Steve’s death: Jack

Previous Jack and Jennifer post: The Missing Heiress

Steve’s death is the best thing that could have happened to Jack.

I kid, I kid. But it’s true that Steve’s death forces Jack to realize how much he has been leaning on his older brother. He has counted on Steve to be the hero in the family, and without him he has to find the hero within himself. They set this up nicely by having Jack tell Jennifer he’s going back to Salem to seek Steve’s help, and then be called back instead with news of Steve’s accident. We have these scenes of Jack in the blue tunnel and then at Steve’s bedside:

Steve’s death, Jack

I especially like the reference to how Steve has always been there for him “even when I didn’t want you to.” It’s a great way to reference their crazy history without going into too much detail.

My absolute favorite part of this scene, though, is the way Jack reminds Steve of the promise he made him in the orphanage, that he would always take care of him. The show sets up from very early on how that unkept promise (unkept because Jack was adopted) has haunted Steve. It was a part of what made him give Kayla up for Jack. Here is the scene where Steve first tells Jack about it, right after Jack has found out his true identity:

Steve tells Jack about his promise

This scene is so painful (and wonderful). It’s painful twice over–to watch Steve break down and open up to the man who raped Kayla, and then to see Jack scorn and reject him on top of that. But because we understand just how much Steve loved Billy and how this promise has haunted him—in the heat of the moment of Jack finding out the truth, Steve can’t help leaping to do what he’s probably been waiting to do his entire life: apologize for failing Jack and hope to be forgiven. But Jack, of course, has so many of his own issues crashing down on him that he has no room for Steve’s. But he does see, and finally understands, the love Steve has for him—and he recoils from it. To hear now, two years later, that this moment actually made an impression on Jack, that it became incredibly meaningful to him, is wonderfully redemptive.

Also, it’s one of the first times I think Jack identifies personally with something that happened to baby Billy. Because he was just a baby, he couldn’t remember their relationship as boys the way Steve could. But here, because it connects back to something that Jack does remember vividly—Steve telling him about the promise, not the promise itself—and connects it to how he has always counted on Steve’s bedrock-like presence in his life. That early relationship was so important for Steve, and now we see it is important to Jack as well. The whole arc of Jack’s story could be viewed as Jack and Billy slowly coming together, two people becoming one person. And the sad irony is that it is happening just as he is about to lose Steve for good.

Next Jack and Jennifer post: Mock Wedding


22 thoughts on “Steve’s death: Jack

  1. I love the complexity of Steve & Jack’s relationship. Thank you for making it easy to navigate through. I can’t wait for kayla’s take.

  2. It is so good to have your blog back. As always you made some very intersting points about Steve and jack’s relationship. This was powerhouse acting at its very best, along with Kayla it was riveting. There was an intensity and much nuance in the way they spoke and little gestures that made it so memorable. In hindsight, doesn’t the impact of the original death dilute when the supposed dead person comes back. later on.
    . It is so sad to think that once Jack married Jennifer, and in the second run the writers and the powers that be, decided that Jack could only be in her orbit and that she seemed to be the more interesting of the pair where i and other posters have mentioned it was really the other way around.

    Let’s hope that in the third run, when kayla does come back that she will have some interaction with jack, It was criminal that in 2006 that there weren’t more interactions between steve, kayla and jack.

  3. I don’t know anything about Jack and Jennifer’s later 90’s/2000’s run from firsthand, but what I hear isn’t good. The writers then didn’t seem to know what they had in Jack. Too bad.

    The “back from the dead … again” issue does bother me. There is a cumulative effect from going back to that well too often, where it becomes difficult to take death seriously. That’s compounded when the show doesn’t seem to take the death seriously, which definitely started happening later. I remember joking once that they should have a “back from dead” section of the Salem newspaper, next to the obituaries. “Salem-area brothers Steve Johnson and Jack Deveraux returned from the dead today. This was Johnson’s first return from the dead, Deveraux’s third.”

    With Steve, though, I can’t be sorry that he came back, because it was comforting while I was watching all this to know he would come back. There are also little hints the show throws in that maybe not all is as it seems—along with the coffin switch, of course.

  4. Marypickford, I love your idea for a “Back from the Dead” section in the Salem newspaper. I just want the newspaper to be The Spectator and for Jack to own it. I do so hope that this return is good and that we have writers who are better able to understand Jack. And give him back his newspaper, darnit! The promo for next week features Jack. Next week! I nearly wept.

