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.