Much like past seasons of Jessica Jones, and for that matter, most of the Marvel Netflix programming, the first few episodes meander back and forth until the show finds its footing and gets interesting.
Here, Gregory Sallinger just gets stranger and stranger. Episode 5 gives a few more insights into what appears to be this season’s primary antagonist. Besides collecting degrees, it appears that Sallinger enjoys coaching wrestling, photography, and storing bodies in his favorite railroad water cart. This villain offers an interesting juxtaposition when compared to Jessica Jones. While Sallinger and Jessica share an eye for detail, Sallinger is meticulous in his approach. Early on in the episode, before he takes down his makeshift dark room, Sallinger appears to rehearse something in the mirror. This clever detail could show that he rehearses his emotions because he’s unable to feel them on his own, hinting at true psychopathy.
Speaking of feelings, Jessica and Trish seem to dance around talking to each other about their big issues. I worried that this was something that was either going to take too long to address, or that the season was going to seemingly ignore season 2. Fortunately, the episode ends with Trish and Jessica saying some of the things that they need to say to start healing and moving on. Jessica’s secretary proves to be an interesting wrinkle that gets to say what the audience is thinking.
This season is doing a masterful job of laying the groundwork for the larger themes of right and wrong, what heroism is, and all the gray space that accompanies those larger topics. The scriptwriters are routing all those themes through Trish in an unusual way that will be interesting to see play out in the rest of the season.
By far one of the biggest developments involves Jeri and Kith. After releasing information that Kith’s husband was skimming money from his dead daughter’s charity, Jeri attempts to console Kith in her apartment. Kith’s husband comes to the door looking to explain his actions to Kith. This storyline has given Carrie-Anne Moss so much more to work with besides getting duped like last season. Here, Jeri looks like she is in control, playing every angle to get what she wants. That is until Kith’s husband uploads a dying declaration from his bathtub. At first, Jeri isn’t fazed until she realizes the backlash that it will cause.
Erik continues to breathe life into the series, especially after his sister is added to the mix. For the first time, Erik is shown caring about someone other than himself. Barry the hooker sister is perfectly unlikable. The scenes with Barry and Malcolm are by far the weakest. Malcolm continues to fall farther apart this episode. After deciding to take time off from the office, as not to be seen by Kith’s husband should he arrive there unexpectedly, Malcolm struggles with the revelation that he might have been partially responsible Peter Lyon’s death.
5 hands in a bag out of 5.
This episode really picks up the pace as we finally see Jessica and Trish coming to terms with the fallout of last season. Sallinger has become even more of a threat despite still being somewhat bland when compared to Killgrave. Jeri’s machinations are extremely compelling, especially when this whole season could have been about her trying to cope with her illness. Unfortunately, things appear to be very small scale as if constrained by a tight budget. Which is off because Netflix has the capital to invest in programming. We have seen very little of Jessica or Trish’s powers, and the water tank scene, while very creepy, was undercut by the small scope and limited design.
Jeri and Peter’s exchange about “You can [can’t?] have her” “And neither can you” was chilling. I hope that we continue to be able to explore Jeri’s “the ends justifying the means” approach, as Trish continues to find her way as well.
Malcolm gets cold-cocked by Barry’s pimp. What did you think was going to happen when you put that together? Also, Malcolm is just cruising for problems with his girlfriend but we still haven’t seen why we should even care.
I appreciate that we established that Sallinger is really smart because he has several degrees, but I am really glad that the show at least established how he was able to take out Erik at the end of the episode using a rear-naked choke.