Jessica Jones: AKA Sorry Face

Malcolm_attacking_Gor

Malcolm settles a score and loses his temper

Last episode ended with a grisly discovery and a narrow escape for Jessica. Psycho-killer that he is, you have to grant Salinger is clever, and that was actually a fairly simple but effective deathtrap. Now, Jessica and Trish have to figure out how to bring Salinger down, and they don’t even know he grabbed Erik at the end of the episode. There’s a lot going wrong, and plenty of reasons to make a “Sorry Face.”

Jessica is trying hard to do this one by the book, and has called in the cops to deal with the tanker car of death. I still want to know how Salinger arranged for that car to never get moved. That part of his plan seems fairly risky. Jessica thinks about how this is something her mother would have liked, bringing a killer to justice, and wonders if maybe it’s what she wants, too. Detective Costa is shaken and impressed by her find, but needs more to present the case. Again, if either Trish or Jessica had gotten pictures of Salinger in or climbing around on the car, it would have helped things a lot. Jessica is still trying to protect Erik, and Costa doesn’t think the case will fly. Jessica makes a suggestion about where to look when he gets a warrant for Salinger’s place. Leaving, Jessica meets up with Trish, who is impatient and pushing to go after Salinger now. Jessica points out why this is a bad idea, and actually gives a lot of credit to the NYPD. Trish ignores a text about her show to push the issue with Jessica, but the snarky detective just wants to go home and get a shower. I would, too.

What’s worse than wading around in body parts? Maybe waking up and finding a serial killer has you all tied up. Erik stays true to his smartass self while Salinger explains his motivations for his bizarre photo sessions. Salinger goes on about why he does what he does, doesn’t get distracted by Erik’s attempts at bonding or banter, and then asks an important question. Malcolm, seething from how things went with Barry and Gor, devotes his skills to finding them, refusing the “all hands on deck” call Zaya relays from Jeri. He does go out of his way to emphasize he’s not ditching his girlfriend, just not coming in to work. He hangs up on her, distracted by his new mission. Jeri holds a meeting, reassuring her staff that everything will be fine, despite the bad publicity from Peter Lyonne’s video and the subsequent rush of clients dropping the firm. Jeri does have a concern about a particular client, but we’ll get back to that. Credit where it’s due, it was a good speech.

Jessica gets home, and she and Malcolm fill each other in on their crappy nights. Jessica tries to check in with Erik, but obviously he’s not taking calls right now, at least not without help. Salinger goes a bit supervillain, taunting Jessica over the phone. Erik gives as much of a clue as he can, and Salinger makes fun of Jessica’s response. Salinger ends the call, wonders about a superhero being after him, and decides to go ahead with his photo shoot. Jessica hits the streets, searching, and runs across Costa at Salinger’s place. She doesn’t tell him all of what’s going on, but does fill him in when it becomes obvious Salinger hid his pictures. Between them, they realize there were pictures of one more victim than they found. Leaving Costa behind, Jessica links up with Trish to desperately search for the 8th victim and hope this somehow leads them to where Erik’s being held.

Malcolm finds Berry and settles the score with the pimp. Berry is surprised by the violence, and then stunned when Malcolm tells her that Erik has been kidnapped by a killer. Jeri shows she can’t read the room at all when she tries to pay a condolence call on Kith and has a run in with her son. It goes painfully badly. Jessica and Trish’s bickering partnership finds its way back to Jessica’s apartment, where Dorothy is waiting, demanding answers about what Trish is up to. After some amusing wrong guesses, and Trish being evasive, Jessica tells Dorothy about Trish’s powers. When Dorothy doesn’t believe them, Jessica gives her dramatic, but effective, proof. Jessica gives the mother/daughter dynamic time to adjust, and has an amusing visit with Malcolm which gets off to a bad start and will involve another bill.

Dorothy and Trish have a frank talk about her powers, powers in general, and Jessica’s attitude. It is, as usual, not an easy conversation, veering around between the past, Trish’s responsibilities, and where their relationship is now. It shows a lot about how Trish felt growing up, and why she’s so zeroed in now on being a hero, no matter what. While Jessica and Malcolm wait for some results, she takes the hard step for her of telling Malcolm she’s worried about him, which also involves explaining Erik’s powers. There is clearly still some distance between Malcolm and Jessica, and their talk gets interrupted by finding the answer they needed and Berry showing up, worried about Erik. Jessica charges off to the rescue, or at least to get more information.

