A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
After the chaotic mess that was the previous installment, Jessica Jones gets back into the groove slightly with an episode that takes a slight departure from the events of the present day in favor of a detour into the past. The relationship that is arguably the strongest one in the series (and there are few arguments against it) outside of Jessica and Kilgrave is the one between Jessica and Trish. They are best friends who have been together since they were children, who have understood each other and been there for one another throughout their entire lives. For someone like Jessica, her relationship with Trish is extremely valuable. She’s so isolated, so alone in the depths of her despair and thoughts that that reliable warmth becomes an invaluable currency without which she couldn’t simply operate, no matter what delusions Jessica harbors about not needing anyone. There’s a distinct comfort in having that one person you know will be there for you no matter what, the one person who always listens, the one person who not just stands by you, but actively fights alongside you in the moment of need. That’s Trish in a nutshell, the Trish whom, along with her abusive mother, first saw Jessica in a hospital. Young Jessica was lying in a quiet repose, having just lost her parents and younger brother in a tragic car accident that she feels in some way responsible for. She wakes just as the theme song from It’s Patsy! starts to play over the television, an underlying note of why she was truly being taken into this family in the first place.
Trish’s mother Dorothy is an awful human being, as the show has already established, but this episode goes a significant length to add to the misery and abuse that she heaped upon her daughter for the sake of continuing the cash that she brought into the family. It’s a despicable relationship that reminds me of Jenna and her mother from 30 Rock, but the dramatic surroundings here make it that much more difficult to stomach. The relationship between Trish and Jess is notable frigid, if not underlying with a sentiment of animosity. Jess has little reason to feel superbly warm towards Trish in this circumstance and Trish has little reason to be super kind to someone who is being used by her mother as another token of public goodwill and fame. Something about the accident changes Jessica’s abilities, something she discovers for the first time when she hears Dorothy abusing Trish. Jessica’s angry, frustrated, and bears down so heavily on the sink that it snaps cleanly in half. She picks up half of the sink as Trish walks in, flabbergasted. Trish, to her credit, doesn’t scream or have a knee jerk reaction to Jess holding up half the sink above her head, but instead she gets a promise that Jess wouldn’t come and save her from Dorothy. Trish admires how little of Dorothy’s abuse Jess is willing to tolerate (AKA Zero) but she also wants to make sure that Jess isn’t constantly there to save her. There’s that streak of independence, of grabbing it from wherever she could. Jess breaks that truce at a crucial moment, however, and Trish returns the favor in kind within the episode’s editing by saving her from the wrath of Crazy Simpson.
Simpson had the story crux of the conflict Kilgrave’s presence crafted in his life and that was legitimately interesting to watch. On one side of his character was the man who took his job to help people seriously and on the other the man who was brainwashed into almost killing an innocent person. That he believed for a small amount of time that Trish was actually dead by his hands did little to help. Then the writers decided to have him hook up with Trish, which provided for great moments like him going down on her but other than that provided nothing significant to the story or the pathos it was trying to present. Then the romance angle fell towards the aspect of protectionism and perhaps there was logic behind this. Simpson as a cop would naturally gravitate towards protecting Trish from Kilgrave and simultaneously the civilian part of him wanted to see the man who almost had him take the life of an innocent person suffer and die for that act. But the protectionism slowly devolved into an outright possessiveness where Simpson’s character turned into a stereotypical macho man with little thought towards the thoughts and rights of other individuals. At times he had points to make against Jessica that were logical and well-founded, but the writing for him had slipped to the point where the audience wold logically just gravitate towards Jessica instead. Perhaps that was deliberate, but his eventual turn towards monstrosity would have been better treated if the character was given more depth. I understand that perhaps the series wanted to go for an indictment of Macho Men Protection Syndrome but there’s a way of doing that and keeping your writing sharp and complex simultaneously. Trish takes one half of his red and blue pills and knocks out a Simpson attacking a weakened Jessica. She begins to succumb to the effects of the pill without its immediate antidote, but Jessica manages to get her to the hospital quickly enough. It’s a turbulent calm before the storm, but one that Jessica Jones desperately needed for the home stretch going forward.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“I really hate mental illness.”
+“The car’s getting used to it.”
+“You were violent and scary.”
+“I got hit with a People’s Choice Award.”
+Jessica getting hit by a car was so random yet it fit perfectly into the climax of the episode. Well done.
+“You don’t look surprised.”
+The cliffhanger of Luke’s bar blown up. Unexpected, to say the least.
Episode Title: AKA I’ve Got the Blues
Written by: Scott Reynolds & Liz Friedman
Directed by: Uta Briesewitz
Image Courtesy: Marvel Cinematic Universe