I uploaded a couple of clips that I think highlight what made Anjelica such a great character. These take place after Jack has raped Kayla, Jack has fallen off the roof, and Steve has donated his kidney to Jack and gone into a coma. In this first clip, Anjelica doesn’t know about the rape yet, and is scolding Kayla for spending so much time at Steve’s bedside.
You can see her trademark sarcasm on display—“Your husband—remember him? Kind of a cute guy, a politician, fall off a roof recently?” All this is infuriating for us viewers who are rooting for Kayla—after the rape, this truly adds insult to injury. And yet we can see that Anjelica is motivated by her love and protectiveness for Jack, especially when she drops the sarcasm and says, “I knew from the very beginning that you and Jack weren’t Romeo and Juliet, but, Kayla, there was a time when you cared for Jack.” That is very human and honest, and given that she doesn’t know about the rape, very well justified. But when that doesn’t work, she goes straight back into threatening-Deveraux mode, as Kayla points out.
This next clip has fewer layers. Now the truth of the rape has come out (which Anjelica doesn’t believe), and the fact that Kayla is leaving Jack. She is all sarcasm and snobbery, and treats Kayla as the enemy. Still there’s that vein of protectiveness for Jack running through it all, and you can see a little of the sly humor than Elliot brought to the role—even when the scene wasn’t particularly comic:
This last one is my favorite. It takes place after Jack has decided to fight Kayla over the divorce:
Anjelica does her damnedest to condescend to Kayla and dominate the conversation, but Kayla is able to turn the tables on her. I love the way Mary Beth Evans says, “You couldn’t really be so stupid …” with such a strong emphasis on the word “stupid.” Kayla is turning the condescension right back onto her, something Anjelica would hate more than anything. And then Kayla says, “You’ve never been in love … I guess that’s why I always pitied you.” We know that Kayla has scored a direct hit from the way Jane Elliot’s face changes. This scene is very important for showing Kayla coming back into her own after the rape. Without that reaction shot showing that Kayla has hit a nerve, the moment wouldn’t have nearly the same impact.