Previous Jack and Jennifer post: The Alamaniacs

A fantastic scene:

Jack apologizes

First, a little background:  Shane has been in cool, professional work mode through this whole endeavor, pursuing the ISA’s priorities and insisting that everyone else do the same.  Jack has just gotten into an argument with Shane about how he wants to focus on rescuing Jennifer, and Kayla wants to show him she sympathizes and understands his point of view. And Jack’s emotionalism (in contrast to Shane’s coolness) gives space to Kayla to confide in him too, her continued pain from losing Steve and her desire for revenge.

Even so, Mary Beth Evans always plays a slight physical discomfort when she is around Jack, and we see it here as well.  Then when he tells her, “Violence is not the answer … I learned that from you,” that discomfort turns into shock.  It’s a bit of a betrayal, on his part, of the fragile peace they have found,  to refer to the rape even obliquely.   And we see the pain is still there as she turns away and says they really don’t need to talk about this.

But Jack presses on.  I love how Jack refers to the chances he’s gotten, and how he “hasn’t always deserved them.”  That’s a great reference to all the chances Steve gave him, when he was the opposite of deserving.  And it ties what he says here about how he always thought there would be time to talk to Steve — about the rape.  This is really interesting because we did see Jack, a couple of times, come close to referring to the rape when he was talking to Steve, but Steve always shut him down.  And as a fan I don’t think I would have wanted to see it either — it’s not Steve’s place to understand or forgive.  But I can still sympathize with Jack’s sense of loss that now he will never be able to.  His big brother who gave him chance after chance isn’t around to give him any more chances.

But Kayla is still here.  And what makes this scene work beautifully is that Steve’s death (and their current uncertain situation) may have been what sparks this conversation, but it is really about Jack and Kayla, not Steve.  And what he does is apologize, which is wonderful and necessary, but he also finally, fully acknowledges what he did — rape.  This is important because at the time Jack always denied it, and trying to force his acknowledgment was one of the reasons Kayla decided to press charges.  But then he used the fact that he was “only” convicted of assault to claim that his version was vindicated.  All of this is why I particularly like what he says here:  “it’s just like you said in court.”  He’s telling her, finally, not only that he is sorry but that she was right.

His line that they “could have been friends,” is interesting, and I think goes along with how this is about the two of them, and not their relationship  as it relates to Steve.  First of all, it calls all the way back to the way they were friends, back when they met in Hawaii, back when Jack first came to town (I’ll also take it as a shout-out to my man Joseph Adams, the forgotten Jack!)   But even later, after their marriage fell apart,  he could have chosen a path that would have honored the feelings he had for her, and that maybe, maybe could have preserved their friendship.  (Jack’s feelings for Jennifer have helped him realize this too—he sees now how selfish his love for Kayla was, now that he knows what a more unselfish love is.)

This relates to another layer I see in this.  I think Jack might be cautioning Kayla not to make the mistake he did, not to let her love for Steve turn into the justification to do something ugly.  Seeking revenge against Lawrence is not on the same level as raping the woman you claim to love, of course.  But there is a similarity, in the desire to lash out, in your pain and rage, when you lose the person you love.

I also like that Kayla apologizes.  This could be read as just “I’m sorry you did what you did, too,” but I think she is referring also to what came before that — the lies, the affair.  She’s sorry for hurting him too.  That makes this a wonderfully healing moment, for both of them.

And then, lastly, a very nice touch by Mary Beth Evans:  after Jack leaves, she looks up for a moment, a glance at the heavens.  It’s a way to bring Steve back into all this.  She’s clearly thinking, “Did you see that, Steve?”

Next Jack and Jennifer post: Jennifer’s turn


11 thoughts on “Apology

  1. I have to say that I’m glad to see you posting again. I know you were working on your house, and that perhaps Days wasn’t giving you any particular incentive to be too interested in current goings-on, so I thought maybe you were completely done posting about Days.

    But I’m here to let you know that there IS the occasional great set of scenes for the Salemites. They’re just a lot rarer than they used to be. You have to really search now. I’m going to send you a delightfully light-hearted clip in a few minutes that’ll illustrate a fun set of scenes on Days. It’s not earth-shattering. It’s not Shakespeare. But it is kinda fun, and it involves some prominent Salem citizens, um, stoned. And yes, Kayla’s stoned too! We saw her drunk. Can we really miss seeing her stoned?

    I think not. She’s in good company, too. Julie, Adrienne, Jennifer, Nicole. All because of some mischief caused by Jack and Jennifer’s son, JJ, who’s back in town and causing trouble…he’s seventeen now, and into all manner of trouble.

    The scenes you’re writing about today. Jack apologizes to Kayla…man. Do you remember when you hated Jack? Maybe you never did. But I did. Hated that guy. Hated seeing him. Hated hearing his voice. Wanted someone to kill him. He hurt Kayla in the worst way imaginable, and I have always loved Kayla. Still do, in fact, so of course he was on “my list” once he hurt her. I figured he’d always be on “my list.”

