Marvel’s Jessica Jones
On Jessica Jones, the city is the place to be and the suburbs are for your nightmares. Every time we leave New York for some small town, we wind up in a house of horrors. See: season one’s jaunt to Jess’s childhood home, occupied by Kilgrave and a bunch of his prisoners. The city might be grimy and full of criminals, but the suburbs in this show are always shot to feel eerie and isolated, quiet and deserted — the sort of place where no one would come to help you, or ever even find you.
So it figures that Eric, burger guy, is not having a leisurely swim in a backyard pool when we find him on some Cheever-style tree-lined street. Instead, he is having to Houdini his way out of the ropes tying him to weights at the bottom of the pool because, as he explains it to Jess, this is his punishment for being late to pay off his bookie, Sal, in a punctual manner. (Always meet your deadlines, kids!) Eric is a gambler in debt, and he meant to handle said debt by blackmailing people. So to Jess’s question of “Who would want him dead?,” the answer is: probably one of the three people he blackmailed.
I want to believe that this season is going to pick up, because I thoroughly enjoy this show. But, like: Seriously, this dude’s superpower is just … getting a migraine around assholes? How is that even a power? And he doesn’t even know what bad thing they do — just that they do bad things? Come ON. The only thing that quiets this dirtbag-radar is “gambling, booze, and sex,” which explains why he didn’t hear/feel the stabber coming on while he was smashed and mid-hookup with Jess.
Trish comes by just to tell Jess that Brandt is in jail and that the stabber is still at large, a thing Jess already knows. “There are a lot of shitty people out there. There’s no reason for us to double up,” Jess (not incorrectly) tells Trish. “Go find your own bad guy. I don’t need your help and you don’t need mine, okay?” When Trish leaves, Eric is very indiscreetly screaming about Blakowski in the street — as in Sal Blakowski the bookie. Trish files this information away in her hero-brain and completely ignores what Jess just said to her, because good friendship is about listening, boundaries, and respect.
Jess and Eric go to check out the three people Eric blackmailed, which honestly is not very thrilling television because you know the first two people they find won’t be the person and will add nothing to the central plot of our show. It’s just C.S.I. Scumbag, with Jess proving to herself and to us that she does have the instincts to be a hero — she does not just want to split from an obviously sketchy dude’s place just because he isn’t the particular bad guy they’re looking for — and Eric revealing himself to be a kind of selfish, douchey loser. Jess wants him to use his powers to help her suss out the real baddies from the normals — she is playing the Trish to his Jess, except unlike the real Jess, he’s given up and is down to spend the rest of his days being selfish. He insists there is no point in stopping bad guys because they’ll never be able to end all violence and danger, so why bother fighting any of it? She leaves him with a “try not to get murdered” and I hope we never see him again.
Trish thinks Sal sent the stabber; she says as much to Jess, who is extremely not interested. So Trish breaks into Malcolm’s office to … send him to Sal? What is she even DOING there? She just wants everyone to know she can do parkour now. She is the most annoying, I swear to the Marvel gods.
Eric goes back to Ossining or whatever to pay off Sal, but because he’s a few hours late, they tie extra weights to his ankles and chuck him into the pool to drown. But Trish was following him, so she shows up to save the day. This is mostly successful, with one teeny catch: She accidentally impales Sal on a shovel and almost kills her.
Without Eric, Jess goes to door number three and meets Gregory Salinger, the stabber. (IS HE RELATED TO PEACH SALINGER? Inquiring TV-Salinger obsessives want to know!) He has degrees in all your hottest STEM subjects, a worm farm (I did not even know that was a thing and frankly could’ve lived without ever learning it, but here we are), and only five of the six knives from a set. I can’t believe Jess got stabbed by this fuckin’ nerd.
He shows up and reports that his thing is hurting powered people. Something about restoring balance and fairness to the universe — it’s all very Goop-y, but straight-up evil instead of whoops I spread a lot of misinformation about whether it’s safe to put jade eggs in your vagina evil.
He tells Jess he’s totally beyond her, and reveals that he broke into her apartment to steal back the knife connecting him to the crime. Like your standard-issue incel, what he really wants is RESPECT from the likes of Jessica Jones. This is … one way to go about it, I guess. Then he calls 911 and fake-sobs that Jess is attacking him, so Jess splits. When she gets home, Eric is crumpled on her doorstep; he describes his rescuer, so Jess knows it was Trish. I love that Eric says, “I’m sorry you have to do this alone” and then just … walks out of her apartment. What a top-notch guy.
Jess calls into Trish’s show, where a previous caller was just wondering if a chunky-knit turtleneck was “too attention-seeking,” to use coded language about sweaters to declare her intentions to TEAM UP. If this makes Trish less annoying and she discovers she has actually entertaining superpowers besides just tailing Jess and doing less-good versions of Jess things, I’ll be into it.
Meanwhile, Jeri has someone come by to give her place an ALS-proofing. Her story line is so quiet and intense, but I’m loving it. Because rather than have this experience — coming face-to-face with mortality in such a cruel and unjust way — change Hogarth’s fundamental nature, it really just makes her double down on some of her worst instincts: her capacity for selfishness and harm, her need to control and fully possess everyone she loves (or lusts after), no matter whom that destroys.
Because he is very good at his job, Malcolm finds out the real reason Hogarth has him digging into this Peter character. (Hogarth’s response: “If I want to be insulted, I’ll call Jessica.”) But because his sense of right and wrong has gotten all out of whack, Malcolm is willing to destroy this man’s life, marriage, family, everything, for a massive raise. Which he gets. Turns out Kith’s husband has been making withdrawals from the scholarship fund they set up for their dead daughter — and he is using that money to buy gifts for his girlfriends! Yikes.
Hogarth tries to just win Kith away from her husband one last time, but that marriage is unbreakable. So she tells Malcolm to release the damning information about Peter, which seems like a bad idea for everyone involved. I can’t imagine her beloved will like her more when all this is over.
Also, those gloved-hand close-ups of Salinger are giving me real Pretty Little Liars flashbacks. He’s just eating an apple, wearing a hazmat suit, and letting some dude bleed out from a gaping neck wound behind him.