Jessica Jones: AKA The Perfect Burger


Jessica in her natural habitat 


Everyone’s favorite snarky, alcoholic, super-powered private investigator is back for her third and final season, as Netflix continues to finish off the partnership with Marvel. It’s a damn shame, considering the shows and the shared universe were fantastic, but nothing lasts forever. To quote a more famous Marvel hero, “Part of the journey is the end.” After the chaos and trauma of last season, with Jessica’s mother turning out to be a superpowered killer and Trish’s extreme actions at the end of the story, Jessica has a lot of changes to adapt to. The end begins with “AKA The Perfect Burger.”

She starts somewhere different for her: the beach. Her usual voiceover goes on about how things look perfect from some angles, not from others, and how wrong and right become more important as a certain PI makes some changes. Her case is a simple one, the guy she’s dealing with overconfident, and Jessica ends up completing her mission and still ticking off a bunch of people, as well barging into someone’s internet video. Jessica makes it back to her usual stomping grounds, where the end of her job goes about as well as the part we already saw. After her usual client relations, being unfavorably compared to Captain America, and being called a “third rate Joan Jett wanna-be,” (I hadn’t thought it myself, but I can see it), Jessica finally gets to go home.


We get to see some changes and some things that are the same from last season. Malcolm memorably quit, and has been replaced by Gillian (trans actress and activist Aneesh Sheth). Vito, building super Oscar’s kid, is still around and still has a serious case of superhero-worship. He asks a lot of questions and tells Jessica she’s on her way to internet fame. Gillian and Jessica clearly aren’t close, and Jessica prefers it that way in the wake of losing Malcolm. We hear a lot about her new payment scale and how she’s doing business, and she does seem to have made some changes for the better. After declining Vito’s invitation to dinner, Jessica muses on heroism, inheritances, and new office furniture.


Her work day done, Jessica naturally heads for a bar. On the way out, she has an awkward meeting with Malcolm that shows he has a girlfriend now, Zaya; that Malcolm and Jessica are strained but polite, and that Jessica hasn’t made any strides towards getting to know her neighbors. At the bar, Jessica meets up with Detective Costa, one of the few cops she’s been on good terms with in the past. They talk about their current arrangement, that even assholes need saving, and get a hint about his home life. So, really, we’re setting up that Jessica might even have less of a personal life than she did when the series started, which is both impressive and sad.


Jeri wakes up to face the day and gets a reminder about her ongoing illness. Jessica gets a rude awakening of her own when Dorothy Walker keeps knocking on her door, even after Jessica walks away at least once. After some threats and mutual dislike, it finally comes out that Trish is missing. That’s one of the few things that will get Jessica to listen to Dorothy, although Jessica initially professes not to care. That’s a measure of how deep the rift between them is. Dorothy pushes her luck, pleading with Jessica to look for Trish, acknowledging something happened between her “daughters” even though Dorothy, along with the rest of the world, doesn’t know the details. It’s some raw, honest emotion from Dorothy, even if she can’t help herself and gets in a few slaps at Jessica in the process.


Jessica gets a call that shows she doesn’t know how to use the new office phone. Answering a cryptic summons, Jessica goes to Hogarth’s apartment, and mentions if they’re favor swapping, she needs a video taken down. Hogarth has a request to make that Jessica is surprised by and definitely doesn’t approve of. Jessica’s even offended by the suggestion, and I don’t blame her. They part on tense terms. Malcolm responds to the scene of an accident, and we see that his new job for Hogarth isn’t what he was hoping for, and is taking a toll on him. Going home, Jessica mulls over the list from her secretary, and watches more of the shopping channel with her bourbon. Dorothy flails around with her own attempts at finding Trish, which go about as well as you’d think. Jessica calls Dorothy, and they make arrangements to continue the search between updates about Trish’s life and more mutual barbs.


In the morning, Jessica muses on powers changing people, and meets up with Dorothy at Trish’s new place. Neither of them are impressed by it, and they continue insult swapping as Jessica shows why she’s the professional and Dorothy, the amateur. Jessica can get into Trish’s computer, which Dorothy couldn’t, and finds some things that don’t sit well with her. With more voiceover musing about questions and how people see life, Jessica traces Trish to a questionable hotel room, and realizes what she’s doing there, but not why. Malcom reports to Jeri on his latest assignment, and he’s not hiding he doesn’t like the work. Jeri dangles a better future in front of him as a reason to keep going. Zaya comes in, makes some recommendations, and leaves, showing that Malcolm is dating at the office which is often not the best of ideas. Jeri gives Malcolm some practical, if cynical, advice. She then makes an out of character anonymous donation to a charity.


A very bored Jessica reflects on waiting being such a big part of her job, and not always sure she’s waiting for something useful. Glancing out the window, Jessica sees Trish following someone, and is relieved both to see her friend and for something to be happening. She watches as Trish goes from acting oddly to full-on illegally, and then gets herself in trouble. Jessica, subtle as always, leaps across the street, through a window, and provides some unwelcome backup. They bicker a bit over Jessica being there, and Trish reveals what she was doing. They argue, and Trish makes some harsh comments. Jessica leaves with a parting shot about Trish’s mother, but not the way that sounds.


Malcolm takes some action Jeri, and the police for that matter, would not approve of. Jessica, in her natural habitat, watches more shopping network and then tells the bartender to turn it off. Jeri goes to the benefit she donated to earlier, and catches up with someone she knew long ago, a woman named Kith. It’s apparently been twenty-five years since they saw each other, and Kith introduces her husband, Peter. Jeri isn’t pleased by this development. Peter, a law professor, is intrigued by Jeri being involved with the new field of superhuman law.


Jessica watches the news at the bar, which is covering the events Malcolm was involved in earlier. A guy strikes up a conversation with her about some of the more drunken idiots behind them. They talk about their moral outlooks, and seem to be well-suited for each other. They chat idly until Jessica’s dinner order gets there, which seems to greatly offend the man. They end up making a bet over a better dinner, and she’s surprised later to find out he was serious. At Jessica’s insistence, the night even turns more like her usual bar encounters, until there’s a knock at the door. Worried it’s Vito, she does to answer it and the episode ends on a surprising note.


What I liked: Jessica does seem to be trying to do better, and I’m glad she’s been changed by everything she’s been through. It’s good to see at least some of the real Malcolm is peeking through the chaos Jeri is forcing on him, and I’m glad he’s with someone. Jessica’s new friend seemed amusing. The passing mention of Captain America was a nice nod to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, which the shows are drifting farther and farther from. The ending showed how not all powersets are the same.


What I didn’t: Trish does not seem to have changed for the better. Dorothy is just as nasty as ever, as is Jeri. I’m not sure what to make of the new secretary, and I don’t like the apparent distance between Jessica and Oscar, who things were going so well with last season.


It wasn’t a bad start for the new season. I’m curious to see where all this goes, and really concerned about the final scene. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5.