    It was scenes like THIS that made me re-evaluate. This, and others. They really took the time to show Jack’s thoughts evolving on the whole rape situation with Kayla. He always knew he was wrong…Even going back to the day after clips, you know he realizes he’s done something terrible, but he’s so angry and shattered that he can’t accept real responsibility for it. He wants to punish Kayla for not loving him, for turning to Steve after having married him. He starts acting truly reprehensibly in the wake of the rape. That’s when my hatred of Jack was born. I’d resented him before, because I wanted Steve and Kayla together, and knew it was what they longed for in the worst way, but I hadn’t hated Jack. Now I did. I would sneer when his face would appear on my screen. Sometimes I’d yell at him, LOL!

    But time passed, and eventually, I began to see that he regretted what he’d done. I saw him make the occasional gesture of goodwill to Kayla…hiring that doctor to perform her surgery when she was deaf, for example. Giving her the divorce, finally. Sometimes I’d see him regret, and that’s intriguing. I liked most that Kayla was allowed to stay angry with him. That Jennifer never tried to force forgiveness, even when she’d come to care for Jack. She hoped for it. She encouraged Jack to try to make things as right as possible. But she never applied any pressure to Kayla.

    This apology, so freely offered, even in the face of Kayla’s reluctance to “go back” to that time, made this a special scene. Finally, Jack acknowledged what he’d done and apologized for it, to Kayla…and Kayla…she apologized too, though these scenes don’t make it clear what she’s referring to.

  2. Kris, thanks for posting those scenes! I heard about them because my mom still watches, but hadn’t seen them yet. So delightful and hilarious. Kayla was fantastic, but all the ladies did well. I liked Julie’s “He wouldn’t fit in here!” Hee!

    I do actually tune into the show sometimes, mostly when my mom comes to visit. In addition to being able to see Kayla, I’ve been excited to see Nick back. Love him.

    Thanks for commenting. I agree about Jack — he was so hateful and yet the show made his redemption work. Really great stuff.

  3. Ah, the one I’ve been waiting to see. All the undertones and all the history that comes into play in these scenes between Jack and Kayla! And the consistency of it! Wonderful! I think that kind of magic is what is gone on the current show. Even in the best of times, consistency is difficult to maintain long term in the world of soap opera, but these arcs we used to get when it was there were some good stuff. The writing was good (plot aside), but I give a lot of credit to Mary Beth Evans and Matt Ashford for their handling of Jack and Kayla and all that subtext. Speaking of which, of course Ashford’s Jack is the only Jack in my book, and though I think Joseph Adams did a fine job with the material that he had (and he sure did look more like Stephen Nichols), I can’t help but wish it had been Matt Ashford in the role from the beginning. I would like to see his Jack in the place where Jack began. But then, I also wonder what would have happened had Adams remained in the role, but I feel quite certain Jack would never have become the ball of complexity that Ashford’s Jack was. Who knows if Jack would have ever served any purpose beyond being an obstacle for Steve and Kayla? Adams is a bit of a problem for me. Those actors who came in after Ashford was fired and played stereotype soap hunk Jack I can just ignore. But Adams’ Jack is more difficult for me. I can’t just ignore him because his time in the role is integral to my Jack’s history.

    Kris, thanks for posting the donut scenes, as I have pretty much given up on the current version of the show. I am surprised at bits of clever dialogue in those scenes. I don’t expect much cleverness from DAYS anymore. I like DAYS making a dig at itself and its overused excuse that Doug and Julie aren’t around because they’re cruising, and I adore Julie. I think she’s been underutilized and that Maggie has been put in a position that should be Julie’s. Because, hey, Julie’s always been more entertaining than Maggie. I think my favorite line was, “Call Hope what?” At any rate, DAYS still has its moments, I guess, but I can’t sit through what is mostly boring to wait for such scenes. Also, it’s hard for me to see Jennifer and just want to hit the shallow character she’s become. Even in these scenes, I kinda wanted to whack her in the face, and I don’t want that feeling to bleed into how I feel about the Jennifer that was. Still, even these fun scenes show that glaring inconsistency that I find in DAYS now. Why is Nicole there? I like Nicole. She’s actually a character of some value. I think it’s very Nicole-like to suspect something’s up with JJ, but she shouldn’t have been at Jennifer’s book club. Jennifer and Nicole had some nasty stuff go down between them, and it was not resolved. It was whitewashed. Things like that bother me. Also, along with Nicole, I do think Nick is one of the few current characters who has some potential, which most likely won’t be tapped very well. If they deal with JJ properly, he could be something too, but I figure they’ll waste him. I won’t be surprised if he’s somehow finagled into being Dan’s kid. They should be putting him into play as more than an obstacle for Jennifer and Daniel.

    Anyway, sorry to have gone so far off topic. But Jack’s journey. Jack and Kayla coming to this place believably, with all the intricacies of their relationships with each other and with Steve coming into play. That was some good soap opera. Those were some fantastic characters.

