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:
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.