Jessica Jones: AKA The Octopus

Jessica Jones on the phone at the police station.
"I don't give a dead moose's last shit."

Framed, suspected, accused, arrested. In a flash Jessica Jones is back in jail – and must figure out how to protect Inez and find IGH from behind bars in a complex and sometimes confusing, highly paced episode.

How terrifying Jessica's antagonists are. I say that because Kilgrave truly terrified me in the previous season. I don't know who the Powered Woman is, but tonight's episode put her in a similar bag. We first see her burning away Jessica's life while naked and covered with blood. This moment is almost witch-like, ritualistic as she carefully draws every photo and document into the heart of the flame. But then there's an about-face. I mean, she looks so normal, doesn't she? Her home looks so put together! She looks like an ordinary, somewhat wealthy woman, learning the piano. And then her neighbor comes by. I'm expecting some rage or drama, based on what we've seen before. But the baby and the neighbor is nice, and the music is nice. For a second or two. You can see the façade shifting, the true skin behind the mask. I scream in my mind DON'T LET HER HOLD THE BABY and I am sure you did, too. And then – is it the child, the music, the Powered Woman's inability to play well at that moment? It was like watching a child's frustration build and explode. And when it's someone with powers, explosions are real, not metaphors. So, too, was the expression on Powered Woman's face, as she looks down almost regretfully at what she has destroyed. I don't know if she's truly an enemy of Jessica, in the same way that, in Punisher, Frank isn't really an enemy of his antagonists. But the scene left me with chills. I don't know if Powered Woman has the ability to control her changes. I do think this kind of change is at the heart of what this episode is supposed to be. The Powered Woman is a counterpoint to the other characters. The octopus, you see, has no bones, and can fit into many different shapes and forms. Is a shapeshifter, in point of fact. All our characters try to shift shape tonight, or have their shape, shifted. But the Powered Woman, it seems, has no control. "She's sloppy. She acts out of emotion."

I'm going to start with Malcolm, because I think his storyline is the least complex so far. Our hero-in-training has started to stand up for himself, but when Jessica is pulled into the big house by the cops, he has to shoulder Alias Investigations. And while we've seen Malcolm be assertive before, there was something different about him tonight. He even gets Jessica a new laptop and cleans up her home, although that's not new. He convinces Inez to reveal what she knows, and keeps her safe, and as a result when Jessica does get out she and Jeri have some traction to move. Malcolm is the little brother trying to grow up.

Jeri's next, I think. Mostly because while her story has events, she doesn't really change. She is dying,  she's trying to connect more with Jessica maybe, but she doesn't lose her obsession with needing to control the world. I mean, I had hope for her when she tried to get Jessica to be less alienating. After all, Jeri's only trying to help in the best lawyer way possible. Then Jessica capitulates and starts sharing the inside info with her interrogating officers. While she does so you can see Jeri's eyes and ears turning in her direction. And, of course, Jeri works subtly to bring Inez into Jeri's home. How long before Jeri is also looking for IGH cures?

Trish/Patsy. When she woke up in this episode after using Simpson's inhaler, disoriented and recovering apparently in the same way she did growing up when she was strung out on drugs, it felt completely unreal to me. I didn't like the fact that she just kind of went along with her mother and did not immediately run to find out what had happened to Jessica or try to contact Malcolm. Mom told Trish she had an interview on Cable TV for a news anchor position and Trish just sort of folded up. I put down the weirdness to a combination of drugs, exhaustion, and just plain the power Mom has over her. Then she arrives at the rooftop 'interview...' and it turns out to be a proposal from Griffin. And Trish, no matter how wonderful Griffin is, cannot say yes, or anything more than Thank you for the proposal. Honestly, I've been suspicious of Griffin since he arrived. The secret calls. We've been so wrapped up in Jessica's life we forget people have normal lives and motivations. I still don't entirely trust him, but now my heart breaks for Griffin. I don't think it's the last time we'll see him though. What happens with Trish after – her frank confession that she wants to be Griffin, not love him – is powerful and affecting, because the one consistent quality about Griffin is that he has been in control of every damn hair on his head and muscle on his body. He's Perfect (TM). Even her mother thinks so. When Trish tries to explain, Mom starts whaling in on her – and Trish lets go and smacks her a big one. Mom leaves in dudgeon, and Trish... does drugs. Kinda like her childhood. I guess some habits never go away. But honestly, a mom who's willing to write off 26 hours of someone being unconscious, looking completely strung out, blaming her friends for creating a problem and trying to marry you off without even giving you time to recover? Trish is not in an easy place. I have a feeling she's going to start fighting as a vigilante, especially with all these drugs. Basically Simpson coming back was a one-off so Trish could get drug powers. (Hey, maybe if Trish gives Jeri some inhaler, everything will be resolved.)

Jessica. My wonderful, complex Jessica. You know, Jessica pacing the cell in the opening felt to me like a great metaphor for her life. She's been trying to confront her inner demons for a while now.  I think this episode went overboard, though, trying to show how she is trying to stand up. But let's try to chart it out – she's in jail. Jeri gets her to open up. Jessica's opening up allows the officers to exonerate her by identifying Powered Woman through CCTV. Then Jessica begins to investigate IGH more closely. She gets Oscar to forge her up some documents (I want to date Oscar FYI no fooling) and I'm terrified she's going to get committed but our investigator has zero problems getting into a cell and interrogating someone. While she does so, again, Jessica tries to open up and connect – there's a moment when she almost walks away, then turns around and sits again to talk to David, who's been trained or convinced or whatever to accept responsibility as the IGH killer. Then Jessica works hard at being proactive and trying to think about all the pieces of the puzzle. And when she does, coincidence, Powered Woman walks into the octopus tank – with one of the IGH doctors (the captions revealed it was Dr. Karl.)

Basically, the whole episode is Jessica's attempt to stop circling her room. She keeps changing tactics. Instead of clamming up at the cops, she shares info. Instead of letting herself get frustrated with David and leave, she tries to connect with him. Instead of simply walking out on Inspector Costa and deploying her usual Sarcasm Missiles, Jessica takes his card. Instead of simply rejecting Jeri, she tries to open up to her. She's trying to be an octopus, and fit into different spaces. One of my favorite moments in this episode is when she verbally takes down Pryce Chang. Chang keeps trying to tell Jessica what she's supposed to be, right? And Jessica rejects his view of her totally. She doesn't care. She's a shape changer. She's going to need it next episode, because when Powered Woman saw her, she lashed out in anger (child with tantrum, all over again.) PW hit the tank, and the tank is cracking.

Bits and Pieces

Another great moment – the police officer watching Jessica as she made her call.

I laughed when Jessica was looking for her booze.

Oscar the super standing in front of the painting of his son while talking to Jessica.

Jessica chooses Anne as her incognito name. I was reminded of 3-1 in Buffy.

Are Jessica's powers derived from octopus research?

Will Jessica continue to be confident and pro-active? I think Jeri will be the big factor here. Maybe Trish. If Jessica finds out Jeri's sort of using her to get into IGH, that will have repercussions.

Inspector Costa seems like he'll be a recurring character. And he seems overjoyed to have a connection to a powered person, doesn't he?

Overall

A full-of-excitement episode which felt markedly faster-paced than previous outings in this season. Looking forward to the tank cracking. Five by five octopi.

3 comments:

Nick said...

"I say that because Kilgore truly terrified me in the previous season"

Did you mean kilgrave? Kilgore is the meta-human hacker from The Flash

JRS said...

Oops! Yes. And I actually reviewed that episode, too. Good catch.

Patryk said...

That poor piano. Biggest casualty of the season so far.