Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Last season’s finale left us with this tantalizing hint about Trish’s future. This episode left me feeling extremely underwhelmed by whatever it is that Trish is now supposedly capable of doing.
Is it just me, or does Trish not exactly seem super with a capital “S”? If I recall correctly, Jess didn’t need to train for an entire year to access her superpowers. Because they’re superpowers. I’m no expert, but as I understand it, once you’re super — boom, you’re super. Go to bed with a spider bite, wake up ready to scale walls and sling through town. Get that weird juice injected into your veins by the U.S. military and emerge from a metal cocoon as Captain America. Batman has to train because he’s not actually a superhero (hot take: Wealth is not a superpower). That Trish basically spent a year doing lonely parkour at an abandoned playground until she could do one of those cool run-up-the-wall-and-backflip things does not suggest to me that her powers are all that powerful. I felt like I was watching a never-ending training montage in an ill-advised Creed remake, starring a white girl whose primary motivation was that she’d always been jealous of her best friend.
This episode is also over 50 minutes long, and approximately 25 of those minutes are just Trish training and being aggressively mediocre, if not outright terrible, at herodom. It makes her assertion to Jess in Brandt’s house — that Jess can retire because Trish can totally take it from here! — even more ridiculous than it sounded when I heard it last episode, before I knew how non-super Trish’s superdom was.
But let us go back to the beginning of this episode, directed by Krysten Ritter and starring one Trish Walker, who even gets her very own voice-over. “If I had your powers. You’ve heard me say that a thousand times.” Which reminds me: Trish has fantasized about what she would do if she had superpowers for, like, 15 years. And then she has no idea what to do with them once she has them! She just pops in her earpods, listens to the police scanner, starts jumping random petty thieves, and passive-aggressively shouting, “You’re welcome” at people who are too weirded out by the whole exchange to even know if they should be grateful. Did she really think she could (or should) just up and assault some rando for stealing a different rando’s iPhone?
Trish is so obsessed with the idea of herself as a Good Person that she barges into the world with zero strategy and starts messing things up. No one who actually is a moral compass would ever refer to themselves, unironically, as a “moral compass.” She’s disappointed when the cops get to the scene of a crime before she does — even though all she would have done if she’d gotten there first was … contain the bad guy and call the cops. She claims to hate her celebrity but is desperate for attention and praise. Seeing Jess get the “glory” for the one homicide Trish is proud to have committed is wrecking her. Trish needs therapy. Everyone on this show needs therapy.
Okay, back to recapping: Trish tries to repeat her phone-catch stunt, and just as I’m writing wow, awfully risky to do that with your phone that doesn’t have a case on it, she misses and her screen shatters. So she spends a year in a training montage and emerges to tell her mom that she feels very isolated and doesn’t want to be on a stage or screen anymore. Trish’s mom worries that Trish has no professional life and suggests Trish join a celebrity dance show. Honestly, she would be perfect for that, but Trish has loftier (vaguer) aspirations.
Trish struggles with her efforts at violent Good Samaritan–ing because everybody recognizes her. I guess it would be like if Candace Cameron Bure started avenging carjackings or some shit. So she goes to a very sad Halloween store and tries on a bunch of costumes, each one dumber than the last. I did not read the comics, but I did Google just to confirm my hunch that the yellow spandex is an homage to what the original Patsy Walker wore. (I assume this is also why Trish, who is trying to be inconspicuous, wears a bright-yellow top under her zip-up when she gets to breaking-and-entering.) Trish’s “Oh, hell no” at this choice is a cute reference to the flashback scene from season one, when Jess was briefly considering a more spandex-y aesthetic.
After spending a bunch of money at the costume store, Trish finds a ski cap in her trunk and realizes she can just hide her hair under that and her face in a scarf thing and be totally unrecognizable. This is something the drunk teens of Spring Breakers were able to figure out much, much faster than Trish, a sober grown-up.
As you might have expected, the guy whose neck Trish sprained — who swiftly recognized his assailant as a former child star — decides to sue Trish for some obscene sum, so Trish turns to Hogarth, who in turn enlists Malcolm to find dirt on this guy. Trish is hurt that Malcolm, who has every reason to want to keep his distance, isn’t being all that friendly. Malcolm, like the rest of the world, thinks Jess killed her mom — whom everyone else thought of as a mass murderer, which is also technically true. Trish corrects the record, clearly thinking he will be impressed; instead, he is horrified. Sensing Trish’s plan to be a JV Jess, he tells her, “You’ll hurt as many people as you help.” So far, so accurate!
Trish hates the P.I. part of Jess’s job, so about 90 percent of Jess’s job. She uses intel she stole from Hogarth’s office to find one of the repeat-offender scumbags Malcolm helps get off, and then she rescues one of his victims before he can rape her. Obviously I am here for this kind of intervention, but did she really need to be a masked vigilante to handle that situation? It’s all kind of … clumsy, no? For a show that is usually so smart and nuanced about sexual assault, I’m just not sure what we’re supposed to think or feel about Trish from her haphazard and reckless intrusion into other people’s lives. Everything she says sounds like lines she rehearsed in the mirror, and they are delivered in exactly the self-satisfied tone you’d expect. I mean, “Not this time, asshole!” Seriously? They pick this up off the cutting floor of Sweet/Vicious?
We do at least get some closure in this episode on the very important issue of why Jess and Oscar aren’t dating anymore: They sort of slid into friendship after the trauma of Jess’s mom’s death. Jess was not down to be as vulnerable and open as she’d need to be for someone like Oscar, who, unfortunately for their relationship prospects, is “a good guy.” And in other hook-uppery news, Trish has sex with her hot trainer (finally a decent use of her new super-strength!) and then immediately dumps and fires him (rude).
As she’s kicking the trainer out, Malcolm is walking in wearing an absolutely perfect coat. He tells a very long story about how he did morally gross things to blackmail the iPhone robber into only asking for a $50,000 settlement. NETFLIX JUST MAKE THESE EPISODES 40 MINUTES, I BEG YOU. Malc also suggests Trish find a day job as a cover for where she’s been while she’s been turning herself into a wannabe vigilante for justice. This is how Trish ends up selling atrocious sweaters on a Home Shopping Network–type channel.
Trish, full of righteous anger — this is her default setting — goes to Brandt’s place to stake it out. She is hilariously bad at this. Girl, you’re trying to be so stealthy, but you took a Lyft to the hotel? So that there could be a record of your exact transit route tied to your credit card? Come on, Patsy. Of course when she bursts into Brandt’s place she literally says, “Your turn to be the helpless one,” another one of those lines she definitely rehearsed in the shower.
Trish is very sad that she missed two shows for her botched stakeout and is all alone. She is briefly heartened by the fact that Jess is calling her from the hospital, but it turns out all Jess wanted was Andrew Brandt’s name, since she figures her attacker must have been sicced on her by the guy whose place they broke into. Better just snuggle up in one of those tacky cardigans, Patsy! Jessica is not here to make you feel better.