I think this might be my favorite scene from Jennifer’s rape storyline:
Jack already knows something is wrong. Jen has not wanted to sleep with him since they’ve been back. He’s taken the rejection calmly, but we’ve seen it sting. I love the puzzled, watchful expression on Jack’s face in this scene, even as he goes through the motions of their romantic evening. I especially like the moment when he says that if he had told her earlier how he felt, it might have prevented her from plunging into this adventure and ending up in Alamania with Lawrence. It shows his thought process, his sense that something went wrong there, and seems to be a way to invite her to open up.
Nothing comes of that, so, what now? Well, she is still here … still saying she loves him. Maybe he should just carry on as though nothing is wrong …
They kiss, they head to the couch. Jennifer says, “I just want you to know that whatever happens, I love you.” That’s not ominous or anything.
Jack kisses her again. We can see Jen begin to panic. Frankie’s entrance is perfectly timed, saving Jen from having to pull away, or rather, having to explain why she’s pulling away.
Frankie’s entrance is perfectly timed for Jack too. Here is a possible explanation for why Jen is pushing him away. Every demon from his relationship with Kayla must be screaming at him internally. That was the last time a woman he loved put him off with feeble excuses, asked him to be understanding, to wait. And he did wait. He carried on as though nothing was wrong …
(I have always loved this scene. Kayla and Steve really did carry on right under Jack’s nose, and I don’t give them a pass for that. It’s true that whatever they did, it doesn’t justify the rape. But then, the converse is also true: the rape doesn’t justify what they did.)
“Frankie coming in like that … it spoiled the mood for me.”
“I just feel funny, being here in my mom’s house with you.”
Last time, the woman he loved was making excuses because she was really in love with someone else. Maybe history is repeating itself.
And if history can repeat itself in one way, maybe it can in another. He says to Jen here, “I never mean to scare you, or hurt you.” But here’s the thing: he never meant to hurt Kayla either. He said to Kayla, “I’ll wait. I won’t push you.” And that was true … until it wasn’t.