Jessica Jones: AKA Playland
March 11, 2018 3:18 PM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Waking up in unfamiliar surroundings, Jessica once again finds herself torn between two worlds and facing an impossible choice. (Season 2 Finale)

*AV Club - In its second season finale, Jessica Jones finally embraces the fact that it’s a superhero show

*Den of Geek - Jessica Jones Season 2: Complete Marvel Universe Easter Eggs and Comic References Guide [warning, autoplay video at link]

*Trish wakes up in the hospital having recovered from her convulsions. She wants to leave to find Jessica, but Dorothy convinces her to stay put.

*Jessica comes to in the RV, and Alisa tries to convince her to join her instead of fighting her. They see a happy family in the next car at a traffic light, then later come upon the car having gotten into a wreck with a truck, and pull the family safely from the wreck. Alisa nearly gets blown up rescuing the truck driver, and the near-miss convinces Jessica to flee the country with Alisa.

*Malcolm finishes repairing Jessica's office, leaves his key on her desk, calls Chao's office confirming appointment for Millard Graves, then buzzes off his afro and suits up. Later, he arrives at Hogarth's apartment where she is having a private yoga lesson, and tells her he has solved her case. Later, Hogarth returns to her office and shows Chao and Benowitz Malcolm's recording of his meeting with Chao which reveals the partners have been money-laundering. She demands double their severance package offer, and all of her clients including Rand (Iron Fist). Hogarth pays Malcolm for his info, but doesn't hire him to be her new investigator.

*Jessica meets Oscar at a diner to give him photos for fake IDs for Alisa and herself, then realizes that the place is staked out because the cops found the portrait and put 2 & 2 together about them being an item, and are waiting to follow her back to Alisa. She makes a run for it and eludes them by hiding in a passing dump truck (which just happens to be going right by where she left Alisa and the RV), and says they need to start north without the forgeries. They nearly get caught at a roadblock, and discover the car-crash kid's phone still in the RV when Costa calls it. He encourages Jessica to give up.

*At the hospital, Costa tells Trish that Jessica is not a prisoner but is helping Alisa voluntarily, and asks if she knows anywhere in Westchester they might be, but she says no.

*At Playland, Alisa breaks in and turns on the ferris wheel while Jessica tries to get her to escape with her by boat, but Alisa says she realizes that escape was just a dream, and being a fugitive would ruin Jessica's life. Then Alisa gets shot in the head by Trish. Trish says she did it to save Jessica, that the police would have killed them both. Jessica takes the gun from her, tells her to run, and sits with body until Costa and the other police arrive.

*Back in the city, Jessica tries to resume her life of PI work. Buying booze at the bodega, she averts a robbery. Returning home, she finds Trish waiting for her, trying to resume their relationship. Jessica says she can understand that her mother had to die, but it didn't have to be Trish that did it, and she'll never be able to see her as anything but her mother's killer. As Trish gets in the elevator, she nearly loses her phone down the shaft but catches it on her foot with surprisingly super-fast reflexes.

*Back at Hogarth's, Pryce arrives bringing his new associate, Malcolm. Hogarth offers them work that she knows Jessica would have turned down, and the men accept the offer.

*Later, Jessica and Malcolm pass in the hallway without exchanging any words. Jessica joins Oscar and Vido for dinner for the first time.

posted by oh yeah! (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My ranking of the Netflix Marvel shows:

1: Jessica Jones season 1
2: The Punisher season 1
3: Daredevil Season 1
4: Jessica Jones season 2
5: Daredevil season 2
6: Luke Cage season 1
7: The Defenders
8: Iron Fist
posted by Pendragon at 3:34 PM on March 11

My ranking is identical to yours, Pendragon.

I strongly disliked this ending. It felt too similar to DD S2, where "the gang" splits up and goes their separate ways. Mal joins the evil empire, a la Foggy. Trish is wandering off to do her own thing to make the world a better place, a la Karen. And I HATE HATE HATE the idea of having more than one "powered" person on the show. It's one thing for Luke Cage to step in now and again, but I have zero desire to see Jessica get a more permanent sidekick, which is what Hellcat will probably be once Jessica gets over the fact that her sister killed her mom. The addition of sidekicks is what started to send Arrow and The Flash into narrative death spirals, and I foresee that happening here as well.

