Jessica comes face-to-face with Alisa while Jeri makes a celebratory discovery
After that endlessly fascinating flashback episode, we cut sharply back to the present, where Jessica Jones is now shackled in the same bed restraints Dr. Karl has been using on her mother. Jessica is still having a hard time believing that this murderous stranger is her mother, but Karl mentions some recognizable characteristics — such as her tendency to hum when she thinks no one’s listening. But Alisa is also now beset by violent moodswings, so the breakfast hums don’t last long before she starts hurling things across the kitchen in a terrible rage.
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Karl is enough of a kidnapper that he makes Jessica lie to Trish on the phone, but shortly after, he releases her from her restraints. Despite Karl’s warnings, Jessica immediately uses her newfound freedom to text their address to that friendly detective. Alisa gets violent when she feels her security is threatened, so she holds Jess down while Karl makes his getaway and locks them inside the room.
This leads to some fascinating mother-daughter time. Despite all the superpowers and experimental technology, Jessica’s exchanges with Alisa feel like mother-daughter conversations that could have come out of Lady Bird. Alisa tells Jessica that her childhood wasn’t as fairy-tale as she may have assumed; her parents’ marriage was on the outs even before the car crash, and her brother was medicated for ADD. Most precious of all, Alisa talks about those annual family vacations to the beach, and how she and Jessica would ride the Ferris wheel together; since the father and brothers were scared of heights, the wheel was their special thing. There’s not too much time for reminiscing, given that the cops are almost at the door, but apparently Alisa has given enough for Jessica to believe she’s her real mother. She asks how Alisa has been sneaking out at night; upon finding the secret passage hidden behind a bookcase, the two of them make off just as the cops arrive.
Jessica’s friends have not been idle while she’s having mother bonding time. Thanks to Inez, Jeri learns that another former IGH patient is currently behind bars — one with the ability to heal people. That sounds like a literal godsend, though when Jeri visits him in jail, she finds him less-than-cooperative. Although he ends the meeting by running out of the cell, terrified that people might start manipulating him for his powers again, Jeri makes a convincing offer that she can get him out of jail using her superior legal skills. And when he touches Jeri, he learns the extent of her ailment, that it started as a cramp in her hand and is now spreading. That’s enough to convince Jeri that he’s the real deal. Overwhelmed with relief, she returns home and celebrates by drinking champagne with Inez. That soon leads to her kissing Inez, because no two people can drink together on this show without immediately hooking up.
Jeri would be even happier if she knew Malcolm was now looking into her partners, Benowitz and Chao. It doesn’t take long for Malcolm to discover that Benowitz, despite being married with a traditional heteronormative family, frequents one particular gay bar in Chelsea. Malcolm shows up and performs some decisive manipulation, saying that Chao sent him and asking Benowitz to give him dirt on her in return. He does so, but upon exiting the bar, the two are accosted by homophobic thugs. It’s three against Malcolm, so luckily Trish shows up with her Simpson drug and fights them off. She offers some to Malcolm to help him heal, but he knows a drug when he tastes it. Upon huffing the inhaler, he immediately runs away from Trish.
Jessica takes Alisa back to her apartment, where she, of course, runs into Oscar and compliments his painting of her daughter. Like I said: Real mother-daughter hours here! The two Jones women get ready to make their own whiskey-fueled nightcaps when suddenly bullets tear through the window. Jessica takes one in the shoulder when she dives to protect her mother. But Karl wasn’t kidding when he said Alisa went into fight mode upon being threatened. Despite Jessica’s warnings, she runs out to seek their hidden attackers.
Case Notes: There has been some good cliffhanger storytelling this season! Won’t know until we finish, but this season has the potential to be one of the most well-paced seasons in the entire Defenders-verse so far.