It seems that a lot of outlets release interviews with the cast and crew after an Outlander episode airs, and the sixth episode, “The Garrison Commander,” was no different. These interviews give a lot more detail to the episode, especially from the actors’ perspectives. Instead of ten different posts about the same episode, here they all are rounded up into one post. And of course if you haven’t seen the episode, there are many spoilers in this post.
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) interviewed Tobias Menzies:
Black Jack has good reason to be suspicious of Claire, and it’s clear he’s not buying what she’s selling.
It’s a nicely complicated chess match between the two. There’s a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s ability to maneuver and manipulate each other but I think you feel, right until the very end, Claire is getting through. You feel like it’s a sucker punch when he reveals that even that has been a play. Even his revelation [of his flogging with Jamie] and emotions has been a play, and that makes it even darker.
He did seem to be trying to redeem himself, but when he punched Claire in the stomach, everything was off the table.
In those moments [when he’s telling Claire his life story], he does desire to be a better person. In the moment, he believes it. Then, the next moment, he betrays that.
Another big moment was the flogging flashback between Black Jack and Jamie, which was intense to watch. Was that a particularly difficult scene to do?
These things are often quite technical. There was a lot of me whipping him with a wooden handle without the actual straps on it because I couldn’t hit Sam. Then they would wrap plastic around it and I couldn’t hit that. It is a visceral, physical and quite enjoyable thing. That may sound odd but it is, hopefully, exciting and shocking to watch. It’s high drama. It’s the heart of the matter. It’s a moment of high emotion, great extremism.
Variety has an article about the episode, and they were on set for part of it when it was being filmed. There are quotes from Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Tobias.
Variety was on set for the filming of a portion of that intense scene — beginning with Claire’s meeting of Lord Thomas — a day that would cover 11 pages of the script. Balfe revealed that they’d been shooting the back-and-forth for three days prior, and would have another four to come. “It’s a very hopeful moment [when she meets Lord Thomas] and then Black Jack Randall comes in to thwart it all. But it’s great because it’s a real tete a tete. They really just go at each other and she can’t help it,” she laughed. “That’s the great thing about Claire, she just can’t help fighting back. Sometimes that’s not always the smartest thing but it makes it very interesting. And also a lot of the guys who are playing the redcoats, they are kind of new to the cast. And so it’s a whole different dynamic to what I’m usually used to. I’m usually with all the hairy highlanders — that’s what we call them — so it’s quite cool because it’s [now] well-spoken British people. And it’s a great thing because she thinks she’s on her way out and then everything’s dashed.”
“It’s a great twist, I think,” Menzies said at Comic-Con. “Watching it, I’d completely forgotten that I beam at her just at that moment — there’s that big broad smile and I hadn’t remembered doing that, and it’s a great moment. You go, ‘oh wow, she’s gotten through to him,’ and to understand that it’s all deception is heartbreaking.”
Of filming the scene when Black Jack takes the whip to Jamie, Heughan recalled, “It was hard work to do. It was freezing cold there — I think it was February, I had this whole blood rig on, I was manacled and hanging from the stage… I really wanted to see Jamie lose almost everything, but not. Tobias, he goes for it, it was wonderful. I love the bit where he slips in the mud, and when the back starts flaying off. It had to be visceral, because there’s a guard that faints, so it has to be epic and it has to be the reason he has these scars on his back that becomes this [driving force]. I’m so pleased it turned out so well.”
TV Guide has an interview with Tobias and Ronald D. Moore including a video.
“Episode 6 was an interesting opportunity to look at that particular backstory through [Jack’s] eyes,” he tells TVGuide.com in our video from the set below. “We made a choice not to show the flogging of Jamie from Jamie’s perspective [but] from Jack’s perspective, which I thought was fascinating. You know Jamie’s take — it sucked. From Jack, I want to hear what [he] thought when he was doing this horrific thing to this young lad. So it provided us a way to get inside his character.”