Overall, I think the acting this season was phenomenal, from just about everyone. The editing was garbage, unfortunately. They seriously need to fire that guy; he also worked on Iron Fist and The Defenders, iirc.
posted by xyzzy at 4:30 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]

Overall, I'm just really disappointed with the writing of this season. Trish is pretty much irredeemable in my eyes -- not even so much for killing Alisa as much as for her expectation of Jessica's forgiveness/understanding, and her constant rationalizations of all of her shitty behavior. I am so unenthused about the idea of her as a super-hero.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:21 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:37 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]

The stuff with Trish is interesting to me thematically. I've been trying to organize my thoughts about it all day, but it's been a busy weekend. Attempting to speak usefully about it:

There's a parallel between Jessica's issues and Trish's - they both take after their mothers.

Jessica is angry, isolated and generally very Alisa-lite. This part is explicitly discussed a fair bit.

Trish is similarly screwed up by Dorothy: like her mother, she spends the whole season trying to live vicariously through the triumphs of others. She's with Griffin less because he's fun and more because she wants to be like him. She risks using Simpson's combat drugs. She tries to become like Jessica. She pushes Jessica to be what she wants to be.

It's hard to watch, but it feels.. dramatically appropriate, anyway? I'm even glad nobody talks about it in the story. It'd feel too on the nose.

Apologies if I'm not expressing myself well. This was a really unusual season, and I'm still mulling over what I'm taking from it.
posted by mordax at 10:12 PM on March 11 [9 favorites]

I am intrigued by the high ratings for The Punisher. Vigilante justice by an ex Marine was decidedly not getting screen time when it was released.

Like mordax, I'm still mulling over my feelings. I don't think it was strong enough to justify being dropped into such an ugly dark world. The first season was an amazing exploration of consent and the Sexy Villain. It was painful, but worth every uncomfortable minute because you realize how much you consume that normalizes this terrible behavior.

This season, it's just sensationalist because that's what sells comics.
posted by politikitty at 6:29 PM on March 12

Kristen Richter as JJ is great, really gets the character, brings it to life.

I just wish the show's creators would give her a decent storyline, 'cause what the fuck with bringing mom back and Trish's behavior. I guess Hellcat will be the villain of season 3, which will be disappointing as hell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:10 PM on March 12

Her mom was genuinely thrilling, uncanny valley, and unearthly. Math teacher monster mom. I found Trish's obsession, jealousy, and selfishness to be sympathetic, relatable, and terrible. The thing is uneven on so many dimensions, but there are pieces of this that are way above average.
posted by zeek321 at 9:28 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]

I think the show handled Trish's behavior well. Trish was a child star and an addict, and a lot of her sobriety strategy involved cutting her toxic mother and showbiz acquaintances out of her life. I liked seeing how she relapsed as a teenager during her last career/ambition change, and the mirror of how she did the same as an adult. I really liked the patient escalation of Trish's vigilante tendencies (against Simpson, against random people on the street, against Malcolm). It's interesting because I was caught in the trap of thinking about her violence in the context of S1, when Trish was trying to be strong enough to help Jessica. Trish tried to frame Alisa's horrifying execution in the same way, but what they showed was clearly murder. Honestly, the manner of Alisa's death brought a lot of things full-circle and seriously improved my impression of this season.

Also I loved Trish's leather skirt + striped jacket so much at the end, wow.

I wasn't sure how I felt about Alisa -- oh, those long lost family members -- but I understand why the show wanted to tackle mother-daughter relationships. Do we get toxic friendships next season? Will we get another season before 2020?
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:02 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]

I feel like this season felt more cohesive than season 1 (although I am a huge fan of season 1) but it was still imperfect. It's a show about imperfect people, so I get it.

I do think the things it had to say about addiction were extremely thoughtful -- Trish is an addict and she'll never not be one. Where her plot went made me angry, but it also made sense. She's always been controlled by the people around her (and also somewhat of a control freak herself) and I get why she'd envy Jessica's powers (while ignoring that they've never brought Jessica anything good).

I didn't mind the long-lost mother thing, although I'm not crazy about how it resolved (although how could it have resolved any other way?). So much of this show -- both seasons -- has been about trying to escape one's past, or move beyond it, so the metaphor of having Jessica's mother not actually be dead is pretty good there. It worked for me, overall. At the very least, I liked that the villain was mostly Jessica herself (and Trish. And both of their bad decisions).

Krysten Ritter is amazing as Jessica Jones and I don't know if I'd care about this show half as much if she wasn't in this role. As a person who's watched many bad movies she's been in just because she's been in them, I'm so glad to see her in a role that suits her range and skills (and yes, I did love Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23, too, but that was clearly lighter).

