Jack has been on the trail of Nick’s killer for months. He learned that Nick had a letter with him when he died, that presumably Nick’s killer now has. This letter is supposed to be damaging to Lawrence somehow, and Jack is determined to bring Lawrence down … to avenge Steve.
On the train, Jack and Jennifer found the gun that was used to kill Nick. They devise a fairly clever plan — by Days standards — throwing a big party and carefully collecting the champagne glasses of all the guests to check their fingerprints against the prints on the gun. Somebody who is NOT a suspect, also at the party, touches April’s glass and leaves her fingerprints on it.
The opening shot of Jack holding the picture of Steve and him as boys is the perfect way to kick off this arc. He is obviously missing his brother, and his guidance, right now. What would Steve want him to do?
As he is working on her to confess, there is an intensity in Jack’s manner that borders on violence. We don’t often see Jack like this anymore, and I love it. When he grabs her purse to look for the letter, he is nearly out of control. It’s not clear exactly what is driving him, but it feels right. I think it has mostly to do with the letter, that Jack has been pursuing for months. If Jo has it and has been keeping it back, maybe doesn’t care about seeing Steve avenged. She has also tried many times over the last months to talk him out of his pursuit of Lawrence, saying she’s already lost one son, she doesn’t want to lose another. Was that true, or was she just protecting herself at the expense of Steve?
The way this unfolds is perfect, so we see exactly why Jo was driven to do what she did. Jo says giving up her babies was the worst mistake of her life. I love the line about how Duke took their childhoods from her — but notice also the selfishness here, she’s thinking of their childhoods being stolen from her, not how much they (well, Steve) suffered. I never felt Jo really understood that. Joy Garrett is incredible here, when she says they all found each other and her dream came true, and then they were destroyed a second time by Nick.
Then the flashback, so we can see exactly what happened. When Jo confronts Nick, he lashes out at her. Badgering her, verbally abusing her, taunting her. He sounds like Duke. I think it’s clear a lot of this is Nick’s bravado, what he’s been telling himself to excuse himself for Steve’s death, and then attacking her for good measure. The best (worst) part is when he taunts her about Steve’s horrible childhood, and when she says she loved Steve, he sneers “too little too late.” It’s a way of getting at Jo like nothing else could.
Then, afterwards, when Roman comes in to arrest her, we see all the driving intensity is gone from Jack’s manner, and he just looks defeated. All his efforts to avenge Steve’s death — finding the gun, finding Nick’s killer — have led him only to hurting someone who wanted to do the same thing.