The Minister’s Cat – The ABC’s of Roger Wakefield Mackenzie
The Minister’s Cat is an Adorable Cat
I’m curious to know…and we all know what curiosity did to the cat…how many viewers of Outlander (non-book readers here) had the hairs on the back of their neck rise up a wee bit when a certain, sweet lad graced our screens? I’m not speaking of Rik Rankin…though we will certainly be returning to that happy, hair raising topic soon enough… I’m speaking of the cherub faced nephew and adopted son of the Reverend Wakefield. It’s been a while and there’s been quite a bit of ground covered since the debut of Outlander. Three seasons, so far, of sensational scenery, beautifully portrayed historical fiction and heart pounding action to captivate, entertain and distract you. Not to mention numerous accounts of Jamie Fraser removing his shirt and incredible, passionate love making scenes between actors Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, enough to fog even the clearest of feminine, feline focus. But it was quite early on in Season 1, Ep8, “Both Sides Now”, that we first encounter the most precious, little lad, no more than 4 or 5 years old, bringing in a tray of fresh baked biscuits, made by the beloved Mrs. Graham, and little Roger asks if he can have just one more. Just the way the camera focused on his adorable face I knew this character was going to be of some significance. I had not yet read the books, so I had no way of knowing. But I immediately had a sixth sense about him as he entered and exited the room during this scene, so early on in the story. I felt certain it was purposeful. I was NOT wrong. Did you feel it at that moment too?
The Minister’s Cat is a Braw Cat.
The next time we see little Roger is the Season 2 opener, “Through a Glass, Darkly”. It’s the scene when Frank Randall and Reverend Wakefield are discussing the situation with Claire after her return to 1948, nearly three years after she disappeared. Though Frank was initially thrilled at her miraculous return, Claire confesses she is pregnant with another man’s child. At the moment when Frank is completely torn, in steps a slightly older, but still innocent and young, Roger. He calls Reverend Wakefield “father”, which presents the opportunity for the Reverend to share just the right words which sooth and inspire Frank. This is a pivitol moment, as it allows Frank to come to the realization of the possibility of loving a child not of his blood, and drives the story forward. Already, little Roger is having a huge impact on the future of our main characters. Being an adoptive parent myself, I not only found this scene touching but also enlightening. It offers hope for viewers like me, who could not have children of their own, to see that perhaps it’s God’s or the universes’ plan and that we are all connected by invisible, mysterious and magical threads.
The Minister’s Cat is a Curious Cat
How appropriate, and interesting, that after little Roger helps kick off Season 2, we see him once more in the finale of E13 “Dragonfly in Amber”. Some 20 years have passed and we now see the handsome, gentle, intelligent man that Roger has grown to become. It’s the Reverend Wakefield’s wake and Claire comes to pay her respects with her adult daughter Brianna. There’s an instant attraction! I mean I found Roger/ Rik Rankin absolutely yummy. Those puppy dog eyes, that sweet demeanor, that Scottish accent… Oh wait, ahem, (writer clears throat, turns shades of red, no reader can or should have to see), what I really meant was there was an immediate attraction between the characters of Brie and Roger. Adult Roger is still as gentle and soft spoken as when he was a bairn and viewers can’t help but be further attracted to his adult self, a sober, endearing and humorous character. He’s open minded to Claire’s story and it’s his voice of reason, much like his adoptive father, Reverend Wakefield, that helps Brianna see the possibility of reality within Claire’s seemingly outlandish tale about Brianna’s biological father. It’s his curiosity that is instrumental in uncovering details from the past that become undeniable proof that not only is Claire telling the truth but that there’s a strong chance that Jamie Fraser survived the battle of Culloden.
The Minister’s Cat is a Diligent Cat
In, Season 3, Ep4, Roger continues to help Claire and Brianna sort through the past to find clues of Jamie’s existence and we begin to see the budding romance between he and Brianna. Then in S3, Ep5 “Freedom and Whiskey” Roger returns with a surprise visit to Boston and even further proof of Jamie’s survival. He shows Claire a pamphlet that he believes Jamie wrote and tells her that he was last known to be a printer in Edinburgh, to whom we viewers and readers have lovingly come to know as the infamous A. Malcolm. Even though Claire had decided months ago to give up the ghost, it’s due to Roger’s diligence and discovery that Claire decides to try and make her way back to the 18th century. Once again, Roger is the catalyst for our main character’s actions.
So Droughtlanders, what do you think the future holds for our dear Roger?
SPOILER ALERT!!!! Non book readers, continue at your own discretion. Skip to the next paragraph to continue, if you chose.
One thing is certain we know a great deal awaits… adventures on the high seas, run-ins with his own ancestors and being in the employ of a man who, going forward, will affect his life for years to come. Of course we long to see him reunited with Brianna, being hand-fasted in marriage to he. But we know it’s not all joy and romance. Quite the opposite. It’s a perilous journey, fraught with heartache and danger as he soon finds himself a victim of circumstance and misinformation and nearly killed outright by the very man he helped find, James Fraser. He endures life among 18th century Native Americans and is eventually reunited once more with his beloved Brianna, who is pregnant with a child that may, or may not be his! How will we see this unfold? Will some or all of the above be portrayed on the screen? Well, as Outlander crews are reporting being half way through filming Season 4, the chance to experience it all grows enticingly closer.
The Minister’s Cat is an Enigmatic Cat
In closing, I’d just like to add that in June of 2017 I had the sincere pleasure of meeting Mr. Rik Rankin himself and may I add, with as much gushing as fan girl can muster, he’s one fine, clever and verra playful cat! It was at the Outlander in NYC Fundraiser Event and, to be honest, I was far more interested in meeting so many of the other cast members who portrayed characters that I’d come to love. Steven Cree, Stephen Walters, Gary Lewis, Duncan Lacroix, Nell Hudson and Wil Johnson. were all in attendance and all incredibly kind, patient, warm and fun loving. At the time, Mr. Rankin wasn’t even on my radar. Additionally, he was completely surrounded by hundreds of doting woman so I kept my distance. Then as fate would have it, he came to our table and very happily began making the rounds and taking selfies with anyone who asked. Not many people captivate me or surprise me, but let me just say this, Rik Rankin is ten times more handsome and endearing in person than on the screen. If I could make the sound of a cat purring, I would. He even photobombed several of our group pictures without our knowing it and ultimately made our night! So thank you Rik for all you do in bringing Roger to life on the screen and we eagerly await your return in the upcoming season.
Thank you Donna, for once again guest blogging. It's always a pleasure having you join us!
Stay tuned for more interviews coming in the future as the Outlander Actors and Supporting Artist series continues.
Also in the next few months, we will be attending and blogging at the many different Outlander cast appearances. If you are interested in attending one of these, check out the events section under the "more" tab.