Erik is trying, more or less, to give Salinger what he wants, but the killer isn’t buying it, and ups the ante with some bladework. Salinger goes on about his weird motivations again, and Erik is confused by the mention of a brother, which derails them for a moment or two. There are a lot of revelations about Salinger’s relationship with his brother and father, and none of them are good. I think the running theme of the last two seasons could well be “Family can screw you up really badly.” Salinger, whatever else he is, is very perceptive, and finally figures out that Erik has a power and some of what it is. Jessica finds out her tactic to distract Trish and keep her busy for a while didn’t work, and they go on to the next location in their search. Jessica makes the point that Trish is too famous for interview work, and goes in alone. She has a very surprising conversation with a man who is neither dead nor kidnapped, and finally gets the lead she needs to find Erik.

Salinger is fascinated by Erik’s ability, and pushes for some detail. Somehow, this reinforces Salinger’s belief that people with powers are “cheating.” I never was entirely clear how he arrived at this conclusion, aside from maybe some power envy. Erik gets loose and makes a break for freedom, but doesn’t get that far. Salinger catches him, and then Jessica makes a dramatic, hero-style entrance. Erik is saved, and gets to make one of his usual quips while explaining why he wants to avoid the hospital. With his abilities and in the shape he’s in, I wouldn’t go either. Jessica gets a debriefing from Costa, and it’s nothing but bad news. Sometimes, the legal system really does work for the bad guys better than for the good ones. Costa is at least sympathetic, and keeps telling Jessica this could work with a second witness. I suspect he knows more than he’s telling. Jessica takes off to play out one last longshot.

Jeri and Zaya are working the phones, doing what they can to keep the firm afloat, and both are good at manipulating people. Their celebration is short-lived as Jeri’s past catches up with her. Her former partner Steven Benowitz shows up bearing bad news about Jeri’s biggest client: Rand. Jeri comments Danny wouldn’t do this, and Steve replies Danny is on some kind of sabbatical, which is what we saw at the end of Iron Fist’s second season. Steve is actually a good guy, and gives her some advice she’s going to ignore as they part. Erik wakes up and has an amusing conversation with Trish about Jessica, being saved, and heroes. He thanks her, and she is very gratified by this. Malcolm brings Berry in for a reunion and then ducks out.

Jessica visits Hogarth for some legal advice, seeking a way to get Salinger behind bars without getting Erik in too much trouble. It’s another tense conversation between the lawyer and the PI, and Jessica gets even more bad news. She finally leaves, and Jeri starts investigating a new way to get her firm some press. Malcolm is working out, trying to burn off some bad feelings, and has a very odd scene with Berry. Nothing goes the way he expected it to, especially not with a phone call in the middle of everything. Jessica comes back to Erik and Trish with her bucketful of bad news, and offers the best plan she’s been able to come up with. Erik points out the reason he can’t go along with it, and it’s a good one. Trish, wrapped up in her fantasy of heroes triumphant, can’t see this and gets upset. After she leaves in a huff, Jessica and Erik talk about his powers, her being a hero, and what Salinger is going to do next. It’s not a great note to end on.

What I liked: One of the things I’ll really miss from the Marvel/Netflix world is the closely woven continuity, like the passing mention of Danny Rand being off on sabbatical. It’s a nice touch. I like how determined Jessica is to try and do this one “right,” and the obstacles that keep getting thrown in her way. The way to prove Trish’s powers to Dorothy was funny and pure Jessica. It never sounded like Trish had the easiest childhood, but some of the hints here are getting darker and darker, at least in terms of damage to Trish. I really like Jessica and Erik together. Malcolm is trying hard to be what he thinks of as a good person, and isn’t making it, but keeps trying. The effort is good on his part.

What I didn’t: Again, pretty much anything to do with Jeri. She really is a reprehensible human being. Salinger is evil, and got a bit odd with his talks during the picture sessions and on the phone. Trish is determined to try and bend the world to her idea of what it should be, and that’s not going to work for her long term.

I liked the episode, and the setup for more confusion and conflict was good. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5.

 

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