When Cady McClain took over the iconic role of Jennifer Rose Horton Deveraux on Days of Our Lives last fall, she had big shoes to fill as Melissa Reeves had played Jennifer for decades and was beloved to fans. Well, it didn’t take McClain long to fill those shoes and have us rooting for Jennifer as she dealt with the fact that Jack slept with Kate while she spent a year in a coma.
Performer Of The Week: Cady McClain
Jennifer’s life became more tragic after she finally forgave Jack but then learned that he had fathered Gwen (Emily O’Brien) via a one-night stand before they ever met. If that wasn’t bad enough, her mother, Laura (Jaime Lyn Bauer), knew and kept the secret for years. Then, Laura was suddenly gone.
She fell during a struggle with Gwen and died. All of this shock just broke Jennifer and we got to watch McClain bring us Jennifer’s pain as if she’d always been playing this beloved legacy character.
Poor Jennifer seemed like a little lost girl when she cried at Laura’s grave about losing her mama. McClain pulled in the character’s history during this scene as we saw the subtext of a woman whose mentally ill mother once put her on a bus alone and then spent Jennifer’s teenage years in a hospital catatonic and suffering from Bipolar Disorder.
Of course, we also got a little comedy on the morning of Laura’s funeral as Julie (Susan Seaforth Hayes) offered Jennifer special pancakes and she scoffed at the idea. Head writer Ron Carlivati was paying tribute to when Dixie Cooney, the character McClain played on All My Children, ‘died’ via special pancakes.
As we watched Jennifer weep and lean on Jack for support, we also remembered this was McClain’s last episode as Jennifer (hopefully for now). McClain used her time in Salem giving us a different side of Jennifer Rose and endearing her to us in new ways. She had chemistry with everyone she worked with and even looked like she could be the mother of Marci Miller’s version of Abigail.
In those final scenes with Matthew Ashford’s Jack, we knew we’d miss the connection the actors created over the last few months and hope this exit is just temporary as we’d welcome Cady McClain back as Jennifer any time. Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.