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https://www.accesshollywood.com/articles/outlander-hail-mary-gary-lewis-colums-requests-jamie-claire/ ‘Outlander’ Q&A: Gary Lewis On Colum’s Requests For Jamie & Claire In ‘The Hail Mary’ Episode

June 25, 2016 7 PM PDT

Colum MacKenzie journeyed to see the Frasers for help with a grave situation in Saturday night’s “Outlander.”

(Spoiler alert! This article contains major plot details from “Outlander” Season 2, Episode 12 – “The Hail Mary.” Bookmark this link to come back to later if you haven’t watched.)

While the Jacobite army was on a break from battle and plotting its next move, Colum MacKenzie traveled to see Jamie and Claire Fraser to ask them for help. Knowing he was dying, Colum asked healer Claire for some medicine to stop his suffering and let him pass on in peace. Colum asked his nephew, Jamie, for something else. In front of his own brother, Dougal, Colum asked Jamie Fraser to become the guardian of wee Hamish, the son he named as his successor. The request angered Dougal (Hamish’s real father) and resulted in a charged exchange between the two men in the episode.

image: https://d919ce141ef35c47fc40-b9166a60eccf0f83d2d9c63fa65b9129.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/images/Gary_Lewis.original.jpg

Gary Lewis as Colum MacKenzie in ‘Outlander’ Season 2
Gary Lewis as Colum MacKenzie in ‘Outlander’ Season 2 (Starz)

PHOTOS: ‘Outlander’: Scenes From Season 2, Episode 12 — ‘The Hail Mary’

Gary spoke with Access Hollywood about the big moments from “The Hail Mary” episode, including that scene, why Colum approached Jamie and Claire for help and his character’s final exchange with Dougal.

AccessHollywood.com: When did you find out your [character’s] death was going to be different than it is in Diana [Gabaldon’s] books?

Gary Lewis: When I saw the script. I had no idea up until I saw the scripts. I knew how it was in the books, but I was not unpleasantly surprised with how it is in the show. I think it’s very sensitive and yeah, I like how’s it’s done.

WATCH: ‘Outlander’ NYC Premiere: Graham McTavish & Gary Lewis Talk Behind-The-Scenes Laughs

Access: Colum had to go to Jamie and Claire for help in wrapping up his life, so to speak. Was that something you thought would have been difficult for him to do – to ask the two of them for help?

Gary: No, I’ll tell you why — I think in Colum’s view, both as individuals, and as a couple, I think Colum recognizes that Jamie and Claire are hugely significant for the future of his clan. Jamie, obviously because of his potential to be the heir and Claire — I think Colum has recognized from way back… that she has some part to play. I think he recognizes there’s a difference. Obviously, he can’t put his finger on it. She’s useful because of her skills in medicine and the herbal remedies and she helps him way back with the massage. So he recognizes her worth, but I think he also recognizes that she is significant for the MacKenzies. That, of course, ups when they get married, much to his disapproval, initially (laughs). But then, he is, of course, aware of the significance and the importance of those two as a couple, because Jamie – he knows way back that Jamie is the person who’s going to lead the MacKenzies. … I’ll tell you from my point of view — this goes way back to ‘The Gathering’ when Jamie straddles that very difficult position where he doesn’t pledge a complete and absolute oath of allegiance to Colum, but he doesn’t get himself killed by [Dougal], by refusing to, and he makes that very wonderful and diplomatic, but heartfelt and intelligent pledge to Colum — way back then, whether he knew it or not, he just made a successful application for the job. That’s how I see it. He showed his mettle, he showed his potential, his maturing wisdom and then later, Colum actually takes counsel from him. So it’s a developing thing. It’s not that unusual from Colum’s perspective to go to Jamie and Claire to take care of business.

Access: Let’s talk about the scene with Caitriona [Balfe] where [Colum has] to ask her [character, Claire,] basically for a death potion. It’s super serious, it’s super emotional. Did they keep it kind of limited on set that day, there weren’t many extra [people] around? I’m curious if they cleared the galleys, so to speak, for you guys.

