This Jessica Jones review contains spoilers.
Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 6
So much of this episode feels like we’re waiting around for some big reveal, which turns out to be the case. Malcolm and Jess both cross lines to get what they want, but there’s no real reckoning with that fact. While Trish’s storyline is well done, it’s painful to watch a great character backslide. This episode feels like the connective tissue from the introductory episodes, where we generally expect the season to be about one thing, and the rest, where it takes off in another direction. It gives the whole proceeding the feeling of holding one’s breath, waiting for something good to happen.
This encounter between Jessica and Oscar feels healthier than the previous one. He pushes her to be honest, and she doesn’t run away or laugh it off, which is huge for our girl. It helps that she doesn’t wake up full of regret, though she does almost crawl out of her own skin trying to get away from what a nice guy Oscar is being. Doing it in paint (purple, of course, with a touch of this season’s yellow) might’ve been a bit much, but it paved the way for the actual painting he made her. I love seeing her hold artwork in the style of the comic book covers, and Oscar doesn’t seem evil (yet), so I’ll let it slide.
Trish is in a bad way, looking every bit like someone going through withdrawal, all stringy hair, hollow frame and suddenly-too-skinny-face. She’s got some of Simpson’s old aggression, plus a healthy dose of hypervigilance. Between the two, she stares everyone down, even a guy who passive aggressively reads The Power of Positive Thinking at her in response, a gesture she initially mistakes for pulling a weapon. The scowl she wears on the bus looks like it would be more at home on Jessica’s face.
One thing I do love about Trish, even with her personal life in shambles and her body jonesing for some top secret super drug, she is always completely willing to leverage the past that she hates so much, and completely ruin her reputation, all in the name of her mission du jour with Jessica. Trish’s love language is a hyper-specific form of emotional self-flagellation.
Malcolm’s pretty hit and miss on the PI work here. On the one hand, he catches a clue that Jess misses, and uses a shocking amount of ice cold manipulation to follow up. On the other hand, he literally delivers Trish’s drug of choice back to her, accepts all her weak excuses at face value, and completely misses that her house is a mess. One wonders if Trish made her move because the drugs had her feeling so aggro, due to some real feelings underneath it all, to distract herself from her problems, in an attempt to keep him from asking more questions, or all of the above.
Yet again, Inez proved herself to be more than meets the eye. Her choice to stay with Jeri and try to help her feels like it has many motives. An attempt to find who she used to be, an attraction to Jeri, genuinely feeling bad for her, and perhaps a dash of knowing it would be better to ingratiate herself and stay, than to be back out on the streets where she might be taken out.
Both of these women have an intelligence and an intensity that is fun to watch when it’s aimed at an equal, and these scenes have more crackle to them than a lot of Jessica’s standard sleuthing in this episode. Melissa Rosenberg has always found the precise right amount of Jeri to include in each episode, which keeps the story from getting stale. The pace of Jeri’s growth, too, is finely calibrated – after all, it’s more surprising that she has a heart than that Inez does.
And then, naturally, Jessica goes to a men-only golf club. First, good lord, those still exist? Second, I can’t imagine a more unexpected or delightful setting for Jessica’s particular brand of not giving a shit. Justis asking her to caddy (“a little help?”) was a nice comedic touch, too, which made what came next all the more off-putting. It’s disturbing to see Jessica decide that threatening the life of a college kid is a worthwhile bargain to get what she wants, but after the way she treated the poor mentally incompetent man in prison, it shouldn’t surprise me. At least she acknowledges that she’s crossing a line, but I’d like to see her wrestle with that a bit more, rather than handwave it as she goes on to the next task. Ultimately, Justis and his son seem like good people, who just happen to be caught up in this case.
Karl, on the other hand, is a big ol’ lying creep with a lady chained to a bed in his basement. Granted she’s a creepy lady, but I’m still more nervous about Karl than I am about this woman. Karl may have cured an adorable little kid, but he also keeps sticking needles into necks like it’s his job.
It all comes to an inevitable head when Jessica sees skin cream, and picks up perfume to take a sniff. They say smell is the sense that is most strongly tied to our memories, and that certainly holds true with Jessica and her mother, the murdering powered lady. As with all twists, if this one was a surprise it probably seems brilliant, and if it wasn’t it seems pat. I enjoyed this one, but it still had a feeling of too little, too late compared to what we’ve come to expect from this show.