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Jessica Jones: AKA Sorry Face

"I’ll come down when you’re ready for my official statement. 'Til then, I’ll be drunk."

Man, this season is really clipping along now that things are moving.

I have to admit, I expected Erik's rescue to take longer. Like, at least until next episode. And yet we clipped right through it here and landed soundly on the moral dilemma on the other side.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning.

When last we saw our hero, she and Trish had tracked down Sallinger's 'big tanker of body parts.' Jessica had prudently gotten Trish out of the area in order to preserve her anonymity vis a vis the local serial killer set. This all works, and I'm really enjoying how they're playing things as regards Jessica being the voice of reason who understands what portions of the system you have to work with versus Trish being chock full of newly-empowered vigilante enthusiasm. That's a thread which continues throughout this episode and I suspect is going to develop in a lot of big and unexpected ways over the rest of the season. (No spoilers, I haven't watched anything past 'Sorry Face' for the sake of not influencing my review.)

I do, however, have some questions about the logistics of the setup. Does Sallinger's family own the railyard or something? Because otherwise it's a little unusual that a tanker car in that good of condition is just hanging out uninspected and full of clever traps for the passing superhero. Those things aren't cheap, and generally aren't left unaccounted for where the general public can get to them.

Speaking of Sallinger, we got a lot of answers this episode regarding what his deal is. Apparently he has some sort of profound inferiority complex regarding his deceased brother and views anyone with super powers as having 'cheated' at becoming a better person, whereas he views himself as having 'earned' being seen as a superior person due to his intellect and all of the degrees he's worked for. OK, I'll buy that, and is anyone not assuming that he killed his brother himself? What is a little vague at this stage is what his game plan with victims typically is when they aren't superpowered. Clearly he doesn't exclusively hunt people with super powers, since Erik's having them was genuinely a surprise to him. Prior to finding that out his stated goal was to photograph 'the moment (Erik) realized his true worth,' whatever on Earth that might mean.

Is it just about demeaning people and making them feel worthless in order to feel superior about himself? Are the photographs a reminder of how bad his victims felt about themselves at that moment? Why does he appear to keep both the photographs and the body parts as trophies in separate locations? That's a little unusual for a serial killer. There are still a lot of questions about Sallinger waiting to be answered.

And I adored the detail that it was Chef Casper kissing him that freaked him out enough to leave without finishing that particular kill. That was a fascinating and humanizing detail.

Jessica once again proves that she's actually a really good PI by tracking down Erik in a completely believable way, allowing for the usual comic book plotting level of coincidence curve. But the moments when I realized why I love this character so much were three specific instances where she had absolutely no time for playing games. First when she was straightforward with Malcolm about Erik reading him as about a three on the evil scale. She didn't attempt to control his choices or how he responded to that information, but she was shooting straight from the hip on the 'you're headed down a dark path and you should be aware of that' conversation.

The second instance was of course when she had absolutely zero spare seconds for trying to help Trish hide the fact that she has super powers from her mother. Throwing her out of the window was a little on the extreme side, but it certainly brought everybody up to the same point in the conversation very, very quickly. Nice touch that Trish was wearing the traditional Hellcat color scheme for the conversation by the way; someone in wardrobe has a puckish sense of humor.

And third and lastly is the moment in the opening voiceover where Jessica admits to herself, just for a moment, that she wants to be a hero. That finding the bodies isn't just what her mother would want, it's what a hero would want. She's slowly allowing herself to view herself as heroic, and that's a big step.

Other things that were great about this one include how right Malcolm was about the correct way to handle Berry. He was absolutely right that if she didn't choose to come on her own that she would never stay. He then loses points for taking the beating of Gor way too far and then cheating on Zaya.  Berry is a fairly toxic person. There's no chance that 'causing chaos in Malcolm's relationship' wasn't at least a part of why she propositioned him.

And hey, speaking of toxic relationship interference, everything about the exchange between Jeri and Kith's son Laurent was riveting and I love how complicated and ugly the show allowed both of them to be while still keeping both of them totally relatable and pitiable.

So, Sallinger is going to be released from custody and Erik won't testify against him because that would involve a year in prison, which considering his superpower is a non-starter option. That's not un-understandable, if that's a word. Couldn't Trish testify, though? Or Chef Casper? I hope they address those questions.

Bits and Pieces:

- I used to maintain at least a small amount of empathy for Dorothy, controlling though she was. That's all gone now after the completely toxic way she responded to Trish having powers. She made it all about herself in the most damaging and hurtful way possible, and I honestly hope that she's Sallinger's next victim.

- We're all wondering how much Zaya had to do with Rand Corp leaving Jeri's firm, right? We saw her on her way to go and deal with them and the next thing we hear Rand has jumped ship. That can't be a coincidence.

- How nice to see Benowitz again and see how well he's doing now that he's out of the closet. His secret excursions to 'The Chocolate Bar' were part of the episode 'A.K.A. Ain't We Got Fun,' which was the one I reviewed during last season's round robin reviews. As a result, I'm feeling a little proprietorial about Benowitz.

- The last couple of reviews have mentioned a little uncertainty about what Jeri wants from Kith, exactly. It seems pretty clear to me that what she wants is to not die alone and she doesn't have enough time to start from scratch with a new relationship so she's taking whatever steps she has to to re-establish her relationship with Kith as the quickest route to having someone with her. This sort of implies A: that Jeri is a sociopath, and B: I may be as well.

- Sallinger's father stabbed him in the chest at a funeral luncheon? You know we're going to get more of that story.

- Jessica's reaction when Dorothy made the crack about there being better lesbians out there for Trish was priceless.

- I'm sorry, Casper, you seem like a nice guy and a decent chef. But serving a steak medium well is totally valid grounds for violent murder.

- Erik and Trish have a surprisingly fun dynamic. I hope we get more of them together.

- Jeri's interest has been piqued regarding the trainyard bodies. I wonder where that's going.

- Sallinger said 'Do you see?' to Erik at one point in the torture. That was clearly a Red Dragon shout out, right?


Malcolm: "A serial killer kidnapped your brother."
Berry: "What?"
Malcolm: "Erik might already be dead. Guess who’s next."

Jessica: "You should be scared. And worried. And pessimistic."

Dorothy: "There are much better lesbians out there."

Jessica: "I assumed that you had facial recognition software, being that you’re so well funded these days."

Dorothy: "My problem with Jessica isn’t her powers, it’s that she’s rude, violent and ungrateful."

Sallinger: "It’s me. You’re allergic to me."

A super fun episode that really got the plot clipping along at a nice pace and ended somewhere different from where I expected.

Eight out of ten reasons to be scared. And worried. And pessimistic.

Mikey Heinrich is, among other things, a freelance writer, volunteer firefighter, and roughly 78% water. You can find more of his work at the 42nd Vizsla.

1 comment:

  1. I'm enjoying this season more than I thought I would. I expected Erik to survive and that Jessica would find him, but not that the cops wouldn't be able to charge Sallinger. It's an interesting dilemma and I'm looking forward to seeing how Jessica and Trish will solve it. I'm also starting to like Erik. I especially liked how he told Jessica that she was like aspirin to him, since proximity to evil causes his headaches.

    I'm sorry, Casper, you seem like a nice guy and a decent chef. But serving a steak medium well is totally valid grounds for violent murder. lol, Mikey. :)


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