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Jessica Jones Season Premiere Recap: Savior, Complex

Marvel’s Jessica Jones

AKA The Perfect Burger
Season 3 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating *****

Marvel’s Jessica Jones

AKA The Perfect Burger
Season 3 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Netflix

We last left our fair anti-heroine in a darker, more isolated place than she’d ever been. Her mom, who wasn’t dead after all … is dead now, killed by none other than Jessica’s adopted sister, Trish. Jess cut ties with Trish over this whole you-murdered-my-mom-whom-I-literally-just-reconnected-with situation and also demoted Malcolm from “assistant whom she periodically treats like shit, but in a loving way” to “neighbor she exchanges silent nods with when they pass each other in the hall.” She ran out on Oscar, the hot super (-intendent, not -powered) from her building, who seemed like a great boyfriend, because she thought she was going to live on the lam with her mom. But now that that’s not happening, maybe they could get back together?

Anyway: Jess is all by herself, like, even more than usual, and our new and final season begins on a beautiful, bright beach. Extremely not her scene. Lest you fear you were about to see Jess actually dress for the weather, her boots stomp on the sand. See, she’s trying out being “good” again, though this means doing the petty bidding of people who can’t afford to pay for her super-services. She has gotten “the bright idea to branch out and give a shit.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Jessica try that do-gooder lifestyle, though now she is fueled by more than just a desire to atone for past homicides; she wants to be the person her mother believed she could be. Also, Jess has always given a shit! She just likes to say she gives zero shits and dress like someone who gives zero shits, but really she is in denial about her true nature as an irredeemable giver-of-shits.

Back in New York, she is feeling conflicted about “rescuing” the ungrateful daughter who didn’t even want to come home (“Captain America wouldn’t have done this”) for the mom whose fantasy is to incarcerate her ex. “I hate heroism,” Jess tells us. I will say heroism looks decent on her office, which now houses an assistant, Jillian, with an admirable commitment to work-life balance — she packs up at 4:59 and leaves with an instruction to not call her this weekend — and a new couch. Jess is charging the helpless on a “sliding scale,” which is just a euphemism for “pro bono.” Though Oscar, the cute boyfriend (ex-boyfriend, I guess?), is MIA, his son, Vido, is still hanging around. Regular readers of my recaps know how I typically feel about precocious stairwell urchins, but I will give Vido a chance.

Because it is nighttime, Jess goes for a dramatic wardrobe change (black T-shirt instead of white) and heads to the bar, where Detective Costa meets her to remind her of their arrangement: She catches bad guys without brazenly breaking the law. This means no more becoming a YouTube star for throwing men around, unfortunately, even if they deserve it. He tells her to keep an eye on that line she’s not supposed to cross. I’m sure that will all work out fine!

Across town, Hogarth’s ALS has progressed. She has these meds with which she wants to commit suicide when the time comes, but she realizes that by then it will actually be too late for her to take them for herself. Do they make a TaskRabbit for this? They do not, so Hogarth calls Jessica and asks her to assist. Jessica is not about that arrangement. I will say this is probably a situation in which you want some clear ground rules! Like, Jess is being kind of a dick here, but maybe “Follow your instincts, I trust you to decide the time to do a murder” is not sufficient guidance?

Speaking of women Jess has no interest in helping: Trish’s mom arrives to report that Trish is missing. No one but Jess knows that Trish killed Jess’s mom, so Trish’s mom is even more obtuse than usual re: Jessica’s emotional state. She offers to pay handsomely for Jess to hunt Trish down, and obviously she is going to do it, but for a while she acts like she won’t, because this is Netflix and it will make all these episodes approximately 50 minutes long no matter how many recappers’ precious lives slowly wither away while this happens.

As you may recall, Trish voluntarily underwent the, uhh, edgy operation that Jess was subjected to against her will and emerged from the experiment with some superpowers of her own (details TBD). Jess doesn’t know this yet, but she soon finds out, after finding out that Trish lives in a kind of stripped-down gymnasium–slash–crash pad (a futon, really?) and catching her in the act of some elaborate cat burglary. I love that Trish’s mom’s reaction to the fact that her daughter has sold off all her possessions and is living in moderate squalor is to eye the workout equipment and say, “At least she’s keeping fit.”

While the relationship between Jess and Trish is intense and fascinating, Trish is … very annoying. Does anyone else find her annoying? Her view of morality — even after she literally murdered her best friend’s mom in front of said best friend — is ridiculously black-and-white. Trish is pissed that Jess botched Trish’s plans, which involved stealing a statue that connected this dude to an assault. I’m not sure what Trish was going to do with this evidence she acquired through theft and without a search warrant; if she just wanted the dude to pay for said assault, why not just … kick his ass? You’re super now, Trish! But no, this is not her way.

I love Jess’s response to her friend’s new powers. “Are you bulletproof now?” (Spoiler: No.) “Are you a super–cat burglar?” (Kind of!) Trish basically tells Jess that she can just quit her entire life’s work and go back to doing … whatever she was doing before. Nobody needs to be a hero anymore unless they want to be: “I’ve got it covered.” Oooookay.

Jess tries to heal from this extremely awkward and disorienting run-in the best way she knows how: by watching infomercials, drinking whiskey, and having casual sex with a nihilistic bar stranger. (“Everything is terrible, optimism is a lie, expect the worst.”) Just when it seems like Jess’s night is turning around, she opens the door to who she thinks is Vido but turns out to be some rando in a ski mask who stabs her. Extremely rude!

While she is gushing blood on the floor, Malcolm — who spends most of this episode wearing expensive suits while helping a baseball player avoid the consequences of his repeated DUIs but then finally sprouts a sort-of conscience and drives said baseball player off the road and the field — emerges from his apartment to help stanch the bleeding. So at least he isn’t ignoring her 100 percent of the time, and Jess is ending this episode marginally less alone than she was when it began. Always good to find that silver lining in a pool of your own blood.

Jessica Jones Season Premiere Recap: Savior, Complex