- Outlander -This One Lord John Scene Made Actor David Berry Feel Kinda "Dorky"
Spoilers ahead for Outlander Season 6, Episode 5, "Give Me Liberty."
After concerns within the fandom that he wouldn't come back, Lord John Grey returned in Outlander in "Give Me Liberty." As he's wont to do, he traveled far and wide to attend a fancy party — this time from England in honor of the "reformed Jacobite" Flora MacDonald. But while in North Carolina, he also had the chance to reunite with his bestie Jamie... and break up a small skirmish with only a broom as his weapon.
"That was really funny and challenging," Lord John actor David Berry tells The Dipp about fending off the rebels with a broom. "I felt kind of dorky doing it. Because they go from this party where they're all dressed to the nines and then, next minute, they're holding brooms with tar with mud everywhere and holding back a crowd."
"I recently watched the episode and I had a moment of cringe," Berry admits. "As much as I know Lord John is capable and can do these things, I just want him to be holding a sword and not a broom."
To be fair, Lord John only had access to a broom since that's what the rebels were using to fling tar on the printer who had made the pamphlets celebrating now-Loyalist Flora MacDonald. And Berry does have to admit that even if his weapon was lame, the man behind it was rather impressive.
"I remember thinking in that situation, how are these two men — well, really, it's just Lord John — holding off a crowd with a broom? So props to him really," Berry says. "He was able to hold back an angry mob with a broom and not many people can say they're capable of doing that."
The actor says they did film some shots of him and Sam Heughan's Jamie in "fisticuffs or scuffles with the crowd," but the episode mostly showed him pushing back against them until the Redcoats arrived to break up the riot. Yet, Berry believes the band of rebels understood the fierceness of the person wielding the cleaning tool. "See, it matters who's on the other end of the broom," Berry says. "If things get really down to business, he's going to throw away that broom and things are going to get really ugly."
The tar and feather scene at the printshop wasn't the only scene of Lord John's Season 6 return. Berry confirms that "Give Me Liberty" is the only episode he'll be in this season, so he wanted to ensure Lord John's role was significant enough to warrant his coming back, especially due to COVID-19.
As he explains, he was coming from Australia, which had very low COVID exposure at the time, to film in Scotland. "There were a lot of people stranded in other parts of the world who were trying to get back to Australia and for me to leave and come back was something that I realized was a huge privilege of mine to do," Berry says. "But also a risk to take at that time because there was no guarantee that if I went to the U.K. that I would be able to get back."
He had to spend a month in isolation and quarantine when he arrived in Scotland and when he returned home to Australia. He highlights his gratitude for being able to create art and work during this time, but he adds, "It had to be meaningful for me to take those risks."
How "meaningful" Lord John's role is within the Outlander story was something he acknowledges he struggled with in Season 5.
"I wasn't quite satisfied with Lord John's involvement in that season," he says. "As much as I want him around, I also want his scenes to be impactful and meaningful. I never see him as a character who's part of the furniture. No actor does."
"When I am on screen, I'm very grateful for those opportunities to enrich the relationship and deepen the character — the relationships he has with the Frasers but also the audience's understanding of who this man is that isn't part of the usual suspects at the Ridge," Berry adds. "He's someone who comes and goes and I'd like for his comings and goings to be intentional, purposeful, and meaningful ... I don't want him to like just be there for the opening of a letter every time," he laughs.
Episode 605 did advance Lord John's story by highlighting the conflict that's growing between him and Jamie — not only because they'll be on different sides of the American Revolution but because Lord John doesn't feel like Jamie values their friendship enough. This tension is something that should be featured in Season 7, which Berry reveals he will be a part of.
Berry doesn't mention a spinoff, or the possibility of his son William being with him in Season 7. But he credits the "producers and the scriptwriters and everyone involved" for being on board with his vision for the character. So even if that means only having a broom as a weapon sometimes, Berry says, "I'm very grateful that they kept this character going and involved in the Outlander world."