This article contains nothing but Jessica Jones Season 2 spoilers.
At this point, do I even need to explain these articles anymore? I do? OK, fine. I love superhero comics, perhaps a little too much, as you can probably tell based on what I do for a living. As a result, it’s not enough for me to just watch and enjoy a Marvel Netflix show like Jessica Jones Season 2. Nooooo…I must study every frame in the hopes of unlocking some piece of Marvel wisdom that would otherwise be lost to the ages or some such nonsense.
So here’s how this works. I am trying to catch all the Marvel references on Jessica Jones Season 2. I probably am going to miss a bunch of them. I need your help. I hate asking for help, but we’re all friends here, so it’s cool, right? If you spot a cool Marvel Easter Egg or something important that I missed, you can drop it in the comments (beware of spoilers, comments-readers!) or you can just holler at me on Twitter. If it checks out, I’ll update this guide, and we can all make this far better than it would have been if it was just me doing it.
Oh, and here’s a cool tip…if the title is in blue, that means there’s a full review waiting for you there if you click it!
“While Jessica deals with a rival PI and a would-be client, Trish digs up a medical file that could unlock the mystery of Jessica’s powers.”
This isn’t an easter egg, but wow, Jessica almost seems like she has her shit together at the start of this, doesn’t she? Anyway…Pryce Cheng isn’t a character from the comics, unless that’s an alias (obligatory reminder that Alias was the name of Jessica’s first comic book), but really, I don’t think it is. Jessica’s cute new neighbor downstairs doesn’t appear to be from the comics, either. Jessica Jones has always worked best kind of one step removed from the rest of the Marvel Universe, and it looks like this season continues that trend.
– Jessica gets a parade of weirdo clients (in general), and only one of them is really a Marvel Comics reference, although a case could be made that the weirdo conspiracy person talking about lizard people infiltrating the government COULD be talking about the Skrulls. After all, Skrulls are going to factor into the Captain Marvel movie, which takes place in 1992, so it’s possible that these shape-shifters have infiltrated our government by now, right?
– You know who absolutely IS from the pages of Marvel Comics, though? The (ahem) Whizzer, who no joke has been around almost as long as Captain America, first appearing in USA Comics #1 in 1941.
Of course, the Whizzer of the comics isn’t the poor schmuck we see here, but he was definitely a speedster, and he did indeed have a fondness for yellow and blue, just like our fella here. I know you don’t believe that I’m not making this up, so here’s a pic…
In the comics, his name is “Robert Frank” whereas here it seems to be Robert Coleman. His fondness for a pet mongoose is a nod to the comic character’s origin story, which involved a transfusion of mongoose blood to save him from the poisonous bite of a cobra. The doctor who gave him the blood transfusion was named Emil. TV’s Whizzer has a pet mongoose named Emil. Stop looking at me that way, I didn’t write the story, I’m just here to report it to you.
– Trish Walker dressed up in her old costume and singing the “It’s Patsy” theme song is:
b) a subtle homage to an early scene in Ghostbusters II
c) all of the above.
There are no wrong answers but there is only one truly correct one.
– Jeri Hogarth is back! And her firm’s connection to Rand Industries here is a nod to the fact that the comic book Jeri got his (yes, his) start in Iron Fist comics. I know, it’s only the first episode and I’ve said those two words that no Marvel Netflix fan wants to hear, but you want this to be complete, right? Of course you do. Don’t judge me.
– Ben Koch has kindly pointed out that the movie that Jessica and Trish are watching on the roof is The Killers from 1946, with Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.
– They totally drop a Maynard Tiboldt reference, and he’s the Ringmaster from the Circus of Crime. But we DID get a Ringmaster in (sigh, I know) Iron Fist, as the snazzily dressed referee in the (cool) scenes where Colleen Wing is doing her whole illegal fight club thing. Anyway, that is NOT this guy, because this one is a doctor. Although, as Max in the comments pointed out, he IS a hypnotherapist, and hypnosis was one of the Ringmaster’s gimmicks. It’s a nice touch.
– Jessica has a tradition of throwing people through glass doors in the first episode of a new season, it seems.
– This season is tweaking Jessica’s comics origin, which is totally fine. In the comics, it was implied that whatever truck that was involved in her car accident was carrying chemicals that granted her abilities. Here, it would seem that it was whatever happened to her after the fact in the hospital that did it.
“Jessica sets out to find Dr. Kozlov and makes a startling discovery. Trish recruits Malcolm for backup as she visits a figure from her past.”
