Jessica Jones: AKA A Lotta Worms

Malcolm, to Trish: "Do you ever miss the person you used to be?"

By nature I love brevity: A really well-constructed, hard-hitting episode. We really got to see the full extent of what Jessica is capable of here, and it was awesome to see. And, of course, that finale setup. Whoo boy, this is gonna be a tough one.

Let's talk about my favorite parts of the episode. I'm really glad I watched it twice, because this one in particular was beautifully constructed. It seemed to me like just a 'Point A to Point B' episode to get things into place real quick for the finale, but on the second watch I noticed that all the seemingly way too short plot threads were serving a purpose. That purpose was to illustrate the brilliance and effectiveness of Jessica Jones.

Jessica has really come a long way since she started out, and I think we are just starting to see that now. Sure, she was always this smart, but a master stroke like this would never have worked without the people she has built trust and friendship with over the last three seasons. Unfortunately, that list of people no longer includes Trish. But let's get back to Jessica and her successes before we move to that particular failure.

The simple rule of fighting somebody brilliant holds as true here as ever: You have to make them think they're manipulating you. Jessica realizes that in order to get Sallinger to do something that will compromise him, she will have to bait him and make him think he's pulling a fast one on her. But first she has to get Trish out of the way. With some skillful visual tricks, Jessica keeps Trish at bay long enough for Malcolm and Erik to take her out and remove her from the board. But that was only step one. While she does this, Jessica very cleverly goads Sallinger into making a move. She even says, "If only you had me strapped to a chair with a lens in my face so you could capture my truth." It's slipped into the conversation obliquely enough that I didn't catch it the first time, but it plants the idea in Sallinger's head. She then baits him with some heroic banter, priming him to come after her.

To put it simply, this was I think the most powerful victory we've seen Jessica accomplish. She neatly played Sallinger directly into her hands, all while making him think he was on top. She used all the resources at her disposal and the people she has around her to most effectively accomplish her goals. She kept Trish out of it and safe so she didn't do anything she'd regret. As my grandmother would say, she was masterful. But of course, this is not the finale. This is the one before the finale, so of course everything had to go horribly wrong. And go wrong it did.

It's time to talk about Trish. No matter what people keep telling Jessica, and no matter what Jessica keeps telling herself, Trish is gone. She's been lost, and there's no going back. I think one of our earliest reviews for this season was right on the money about this season exploring how far one can go and still be a hero. The thing is, it's been exploring that from a different character than we might have expected at that point. But it makes perfect sense. Jessica has never thought of herself as a hero, so there's no reason to use her in that capacity. Trish, on the other hand, has been thinking of herself as the savior of all for far too long. The powers were only the final push. Now Trish's self-righteous crusade of justice is on full blast, and nobody is going to stand in her way. And it's sad.

We all know Jessica has been fighting Sallinger this whole season, but we can now see the real battle that's been going on. Jessica has been fighting Trish. Or more accurately, she's been fighting what Trish is becoming. She's been fighting for the Trish she used to know and love. This is the end of that battle, and Jessica lost. Trish is now irretrievably lost in her own self-importance. All that remains is for Jessica to save her from herself, and I don't think Trish will survive. Buckle up, folks. It's gonna be hard to watch.

Pensees:

-Can you imagine if they'd saved that 'It's Patsy!' closing credits gut punch for this episode? I shudder to think of the terrifying impact that would have had.

-Malcolm and Trish's exchanges are a huge highlight of this episode, and the season in general. They're the real philosophical debate of the season.

-I think I know in general what to expect from Jessica vs. Trish, but I have no clue how the rest of the show will resolve. Malcolm probably needs to do something heroic to redeem himself, and Erik might as well. But of course, this is Jessica Jones, so that will probably very pointedly not happen. I also have no idea where Jeri and Kith are going to end up. That's still completely up in the air. I wonder how much they knew they were going to have to resolve the whole thing.

-Holy crap, will Trish's coworker ever learn to shut up? Nothing she says ever helps, and it often hurts.

-I've really liked this season. It's a huge improvement from the realistic but completely devoid of meaning content last season leaned heavily on. Here's hoping we conclude on a high note.

Quotes:

Trish: "You were willing, too, once, with Kilgrave."
Jessica: "And it nearly destroyed me."
Trish: "But it hasn't destroyed me. Maybe that's my real power. I can carry the burden."

Erik: "Will she be alright?"
Malcolm: "Yeah. I'll tase her again when she wakes up."
Erik: "I'm not loving how easy this is for you."

Jessica: "I hope it continues."
Erik: "What, you and me?"
Jessica: "The upward swing."
Erik: "Same thing."

Sallinger: "It must be maddening to be this predictable."
On the second watch, knowing what's really going on, this made me laugh out loud.

Sallinger: "I killed Dorothy to punish you. To punish all of you."

Trish: "But I'm so angry."
Jessica: "So am I. But that's the burden we have to carry."
Trish: "I'm not sure I can."

Sallinger: "She's a true believer, Jessica. And that kind of faith never goes away."
Jessica: "Screw you."
Sallinger: "You'll have to face the test eventually. Can you make the sacrifice? Will you? I'm eager to find out."

6 out of 6 master strokes.

--
CoramDeo will hit the ground running, come out swinging, and end up winning.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

I really liked how you pointed out the major difference between Jessica and Trish -- that Jessica doesn't see herself as a hero (I doubt she ever will) but that Trish does. And I loved how Jessica so cleverly outwitted Sallinger. It was brilliant.