Jessica Jones: AKA I Want Your Cray Cray
March 10, 2018 6:38 PM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Flashbacks shed new light on the aftermath of the family's car accident and reveal a painful turning point in Jessica's adult life.

*AV Club - Jessica Jones showcases the best and worst of what a flashback episode can do
*Den of Geek - A flashback episode to the origin of Jessica Jones as we know her is just what the doctor ordered.

*The identity of the meat-man is revealed to be Jessica's mom, Alisa Jones, badly scarred & burned shortly after the crash, when the sight of her deformed face made her lash out at the IGH staff and grab at Jessica until Karl was able to sedate her. After 5 years of treatments and medically-induced comas, she is revived, physically transformed, but with no memories of the years. Karl tells her that her husband and son were killed, but that Jessica is safe with a new family.

*Young-adult Jessica watches Trish celebrate her "I Want Your Cray Cray" music video at a club, then gets into a huge argument with her over her non-stop partying, and smashes an ATM apart to make her point about not needing her support. Jessica hooks up with just-quit-his-bartending-job Stirling instead. They move in together, and commit petty crimes (such as Jessica stealing her iconic leather jacket after he points it out in the window).

*Back at IGH, Alisa insists to Karl that it's time for her to see Jessica, but she flips out when he reveals that Jessica thinks she died in the crash, and he sedates her just as she breaks free of restraint. Some days later, she fakes having taken her tranquilizers and escapes once Inez unlocks her from her bed manacles, flinging Inez into the glass cabinet and breaking Luane's neck when she tries to sound the alarm.

*Stirling convinces Jessica to try to reconcile with Trish, and they return to the club. Trish is still in 'party' mode, and is happy for Jessica's romance but sad to hear she dropped out of school. Stirling makes his "Club Alias" investment pitch at Trish, and Jessica hustles him out in embarrassment. Back at their apartment, one of Stirling's previous investors threatens him with violence if he doesn't get his money back asap, and Jessica beats him and his henchmen up.

*Alisa keeps her temper while sucking up to Dorothy for Jessica's address. Alisa sees Jessica kick open a fire hydrant for some kids, follows her to a bar and sees her greeting Stirling, follows her to the bathroom and breaks open the tampon dispenser for her, then sees Stirling muscled out to the alley by his loan shark and follows. The shark says he'll forgive the loan if Stirling gets Jessica to work for him on some "messy" jobs, and Stirling agrees for a cut of the loot. A furious Alisa smashes Stirling's head into the wall, then watches in horror from a fire escape as Jessica finds the body.

*Jessica goes back to the club, and finds Trish about to give club-owner/drug-dealer Gus a blow job, and shoves his head into the bathroom mirror. Later on a rooftop, Jessica convinces Trish to get into rehab.

*Alisa returns to IGH, to the horror of most of the staff, but Karl embraces her and promises he will make her well enough to someday see Jessica again

*Back in the present, Alisa finishes telling her story and asks Jessica if she can ever forgive her. Jessica says no and punches her across the room, but then Karl injects Jessica with a sedative.
posted by oh yeah! (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I agree with the AV Club recap that "Club Alias" feels like way too much of a retcon. I don't like this never-before-heard-of Stirling character suddenly being responsible for inspiring the 'Alias Investigations' name or Jessica's iconic jacket. I did like all of Alisa's scenes, and it was interesting to see the younger Trish+Jessica, but, I feel like there was a better way to have done this episode.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:44 PM on March 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

This episode only confirms for me that flashback episodes are almost always a bad idea. Worst episode of the season so far.
posted by Pendragon at 12:13 AM on March 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

What's the anagram Alisa/Alias connection, anyone figure that out?
posted by Stewriffic at 9:44 AM on March 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

What's the anagram Alisa/Alias connection, anyone figure that out?

Other than to mess with my auto-correct? Honestly, I don't think this season's writers are clever enough for it to mean anything important.
posted by oh yeah! at 10:09 AM on March 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the retcon-ness feels a bit forced. The "everything you know is twisted by these revelations" thing can be done well, but this wasn't it.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:28 PM on March 11, 2018

Rather than feel like a surprising reveal that helps Jessica snap into focus, Stirling just feels like a retcon. According to this episode, Stirling was a major, identity-defining part of Jessica’s life; her leather jacket look, her penchant for petty crime, and even the name of her business all stem directly from her relationship with him. So why the hell haven’t we heard about him before? Even worse, Stirling’s brutal murder threatens to take the level of trauma in Jessica’s backstory to almost comical levels.

Hahaha...this is all fair, but it does mean Jessica Jones is very true to the comic book format. I am also giving credit to this episode for the flashback Cray-Cray music video, which is the sort of ungodly horror I can really appreciate.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:22 PM on March 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got a little impatient because I kept expecting the story to kick back to the present, and it kept not doing that, but once I accepted that it was probably going to be all flashback, I relaxed and went with it. Stirling reminded me of a slightly-less ridiculous Jean-Ralphio from Parks & Rec, and Trish's foray into pop reminded me of Sarah Lynn in BoJack Horseman, although that worries me now that she's on Super-Meth.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:49 PM on March 11, 2018

I agree with the above comments - I think it this episode might be completely skippable. Who cares about this guy?
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:10 PM on March 11, 2018

Anyone else annoyed Trish's song was so obviously based on Lady Gaga's Bad Romance? No? Just me?

