Outlander toursEvery once in a while, a villain comes along on a television series that is so abhorrently yet enthralling to watch, that you can’t help but be intrigued by him (or her). In the case of Outlander, the main antagonist of the first two seasons was Jonathan Wolverton “Black Jack” Randall. Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh
The moment we met him, we knew we were going to despise him and passionately so. He certainly left us with a bad impression when he tried to attack Claire immediately after she fell through the stones at Craigh Na Dun. His repugnant personality only served to make us hate him more with each appearance after that and yet…we couldn’t look away.
Outlander tours – visit Black Jack Randall’s HQ Fort William and Wentworth prison on our Outlander tours
Every time he was on-screen, being the menacing man we knew him to be, his cold eyes and menacing smirk immediately would send chills down our spines. The truth of the matter is, there will likely never be a better antagonist to the Frasers and their timeless love story. And while Black Jack Randall is no more after the Battle of Culloden, there is still plenty to learn about him. Or for fellow super fans, to refresh our memories about the sinister Redcoat soldier.
For all of you Outlander fans, read on to see the 24 Crazy Things Only Super Fans Knew About Black Jack Randall.
24 TOBIAS MENZIES HAD NO PROBLEM PLAYING A CHARACTER LIKE BLACK JACK
The actor who bravely portrayed both Frank Randall and Black Jack Randall was Tobias Menzies, who gave a riveting performance as both Claire’s historian husband and the Redcoat soldier who inflicts misery on both Claire and Jamie.
When producers wanted to check that he was okay with play a despicable character like Black Jack, he laughed and said he had absolutely no problem with it.
Evidently, this is because British actors like Menzies enjoy being challenged with material and characters like BJR.
23 THE “BLACK” IN HIS NICKNAME REPRESENTS HIS SOUL
Believe it or not, but Black Jack Randall didn’t get his infamous nickname from a card game. According to Jamie Fraser, the “black” in his moniker actually represents the color of his soul.
This makes perfect sense being that Randall is the epitome of evil incarnate. He literally enjoys other people’s struggle, whether it be emotional or physical. It is what truly makes him happy in life, especially if he is the one inflicting the pain.
Never has a character so perfectly emulated what it means to be a corrupt individual with a black soul.
22 THE SHOW BROUGHT BLACK JACK BACK IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN IN THE BOOKS
When we first see Black Jack Randall on Outlander again after we assumed he had perished in the stampede at Wentworth, it is at the Versailles court in France. Of course, Claire had already learned that he had survived from his brother, Alex.
But in the books, this all happens in a much different way. While at another person’s home, Claire is running down a hall and runs directly into Black Jack. They grab onto each other to maintain their balance and Claire is immediately in shock upon seeing his face. She wonders if it is his brother, who he looks remarkably like, but realizes it is, in fact, him once she looks into his cold eyes.
In the book, too, Claire did not know that he had survived the stampede.
21 HE ISN’T BASED ON A REAL PERSON
There are plenty of characters in the Outlander series that are actually based on real-life people from history. Such as Geillis Duncan, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and other Jacobite lords. Mother Hildegarde and Lord Lovat are other notable mentions of real people from history that were featured in this tale.
But one character that definitely was not based on a real person was Jonathan Wolverton Randall a.k.a. Black Jack.
We suppose that is a good thing because he would have been one twisted man if he had actually existed back then.
20 RANDALL IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ATTACKER
During the first two seasons of the Starz series, many fans assumed his orientation based off he seems to want to physically harm men more often than women.
This is actually not the case. Author of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, actually clarified that he is “an equal opportunity” attacker.
If it seems like he goes for men over women, that is just because he has easier access to them at the prison. So whether he is brutally hurting Jamie for his pleasure, he’s perfectly happy to do the same with Claire, it seems that the gender of the individual he is hurting really has no bearing on his own preferences.
19 HE WAS A MINOR KNIGHT WITHIN ENGLAND
During the Jacobite Rebellion in the 18th-century, Jonathan Wolverton Randall, a.k.a. Black Jack, was a Captain Of His Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons. He was also considered a minor knight which is a prestigious title.
Because of his rank and title, he was trusted with quashing the rebellion by the Scots and ended up, as we know, playing a pivotal role in that. It certainly helped him, too, that The Duke of Sandringham financially supported him quite a bit throughout this time period.
18 BLACK JACK ALWAYS KEEPS HIS WORD
This trait of his is one of the more shocking because it is a stark contrast with the evil villain we have known since he first came across Claire in the Highlands at the start of Outlander. He has rarely shown signs of being an honorable man, regardless of being in the British army.
But it seems that once he gives someone his word, he sticks to it. A prime example is when he had Jamie at Wentworth and Claire showed up trying to save him. He told Jamie to give himself to him and he would let Claire go unharmed. Jamie agreed, but BJR easily could have harmed her anyway, just because he wanted to.