    But anyway, back on topic. As always, I love your take on these scenes and this story. Jack is certainly my favorite Days character, and Steve may be my second. Steve and Jack’s relationship is almost as dear to me as Jack and Jennifer’s. Every Steve/Jack scene is a gem—even the all too few scenes from the 2000s. I love Steve for the way he’s willing to bare his heart to Jack, even after Jack’s rape of Kayla and even knowing Jack is likely to reject him when by all rights Steve should be the one telling off Jack. Steve lays it out there. And he lays it out there at that point in their relationship! But despite all of Jack’s issues that cause him to reject Steve, Jack heard him and remembered. And we get to see that here as Steve is dying. Though we’ve seen shades of it now for some time, finally Jack lays it out there for Steve.

    “Redemptive” is a nice word for what we see between Jack and Steve as Steve is on his death bed. We see that Jack knows. Jack knows Steve has been there for him. Jack knows he has leaned on Steve. Jack sees Steve as a hero, a role model. He sees Steve as his older brother. And he tells Steve all of this. And we believe Steve hears him. (At least I do.)

    I love how the show uses Jack to poke a little bit of fun at itself and the blue tunnel of death—“this 1974 lava lamp.” Oh, and I enjoy Jack going through Steve’s many nicknames for him. Ah, Steve and his nicknames— Happy Jack Biily Jack, Jackson, Maxwell, Franklin. I appreciate little character quirks like Steve’s propensity to elongate names.

  5. I’m excited for you for Jack’s return. Even though Steve and Kayla’s return came nowhere near fulfilling its potential, there are moments that I treasure. I hope it will be the same for J&J and Jack fans. I would love to see him working at the Spectator again.

    I love Steve’s habit of elongating names too. “Beauregard” is another one. Another little character quirk that Stephen did was having Steve tuck a napkin in his shirt when he was eating. Wouldn’t want to get stains on those ripped tank tops …

  6. It’s getting harder and harder for me to watch any old clips of Jack, seeing as how he eventually becomes a pathetic loser who continually abandons his family, is disrespected by pretty much everyone INCLUDING Jennifer and Abby. Looking back at it all, maybe he should’ve just left Jennifer in Alamania. I honestly can’t say at this point that he wouldn’t have been better off in the end…

  7. So sorry to hear that, GnuHopper. Just do what I do, though, when watching Days. Use the Impenetrable Wall of Separation. It’s very handy for keeping later retcons from spoiling my enjoyment of earlier storylines, and I imagine would be good for ignoring later character assassinations too.

    I’ve heard bits and pieces about Jack’s return (I don’t know what’s been revealed on the show yet and I don’t want to spoil anyone, so I won’t go into detail), but it sounds like some of it could be promising. That could be just my (occasionally) insane optimism talking, but I was thinking about watching some Days next week to check it out.

  8. I guess what really gets me down Mary is how this same story just seems to repeat again and again — Jack leaves (sometimes offscreen), Jennifer shows up, bad mouths him all over town, hooks up with the first available boy toy, he comes back, schemes, grovels, she takes him back, they leave for happily ever after — then a couple years later Jennifer shows up and the whole mess starts all over again. So, nope, count me out this time. Been there, done that. If DAYS wants me back I’ll have to hear they’re doing something interesting with my favorite character, not just another lap around the same track.

  9. I totally understand that. It’s frustrating the way Days recycles the same plots with the same characters. With long term couples, it seems like they always have the triangles going the same way. It’s always Jennifer who has the other love interest, not Jack. Why is that? And when Steve and Kayla came back there was Billie and Ava, but no one for Kayla. It’s annoying and it affects the power balance between the couple. So I don’t blame you for not wanting to see that again.

  10. I agree with thiese comments regarding Jennifer and Jack. It is so frustrating to watch the same lather, rinnse and repeat cycle continue. Jennifer’s avowls of love for her current love biscuit and her very abrupt jump into a physical relationship with him demeans the character that we so loved. When she says that she loves Jack and wants only him which we know will happen, how are we supposed to believe it??? I really hope that Jack will walk away this time and that Jennifer will have to fight for him as she did in the glory days.

