Jessica has 99 problems, but finding time in her schedule to hang out with 99 friends ain’t one of them. Here’s the top 4 plot lines to keep an eye on.
After last episode’s adrenaline rush, episode 4 is taking a step back into detective mode. That’s arguably where the show shines the most – I certainly enjoy the moments when Jessica is actually showing off as a private eye. It’s a very human component to a show about superpeople.
In episode 3, Jessica got the bombshell dropped on her that Kilgrave has been spying on her, so of course episode 4 her paranoia is cranked up to 11. But instead of another showdown, we get some world building that sets up for later episodes.
We learned a lot this episode. Here are the top 4 plot lines to watch going forward based on the revelations of Jessica Jones episode 4.
4) The Growing Instability of Jeri Hogarth
Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) seems to have worked pretty hard to build a life that suits her, screw everyone else. She’s a high powered attorney that can take the cases she wants to (there was a line in one of the first couple episodes about only taking cases you can win). She’s ditching her wife for a more controllable younger model (who works for her, so controllable both professionally and personally). The woman is used to getting what she wants.
But lately that tightly-controlled life has become a little bit frayed. Jessica made her take on a case she didn’t want to, and how a long line of crazies are filling her nice office. Her divorce proceedings aren’t going as smoothly as she hoped. She even calls in the favor Jessica owes her this episode, so expect Jess to spend some time in episode 5 tailing Jeri’s ex, Wendy (Robin Weigert). And that younger model lover? Maybe not as controllable as Jeri thought.
Then you throw Kilgrave into the mix, a man who’s superpower is literally the ability to order his world as he sees fit, to be the one who takes from everyone and never has to give back. Jessica sets up her little focus/support/research group on Kilgrave using Jeri’s office, and one of the biggest moments of the episode was when Jeri let slip just how envious of Kilgrave’s power she is.
I think there’s probably a golden moral center in Jeri’s black heart (she did take Hope’s case, after all, when there wasn’t much reason for her to do it), but I’m betting Jeri proves another liability for Jessica before it’s all said and done. She wants what Kilgrave has too bad, and that greed will be her undoing…and possibly the beginning of her redemption. Kilgrave doesn’t have any reason to hate Jeri right now, but she is representing a massive potential lawsuit against him. If the cure to Kilgrave’s influence is a massive force of will, Jeri’s dead in the water. How do you escape the allure of something you want so bad?
3) Trish’s Past as an Abused Child Actor
Not only does Trish have a past as a child exploited by her parents for their financial gain, Rachael Taylor, the actress who plays her, even looks a little like Rosamund Pike. Which won’t make any sense to those of you who haven’t seen Gone Girl, but for the rest of us – damn! Who’s ripping off whom?
Trish’s past – whatever that entails – has been slowly doled out through the first four episodes. We heard again this episode about a TV show she used to have – that one cop was a fan – and the exploitative and abusive nature of her mother marketing “Patsy” so aggressively. I think Trish, or should I say Patricia, should count herself lucky. How many people have names that can be acceptably abbreviated two different ways?
I’m curious to see why all this is going to matter. I mean, yes, it’s great character building. But it’s brought up too often and the details are hidden a little too intentionally for it not to matter.
On a slightly related front, what a transformation for Trish’s character. Just a couple episodes she was a driven Krav Maga trainee. Now she’s (understandably) terrified of walking out her front door. Is the child star thing somehow going to intersect with her eventual transformation into the vigilante Hellcat? How could that possibly be a thing?
2) The Limits of Power
Ok, to call this a “plot line” might be reaching a little bit, but this is all connected, so bear with me. A plot line from the episode (but not one that’s likely to carry through into future episodes, I don’t think) involved a woman named Audrey Eastman and her husband entrapping Jessica in a false case because they’re hunting down superpowered individuals. Jessica doesn’t know it’s a trap, of course, and considering her last clients were sent by Kilgrave, she’s pretty cautious of Audrey. But it allows for some nice exposition about the limits of Kilgrave’s power. Seems he has to re-enslave his…slaves every 10-12 hours or risk their disobedience. Betting that proves important, maybe to Jessica backtracing Malcolm’s movements. But we’ll get to that.
The storyline also gives us a little clarity on at least one thing that separates Jessica from Nick Cage (who’s absent this episode outside of some pictures). Jessica might be physically stronger than Nick – hard to say at this point – but she definitely doesn’t have his invulnerability. We saw it some at the end of episode 3, with the cuts around her eye from where she had to fight off Kilgrave’s assailants. Those are healing throughout this episode. But she also gets called out for faking steel skin, and gets shot in the shoulder. Thankfully the bullet just grazed her, but her super strength doesn’t make her bulletproof.
In fact, the more you think about it, super strength without some type of accompanying abrasion resistance is a good recipe for accidentally stripping the skin from your body. Bad landing on a huge jump? Goodbye, toenails. Trying to lift something of an incredible weight. So long, skin from the palms of your hands. Jessica hasn’t shown any particular ill effects yet, but her very human vulnerabilities are something to keep an eye on.
Back to the point though, why are Audrey and her husband after Jessica in the first place? Just like the world still feels the fallout from September 11 more than a decade later, the MCU world is still dealing with the fallout from Loki’s alien invasion in Avengers seven years after the fact. Audrey’s mother was killed in the damage from the battle – one of the first acknowledgements of collateral damage in the MCU – and she blames all superpowered individuals for it.
Power has limits, even the powers of superheroes. How Jessica Jones deals with her own limitations has been one of the highlights of the show so far, and I expect that will continue.
1) Malcolm the Spy
Just a few paragraphs ago I invoked the Law of Dramatic Relevance (as I have here coined the term) to explain why exploring Trish’s past is going to be more than just a character building exercise, and I was fine with it. But in the case of Malcolm, I’m a little disappointed.
When Malcolm was somehow always hanging around through the first three episodes, I appreciated it. It was world building. I mentioned in my episode 2 recap how I liked how definitively New York the show was, and Malcolm was a part of it – the jukie neighbor in the low rent part of town whom Jessica had a soft spot for. He was part of the scenery, and helped give it character.
The first time Malcolm showed up in this episode, I thought to myself, “He really is always around. I hope he’s not some secret spy for Kilgrave that gives that added importance.” Aaaaaaand sure enough, there he is, one of Kilgrave’s drones.
The one saving grace is that, as I mentioned, this means Jessica has a leg up on Kilgrave once again, provided she doesn’t get caught in Malcolm’s apartment in the first scene of episode 5. If she can use the police footage she was given to track Malcolm’s movements and figure out where Kilgrave’s new hiding place is, she might be able to get the drop on him again, like she did in episode 3.
A few random thoughts about what might happen soon.
- Trish and the conveniently named Will will strike up a relationship, Trish will piss off Kilgrave again, and Will will sacrifice himself to save Trish. But first, he’s going to be instrumental in her stepping towards being Hellcat again. Remember what he said this episode? “I got eight years special ops.”
- The Kilgrave survivor support group is going to remain an important resource for Jessica, but pretty soon she’s going to have to tell them why she’s there. People are pretty smart in Jessica Jones. A bunch of suspicious victims aren’t going to permit a hang-on for very long.
- Jessica is accidentally going to use up her other dose of sufentanil and have to steal more. This time, she’ll get caught.
- Nick Cage will be back next episode in scene (rather than in pictures or flashbacks), within the next three episodes Jessica will tell him about how his wife died. Then he’ll be all-in on hunting down Kilgrave, rather than his “live and let live” default mode.