Instead, he actually let her go, before going back to inflict pain on Jamie.
17 HE SETS OFF MOST OF THE EVENTS THAT OCCUR BETWEEN JAMIE AND CLAIRE EARLY ON
When looking back at everything that happened from the start of the Outlander novels and series, it was Black Jack’s actions that set most of these things into motion.
With Jamie leaving because of the price on his head that Black Jack created, to Jamie meeting Claire after BJR attacked her, to the two getting married to save Claire from Black Jack’s nefarious plans for her, and so many other events that happened after that.
So if it weren’t for him, in some weird way, we never would have had the epic love story that centered around Jamie and Claire.
16 HE ONLY SHOWED HIS HUMANITY WHEN HIS BROTHER PERISHED
The only emotions we’re used to seeing from Black Jack is hate, glee from harming someone, or fury. There is not a range of other emotions we see from him because he is just a terrible person.
But there was one instance where we caught a glimpse of his humanity. This was when his younger brother, Alex, was almost at his grave.
Once his brother actually passed, you could see the despair on his face, even if he still seemed to be struggling with showing this emotion. It was so out of character for the man we had come to know but showed that even he has “normal” emotions when he loses someone he truly cared about.
15 HE DISGUISED HIS SUSSEX ORIGINS BY GETTING A PROPER EDUCATION
Sussex during the 18th-century was not considered a place where the citizens were properly educated and noble. Because of this, Jonathan Randall’s parents ensured that he would receive a proper education that would effectively disguise his origins.
Though it was not always a secret that he was originally from Sussex, he still did everything he could to hide that fact and come across as a proper Englishman with higher education. It seemed that despite his evil ways, he still wanted to play the part of English gentleman.
14 HE ATTACKS CLAIRE’S GREATEST WEAKNESSES
With Black Jack as the main antagonist in the first two Outlander novels and seasons of the show, it makes sense that he would constantly be going up against our main protagonist, Claire Fraser.
This creates a compelling struggle between the two and a more intriguing and dramatic storyline.
When he first sees Claire, his reaction is to assault her after recognizing her confidence and self-reliance. This is to cause doubt and insecurities to arise in her and ultimately take the control she has away from her. He continues this when he interrogates her in a later episode, making her feel at ease once he apologizes for his actions. But just as she thinks she is getting through to him and bringing him to the “light” with her wits, he turns everything around on her again. It’s really like watching the battle between good and evil unfold before your eyes.
13 HE BURNED FERGUS WITH HIS RING
In Dragonfly In Amber, the second book in the Outlander series, Black Jack does something unbelievably wrong, even for him. While in France, he decides instead of picking a worker, he would pick Fergus, the pickpocket who Jamie took under his wing.
Aside from being rough with the young boy, he actually burned him with his ring.
This is what caused Jamie to take notice, and immediately challenged him to a duel upon discovering what Randall had done. It was a traumatic and damaging event for Fergus, both physically and mentally.
12 IN THE BOOKS, HE LOOKED ALMOST IDENTICAL TO HIS BROTHER, ALEX
Anyone who has seen the television adaptation of the Outlander books knows that not only are Alex and Jonathan Randall night and day from each other in the personality department, but they also look damn near nothing alike.
However, in the books, they look so much alike that it’s almost hard to tell them apart. If it weren’t for Jonathan’s coldness in his eyes that are clear as day, it may even be impossible.
Of course, they had to change this part of the story for the television series, but it would have been interesting to see unfold on screen.
11 BLACK JACK LEADS BY INSTILLING FEAR
Most leaders in any capacity want to earn the respect of those who work under them in honorable ways. They don’t normally go about getting respect by instilling fear in anyone who gets on their bad side.
But that is exactly what Black Jack Randall does with all of his soldiers in His Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons. The fear that these Redcoats feel because of BJR is palpable in any scene featuring their Captain.
It’s not very shocking since we know the type of person he is, but it is definitely not the proper way to earn your troops’ respect.
10 HE MARRIED HIS BROTHER’S FIANCÉ
Jonathan Randall’s younger brother, Alex, was a good man. He cared deeply for his love, Mary Hawkins. But unfortunately, he was also very sick for a long time, which eventually led to his demise.
Before he met his end, though, he had wanted his brother, Black Jack himself, to marry his fiancé. He knew that she was pregnant and he didn’t want her to have the child on her own. Plus, the child would have then become a problem in this time period just because he had no father.
It took convincing from Claire, who had her own motives for the union, but Randall did end up marrying Mary just before his brother passed.
