Jack, Subject Zero, is one of the most difficult but rewarding companions Shepard can romance in Mass Effect 2. Jack is often listed among fan-favorite romances in the Mass Effect trilogy, in part because she and Shepard have to work at building trust with one another. Though Jack was originally meant to be pansexual in Mass Effect 2, she is only available to a male Shepard. To get her romantic arc to trigger, Shepard must recruit her, secure and maintain her Loyalty, and avoid accepting the option to have a casual fling.
As Shepard gets to know Jack, he will learn more about her past and some of her insecurities and vulnerabilities. He will need to show her patience and support to convince her to lower her walls and trust him. Even though Shepard is involved in a relationship with Jack, she will not necessarily survive the endgame Suicide Mission, so players will need to do their best to complete all required steps ahead of the attack on the Collector base or risk cutting the romance tragically short. If Jack survives the events of Mass Effect 2, Shepard can continue his relationship with her in Mass Effect 3. Here’s how to begin a romance with Jack in Mass Effect 2.
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How to Begin a Romance with Jack in Mass Effect 2
During the first Act of Mass Effect 2, Shepard receives four dossiers from The Illusive Man to begin building his team against the Collectors. One of these, Dossier: The Convict, brings Shepard and his crew to Purgatory, a prison ship, to buy Jack’s freedom and recruit her for their mission.
Jack will not immediately take kindly to Shepard, and he will need to visit her to ask questions and talk when he can. It is also a good idea for Shepard to allow Jack to have access to Cerberus’ files, something she requests right away and something that immediately puts Miranda Lawson on edge.
In an early conversation, Shepard will see an option on the conversation wheel to have casual sex with Jack. If he wants to pursue a relationship with Jack, he should avoid this option. Choosing to have casual sex with Jack will lead to a brief, steamy cutscene, but after this, Jack will no longer speak to Shepard casually, and her romance will be locked. This is an option players can take if they want to experience a fling with Jack but ultimately plan to romance Miranda or Tali.
Sometime after the mission on Horizon, Yeoman Chambers will mention that Jack wanted to talk with Shepard. Talking to Jack after this update from Chambers will activate Jack’s Loyalty Mission, Jack: Subject Zero. While some fans choose to save this mission until fairly late in the game, players who want to pursue Jack’s romance should consider completing it sooner to allow time for the romance to grow.
During Jack: Subject Zero, Jack seeks to revisit the facility where she was tortured as a child and destroy it. Jack’s Loyalty mission is one of several that cannot be failed. Regardless of Shepard’s decision near the end of the mission, Jack will become Loyal. However, Shepard will need to be careful to maintain that Loyalty.
Immediately following Jack’s Loyalty mission, she and Miranda will have a massive fight in the Comm room. If Shepard has a high enough Paragon or Renegade score, they should always choose to use the Charm/Intimidate dialogue option to resolve the conflict without having to take sides and lose the Loyalty of one of their squadmates. However, if Shepard’s Paragon/Renegade score is not high enough, they should always choose to take Jack’s side over Miranda’s. Shepard will lose Miranda’s Loyalty, but can get it back in a later conversation. It will also lock Shepard out of any chance to romance Miranda in Mass Effect 2 or Mass Effect 3. For players wanting to pursue Jack, this is better than the alternative; if Shepard were to take Miranda’s side in this conflict, it would lock them out of a romance with Jack permanently, even if he did manage to regain her Loyalty later.
Following Jack’s Loyalty mission, Shepard can continue to visit her in the lower level of Engineering and keep trying to get to know her. In conversation, when she asks if he has feelings for her, he will need to respond with I do or You don’t sound convinced. This is guaranteed to set her off for a little while. Shepard can return after a few more missions to talk again. In general, sticking to Paragon dialogue choices is a good strategy, as these tend to show support and empathy when Jack begins to open up about past romances and wanting time to think things through. Shepard will need to continue telling her to take her time to reassure her. Rejecting her, especially when or after she talks about her former lover, will close her off to all further conversation with Shepard.
The next time Shepard talks with Mordin Solus, the professor will also offer advice about his relationship with Jack, as he does with any squadmate Shepard chooses to romance. While not required, this scene can be a humorous reminder that others on the ship recognize the blossoming romance.
If Shepard has been successful at showing his support, just before the team heads through the Omega-4 Relay, Jack will come to Shepard’s cabin more vulnerable than she has ever been. She admits she has been thinking about him and gets emotional. Shepard should again be reassuring during this scene. The two will share an intimate moment before the cutscene fades to black.
It will be important for Shepard to keep Jack alive during the Suicide Mission. There are a few times she can easily die if players are not careful. First, Shepard must make the three critical upgrades to the Normandy: the Kinetic Barriers suggested by Tali, the Heavy Ship Armor suggested by Jacob, and the Thanix Cannon suggested by Garrus. Without these, Jack is one of the most likely squadmates to die while the Normandy travels through the Omega-4 Relay.
Later in the mission, Jack is a good choice for Biotic Specialist. Shepard will also need to choose appropriate leaders for the other teams to prevent Jack from being accidentally killed later in the mission. During the final boss fight, Jack’s defense score is not quite as high as some other companions, so she may be a good choice for Shepard’s squad rather than the Defense Team.
Should Jack survive the events of Mass Effect 2 and the player continues the game following the credits, they can talk to her again in Engineering. Later, Shepard will have the option to use the Intercom in his cabin and call Jack up to the room. The two can sit together, sleep together, or cuddle. The romance can continue to the end of Mass Effect 3.
Next: Mass Effect 2: How to Secure Tali’s Loyalty
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches May 14 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with forward compatibility on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
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