Soon after Jack breaks Jennifer’s heart in the bell tower, Jennifer gets involved in an adventure involving Carly Manning, aka Katarina von Leuchner. I like this turn to the story because it lets Jennifer take the lead in the plot, and reverses their usual dynamic: now it’s Jack running after Jennifer, trying to figure out what she’s up to. But it’s important, as this fun adventure plot unfolds, not to let the hijinks of the plot make us forget the pain of their breakup.
What I think is interesting is that Jack I think is trying to do exactly that. I think he thinks they should just be able to rewind and go back to how they were before. Yes, he’s trying to keep her out of trouble and keep her safe, but I think he also doesn’t see why this little adventure should be different than any of the other ones where they fought and bantered and tried to outsmart each other. If they can reassert their old dynamic—just forget the island ever happened—it’s a way for him to do what’s best for Jennifer (as he sees it), without losing her entirely.
But that’s the last thing Jennifer wants. Right after their breakup, she told him that she could tolerate his walls and game playing, as long as they were moving forward. If Jack wants to go backward, she doesn’t want anything to do with that. I think she is telling him all through this time period, in ways both large and small, “You wanted to break up? Well, let me show you what that means.” My favorite scene for this isn’t on my DVDs (you can watch it at D2D—September 14 1990, in the “Missing Heiress” thread, where Jennifer makes Jack give her the loft key back), but here is another short one that I like:
Jack has just discovered what Jennifer is up to—impersonating the heiress Katarina, about to be introduced to her betrothed, Lawrence Alamain (who we haven’t seen yet). Jack follows Jennifer back to the loft to try to talk her out of this scheme. The beginning of the scene has them in comedy mode, with Jennifer putting on some headphones and a walkman (so funny to see that old thing) and singing so Jack can’t talk to her.
Then Jack gets wound up and ends up saying emotionally, obviously sincerely, that he cares what happens to her. But now, getting confirmation that he cares is no longer a source of happiness for Jennifer–in fact, it’s infuriating. So she calls him on it, saying that he doesn’t want her, but he doesn’t want anyone else to have her either. She’s talking about Lawrence, painfully ironic given what happens later. She’s not seriously thinking she could together with Lawrence, though, just planting the idea for Jack, that she could really move on.
You wanted to break up? This is what it means.