I liked that Alisa's motivations and back story are so well-explained.
posted by Coaticass at 12:49 AM on March 12, 2018

Anyone else annoyed Trish's song was so obviously based on Lady Gaga's Bad Romance?

I thought that it was just a pisstake on overproduced, autotuned, hitmaker-written, doesn't-really-matter-who-sings-it modern pop. (Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to see a mad scientist about getting the superpower to get those kids off my lawn.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Upon further thought, I did like getting the backstory on Alisa. I think it was specifically Stirling that tweaked the "forced retcon" part. Although this really makes Trish's mom look pretty tame - she's never killed Trish's love interest (that we know of)
posted by rmd1023 at 10:14 AM on March 12, 2018

I liked this episode. It was great to see Krysten play Jessica in love and not so cynical. I don’t mind that sterling hasn’t been mentioned before. I mean she wears the jacket during a heat wave and the name of her business has also been unexplained; it fits fine for me. I’m sure the writers wished they had planted an easter egg way back in season 1, but whatevs.
posted by about_time at 7:27 PM on March 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

Tansy Rayner Roberts' recap and commentary for episodes 6 and 7.
posted by Coaticass at 9:15 PM on March 14, 2018

Wow, I couldn't disagree more. I think this might have been my favorite episode of the season so far. After last episode's "Mom" reveal, I was really skeptical. I didn't believe there could be a plausible reason for Jessica's mom to have stayed out of touch with her all this time, but I thought that was a pretty solid explanation. And it also made both Alisa and Karl way more sympathetic than I would have thought possible based on what we knew up until now.

I thought Janet McTeer was pretty great in everything from her varying states of rage and control to her joy at seeing Jessica.

As for Sterling, do you think it's more plausible that Jessica had never had a boyfriend before she met Kilgrave? And you think it would be in character for Jessica to have been talking to people all the time about how sad she was about her tragically murdered boyfriend? Or to even tolerate Trish mentioning him?

And we knew that she had become estranged from both Trish and her foster mom. And it was pretty clear she hadn't gone the college-->professional career route that might have been typical of someone growing up in a well-off family. And I'm pretty sure she's alluded to having something of a screwed up life even before Kilgrave. So I thought this episode fit in remarkably well with what we had known about Jessica up to now.

And yeah, that music video was so amazingly bad in all the right ways. And I thought the scene of Alisa killing and crippling the nurses was made effectively tense and horrible by playing with our knowledge of exactly what was going to happen.
posted by straight at 1:37 AM on March 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think the only thing that bothered me was Karl's ridiculously mad skillz at administering sedatives.
posted by straight at 1:41 AM on March 16, 2018

The whole "She's so out of her mind she's (arguably) not responsible for her actions" would seem like a huge copout, except I'm really into the way it raises the stakes for Jessica's anger management. And it has a nice striving-to-not-make-the-same-mistakes-as-my-mom component too.
posted by straight at 1:45 AM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, wow. I just realized that the murder of the guy who stole Jessica stuff was for sure not an attempt to frame Jessica.
posted by straight at 10:28 AM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Actually, Sterling's murder was a pretty glaring omission in Jessica's rant at the anger management class. That would have been a really good place to bring it up as it would have made for a nice "What?" moment, we could have been introduced to Jessica's belief that, "The man I loved was killed by a gang of thugs, probably because I antagonized them," and then had the reveal this episode that it was really her mom that did it. It's not like it's a big surprise that Sterling isn't going to survive to the end of this episode.
posted by straight at 10:40 AM on March 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Thinking more about Alisa's rage, if we accept that she's not responsible for her fits of rage because they are uncontrollable effects of her injuries and the procedures used to save her, and also that they represent the danger of where Jessica's anger could lead, do we then excuse some of Jessica's bad behavior as caused by the trauma and procedures she's been through?

Is there a difference between "uncontrollable" rage caused by nefarious super-science experiments and "uncontrollable" rage caused by whatever it is that normally causes our emotions? Is one more exculpatory than the other?
posted by straight at 11:43 AM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thinking more about Alisa's rage, if we accept that she's not responsible for her fits of rage because they are uncontrollable effects of her injuries and the procedures used to save her, and also that they represent the danger of where Jessica's anger could lead, do we then excuse some of Jessica's bad behavior as caused by the trauma and procedures she's been through?

I thought about that a lot at the beginning of the season, when they seemed to be pushing the 'roid rage angle, but I assumed that was part of the reason they made Alisa so caustic. I started out wondering if Jessica's behavior had less to do with trauma and more to do with experimentation -- by the end, I was wondering if their sharp personalities had less to do with trauma and more to do with heredity. Of course, "I just have a bad temper" is surely the worst defense of all...
posted by grandiloquiet at 4:59 PM on March 16, 2018

It made me rethink the scene where Alisa smashed her piano. It's actually sort of a sign of how much better she's doing - she mostly kept herself under control until the mom hustled out of there, and effectively redirected her rage at the inanimate object instead of the actual trigger.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:18 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Those pop-ups are amazing. "So did her mom." LOL.
posted by straight at 9:33 AM on March 30, 2018

If you watched the video and wanted to see the crayfish version, mentioned but not made, here's a different music video with a dancing lobster.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:45 AM on March 30, 2018

I hate flashback episodes in general and this one is no exception. Bleh.
posted by octothorpe at 6:21 PM on April 6, 2018

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