Jessica Jones Tries Something New

The word of the day is “misanthrope.”

Predictably, Jessica struggles to get through even one court-mandated anger management class… which is fair enough after she articulates all the reasons she has to be angry.

(Contains spoilers for Jessica Jones Episodes 2.4 and 2.5; please try to avoid spoilers beyond this point in the comments.)

Season 2, Episode 4: “AKA God Help the Hobo”

Written by Jack Kenny
Directed by Deborah Chow

Jessica’s fun and games from last episode has led to Malcolm being splashed all over the gossip rags as Trish’s new boyfriend, but he’s more concerned with convincing Jessica to let him do some work other than carpentry on her damaged apartment.

After Pryce Cheng makes Malcolm a job offer, he finally gets up the nerve to make some demands of Jessica, to let him help with cases, learn the PI trade from her, and take a cut of the earnings. This is the second time he has stated that it’s bad news for an addict to have nothing to do, and I’m hoping that’s not foreshadowing. I worry about Malcolm.

Trish’s equal determination to be Jessica’s sidekick gains some traction. The two of them track down Jessica’s mystery woman from last episode, based on the premise that she was wearing a high quality wig.

Wigs at least, is something Trish knows from her acting days, which are on her mind at the moment.

TRISH: I haven’t had any privacy since I was 12 years old when my mother sold it.

They follow up with Max the Skeevy Director, getting his attention by showing Trish and Malcolm’s video to his current teen female star, which makes her walk off the set.

Jess threatens Max until he gives Trish what she’s asking for: access to secret IGH files from a hospital he patronises. Jessica is struggling to contain that anger of hers, but restricts herself to punching him in the Tesla.

There’s something of a truce at home, at least—after a misunderstanding with Oscar (the super’s kid, who manages to throw himself out a window from sheer enthusiasm), Jessica receives an apology, a bottle of whiskey and a conversation with her new neighbour.

OSCAR: I don’t have a problem with people like you. It was just you.

It all goes pretty well until she assumes he’s the kind of man who puts out on the first date.

Jeri Hogarth is still in meltdown over her diagnosis, and shows signs of going full supervillain if any kind of experimental cure is up for grabs. She is momentarily distracted by a new quest for euthanasia drugs, but given the theme of this series so far, I will eat my hat if she doesn’t end up pursuing the ‘medical experiments no matter the ethical cost’ path.

Jessica and Trish learn about one other patient whose hospital bills were paid by IGH—Inez Green, whom they are hoping is the mystery superwoman in the wig.

Hunting through the bag of toys Trish deliberately kept after Will Simpson’s death (we really need to talk about Trish and her attachment to shiny weapons) they find a super taser which works on Jessica. Promising!

As they quest their way through the city’s homeless to find angry loner Inez Green, Trish also indulges in a puff of Simpson’s super-inhaler.

Considering that she has her own ten year chip as an addict, should she really be… yeah let’s assume she should not be doing that. Even if my inner superhero fan is squealing HELLCAT GET YOUR COSTUME LET’S DO THIS.

Inez turns out to be a key witness, but not the woman they were hunting for; she was a nurse who got caught up in it all.

Meanwhile, Pryce Cheng sends his employee Nick to clean out Jessica’s office, stealing her papers and her clients. Nick is met with instant karma when a certain super angry bewigged lady appears and beats him to death inside his own van…

Bad news for Jessica, who arrives on the scene and is promptly arrested. “That’s not me,” she repeats over and over, as she sees the violent carnage.

That’s not her.

Damage Report

For once, it’s mostly people rather than property.


Season 2, Episode 5: AKA The Octopus”

Written by Jamie King
Directed by Millicent Shelton

Trapped in a small cell, Jessica declares herself the victim of a shitty frame job. The killer didn’t even ditch the body in her apartment! It’s like she’s not even trying.

Unfortunately, being on probation means that the cops can hold Jessica longer than she’s used to, and also they can counter her ‘my clients deserve privacy’ claim with a charge of Obstruction of Justice. She could be looking at 18 months in jail unless she starts telling the truth.

