Starz series Outlander made a comeback this week following a short two-break. Fans were left on a shocking cliff-hanger after it looked like Roger MacKenzie (played by Richard Rankin) had been killed during the Battle of Alamance. Roger had been sent on a secret mission to the Regulators’ camp in a bid to ask Murtagh Fitzgibbons (Duncan Lacroix) and his men to lay down their arms.
Why didn’t Governor Tryon recognise Roger MacKenzie?
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Outlander season 5, episode 8
Sadly, Roger’s words went unheeded and resulted in Murtagh’s tragic demise as he protected his godson Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).
Also, Roger was knocked out by his vicious ancestor Buck MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) and handed over to the British government.
He found himself facing Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) and Colonel Chadwick (Miles Richardson), who sentenced him to hang with several other men.
Buck seemed to relish the moment but Roger could only look on in horror as he was handed a death sentence.
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Before Roger knew it, his hands were bound together, a cloth sack was placed over his head and he was strung up from a tree.
However, it seems highly stranger Tryon failed to recognise Roger in this scene.
Tryon saw the men getting hoods put on them, surely he would have recognised Roger?
The Redcoat did seem to glimpse at the men after they were brought to him.
Also, the British soldier went to Roger’s wedding at the beginning of season five and would have remembered the groom.
Given Roger and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) would have been greeting their guests, they would have encountered Tryon, who was a VIP at the event.
Additionally, Tryon is likely to have visited Fraser’s Ridge on previous occasions and would have seen Roger working there.
Not to mention, Roger is the son-in-law of Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) – a man knows very well.
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Tryon has made no bones about granting Jamie his lands in North Carolina in exchange for essentially fealty to the crown.
Something else worth bearing in mind, Jamie and Roger were together at Alamance where they would have been seen by Tryon.
There’s also the question of why Roger didn’t try to speak out and try to stop the hanging.
The only really explanation for this potential plot hole is Tryon didn’t clock Roger as he made an example of the wretched men.
Speaking in a behind-the-scenes video showrunner Matthew B. Roberts explained Roger’s arc in the episode.
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Roberts said: “What we talked about it. We wanted something to get into Roger’s head and we wanted to have a device to get into Roger’s head that was cinematic and what we chose to do was this silent picture to show this trauma. We were all nervous.”
He continued: “When I first saw the cut, I was like, ‘We don’t need the conventional way because this is fantastic.’”
The writer said: “Richard had to really dig in because as a result of being hanged, he doesn’t really have a voice and although he’s physically okay, he is emotionally so damaged by it.”
Reflecting on Roger’s recovery, Roberts explained: “We also wanted to show throughout this silent picture of what brings him out and once he’s clear in his thoughts, clear in his mind, this movie trickles over into contemporary colour film.
“He realises the one thing that’s clear in his mind is Brianna and his love for Brianna.”
Outlander season 5 airs on Sundays on Starz and Mondays on Amazon Prime Video
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