"I can't be that person, Wallace. I had to come back. And I have to stay."
Fresh off the plane from New York, Jackie arrives in the oceanside town of Neptune to make her own waves. When she's not antagonizing her strained relationship with her father, Terrence, she's insulting the people who prepare her food. Smart move? Not so much.
She catches Wallace's eye on her first day at Neptune High, and he uses his newly developed detective skills to help her discover who hit her father's Porsche. She's not a Jane Austen fan, but her inflated sense of self gives her the pride to brag about her exciting life in Manhattan and a prejudice against certain personality traits like not toying with the feelings of a guy who's totally into her.
But give the girl credit for having the heart to one-up Veronica. Jackie arranges for her to get punk'd on national, er, local cable-access television. And she TiVos episodes of Cupid, so she can't be all bad. Never mind her penchant for fake psychics and mood-altering drugs that make her come on to Logan.
She redeems herself by helping Wallace take down the men who tried to take him down, hoping it will put her back in his good graces. Wallace lets her know she never really left, even though he supposedly moved on and started dating Jane. But Jackie's too smart and too proud to become the other woman in his love triangle. She agrees to date Wallace again only after he breaks up with Jane and convinces Jackie not to let fears about her reputation
cock-block keep them from being together. The fact that he stalked her all Duncan-like during her waitressing shifts at the Hut didn't hurt either. Jackie and Wallace get their bowm-chicka-bowm on at the Alterna-Prom; too bad her sudden departure for the Sorbonne in Paris means Wallace only got some for a matter of weeks.
Jackie's diva-tude has gone to the wayside given her father's alleged connection to the bus crash. His recent gunshot wounds nearly cause her to join Neptune's ever-growing club of rich but orphaned 09ers. His frozen financial assets make her a poor and orphaned 09er. And at school, she's so unpopular that she makes Veronica look like Homecoming Queen. Jackie's tragic outcast status causes a slow thaw between the two enemies — she and Veronica just might be on their way to becoming friends.
While Terrence recovers in the hospital, he and Jackie develop the close, father-daughter relationship they never had. An invalid does make for a very captive audience. However, once he recovers and the murder charges surrounding the bus crash are dropped, Terrence is sent home only to become the indentured servant of the casino owner who provided his alibi. Terrence urges Jackie to go to the Sorbonne, and she sees this as another personal rejection. In a classic case of misplaced revenge, she rejects Wallace by leaving for Paris without saying goodbye. Never mind that he was the only nice guy ever to win her heart. Oh, yeah. And that he risked his life to save hers from a homicidal janitor.
Oops. Did that copy say "Sorbonne"? The one in Paris? It should have said "Brooklyn Dan's." Turns out Jackie is not a rich, model's daughter from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but a hardworking, single mother of a two-year old. She works side-by-side with her mother waiting tables at a Brooklyn diner. And she's the product of a one-night stand between her mom and Terrence Cook. Ironically, his coolness towards her makes Jackie reevaluate her commitment to her son, and she rushes home to be his real mother. Jackie tells Wallace about her true past while he's on a layover at JFK, en route to Paris to search for her. She tearfully encourages Wallace to move on with his life, and probably laments that the only famous name she'll be dropping is Wallace's — from her heart. sigh J. Giles was right. Love stinks.
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Tessa Thompson plays Jackie Cook.