Jessica Jones is used to being angry, but as it turns out, she pales in comparison compared to her mother. And Trish, to be honest. Time to get a new hobby, Jess!
(Contains spoilers for Jessica Jones 2.8 & 2.9, please try not to spoil beyond this in the comments. We’ll get to the later episodes soon!)
Season 2, Episode 8: “AKA Ain’t We Got Fun”
Written by Gabe Fonseca
Directed by Zenta Fuentes
Jessica wakes up chained to a bed, and the episode only goes downhill from there. Dr Karl tries to justify his life choices to her, and encourages her to join their happy family, on the grounds that Jessica’s mother hardly even murders anyone (except when she does).
KARL: You could calm her down.
JESSICA: Just so you know, I rarely have that effect on people.
Jessica is able to talk herself out of the chains and shoot off a text to Detective Costa letting him know the location of the killer… but not before she’s had a phone conversation under duress with Trish, convincing her that the IGH case is over.
Trish does not take this well.
What could have been an awkward morning-after for Trish and Malcolm turns into an intervention when he figures out the connection between her whiplash behavioural shifts and that inhaler in her bathroom.
Trish tries to convince him that she needs her special Hero Juice for fighting evil, but she’s clearly so obsessed with the IGH case she can’t see straight, and Malcolm won’t deal with her while she’s high.
Good for you setting boundaries, Malcolm! Keep doing that.
Jess ditches Dr Karl and goes on the run with her mother. She regrets this instantly and constantly, but she is both terrified of and fascinated by Alisa, who is delighted to get this family bonding opportunity.
They cover a lot of discussion topics, including comparisons between their memories of Jessica’s childhood (Jess thinks it was perfect/Alisa claims her marriage was on the rocks), the importance of not sacrificing career satisfaction for motherhood, whether it’s OK for taxi drivers to text at the wheel, and how great it is that Alisa didn’t actually murder that taxi driver.
JESSICA: Oh great, the rage monster is telling me to calm down!
Mom Patrol also means lying to nosy detectives (aww, Jessica threw a clue to Costa and now she’s trying to take it back, that’s not suspicious at all) and prospective boyfriends (Alisa adores being the embarrassing Mom when she pins down Oscar, it’s hilarious and tragic).
Yes Oscar, Jessica liked the painting, but she only admitted it because she’s distracted by the reappearance of her mass-murdering dead mother. Don’t let it go to your head.
The Jeri and Inez show continues as a side plot. Jeri visits Shane Rybeck in jail, the man that Inez claims can magically heal her. She offers him a free guaranteed release with her lawyer skills, but he rejects her proposal. Healing people is not fun for him.
Jeri isn’t giving up. She celebrates by finally seducing Inez, in one of the least surprising romantic twists ever seen on Netflix. Inez at least has few illusions about Jeri so may come out of this in better shape than her former partners (ex-wife dead, ex-girlfriend jailed and now suing her).
While Trish hunts Jessica in every bar in the city, Malcolm keeps busy by following up another Alias case, because he is literally the only person prepared to do his goddamned job in this episode. Except maybe Detective Costa… we’ll get back to him.
The case Malcolm has picked is Jeri Hogarth’s “get dirt on my partners for blackmail plz” thing. Malcolm follows Benowitz to a gay club, and instead of collecting blackmail material Jessica-style, decides to sit the guy down and explain to him that a subplot of hiding your gay identity from your wife has no place in a Millennial TV show.
To prove he hasn’t forgotten everything Jessica taught him, Malcolm stirs up trouble by implying that Benowitz & Hogarth’s other partner Chou is the one who hired him to get dirt. He then tries to talk Benowitz into hiring him which… too much too soon, Malcolm! Valiant effort, though. Four out of ten whiskey bottles.
Up until now, the entire episode has revolved around female anger: Jessica, Alisa and Trish, to be specific. Malcolm enters the ring as a surprise contender, throwing the first punch in a fight with three homophobes outside the club, and quickly realising that he’s outmatched.
It’s okay, Malcolm, Patsy’s gonna save you!
Trish wades into the fight and rescues his beaten ass with ease, because she is Super Trish. She then tries to convince Malcolm that he should take a hit from her inhaler himself, to boost his healing. Being awfully free with the goods, there, Trish, considering that thing doesn’t have any refills that we know of…
TRISH: It’s not opiates, it’s not addictive…
In a weak moment, Malcolm uses the inhaler, and is promptly horrified because yeah, this is exactly the kind of stuff he’s been trying to stay away from. He flees into the night, distressed.
Jessica and Alisa are on the verge of making an awkward peace back at the office, when an unknown sniper targets them through the window. Jessica is shot a bit, (“Winged,” she says) which makes Alisa very, very angry.
Pretty sure no one’s gonna like her when she’s angry.
Comics & Continuity
Jessica raises the possibility of the Raft as a prison that could hold Alisa despite her powers. This was the same underwater prison used to hold Hawkeye, Falcon, Ant-Man and the Scarlet Witch at the end of Avengers: Civil War, before they were busted out by Captain America.
