Alisa wants revenge against Trish, and Jessica is the only one standing in her way
Mom on the loose! At first it may seem a bit convenient that season 2 of Jessica Jones is culminating with basically every single person remaining in Jessica’s life (Alisa, Trish, Detective Costa) trying to kill each other, but for my money it’s actually a pretty compelling portrait of how abuse and trauma can metastasize across family dynamics and turn people against each other.
A lot of the pain on display in the back half of this season comes across as compelling because it’s so real in its pathetic sadness. Like, at first I wanted to laugh at the sight of Alisa sobbing while cradling one of Dr. Karl’s old Doors t-shirts, but I couldn’t help but get swept up in it.
The other thing that feels compelling about this plotline is that there really isn’t an answer to Alisa’s problems. Her life was ruined by a car crash — but she didn’t much like her life before the crash. She was experimented on by a crazy scientist and turned into a superpowered woman with little control over her impulses — but the procedures saved her life, and the scientist in question was able to keep her calm, comfortable, and loved. Nevertheless, her life has become a tornado of pain and death. How to fix it? Alisa is so wrecked by Karl’s death that she starts to project all her pain onto Trish — the woman who set up Karl’s death, the woman Alisa’s own daughter loves more than she loves her. Alisa’s death is so confused by angry violence that the only thing she can think to do is make for Trish’s hospital room to finish her off.
She ends up arriving (through a window) at the exact same time as her daughter. Jessica had warned the police to stay back, saying that only she could talk her mother down. At first, it seems like she’s right. When Alisa says that Trish ruined her family, Jessica begs her not to ruin hers. Alisa finally starts to chill out, just as Detectives Costa and Sunday barge in. Costa trusts Jessica, but they can’t take any chances. Unfortunately, when Sunday goes to handcuff Alisa, the superpowered woman gets scared and grabs the detective as a hostage. Sunday begs Costa to take the shot, regardless of her. He doesn’t, which allows Alisa to take herself and her hostage backwards through the hospital window. When Jessica and Costa looks down, they see Sunday’s bloody body sprawled on the pavement. Alisa has already vanished. (Recap continues on page 2)
Is Jessica Jones a superhero? She certainly doesn’t want to be. As she tells Trish, all her superpowers have really gotten her in life is a powerful urge to drink booze. Trish thinks that makes Jessica weak, that if SHE was the one with powers she would use them to help everyone. Yet, as Jessica points out, this idea ignores all the various ways Trish compromises with villains and abusers (such as her mother) in her current life. How would getting powers change that?
Perhaps Jessica should just accept her helplessness, then. That’s certainly what Costa advises. Now Jessica’s tips have not not only failed to help him apprehend the killer, they’ve also cost the life of his partner. He tells Jessica to stop interfering in this case and notes that heroism really isn’t her style anyway.
So Jessica decides to go for the anti-hero tack. On Trish’s advice, she entices Alisa to Trish’s apartment, where she plans to ambush her mother with Simpson’s weapons. Holding Alisa at gunpoint, Jessica demands that she go to the Raft or be killed. But Alisa calls her bluff, and in the end Jessica isn’t a cold-blooded sociopath like Kilgrave, or even a merciless punisher like Jeri Hogarth. She fails to shoot her mother, which allows Alisa to knock her out and pack her in a van. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m fascinated to see what the finale holds!
-I’m serious about that comparison between the behaviors of Jessica and Jeri this episode. I think a big improvement to this season has been making Jeri’s story line match up thematically with everything else going on around it. So while Jessica ultimately can’t punish her mother for her heinous crimes, Jeri has no problem destroying her lover Inez’s life in exchange for betraying her.
-Thanks again for reading along with my co-worker Chancellor Agard and me as we walked you through another Marvel/Netflix season! This has been one of the most satisfying seasons we’ve done so far; not sure where I’d rank it yet, but Jessica Jones season 2 has definitely surprised, astonished, and moved me in unexpected ways. Stay tuned for Chance’s finale thoughts!