As AP Bio Month continues, we have a scene that is special for several reasons. First, it continues the Heather-Dan subplot started back when Dan drew Heather as an Amazon and later flirted with her at the end of a class, then pairing up to carve a pig at the start of this episode. So she’s trying hard to make this a reality and Jack screwed it up for her.
But even more striking to me is the fact that Heather and Jack are having this extensive a dialogue to start with. As I noted earlier, she’s always been Jack’s most loyal soldier, the one who was most in sync with his values and most willing to carry out his will. She was not invisible to Jack by any means, but her assent and support had been taken for granted up to now and as a result there was never any need to engage her beyond that. Scenes between the two have been strictly short and funny up till now, and mostly in front of the whole class. But now that there is a tension between them, they need to hash it out in relative privacy…
Except Jack turns the argument on its head and blames Heather’s actions for making him look like a fool and not for harming her chances with Dan. He was in the wrong for what was done with the pigs, yet Heather is made to feel bad for exposing his misdeeds. And Heather, the poor dear, seems genuinely struck by this: she no longer feels her own self-righteous anger but internalizes his point of view. His selfishness becomes her concern. Is that a good thing? I honestly don’t know. But if Heather is indeed so in sync with Jack, does that mean his professional happiness matters more than her own personal happiness? Is her own personal happiness better defined by her willing servitude to Jack than any potential romance with Dan? Is this what it means to be a good soldier and is there a deeper happiness in that kind of sacrifice?
Which may seem like weighty questions, but then also consider that the army she is a part of is devoted to Jack’s revenge on Miles. Are those values worth such a sacrifice? What does Heather see in Jack and his mission to start with? Is it the fact that their immoral, illegal revenge squad plans are a liberating force in her own personal life, in her own growing development as a person? Is being a soldier for such a hollow quest itself a vehicle for her own existential empowerment? Jack has called her edgy and dangerous after all, and she has thrived under him and probably felt more alive for it. In which case, the dynamic of their relationship takes on a strange, added complexity affirmed by this scene.
I know, I spend way too much time thinking about this. But that is part of the appeal of Jack and Heather especially, and of the way they interact from episode to episode. Not just her fealty to him, but his ability to see greatness in her, even if it is for catfishing and acts of malice. Which may be what teaching is all about, perversely enough, that ability to tap unknown potential in a young person.
Right-click to save the GIF. I most certainly do not claim copyright to the material being GIF’d, I’m just doing this as a fan.