Richard Rankin deserves an Emmy for his performance on Outlander Season 5, Episode 8

Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ /

It’s time to give Richard Rankin an Emmy. Outlander Season 5, Episode 8 was expertly done and brilliantly acted. Here’s why he needs one.

Depression and PTSD are among the hardest things to show on TV. We’ve seen it before on Outlander. Some fans felt Claire looked bored at the start of the third season when really she was depressed. Yet, Richard Rankin portrayed Roger’s trauma beautifully throughout Season 5, Episode 8.

Part of this comes from the direction and the use of the flashbacks. If you thought they were overused and annoying, you now get a small sense of what Roger would have been through. PTSD wears people down. The memories will come back in disjointed ways, affecting everything a person does.

And yet, we wouldn’t have needed the flashbacks if there wasn’t enough time. Rankin made it possible to know exactly what Roger was thinking of just by his expressions. He was able to make his fears known. We knew that he was reliving the trauma over and over again, and it was starting to make him doubt himself.

There’s a moment when Brianna is singing to Jemmy. We know that all Roger can think of is the time before the Battle of Alamance. He’s thinking of when he sang the song to Jemmy and the fear of dying. He’s thinking of what happened to him and the loss of his voice. He’s lost a part of who he is and now he’s trying to find a new place for himself in the world.

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No words need to be spoken. This isn’t always easy to pull off. It takes a hell of an actor to bring all this emotion and clear communication with the audience just through body language and facial expressions. We all rely on our voices to express our inner thoughts. Yet, Richard Rankin showed us everything that Roger was feeling silently.

One of the moments that stands out for me is when he stands over the cliff. It looks like he’s considering jumping, but he’s also trying to work through his trauma. While Young Ian sees the consideration to jump, his face tells a different story. You can see that he doesn’t really want to, but he’s struggling with the memories he’s working through. The PTSD is threatening to take over him. But he wants to fight.

It takes a lot to deliver a powerful performance with no words. Richard Rankin deserves an Emmy nomination at the very least for his powerful performance—although, personally, I’d love for him to win.

3 best Roger moments from Outlander Season 5, Episode 8. dark. Next

Outlander Season 5 continues on Sundays on STARZ.