– We visit Josie’s early on this season, and I am completely on board with this just becoming Jessica’s official watering hole. Josie’s started life as pretty much a Daredevil-comics-only bar, but I like that it’s becoming more all purpose for these shows. It’s nice that it has a Game of Thrones pinball machine, too. On the other hand, the “are you drinking to remember or forget” line is some hack-ass dialogue, and this show can and should do better.
– There’s a Patsy Walker poster visible at one point, and the Patsy logo is 100% the logo from Marvel’s old Patsy Walker comics, back from when she was an Archie-style teen/romance/humor comic.
– Jessica’s “mother goddamn shit” exclamation is just…so perfect. It’s so perfectly in tune with how in the comics Jessica routinely decides that ordinary profanity isn’t enough, so she just invents new ways to express her frustration.
It’s like how Charlie Brown says “auuugh” but far less family-friendly.
– The whole “my balls are tingling” and Jessica’s crack about his “scrotey sense” is:
b) the closest we’re probably ever going to get to having Spider-Man formally acknowledged on these shows, no matter what the movies are doing
c) all of the above.
– Speaking of Spider-Man, the only thing worse and more on the nose than the “drinking to remember or forget” line is the “with great power comes great mental illness” line. We get it, everyone is tired of that line being shoehorned into everything Spidey and non-Spidey related. Stop trying too hard.
– Poor Will Simpson is back with his Nuke inhaler! Well, it beats having him popping pills, I guess.
“As her visions intensify, Jessica visits an abandoned clinic, where she stumbles on a new lead. Jeri faces an ultimatum after her secret gets out.”
– Rudy’s on 9th and 45th is 100% a real Hell’s Kitchen dive bar (one of the last ones in the rich people playground that neighborhood has become). Josie’s, however, is not (but if you want to visit the bar that “plays” Josie’s on TV, you wanna hit The Turkey’s Nest, but that’s in Williamsburg, not Hell’s Kitchen).
– Saying Jessica doesn’t have a great track record with shrinks is actually an understatement. In this case, though,
– Foggy is back! I’m all about Foggy getting talked down to by Jeri more often.
– OK, so this is a stretch, but stick with me. The kid downstairs is all excited because he fashioned a new shield for his Captain America action figure, which kinda foreshadows what’s up in Avengers: Infinity War. But more importantly, he uses a magnet to do it. This may or may not be intentional, but in the 1960s, Cap used a magnet device on his glove to help control his shield.
– None of the names mentioned in this episode, inlcluding Dr. Leslie Hansen, seem to line up with anyone in Marvel Comics. Help me out if I’m wrong, please!
“Between anger management classes and tabloid scandals, Jessica and Trish track down a third patient linked to IGH. Oscar extends an olive branch.”
– I’m drawing blanks on both Kelly Scott and Inez Greene (although I have my suspicions about Inez…I am saving them for later). Help me out in the comments or on Twitter if I’m wrong!
– You can apparently spot a mention of comic book Patsy Walker supporting character/frenemy/nemesis Hedy Wolfe on a magazine here. I’ll try and find a screenshot. Think of Hedy Wolfe as the Reggie Mantle to Patsy Walker’s Archie. (thanks to Mars on Twitter for spotting this and pointing it out to me!)
– Like the first season, this one keeps coming back to lines like “we prefer gifted” and drawing a kind of parallel between how powered folks in the MCU are perceived with some suspicion at street level. While it makes a certain amount of sense, I feel like they’re leaning into this a little too hard, because, well, that’s the X-Men’s territory, and that whole discrimination metaphor just plays better over there.
I promise, this isn’t me being a whiny Marvel purist, honest.
– Oscar’s kid pulling a “you’ll save me if I fall” because a superhero in the room is reminiscent of the alternate opening scene from Richard Donner’s Superman II, in which Lois Lane decides to call Clark Kent out on being Superman by leaping out a window. Not exactly her finest moment, either.
“Backed into a corner, Jessica’s forced to share her intel on the killer. A groggy Trish tries to pull herself together before an important meeting.”
– It looks like all of Oscar’s work is done by famed Jessica Jones and Alias cover artist David Mack!
– Again, the names in this episode aren’t turning up anything in my Marvel brain, so…what to do?
– Do we see the first twinge of maternal instincts in Jessica in this episode? She settles into parenting nicely in the comics, without losing her edge. Could she reconnect with Luke on TV?
