How Outlander’s Stephen Bonnet Is Different From Black Jack Randall, According To The Stars

Outlander Fraser & Rhenish Collection

With a new season of Outlander comes a new slew of threats to the Fraser family, and the fourth season kicked off with them trying to make their way in the American colonies. The introduction of new villain Stephen Bonnet means that they’ll have more to fear in the new world than just the redcoats and the lead up to the American revolution. An Irish pirate, Bonnet went from being rescued by the Frasers to betraying and attacking them by the end of the episode.

Naturally, the question on many fans’ minds after the premiere is likely how Bonnet will compare to Black Jack Randall, who arguably earned himself a place among the most despicable television villains of all time. CinemaBlend recently attended an Outlander press junket, and Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan weighed in on the differences between the two bad guys, saying this:

Caitriona Balfe: I think that Jack, you know, there was a perversion there. Obviously though, there was also that lineage with Frank and it was such a, I don’t know, it was such a triangle or quadrangle between the four characters, but with Bonnet. I mean he’s more manipulative. I mean, he’s obviously does incredibly horrible things, but I don’t know, I think he’s much more of an opportunist where I think Jack was a sadist. I think that the, what drives Bonnet is kind of greed and those kinds of things, which is just very different kind.

Sam Heughan: Another version of a psychopath or sociopath.

When he was first introduced way back in the beginning of Season 1, Black Jack Randall wasted no time in proving to Claire (and viewers) that he was a very bad guy. He may have looked like Frank, but he was not to be trifled with. On top of all his violence, there was a certain deadness behind his eyes that was always unsettling. (Kudos to Tobias Menzies for the performance!) Stephen Bonnet got a very different introduction.

Bonnet first showed up as a prisoner only minutes away from the gallows, and it was a stroke of luck that he was able to escape before being hanged. Claire and Jamie ended up helping him sneak past the Brits, despite his admissions of piracy and theft as well as his intention to reunite with his pirate pals. When they parted ways, they said goodbye to a charming and likable man who just also happened to be a pirate.

When Bonnet turned up again, he proved that he’s no better than Black Jack Randall. His villainy is simply packaged differently. Bonnet and his crew attacked the boat that was carrying the Frasers down the river to Jocasta Cameron’s home. Jamie was beaten, one of his men was killed, and Claire was attacked, losing one of her wedding rings in the process.

The Frasers don’t need the fear Bonnet in the same way they feared Randall, not least because Bonnet doesn’t have the full weight of the British military behind him. Still, we do already know that Bonnet is going to do something truly awful to one of them, and it undoubtedly won’t be easy to watch. Caitriona Balfe addressed the river attack scene, saying this about Ed Speleers as Stephen Bonnet:

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