I would prefer just the first scene, truth be told, but I made the decision to include – because of its example of pure perfection in character definition.
(Keeping in mind that several things are happening at once, but for the audience, the primary issue, although as is the case in the most intricately executed storylines, it is one most likely not grasped consciously, yet the tension is there: we might forget that up until now everyone surrounding “William Wallace”/Mel Gibson is well known to us. They have deep histories with the main character, but now, new, unknown people are showing up and a natural, nebulously felt tension is there.
This concise, unequivocal second scene with Stephen the Irishman tells us, and, equally important, shows us, who he is, what he is made of, and that he is now vital to this group of knowns.)
Yes, it effectively initiates Stephen into the knowns.
I also admire the fact that, although in his introductory scene what is most memorable are Stephen’s words, those words are also accompanied by bold, swift, and effective action, and this process is reaffirmed and confirmed; again, in an excellent lesson in conveying purpose and primacy to a new character.
And, in case you don’t think about such things, it is not Stephen who actually seals the mold on this. The clip ends with Mel Gibson looking heavenward, the “bagpipes” -(not)- playing, and what is as unmistakable a recognition and confirmation of the solidity of this certainty as is rarely seen, ever, in film. Especially of a supporting role.
Stephen the Irishman