After getting fired by Jack and proposed to by Emilio, Jennifer has found another job at a TV station but hasn’t given Emilio an answer yet.
As a last-ditch effort, Jennifer runs over to see Jack and basically throws herself at him, and it works—she does break through to him, at least for that moment. (That’s a great scene too.) She has to go to Wings to interview Emilio for her new job, but she asks Jack to meet her there afterwards. Jack is ready to go, but gets a reminder of his bad past in the shape of this two ghostly fathers. So, he stays home.
[Note in 2015: This video was taken down from YouTube… I’ll have to clip it myself and post it.]
I love the soapiness of this: Jen getting Jack’s note that he’s not coming, and then Emilio proposing to her again on TV while Jack watches at home in disbelief. End of episode.
I think they set up Jen’s motivation to accept Emilio pretty well. (The “girl marries the wrong guy” stories can be a hard sell.) There’s of course her extreme hurt and disappointment that she threw everything she had at Jack and he still backed out and sent her that lame note. Also, she did have feelings for Emilio in the past, she and Jack have never really been a couple. It’s not totally unbelievable that Jen thinks she could forget about Jack and just enjoy being with a nice, considerate guy and maybe fall in love with him someday. Her lines to Jack, after she shows up to talk her out this, encapsulate both of these motives nicely: “It’s not enough that you throw me out like garbage, you have to come here and run down a man who is appreciative and caring?” We can see that Jen sees Emilio as a relief from all the hurt Jack brings her. As this unfolds I think it also becomes clear that Jen might be hoping this will break her and Jack out of the merry-go-round they have been on for the past year—either by forcing them both to move on, or just maybe, maybe, finally making Jack declare himself.
And, after seeing her acceptance on TV, Jack does indeed get all fired up and rushes over to talk her out of it. This is interesting because up until recently, Jack’s seemed to think Emilio was a perfectly suitable choice. One thing that has changed is that Jack has heard Emilio suggest that Jen quit her job and go on tour with him as his publicist. The fact that Emilio sees nothing wrong with Jennifer dropping her career (which Jack knows she is very good at) and following him around on tour writing fluffy PR releases. And another is that he might have thought he was fine with the idea of her marrying Emilio, but when it comes down to it, he really isn’t. Another motive which I think is operating here is that Jack knows only too well the potential for disaster of a one-sided marriage, because of what he went through with Kayla. The show never references Jack’s past marriage overtly, but I think it works very well as something implicit. Over and over again in this section (starting here in this scene), he says he is trying to stop Jennifer from “making the biggest mistake of your life.” This is clearly how Jack sees his marriage to Kayla: the biggest mistake of Kayla’s life, the biggest mistake of his own life. And now he has to watch history repeating itself in a horrible way.
When Jen won’t listen to him, he shifts gears and asks for a “farewell dance with your ex-boss.” Matt Ashford plays this just right—we can see Jack’s sincerity so we believe that Jennifer agrees. We see them both affected by their physical contact. But, when he elaborates on his point, more softly this time, that Jen deserves better than Emilio, and talks about how special and beautiful she is, Jen’s anger boils over once again. How can he talk like that and yet not declare himself?
I love Jen’s anger here. I love how she puts it all out there how much this hurts, to be fighting against him all the time, to jerked around by the way he weakens and pulls back, weakens and pulls back, over and over again. I like how she says it’s like losing something she can’t get back, and if she keeps doing it, she might not have anything left. Missy Reeves is just wonderful here. But I also like how this points up an essential difference in how they perceive Jack’s problem really to be: she says that deep down he believes he’s the right man for her, but we know that this isn’t true. All through this section, Jack reiterates that neither he nor Emilio is the right man for Jen. In his mind, whenever he tries to talk Jen out of marrying Emilio, it doesn’t have anything to do with whether she should be with him. I think he honestly doesn’t see how maddening and inconsistent it appears to Jennifer. From her point of view, he doesn’t want to be with her himself, but he keeps trying to prevent her from moving on.
After that, Jack gets a sock on the jaw from Emilio, and I love that Jen doesn’t go rushing to his side when it happens. He really does deserve it, and the look Jack shoots her afterwards shows that he might know it too.