Jessica Jones: AKA Camera Ready

"The operative word here is 'friendly'."

Jessica Jones avoids the traditional Netflix mid-season lag: A.K.A. Do not read this review until you've watched the episode.

Well, I feel like kind of an asshole now.

Jessica Jones and Gregory Sallinger spend some quality time trying to piss one another off as much as possible. Both succeed. Of course, this isn't a game you want to play with a serial killer, as Jessica discovers.

There's actually a solid thread running through this episode as regards actions having consequences. In hindsight, I should have realized that we were being gently prepared for a big, unforeseen consequence heading our way at high speed. Jessica acknowledges that it was her compulsion to rub Sallinger's nose in the fact that she'd discovered his first murder victim which led to his decision to kill that day. That was causing her enough guilt when it was going to be a stranger, God alone knows how she's going to handle...

No, I'm not there yet. Let's keep circling that one.

Trish's actions are also bringing consequences, however unlike Jessica Trish isn't recognizing or owning them. Her need to get photographed last episode directly resulted in the local police no longer being able to bring in the body of Sallinger's first victim so that they could examine it for possible vital evidence proving him to be a killer. That's a huge problem which threatened to undo all of the forward momentum that Jesssica's gazebo demolition had achieved. Unfortunately, Trish doesn't appear to be learning and growing from the mistake, which means she hasn't reached a newfound level of superhero maturity. Which is too bad, because she really needed to be a little more centered when...

Nope. Still not yet. Soon.

Jessica also has grown enough that when it came down to alerting and possibly saving an unknown woman, she didn't hesitate to eat crow and call in Dorothy for a little PR help. Dorothy was absolutely right earlier in the episode when she pointed out that Trish and Jessica were in dire need of a publicist. They're currently engaged in an active public relations battle with Jeri's law firm and are currently getting their asses handed to them. It's telling that Jessica was perfectly willing to endure it forever when it was just hurting her, but didn't hesitate to take the available help when it was a case of helping a stranger. In fact, Dorothy was solid throughout this whole episode. OK, she was solid through almost the whole episode. She was even kind at one stage, pointing out to Jessica that her tantrum on air would actually make the potential victim more likely to see the video. That's solid publicist reasoning. You know, I feel like there's something we should be discussing about Dorothy. Now what was it.

OK, one last thing and I'll get there. There's a huge 'I look like a jerk' acknowledgement involved, and I'm deeply opposed to situations where I look bad.

This episode was largely a struggle of wills between Jessica and Sallinger, and as such it worked well. The back and forth of 'who will irritate the other more' was riveting to watch unfold. However, it came at the cost of several enormous suspensions of disbelief that really took me out of the story a few times. For example, Jessica might not know what Instayap is, or that it only gives you two plays of the video. I'll even buy that Trish didn't know that, although that's more of a stretch. But app traffic between phones is hugely trackable by the authorities, and the mere fact of Sallinger having provably sent video to Jessica, a woman he's accusing of stalking him, would be a big deal. Likewise, he either currently has or is getting a restraining order against her and is handed video proof of her in his apartment destroying things. His current goal is to humiliate her, why would he not let the cops and/or media know about this immediately? I suppose it would get in the way of his day's murder plans, but it still felt like an odd moment.

On a lesser point, Trish was taping promos for her show, she wasn't on air. There's no way that a floor director wouldn't have stopped cameras the second Jessica started making noise. They certainly wouldn't have acted like Dorothy was trapped doing the spot once Trish brought her in.

OK, let's do this.

We need to talk about Dorothy.

In my review for 'Sorry Face' I stated that I hated Dorothy and I hoped she would be Sallinger's next victim. I swear, I had no idea what was coming, I was just being bitchy. And while I realize that she's a fictional character and no actual people were harmed, it's astounding how guilty I felt about having written that when the penny dropped and we all realized just what Sallinger had been doing with his day. Of course it was Dorothy he killed. It should have been obvious from the beginning, and yet I didn't clock it until just before the lipstick on the glass shot. Excellent use of established prop to convey unspoken information, by the way.

This really comes down to the final disbelief that I haven't been able to dispel for the last few episodes. Specifically, there's just no way that the entire city wouldn't be looking at the mysterious new blond vigilante hanging out with Jessica Jones and not thinking, 'Oh, hey. There's Trish.' Their connection is just too easy to know about and Trish is around Jessica way too much for that to not be the most solvable mystery the city has ever seen. The fact that Sallinger seems to have figured it out is, I think, supposed to be a sign of how smart he is, but mostly read as, 'thank God somebody noticed that really obvious thing.'

So, I'm sorry Dorothy. I didn't mean to wish you dead immediately before you were violently killed in exactly the way I said I hoped you would be. My bad. All I can say is that in your eleventh hour you proved to me that you were, if nothing else, actually a really good publicist./


Bits and Pieces:

- Zaya covered up the fact that Malcolm knows who the 'mysterious' vigilante that hacked their system is. I think that proves that she isn't evil, right? Her points about the need for legal defense even for the guilty were all solid as well. Our whole legal system is kind of based on that.

- It was a really good decision to not show us one way or another whether Sallinger was dead at the end. My gut tells me that Trish killed him and now she's going to be the moral problem for the remainder of the series, but I don't yet know.

- Did we already know that Costa was gay? I don't recall. In any case, he and his husband Russell were adorable together, and I really hope they don't go the 'Curtis on Arrow' route with Costa's relationship.

- Whatever Jeri's motives for breaking up Kith's marriage were, in terms of plot function it led to Peter's suicide video accusing Jeri of helping supers get away with lawbreaking which directly led to Jeri having to take a harder stand against Jessica at this stage than she otherwise would have just to prove that she isn't. That's nice long term structure.

- I loved the waiter knowing all about Patsy and being totally unimpressed with Trish's attempts to con him.

- No Erik again this episode. I miss Erik. I hope we see him again. I could live with losing Berry, however.

- The above was not meant to read as a wish that Berry would be murdered.


Quotes:

Dorothy: "Oh no. Her costume is a disaster."
Jessica: "Once again you’ve hit the nail on the head."

Jessica: "Well, it turns out that vandalism is both fun and effective."

Trish: "He's changing his MO to a proxy for you."
Gillian: "Glad I haven’t Single White Femaled you yet."

Dorothy: "Just a little zhuzh. You have to sell yourself, and this is part of it."

Costa: "I’ll be here processing all the women you’ve terrified."

Jessica: "I hate giving a shit."
Trish: "I’m beginning to see why."



Once you accept a few plot contrivances that don't entirely work, this is a solid and suspenseful episode with a killer ending. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist that. I'm weak.

Seven out of ten broken wrestling trophies.

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.

5 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Mikey. Sweetums. Take it from someone who's done it a lot -- you do not need to feel guilty for predicting the death of a television character. :)

TJ said...

Figuring out who is next to die is something that comes with this type of shows. But I have to admit, I was completely unprepared for this one. I couldn't stand Dorothy, but Rebecca De Mornay did a fantastic job with the character. RIP Dorothy. Fantastic episode.:)

Panda said...

Count me as another person shocked about Dorothy!

JRS said...

Does anyone else think of Dorothy as the Lwaxana Troi of this series?

Mikey Heinrich said...

Is there a really upsetting episode of Next Generation that I don't know about?