Telling the truth is not Jessica’s superpower.

In one of many sterling moments of hypocrisy in this series, Jeri Hogarth (still Jessica’s lawyer, despite everything) tells her that she needs to stop alienating everyone around her.

Trish, meanwhile, wakes up after more than 24 hours asleep, back in the overpowering grip of her mother, who has been looking after her since collecting her from the police. Thanks to the superjuice Trish was huffing a few days ago, she’s showing all the signs of being back on drugs, which her mother seems to find hilarious.

Weakened, nauseated and strung out, Trish falls back into the habit of obeying her mother, and Dorothy makes the most of it, insisting she get ready for an important cable news interview that Trish doesn’t even remember…

And of course, Dorothy takes the opportunity to isolate Trish from her friends.

DOROTHY: Jessie has always brought out the worst in you and I won’t let her cost you another career.

From jail, Jessica calls Malcolm to ask him to keep an eye on their witness, Inez the homeless former nurse. For once, she’s not horrible to him.

JESS: It’s OK, I’m not mad at you.

MALCOLM: Have they got you on sedatives?

JESS: No, I’m trying something new.

We get some insight into our mysterious killer (Janet McTeer), with disturbing scenes in which she burns the clothes she wore during her recent cold-blooded murder, and then pretties herself up to practice piano in her super fancy house.

Watching her play for a crying baby and then fall apart as the music goes wrong is… pretty horrifying, actually. She later burns the wreckage of the piano in the same manner that she burned the blood-stained clothes.

Neighbours: read the smoke signals and keep your distance.

Jessica breaks a habit of a lifetime by telling the truth to the cops, laying out her story so far, and giving them almost everything she knows about Mystery Wig Lady Killer. (She leaves out the witness Inez Green but otherwise, all cards are on the table)

While Detective Sunday is skeptical, Detective Costa is willing to give Jessica the benefit of the doubt, as he was one of the police Kilgrave possessed in an unforgettable scene last season, forcing everyone in the station to pull guns on themselves and each other.

(We could have done without the very unsubtle moment in which Sunday refers to supers as ‘you people’—bigotry against those with superpowers is an interesting theme but it would be super nice if at least one of the people behaving this way to Jessica was not a POC.)

Pryce Cheng is furious that Jessica has been released so quickly, and makes a scene outside the police precinct, which has both Jessica and Jeri rolling their eyes at him.

He really is not a great investigator, from what we have seen so far. I hope Pryce gets more interesting soon. So far his role is mostly to hurl outrage. He has a very good point about Jessica’s violent streak, and it makes sense he believes her to be a killer. But he’s been left sadly two-dimensional as a character and as an antagonist because he can’t see beyond his assumption of her guilt.

Jessica continues her quest to not be horrible to Malcolm by giving him a real job to do—transporting Inez to her “safe house” with Jeri Hogarth. He’s so giddy at being called her associate, it’s adorable.

Inez promptly steals Malcolm’s TV and legs it, making his job harder than it needs to be, but he gets her to Jeri in the end where Inez is seduced (not literally… well, not yet) by Egyptian cotton sheets and really good coffee.

Jeri has her own agenda. She wants to know all about IGH’s medical experiments. Who saw that coming? Everyone! You’re not subtle, Jeri.

We see the softer side of Jessica in a couple of sweet scenes with Oscar and his family, where she cashes in the favour he owes her with a request for a fake ID, and later when she comes to collect.

There’s an awkwardness to these moments, with Jess clearly craving the uncomplicated domesticity Oscar has going in his apartment, but not allowing herself to even visit for more than a few minutes. Krysten Ritter is brilliant in these scenes, longing and brittle.

I particularly enjoyed the bit where Oscar was taking her photo for the ID and told her not to smile—inspiring one of the very rare natural smiles from Jessica in this show. It ties back beautifully to the cruel and unusual uses of ‘smile’ as a command back in Season 1.

