Jessica Jones: AKA Three Lives and Counting

"I'm not a killer."

Jessica had a psychotic break. Trish's descent hit rock bottom. Malcolm was caught in the middle (no pun intended). Karl's attempt to do the right thing caused Alisa to have the mother of all rage spirals. And I was a puddle on the floor.

For Jessica, life has been a series of painful events beginning with that fateful car accident. However, the death of Kilgrave allowed her to take tentative steps towards a healthier version of herself. She reached out to Jeri and admitted she needed help. She delegated to Malcolm instead of trying to do it all herself. Her relationship with Oscar was neither a quick roll in the hay nor the guilt-ridden affair she had with Luke Cage. Unfortunately, whatever forward momentum she had gained was obliterated. She’s now lost faith in Malcolm and Trish, and despite saying she’ll be enough for her Mom, Jessica knows that Alisa will not be able to control herself when she learns of Karl’s death.

Jessica spent this whole season trying to prove to herself that she is not a killer only to kill Dale by accident. This leaves her wondering if her violent tendencies are genetic or at least a side effect of the powers she was given. Regardless, Dale's death pushes her over the edge. Kilgrave appears as the demon on her shoulder, providing us with a running commentary of all Jessica’s worst impulses. The interesting thing is she only acted on the ones that didn’t violate her moral code. It was okay to make Dale’s death look like a suicide because it was self-defense and he was despicable human being but killing Karl was off the menu despite what he did to her, her mother, and Trish. We’re left with the impression that Jessica’s refusal to kill Karl has sent Kilgrave back into the recesses of her mind albeit with the promise that he'll return when she needs him again.  As much as I love it when David Tennant graces my screen, I hope for Jessica's sake she doesn't.

Jessica soon realizes that Trish’s addiction to the inhaler is only a symptom of a much larger problem. Trish wants powers. She believes that she's existed at everyone’s whim – her mother’s, Max’s, even her fans. But if Trish had abilities she wouldn’t be powerless anymore despite knowing intimately what having powers has cost Jessica. I know Trish says she wants them so she can defend people who can't defend themselves but, in truth, Trish wants the same thing she tempted Karl with, to be extraordinary. And she's willing to lie, bribe and threaten people she cares about to get her fix. Her desire was so great that explaining that the procedure might not work and could kill her did not dissuade her.  I firmly believe that Trish will survive but it doesn't mean she'll be healthy and she certainly won't be whole.

Then we had The Tragedy of Alisa. When Dale doesn't show up for work, Alisa suspects that Jessica might be involved. Realizing that Dale is gone for good and her daughter is safe and sound provided Alisa with the only happily ever after she was going to get. Alisa could see her daughter regularly, and although she couldn’t see Karl, at least she knew he was safe. Learning of his death at what she believed to be Trish’s hand destroyed whatever control she’d been exerting up to that point. The use of the TV at the guard's station to bookend Karl and Alisa’s story was one of my favorite moments even though it ended with Alisa keening on the floor.

I don’t doubt that Karl loved Alisa, but even she knew his first love was science. So when Trish gave Karl one more shot at getting his process right, he couldn't resist despite knowing that he couldn’t guarantee Trish would get abilities and it could definitely cost her life. Karl was still trying to save his experiment as Trish was bleeding out on the table. It was only when faced with certain knowledge that he would never have the opportunity to perfect his work that he chose to destroy both himself and his work leaving Alisa to fend for herself.

Then there’s Malcolm. While I still believe Malcolm is the most mentally stable one of this lot, Jessica is not wrong that he has substituted sex for drugs. His relationship with Trish was built on mutual attraction and her need. Poor Malcolm thought there was a possibility for more. Even worse, his faith in Trish and his need to protect Jessica from herself led to Jessica’s betrayal. Considering, she was never a trusting soul to begin with, I’m not sure there’s any coming back this time. Then again, seeing how often Jessica lashed out at Malcolm, maybe it’s a good thing he doesn’t want to. Yet.

Given Alisa’s belief that Trish is responsible for Karl's death, is there any scenario where Jessica doesn’t have to choose between them? Is there any way that she doesn’t come out of this more damaged than she already is?

Another wonderfully gut-wrenching hour of television.

4.5 out 5 suicide notes

Parting Thoughts:

Were you as freaked out as I was when the clapping started?

Did you notice everything turned purple when Kilgrave first appeared?

The moment when Jessica threw out the clothes she was wearing but couldn't throw out her leather jacket was a small moment that spoke volumes. It also broke my heart.

I hope Officer Toussaint isn't dead. I was starting to like her!

Quotes:

Officer Toussaint: “You trying to take advantage of the substitute teacher?”

Alisa: "What a difference a guard makes."

Jessica: "I promise everything is going to be okay."
Alisa: "It better be."

Kilgrave: "There is just one path to true justice. You're getting very good at it."

Kilgrave: "You just invite betrayal, don't you?"

Jessica: “I'm trading banter with a delusion.”

Trish: "Lot of cutting-edge science in Uruguay?"

Karl: "You already have me at gunpoint. You don’t have to crush my soul as well."

Malcolm: "Trish, you should be in rehab, and he should be in jail."

Alisa: "The ocean doesn't give a shit. It cries, and it laughs, and it rages. It takes what it wants. I can't do that. But I can watch it, and I can feel... free."

Karl: "Screw ethics."

Kilgrave 1: "The monster meets her maker."
Kilgrave 2: "The showdown we've been waiting for."

Jessica: "I relied on you. I don't rely on anyone, and I relied on you."
Malcolm: "It's my job."
Jessica: "Not anymore."

Kilgrave: “I’ll be around if you need me.”

Karl: "This is where it ends."

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I knew they would bring Kilgrave back somehow, and I was hoping it wouldn't be (1) an unbelievable resurrection or (2) just a pointless way to add drama. But it was pretty much perfect. It made sense that Kilgrave would be the most appropriate way for Jessica to confront the killer within herself. A killer who really isn't there, because both of these men Jessica killed? Totally deserved it and there is no doubt that the world is a better place without Kilgrave or Dale.

It's just too bad that Alisa lost it when she heard that Karl died, and that she killed the guard who was so kind to her. Or am I assuming too much? I hope the guard isn't dead. But I think it again showed that Jessica and Alisa are completely different beings.

I wish I felt more compassion for Trish these days. Her need to be superpowered felt selfish to me, even while she kept saying that all she wanted to do was help the helpless. (Did she watch Angel, by any chance?) I hope this isn't the death of Trish, not for Trish's sake, but mostly because of what it would do to Jessica.

Excellent review, Shari.

Shari Houtman said...

Trish isn't very likable at the moment, but I think it helps to remember that Trish is an addict. She's not acting rationally, but I honestly don't think she can at this point. The inhaler gave Trish a taste of what having powers is like, and she needs more.

Patryk said...

If Trish survives she should get some powers in season 3 and be the Big Bad. The last 2 episodes are spelled out by now. Jessica will have to kill again (her mother) to save Trish.

I just hope Malcolm won't leave forever and the show.