“Outlander” wrapped up its second season on Saturday night on Starz, and while much of it was set in 1968 there was still a big focus on the buildup to Culloden.
(Spoiler alert! This article contains major plot details from the show.)
Graham McTavish’s character, the war chief Dougal MacKenzie, was one of the strongest and fiercest Highland warriors on the show, but his dedication to his cause – restoring a Stuart King to the throne – got him killed. Before the battle of Culloden, Dougal overheard Jamie and Claire Fraser contemplating a plot to kill Bonnie Prince Charlie to stop the battle.
From their point of view, which was informed by the time-traveling Claire, who knew how the battle would end, it would have been the price of one life to save the Highlanders. But, from Dougal’s standpoint, as a loyal Jacobite, it was treason.
He took up arms and attacked his nephew and Claire, but in the end, the Frasers got the upper hand and Dougal was killed.
AccessHollywood.com spoke to Graham McTavish about saying goodbye to the show.
AccessHollywood.com: Claire and Jamie are both responsible for [Dougal’s death]. You knew [your character’s exit] was coming. Is it tough to do when it’s coming? Is it tough to say goodbye to this character?
Graham McTavish: Definitely, definitely. It’s tough to say goodbye, definitely. Always. When you’ve grown fond of — not just the character that you’re playing, but the characters that you’re acting with and everybody, it is hard, but it’s the story that you’re telling and you want to do your best to tell it is as well as you can and that was what really informed the day when we were shooting that. We had a lot of laughs, to be honest, on that day. I mean, we really did, because when they finally do kill me, they’re both above me with their hands clasped on the dirk, plunging it into me. Because I’m fighting back, Jamie’s pushing and Claire joins him and it’s her weight and her involvement that finally seals my fate. And so, it’s a great visual image from my point of view of these two sort of almost Macbeth and Lady Macbeth figures, but I wouldn’t want to take that comparison too far, but they are complicit in that moment and… we very much wanted to show that [Claire] wasn’t some pathetic, weak bystander who was just watching her husband nearly get killed, that she would be involved and that’s what we pushed for in that moment. But I took the opportunity of taking a nice little photo with my iPhone of the two of them above me with the knife, because I just thought, that’s the last thing that Dougal MacKenzie sees is the two of them grinning away (laughs), just finishing him off. It must have just been the worst, worst way for him to go, I think. He would hate it. Hate it. It would be bad enough to be dying but—
Access: He thinks they’re betraying this cause.
Graham: Oh yeah!
Access: So for him, he’s like, ‘What the?’
Graham: Absolutely, absolutely. And then, I think that is what he is more concerned about — at that moment, more than his own death is what he knows is coming, what they’ve talked about — the killing of Bonnie Prince Charlie. That’s what he’s worrying about, that’s why he’s fighting them, that’s why he’s trying to kill them. It’s not that he wants Jamie dead particularly. Well, you could argue that he does, but at that moment he takes no pleasure in it. I even say to him — we shot it in a very deliberate way that I’m the only one with a weapon at that point and I just say to him, ‘For your mother’s sake, I’ll kill you quickly.’ I’m not going to make you suffer, just come here, I’ll finish you off. You won’t even know it’s happened and it’s that that’s informing it and so it’s a very cold, deliberate fight. So it’s not lots of screaming and shouting and all the rest of it. It’s two people really fighting to the death — the literal death — and unfortunately, it’s me that dies.
Access: Graham, what are you going to miss most about being a part of the show?
Graham: Truly, the thing I will miss the most about the show is Scotland, honestly. It was a falling in love again with my country doing that show and it was made all the more enjoyable by being amongst a lovely group of people that shared that journey and I’ll miss all of them. I’ll miss the laughter, actually. It was one of the happiest sets I’ve ever been on and they made some very good choices with the people who are in the cast because everybody got on and that’s not always the case and especially how well we got on and we’re all still great friends. I got an abusive text from Duncan [Lacroix] [recently] (laughs)… and I saw Sam [the other] week and we had fun together, so those relationships will continue. But the actual physical experience of standing in muddy fields all over that beautiful country [working on this show] … yeah, I’ll miss that a lot.
— Jolie Lash
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