In the original Alias run of comics, The Raft was where Kilgrave/The Purple Man was imprisoned after his original reign of terror (when he controlled Jessica for months and turned her against the Avengers). Naturally keeping him in prison took a lot of complex management to keep him from using his powers on the guards… naturally he used his powers to escape.
Malcolm was damaged in the making of this episode. Malcolm is not OK. Even if he does turn out to be okay, guess who’s gonna have to replace the glass in Jessica’s windows? He’s only just finished plastering her wall!
This episode did not turn out well for Malcolm.
Season 2, Episode 9: “AKA Shark in the Bathtub, Monster in the Bed”
Written by Jenny Klein
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
So good old Pryce Cheng was behind the sniper shooting at Jessica and her mother Alisa.
My first instinct was to remove competency points and moral high ground for this smooth move, but it’s later revealed that his target was actually Alisa and he has figured out that she is the one killed his guy, so…
Well, he gets at least one detective point for that.
Alisa tears out after Pryce in fury, and barely holds herself back from killing him. Jessica pulls the trusty syringe in his neck trick to save his life… though it might kill him anyway.
It doesn’t kill him. He does spend the next day or so unconscious in her bathtub with his hands duct-taped together. What’s a little light kidnap between rivals?
Alisa is all for killing Pryce, while Jessica hopes to appeal to his rational side (this is the most optimistic we have ever seen her) because he tried to kill them, and they only kidnapped him.
ALISA: It’s a bad plan
JESSICA: You’re a bad plan!
The theme of this episode is Jessica’s dilemma between coming to terms with the fact that her mother is a violent monster who shouldn’t be allowed around other people, and desperately wanting her mother back whatever the cost.
JESSICA: Whoever said that thing about having your cake and eating it too? They probably never had cake that killed people. Is this how I get my Mom?
Trish finally finds Jessica at the office, and they fight about Jessica’s apparent disinterest in the IGH case. Trish is suspicious that Jessica is being wistful about having a normal life; Jessica is pretty sure that Trish is high.
Refusing to fall in with the Narcotics Anonymous routine of what to do next, Trish hares off to confront Inez at Jeri’s apartment. She’s passionate about the idea of getting Inez on the radio and luring out the killer…
But she hadn’t reckoned on protective Jeri, who refuses to countenance any risk to Inez, and throws Trish out.
Frustrated and amped up, Trish’s next show is a disaster when she has a meltdown on air about gluten intolerance (okay caeliac disease doesn’t necessarily have the same death toll as war zones or domestic violence but it’s not fake, Trish, settle down).
After quitting in a hail of righteous fury, Trish gets an unexpected job offer from TV news. Her prospective new employer is delighted by whatever spark kicked off her rant, and wants her to repeat it on a daily basis.
Only problem is, the spark has run out. The inhaler is dry.
Jeri finally convinces Shane Rybeck to help her, despite him making it clear that every healing costs him deeply. She springs him from jail and, with the support of Nurse Inez, lays down on her beautiful Egyptian cotton high-thread-count sheets to have the whammy put on her.
Is anyone else sad that she didn’t turn into She-Hulk at this point? That would be an amazing twist.
Oscar has his own disaster when his wife sees him with Jessica and panics, taking off with their son two weeks before a custody hearing. Desperate, he calls on Jessica to “do her thing” to find Vido. Against her better judgement, she shoots Pryce up with another dose of the Mystery Sedative and declares that it’s Bring Your Homicidal Mother To Work Day.
Their teamwork leads to a showdown at a bus station, where Jessica and Alisa use their combined powers to physically stop a bus, and reunite Oscar with his son. Alisa gets a cookie for not murdering a bus driver but honestly, it’s like dealing with a wild animal. You never know when she’s going to bite.
Every word and glance exchanged between Alisa and Jessica is a metaphor for their relationship, and they both know it.
Throughout the episode, Jessica has been weighing up what to do with Alisa and whether there’s any way she and her mother can actually get out of this okay and together.
Alisa keeps pushing Jessica, trying to convince her that she’s in the right. She is shocked Jessica has always blamed herself for the accident, and takes yet another opportunity to bad-mouth Jess’s dead father.
The situation is unsustainable, and it comes full circle when they return to the Pryce in a bathtub situation.
Alisa still wants to kill him “humanely” and tries to justify this choice, comparing it to what Jessica did with Kilgrave. It’s likely this, and not Jessica’s later conversation with Pryce, that makes her realise that this thing with her mother isn’t sustainable.
Pryce agrees to waive the light kidnapping in exchange for Jessica forgetting about him shooting her… but he won’t budge on bringing Alisa to some kind of justice. (His justification for playing sniper instead of calling the cops in the first place was… that way, you don’t end up with dead cops.)
Reluctantly, Jessica makes her own call to Detective Costa and admits she has the killer in her apartment.
Alisa is furious and flees, but at the last moment, responds to Jessica’s plea to submit to the police rather than fight her way out.
JESSICA: I’m like my mother in one way. Neither of us get a happy ending. This is how I lose my mom.
Oscar has some broken glass to sweep up. Luckily no one in a position of authority saw what Jessica and Alisa did to that bus or they’d be getting quite a bill from the company.
Jessica’s heart is broken, clearly.
As for Trish… well, I guess we’ll find out next time.
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. Check out her Kickstarter!