I’ve been wanting to update on the continuing saga of Jack and Jennifer, but there haven’t been a lot of twists and turns to talk about lately. Jack, Jennifer, and Emilio continue to be joined at the hip, but you can hardly even call it an official triangle yet. There has been no kissing, no real dating, and even any UST moments (that’s Unresolved Sexual Tension, and Days used to be the master at it). There have definitely been moments where we see Jack and Jennifer connecting, or see Jack be jealous, or Jen look after Jack with a softening expression on her face, but the connotations have not been sexual, not yet.
I have to believe this has been a choice by Matt Ashford and Missy Reeves, because there have been a few moments practically begging to be read with sexual connotations, and they haven’t gone that route. Jack gets hurt when he is attacked by some gang members on the pier, and Jen asks him to move in with her while he’s recovering, mentioning that she was a candy striper. He asks if he can see her in her uniform later, and somehow makes that not sound suggestive. Jen, too, shows no reaction to this comment, one way or the other. I think that the two actors decided, considering Jack’s past and Jen’s youth, that playing up the suggestiveness there would feel skeevy rather than sexy.
But, here, you can see first moment where Matt and Missy play a little UST between Jack and Jen. Jack is still staying at the loft and recovering from his injuries, and here he’s having a little trouble getting dressed:
When Jen comes in, she seems to have no self-consciousness in her manner, even though she knows she’s going to help him get dressed. I love how they are both talking over each other in a characteristically high-energy Jack and Jen scene, and then he makes his remark about how in a couple of minutes he’ll be “in pants.” Then suddenly the scene slows, Jen glances down, and they just exchange a look. It’s just long enough for us to register the UST, and then the hijinks start again.
Another moment I love in this scene is after Emilio barges in when he hears Jen shrieking (Jack and Jen have fallen on the bed together while she’s trying to help him with those pants). Emilio says he thought somebody was hurt, and Jack snaps back, “I know what you thought,” and suddenly the mood totally changes again, this time to something very dark and serious. Emilio thought Jack was attacking Jen, and Jack knows it. Jen knows it too, and all three actors register their discomfort without saying anything.
Jack takes himself off to get dressed, and Emilio questions Jen about what was going on. I like Emilio in this scene because he’s genuinely concerned for Jen’s safety, and I think her accusation that he’s just jealous hurts his feelings. Jen says explicitly for the first time that she knows Jack would never hurt her, but then she goes on to say firmly that there is nothing between her and Jack. I think Jen might be in a bit of denial, but also, at this point, this is mostly true.
And I love seeing Jack’s reaction to hearing that. It hurts to hear her say it, but he’s not at all surprised. He looks more resigned than anything. I think this shows clearly that even though Jack might indulge in manipulations to try to undermine Emilio or get close to Jen, it’s not with the expectation that it’s going to go anywhere, or that he’s ever going to get the girl. It’s because he just can’t help himself.