I love big reveal scenes. Don’t we all? When the secrets are revealed, the confrontation finally happens. Where it All Comes Out.
Soap writers, good and bad, know how much we love this. So they make us wait. And wait. But, a good soap writer uses this time to do interesting things with character and plot. Things happen — the pressure of the secret might make some other explosion happen. Or someone jumps to the wrong conclusion, leading to multiple complications. Or, or, or. And then of course there are all the teasers. It’s all going to come out! — actually, no.
Here’s a handy rule of thumb, though: you can tell a bad soap writer by how often they go for the false reveal. If there’s nothing else going on except the suspense of waiting for the secret to come out, it isn’t much of a story. (I’m talking to you, James E. Reilly!)
Here is a great example of a It All Comes Out scene:
(One of the first things that strikes me about this scene is seeing so many major players, all in one place! Imagine the budget for this episode!)
Carly is the center of the secret(s) revealed here, and they do a really good job tying the different threads together. For anyone who doesn’t know the basic story, Carly has been keeping three different secrets:
1. She is Katarina von Leuchner
2. Frankie is her brother
3. Lawrence forced her to bring Bo to this house, in exchange for Frankie’s life, who he is holding hostage.
We see all of these come out at once. I love seeing all the different reactions. Now Jack can understand why Jennifer was so determined to pose at Katarina — it was to help her friend Carly. And we get to see Jennifer calling Carly out for not telling her that Frankie was her brother, and that she knew Lawrence before. Knowing this wouldn’t necessarily have changed what she did, but it’s a betrayal of how much she has done for her friend, when Carly didn’t trust her enough to tell her the full truth.
And then of course there’s Bo. I don’t have this full storyline on my DVDs, so I don’t know all the details. But Bo has just discovered that Carly is working with Lawrence, and doesn’t know all the mitigating factors. The way he grabs Carly and hold her hostage is yummy angst on multiple levels. It’s a way to foster an escape, of course, but also take revenge on her for deceiving him, and also maybe a way for him to figure out how deep her relationship with Lawrence goes.
The second part of the scene above is also fantastic, where Jack finally convinces Jen to end the charade that she is Katarina. The setup scene for this is not so great — I just don’t believe that Jen would yet again insist on maintaining the pretense and staying with Lawrence. I know she is supposed to be protecting Frankie, and is scared of Lawrence, but it just seems bizarre for her to insist that she is Katarina, in front people who know she is not (this, of course, is pretty much what Jack says). But, since I like the scene that follows so very much, I’ll let it pass.
Jack’s speech is pure gold. I love his certainty that Jennifer loves him, that he has the confidence to call her out in front of all these people and say so definitely that she loves him, Jack. After all the times we’ve seen him doubt himself and push her away, this is very, very satisfying. And it’s a cathartic moment too when Jen finally, finally drops her pose and says she loves him.
We also saw, months back, how Jack pleaded with Steve not to die, how he needed an “honest to God hero-type” to help him rescue Jennifer. It was obvious then that Jack didn’t think he could be that hero. Since then, we’ve seen him slowly growing into the role, mostly because he refuses to give up. But what I really love about this is that he still doesn’t see himself that way, he doesn’t turn into one of our alpha males (God love ’em!) and try to threaten or intimidate Lawrence. When Lawrence asks him what he thinks he could possibly do, he says frankly that he doesn’t know. But, you never know what he might come up with. He’s asking Jennifer to take a leap of faith with him, and that’s very romantic, and heroic, in its own way.
UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot to mention my favorite part of this scene! After Lawrence makes his getaway, Kayla says angrily that the man who killed Steve is getting away , and Jack tells her, “No one gets away scot free … remember?” It refers back to their conversation in the garden, of course. But it is also another way to apologize, and not only for the rape. For those months afterward, while he gleefully tormented her and Steve, he wasn’t as impervious as he seemed. The rape changed her life — irrevocably. Here he’s saying it changed his too.