On trial

Previous Jack and Jennifer post: Speechless

I am not going to spend too much time on Lawrence’s trial for rape, mostly because it was good, but not great, soap. I enjoyed watching Jennifer come to the decision to prosecute, and watching her fight through Jack’s well-meaning advice not to do so. And there are definitely some stellar moments to enjoy, like this one:

Missy does well with Jen’s testimony. First of all, I love when someone has to summarize all the ins and outs of a complicated soap plot with a straight face. She was impersonating an heiress to save her best friend from an arranged marriage which would (inexplicably) expire after her 25th birthday. He doesn’t know what his fiancee looked like? Well, no, the one time he met “Katarina” Jennifer happened to be impersonating her. Lawrence forced Jen to marry him by holding her grandmother hostage and threatening all her friends, she had to go to his room because the only escape from the house was an elevator in his room … it all sounds perfectly ludicrous.

Nevertheless, when it comes down the nitty gritty, her insistence that despite the fact that she went to his room on their wedding night, and pretended she was interested in him, and poured him a glass of champagne, that she still “said no” is very powerful, and still (depressingly) resonates today.

One thing I appreciate (again, depressingly realistic) is that Lawrence’s lawyer goes after Jennifer’s character. Since this is essentially a he said/she said case, Jennifer’s case rests largely on how believable she is on the stand. So he goes after her for impersonating Carly — she was a liar then, how do we know she isn’t a liar now? If she was such a good actress she could undertake this impersonation, how can she fault Lawrence for believing her act?

Matt Ashford does so well with his reactions during Jen’s testimony. When Jen says “I told him to stop” he closes his eyes and he is clearly feeling not just her pain but remembering when Kayla told him to stop. We can see it’s hard for him to even stay in his seat as the lawyer attacks Jen. And then, when the lawyer brings up his final zinger that if she thinks rape is so contemptible, why is she involved with Jack? — Matt’s reaction is spot on. Jack looks sick, and not at all surprised, even as everyone else reacts in dismay and surprise. (Of course, they all should have known the lawyer would bring this up, but I digress.)

And then when Jack finally does jump up and run out of the courtroom, Kayla is the best person to go after him. Not to comfort him, but to confront and challenge him. Jack emotions are spilling out of him and he tries to apologize to her, but Kayla cuts him off. One thing I love about this part of the storyline is that it forces Jack to realize what Kayla went through after the rape, the trial, the publicity, the character smears he put her through. I love that he apologizes, but I also love that we see that his apology doesn’t help. And I love that Kayla doesn’t have any words of forgiveness for him — in fact, she acknowledges how bad it was by saying she couldn’t have gotten through it without Steve.

And Steve, of course, is the best person to inspire Jack to step up. Jack wants to live up to the faith Steve had in him, and Kayla is telling him that Steve was there for her, and he needs to be there for Jen. It’s what got her through her own ordeal — and it’s what will get Jennifer through hers. And Jennifer’s needs are most important now. I love that it’s Kayla that reminds him of that.

Next Jack and Jennifer post: Miss Horton no more




20 thoughts on “On trial

  1. I must confess, I was not watching at this point..must have fallen in my Oct 1990 – Summer 2006 hiatus..LOL ! Sounds like a great scene…I may have to watch it. Quick question..does Kayla ever forgive Jack—I’m hoping no !

    • Well, I think she did, but it was handled so beautifully. It depends on how you define “forgive.” She understood that he had changed and made peace with him. She in that sense she did. But it was clearly never forgotten or “we’re all good now!”, and she was always a little bit uncomfortable around him (as he was around her). And the show was usually good about not having her be his supporter or cheerleader, and if they did get close to that line, Mary Beth and Matt always played against it and showed the discomfort there. It was one of the best forgiveness/redemption stories ever.

      • I agree MP on this was one of the best forgiveness/redemption storyline. It gave us permission to like Jack and be ok with him being with Jennifer. Ah, the GOOD OLD DAYS–pun included. It’s just a shame how the writing is soooo bad for everyone. I can’t get invested in anyone else like I use to. I only watch S/K scenes. Even those are sooo far apart and repetitive. I’m also missing your daily blogs and the insight that you bring to the show. I’ll probably be heading back to enjoy the 80’s eventhough I know the lines, scenes and endings by heart. Such better written stories. I especially loved how everyone interacted with each other. The stories and characters are in such bubbles now. Ugh!! Please keep writing. I do enjoy reading your blogs old or new stories.

