Jessica helps Oscar out with a family emergency, and Trish receives an intriguing offer at the worst possible time
When Jessica Jones initially introduced the Alisa Jones twist, I was definitely on the fence about it, mostly because it’s such a cliché reveal. If there’s one thing I’m tired of in superhero properties, it’s story lines that revolve around parents. We get it: Parents screw their children up in many ways! However, I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying the show’s exploration of Jessica’s very complicated relationship with her mother. While “AKA Ain’t We Got Fun” focused on how this relationship could be good for both them, the awkwardly titled “AKA Shark in the Bathtub, Monster in the Bed” moves past the fairy tale and really digs into the harsh realities of the situation.
PREVIOUSLY: Jessica Jones recap: ‘AKA Ain’t We Got Fun’
Picking up where episode 8 left off, Alisa rushes out of Jessica’s apartment and across the street to confront the shooter, who was obviously Pryce. Alisa is determined to kill him, but Jessica talks her down and uses the tranquilizers to knock Pryce out. They carry him back to Jessica’s apartment, tie him up in her bathtub, and proceed to argue about what to do about him. Alisa thinks the best course of action is to kill him, while Jessica believes she can reason with him because attempted murder is also a crime.
What I love about their disagreement is that it’s not your typical “kill or don’t kill” argument that superhero shows have beaten into the ground. Instead, it reveals more about who Alisa is — or rather, who she has become. She doesn’t just kill when she has one of her rage blackouts. Violence, especially murder, has become instinctual for her, and she doesn’t share the same compunctions about it as Jessica does, which is definitely an obstacle that will be hard to overcome. At this point, Jessica is deciding not only what to do with Pryce but also what to do with her mother, and this sticking point presents her with a question she’ll have to answer: Can her mother change and stop seeing killing as a valid solution, or will Jessica have to turn her in? It’s an interesting conundrum that’s made even more entertaining to watch because it takes the form of classic mother-daughter bickering. (“It’s a bad plan.” “You’re a bad plan!”)
Honestly, it’s fairly easy to understand why Jessica is so torn about what to about her mother. As we’ve seen before, she always has longed for a family, and now she has the chance be reunited with her mother, which she may decide is worth bending her morals for. Trish, still hopped up on that inhaler, comes by Jessica’s place to talk about the IGH stuff. Jessica doesn’t tell her about Alisa and instead suggests they just give up on this. “When do I get to be normal? When do I get to have a goddamn life?” wonders Jessica, which pisses Trish off.
After Trish leaves, Jessica has another moment of connection with her mother, who has one of her night terrors, which, we come to discover, tend to be about losing Jessica. I’m sure Jessica is unsure whether or not her mother actually thought about her these past few years, but this discovery definitely confirms that Jessica was never far from her mother’s thoughts. Alisa is incredibly relieved when she wakes up and realizes Jessica is still there. (Next: “This is how I lose my mother”)
The next morning, Jessica and Alisa continue discussing how this could work if Jessica didn’t turn her mother in. Eventually, the conversation turns to the accident, and Jessica admits that she blames herself for it. That comes as a total surprise to Alisa, who assures Jessica that it was her father’s fault and she has never once blamed her. That’s probably something Jessica has needed to hear for a long time, and Ritter makes you feel the sense of relief Jessica feels. Later on in the episode, Jessica returns the favor when she tells her mom that she understands why she stayed away for all those years.
Jessica and Alisa have to take a break from working through their issues when a panicked Oscar shows up at the apartment. Apparently, Sonia took Vido, and Oscar has no idea where they are. So the Jones women hop on the case and eventually figure out that Sonia was trying to leave the country with Vido via a bus to Canada. They head to the bus stop, and the Jones women use their combined strength to stop the bus in its tracks, reuniting Oscar with his son. This save convinces Alisa that maybe the key to controlling her powers is using them for good, to do something.
Right at that moment, they hear Pryce stir in the bathroom, which reignites their kill-or-don’t-kill argument. Jessica takes matters into her own hands and takes Pryce into her bedroom for a chat. Pryce agrees not to go after Jessica but says something needs to be done about her mother because you can’t change a murderer’s instinct. Suddenly, that clicks with Jessica, who proceeds to call Detective Costa and tell him that the Killer is in her apartment. A disappointed and angry Alisa bursts through the door and tries to kill Pryce. Pryce flees down the hallway, Alisa chases after him, and Jessica tries with all of her might to stop her mom — giving us our mandatory Hallway Fight Scene. Alisa is about to bash her daughter’s head into the floor, but stops when Jessica pleadingly says “mom.” Alisa rushes downstairs, where she finds herself surrounded by cops. “Mom. Please. No More,” says Jessica, adding via voiceover. “This is how I lose my mother.”
While all of this Jones family drama is going on, Trish has a meltdown on the radio and quits her job because she realizes how meaningless it is. ZCN is impressed with her performance and offers her job, which she immediately accepts. Alas, she’ll probably screw up her first test taping because after receiving the offer, she realizes that Simpson’s inhaler is finally empty. Meanwhile, Jeri frees Shane from prison and convinces him to use his powers on her. It’s not clear if it works or not, but the entire procedure is an emotional experience for Jeri, who starts crying midway through it as Inez remains by her side.
- “You’re just going to waste good booze!” “It’s bottom shelf!” – like mother, like daughter.
- “I so don’t need to hear about my dead father’s d—.”
- The tranquilizers made Pryce pee himself, which is a sophomoric yet very humorous detail because I’ll take any opportunity to humiliate Pryce.
- At one point, Trish visits Jeri because she wants to bring Inez on the show to talk about IGH, but Jeri, whose fondness for Inez has grown, shuts her down. “You’re gonna have to be a superhero on someone else’s back…The rest of us want to live our lives and I’m sorry if yours is not up to par.”
- Fun fact: Shane needs to eat Chick-fil-A in order to gain enough energy to use his powers.