Marvel’s Jessica Jones
What happened to Trish? According to Jess, “An asshole happened to her.” Doctors don’t really know what to expect — what’s going on inside of her body, or if she’ll ever wake up — but apparently other “back alley” doctors do sketchy surgeries to try to give superpowers to normals, so this is not an entirely unfamiliar concept to these fine medical professionals.
Trish is going to end up with powers, right? That’s gotta be where this is going. You know Jess will feel so ripped off when that happens, since she had to undergo 20 days of torture and Trish got in and out of the operating room in under ten minutes. Plus, their entire dynamic hinges on Jess knowing she has superpowers and Trish doesn’t, while Trish has a (psycho) mom and Jess doesn’t. Or, you know, didn’t.
Also, given everything Trish knows about what happened between Jess and Kilgrave, it’s awfully misguided of her to think having powers would make her invulnerable. It just makes you vulnerable in different ways! Kilgrave was attracted to Jess because of her powers. Whizzer ran himself into dust. The powers seem very cool and tempting and obviously none of us fantasize about being the superhero’s sidekick. But Trish should really know better.
Dorothy, Trish’s mom, is having this uncharacteristic moment of clarity now that her daughter could die. She doesn’t blame Jess, nor does she blame herself. How liberating for you, Trish’s mom! She tells Jess they are each other’s only family, which Jess knows isn’t true.
Speaking of Jess’s family: Alisa broke out of jail, scooped up some clothes from Goodwill — which aren’t totally dissimilar in style to the flannel-shirt outfit Jess wears on the rare occasion she goes without her jacket — and makes it to every tourist’s favorite destination: Times Square. I have never related to Alisa more than in this moment, when the swarms of annoying people all around fill her with a murderous rage.
Every Trish Talk poster she sees (and there are a lot of them) reminds Alisa of the woman she has decided is responsible for all her troubles. This escalates when Alisa swings by the radio station, unaware that her target spectacularly quit days ago. I burst out laughing when the clueless radio guy tried to diffuse the situation by saying, “Let’s get you a tote bag.” Alisa very coolly chucks him through a plate-glass wall.
As long as we’re talking about women who handle setbacks in completely reasonable ways: Jeri hunts down the pawn shops where Inez and Shane sold her stuff, and also gets her hands on a gun (and curly fries, great multitasking). She then tells Inez that Shane is a con artist who’s been using her this whole time, getting thousands of dollars from women he wrote to while he was in prison. “You were homeless while he was building his nest egg,” Jeri lies. When Inez is sufficiently furious, Jeri helpfully arms her with the gun. Inez fires at her (I assume now ex-)boyfriend, and Jeri, concerned citizen, calls 911 to report a shooting.
Costa and his partner Ruth Sunday, the female cop who has never liked or trusted Jess, grill her at Alias. Where could Alisa be going? Jess rifles through one of Karl’s old journals and reads his notes: Patient exhibited obsessive destruction fixation on an object or person. Jess figures out that Alisa will be after Trish and that Trish will not be safe without Jess at the hospital with her. Sure, her location is private now. But “It’s Patsy,” Jess says. “It’ll leak.”
Right on cue, Mama Rose Walker blows Trish’s cover. She just can’t help herself. Alisa is holed up in the Paradise Suite wiping her sobs and snot away with one of Karl’s classic rock T-shirts when she sees Dorothy on the news, outing Trish’s location. Solid work, everybody.
And with that, Alisa steals an RV from a totally oblivious teenager. Remember how much she loves to drive? It’s been years, hasn’t it, since she’s been behind the wheel? I bet Karl was all, “I love you too much to let you drive. What if you have a feelings attack?” Just like husband No. 1, Karl probably kept Alisa riding shotgun. But no more.
Setting aside what I said about how Trish should know better, have I ever envied Jess’s powers more than when she kicked the door clear off the car because she was fed up with traffic? (No, I have not.) Jess and Alisa arrive in Trish’s hospital room at the same time. Jess tries to talk her mom down, assuring her that Trish isn’t responsible for all of her anguish. “That’s just a story that you’ve made up in your head.” Then Alisa grabs Jess and uses her arm to choke Trish, which is all very poetic and horrifying, but Jess is able to reach her mom somehow, begging her not to take Trish, her family, away. “Don’t do this to me again, please.”
