Someone is stalking Jessica and Trish as they both investigate their pasts
Here we are, back again! There’s a new Marvel Netflix show out, which means Chancellor Agard and I are back in the saddle splitting recaps for you (read his premiere recap here). I’ll be handling the even-numbered episodes this round, which means I’m starting off with the 55-minute second episode. That’s right folks, 55 minutes! This is only the second episode, too! If Marvel and Netflix want to sustain viewer interest in the Defenders-verse, they should probably work on shortening both season orders and episode runtimes. But they haven’t yet.
Of all the shows in the Defenders-verse, Jessica Jones has the advantage of its eponymous protagonist. Krysten Ritter’s performance as the hardened private eye makes her far and away the most compelling character in the MCU. Anytime she’s on screen, even when she’s dealing with subpar writing or silly ninja plots, I’m engaged. This episode kicks off with Jessica in her zone — drinking in a bar until a random guy compliments her butt, at which point they start screwing in the bathroom. She loses interest quickly when the guy insists on talking during their bar-stall sex, at which he point he realizes she’s one of those superpowered people on the news and gives off a slightly racist vibe. We’ll see more of that before the episode ends.
Malcolm soon calls Jessica with a lead on Kozlov, the IGH doctor who likely experimented on her. The only problem is that when Jessica shows up at Kozlov’s house to investigate, she finds his funeral in progress. Someone there tells her that it was a freak accident, a random car crash. “Random” accidents sure seem to keep happening to people connected to IGH, don’t they? Jessica’s P.I. instincts are certainly going off, so she pretends to be one of Kozlov’s former patients (not wrong) and snoops around his house amidst the funeral. She finds a very interesting photo of Kozlov standing alongside Simpson and other soldiers — is it possible one of them is the “monster” that’s threatening everyone? She’s caught by one of the late doctor’s friends, a wheelchair-bound man named Isaiah who is no match for the superstrong slugger. He reveals that Simpson is still alive before someone else shows up to kick Jessica out of the funeral. Seems they don’t like guests starting fistfights?
Meanwhile, Trish is doing some investigative work of her own. She gets lunch with her mother and sits through her drooling over Griffin, because she needs current contact info for “Max,” a director she worked with in her youth. Though her mom grumbles about the need for Trish to cut back on the superhero obsession, she hands over the info. Little does Trish know that Simpson is following close behind her. He is indeed alive, though he doesn’t exactly look “well” huffing that gas with a gun in the passenger seat… (Recap continues on page 2)
When Jessica gets back to the Alias office, she’s greeted by a couple detectives who are looking into Whizzer’s death. Given that the evidence suggests superpowered involvement, they suspect Jessica. She, of course, was right on scene when the incident happened and couldn’t have dropped the scaffolding, but unfortunately her super refuses to vouch for her in front of the cops. When Jessica confronts him about it, he gives off an even more racist vibe than the bar sex guy by talking about her “shady power s—.” He’s worried about protecting his kid and winning a custody battle, not keeping her out of trouble. In my opinion, if Marvel wants to replicate the classic X-Men metaphor of superpowered people as marginalized/discriminated population, they should find a term as easy and understandable as “mutant.” But certainly one interesting thing about this season so far is highlighting how many people are complete a–holes. It’s not just Jessica.
For example, Trish goes to confront Max on the set of his new film. We learn that he’s a sleaze of the highest order who sexually harassed Trish when she was a teenaged actress. Not sure if this episode was written before or after the Harvey Weinstein allegations set off a ripple of similar revelations throughout Hollywood, but this particular plotline certainly does resonate in the #metoo moment. I’m glad that the show is leaning into this.
The confrontation with Max leaves Trish in tears (though luckily, Malcolm approaches him in the parking lot after and breaks his nose for us). More importantly, she’s alone in the dark at an abandoned movie studio. That’s when Simpson approaches her. Trish shoots him in the leg, but he still keeps coming forward, and that cuts excellently to Jessica kicking down Trish’s mom’s door. Jessica found out that Trish and her mom are talking again, and she’s not happy about it. After a bitter back-and-forth, Trish’s mom gives the location of the movie studio. When Jessica gets there, she finds Trish alive and well, with a bleeding Simpson handcuffed to a bed. Simpson insists that he isn’t the “monster,” but just an interested ex trying to protect Trish from the monster. He’s proven right when a shadowy assailant shows up, brutally breaks Simpson’s neck, and gets away from Jessica by jumping way over her head. Things are getting interesting.
-Man, what was the point of the Jeri storyline in this episode? She felt sad so she partied with coke and hookers for a few hours until Pryce Cheng showed up to professionally shame her? Perhaps this story line will have a payoff down the road, but considering this episode weighed in at a bloated 55 minutes, that would’ve been a great place to cut for now.