For Menzies, he says it’s important that he not be “campy” in his “evilness,” but adds, “[The scenes] are tough to film in that you need to go there a bit, but there’s also a certain amount of relish about it. You say and do things you couldn’t do in real life.” He also warns, “If the stuff in Episode 6 is tough, [the end of the season] is a whole other level up.”
Access Hollywood has an interview with Tobias, a video interview with Tobias and Caitriona, and a video interview with Graham McTavish.
AccessHollywood.com: I love the line that Lord Thomas says – that your entrance puts ‘the claret at risk.’ It really sort of describes the difference between Jack and the people sitting at that table. Jack is a very different kind of man.
Tobias Menzies: Yeah, I think Jack is a non-conformist. He is a renegade, a bit. And I think, yes, that little interaction quite eloquently sort of demonstrates that – that even within his own community, he’s maybe a bit of an outsider and he sort of is feared and sort of distrusted also amongst his own people for the [reason] that he probably just goes further than any of the others would be willing to go probably — [that] has always been my sense of it.
Access: So, Sam said you left him with some welts in the very first scene you guys did together. True?
Tobias: Cait or Sam?
Access: Actually, both of them said that.
Tobias: (Laughs) Do you mean the welts, from the whipping? … Is that what Sam told you about?
Tobias: Oh yes, actually, I did catch him once. He’s right. Yes, I did. I did. There was a sequence where, basically, he had like this padding strapped on to the back, so when the camera was out on the front, it meant that there were a couple of shots where I could actually hit with a proper – so the whip had leather straps on it, so then I could then appear to be hitting his back. It would have to hit this bit of foam, but you know how these angles work out. The foam kept on having to be cut thinner and thinner because the camera kept on catching the edge of it and stuff, so by the end I had this absolutely tiny bit of foam to aim at and yes, I think there might have been the one take when a bit of the whip went around the side and nicked him.
Yahoo! TV interviewed Tobias.
Going period always presents actors with challenges like corsets that squish their ribs or mastering antique weaponry. What was your biggest challenge traveling back in time?
I wear a wig to play Jack, and I remember on my first day of filming him, I spent my whole day trying to blow and push wisps of hair out of my face without ruining takes. Never had long hair before. It seemed like a total nightmare. I could just never get the hair totally out of my face, it was distracting. The 1740s costumes are very constraining. You’re very, very conscious of what you’re wearing at all times compared to how we dress now. Trying to get on and off horses with long swords was also interesting, especially trying to make it look like you’ve done it many times before.
The Wrap interviewed Tobias.
Frank seems like a sweet, thoughtful guy. Is there a bit of Jack’s darkness in him and will we get to see it?
Yes. We do some stuff in Episode 8, where we depart from the book and go back to Frank and see what’s been happening in the months since Claire disappeared. We see quite a different person. Somebody who’s been crossed by recent events and is sort of losing his control, so we do get a few moments where we do get a bit of Jack in Frank. We’ve tried to play a bit with the kind of ancestral mirroring down the years, which has been quite fun. Hopefully there will be moments where Jack softens and we’ll see a bit of Frank in him.
And as Jack, you spend a lot of time on-screen torturing your co-stars – especially in Saturday’s episode, which is huge for Jack and Claire. What is it like filming those very intense scenes, especially when it gets physical towards the end?
It was really… fun. They’re great scenes, I think. That’s the sort of stuff you get into acting for. It’s a real change of pace for the show in general, it goes from a show that has a lot of outdoor space and adventure and highlands and kilts and clans, and then in Episode 6 it completely locks down into a chamber piece, really, between Jack and Claire. It was an opportunity to really spar with Caitrona, and I feel really happy with what we shot and where we sort of arrived.
You’re also on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” What do you make of comparisons saying“Outlander” is like a female “Game of Thrones”?
We’re all pretty flattered to be compared to that show, it’s obviously a success and a great piece of TV. For my money though, they’re very different beasts. It’s a little bit apples and oranges. What is interesting about ‘Outlander’ is that what you do have at the head of it is a very strong female character. The palette of characters in ‘Outlander’ is much more narrow than ‘Game of Thrones,’ which has more of a scale of characters and is a significantly more ambitious world. I think it’s a fun conversation to have.