Alisa is centered by this, and she’s as stunned as anyone by her return to a non-homicidal setting. You can see she’s working out a plan. A plan that won’t work without Jess.
But just as these two are connecting in a way that could prevent anyone from getting killed, Costa and Sunday bust into the room. Alisa takes Sunday hostage, then jumps backwards out the window. They’re … a lot of stories up. Sunday dies on impact, a pool of blood swelling around her body, with a little trail of bloody footprints marking where Alisa fled.
Dorothy’s “We’re the only family we have left now!” thing lasted approximately half an hour. Now that she knows the deal with Jessica’s mom, she’s here to tell Jess that Alisa “must be so proud of the heartless monster you turned out to be.” Trish has been transported to the morgue, and is anyone else surprised there isn’t a doctor or nurse with her at all times? Seems like sort of a skeleton staff there. Cops are here to shadow Jess until it’s all over, in case her mom comes back. Costa, who stuck his neck out for Jess over and over, still believes in her but the body count has gotten too high, too close to home. “Hey, Jones, don’t try and be a hero,” he tells her. “You know that’s not you.”
I am extremely grateful for the comic relief that is the morgue attendant, who quips about Trish, “I told her to stick with her lifestyle format.” Remember how useful he was re: IDing Dr. Leslie Hansen’s severed head? Those were the good old days.
Jess gets a minute alone to talk to Trish, who is unconscious. She admits, in this basically empty room, that she was “always jealous” of Trish for having her mother. “I had no goddamn clue what I was even wishing for. And now I don’t know what to do.” Trish comes to with this loving greeting: “Asshole.”
After confirming some important basics — “Am I dead?” “No, but you should be after that stupid shit you pulled” — Trish lashes out at Jess for derailing her “one chance” to have powers. Jess doesn’t even deserve the powers she has, Trish rages: “All you do is piss them away when you could be out there helping people.” Jess cracks, fuming that she is over “being the focus of your ridiculous insecurity.” Trish calls Jess a coward, and Jess accuses Trish of keeping her expectations just high enough to “make sure that I feel worthless.”
But then the second Alisa calls, Jess refers to Trish as her best friend, and when Alisa and Jess need a place to meet, Trish volunteers her apartment. They really ARE sisters, if they can go from hating each other to saving each others’ asses just like that.
Trish tells Jess where she’s stashed Simpson’s arsenal and tells her to “put [Alisa] down. You’re the only one powerful enough to do it.” Trish also says she would totally do it herself if she were powered, which is not exactly relevant or fair, but whatever, we’ve all been through a lot. (Also, I don’t buy it! Look at how Trish has handled her own abusive mother. She won’t even delete the woman from her phone, and here she is telling Jess that matricide will be easy as pie?) Then Trish has some exorcism convulsions and I am more convinced than ever that some super-stuff is brewing under her skin.
Soon enough, Jess manages to give her tail the slip and gets the morgue van driver to give her a lift to Trish’s place. By the time Alisa gets there, Jess has her gun cocked and pressed against the back of Alisa’s head.
Jess feels like she’s out of options. Alisa — who isn’t the world’s most unbiased party here, but sure — insists that isn’t the case. Jess points out that Alisa just came within an inch of killing Trish. Alisa ecstatically responds, “An inch is miles for me!” She says that Jess can pull her back from the edge every time, and they can do this as a team.
But the fact that Alisa thinks she had “no choice” but to kill Sunday loses Jess. “There is always a choice. Your brain is just too goddamn broken to ever make the right one.”
Alisa says there’s nothing to live for without Jess, which would have been a more touching thing to say before Karl died. “So pull the trigger,” she tells her daughter. “Honestly, I’d rather it was you.”
I don’t think Alisa believed Jess would actually do it. Just days earlier, Alisa was appalled to learn Jess was racked with guilt for being the “distraction” that caused the family car crash. If Jess was crushed by how responsible she felt for that — a fatal accident that took place when she was just a child, riding in the backseat — how would she ever live with herself for literally killing her mom, point-blank?
Jess loses her nerve. Alisa grabs the gun and just knocks her out cold. Family! Alisa kidnaps her own daughter so they can run away together just like she hoped. They’re far enough away from New York City to hear nothing but crickets in the quiet. It’s three of Jessica’s favorite things: a violation of her consent, a family road trip, and the suburbs.