Jessica Jones: AKA A Lotta Worms

worms

Unfortunately, being a hero means you protect everyone. 

Jessica has been through a lot this season. Well, she’s been through a lot in general, but this one has been really rough. Trish is losing it, Jessica is having legal issues, and Erik is a complication for her, no matter how enjoyable. Throw in Dorothy’s death and Salinger the extraordinarily slick serial killer, and Miss Jones has really been through the wringer. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, as we see in the penultimate episode, “AKA A Lotta Worms.” There will be a few spoilers below, as the plotting is getting fairly intricate at this point.

We start off with Jessica in holding at the police station, fuming that Trish is making things worse for herself, and whoever her next victim is, while Jessica is stuck here. She finally decides she’s had enough and is about to leave no matter what when she gets utterly thrown off balance by Detective Imada telling her she’s been cleared. The detective even gives her a backhanded compliment as she releases the confused PI. Getting back to her office, Jessica snaps out a series of orders to Gillian, and then wonders why she isn’t moving. A groan explains why, and Jessica finds Erik in her shower, not looking great, and an annoyed Gillian explaining how he got there. Jessica and Erik have an initially slurred conversation about what’s happening to Trish, how bad it is, and if it can be stopped. I think Jessica really wants to blame Erik for all this, and is too honest with herself to believe that. Jessica isn’t happy with any of her options, but agrees to Erik helping for now.

Salinger has had more than enough, and is signing himself out of the hospital. After arguing with the nurse, he finally gets to the elevator, only to find Jessica there. There’s a mildly entertaining argument about who is getting who out of there when Trish decides the matter by showing up and attacking Salinger. Despite herself, Jessica does her best to save Salinger, who is bound and determined not to make anything easier on her. They finally end up on the roof where Jessica comes up with a unique way to at least buy some more time. Their next stop involves startling the hell out of Jeri in her offices when she comes in to find Jessica and Salinger waiting for her. What follows is a very odd but entertaining three-sided argument of Jessica wanting to wash her hands of all this, Salinger insisting she has to protect him, and Jeri asking a few questions and realizing she might have made a big mistake. Part of this mess is almost worth it to see Jeri suddenly unsure.

There’s no reason to stop at one awkward conversation, so they pitch us another one right away as Erik goes to Malcolm’s place and they have totally separate discussions until they finally realize what the other is saying. What could be a really bad scene goes alright in part because Erik is a good man under all that he’s done, and I really enjoyed seeing that part of things. Distractions dealt with, the two of them start working on what Jessica needed. In a less fun scene, Jessica is at Salinger’s, and he’s being slimy and manipulative. Jessica is working to keep her cool, do what’s right, and save her friend. It’s a tall order with a lot of moving parts. Finally, Jessica gets what she wants, at least in small scale, all the way around. She’s ahead for the moment. Can this last? Likely not.

Having had much better days, Trish slowly wakes up and finds out what Jessica has arranged to keep her out of trouble. She’s not at all happy, less so when she realizes her new situation comes with a babysitter. She and Malcolm argue about what she’s been doing, and how to balance the scales and make up for the past. Malcolm catches her by surprise when he asks a question I think he really wants the answer to. Erik and Jessica catch up at the bar where they first met, and the bartender is amusingly snarky about Jessica’s love-life. It’s a good scene, with Erik wishing he could take back the pain that’s come to Jessica, and her acknowledging it’s not his fault after all. Again, I really like these two together. They share a toast that’s not exactly romantic, but very fitting for the two of them.

Later Jessica gets home, drinks, and gets to work, or tries to. Someone’s been playing around with her liquor cabinet (ok, shelf) and the effects are a lot more pronounced than she’s used to. She wakes up in a truly bad situation, which gets worse when she finds out she’s tied to a chair, and that Salinger has taken precautions about her powers. The killer is at his taunting worst, taunting and spinning his version of psychiatry at her. He mocks Jessica, Trish, Jessica’s clothes, and her entire attitude about being a hero. It’s a psychologically brutal scene, and best I can tell, Salinger enjoys every moment of it. In a vaguely similar situation, Trish chafes at her own confinement, first exercising, then trading barbs with Malcolm. Whatever insults she has to hurl at him, he’s apparently been taking a long look at himself, and has worse to say. This leads Trish into finally telling us why we never hear about her father, and what was quite possibly the beginning of a lifetime of PTSD. They end their discussion debating evil.

Wrapped up in his ego trip, Salinger keeps ranting about truth and his special photographs. Jessica taunts him about Dorothy, defying his self-justification, and saying there was no truth to discover about her foster mother, since she owned all of what she was, good and bad. There’s a lot of ranting, and Jessica essentially manages to provoke a supervillain monologue. This is what she’s been waiting for, and we see how careful planning and cunning can overcome actual brilliance. Not content with besting her foe, Jessica goes on to do her damnedest to make things right with one of her closest allies, who has been punished for sticking by her. The cops coming to Jessica’s place is finally a good thing, and almost everyone is happy about their arrival and departure. I wonder what Oscar makes of all this, but we haven’t gotten to see him since his cameo early in the season. It’s shaping up like a happy, or at least not-tragic, ending, but A) This is Jessica Jones’ life and B) there’s still the rest of this episode plus one to go.

Back at Trish’s place, Malcolm watches her sleep, which is actually less creepy than it sounds. When Trish wakes up, they talk dreams, nightmares, and the costs of what they’ve done in the past. Some very philosophical musings get interrupted then Jessica comes in with an update about what she’s managed for Salinger. It’s not a perfectly satisfying ending for anyone, but Jessica says it’s the best they’re going to get. The two sisters make up, and even hug, and that’s a very rare thing for Jessica. In the following days, Trish even gets back to work and impresses her co-host with her strength in handling such a tragedy.

Erik and Jessica have a nice little scene back at her place, which seems like it’s going really well. Somehow or other, Salinger has managed to get to a phone and calls to taunt her more. The man really is a cockroach. Later, he’s a lot less cocky when being brought to arraignment. He does his best to warn the cops, although solely out of self-interest, but it’s not enough. What is supposed to be a day for justice turns into something else, and Jeri, as well as Jessica, get a horrifying sight when the elevator gets up to the main floor of the courthouse. Jeri looks like she’s actually going to be sick, and Jessica appears sad and resigned to end the episode.

What I liked: I know I keep saying it, but I like Erik as a person and him and Jessica together. They work nicely, and understand each other. The plan to take Trish out of action was nicely done. Jessica is a very smart and crafty woman when she gets out of her own way and stays sober enough to think. There were some very slick moves here. I was really impressed that Jessica went to such lengths to help a friend when she could have easily overlooked that. The scene with Malcolm and Erik was great.
What I didn’t: I still despise both Salinger and Jeri. Malcolm is far from perfect, but he’s not as bad as he’s making himself out to be. Jessica just can’t catch a break even when she does everything right, and I feel so bad for her.

I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. We’re almost to the end of the season, series, Jessica, and the Marvel/Netflix world.

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