      • Aw, thank you, Kathy! I miss writing every day, too — or rather, being inspired to write every day! I am not giving up on the show, I’m still watching, but it’s hard to find something positive to say about it right now, and I hate ranting. But it’s nice having my old DVDs to go back to so I still have something to write about. 🙂

  2. This is classic soapy goodness! This is when I feel in love with Jack.

    Kayla was such a strong woman. I am not sure if she ever “forgave” Jack but she certainly healed and managed to let go of the anger over what happened between them. I also seem to remember back when JJ found out about the history and he went to talk to Kayla about it that she admitted that she and Steve had hurt Jack really badly and it pushed him over the edge.

    But Lawrence is quite possibly my least favorite Days character of all time. I remember my best friend seemed to think Michael Sabatino was hot but I was so disgusted by the Lawrence character that I couldn’t even agree with her.

    • A lot of people think Michael Sabatino was hot, and I see the appeal, but, I’m with you, he is so evil I can’t see him that way. But I do really appreciate how he played Lawrence, he brought a lot of layers to the character and was really, really good at conveying quiet menace.

      I like that Kayla acknowledged that she and Steve hurt Jack badly. I think they handled it well, never using that to excuse Jack, but just to acknowledge reality. It was really well done.

  3. You’re going to inspire me to go back down the late 1980’s/early 90’s DOOL rabbit hole…

    This was shortly before I thought the show got really bad, although in comparison with what is airing today, I would take a Wild West wedding and a silly grifter story as fine art.

    I was never a fan of Jennifer’s rape. I didn’t (and still don’t) think it was set up properly and as you have pointed out in previous columns, they missed a lot of beats, but the trial was a pretty good pay-off. It feels like closure to a couple years worth of story and shows real character growth in so many.

    So much is captured just by having a number of major characters in the courtroom. Kim with Lawrence, Jack’s reactions, the flashbacks to the rape. Lots can happen when the writers don’t try to force their way through the story.

    • I do think the trial pays off well. I like that Jack steps up and supports her, I like that Jen says she knows it’s not a strong case but this is something she needs to do. And I like I said above, I really like how it brings home to Jack what Kayla went through after the rape, and the ordeal of the trial. And there are some really great scenes between Jack and Kayla.

      The Kim stuff doesn’t work well for me. Up until this point they were playing coy with how much Kim cared for Lawrence, and kept it very ambiguous. But here they made it clear she was falling for him, and it’s at the worst possible time. She has to believe that Jennifer is lying, not even that Lawrence has “changed,” because Lawrence denies that he raped Jen. It’s really, really squicky given Kim’s past history of abuse.

      I might do a post on that because as admirably as they handled Kayla’s rape and aftermath, and the decent job they mostly did with Jen’s, this is one area that didn’t work at all — Days of old wasn’t immune to these kinds of mistakes.

      But yeah, I know how you feel looking back on the early 90’s. Sometimes you can go back to story that seemed bad at the time and have a totally different perspective after watching modern Days! 😀

      • It’s not so much Kim’s specific story as it is having everyone in the courtroom where the stories converge. So many nuances and so many opportunities for characters to interact in interesting ways. I would love to read a post on Kim during this time!

      • Well, maybe I’ll write one. 😀

        I agree that the way the threads come together is very satisfying. For all that I was just complaining about the Kim stuff, there is some really good drama that happens when she does find out the truth about Lawrence.

        Watching this it’s so sad to think of how modern Days doesn’t even have a courtroom set, let alone the ability to pay so many contract players to all be in the audience reacting.

  4. OK..I keep seeing these comments about sets..does DOOL not have any ? So, I saw, on another site, “Camila Banus explains her on-air absence”. As a joke, I wrote.”Maybe now, Stephen Nichols & Mary Beth Evans will explain their on-air absences”—LOL 🙂 Ok, Mary….as a S& K fan..what was your favorite storyline ? If you can’t pick one, how about a top 3 ? BTW, hope Steve gets involved with the kidnapping investigation….shades of Andrew & his “involvement” there.

