A Teeny Tiny Nugget

Previous Jack and Jennifer post: Big Brother

When Steve is still keeping his secret about Marina—which is well-done drama but headed in a fairly predictable direction—the show throws us a curveball by tossing Jack into the mix. Jack sees the connection between Steve and this mysterious woman, and does some digging on his own to find out more about her. Suddenly we don’t know what’s going to happen. The show lets Jack play all this very close to his chest. Is he seeking revenge? Does he want to help? Even if he wants to help, will Steve’s constant suspicion and hostility make Jack lash out after all?

All that tension is very much present in this scene on the pier, where Jack tells Steve he knows that “Donna” is Marina:

Jack and Steve on the pier

On the surface, this is another scene where Jack makes snarky remarks and Steve grabs him by the lapels. But the ground has shifted. It is Steve who is the screwup here, and it has the effect of putting him on a more even footing with Jack. This becomes clear when Steve demands to know why he would need help from a walking disaster like Jack. Jack starts to say they both know he’s made mistakes, and Steve gets angry at his characterization of the rape as a “mistake.” And I love seeing that, on Kayla’s behalf. But, Jack moves right on, asking, “You haven’t made mistakes?” and Steve is completely silenced.

Seeing Steve’s vulnerability makes Jack press his advantage (and open up a little bit himself), when he says that Jo and Steve and Adrienne like to talk about family sticking together, but they want him on the outside. But, he says, if I’m on the outside I can’t help you.

But Steve isn’t ready to accept help from Jack. He sneers at him a little bit and tells him to stay out of this, then adds, “I’m serious, Billy.” Calling him “Billy” softens his rejection slightly and makes his request more a plea than a threat. It shows he heard what Jack was saying, and extends to him a little benefit of the doubt. If Jack’s offer of help was sincere, he’ll respect Steve’s wishes.

Jack’s involvement with the Marina story also affects his relationship with Jen. Though she isn’t 100% sure, she becomes convinced that he has good motives this time, and all his deflection and misdirection just makes her more determined to call him on it:

Jen asks Jack about his story

There are lots of interesting subtleties in this scene. First, Missy Reeves plays the barest hint of, not exactly jealousy, but a sense of exclusion, when it comes to Jack and Kayla. At the very beginning of the scene, when Jack isn’t there to see her, but Kayla, Jen deflates a little bit and we can see the wheels start turning in her head.

And there’s a wonderful moment, when Jen says, “Wouldn’t you be [hurting]? Marrying someone you love more than anything, and then having someone from their past come back and screw it up?” Jack pauses to give a little ironic smile, obviously thinking of his marriage to Kayla, and then he just agrees and moves on.

Jack insists that his research is related to a story he’s working on and won’t admit anything else. At first Jen scolds him that he has hurt Steve and Kayla enough and he needs to leave them alone (showing she still has some doubts about his motives). But when he continues to protest, she changes direction and says he’s a phony and he wants to help his brother. I love the way Jack says, “He hates me, I hate him, end of story,” because even at their worst it is always so much more complicated than that.

Then Jen gives this little speech about Jack’s black heart, and the teeny, tiny nugget that’s in there somewhere, and “someday, you’re going to mine it.” (“Death by metaphor” is Jack’s reaction—hee!) It’s all a little silly, but Missy plays it as silly. This is a great way to introduce the serious theme of Jen having faith in Jack, and seeing that “other side” of him, but it’s played in a light, comic, ironic way that is perfect for where Jack and Jen are right now.

Next Jack and Jennifer post: You’ve never had a …?

8 thoughts on “A Teeny Tiny Nugget

  1. Maybe it’s the loss of the patch and a tad bit more weight on SN, but throughout this entire storyline I just simply feel like this.is.not.Steve. The constant Toscano Tune playing in the background doesn’t help matters.

    By this point, Steve and Kayla have been through so much that they both seem to be just going through the motions of what needs to be done the latest in a long line of tragedies. Don’t get me wrong, that’s actually a compliment to the actors being able to show both characters lose their fighting spirit. What human being wouldn’t be a little on the drained side after everything? I once heard it described as S&K’s “House of Pain” and a better description I’ve yet to come across.

    Maybe that’s one reason why J&J seemed so refreshing at the time. Not only were they in the “Getting to Know You”/UST stages that are always such fun, they had the light-heartedness that S&K simply couldn’t (understandably) muster at this point. It was the perfect counter-balance. Much as Steve would loathe to admit it, Jack was exactly what he and Kayla needed.

  2. Putting Jack into this storyline was sheer genius for so many reasons. It gives Jack an opportunity to earn his redemption by helping Steve and Kayla despite their refusal to acknowledge or accept it. It adds a layer of tension to the storyline because, for a while, we don’t know if Jack’s intentions are good or bad. It provides some different types of bonding moments for Jack and Jennifer as she sees him working so hard to try and help S&K even though nobody else believes it. And it provides some closure for Jack with regards to Kayla. I think the writers did a wonderful job putting Jack in this storyline in a realistic and compelling way.

  3. RileyKay, I also found Steve’s appearance disorienting. The hair, no patch, rounder face — it just didn’t look right. It’s odd to think he looked better with the patch, but for me, it’s absolutely true. Steve losing the patch brought on soap rage for me.

    You’re right, esp. It was a great way to reconcile Jack and put him on the path to redemption (however temporary). And I ended up really liking the relationship he developed with Steve as a brother.

  4. RileyKay, I have found that the lighter Jack and Jennifer scenes are very welcome to leaven the angst a little bit. It’s a very good balance for me right now, because I love the angst but a steady diet of it can be hard to take.

    Watching the DVDs I’ve found I don’t mind Steve’s look as much as I thought I would. Sometimes he doesn’t look as good, like in the clip above, but other times he looks just like Steve—only with no patch, of course. I’ll be glad to see it back, though.

    And esp, Jack’s involvement was indeed a stroke of genius by the show in so many ways. I love how they start out keeping his motives ambiguous, just to add a little extra justification for Steve and Kayla’s complete distrust. And then to see him go forward from there and try to help anyway is wonderful.

  5. This is a technical question post. What happens if I check the notify me box? Will I get a message that there is a follow-up? Will I get a message that you’ve posted? I share my email with my husband, and I don’t want him to get a whole bunch of Steve & Kayla comments in his email, but as it is, I’m checking in all the time to see if anyone has posted. It’s kind of inefficient.

    Thanks for whatever information you share with me. And you can send it via email so I’m not taking up valuable space on your blog.

  6. I’m not sure, Flaco! I think this is a new feature. I’m going to try it and see.

    It looks like if you check that box, you get notified whenever there’s a new comment just to that particular post. So you shouldn’t get flooded with emails.🙂 Let me know if it works for you.

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