Gary: Not especially so, but the crew are fantastic and there was an acknowledgement of the nature of the scene. You don’t really know how it’s going to be until you’re in there and you start dancing with the other actors, you start exploring the space between you. And of course Cait is so wonderful, so once we started going to work, the somberness of the scene and the gravity of it became apparent. And, because it’s the amazing ‘Outlander’ crew, yeah, they were respectful of that. So yeah, things just go quiet with a nature of understanding and this is what’s happening. He’s basically saying, ‘Hey, I need to leave the planet now. I can’t take any more and… you’re gonna help me get to the door.’ … And even the lighting and everything – everything’s subdued, and basically, he’s saying goodbye. That’s when he’s saying goodbye to Claire and he’s emotional about that. He still has to take care of business, but this is goodbye to somebody he knows will play significant part in the future of his nephew.

Access: Dougal doesn’t take the news well that Colum wants Jamie to be Hamish’s guardian. Why you think Colum can deliver basically kind of devastating news to Dougal and know full well that Dougal isn’t going to [go crazy] on his brother?

Colum: Everything rests on loyalty. … It would be suicide, it would be the end if he couldn’t handle that. Colum knows that he’s head strong and incapable of acting rationally and the stakes are very, very high. Yeah, he could just explode. But, of course, Jamie’s there as well, so there’s a degree of trust in the situation that his brother has sworn his loyalty. You can’t kill the Laird (laughs). Well, you could, but that would be the end for Dougal as well. You see the thing is, what’s really beautiful about the structure and the writing in this scene is that not only does Colum say that things are going in a different direction – that it’s going to be Jamie, and Ned [Gowan] is going to look after the boy and he’ll be counseled and Jamie and Ned will play these roles, but he also confronts Dougal with his complete – he says to him quite clear, ‘You’re not as popular as you think you are.’ He just confronts him with the reality and then he confronts him with the possibility of the failure of the cause and he confronts Dougal with his inability to take on board that this cause is on its back. They’re not going to be successful, but [Dougal] can’t see beyond that. So it’s his pride, it’s all the things which have crippled — Colum being physically crippled — but all the things, which have mentally and emotionally crippled Dougal are laid bare. … He puts it right out there.

Access: You also had a great line where you get to say to Dougal, if he would swear to put the lives of the men above all else—

Gary: That’s end game. Yeah, that’s the end game when I say, ‘Okay, you say it, you mean it, and that’s it.’ After that, it’s not even checkmate and he falls, it’s like he has to leave. He actually has to physically leave the room because that’s the end and what a beautiful line, ‘You say those words, and that’s it, you got the position. Just say them, but mean them. Mean them. Don’t just make a noise with your mouth. Mean it,’ knowing full well that he can’t. He cannot make that connection. There’s no honesty there. Sure, he can holler and wave a sword and be proud, but he could not possibly say even something as clear as that — ‘you put the lives of your men before this cause.’ It’s a great line.

WATCH: ‘Outlander’: Maril Davis & Sam Heughan Preview ‘Heartbreaking’ & ‘Emotional’ S2 Finale

Access: [How did you feel about how] Colum basically gets the last word with Dougal. Obviously Graham [McTavish] got to deliver probably one if his most emotional speeches of the season, performances, and Colum is not there to hear it, because he’s already taken the yellow jasmine.

Gary: That’s it, he’s gone. I mean, it’s the worst thing you can do to somebody who needs the audience. You just move on, you’ve left, you’ve actually left the theater. … It’s like, ‘Wow.’ And he said to him, ‘I take no responsibility for it. Your life is your own. I take no responsibility for it.’ And he’s basically just saying, ‘Hey, bang. That’s it. Goodnight, I’m gone.’

Access: What are you going to miss most about being a part of this?

Gary: I’ll tell you, Jolie, it didn’t hit me because I was concentrating on the work, so I didn’t really put any investment into thinking about, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to be here soon.’ (laughs) I never thought about it that way and then it was like, the first assistant director says, ‘That’s a wrap for Gary Lewis,’ and I still hadn’t taken it in, you know? And Matt [Roberts, ‘Outlander’ co-executive producer] was there and he [came over and] gave me a big hug, and Maril’s [Davis, ‘Outlander’ executive producer] there and gave me a big hug, but I’m still thinking I’m going to see these guys tomorrow (laughs). … So, it’s really strange. This has happened to me before. I don’t really think about it like that and then you’re in the car. You know when you’re talking to the driver and you’re like, ‘Jesus, am I–?’ (laughs) Then it hit me. ‘Oh, wow.’ … But I never let it hit me on set because there’s too much to do and those scenes are so important. I was still at work.