“Jessica gate-crashes an exclusive country club on the hunt for the killer, and Trish’s new addiction begins to spiral out of control.”
– I didn’t expect to be making so many Spider-Man connections in this article, and while this technically isn’t an actual Spidey reference, I couldn’t help but notice it. Jessica having to buy a box of rice from a bodega to fix her phone is exactly the kind of hapless, low-level nonsense that always seems to happen to Peter Parker, and it’s kind of fun seeing Jessica have to deal with this, too.
– The purple paint sex scene feels a little too on the nose, doesn’t it?
– While they’re going hard with the addiction angle and Trish in this episode, I love the Hellcat swagger and heightened senses she’s showing off. This is really interesting stuff.
– Can anyone tell me if Inez’s tattoo is important? Am I missing something? (hint: I usually am)
– So we finally meet the mysterious Dr. Karl Malus. His rather evil sounding name aside, he seems like a reasonable dude. How bad can he be, right? They kind of lean into the whole “banality of evil” thing with him taking reasonable, chill phone calls while doing shady medical shit.
Malus first appeared in the pages of Spider-Woman, believe it or not. Aside from his general history of messing with third-tier Marvel superhumans, that Spider-Woman connection is particularly appropriate for this show, as Jessica Jones co-creator Brian Michael Bendis has also done work on the other Jessica, Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew.
– Inez is totally lying about the boy with healing hands, right?
– Once again, I am pretty sure (but not 100% sure) that’s David Mack’s art standing in for Oscar, particularly his painting of sleeping Jessica.
– Yes, Jessica’s mom is alive in the comics. No, it’s absolutely NOTHING like what we’re getting here. Trust me on this.
“Flashbacks shed new light on the aftermath of the family’s car accident and reveal a painful turning point in Jessica’s adult life.”
– One very important note about this episode. Pretty much every single one of Marvel’s Netflix shows does the “one flashback episode” thing. They are almost universally terrible. This one isn’t! Not coincidentally, the one from the first season of this very show was pretty good. This one is even better. It is, however, almost completely bereft of Marvel Comics references, which is fine, as I’ll take an excellent hour with no comics stuff over the alternative. And as Delia Harrington pointed out in her review of this episode (you all ARE clicking those blue episode titles at the top of each section to read her reviews, right?), this is the real origin of Jessica Jones, not the IGH stuff.
– Holy moley, Trish’s hit single is really…something.
– Dr. Karl Malus seems like a reasonable fella in this episode, too. What with the Grateful Dead and Doors t-shirts. He’s just a dude who wants to make a difference outside the confines of “straight” medicine, maaaaaaaan. Nah, fuck that, he’s like the Don Henley of supervillains.
– Even I did not know Jessica’s middle name until this episode.
– Jessica’s boyfriend can’t be doing that badly if he’s living in a sick loft like that. Even assuming this is 15 years ago, NYC rent for a space like that wouldn’t have been cheap.
– They could not have cast a more perfectly skeevy nightclub manager. That is some Emmy-worthy accuracy.
– Speaking of nightclubs, Jess’ poor boyfriend wants to start up “Club Alias.”
– It looks like Trish and Jessica are watching Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil on the roof here, famous for (among other things) it’s seemingly endless tracking shot. I feel like this could be a nod to the fact that most (but not all) of these Marvel Netflix shows like to have one extended action sequence that appears to be one take. JJ hasn’t done it (and rightfully so, it would feel out of place) but really, try as they might, none of them have ever matched the perfection and intensity of that first hallway fight in Daredevil season one.
– “Redefine the word, dickhead.” Standing ovation. Just me and my TV. Because I am a crazy person.
“While Jessica debates her next move, Malcolm confronts Trish about her erratic behavior, and Jeri makes contact with a healer.”
– I believe this is our first ever Marvel Netflix mention of The Raft, the super high security floating prison where high-powered incorrigibles are sent. We “met” The Raft in Captain America: Civil War. It’s nice to see it get a shout here.
– OK, so these Spidey references just keep coming up, and I swear I didn’t plan it. But I have to point out another Spider-Man thing. It’s easy. Jessica doesn’t have a driver’s license. You know who else doesn’t have a driver’s license? Peter Parker.
On the one hand, both characters spent their entire lives in New York City, where nobody needs a car anyway. On the other hand, the practical reasons for them not knowing how to drive are quite different. Peter learned he could climb walls and swing on webs when he was 15. You need to be 16 in New York State to get a learner’s permit. Why drive when you can do that, right? Jessica has…ummmm…she has other, exceedingly valid reasons for not particularly wanting to get behind the wheel of a car. Also she is drunk all the time, so that would be extra bad.