A relationship between the two of them would clearly be a disaster. But it’s nice to dream.

Speaking of disaster relationships, Trish is whisked to a rooftop terrace by her mother for the “meeting,” and starts to suspect something is very wrong, particularly when she recognises quite a few faces.

(Jessica heads to the rooftop terrace at a run when Griffin alerts her to Trish needing her, urgently.)

It’s not an intervention… oh no, it’s worst than that. It’s a public marriage proposal.

I don’t know why this is a thing, the idea of gathering friends and family for a dramatic wedding proposal as opposed to having a sensible conversation about the possibility of marriage with your partner, but it ONLY WORKS IF YOU ARE 100% CONVINCED THAT YOUR PARTNER WANTS TO BE ASKED IN FRONT OF THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Really you should only do it if you have it in writing that’s how they want to be proposed to. And also that you have it in writing you’re the person they want to do the proposing.

Trish is the consummate performer—she smiles and hugs and gives the right responses. But when Griffin comes to check in that ‘thank you’ actually does mean yes, well. She has some bad news to break to him.

TMZ’s gonna love this one.

(The good news is that all the suspicious behaviour we’ve seen in Griffin over the last few episodes was purely to make this event happen… the bad news is that surprise parties are the worst.)

Back at her apartment later, a miserable Trish has to face her furious mother, who makes a lot of accusations about her terrible life decisions, including her assumption that Trish recently blew Max for a new role. Trish slaps her mother and they are both horrified by this violent act (in the past, it was Dorothy dealing out the abuse).

Alone, Trish reaches for Simpson’s puffer again, and inhales…

Believing Trish to be happily engaged, Jessica takes her brand new ID (thanks, Oscar!) and heads over to visit David, a permanent inmate of a psychiatric hospital, who plead guilty of the murder of another IGH nurse LuAnn, and committed because of his mental disability.

From David, Dr Jessica learns a lot of facts about octopuses, and also gets the confirmation she needs that the killer she’s hunting is responsible for at least one other murder. After sharing this information with Detective Costa (talk about turning over a new leaf), she goes to stake out David’s favourite aquarium.

There, she spots her killer alongside another familiar face—a doctor that Jessica remembers from her flashbacks and nightmares. When Jessica is spotted, the killer’s barely-restrained anger comes out to play…

JESSICA: Fun fact—when an octopus is attacked it ditches its wounded arm and swims away. It’s better to let things go before they drag you under.

Comics & Continuity

Any suggestion that the villain of this season isn’t as compelling or frightening as David Tennant’s Kilgrave? Yeah I don’t buy that after the scene in which our killer has a surprise visit from a neighbour with her crying baby, and awkwardly plays the piano for them, her frustration and anger showing with every imperfect note.

It’s a scene taut with tension, and I was so relieved that both neighbour and baby scurried away safely, before our killer dismembered her piano with the same wild violence she used upon Nick in the van.

Kilgrave was all about control, and he chilled to the bone, but this villain is all about anger, and she works brilliantly as a dark reflection of Jessica herself.

Janet McTeer is excellent in this role and I hope they name her character soon so I can call her something other than “the killer.”

I appreciate the callback to Season 1 with Detective Costa—Jessica is definitely facing more consequences of her loose cannon behaviour than usual, but she can’t do her job if she’s constantly being arrested, and having a bunch of police officers who are sympathetic to her because of Kilgrave makes a lot of sense.

Damage Report

All that broken glass and those poor little fishies. Also, Malcolm is down a TV, and Trish’s relationship is irretrievably broken.

Doors, however, emerged from these last 2 episodes mostly unscathed.

Tansy Rayner Roberts is a Marvel Comics tragic, and a Hugo Award winning blogger and podcaster. Tansy’s latest piece of published short fiction is Girl Reporter, a YA superhero novella published by The Book Smugglers. You can find TansyRR on Twitter & Instagram, and sign up for her Author Newsletter.


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