Since the world-rocking events of the key kiss, I’ve been dying to see Jack and Jen interact again. Is Jack’s rejection going to make Jen give up on him, or is his kiss going to inspire her to keep pushing? How much did she believe him when he said he didn’t want her? If she does keep pushing, is Jack going to be able to keep holding back?
Enquiring minds want to know!
So, of course, the show makes us wait. Jack is off in Miami … then Italy. Jen is missing from my DVDs, which is frustrating because it’s mostly Jen I want to know about.
The show takes a sideways approach to this by making Isabella the topic of conversation. No one has thought to tell Jack where Isabella has been hospitalized, and Jen is helping him out trying to locate her. Jen starts pressing him about how he feels about Isabella—in a series of long run-on sentences, very cute—asking if it’s just gratitude or if there’s something more. Jack finally says that there’s a lot more, but he looks uncomfortable. Since we know how Jack feels, we can see he’s having trouble lying. But, to Jen it isn’t so clear. Jack never talks about his emotions, so his discomfort could also be read the other way, as a mark of how much he cares about Isabella. Is he awkward because he’s lying or awkward because he’s telling the truth? We see Jen’s hurt as she tries to process that.
Then Jack decides to go a little further, and Matt Ashford does a good job introducing an artificial note to Jack’s tone, when he moves away and says Isabella is “quite a girl.” That note of artificiality leads nicely into Jen rallying and deciding to push a little more. She points out what we know is true, that Jack is hiding behind his feelings for Isabella, and insists he say straight out that he cares about her. Jack continues to look uncomfortable and shifty-eyed. He finally shouts, “I care about her!” Jen backs off.
Jack says after she leaves, looking rueful, that it’s the only answer he could give. So we see clearly Jack’s state of mind. In the past, he’s allowed Jen to believe that there is something going on with him and Isabella, but this is the first time he’s outright lied about it. By taking this extra step, we see that Jack feels the need to keep throwing up walls and smokescreens in order to keep his distance—showing indirectly that it isn’t easy for him to keep that distance.
But what about Jen? I think Melissa Reeves most clearly conveys Jen’s state of mind with her look by the door: uncertainty. But it’s an uncertainty with multiple layers. What does Jack feel? Jack does care about Isabella and he is legitimately worried about her, that lends credence to his words. And we see Jen hurt by that. But there are enough false notes too to give Jen reason to keep pushing, if that’s what she wants. But does she? That is the real question. Even if Jack does care about her, as she suspects, what is she going to do about it?
Enquiring minds want to know.