Marvel's Jessica Jones premiere recap: 'I hate heroism'
In the first two seasons of Jessica Jones, the titular superpowered P.I. hated it when people called her a hero. Well, that is until her mother Alisa entered the picture in season 2 and expressed her hope that her daughter could use her abilities to do some good. Season 2 ended with Jessica having dinner with Oscar and Vido, which was a sign she was trying to open herself up to people and live up to her mother’s hopes for her. The season 3 premiere, though, suggests that it’s always two steps forward and one step back for this Hell’s Kitchen-based vigilante.
In terms of the forward: Jessica is indeed giving “being a hero” the old college try. This season begins with Jessica flying to Mexico to track down a father who broke a custody agreement and fled there with his daughter, Cassie. Jessica gets the job done (read: sends the father flying across the beach), but the mother ends up insulting Jessica when the latter returns home to the states with Cassie and suggests that she not press charges against the father for Cassie’s sake. “I hate heroism,” Jessica dryly says in her voiceover after this interaction. And as the premiere goes on to reveal, this is one of several pro bono cases Jessica has been taking on with the help of Detective Costa and her new assistant Gillian (Aneesh Sheth).
Given what happened last season (read: Trish killed Jessica’s serial killer mom), succeeding at this hero thing is pretty important for Jessica since it is the main connection she has to her mother now. “Giving a s—t and doing something about it. That’s how my mother defined heroism,” says Jessica, talking about her mother’s great expectations via voiceover. “I didn’t want it, but she passed it down to me like a trick elbow. Now it’s the only thing I have left of hers.”
At the same time, though, Jessica remains pretty closed off from people. Although the premiere doesn’t come out and say it, it’s clear that her whatever with Oscar didn’t last. Vido, who is still hanging around, invites her to come down for dinner, but Jessica declines, choosing instead to stay in her apartment and drink by herself. Furthermore, confirmation arrives at the end of the episode when Jessica picks up Erik (Benjamin Walker), a gambling “motivational speaker” at a bar. Like I said, two steps forward, one step back.
Of course, the biggest rift in her life is the one with Trish. The two clearly haven’t spoken since last season; however, Jessica hasn’t completely cut her out of her life. Every night she goes to the bar, she asks the bartender to turn on some QVC-esque channel where Trish now works. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), Jessica is forced to devote more her attention to Trish after she goes missing and Dorothy asks Jessica to help find her.
Reluctantly, Jessica gets to work on tracking down her sister/former best friend. Dorothy tags along at first and makes the suggestion that Jessica needs Trish because she’s her moral compass. That prompts Jessica to kick Dorothy out of Trish’s apartment while she searches, because it’s that kind of belief that Trish knows right from wrong that led to Trish killing Alisa last season. Unfortunately, Jessica is forced to confront this idea once again when she discovers an email in Trish’s draft folder where Trish says something very similar, which leads to Jessica tossing the laptop onto the ground.
Despite her better judgment, Jessica stays the course and tracks Trish to some dingy motel in Brooklyn, where the former radio show host has been holed up surveilling something. After a few hours, Jessica sees Trish return to the street and break into the apartment she was watching. Worried about the apartment’s occupant, who owns a gun, Jessica super-jumps across the street and crashes through the window in time to pull Trish out of the way of a bullet. It’s at this moment Jessica discovers that Trish now has powers. Unfortunately, the man Trish was after manages to escape while Jessica and Trish were arguing. The two women return to Trish’s motel room, where Trish proceeds to tell Jessica that the latter no longer needs to try being a hero because she (Trish) has it handled.
“I don’t need you to be a hero. Nobody does. I got it covered,” Trish emphatically tells Jessica.
Jessica and Trish aren’t the only ones concerned with using their powers and abilities to do the right thing. We also see this in Malcolm’s story line. When the new season begins, Malcolm is working for Jeri as an investigator/fixer. That job, apparently, mostly entails saving some alcoholic athlete’s butt every time he has a drunken accident. This isn’t what Malcolm wants to do be doing with his life. So after his most recent encounter with the athlete, he decides to teach him a lesson and T-bones the guy with his car. Here’s another example of someone, to borrow Alisa Jones’ words, giving a s—t and doing something about it.
Meanwhile, Jessica leaves Trish and heads to a bar where she meets the aforementioned Erik. The two hit it off (kind of) and head back to her apartment so that Erik can cook her the perfect burger. Unfortunately, their hook-up is interrupted by a knock at the door. Jessica goes to answer and immediately gets stabbed by a masked man who leaves her bleeding out on the floor.
And thus ends the season 3 premiere of Jessica Jones. While it wasn’t the most electrifying way to start a season, it moved the pieces in place for what will hopefully be a strong final season. I’m very interested in seeing how Jessica and Trish manage to work through their issues and more importantly how they reconcile their differing views of heroism. I’m also really a fan of this season’s relatively lighter tone. Hopefully that stays.
- Jeri is starting to feel the symptoms of her ALS. She asks Jessica to euthanize her if the disease progresses too far because she wants to die with dignity, but Jessica refuses.
- Also, Jeri reaches out to her ex-girlfriend Kith, a cellist who is now married to an ex-lawyer-turned-professor named Peter and runs a charity. No idea where this will go but I imagine it has to do with Jeri trying to figure out what she wants to do with what’s left of her life.
- Come back later to read my colleague/co-recapper Christian Holub’s take on the series finale.