  4. Angie, thanks for your comment. I agree that it would be interesting to have had Matt Ashford there from the beginning, just for the consistency and seeing the planting of all those seeds that come to such fruition later. But I do love what Joseph Adams brought to the role just at first. He was such a perfect foil for what Steve and Kayla needed just at that time — a rich, handsome guy, but genuinely nice. Plus, as you say, he looked so much like Steve! But, I can’t see him playing a rapist at all, or any of that stuff that came after. And obviously later, when Jack became more his own character. All those layers. And later I actually genuinely enjoyed how of three Johnson siblings, Jack looked the most like Duke.

    But Jack #2, James Acheson? Pfft. Worst.recast.ever.

    My best case scenario would be Joseph Adams through the marriage story, with Matt taking over sometime during the poisoning story (just so he wouldn’t be too new when the character started getting darker).

  5. Oh, yeah. I totally forgot #2 for a minute there. I see what you’re saying about Adams, and he did play that role well, but I think Ashford could have pulled off nice, rich guy. Adams pulling off what Jack became though? Yeah, no, I don’t see it happening. Interesting point about Jack and Duke that I’d never noted.

  6. This apology scene is definitely among my favorites. I love that, as you say, it is about Jack and Kayla, not Steve. Steve’s death and the fragile peace they found before and after that is the catalyst for the scene, but it’s not about him. So much of Jack and Kayla’s relationship post-rape was about Steve – her need for him to be on her side, her willingness to try and accept Jack for his sake; Jack’s conflict between loving and hating his brother, etc. It brought about beautiful scenes and wonderful story, but it did cause their own relationship to get a little lost in the mix sometimes.

    But scenes like this one – or the EC scenes from early 1989 when Jack’s redemption first begins and the scenes when Jack and Kayla return from Italy – remind us that Jack and Kayla did have a friendship and relationship that was separate from Steve. And they caused a hurt to each other and that relationship. Obviously Jack’s crime was worse but, like you, I like that Kayla apologizes too. It’s not done in a equivalent way, but just an acknowledgment that she did hurt him too. It’s beautiful and a tribute to MBE and MA and their commitment to the history of those characters.

    And I agree that Joseph Adams was the perfect early Jack. I respect MA immensely, but his pre-rape Jack was not his best work, IMO. In a way, he’s too good to play a more simple, straightforward nice guy. He’s so much better with more layers to play. Joseph Adams, on the other hand, really worked in that role. I don’t think he could have made the transition to a darker character though. That’s why I agree that Joe up through the wedding and MA picking up about where he did would be about perfect. With the added benefit of never having had to experience Wooden!Jack.

    • I like your comment about MA being too good to play a simple, straightforward nice guy. That’s what I was trying to get at when I said that Joseph-Adams-as-Jack was a perfect foil for Steve at the time. Mr. Simple as opposed to Mr. Difficult and Complicated. Matt Ashford’s Jack (at his best) was Mr. Difficult and Complicated too. There’s something about that time period, the first little segment of the Jack/Kayla/Steve triangle, that I just love, and JA is a part of that.

      But I see what Angie is saying too — when you do a recast you undermine the continuity of the character. Like when Melissa came back as a recast and was so anti-Jack. Camilla Scott’s Melissa somehow seemed more unfair in her judgment of Jack than (I think) Lisa Trusel’s Melissa would have been. It might have been interesting to see MA and MBE playing friends. Since we really never got to see that, it’s intriguing to think about how it would have worked.

      • I do see what you’re saying about Ashford playing a Mr. Simple. Perhaps when you look at it that way, you’re looking at it from the perspective of what the Mr. Simple foil did for Steve and Kayla’s story more than for Jack’s own continuity, and I can sympathize with that. But, yeah, it’s just that I go back and watch the stuff with Joseph Adams and can’t help being bugged that Jack isn’t Jack.

  7. First of all – welcome back. I started reading this blog during the last year and even though I thought it ended in a good place, I’m very glad to see that you’re continuing the series. Now on to The Apology. I loved this scene. We knew Jack and Kayla (as played by Joseph Adams and MBE) were friends – we saw that. However, we never really saw the friendship between Jack (as played by MA) and Kayla until Kayla was pregnant with Stephanie. I think at that time the seeds were planted for maybe not a friendship but at least to be able to be friendlier with each other. There was still some discomfort on Kayla’s part, but it seemed to me that she didn’t look at him with as much – I want to say hatred, and maybe disgust – as she did after the rape and during the early months of her marriage to Steve. Of course during that time Jack was still making life hard for Kayla and Steve, so that look was justified in my view. As much as I would have loved for Steve to present during this time, I love the fact that it was just Jack and Kayla without anyone else around.

    • Thanks for the welcome back. 🙂

      You are right that Jack and Kayla started to make peace during the Marina storyline. I love how Jack earned it by helping her, facing her distrust and dislike at first but soldiering on regardless. One thing I love about MA and MBE though is that they never play these two characters as being at ease with each other, even after they’ve pretty much made peace. That’s what I meant when I said we “never” got to see them play friends. But you are right that things got much, much better for them, and I really like to see it too.

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