Jessica Jones: AKA Ain’t We Got Fun

jessica-jones-season-2-episode-8-review-aka-aint-we-got-fun_0

It’s hard to get to know your new step-father

After the almost entirely flashback “I Want Your Cray Cray,” Jessica Jones returns to the present in “Ain’t We Got Fun?” the name of the song Alisa keeps (poorly) playing on the piano and a decent general comment on where all the characters are at this point.

Jessica, after getting tranqed by Malus at the end of last episode, wakes up chained to a bed. Needless to say, she’s not thrilled about this development. She thrashes around, but Malus explains the restraints were designed to hold her mother, who is physically more powerful than Jessica. Jessica and Malus argue about the “family reunion,” what he did to her mother, and unexpected outcomes. Malus is taking a very rose-colored-glasses view of the situation with Alisa, but Jessica keeps bringing up the inconvenient murders. We find out a bit more about Koslov and his work for the military, although I’m still not clear on how Alisa managed to find Whizzer in order to kill the poor guy. Was she staking out Jessica’s place? The two of them bicker back and forth while Alisa tries to make breakfast, which goes poorly, but leads to a tiny bit of humor at least. Jessica gets a call from Trish and manages to put her off for now, which Malus takes as a sign she’s cooperating and lets her off the bed.

On the other end of that call, Trish can tell something is wrong with Jessica, but can’t work out what’s going on. Malcolm hugs her, but Trish pushes him off, clearly not in the mood. They have an argument that, as far as I can see, is mostly caused by the drugs Trish is pumping herself with and the side effects of that. Trish storms off to the bathroom, leaving behind a confused Malcolm.

Jessica and Malus stare up at the ceiling as the sounds of Alisa’s temper tantrum filter back down. Malus reflects on his long relationship with Alisa and offers some amusing insights about what it’s like to be in love with an unstable super-woman. He’s definitely not one of the cold, uncaring mad scientist types. Jessica finally gets out of the locked room and pulls off a clever way to call for help. Alisa and Malus argue with Jessica, and then each other about what they should do next. Eventually, Jessica and Alisa end up locked in together and Malus gets away. Alisa makes some comments that show she’s very aware that she’s not an easy person to live with.

A very hyped-up Trish lays out a plan to look for Jessica, and Malcolm ticks her off by making some observations about her recent behavior. Trish answers with some classic denial and deflection, but this is an area Malcolm has too much experience in to be sidetracked. She finally tells him what’s going on while still denying it’s a problem. Malcolm is very justifiably dubious. Malcolm presses ahead with his position, and Trish keeps arguing and denying. She’s very surprised at his eventual reaction to the situation.

Jessica and Alisa are locked in her room where they bitterly banter about booze, both her taste and Jessica’s earlier experiences. It then gets a bit more serious as they talk about the cops being on the way. Jessica brings up the Raft, one of Marvel’s superhuman prisons we saw in Civil War. Alisa appears resigned to being arrested, and tells Jessica to say whatever she needs to before she disappears into the legal system.

Jeri and Inez continue their subplot as they work on finding Shane, the IGH healer Inez told Jeri about. Inez fills in some details about him and how IGH screws up everyone they touch. Jeri gets a lesson on how it’s not that hard to end up homeless, which a lot of people either don’t know or chose not to think about. Then we get a lot more about Jeri’s background, which has never been hinted at and surprised Inez about as much as it did me. That scene ends with Jeri reverting to type and really pissing off Inez.

Alisa and Jessica have a very difficult conversation, both about rough subjects and because they are two very prickly individuals. Alisa tells Jessica a lot of stuff she either didn’t know or had thoroughly suppressed. Jessica isn’t happy to hear some of this, but then again, Jessica’s rarely happy anyway. Alisa gets a bit sidetracked with some rants she’s picked up from Malus over time, and Jessica keeps up her own snark. Possibly to think about nearly anything but what she’s hearing, Jessica’s detective skills kick in and point out a hole in Alisa’s narrative about her time here. Jessica makes a snap decision that even she is a bit unclear about, and they get out just before Detectives Costa and Sunday arrive.