I watched this over the course of this week so I never felt like the middle dipped or the season was overly long. But I think some of that was that it felt like it had the pacing of a week-to-week show, more or less. I think not binging (while it's fun!) makes shows work a bit better.

I'd love see a season 3. Do we know when the Netflix/Marvel deal runs out?
posted by darksong at 7:44 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Just watched the last episode, and I generally liked this season, although I think that it had one glaring problem that no one else seems to have picked up on, but more on that in a minute. A few points first:

- I'd rate Luke Cage above DD S2, and am looking forward to the second season of that show. I only watched one episode of Defenders, although I will probably go back and finish it sometime, and gave up on Iron Fist less than halfway through.

- I think that Jessica figured that the truck that she jumped on after meeting Oscar at the diner would be going back to the business whose name was on the side, and called her mom to let her know where she'd be. (The lack of a phone can be explained by Jessica getting a burner phone so that she can tell Oscar where to meet her.)

- I understand the feelings that other people have regarding Trish, but I also understand why most people, Trish included, wouldn't trust that Alisa would ever be completely stable--the last time Alisa saw Trish, she tried to kill her. Alisa made the Hulk seem balanced and controlled. Even Alisa seemed to realize that at the end, which paradoxically made her seem more stable. And Trish also seemed to realize that asking Jessica's forgiveness was a Hail Mary pass. I also don't see Trish/Hellcat as a sidekick so much as a potential spin-off.

- Damn, does Malcolm look sharp in his black suit.

- The best hook for the next installment is whatever Jeri Hogarth is cooking up. Her line about dying giving her a different perspective reminded me of something from the Daredevil: Born Again comic book arc: "A man with nothing to lose is a man without fear."

- And finally, the thing that stuck in my craw: what the fuck is up with Pryce Cheng? OK, they wanted to give Jessica a professional rival, fine. He even managed to manipulate her into giving him an iddle-widdle boo-boo, which he turned not only into her going on probation but also the threat of a lawsuit. And then... and then he convinces one of his war buddies to do a black-bag job that the Watergate burglars would have laughed at--right out the front fucking door! With two big bags of stuff that he just sort of grabbed off the walls! And why? To make her paranoid or just generally fuck with her? Someone who's working a legal angle against her and is supposed to be an ultra-connected private investigator is going to go all G. Gordon Liddy?--and when said buddy dies, the guy who put him up to it decides to go Frank Castle on her. I don't see why she couldn't have had him thrown in the slammer right next to her mom. Instead, he shows up in the last reel, as smug as ever. Can anyone explain this?

Anyway, looking forward to Hellcat and JJS3, whenever they happen, and hopefully one of those will begin with someone dropping a truck on Pryce. (Jennifer Walters?)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:02 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Oh, and a couple more things. First, I think that the main theme of the season was power, not just in the sense of superpowers but in the ability (or lack thereof) of the principals to choose their own fates and confront their own worst tendencies. And, although there is a resemblance to DDS2 in terms of the gang breaking up, I think that there's some hope there that I didn't get from the end of the other show, between Jessica and Malcolm exchanging looks of regret to Jessica deciding to join Oscar and his son for dinner.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:24 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]

Also also, I think that Jeri's secret ethically-dubious mission for Pryce and Malcolm is to get Karl's notebook from the cops.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:47 AM on March 16

You know what? I think I might need to watch the season again, and that's a good sign, IMO.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 AM on March 16

Vulture's What Jessica Jones Understands About Female Rage also includes some good stuff on Trish.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:52 AM on March 16 [3 favorites]

In other words, Trish’s anger is most definitely rooted in trauma. But it’s also rooted in something a bit more dangerous that the show doesn’t fully consider: a myopic, all-consuming privilege. Like Alisa, I don’t buy Trish’s “pseudo-noble shit.” Watching Trish bulldoze through people’s lives roots her anger not in righteous feminist fury pointed at institutions and the men they support, but a privileged milieu of white women who are more interested in amassing the power of their oppressors than dismantling the systems they represent.

...ahem, this is the excerpt from Vulture that I meant to add to the previous post. I think a lot of the frustration with Trish is because her pursuit of powers seemed so nakedly self-serving. I understand why she behaved so horribly all season, and I sympathize, but only because she's a fictional character (and not a real person who actually wrecked my life).
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:57 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]

Won't Trish be heartbroken in season 3 when she figures out that she has a superpower but it's "can catch dropped objects before they hit the ground."
posted by rmd1023 at 3:17 PM on March 16 [5 favorites]

That sounds like an awesome power, though--super practical for klutzes. It reminds me of an obscure superhero from the eighties, Mackenzie Queen, who gets a magic candle that he uses to do stuff like turn Kraft macaroni and cheese into cheesecake. The panel shows him enjoying a big bowl of the stuff and saying, "Beats the hell out of X-ray vision if you ask me!"
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:56 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

And finally, the thing that stuck in my craw: what the fuck is up with Pryce Cheng?

