (incidentally, can you even believe how excellent he was as Lex? Damn. So very excellent). And if you brought me a singing Johnny Depp as the Big Bad Wolf, I’d give him everything I had in my basket, even if he didn’t say please.
So when I started watching Outlander (I hadn’t even read the books yet, then), I guess it’s no big surprise that my favorite character turned out to be Black Jack Randall.
“BUT HE’S THE BAD GUY!” People shout this at me in all caps every time I mention it, like that will change my villain-loving mind.
Even before I read the Outlander books, I found Black Jack utterly fascinating. He does horrible things, sure, but he’s so very good at it. And Tobias Menzies brings so much to the character that it’s entirely possible to both hate Jack and pity him at once. The thing about Jack is, he’s got a lot of good qualities. He’s dedicated to his job (possibly a bit overly enthusiastic at some points, but still), he adheres to his own very strict code of ethics, and I think we can all agree he wears the living hell out of his British soldier’s uniform. And can we talk about the man’s posture for just a minute? Because he’s got some great posture. It’s a thing I admire.
After I read the Outlander books, I liked this character even more. Black Jack seems to know he is broken, somehow, but I don’t think he knows why, and that’s sad. And I learned how desperately he loves his brother, Alex. He keeps his word once he’s given it, because his own twisted sense of honor is important to him, even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.
His mind may dwell in darkness, but his heart seems broken in half.
The character of Black Jack Randall has more layers than an onion, and makes me cry at least twice as much. I think what draws me to him most is that the man makes me plain curious and mystery can be an attractive trait. What has made him the way he is? Was he always so evil? And possibly the greatest mystery of all, why does he look so good while wielding a whip?
We may never be graced with the answers to these questions, but I’ll keep watching the show and reading the books, just in case we get a glimpse.
In the meantime, I’ll just continue enjoying the badness of Black Jack Randall.