The scene of the crime

Previous Jack and Jennifer post: John Deveraux

Now having watched Jennifer’s rape storyline all the way through, I have mixed feelings about it. There are some things I wish they had done differently.

But, it’s hard to argue with a story that gives us a scene like this one:

Jack thinks Jen slept with Lawrence

Notice how Matt Ashford plays Jack as overtly calm and controlled throughout these scenes. He’s obviously trying to make sure the monster in him doesn’t come out, here in a situation that eerily parallels his marriage to Kayla. I love how, likely for the same reason, he comes in and gives Jennifer a ready-made excuse right out of the gate — she was young, inexperienced, and dazzled by Lawrence. (And, interestingly, he likens it to what she feels for him, Jack.) By doing that, it shows Jennifer he already believes it, before she has said a word — which twists the knife for her. It’s every rapist’s defense, every rape victim’s worst nightmare: not being believed. It wasn’t rape, you wanted him.

Jennifer denies his allegations, but in a way that seems to confirm them. She says Jack is the only man she has ever “made love” to, which could imply that what happened with Lawrence was just sex, not love. And then, immediately after, she asks him to just leave the past in the past. That implies there is something there, in the past — which of course there is, but not what he thinks.

What they get right in this scene (which they don’t in the overall storyline, in my opinion), is we see very clearly Jennifer’s point of view. We see that she just wants to forget about what happened and move forward — “leave the past in the past” — and she wants Jack to support her and help her, even without knowing what is upsetting her. More crucially, we also see her get angry at Jack. Her line reminding him that she has always stood by him, but he won’t stand by her, is perfect. That’s the crux of the whole matter.

The other thing they get right is that they don’t shy away from talking about what Jack did — not just generally, but specifically. It was always ridiculous that Jack would buy the loft and move Jennifer into it after he raped Kayla there. But, given that he did, he can refer to where they are standing as “the scene of the crime.” That’s very powerful.

Then, Jack’s flashback to the rape at the end is perfect. It reinforces his feeling that “she’s better off without me” — which we can already see on his face — and is the perfect trigger to push him out the door.

Next Jack and Jennifer post: Story Problems

5 thoughts on “The scene of the crime

  1. Live your blog keep them coming. Refresh my memory why does jack think she slept with Lawrence? This also shows Jen’s overall naïveté that jack can forget what happened (both the slap and the rape itself) and just move on and be there for her. This drove me crazy and in every scene you just want to yell “tell him already!!”

    • This is when Lawrence is trying to take over the Spectator. In one of his conversation with Jack, he taunts him that he and Jennifer lived together “as man and wife.” Jack puts that together with how Jen is obviously keeping a secret and avoided sleeping with him.

      I love your point about Jen’s naivete, you’re definitely right. I like that she gets so mad about it in this scene, though, even though she’s being unrealistic – we don’t have enough of that.

  2. The only reason I like this story line is it really brings the “redemption” of Jack complete and Matt does some great acting when he is both mad and vulnerable.

    After the rape slap He has to both deal with losing Jen (to what he thinks is his “dark side”) but when he finally does find out that Jen was raped and she brings Lawrence to court he supports her fully and so tentative and sweet. It showed a whole new side to Jack that he had to be there for Jen (as she yells in this scene she was always there for him. We really don’t get enough of Jen’s anger, only her frustration but she doesn’t show true anger much). (and yes I just watched the whole series on You Tube also). Alamania wasn’t my favorite other then Jack’s growing confident in both his love and Jennifer’s love of him. Which of course makes their breakup hurt that much more🙂

  3. Great posts lately!

    I agree with your mixed feelings on the rape storyline. When rewatching this era, I’ve wondered if the writing team turned over multiple times. The scene that you write about here seems very true to the characters of both Jack and Jennifer. As they progress through Jack’s marriage to Eve and the train, things get increasingly farcical.

    One of my favorite dynamics in the whole storyline is the relationship between Jack and Lawrence. Jack always sensed that Lawrence was incredibly dangerous, even as Jennifer kept digging in deeper and deeper, naively assuming she would be able to get out of the marriage. And with Jennifer, the result was physical violence. With Jack, though, Lawrence psychologically attacks him through belittling him. Ultimately, that’s far more effective and plays out in Jack’s treatment of Jennifer in this scene.

    • I agree with you that there is a lot of comedy in the train adventure especially, that feels a little too lighthearted and silly given that the rape story is going on at the same time.

      You make a great point about Jennifer’s plunging into the heiress adventure without realizing the danger that Lawrence posed – another thing that shows the character’s naivete. And I agree that Lawrence is great at getting under Jack’s skin. That’s when I kind of want old, evil Jack to come out for a bit. MA was also really good at the smooth menace in his bad Jack days, and I could see him going toe to toe with Lawrence. But MA doesn’t play it that way.

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