– Trish raking that dudes face like…claws, right? Eh? Right?
– “Nirvana isn’t depressing.” I have never identified with Jessica, nay, with ANY Marvel character, more than with that line of dialogue.
“The shooting forces Jessica to rethink her plans. Meanwhile, Oscar asks for help with a family crisis, and Trish’s frustrations finally boil over.”
– I feel like there’s a little bit of a parallel with Alisa asking Jessica to let her help on Oscar’s case and the episode last season when she tried to see if Kilgrave could be chaneled into a force for, well…not good…but something not entirely terrible.
– Trish’s on-air meltdown about how nothing on her “lifestyle” show “matters” in the real world is, ummmm…well, hypothetically, let’s say you were the editor for a website that writes about movies and TV and games and superhero stuff, right? And then, you know, purely hypothetically, let’s say everything in the world is terrible and we have a bona fide maniac as the President and our schools were turning into war zones and people are just totally comfortable being openly racist and sexist in ways you have never seen in your lifetime, but it’s your job to, let’s say, search for hidden comic book references in a TV show.
This hypothetical person in this totally made-up situation would probably want to say a lot of the things Trish says on-air in that moment. I, of course, would know nothing about any of that.
AHEM. Anyway, that’s a brilliant scene and one of Rachael Taylor’s best moments in the entire series.
– You can spot the obligatory Stan Lee cameo in this episode, this time as a poster on a bus. I think this is the first time in any of these Netflix shows it isn’t the usual image of him as a police officer. Stan is a satisfied customer of “Forbush and Associates” in this, and Irving Forbush is one of the weirder and more obscure names in Marvel history. This one is kinda in-depth, so I wrote about it in much more detail here.
– Trish’s addiction issue, and the inhaler with the time limit, is actually reminding me of a DC superhero: the golden age Hourman. Rex Tyler needed a drug called Miraclo to get his powers, and they would last for (you guessed it!) one hour. It was later revealed that sent him spiraling into addiction, as well.
“Jeri finagles a deal for her new client in exchange for Karl’s location. Trish forges ahead with her own investigation. A prison guard crosses a line.”
– I’m trying to figure out if the missing ingredient in the Nuke inhaler being “plant-based” is something super obscure from the comics, but I’m drawing a blank. Hunter on Twitter has suggested that maybe the plant in question could be the “heart-shaped herb” from Black Panther, and y’know what? I am 100% cool with that idea. I really hope that’s what the intention was.
Otherwise, this episode is pretty bereft of comic references. Shane and Dale are nobodies in that regard. At least I’m pretty sure they are.
“Shocked by her own actions and haunted by visions of Kilgrave, Jessica worries she’s turning into a monster. Trish’s plans for Karl become clear.”
– The whole Kilgrave thing in this episode was far better than it had any right to be. This could have really gone south, and using arguably Marvel’s best villain here could have thrown the rest of the season into sharp relief. It didn’t. Well done.
– Other than the fact that Alisa is being kept in Cell Block D, the same wing they keep guys like Wilson Fisk and Frank Castle, this was another one that kept the wider Marvel Universe out of things. I am fine with that.
“As Jessica and Dorothy wait anxiously for updates on Trish, a call from Costa brings alarming news. Jeri hatches a plan to get her revenge.”
– Rob Morgan shows up as Turk Barrett, and I am so very happy to see him again. I’ve really grown to love ol’ Turk, who, for once, seems to be doing OK for himself.
– I do love that they play up the idea of shady doctors preying on people who want powers. I think that’s something that could propel an entire season of this show, and not just through the lens of Jessica’s life or Trish’s journey. Malus was gross, but imagine someone just straight up doing this for organized crime. There was an Alias comic that dealt with the proliferation of lowlife types selling “Mutant Growth Hormone” on the streets, and this line of dialogue has echoes of that.
“Waking up in unfamiliar surroundings, Jessica once again finds herself torn between two worlds and facing an impossible choice.”
Other than Trish manifesting the beginnings of, shall we say, “catlike reflexes” there’s virtually no Marvel stuff in this episode. I will tell you this, though: 52nd Street and 10th Avenue is NOT “a shitty neighborhood” these days. 30 years ago, sure.
Alright private eyes, this is where you come in! Hit me up on Twitter if you have any suggestions, and let me know what I missed! Now…I need a drink.