The time period between Harper’s death and Jack breaking up with Jennifer is my favorite story arc for Jack and Jennifer thus far. Soapy, angsty, organic conflict. The two scenes in the bell tower, the first when Jack kills Harper, and the second when Jack “kills” his relationship with Jennifer there, bookend this arc perfectly.
There are a number of really great scenes here, so I’m going to spread this discussion over several posts. This scene takes place the morning after Steve and Kayla’s wedding:
This scene is short, but it shows the beginnings of the faultlines that Harper’s death will open up for them. These faultlines will widen over the coming weeks, until their whole relationship cracks apart. It starts from the beginning of the scene, when Jennifer quickly turns off the radio report about Harper’s death, and Jack says that it won’t change anything. Jack sees this as an example of Jennifer trying to deny, or paper over, the reality of who he is and what he’s capable of.
Jack tells Jennifer that it was easy for him to push Harper out of the window, so easy that it’s scary. He sees Harper’s death as another instance of the monster inside him rising to the surface, and that it can happen with no warning, at any time. If it happened once—twice—it can happen again. And if it does, the person most in danger is Jennifer.
Jennifer can see where his mind is going, and that’s partly why she insists on accompanying him to the police station to give his statement. She references the island and how they handled their problems together then. Talking about the island is something she has been doing more and more frequently, as she’s gotten nervous about how things stand with her and Jack. It shows how much she clings to that time, and further, that she sees it as a time that represents their real selves, the truest representation of their relationship. As we’ll see very soon, Jack sees the island in precisely opposite terms—as something that could only happen in a fantasy world.
This scene also show that the cracks are still small, as yet. Their closeness is still there. I like how Jennifer lightens the mood perfectly when she teasingly corrects Jack’s grammar (“For whom?”), which she knows is a more comfortable place for Jack to be. And Jack does, of course, accept her support and let her come along. But then, at the end of the scene, Jennifer says that the sooner they go give his statement, the sooner it will be done and forgotten. Jack repeats “forgotten,” his tone showing this is something he may never forget—because it touches on the central question of who he is. Jennifer doesn’t get that. This difference will become very important, later.