The very first impression we got of him, where he's just like this super competent and confident successful PI who does things by the book because he has professional standards... that guy was waaaaaay more compelling as a foil for Jessica! Tempting her and Mal away from their personal attachments to Alias and that whole way of living, but would they have to give up their souls to get the reward because the constraints of success and living on the straight and narrow might tie their hands when it comes to saving the people they care about? Yes, please, that! Like oh, PRYCE Cheng, and there's a PRICE to pay for success, it's even on the nose in a Marvel way. And then all of a sudden he's like an incompetent Lex Luthor. wtf.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:53 PM on March 16 [3 favorites]

If I'd known the premise of this season I probably wouldn't have watched it yet, but I'm glad I did because it was really good. Not as good as the first season, but the first season was brilliant so how could it have been. Janet McTeer completely sold the super rage mom part, which sounds ridiculous, but she made it convincing. All of the performances were excellent, actually. I kind of wish Hogarth and Malus had crossed paths for a mini-Memento reunion, but that might have just been silly. I do wish the Whizzer had survived, I'd have liked to see him pop up on one of the other shows again.

My ranking of Netflix Marvel shows:

1: Legion season 1

Okay, it's not Netflix, but I just loved the hell out of it. Anyhoo...

1: Jessica Jones season 1
2: Luke Cage season 1
3: Daredevil Season 1
4: Jessica Jones season 2
5: Daredevil season 2
6: The Punisher season 1
7: The Defenders
8: Iron Fist

Though if they'd made the Iron Fist they should have made it probably would have been a lot higher in the ranking. The continuing high quality of JJ just reinforces how badly they blew it on IF.
posted by homunculus at 9:57 AM on March 20

Season 1 was such a revelation that I knew season 2 would disappoint me. I just didn’t think it would disappoint me this much. By the end of season 2 I was starting to like it, but dear Lord the first 4 or 5 episodes were painful.

Regardless of Trish’s motivations, her actions were inexcusable and as far as I could see, unbelievable. I just literally didn’t believe them as her character.

Hogarth’s ended up being the plot line I was most interested in, which shocked me considering I pretty much wrote her off at the end of the last season. She gave a great performance this season.

The Pryce subplot was terribly written. I’m sorry to see Malcolm caught up in that mess. I want better for that character than whatever will happen there.
posted by greermahoney at 9:13 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]

Honestly, the Pryce storyline is basically the anchor that sucked out a lot of interesting 2nd half of the season. I blame whoever pointed out the White Feminism parallels, though the writers/casting director really holds the responsibility here.

They built him up into something that should have been interesting. Sometimes the system is so broken, we need a super powered Jessica Jones to get justice. But we also need institutions to protect the vulnerable - revolution is built primarily on the blood of innocents. But then Pryce gives up his ideals so easily - raiding her apartment when he wouldn't steal his top client's prized dog, being the sniper on the roof.

Also, while I loved the plot points about Jeri dealing with her diagnosis - I hated the way they used sex in that storyline. It felt like ironic sexism. It's okay because the predatory power position is held by a woman, and we play our sexual conquests in an order that upholds the thesis that "all men pay for it one way or another".

1. Explicit sex workers paid to deal with her emotional tirades.
2. Implicit sex worker, since our nurse was only sleeping with her for access.
3. Yoga teacher turned assistant turned lover.

Yes, Jeri is supposed to be The Worst. But it's ambivalent about whether this is supposed to be another gross thing about her or a lazy way to give us sexy eye candy.
posted by politikitty at 12:42 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]

I completely agree with the Vulture article on rage about Trish. What Trish envies the most is the way Jessica treats Dorothy and the producer/director/whatever, and I’m not sure that was clear from the editing even though the script and actresses were all doing their best.

On the other hand I don’t have a problem with a story about female rage rooted in violence and trauma. I’d love to see the story Vulture’s author wants, with anger transforming a life for the better, because I haven’t seen that in my real life. But given there are so few stories about women’s rage with women as subjects instead of objects, it seems a little unfair to criticise it for not exploring a different type of rage.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like more female rage stories please :) That way we can cover all the angles.
posted by harriet vane at 1:25 AM on March 24

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