Malcolm, on his own and not good with free time, pursues a different matter for Alias Investigations. He is very good at his job, whether Jessica will admit it or not. Jeri has a meeting with Shane, which starts with a lot of mutual doubt and suspicion. Almost against his will, he proves himself to her, and she’s actually impressed.

Jessica and Alisa have a very tense cab ride, made worse when Alisa has a justified but over the top reaction to the cabbie. Jessica manages to get them out of the cab before things get too out of hand, but it’s a good hint what life with Alisa is probably like. They eventually make it back to Jessica’s place, which Alisa makes some interesting comments about. She especially pleased with the picture Oscar painted of Jessica, which Jessica is, of course, dismissive of. Their wide-ranging conversation gets cut short with a knock on the door: Detective Costa wants an explanation about what happened with the tip she gave him earlier. She has a conversation with him where she’s skirting the truth in several areas, and he’s clearly not pleased. After Jessica finally gets him to go away, she goes back inside and gets another surprise.

Trish calls Malcolm, mostly to tell him her plan isn’t working. Malcolm tells her where he is, but not exactly why. He’s still a bit leery of her after her earlier revelation. He hangs up and Trish shows she’s either still not exactly back to normal, or that she’s a New Yorker. It’s a bit hard to tell in that scene. Jessica finally gets her new issue resolved and finds out that Alisa speaks Spanish when Oscar shows up. Alisa is very impressed when she learns that he is the artist, and they talk about art, leaving Jessica almost as lost as when they speak Spanish. Her mother explains a few things about recent events and they get their temporary arrangements made.

Malcolm pursues his own lead and ends up in a very specific kind of bar. It’s an interesting scene in that we both learn a lot more about some of the minor characters on the series, and Malcolm shows who he is. It makes him a good person but maybe not who is needed in some aspects of Jessica’s world. He gets something useful almost in spite of himself, gets his message of hope undermined by some random assholes, and then shows he’s not a master fighter. He gets a last minute save by Trish, who talks him into something really terrible afterwards. I think this may be the worst thing I’ve seen Trish do in either season, and it lowered my opinion of her a lot. However he got the information, Malcolm pulled off some slick stuff in this scene.

Jeri gets home in a very celebratory mood. She’s pleased with herself and her day’s work. After some tense discussion (a recurring theme this episode), Jeri finds a way to make things up to Inez for her earlier scene. Jeri must be nearly as emotionally exhausting to be around as Jessica. No wonder they don’t get on that well. They’re both too much alike and just don’t really seem to get along with anyone.

Jessica and Alisa settle in for the night, and we get some indication that Jessica has more feelings for her mother than she wants to admit. It’s the beginnings of a nice, calm, domestic scene, so you know that can’t last. Someone (I’m really unclear on who it is at this point) attacks, Jessica gets hurt, and Alisa’s earlier warning about not being able to control herself when things get personal rings very loud in our ears as she decides to deal with it.

What I liked: While I don’t know how much we can trust anything Alisa says, her story about the past made a lot of sense and throws some interesting light on Jessica. I really like Malcolm. He’s a good man and I like how he handled himself here. Malus is a really weird mix of good guy and very twisted man, but it makes him a lot more interesting than generically evil villain. Detective Costa is clearly a good guy trying to do the right thing, almost in spite of Jessica’s best efforts.

What I didn’t: Trish is out of control, which could be her choice, but she’s dragging people down with her, which makes me mad. Jeri is like juggling razors; you’re going to get cut eventually, it’s just a matter of when and exactly how. Jessica is trying to do a good thing but it’s going to blow up in her face.

I’m really enjoying this series, and this episode gave us a lot of insight about several characters. I have to admit, I’m not really enjoying Trish or Jeri’s stories this go around. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. I am really curious to find out who was shooting at them, and probably don’t want to see what Alisa is going to do about it.

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