Jessica Jones: AKA Pork Chop


Jessica in her natural habitat. 

Most of the titles for the Jessica Jones episodes make some sort of sense, and are often direct quotes from someone. If that’s the case for “AKA Pork Chop,” I missed it. Then again, it was a good epsidoe, so I don’t much care if they didn’t live up to their usual cute title games. I’d be just as happy if they’d stop naming everything AKA whatever, but that’s me.

Alisa was taken into custody last episode, and she’s in a prison jumpsuit, heavy shackles, and surrounded by armed guards as she’s brought to meet with Jessica and Jeri Hogarth, who’s becoming quite the specialist in superhuman law. Things don’t go well from the beginning, when Dale Holiday, the head of the guards, won’t let them have a private meeting, citing special protocols. In fairness, Alisa isn’t exactly a normal prisoner. There’s a deal in place for Alisa that will keep her off the Raft, but it comes with conditions she really doesn’t like. The first few scenes go back and forth between that meeting and Trish trying out for her new job. Considering what she’s doing to herself, Trish isn’t exactly at her best, and that comes across clearly.

Jessica leaves the meeting, very frustrated, and tries to figure out how to get her mother to agree to the deal. She calls Trish, and they go back and forth about Jessica’s worry about Trish’s current issues and Trish’s nearly obsessive interest in catching the killer. They set up a meeting at Alias.

The meeting, with Malcolm in attendance, goes about as well as the last one for Jessica. Trish is stunned the killer is Jessica’s supposedly dead mother. Malcolm is pissed off that Jessica is keeping secrets from him. Fed up with both women’s secrets, Malcolm drops some hints and storms out. Trish finally tells Jessica what she’s been doing, and Jessica is appalled. They argue about that, and then Jessica points out she might not be the best person for a recovering addict to be around at the moment, ending a very tense scene between them. Trish tries to patch things up with Malcolm and gets some truth she didn’t want to hear.

Oscar calls Jessica to check in on her, and she vents about some of what’s going on. Oscar offers his own experience with time inside to try and give some hope, but she’s not biting. This leads to Jessica ducking away when someone shows actual concern for her, and Oscar doing something really sweet for her instead. Later, she steals away on her own, but at least she got some attention before that.

Trish goes to check on one of her own projects, and reveals how desperate she is. It’s Trish’s day to hear things she doesn’t want to as she gets some results. She has another mystery to run down, but no more leads to pursue.

Jeri seems to be getting dolled up for something, but whatever it is gets derailed when Jessica shows up, making more demands. They talk legal strategies, and then Jeri tells Jessica about her plans with Inez and Shane. Jessica is dubious at best, and Shane doesn’t do much to reassure her with his answers. Jeri and Jessica have some very different ideas about Karl Malus’ work.

From Jeri’s, Jessica goes back to see her mother and try and persuade her to take the deal. They have a very carefully worded conversation that takes place on a few different levels and Jessica leaves with a new mission. Holiday takes Alisa back to her cell, and it almost seems like he’s a concerned man doing his job right, but the writers can’t resist the bad stereotype of (to say the least) the bully prison guard. Holiday proves to be a dick and argues with her over things that are actually standard for every jail, prison, and holding facility I know of. Alisa doesn’t take it well and things end with him not in the control he thought he was.

Jessica follows her mother’s trail of necessarily vague breadcrumbs and finds Karl Malus. Jessica is desperate for her mother to take the deal being offered, and needs Malus to cooperate. He’s not interested, but for good reasons. Whatever else has happened, I do believe Malus cares a lot about Alisa. They argue and Jessica finally gets him to go along with things, and doesn’t even threaten violence this time. Well, she does at the end, but only to emphasize a point. Just as things seem to be going decently, an off-hand question by Jessica leads to some unexpected disturbing news and she leaves in a hurry to take care of it.

Alisa is brought to the visitation room again, but this time it’s Trish. They clearly don’t like each other, and that comes across as they glare and spit words at each other. Alisa gets very worked up and Trish is at least smart enough to back off a bit. Their talk ends on a bad note, and it’s more in Trish’s day of things she doesn’t want to hear. I’d feel sorry for her if she hadn’t dug so much of this hole herself.

Oscar is helping Jessica on her newest project, and Jessica is clearly on edge, not that she’s the soul of calm and grace under normal conditions. Trish unexpectedly drops by and Jessica hurries her out into the hall. Here’s a tip: if you feel you need to hide what you’re doing from your best friend, you’re probably doing the wrong thing. Jessica is surprised to hear Trish met with her mother. Just as Jessica and Jeri have different takes on Malus’ work, Jessica and Trish don’t see Alisa in the same way at all. This degenerates into an argument that Jessica walks away from and Trish goes to seek comfort elsewhere.

Alisa’s accommodations have been changed a bit, and we see more of Holiday’s dark side. He really is an ass and a bully, and finds one of the few things that he can threaten Alisa with. Alisa complies, for now, and we’re left with the impression they’re going to have a showdown later. Jessica waits for Oscar’s piece of things to finish, and they actually talk about the future. Jessica can’t get her head around the fact that he’s interested in being with her after all he’s seen. She gets called away, but actually makes an effort to part on good terms. This makes me feel like Oscar’s days are numbered, and I really hope I’m wrong.

Jessica returns to the prison where she meets up with Jeri. Jeri has good news for Jessica, and Jessica has bad news for Jeri. Jeri doesn’t want to listen, and won’t believe Jessica. Jessica is very flippant with the guards as she comes in, which is the first time she’s addressed them aside from Holiday. Jessica sees Alisa’s new restraints, and starts to worry about the changes. Alisa tries to convince her it’s nothing, but we all know how likely Jessica is to listen to that.

Trish spends some time trying to convince Malcolm to help her with her latest bad idea, and eventually succeeds. They do some things that might well get Malcolm fired for real and Trish banished from Jessica’s life. I get why they’re doing it, but I can’t imagine it’s going to go well. Jeri gets home to a major shock and falls apart.

Jessica snoops into what she was worried about before about Alisa, and does her fake phone call trick that she uses so well, and is an actual part of a private investigator’s bag of tricks. Jessica does some fairly smart things and then makes a big mistake near the end. As Trish and Malcolm make their own mistakes, Jessica gets a nasty surprise and has to take drastic action. Things end looking bad for Jessica, who once again is foolishly doing questionable stuff without gloves. Does the NYPD in this world not use fingerprint evidence?

What I liked: Jessica’s loyalty to her mother, despite what’s happened, is very in character for her. I’m glad Malcolm told off both Jessica and Trish; they had it coming. I like that, as twisted as it is, there’s so much of a connection between Alisa and Malus. I really think Malus is a good man who does some really bad things. Or at least a partially good one. Jessica taking action on her own near the end is perfectly in character, even if she slips up a bit. I feel so bad for Jeri, of all people and think Carrie-Anne Moss did a great acting job in her meltdown scene.

What I didn’t: Trish is on a sharp downhill trip that she’s turning into a drop off a cliff. And she’s bringing Malcolm with her. I really dislike they made Holiday such a stereotype. They needed to explain what happened to Jessica at the very end a bit more clearly than they did. .

I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5, although I may change my opinion later if I get some questions answered. I’m still very impressed with the series overall.