Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 9 Review: AKA Shark in the Bathtub, Monster in the Bed

Jessica Jones faces a devastating choice in another top notch episode.

This Jessica Jones review contains spoilers.

Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 9

This episode feels like the conclusion of the series’ middle section, and I’m at a bit of a loss for how they’ll keep up this pace to finish strong.

The question of who shot at the Jones women is immediately answered, though frankly we were out of characters so it sort of had to be Pryce. Seeing the shooting from his side was an interesting move, though I wish we had even one line of dialogue to explain how he found her. Has he been tailing Jessica? Did he solve the IGH puzzle even more rapidly than Trish and Jess? Or was he able to trace Alisa somehow?

Jeri and Inez keep marching on, though at this point I’d like to start seeing the outline of how their story will fold back in with the rest. I’m glad Inez called Jeri out on being a user, though I still have hope that underneath all those layers in Jeri, there’s a woman who’s just too afraid to need anyone.

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Finally, the two discuss wearing, “yellow for death, and black for life.” This is the third time this season that yellow has come up, after it being the second color behind Jess when she sat on her desk, along with purple, and the second paint spill color with Oscar, again alongside purple. We’ll have to keep an eye out for what it all means.

Jessica struggles throughout with a no-win situation: her mother is back, but she’s a killer, and she’s not going to stop. Managing her angry episodes and her night terrors would be a full time job, and it still might not work. Even when she’s calm, her mother is now the kind of person for whom killing is always on the table. If Jessica were looking for a clear sign that she and her mother are not the same, this is it. She may have started this season thinking she was a murderous monster, but now that she sees someone who really does kill with regularity, there’s a lot of daylight between the two of them. This whole theme is driven home by Jessica’s repition of, “this is how I get my mom,” and finally, “this is how I lose my mom.”

The similarities between mother and daughter continue – not wanting to waste good booze, a general cantankerous attitude, the use of duct tape for first aid purposes. Their rapid back and forth is excellent, though it’s easy to see how combustible the combination is.

Krysten Ritter has an excellent line read when she tells Alisa, “You’re a bad plan.” It’s simultaneously the kind of childish thing that Jessica from the comics would say, and completely accurate.

There are several moments when we see Jessica scared and vulnerable, as though she’s suddenly more childlike because her mom is back. When she calls to her mother to stop her from killing Pryce, it’s the first time Jessica calls Alisa that, rather than hedging by saying if she was her mother, or how she only sounds like her mother. That scared look comes back again when Jess confronts her mother during a night terror, and when her mother fights her and leaves her in the hallway.

One quibble, though – what was Jessica’s plan when she called the detective? She must have known she could hear her. That is such an exceptionally bad plan that I kept waiting for the real plan, the secret trap, to reveal itself, but it never did.

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Trish is losing it. On the one hand I’m excited that she finally told the truth about how she feels about her work, though undoubtedly sober Trish would have done it more gracefully. She also progresses from using for the abilities and to treat her withdrawal symptoms, to using to mask emotional pain and attempting to use because she sadly now thinks it makes her better at the job she wants to have.

On the plus side, Jessica knows Trish isn’t okay. It’s heartbreaking to watch Jess have to choose between monitoring the two dangerous people in her apartment and taking care of Trish. As much as they’re sisters who believe in them against the world, it often seems like Trish and Jessica have to choose between each other and their biological family, or each other and the healthier, happier life they want to lead.

While she was certainly high, there’s a lot of truth to the fight between Jessica and Trish. No, Jess would never have chosen to back down normally, but she has a point. When does she get to live a normal life? How can she be a healthy, happy person if she never stops hunting down killers? And if, as Trish suggested, she can only stop when the killer is caught, how will she ever stop? This all feels a bit like we’re angling more towards a somewhat domesticated version of Jessica, the one who makes safe choices for a child and has emotionally mature relationships.

Speaking of which, it felt huge that Jessica actually told Oscar what was going on. She can now see that there’s a way to both keep someone she cares about out of it, and not lie to them or otherwise push them away. Season 1 Jessica was all about all or nothing, which meant lying to people she loved and compartmentalizing everything in her life. Now, she’s more open and honest than we’ve ever seen her, though not with Trish.

Malcolm is out of sight, either sobering up or on a bender, depending on how his late-night run went from last episode. But he had a point about Trish keeping secrets from Jessica, and it applies here in the reverse. Lying to Trish about Alisa means that part of Jessica always knew she couldn’t keep her. Talking to Trish might have accelerated that, or put the sisters on opposite sides, and Jessica wans’t ready for either.

Another sign that Jessica is growing up? The way she treated Vido’s mom, Sonia. No crass or cutting remark. Just empathy and kindness. Maybe our girl really is changing after all.

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4.5 out of 5