    • That’s exactly what I want to see. I’m still hoping to see it but quickly losing the faith. What writer in his right mind decides to go with the fluffy tale of Jennifer takes turns dating two guys vs. the angsty tale of bitter and traumatized Jack rebuilds the walls while Jennifer learns that being with Mr. Perfect isn’t so perfect and longs for Jack? I don’t get it. Maybe this will lead to something better, but it’s pretty disappointing. Though I have enjoyed some moments, and dang if it isn’t good to see Jack and Jennifer in scenes together again (though I often find myself wanting to strangle Jennifer, at least she shows signs of life opposite Jack).

  11. What i really hope is that the truism , “Be careful what you wish for” will let Jennifer see that Dr. Dan the perfect man is not the man for her. it would be karmic justice, for Jack to finally say, “Enough, you want this dude, have him”

    Have jack reinstated at the Spectator, with feelings of self worth, repair his relationship with his daughter and gasp , even move on with another woman , as ms. Perfect self righteous horton has been wont to do and stews. sorry for this but am not enjoying this latest incarantion of jennifer

    if the writers ever browse this blog and other websites, they would know that some lame excuse of jennifer being some 40+ Bachelorette, “dating” both men is demeaning to the once epic love story of jack and Jennifer. How are we to believe wjhen she says , i love you jack, when she was so blithely and carelessly said a few months ago , that she loves the good doctor with her whole heart.

  12. I was home from work this week and caught Wednesday and Thursday’s shows. All I can do is echo your disappointment with how this seems to be playing out. I didn’t like how much Jack was groveling and how superior and I don’t know, condescending, Jennifer was. I would much rather have them both be angry—Jack for her lack of faith and for moving on, and Jennifer for him playing God and keeping her in the dark. That way we could see them as both right/both wrong. Then they could work their way back to each other, but especially from Jennifer’s side. I agree that it has played out too often the other way. Jack needs to be shown as moving on somehow.

  13. Mary, I wouldn’t blame you much if you decided to end this log right here — Steve’s death was very truamatic at the time and while I enjoyed most of J&J’s storyline for most of the next year (until the wedding), it seems to be the end of the supercouple era is marked by the loss of Steven Johnson. From this point on things start to go downhill.

  14. Well, after the death of Steve, we were still able to watch the hunt for his killer, ramifications of Jennifer’s stay in Alamania and the the build up to the wedding. but still so so much better than what is on the screen right now. jennifer has become a totally unlikeable character who seems to still have the hots for dr. tan. i am all for maggie having a front burner story but tying peripheral characters who are propped up at the detriment of our man jack is sad to see.

  15. GnuHopper, I definitely still want to do the Kayla entry for Steve’s death. After that, we’ll see … I am still watching my DVDs, just behind on my blogging. There is definitely some good stuff I want to talk about, for Kayla and for Jack and Jennifer. But I agree there is something about Steve’s death that marks the beginning of the end of the supercouple era.

    love the soaps, sorry to hear about how Jack’s character is being treated!

  16. Well, Mary, I hope you keep blogging because I do think there is still some great stuff for Jack and Jennifer that continues to solidify their place as Days’ last supercouple. Though once we lose Allen/Schoettle, the writing for Jack and Jennifer goes downhill, but there are still some good moments in there—as with the second run for both J&J and S&K, overall disappointing writing with some good moments to glean. I had hoped for better for J&J this go round. So far, overall, I’m not unhappy with Jack’s current portrayal, but Jennifer is going to the dogs. But hope springs eternal, and I keep watching and hoping. (By the way, I certainly want your take on that scene in Alamania when Jack openly apologizes to Kayla about the rape.)

  17. Angie, I love that scene with Jack and Kayla! I will definitely have to blog about it. And I agree there is some good stuff coming up. I’m really enjoying the post-Alamania stuff.

    And I apologize for how long it’s been since I’ve posted. I need to get going again. This week!

  18. Mary pickford, looking forward to reading your new blog entry. i think that kayla/jack had a very fascinating relationship that was full of subtle undercurrents and nuances. Hopefully, when Kayla does come back we will see SOMEONE in Jack’s corner. \She and Billy as well., because Heavan know the unlikeable, shrewish Jennifer who is so torn by her feeling for the egg baby that she betrays Jack. At this point , don’t really care if the do get together because to tell the truth the bloom is off this incarnation of Jennifer Rose. Sorry for the rant but this reboot is sadly underwhelming.

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