Actor Matthew Ashford had enjoyed playing DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ memory-impaired Jack as a man with a clean slate. However, fans had been champing at the bit for the former investigative journalist to become himself again — especially if that self was the one who loved Jennifer! And thanks to a bump on the head incurred while trying to save her from a vengeful Dr. Shah, the long wait is over. Looking with new eyes at the woman he’d shared both a family and countless adventures with was like, “Oh, you really are an extraordinary person,” Ashford recalled to Soaps In Depth. “It was love but not gushing love. It was more like, ‘Oh, I know this person. Oh yes!’”
While that was good news for Jennifer, Ashford said that for Jack, “as Will had predicted before, getting your memory back is no picnic.” Doors started opening, and Jack “didn’t just have to realize how he has been behaving over the past several months but also how he’s been all of his life in Salem.”
Reconciling all of that is a process that requires some painful soul searching. “Jack realizes that he really hasn’t been that great of a person,” Ashford offered. “The way he’s been treating everybody around him… it’s coming back in dribs and drabs but not in a good way. It doesn’t feel good at all.”
Is there really that much difference between the old Jack and the one he became? The man himself isn’t sure and will discover who he is through the perspective of others. As an actor, Ashford says that the challenge in creating this new, integrated version of the character is “to not just rely on history to propel me into and through the scenes,” he shared, “because that history is there and it’s wonderful, but we need to be in this moment.”
Having spent months fighting to get “her” Jack back, Jennifer’s willing to wait for him to sort out his feelings. “We’re finding each other again,” Ashford observes. “She says, ‘I know you’re going through something’ and allows him to just kind of sit with it because there are really no words… it’s just all sad and unhappy.”
In the meantime, there are plenty of other Salemites eager to see Jack come around and wondering just who he’ll be now (and whether they’ll like him!). “Everybody is reserving judgment,” Ashford said. “But then again, life in this town takes such twists that people suddenly have to pull it together and figure it out.”
The actor is referencing a major catastrophe just ahead that will move the focus elsewhere. “The effect it has on these families!” he previewed. “It’s like, they’ve all gotta wake up, get up, fall down, fall over, pull it together, don’t pull it together… Everyone has different choices about what to do.” Will Jack choose to become the hero that his daughter, Abigail, had once worshipped? Only time will tell.
For more from your favorite DAYS stars, keep reading Soaps In Depth magazine.
Additional reporting by Michelle Moro Parkerton
This story originally appeared in our print magazine