    • I am not one to get too excited about sets either way — but a lot of sets were brought back for the 50th, and now they seem to be scaling back again. Other people track these things more closely.

      I do notice that they don’t have a courtroom set because there have been numerous hearings and trials recently where we see the preparation and the aftermath, but not the hearing itself (the teens vandalism, Eric’s drunk driving charge, to name a couple).

      I always say favorite S&K storyline is the Steve/Kayla/Jack triangle, but that encapsulates so many different mini-stories I feel like it’s cheating to say that one. But that’s why I like it, how rich it was. The initial Mr. Simple part of the story with Jack #1, Kayla’s marriage to Jack and the poisoning, the rescue and the affair, Kayla’s rape, and finally Jack finding out he’s Billy. And it fueled story for years after that too, the Marina story, Jack’s redemption and Jennifer …. ah, I love it so much!

      For #2, I love Stockholm and the aftermath of Stockholm, up through New Year’s Eve 1986. Steve’s guard coming down, some fun danger and excitement, and them just getting to know each other. And #3 is the Summer on the Run. Or maybe Britta’s return and death. I love the step forward/step back aspect of that. Plus it has that great mini-on the run storyline in the middle of it. Aaah, it’s so hard to choose!

      And if I had to name an honorable mention (lol), I would say Andrew’s kidnapping– the initial arc where Emma takes the baby and they all end up in Cleveland. Steve and Kayla are both very good, but I love it mostly because it is a wonderfully tight, intricately plotted story — kind of a hidden gem.

      • Funny, I’m just finishing Summer on the Run courtesy of True Xena’s “Hours of Our Days”. When Steve is finally brave enough to tell Kayla he loves her (they’re in bed talking about how wonderful “it” was) it’s such a melting moment. Sigh.

        I can tell the current story lines are really bad when you only post once a week. Girl, that’s not enough – I so enjoy reading what you have to say! Especially when I can’t bear to watch the show unless I find out S&K are on. That being said, I’m happy to read today’s retro analysis, keep ’em coming please.

        Although I gather you aren’t fond of it, I hope you’ll consider analyzing S&K’s 2006-2009 run as you did with your original S&K posts.

      • I love that moment, when he finally tells her he loves her. Ah, we waited so long. It was amazing. 💙

        You are so sweet to say you miss my posts! I will keep posting, I promise, about both new and old Days. 🙂

        Someday I want to revisit the 06-09 run. It did have its moments.

  5. Thank you for the post Mary. I agree with you 100% on all your comments of Jack/Kayla. I wasn’t watching at this time either, but I’m oh so glad it was a move-on but we’re not completely going to say all is well type of thing. Kayla was/is so strong… gotta love her for that strength. And, speaking of her strength, I came across this gem of a clip on youtube and was wondering if you could tell me more about it? It is so damn hot and so so agonizingly sad at the same time. I just kept thinking what the hell is happening !!

    Obviously they worked out whatever this was b/c they went to Africa together but this was so painful to watch. MBE, as usual, did such a great job with the emotional stuff… thought I was gonna cry thru this but managed to hold my stuff together 🙂

      • No, it’s fine! It automatically embeds. I like it! 🙂

        This was a chance for Kayla to let out some anger. Unfortunately it was just about the only time we got to see her do this … most of the second run she was A Patient Saint. That’s why I far prefer how Kayla is written this time around, because she got to express so little of her own point of view during the second run. This scene being the exception. 🙂

  6. May be some day I’ll go back and watch all of the years I missed of S&K, or I’ll get lucky and they’ll make and sell the S&K story DVDs I’m dying for them to create on Amazon. 🙂 I’ve seen a few clips from their second run post S remembering. Some are good. I try to stick to only happy scenes. This one, though, just really got to me… I love it but hate the sadness at the same time. I’m trying to devote my S&K pinterest page to just happy stuff cuz they’ve had WAY too much sad. I want them happy!

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