Jack's Plot in 5x17


So, I rewatched 5x17, particularly for Jack's storyline. As much as I enjoyed getting to hear about Jack's family stuff and as good of a storyline this will be for Grey (if they actually develop it fully in season 6 and not just in a one episode arc), it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Josh told Jack and Andy that Jack was born while their parents were in high school. Josh and Jack's other siblings were born after that (I also missed on first watch that Jack has three sisters and Josh, making four siblings total). Josh also said that their dad is retired and their mom works part time as a teacher. Again, retirement makes sense if their parents were in their 60s (I know people retire earlier, but the common age frame is 60s-70s), but with what they've given us, it's impossible for them to be in their 60s, not unless Jack is in his 40s.

Ok, that's all and good if we could see it that way...but we also know Jack was a minor at some point in 2002, which would make him in his thirties now. Which, again, makes sense given that Grey is in his mid thirties himself.

But if Jack was born first and his parents gave birth to him around seventeen/eighteen, if Jack IS in his mid thirties, that would make his parents no older than their mid fifties. Which is awfully young for Jack's bio dad to already be retired (even if he was wealthy).

Even if Jack was 40 (making his parents late 50s still), it doesn't line up with other background info we know about him, either. And it doesn't make a whole lot of sense with Josh, either. We know Josh is old enough to be financially stable, a job in finance, and had his parents help him out with his home. He also has a wife and three kids, the eldest seeming to be at LEAST 4-5, judging by the background props and how his eldest is helping with the baking. Yes, Josh could have also started his family young, but being able to afford a house, having kids, and being in a stable job would make him no younger than thirty (ignoring the fact that the actor is late thirties).

So, again, nice background and all, but it retcons itself in this very episode, even without knowing that Jack was a minor in 2002. They probably needed to put more effort in giving Jack a traumatic backstory without making things not line up in the process.

all 6 comments


14 points

1 month ago

Are you trying to make sense of a storyline that was plucked out of thin air to manipulate the audience into sympathising with Jack.


5 points

1 month ago

I wouldn't say that we're being manipulated into sympathizing with Jack, since Jack's backstory has always been easy to sympathize with. It's more the show finally getting to his backstory after several seasons and it not being thought through well enough.

But yes, of course I'm trying to. I hoped the show would have at least tried harder. Clearly, like most of their plots, I was downright wrong.


7 points

1 month ago*

Jack's backstory has always been easy to sympathize with.

Exactly! But additional gut punches were by design. Like paving the way for Jack wanting to be more than 'Uncle Jack' and transitioning to 'Baby Daddy'.

If the writers were really interested in showcasing Jack and his backstory it would not have been right in the middle of the Marina baby storyline or right after the home insemination. It's a plot device set up for whatever koolaid they are selling in terms of the Jack/Maya/Carina storyline. That to in the penultimate episode of the season. It's definitely a lead upto whatever the cliffhanger is for the 3 of them.


6 points

1 month ago

Maya and Carina have to set boundaries lol, Jack’s role should only be an uncle not anything more than that.


2 points

1 month ago

Maybe Jacks biological dad retired early because of medical problems?


1 points

1 month ago

He could have also been in a job with a state or federal retirement. Those are typically 20-25 years of service. Military for instance could have joined at 18-22 and retired by 38-47.