Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Fade in on a bar, where Jessica is throwing back, then shattering, her third glass of whiskey. “Drinking to remember or drinking to forget?” the bartender asks. “Giving a shit won’t get you a better tip,” is Jessica’s friendly reply. She tries to screw a rando she meets at this bar (his charming opener: “Nice ass”) but after she bends the bathroom stall in her super-hands, he just has to talk and ruin everything. He can’t believe she’s “one of them.” He calls her a freak, and not in a fun way.
Jessica is fixated on this idea that she is a freak, a dark science experiment gone violently awry, a demon beyond redemption. Could this episode stand to be more subtle about this concern? No doubt about it. But what can you do? Marvel’s gonna Marvel.
At least Malcolm is having a productive night. He found out that the horror hospital building was leased to Dr. Kozlov, the guy you may remember from season one as the mysterious physician who — though there was no record of him working at Metro General, always a good sign — treated Will Simpson and a bunch of other military guys, dosing them with combat-enhancer drugs. The upside is said pills make the user strong and impervious to pain, but because there must be balance in this life, they are also addictive and life-ruining. Last time we saw him, Kozlov was taking Simpson into custody.
Jessica, self-proclaimed lab rat, goes out to the swanky suburb that Kozlov calls home. But when she gets there, everybody is sitting shiva because Kozlov died in a car crash. “Freak accident,” Jess is told, which makes me think (1) intriguing repetition of the word “freak” so early in the episode and (2) ooookay, sure, it was an “accident.” Being there reminds Jessica of how Trish’s mom chastised her for not crying at her own family’s funeral. “Any normal person would cry.” Jessica can’t not obsess over the fact that she’s not normal, and she never has been.
She does some snooping and this pisses off a dude who can tell she’s another Kozlov experiment. He thinks Kozlov was a saint, and Jessica respectfully disagrees. (She is not respectful.) This gets her booted from the shiva, as one might expect. And when she gets home, the police are knocking on her door because they know she’s a “powered person” who could have had something to do with Whizzer’s death. Jessica goes to Oscar-the-hot-super for an alibi — remember how they made meaningful eye contact at the death scene? — but he does not oblige. Turns out he’s prejudiced against super-people. Rude.
Left to investigate on her own, Jessica breaks into Whizzer’s apartment and snags his laptop. She finds out he left confessionals about how he thought his speed could kill him and how great power brings “great mental illness” on the Trish Talk website, begging Trish to call him back.
Perhaps Trish missed these vlogs for help because she was too busy with her boyfriend Griffin who, as I told you all in the last recap, seems terrible. We find him cheerily encouraging Trish to hang with her “harmless” (ahem, abusive) mommy dearest, whom he calls “gorgeous” before conveniently flitting away from brunch to do whatever it is he does all day. Trish wants her mom to give her the contact information for Maximilian, a skeevy director who raped a young Trish. (Trish’s mom basically pimped her out to this guy when she was 15 and he was in his 40s.)
Now, as a general rule, I think there ought to be some kind of fine system for journalists who use the phrase “eerily prescient” because all things that are prescient are eerie. I say this because I am about to break my own rule as I remind us all that the first season of Jessica Jones, which premiered more than two years ago, was nothing if not eerily prescient (… sorry) about this reckoning we’re having now. It zeroed in on the dark, confusing ways sexual violence operates and affects victims, how absurd you can sound when you try to describe to someone else what happened, and how all the inevitable, theoretically reasonable questions — like “why didn’t you just leave?” and “couldn’t you have called the police?” — absolutely level you. How the horror of it just loiters in your body. How, in the aftermath, you have to recalibrate your whole sense of self. Aren’t I strong? I thought I was so fucking strong.
So it would be cheap to refer to this Trish story line as a #MeToo moment, because Jessica Jones’ thoughtful, nuanced exploration of all these themes predates the hashtag (though of course not Tarana Burke’s initial rallying cry). On another show, this might feel like well-intended trend-chasing, an attempt to insert a story line into a series to “comment on the current climate” or some such annoying thing. But here, it fits with the thematic language of the show. For all the things that keep Trish and Jessica apart — that Trish is jealous of and excluded from Jessica’s super-world, and that Jessica is jealous of and excluded from Trish’s normal life — there is this shared experience of sexual violence that they both understand, deeply.
Trish dresses up in her best Jessica-like clothes and heads to set, where Max is everything you think he will be: the kind of one-note dirtbag with no remorse who says Trish “crawled into my bed” when she was a tenth-grader. Trish brought Malcolm because she thought Jessica would act out. After doing what he was supposed to do — filming their interaction, in which Max confesses — Malcolm confronts Max and punches him in the face. Thank you, Malcolm. Way to contribute.
Jessica calls Trish’s mom — whose ringtone is the old Patsy show theme song, good lord — who fesses up Trish’s location. Jessica gets there in time to find Simpson, who has been stalking Trish (but in a nice way, like to protect her!) and puffing hard on that evil inhaler. Simpson says “someone” was supposed to make Trish go away and he took it on himself to protect her because “it takes a monster to stop a monster.” (… Does it, though? Discuss this existential quandary in the comments!)
So, the good news is Simpson is not actually a bad guy. The bad news is Simpson gets killed immediately after we found that out, and the real bad guy is on the loose somewhere.
In another sad little corner of this world, Jeri hires a few hookers and does a ton of coke. Good for her? Pryce is worried that Jeri isn’t taking his case seriously. These sequences are very (one might say gratuitously) long, so again let me just state for any Netflix execs reading these recaps: You can make these episodes shorter if you want to! Be the change you want to see in the running time.