I’ve mentioned before that Jack and Jennifer were not a planned couple. That’s part of why I was so surprised at some of the moments in the baby Hannah storyline, which seemed to set up the Jack and Jennifer dynamic so quickly—where she believes in his good side when no one else does.
After the baby Hannah story wraps up, however, it becomes very clear that the show had not committed to Jack and Jennifer yet. But I think they liked what they saw between the two of them well enough that they decided to bring Jack into the Jennifer and Emilio story. Emilio has been on the run, but he comes back to town right after Jen returns Hannah to Sally’s parents. I get the impression that the show is keeping Jen and Emilio as the rooting couple for now and setting Jack up as an interloper, but hedging its bets for a possible change in direction in the future.
Once you get over how crazy Emilio’s hair is, this is a really sweet scene for Jennifer and Emilio. Jennifer is angry with him when he first comes in (for plot reasons I won’t go into), but she is genuinely happy when she hears he has an interview. It’s all very cute. Emilio asks for a kiss on the cheek and Jen gives it to him, and then Emilio turns it into a real kiss, just in time for Jack to see it.
If the show had settled on Jack and Jen as the rooting couple, I think the camera would have focused more on Jack’s reaction to the kiss, rather than Jen gazing into Emilio’s eyes. Jack throws a fit about unprofessionalism, but ends up acting pretty inappropriate himself by calling her an oversexed teenager. I love the way Billy Hufsey makes kissy faces at Jack on the way out.
When Jennifer demands to know why Jack reacting so strongly to her kissing Emilio, I don’t get the sense that she suspects he is jealous. She just seems annoyed at the slam at her professionalism. (Her crack about having a date with the entire football team, plus the marching band, is pretty funny.) In fact, I have to say I love the introduction of Emilio into this story. Really, it’s true! I love how Emilio and Jack are presented on equal footing, and Emilio is able to give as good as he gets. And I like the fact that Jen still has feelings for Emilio and is much more focused on him than on Jack. It creates a lot of distance between Jack and Jennifer, and lets Jack be the one that feels more, first.
After Jen leaves, Jack has a dream, and this is the first time the show has shown us explicitly that Jack has feelings for Jen. I love how the dream shows Jen in absolute control. Jack is nervous and talking too fast and stammering like he often does, and Jen is cool, confident, and sexy. I love how it plays on Jack’s history of prying into Jen’s computer. Then the way she comes over and stalks him, grabs his tie and puts her mouth on his ear is great. I love her line, “You don’t know what to do with me, do you, Jack?” It’s a good way to make Jack’s feelings for Jen a real source of uncertainty and vulnerability for him.
When Jen wakes him up, Matt Ashford plays Jack’s reaction as very off balance and startled. It’s silly that Jack would fall asleep so quickly, but other than that I like the fact that this is a dream, not a fantasy. It shows that Jack has really been in denial. The humor of “You’re drooling” is maybe a little over the top, but it did make me laugh.