Happy birthday, Tobias Menzies: The enlightening view of Frank as a father in Outlander

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

It’s Tobias Menzies’ birthday today. I’m using this chance to look back at Outlander Season 4 and why having the flashbacks of Frank were so important. They gave us a new look at the character.

Love or hate Frank Randall, it’s hard not to feel for him at the very start of the story. Tobias Menzies does an excellent job of showing a man whose wife has just disappeared with no reasoning or clues as to where she’s gone. Up to this point in the story, we’d seen him as a husband. Outlander Season 4 was a chance to see him as a father.

Despite Frank being killed off in the third season, the EPs managed to get him back for flashbacks. To celebrate Menzies’ birthday today, it’s a perfect chance to look back at those flashbacks and why they were so enlightening.

There are more sides to a tale

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One thing we only really get is one side of a tale. We’ve seen Frank from Claire’s point of view, especially in the novels. In the show, we got a chance to see what Frank did after Claire went missing, but we’ve never really fully seen his story or how he treated Brianna.

Outlander Season 4 was a chance to see all that. This time, it was told through Brianna’s eyes but it was an enlightening look at another side of this character. He wasn’t the husband but the father; the one who had chosen to raise someone else’s child as his own. Yet, as a historian, he couldn’t possibly give up the research.

Everything that happened to Claire ate at him. When he learned that Claire would eventually go to the past, you could tell that he was distraught. He didn’t know when or why, but she went back through the stones and gave up on the promise she’d made to Frank.

The flashbacks gave us this insight into Frank grieving in a way. At the same time, he wanted to give Claire that chance but protect Brianna at the same time. We finally got a reason for why he wanted to take Brianna away — it was all about Claire and Jamie.

I’m not saying his actions were right. I’m definitely not saying I condone affairs. However, he was in a situation none of us could ever imagine being in, so we can’t judge!

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

A chance for closure

“Down the Rabbit Hole’s” flashbacks were more about Brianna than Frank. However, they still gave us some sort of chance for closure. They gave Bree a chance for closure.

As she went to the past, she harbored guilt for walking away from her “Daddy.” She was giving up on him to save a man she hadn’t even met. Whether it was just in Bree’s imagination or she believed his ghost was giving her permission, Frank gave her the closure she needed to go on with her journey without all the guilt.

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I would have loved to see more of this story from Frank’s perspective. I’d always loved the look at what Frank did after Claire went through the stones, because there are more sides to this tale. Outlander Season 4 gave us an insight into that.

Next. 10 best Tobias Menzies roles outside of Outlander. dark

What did you think of Tobias Menzies’ portrayal of Frank Randall? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy birthday, Tobias Menzies! Good luck with The Crown.