Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 13 Review: AKA Playland

One way or another, Jessica loses her family but gains some perspective in an uneven finale for Jessica Jones Season 2.

This Jessica Jones review contains spoilers.

Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 13

It all comes to a head in a rather uneven final episode for season 2 of Jessica Jones. Malcolm appears to be the only member of our core trio who knows how to keep a job, as he solves the case for Jeri, earning himself some cash and respect. It also gives Jeri the opportunity to deliver this season’s thesis statement: “you should be very afraid of the woman who has absolutely nothing left to lose.”

I’ve enjoyed the short sequences this season has borrowed from the comics, and the thwarted bodega heist is a perfect one to use, since it encapsulates Jessica’s whole vibe in one scene.

There were a lot more contrivances in this episode than any of the others. A family has a car accident, so that Jessica can go be superheroes for a hot minute, while we all think about the PARALLELS, DAMMIT! And of course the truck that was passing by the diner at the exact moment that Jessica needed to escape was for the gravel yard where they parked their RV. Come on, Jessica Jones. You’re better than this!

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Alisa’s death is a devastating and garish scene, made all the worse by the fact that she was prepared to take herself out. While it was well shot, I’m doubtful about the story choices here. I think the agony of this situation would work better if Trish shooting Alisa felt more necessary, like if she threatened Malcolm, Jessica or Vido, or if she endangered Jess by refusing to be taken in. There were several points earlier in the season when, if Trish had done this, she would’ve been in the right. Costa’s likely right that Alisa had to die, but Jessica’s right that it didn’t have to be Trish, not even to save Jess, since Alisa was going to do it herself. It’s more interesting to watch two opposing characters both be right, neither be wrong, and both be devastated. Instead, Trish is wrong but plot-convenient.

We leave Jess better in many ways – she’s letting Vido and Oscar in, she appears to be contemplating cutting back on her alcohol intake, and she’s hero-ing again – but much worse off in three big ones: she lost her mother again, she and Trish aren’t sisters anymore, and she and Malcolm aren’t even speaking.

Of course Jess and Trish will make up one day, but what will it take to bring them back together, and what kind of damage will they do in the meantime? That phone call by the elevator, past behavior, and the hospital visits suggest that being rejected by Jess might drive Trish right back toward her emotionally abusive mother. That’s the thing about found family – no matter what anyone says, you can cut ties in a way that is impossible with the family you didn’t choose. There’s no holidays, weddings, and funerals to hold it all together and force you to keep seeing each other until you make up.

I’m excited to see Trish become Hellcat, but I’m also hoping that next season really holds her feet to the fire and makes her earn the rest of her nine lives. Jess isn’t the only screw up anymore, and Trish was arguably the bigger jerk this season, exploiting Jessica’s personal crises for her career and then pivoting to using Jess’s safety as an excuse to pursue powers, a desire borne largely out of jealousy. Jessica’s no picnic either, but she seems to be owning up to her bullshit and growing as a person, whereas Trish is more selfish and cutthroat now than we’ve ever seen her.

In a way, there’s something comforting about Jeri not being changed by her impending death. Tigers, stripes and all that. She is, though, dressed in white – perhaps a sign of the renewed vigor she seems to be showing? Carrie-Ann Moss did an excellent job all season, and her storyline is part of the show that really did live up to season 1.

Krysten Ritter’s performance was another. The story has had its faults, namely a lack of a focus and a kitchen sink approach to plotting, where the continual summing of parts makes the whole seem a lot less appealing. But Ritter continued to be the pure embodiment of Jessica Jones, and was able to keep the core of the character intact, even while moving the goalposts on Jess’s emotional state.

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Oh, dear sweet Malcolm. I love the swagger, miss the hair, and worry for your moral compass. Spending more time with Jeri and Pryce is not the path for you my friend, even though Jess and Trish both took you for granted and refused to apologize. And the fact that Jeri has something in mind that “even” Jessica would object to doesn’t bode well. Please, writers, protect the perfect cinnamon roll that is Malcolm at all costs.

Jessica’s right to be afraid of the pedestals that heroes occupy – after all, how else do you wind up with people like whoever Trish has become? But the other extreme is no good either. I wish she would have listened to the one person who’s said that all along, Malcolm. Trish is a sister in the sense that they treat each other like utter garbage, since they both assume they can always come back from it, but I think Malcolm was really her best friend. It is, of course, way more interesting from a story perspective to end the season with these three on the rise but completely on the outs with each other, but I can still be bummed when my faves are fighting.  

I hope that Alisa’s legacy to her daughter will be the strange way that she has helped her toward becoming a hero, and realizing that she has that in her. All season long people have been telling Jessica that she’s no hero. Costa, Trish, Dorothy, everyone seems to think they know who Jessica is, and they don’t think she’s much. But Alisa calls her a hero. What might have at first been a manipulation, is the message her daughter needs to hear the most. Alisa tells Jessica that she is her legacy, she is the good and true thing that she leaves in the world. And while things are far from perfect, it seems that Jessica is going to make good on the promise her mother saw in her, in her own way. 


3 out of 5