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Jack Wilson

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A character with not the hugest popularity – I really liked this guy. The way he was written was so real. During the mid-90’s and its highly successful and popular cast, Summer Bay House was never low on the drama side – it was my favourite set of characters to be in the house at the one time. Jack’s relationship with his ‘family’ was explored and was so true. He wasn’t a bad guy-turned good, he wasn’t just a troubled teen in need of love to ‘fix’ things, he was motley amongst the rest of the teens and the Bay, not just falling amongst the wrong crowd, but at times taking the ‘leader’ role in organising something to cause heart-ache for someone else, whether that be deliberate or not.

He had patches where by he was interacting well with Curtis (his best mate, although I’d say he pissed Curtis off more than anything), he had a relationship with Selina, Sally, Chloe and had a crush on Angel…the character would also provide some great comical moments.

But he was a confused kid and really did need love, Pippa and Michael were the best of the best to provide a steady home, with attention and care, a shoulder to cry on and wisdom to rely on, however Jack never really slipped into that groomed family member most of the teens Pippa and Michael had ‘transformed’ and was constantly pissing them off, to the point they no longer wanted him around. Amongst other things he made Pippa’s father, Bert have a heart attack by bad mouthing him and his family, he stole a few cars, he was best mates with Joe who made Sally’s life hell, teamed up with many ‘bad boys’, burnt down Fisher’s house during his involvement with the bush fires, dragged Sam (his kid brother) into dangerous and stupid behaviour…the list goes on, he couldn’t help himself – but deep down his muck-ups were underscored with a sense of guilt and hatred towards himself and the world he created for himself, much to the frustration of his siblings, mates and guardians. But ultimately it was the death of his ‘father-figure’ Michael that really threw him, after he was forced to let a flooded river take him from his grasp and he carried the guilt for it entirely.

He attended an interview to join the navy, he made this decision alone and surprised everyone by springing it on them a couple of days after Michael’s funeral. Amongst anger and detestation towards him, there was a surprising huge sense of loss by Pippa, Shannon, Sally and especially Sam whom he had looked up to greatly.

Jack’s final episode is one of my favourites of 1996. Sam is quite distressed and emotional that Jack is ‘deserting’ him, especially as Michael had died, and both Sam and Jack had that connection of being there as Michael was swept away from them. Sam also took on a lot of guilt as it was he whom Michael was trying to save. There is a poignant scene as Jack and Sam talk about life and how Jack tells Sam he is no one to look up too, there are tears of course, and a sense of a chapter in the midst of closure.

This episode was really high in emotion, as Shannon tries to deal with facing her anorexia once again in the wake of Michael’s death, Sally struggles to cope with another loss, she admits to Jack in a final scene that she really did love him, and wonders around the school in a daze, staring at his locker…Jack tries to make a mends with Curtis but I got the feeling he was glad to see him leave the Bay...still, he rocked up to say goodbye in his final scene.

Pippa and Jack have a last fairly short scene together, but I really like it, kinda summed his time there up …the script went something like this:

PIPPA: (in kitchen, Jack walks in with his suitcase) All ready to go? Packed and sorted?

JACK: Yeah I guess…feeling a bit weird in my stomach though..

PIPPA: Ah, a case of the butterflies?...You’ll be alright once you get out there and set sail…I’ve got your favourite biscuits!

JACK: Oah, anyone would think you want me to stay…(looks up at her)

PIPPA: (sighs with emotion) Oh Jack, come here (they hug…) I’m sorry we couldn’t do more for you Jack, I know you certainly needed it.

JACK: No, you were the best mum I ever had…I’m just sorry I let you down

PIPPA: You didn’t let me down (says with an edge of frustration, guilt and high in emotion)

JACK: Yeah I did…I couldn’t save Michael

PIPPA: (starts to cry)…You take care of yourself mate. (they hug)

Jack’s final two scenes were again poignant, a scene between Sally and Jack, as they sit on the stair case at Summer Bay House (I think…see above) transitioning to his final scene a departure typical in SBH fashion, out at the Caravan Park drive-way…all the connected cast were there, Curtis, Shannon, Chloe, (Selina was missing however earlier told Sally to say goodbye from her…at this stage she was being stalked by Jeremy), Sam, Sally and of course Pippa who was the driver…the music used was sad and reflected well the last couple of weeks they had been through, and a sense of twice the loss. Pippa looked drained.

After everything Jack had been through, his departure was rather low-key, but I liked it that way, only a few days after Michael’s death, it really put a spin on the dynamics of SBH with new-comer Liam, whom wasn’t that great IMO but that’s another story.

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