Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Jess is back where she’s been so many times before: As a suspect, awaiting police questioning down at the station. But because Trish left the Nassbaumer badge on Jace’s dead body while Jess was at the station, Jess is no longer a suspect. This does not lift our heroine’s spirits. When she gets home, Erik is passed out in her bathtub and regains consciousness to report that Trish is “in trouble.” Jess, praise be, is unimpressed. “You brought her down to your shitty level.” Erik goes into some self-pitying shame spiral about how this is all his fault and I want to crawl into the screen and punch him in the face. Instead he reports that Trish “went dark” and is now giving him a level five headache (scale of one to 10). I cannot believe this sentient mood ring is the key plot device here and we can’t rely on, I don’t know, the fact that Jess is Trish’s adopted sister, knows her intimately, and can already tell that her friend has gotten sucked into the darkness?
Trish’s next target is Salinger, obviously. But Jess’ concern is that Trish is one more extra-judicial offing from losing her goodness for… good (I’m sorry), so in a development she surely was not anticipating only a few episodes ago, Jess goes to the hospital to protect Salinger from Trish’s inevitable attack. During this battle of the sisters, Trish points out that Jess killed Kilgrave. Jess reminds Trish that doing so nearly destroyed her, and I would also add that Kilgrave literally could control people’s minds and there was no prison that could hold him, and Salinger is just some dick with a photography fetish who could easily be contained by your standard-issue jail cell.
Trish, proving yet again that she does not understand what it means to be heroic, says that her gift might actually be (paraphrasing here) that she has no emotional response to these cavalier homicides and that this is a positive development?! So Jess has no choice but to execute an EXTREMELY cool intervention, using her powers to jump and throw Trish clear off the roof of the hospital onto a roof across the street. You know that every time Jess does something like this, Trish seethes inside because her powers, while decent—night vision, lethal manicure—are not the powers she craves.
Hogarth returns to her office in the morning to find Jess and Salinger waiting for her. Salinger is practically squealing with delight over the fact that Jess has to protect him in order to protect Trish(’s soul). All Jeri really cares about is if Trish is going to come for her. Never change, Jeri.
Erik goes over to Malcolm’s just in time to see his sister show up with groceries. (“I’m just doing her a solid, man” Malcolm says, even though I’m pretty sure adult women don’t need the permission of their older brothers to engage in sexual activity here in this year of our Marvel lords 2019!) Erik is all edgy about this, because he sucks. And he and Brianna still have that weird sibling energy. Malcolm wants to let the cops handle Trish, but Erik has been sent by Jess to remind Malcolm that she is paying him “a shitton of money” to do his job, which now involves capturing Trish.
Also down to give Trish to the police: Salinger, who offers to reveal her identity and let the cops take it from here. Jess is not about that life. God, Salinger’s narration is SO annoying. Jess stages an attack on Salinger in his apartment, knowing Trish is watching. She also finds his camera, which has been in his worm farm (ew ew ew) this whole time, and destroys it. While Trish is transfixed by this performance, Malcolm sneaks up on her and tases her. Back at Trish’s cool new crash pad, she comes to and finds she is chained by the ankle to a concrete support beam. Malcolm, whose top job for Jess is “babysitter of problematic individuals,” is here to make sure she doesn’t escape and to have boring conversations about moral relativism.
We also learn about Trish’s first big acting gig: Pretending that her dad beat her, when in fact he was beating her mom; Dorothy was too proud to call the police to protect herself but not too proud to contradict baby Patsy’s lie. In this magical world, domestic violence cases are actually taken seriously and this circumstantial evidence—Trish had Dorothy’s blood smeared on her face but presumably no injuries of her own—was enough to get Dad sent to prison and never be seen from again. Trish’s take: “What I did was wrong. But it was also right.”
Jess and Erik go back to the bar again so they can have some pointless conversation about their relationship status. No one thinks this series is going to end with these two sipping bourbon into the sunset, do they? BRING BACK LUKE CAGE, PLEASE. (I don’t actually watch his show so will someone tell me if he already has a new girlfriend or why he and Jess can’t hang out? Isn’t he in Harlem? Seems accessible!) Clearly they have some plot for how to deal with Salinger but we don’t see what it is.
Instead, we see Jess in the dark at Alias, getting back to work with bourbon in hand—bourbon that Salinger spiked to knock her out and mildly paralyze her, yikes. Lots of people regaining consciousness in this series to find themselves in very compromising positions, and Jess is no exception: She is duct-taped to a chair (an insult to her strength, but Salinger thinks his cocktail is keeping her too weak to escape) in Salinger’s janky little DIY Sears Portrait Studio. (Hey, his nice equipment is in police lockup.)
What does this mean for us? Endless douchey speechifying from Salinger, who wants Jess to know that other people might think her outfits are cool but he sooo doesn’t. He wants Jess to accept that her family died for nothing because “you are not, and you will never be, a hero.” Not sure that Salinger’s opinion on the matter is particularly relevant or persuasive here, but sure.
Once Salinger has admitted, in graphic detail, to all his most violent crimes, Jess lets him know that she has been filming their entire encounter and—fun fact!—still has the super-strength to tear off the duct-tape. Erik is also here, acting as key grip or whatever. Jess, who is so good at this—Trish, take notes!—saved the DNA from under Trish’s fingernails from the Dorothy Walker crime scene, and this is the evidence she can provide to Costa, along with Salinger’s taped confession. The police arrive to take Salinger away. CRISIS AVERTED one would think, except now our crisis is Trish.
Trish says that her new lifestyle is spending all of 20 seconds deciding if someone is evil or not and then hunting that person down and killing them in cold blood because that’s what HEROES do and if Malcolm can’t get on her level then, oh well. Jess arrives to demonstrate how it’s actually done: Salinger is in prison, she reports. “This is over. It isn’t satisfying. It doesn’t take away the pain. It doesn’t affect either of us, except that he’s done.” She shows Trish the close-up photo Salinger took of her own face. For some reason, this does not appear to have any real effect on Trish. And it must make Trish insane with jealousy to see Jess just break the chains with her bare hands.
They have a real tense hug. Time for Trish to go back to selling sweaters and for Erik to keep sleeping on Jess’ couch! Salinger calls Jess from prison just to troll her. (Why would that come up as an unknown number? A prison pay phone—wouldn’t it be collect?) He is being escorted through underground tunnels to the courthouse, but there are some loud booming sounds from above that would suggest a certain masked vigilante is in the building, here to prevent justice from being served. I write in my notes Jess did SO much work to get him arrested and save your ass TRISH WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU as Trish jumps into the elevator and punches Salinger in the face until he dies.
The elevator doors open in time for Jeri to see her client dead and drenched in blood; Jess shows up just as Jeri sees Salinger. Horrified faces abound.
I get that Trish is grieving and I guess now the direction we’re going is that she is too far gone to be saved but… really? Do you buy this character development? I am struggling with it. I just feel like Trish would have learned to be satisfied with the outcome Jess secured and would not have felt like “the only true justice is up and killing this guy, thus ruining my entire life in the process.” I mean, the death Trish is theoretically avenging is her mother’s—her abusive mother’s! So if anyone should understand that good people do bad things, and bad people can sometimes be loving, and that perhaps only a complete fucking moron would attempt to sort all of humanity into one of those two boxes, it’s Dorothy Walker’s daughter.