Access: This project really got to reunite you with a lot of the actors you’ve worked with over the years.

Gary: Oh yeah, and with Sam [Heughan] of course. I’d worked with Sam previously in the Battle of Britain drama and yeah, there [were] lots. It was fantastic in that respect. It was terrific. And lots of the crew of course, and then there was the added bonus of meeting a whole new [group] of incredible people, like Diana herself and oh God, the minute I was in the costume department [with Terry Dresbach]… it was just like something else. Beautiful genius at work… and I had a great time, great time just going through the costumes with her… and Matt and Maril, and of course, Cait, who I’d never met before. There were lots of incredible people and incredible actors to meet and work with. It was a joy — a real joy.

“Outlander” continues with a marathon next weekend, before the Season 2 finale on July 9 at 9 PM ET/PT on Starz.

— Jolie Lash

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The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou, among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

While I know the term Hail Mary is applied to any and all last-ditch efforts, I couldn’t help thinking about the prayer itself and how it applied in this episode. Who, exactly, is full of grace? Because grace can mean any number of things. It can mean an act of goodwill. It can mean forgiveness and mercy. It can mean the way someone moves, with elegance. It can mean an attractive quality or good manners. It can mean an act of charity or leniency. Almost every character, at some point in this episode, shows a measure of grace.

Mary. Her voice has changed. It’s deeper. Measured. Gone are the hysterics and the stutter. Finally, she’s grown up. And as she talks with Claire we see how she is full of grace. She shows forgiveness, charity, and leniency all in one exchange at the apothecary’s. And I got a sense that she’s not so much naive as she is in denial about her situation. And when Mary agrees to marry BJR, they both do an act of goodwill for Alex. It eases his mind. And unbeknownst to them, it is an act of goodwill for Clair as it assures Frank’s life. (And say what you want, but this is necessary for Jamie’s child. Get over yourselves). She’s also pregnant, so it benefits her unborn child. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Jamie. He can see the hour of all their deaths. And it weighs on him so heavily. He looks so gaunt in the face. It echoes what Dougal says, that their strength is dwindling on one bannock a day. But the entire episode his mind is always turning, always thinking of how to get out of this mess. Jamie’s Hail Mary is 100% trying to think of his own last-ditch plan. When O’Sullivan accuses him of ‘coward’s talk’, Jamie’s about ready to take his head off a la Sandringham. I had to wonder, did Claire tell Jamie the gold doesn’t arrive? To stall might be one of his plans. Any information that he receives is turned into another plan. Cumberland’s birthday? Trap the British. Colum handing him the reins? Bring fresh men to the battle. Now, and at the hour of our death.

Prince Charles thinks that their cause is full of grace and cannot fail. That God is with them. The Lord is with thee.

Claire. She is so resigned to history repeating itself. I keep remembering a hopeful Claire on the boat and early in Paris, telling Jamie, “when were you never up for a challenge?” But now, she’s the one who’s essentially given up and Jamie has to rouse her to the challenge. They lift each other up when they need to. She, too, is full of grace, in certain circumstances. With Alex. And in realizing the Mary needs BJR in case history does go according to plan. She is very logical and kind in her explanation to Murtagh as to why he can’t help Mary. Claire’s grace comes in the form of goodwill and wanting to make reparation for her meddling in Mary’s business. And with Colum. You could tell she wrestled with that one, but in the end she decided to forgive anything between her and Colum. And give him what he wanted. Which was to be in control of his life to the very end. Claire is a rare woman in this time. Intelligent. Compassionate. Gifted. Strong. Blessed art thou, among women.

