Jack & His Daughter Grow Up in 'Alice & Jack's Fourth Episode

Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as the titular 'Alice & Jack'Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as the titular 'Alice & Jack' on a bench

Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as the titular 'Alice & Jack' 


It’s half over, gentle readers; we’ve made it to episode four of Alice & Jack together, and this time we get a little reward: Less nonsense! There are fewer dumb decisions and irritating actions. Jack’s daughter Celia, who is easily more interesting than him, features heavily and her journey to understand her father improves our opinion of Jack. Through Celia’s eyes even Alice is more tolerable, which is no small feat.

On the heels of Jack’s big win, Alice brings his five-million-pound check in person. Jack is emotional and grateful, telling Alice she’s delivered his daughter’s freedom. The world between them is set to rights, but Alice upsets the balance by trying to kiss Jack. Jack rebuffs her gently; he won’t get into a relationship with her again. The feelings are still there, but he’s made a conscious decision not to pursue them. This is a refreshing bit of growth for Jack! Alice is heartbroken and cries for the next few days, then makes a bold move: She sends a huge sum of money to Jack’s employer with the caveat that a pro bono division be set up with Jack as its director. This will enable Jack to research any disease he wants, regardless of funding. Paul is over the moon, declaring Alice has made their dreams come true. 

But Jack takes it to a dark place and is furious, believing she’s manipulating him. He rushes to confront Alice, but her office is abandoned, except for Maya. She tells Jack that Alice is traveling. She closed her firm after giving everyone their money, explaining Alice was satisfied with her enormous profits and career performance. “She didn’t say goodbye,” Jack says stupidly, and Maya retorts that Alice did something “noble and generous” and then took him at his word by leaving him alone. Maya gives him a sealed envelope from Alice. When Jack is putting Celia to bed, she notices the envelope tucked in his back pocket. Jack tells her it’s from Alice and he’s surprised Celia remembers her as “the one who almost got married.” Later Celia watches Jack secretly as he reads the note and then tucks it in his nightstand. She holds on to this memory for six years.

Aimee Lou Wood as Maya and Andrea Riseborough as Alice in 'Alice & Jack' at the office

Aimee Lou Wood as Maya and Andrea Riseborough as Alice in 'Alice & Jack' 


We pick up with Celia (Millie Ashford) at about thirteen years old. Her room bears the discarded evidence of a privileged girl figuring herself out: violin, fencing sword, deflated soccer ball, and various rackets. Celia seeks out Alice’s letter after Jack leaves for work. It reads simply: “We’ll meet again.” Alice’s address is on the envelope, and Celia appears unannounced in her loft. Alice is delighted, recognizing Celia immediately. Celia is nervous but asks Alice directly why her mother hates her father. A gentle conversation follows. Celia presses to know if she should love and trust her father; Lynn and Mark constantly paint Jack as a terrible person. Although Alice’s opinion hardly holds weight with us, Celia is comforted and energized when Alice declares Jack to be the best person she knows. Celia begins to fall under Alice’s spell. (Is there something in Jack’s bloodline that attracts them to Alice?) Then Alice teaches Celia basic ballet positions. It’s not as weird as it sounds – it’s quite charming. The two have a sweet rapport. Bolstered by this interaction, Celia later greets her father with the hug she’d denied him earlier that day. They eat Cornettos together; the tone has shifted from awkward to loving.

Two years later, both Jack and Celia are prospering. Jack is now a celebrated scientist, embracing Alice’s gift and turning his research department into a disease-curing clearinghouse. Celia has found her calling and is flourishing as a teen ballerina. Relationships have improved: Jack and Lynn are cordial and mutually supportive of their daughter; Jack and Alice had an offscreen reconciliation and are now the best of friends; Alice is a constant in Jack’s life and a mentor to Celia. The Alice and Jack affair finally feels mature and no longer fraught. They’ve struck a balance of admitting they’re deeply in love but won’t pursue a romance since they’ve proven bad at it. This doesn’t stop Jack from seeking out other women, which is often ludicrous.

Jack’s unnamed date: “So you’re in love with another woman, and she’s in love with you. And you’re sitting here, presenting yourself as available?”

To Jack’s credit, at least he’s being honest and straightforward. This should make any woman run screaming, as his date does. However, Jack finds a romantic candidate in Rachel (Thalissa Teixeira), a television host who interviews him about his scientific success. She’s another who seems out of Jack’s league: beautiful, intelligent, driven. Yet when Jack lays his Alice baggage on the table on their first date, Rachel is unphased. “If Alice is the love of your life, that’s great because work is the love of mine.” Jack gets to have his cake and eat it, too. No shade to Gleeson, but why are amazing women interested in Jack?

Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as the titular 'Alice & Jack'Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as the titular 'Alice & Jack' sit under a bridge

Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson as the titular 'Alice & Jack' 


Alice announces to Jack she’s decided to become a single mother and that her insemination appointment is the following week. Jack is stunned but supportive, countering her fears by insisting she’ll be an amazing parent. Paul and Donna are dubious about Alice’s abilities and worry that Jack will be sucked into co-parenting. Maya also discusses with Alice how Jack will be the automatic father figure and Alice seems taken aback.

The morning of Alice’s appointment, Jack and Rachel have just spent the night together. Jack feels guilty, and when she finds out why, Rachel chides him for not being there with Alice. She prods him to join Alice, and frustratingly, Jack counters with excuse after excuse about why he shouldn’t go. Eventually, he jumps on his bike and races over, where an anxious Alice is pacing outside the clinic. There’s a classic movie moment where Jack suddenly calls out her name, and she laughs with relief. He’s there for her, and she didn’t have to ask. (Rachel had to damn near shove him out the door, but let’s not split hairs.)

Jack: “It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Being in love?”
Alice: “Brutal.”

In an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Riseborough said this show is about “two people who do things consistently wrong.” No disagreement, but at least now these two have actually grown, even if they never got over each other. The tone we end on is happy equilibrium. Conflict is the soul of fiction, so that can’t possibly last. 

Stream Now

Alice & Jack

Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson star in the new series from writer Victor Levin.
Alice & Jack: show-poster2x3

Marni Cerise headshot

A writer since her childhood introduction to Shel Silverstein, Marni adores film, cats, Brits, and the Oxford comma. She studied screenwriting at UARTS and has written movie, TV, and pop culture reviews for Ani-Izzy.com, and Wizards and Whatnot. You can usually catch her watching Hot Fuzz for the thousandth time. Find her very sparse social media presence on Twitter: @CeriseMarni

More to Love from Telly Visions