After a few false leads and red herrings, it seems the season’s big bad has been revealed as Gregory Sallinger, a man with no powers but some very disturbing hobbies. In some ways, he may be one of the more dangerous foes Jessica has faced, especially with all the “help” she can stand from Trish. They look into the man’s past, and eventually explain the odd title, in “AKA The Double Half Wappinger.”
The episode starts with Jessica making a bitter joke, and things get worse as not only is Sallinger released from jail, but Jeri Hogarth is now representing him. I don’t think Jessica ever finds out that she, herself, is the one that tipped off Jeri about the case in her rant at the end of last episode. Jessica needs to learn to keep her mouth shut. Things go further downhill when Sallinger takes control of the press conference, forgives/praises the police, and slams Jessica a lot. Jeri’s not happy in the aftermath, but as far as I’m concerned, she and Sallinger pretty much deserve each other. After this mess, Jessica confronts Jeri in her office, and it’s not a good conversation for either of them. Their on-again, off-again friendship/respect whatever it is has firmly landed in “off.”
Malcolm paces his apartment, glancing at Berry’s left behind earrings and not pleased with himself. He calls her, and they have a tense conversation, but he’s doing his best to smooth things over with her. Jessica gets back to her office to find Gillian dealing with a surge of phone calls from various reporters, and handling them with her own snark, usually directed at Jessica. Trish and Jessica talk about the benefits of the secret identity idea, which I keep saying is important for a reason. Trish is annoyed that Erik’s gone into hiding, although Jessica understands his reasons. They talk about heroing, screwing up, and Jessica gets an idea. It’s time for a road trip, and they have a great exchange about hand sanitizer. Zaya starts going through Jeri’s files and finds a pattern with the masked vigilante’s attacks. Seriously, no one bothers to name her? Matt was “the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen” like his second night out. Jeri also slips up with a personal matter, involving Zaya in her business by mistake.
Jessica and Trish get to scenic Wappinger Falls, which really doesn’t agree with Jessica at all. I’m not quite sure why she brought Trish, whose first answer to almost everything seems to be punch it, on what’s supposed to be an intelligence gathering trip. After some cautions from Trish, Jessica goes in to the police station to try and get some answers about the death of Sallinger’s brother, which doesn’t go well. Jessica does make use of Trish, as a distraction, and gets what she needs after all. Among the oddness here is that a captain or higher is on front desk duty, and the police station apparently doesn’t have security cameras. Malcolm turns up at the office and hears Sallinger ranting about heroes. Malcolm is really not happy about them taking Sallinger on as a client, but Zaya isn’t going to listen to something like moral qualms. Jeri, to no surprise, sides with Zaya, and Malcolm has a bad afternoon.
Jessica and Trish hole up in a motel, go over the purloined files, and show they are not country folk. They snark at each other over food and drink, and Jessica explains, again, that this is how they’ll stop Sallinger, by going over everything in detail and being thorough. Trish isn’t happy about her contribution so far, and they debate being “out” as a super, Trish comparing it to her public admission of her drug problems when she was younger. Trish again puts a rosy, romantic glow on being a hero, which Jessica rolls her eyes at almost audibly, and they go back to researching. Zaya does her own research, and builds a decent case that the masked vigilante (seriously, Oliver had like four names in two seasons of Arrow) is targeting their firm, which really pisses Jeri off. She gives Zaya a new assignment that she’s clearly not entirely comfortable with.
Morning comes, Trish finds a lead, and Jessica, to no surprise, isn’t a morning person. Malcolm goes to Alias, startling Gillian badly. Gillian is irked, and sticks by her guns about something, doing right by her own lights but potentially keeping Jessica from finding out something she needs to know. Jessica goes to pay a very uncomfortable visit, and Trish works the phone, overstepping her bounds a bit to play referee with Gillian and Malcolm. Jessica’s mission is painful, and awkward, and causes some bad memories to come back for two innocent people, although the conversation does give us the episode title. Her detective skills are as sharp as ever, and she figures something out. Her revelation involves her powers, some minor property damage, freaking out the couple she’s visiting, and utterly unnerving the annoying police chief. Trish proves useful again, using her phone on record to nudge the chief out of doing something rash and fear-based.
Determined to not make mistakes or create loopholes this time, Jessica almost immediately checks in with Costa. They talk about the boring, real-world problems of building a case and jurisdiction, and it’s a nice touch. The family is shaken by what Jessica has found, but the cop seems to have some grudging respect for the investigator, especially when some stolen property is returned. Jessica offers a flip opinion on an unrelated case, and the cop agrees. Trish asks if you’re still a hero if no one thinks you are, and Jessica comments she doesn’t care what people think. Jessica’s answer and Trish’s question are both very telling about each of them. Zaya follows through on her assignment and makes a surprising discovery. Malcolm shadows Sallinger while Trish does something amazingly stupid, shallow, and egotistical.
Jessica catches up with Malcolm, startling him until she explains something fairly basic. Malcolm tells her what Sallinger’s up to, and Jessica gives him a very general update about her trip out of town. Their conversation gets interrupted when Sallinger sees Jessica and motions for her to come in where he’s teaching wrestling to kids in a community center. Fortunately for several people, he didn’t see Malcolm. Jessica and Sallinger are both cocky and overconfident here, and argue with each other for a while. He finally challenges her, and she foolishly accepts. There were a lot of ways for this to go badly, and it doesn’t end up growing great. He gets taken down a peg or two, and she shoots her mouth off too much. In their first confrontation, Sallinger mentioned getting a restraining order, which I guess he never did, since all this is recorded by a lot of people. Trish completes her stupidity, and Jessica pretty much does the same. It’s one of those moments that I’m sure felt good at the time, but she really shouldn’t have done. Trish isn’t the only one with impulse control issues.
What I liked: Jessica again showed the value of skill and experience, which is ironic considering what Sallinger keeps railing on about concerning supers. Malcolm is finally listening to his conscience, at least some. Trish was helpful and did some good, right up until she decided not to. They do make a good team when they can manage to stay on task. Gillian is great in her scenes, as usual.
What I didn’t: Jeri is slimy, and gets it on everyone around her. I really don’t like her influence on Malcolm or Zaya. I’d be ok with Sallinger killing her eventually. Trish is doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons and it’s not a good path she’s going down. I kinda missed Erik being around. Sallinger is creepy and annoying, so good portrayal of a character I really don’t like. No one naming Trish’s masked identity seems weird to me.
I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. The main case is interesting, I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads, and worried about a few of the side characters.