Jessica Jones season 2 episode 9 review: AKA Shark In The Bathtub, Monster In The Bed

Jessica Jones continues to work well in season 2. Spoilers ahead in our episode 9 review...

Following her appearance in Defenders, Jessica Jones is back on Netflix for a second season. As ever, we’re going to be reviewing every episode of the series – one per day – providing analysis, easter egg spots and speculation for those who aren’t planning to binge it all in one go. All discussion is welcome but please don’t spoil future episodes in the comments.

This review contains spoilers.

2.9 AKA Shark In The Bathtub, Monster In The Bed

Guess what: the guy trying to kill Jessica’s mother WAS Cheng. And to be fair it’s not entirely unjustified in light of what she did to his partner – if this guy was The Punisher we’d all be going “yeah, fair.”

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This episode was mostly built around the chemistry between Jessica and Alisa, and that made it extra watchable. Their screwed up mother/daughter stuff is fun to watch, like a twisted version of the Gilmore Girls (TBH I have never seen an episode of Gilmore Girls so I’m guessing) but the way those characters bounce off each other and the show’s themes make it a relationship I enjoy watching.

Trish, meanwhile, is completely out of her inhaler-drug AND had an on-air freak out which earned her an interview for the job she wanted more than anything not so long ago. Her downward spiral this series is getting pretty serious, and I can only imagine putting her on air while she’s in withdrawal is going to end badly for lots of people. It’s reaching the point where she needs to hit rock bottom and there’s a lonnnnng way to go before that becomes the case.

Jeri and Inez’s story is weirdly disconnected from the rest of it at this point, though I can imagine it’s going to dovetail by the end. I loved Inez telling Jeri exactly what she was – a user – and I’m not sure whether Jeri even realises how right she is. It still strikes me that it would be a bad storytelling decision to give Jeri a real-world illness and then cure it with superpowers so I kind of hope that’s not where they’re going with this – it’d wreck the impact of ALS as something that even Jeri can’t control. That said, I notice they’re seeding the idea that it doesn’t work for everyone, so if Shane is legit then it might mean he’s just not going to be any use. If I had to call anything about this series, it’s that Jeri’s ALS is not going away.

This episode also made me sit up and notice how Jessica’ narration is actually working this series. Voiceover narration is tough to make work at the best of times and last season abandoned it for great swathes of its running time. This series is using it on and off, but it’s smartly-written and actually adds something to what would otherwise be mostly silent scenes, as if they’re interior monologue caption boxes from a comic. It’s a device that could go terribly wrong, but here I really like it.

And finally, as for the dudes in this show: Malcolm was completely absent having last been seen running off into the night like a mad person, and Jessica finally let Oscar see some of the craziness that is her life rather than just push him away. Of course, it didn’t necessarily work out well for him, but her saving Vido (and her mother helping) was a great moment for this series, which has been otherwise light on feats of strength that don’t involve handing work to locksmiths or glaziers.

And, easter egg fans, this episode has the obligatory Stan Lee cameo, and unlike most of the previous Netflix shows he’s NOT a cop on a poster: he’s Irving Forbush, aka Forbush-Man, one of Marvel’s weird corporate mascots. Originally appearing in 1955 magazine called SNAFU, which was a clone of MAD Magazine made by Marvel when they were still called Atlas, Forbush was that magazine’s equivalent of Alfred E. Neuman. In the late 60s Marvel brought him back as Forbush-Man for their humour comic, Not Brand Ecch.

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So, almost into the final act and no disasters yet. I’m optimistic about the way it’s going.

Read James’ review of the previous episode, AKA Ain’t We Got Fun, here.