Murtagh. He shows grace by offering to marry Mary Hawkins. An act of goodwill and charity. Unselfish. Gallant. Chivalrous. No wonder Jamie turned out the way he did. Murtagh has always had an easier relationship with Claire than the other highlanders. Like Jamie, he treats Claire as an equal. I believe he recognized Jamie’s love for her right away, when he told her Jamie needed a woman, not a lassie. And he’s always believed Claire to be different. From the beginning he had a gut intuition that Claire was someone special. Right when he found her in the woods and said, “I’ll stake my best shirt she’s not a whore”. And he’s grown to love, respect and trust her. It’s so nice to see that come to fruition. He’s always allowed Jamie to make his decisions and backed him up. So be it. He’s also bothered by what he knows of history. Jamie’s and Claire’s burden is his burden. Pray for us sinners.

Brief moment….can I ask why they made Alex look like the Vampire Lestat after a feeding frenzy?? …moving on.

Colum. Still The Mackenzie, even if he is on “rickety sticks”. In his own way, he asks for forgiveness in the way he compliments Claire. And Jamie. And admits he was wrong about their marriage. And they extend that grace to him. Gary Lewis is a master. His scene in asking Claire for the mercy of a death of his own choosing is heartbreaking. And Claire, not wanting to hear an ill word about her friend. Still showing mercy to Geillis after all these years. Because without Geillis, Claire most likely would not be alive. Is it just me or did anyone else feel like Colum gives Jamie the idea of saving the Lallybroch men from Culloden? I got a sense that a light bulb went off over Jamie’s head in that scene. At the hour of our death.

I absolutely loved watching BJR and Claire square off. They hate each other. They really do. And the fact that they extend no mercy towards each other, EVER, makes all the other relationships in the show that much more tender. Her face at seeing Jack Randall again for the first time encapsulated all the feelings from her miscarriage. She was literally Claire in the hospital, all over again. Her grace most definitely does not extend to Jack Randall. There is no charity or goodwill for him. Only bargaining. Something for something. And the Claire now is so different from the Claire we first met. She’s harder. Bitter. Angry. And when he baits her talking about Jamie, she pulls herself together, musters her hate and hands him guilt. Not grace. Finally, did anyone else think Jamie found his wife hot af when she reminded him she’d help him kill BJR?

You get a sense from Alex that Jack, in a former life, a life before the war, was a different person. Hell, even his name is different. Johnny. A name that is softer, that makes you think of a childhood friend. At one time Johnny was probably full of grace, for his little brother. What changed? Why? And how did BJR come to feed only his darker self? Try as I might to understand why a man might pummel the body of his dead brother, I cannot. Perhaps in order NOT to feel, BJR has to stay in the darkest place he can. Anger. Always anger. There can be no other emotion for this man. Because maybe if he starts to cry he will never stop. Maybe it’s the opposite of Dougal, who was upset that Colum never healed. Perhaps BJR is upset that he couldn’t heal Alex. Whatever, it was the most disturbing of reactions. There is no prayer of comfort for an act like that.

Dougal. The most powerful scene for me was between Dougal and Colum. In his rough and ungraceful way, Dougal is essentially telling Colum that he’s mourned for his brother all these years. Everything he expected his big brother to be changed in an instant. And all of Dougal’s prayers, wishes, and hopes for a recovery were dashed. Forever. In Dougal’s mind, he did all that was asked of him. For Colum. I got a sense he felt like he had to live his life, AND a measure of Colum’s life. Because Colum couldn’t. And when he comes to make peace with his brother, Colum dies. And Dougal can’t have the conversation because he’ll never get the answers he so desperately wants. He loved his brother. He truly did. He never forgave his brother for not getting better. And he weeps for THEM. Not just Colum, but for them…and who and what they could have been. Together. And at the end he runs out of time to repair it. Amen.

Final thought: War. When Claire is at war the first time she leaves Frank for 5 years. When Claire is at war the second time with Jamie she rides beside him. And as we see in the trailer for next week, she doesn’t want to leave him. Even knowing the outcome. She was committed to the War as a nurse the first time, independent of Frank. She is committed to the Jacobite Rising as a wife the second time, in union with Jamie.

Also, Things the writers fixed for me this Season: Claire’s habit of laughing hysterically when she’s stressed.

Having Murtagh accompany Claire to Alex’s boarding house, instead of Jamie.

Fergus as both Claire and Jamie’s and not just Jamie’s.

All of Murtagh. And fleshing out his relationship with Claire, the wife of his godson.

Colum and Dougal’s absolutely true to form brother rivalry.

June 25, 2016

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