This Jessica Jones review contains spoilers.
Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 8
This excellent episode kept up the pace of the previous one, as our main characters have largely coalesced into three threads, rather then six or eight. Trish is icing Malcolm out after sleeping with him in the misguided hope that it keeps him from picking up on her addition. Inez and Jeri share trauma and some other things, and Jeri finds a healer. And the Jones women throw down, literally and figuratively.
Leave it to Jeri to only share a piece of herself to win an argument. For my money, though, Inez wins this round with the excellent exit line and perfect delivery: “die a cripple all alone in your fancy glass box that you built from nothing. I don’t give a rat’s ass.”
A cynical way to read this is that Inez’s intel panned out, so Jeri kept her around. But that exterior of Jeri’s is breaking down by the minute. Being sick has only sped it up, as has letting someone physically into her life for the first time since the disturbing events at the end of the last season. And if anyone is a match for Jeri, it’s Inez, another woman who knows her value and doesn’t take any shit.
This episode is all about the wide shots – in Jeri’s high-ceilinged penthouse, in Alisa and Karl’s cramped, quirky, lived-in basement. We’re getting a couple of interesting, creative shots each episode, like Jessica’s brother’s ashes going everyone back in the first episode, the overhead shot through the blades of a fan in the anger management group in the fourth, and the cramped look of Jessica in her jail cell from directly above in the fifth.
Luckily, we dispensed with Karl and his many band tees right away, so the Jones women could get down to business, which of course involves booze. For whatever reason, Alisa seems determined to convince Jessica that, actually, her life and her childhood sucked and she just didn’t realize it. This seems unnecessarily mean-spirited – revealing that her parents’ marriage was in trouble is one thing, discussing their lack of sex life and claiming Jessica has “always” been damaged because she liked Nirvana and hated team sports is another.
Somehow, though, that all works and the two go on the run. It’s stunning to see how similar Alisa and Jessica are. It comes through so stronglyl in her lines about how, “grown goddamn women don’t wear panties! We wear underwear!” and the deadpan, “well you’ve only got another 17 minutes. Go.” But Jessica is worried they’re similar in more sinister ways. She was already afraid that she and this rage monster of a woman were the same, and that was before she knew they shared DNA – or whatever is left of it after Karl got through with them. When Alisa tells Jessica, “the more terrible things you do, the easier it gets,” you can practically see the wheels turning in Jess’s mind.
We also got to learn more about the mechanics of Alisa’s condition. Like a panic attack on steroids, she can feel the ramp up, and can sometimes tamp it down with breathing exercises or even a sedative, but only if she catches it in time.
Alisa bringing up Playland sends all my spidey senses tingly – for one, it’s the second time it’s been mentioned this season. Two, it’s where they ditched Simpson’s body. And three, it’s the title of the final episode of the season. Cue the noir piano riff.
It’s almost like Malcolm is determined to clear his name after going a whole episode and note noticing that Trish is using again. Without either Trish or Jess to distract him, Malcolm gets down to business and reminds us that, oh yeah, they still have to make money. In a story lifted straight from the comics, Malcolm finds a way to do the job and keep his integrity intact, not outing Jeri’s partner at the firm, but instead leveraging him against the third partner. This will likely divide them in the long run, but in the short term, Malcolm gets another lead. Score one for the Associate!
It’s a testament to Malcolm that he is far enough along in his recovery, emotionally, that he resists Trish’s bullshit (and the jerk outside Whiskers) as long as he does. He does his best to call her out and draw boundaries for himself. Still, he’s only human, and just like the crack against his father, Trish eventually finds the way to break through his armor. It’s heartbreaking to watch what we know is coming, and though I know it’s the addiction talking, I sort of hate Trish for saying, “it’s not opiates, it’s not addictive,” with a straight face, having seen what it did to Simpson and knowing the withdrawal she was experiencing just hours earlier.
Unlike Trish, Malcolm knows he’s not okay as soon as he takes the hit. Now there are two relapsed members of Team Alias, alone, at night, and in full-on rage monster form. And then bullets are shot into Jessica’s apartment and body from an unseen assailant, bringing our rage monsters up to three. How did Jessica become the only calm one? As she said earlier, there’s no way that this ends well.