9 RANDALL HAS A CHILD THAT IS ACTUALLY HIS BROTHER’S
Mary Hawkins and Alex Randall were expecting a child before Alex met his untimely demise. This meant that BJR had to step up to the plate and not only marry Mary Hawkins, but he had agreed to raise the child.
This child would eventually extend the Randall lineage that would lead directly to Frank Randall, who was Claire’s first husband.
Though Black Jack had agreed to take care of the child and marry his brother’s love, he actually didn’t live long enough to make good on his word…
8 HE KNEW THE DAY HE WOULD GO
Just before Randall began his brutal attack on Jamie at Wentworth Prison, he let Claire go and escorted her out of the prison. Claire was angry and upset over what she knew was about to occur in that prison cell, so she decided to do the only thing she could: hurt BJR with knowledge.
Before she goes, she tells him she is a witch and that she knows the exact date of his end. She then whispers it in his ear before he pushes her into a mass grave that leads to the exit of the prison.
He never forgot this date, either. But he still fought in the Battle of Culloden, knowing he would not make it out alive.
7 BLACK JACK IS THE POLAR OPPOSITE OF FRANK
Say what you will about Frank Randall, but he was a great man, especially in comparison to his ancestor, Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall.
In every way, shape, and form, Frank was the exact opposite of Black Jack. While BJR was a ruthless man, Frank was a loving, empathetic, good-natured human being.
While Claire knew there was a clear difference from the first man she ever loved and the man who hurt people for fun, it makes sense that she was so wary of being around Frank once she returned to her own time. He did look alarmingly like his ancestor, after all.
6 THE DUKE OF SANDRINGHAM USED BJR’S PSYCHE TO CONTROL HIM
It’s no secret that The Duke of Sandringham could be just as despicable as Black Jack when he really wanted to. Which was often, apparently.
He used Black Jack as the pawn in most of his schemes, and they had some sort of sick and twisted partnership that created a lot of problems for Jamie and Claire throughout the first two seasons and books.
The Duke actually used BJR’s messed up psyche – that he was fully aware of – to get what he wanted. He knew Randall had a thing for inflicting wickedness on people, especially if his victim was Jamie, so he used that to his advantage time and time again.
5 BJR TRADED INFORMATION ON HIS TROOPS MOVEMENTS FOR CLAIRE’S HELP
When Black Jack’s brother, Alex, had his health declining at an alarming rate, Randall had to turn to the one person who could have easily said no to their pleas for help.
Luckily, Claire wanted to help Alex because she knew that he was not anything like his brother. Even so, she ended up getting something out of it when Alex encouraged his brother to exchange information about his troops in the upcoming battle against the Scots and their planned movements.
Against his better judgment, he does trade this information to Claire for helping his brother in his time of need.
4 HE ALWAYS FORCES CLAIRE TO MAKE INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT DECISIONS
Black Jack is always one step ahead of our heroine, Claire. It is because of him that many things change her life, sometimes for the better, but a lot of times for the worse. He is the reason that she ends up staying in 18th-century Scotland and marrying Jamie Fraser, which for her, at the time, was frightening.
But even after she acclimates to her new life, he still is testing and pushing her. Because of these instances, Claire must always make high stakes decisions that will change everything.
3 HE’S COMPETITIVE OVER JAMIE
After first met Jamie, he became obsessed with the Scotsman.
Because of this, once Claire entered the picture and married Jamie, he felt compelled to compete with her for Jamie. But not in the normal love triangle way we have seen several times in other shows and films.
No, he uses Claire to lure Jamie out and then proceeds to taunt the two of them and make threats. It’s a disturbing sight when he does this.
2 HE’S COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH JAMIE
This all began when Black Jack Randall flogged Jamie more than once and looked at his mutilated back as a work of art that he created. Even referring to it as his masterpiece. This is the first glimpse into the darkness that Black Jack has inside his soul.
After this event occurs, he becomes obsessed with Jamie Fraser. He originally offered Jamie freedom with no more flogging if he gave himself to Randall. But Jamie refused. That is what spurred Black Jack into his obsession with having Jamie all to himself. It was haunting to watch it all unfold.
1 BLACK JACK RANDALL IS THE PERFECT ANTAGONIST
Though BJR did not survive the Battle of Culloden, he was still the best antagonist Outlander has ever seen. For the first two seasons, we witnessed his brutality and lack of empathy being poured out into every act he performed.
As disturbing as it all was, we also couldn’t look away. And even when he wasn’t actively inflicting pain on someone, he played manipulative mind games that still greatly affected the person’s psyche. He challenged our protagonists in ways we could have never imagined, and in the end, it brought them closer together.
He was the definition of evil and we couldn’t imagine a greater villain in the Outlander universe because Black Jack Randall was the absolute perfect antagonist.
Outlander tours – visit Black Jack Randall’s HQ Fort William and Wentworth prison on our Outlander tours