Jessica Jones 2.07: “AKA I Want Your Cray Cray”
After the explosive reveal of the last episode, the show takes a step back to explore Jessica Jones and Alisa’s histories. Fortunately, Janet McTeer’s raspy, mesmerizing voice is particularly suited for the necessary voiceover to introduce this narrative.
From the moment we meet Alisa after the accident, she’s a ball of rage and fury. She’s initially barely recognizable after the accident and Dr. Malus later explains it took her five years to recover. Five years. It’s understandable she would freak out even if her genes weren’t edited by IGH to do so. It’s such a devastating scene to see Alisa lose her family all over again.
While Alisa is melting down, Jessica Jones actually seems to have things together. She’s in school and seems to be doing a lot better than Trish. Introducing Trish in her wannabe pop star phase should be a little more lighthearted, but instead just leads to more sadness. It’s the Disney starlet turned wild child story we’re all too familiar with. Trish is usually the foil to Jessica’s mess, but this season we see Trish unraveling and this flashback gives it even more context. Rachael Taylor, who was great in Season 1, shines even more this season with all of Trish’s character development. However, it’s hard not to burst out laughing when Trish pleads, “My label thinks I could win a VMA!”
Unfortunately, the narrative feels a little forced after this point, introducing circumstances that miraculously merge the paths of mother and daughter. While we saw a little of Jessica’s life before Kilgrave in Season 1, this episode shoehorns in an entirely new character to add an arguably unnecessary additional layer of tragedy. After she has a fallout with Trish over the drugs and alcohol, she runs straight into the arms of bartender Stirling who does an even better job of bringing the worst out in her. While the shoplifting and dropping out of college might seem small compared to Jessica’s future problems, it’s definitely a red flag. I mean good grief, his name is Stirling and he’s an aspiring club owner. Were we supposed to like this guy for even a minute?
On a side note, we get an origin story for Jessica’s leather jacket (Stirling asked her to steal it) which makes me wonder why the writers thought we needed an origin story for a jacket? To be fair the jacket is more likable and memorable than Stirling.
Meanwhile, Alisa has grown stronger and wants to see her daughter. After learning Jessica thinks she’s dead, she spirals into another fit of rage and Dr. Malus (Karl) must sedate her. Seeing this cycle might feel a little repetitive, but Janet McTeer make’s Alisa’s pain and rage so believable it’s some of the more moving acting in the episode. Despite being dangerous, it’s easier to side with her than Karl who seems to be controlling and gaslighting her. It’s shortly after that she kills the nurse who’s murder was pinned on the janitor and she severely injures Inez in what has to be the most gruesome scene on a Netflix show since… well maybe only since The Punisher. But seeing glass shards sticking out of someone’s back isn’t for the squeamish.
She catches up with Jessica, but only after Stirling has shown his true colors, first hitting up Trish for investments for his new club, “Alias” (yes really), and then being shaken down by thugs he already borrowed money from. The sad thing is Jessica is too lovesick to walk away and wants to help him.
Mama bear Alisa, however, doesn’t realize Stirling is all Jessica has in her life. She tracks Jessica to a bar and has a tender moment with her in the bathroom as Jessica tells her (a stranger) through the stall she never carries a purse because she almost strangled herself with one when she was eight. Alisa looks on knowingly. She has found her daughter.
However, before revealing herself to Jessica, she overhears Stirling telling his associates he can rent out Jessica to them for her powers. In a fit of protective rage she murders him, leaving Jessica alone to deal with yet another life-altering tragedy. Alisa returns to IGH, realizing she can’t be around her daughter until she can control herself.
This tragedy forces Jessica to return to her true family, Trish. Trish has hit rock bottom, with Jessica finding her in the club bathroom about to trade sexual favors with the club owner. Even in her grief, Jessica takes on the caretaker role, dragging Trish away and begging her to get help. The scene ends with the two on the apartment roof, where they watch a movie projected on the side of the building just like in the season premiere.
However, the heartwarming moment stops short of the end of the episode, switching back to the present day with Alisa asking for her forgiveness. A tearful Jessica gives her a one-word answer…and a punch in the face, which causes Karl to sedate her.
- The explanation of the science behind the powers is interesting because it’s based on a science most people have heard of (genetic editing) but don’t know enough about to question too much. If we have any geneticists reading this review, please comment and let me know how ridiculous Dr. Malus sounds to you.
- I can’t help but keep comparing Alisa to the mom in Lady Bird, but mostly because Janet McTeer brings the same gravitas as Laurie Metcalfe. The mother-daughter relationship seems like it’s going to be a crucial part of this show.
- If “I Want Your Cray Cray” doesn’t show up in another Netflix Marvel show I will be SO DISAPPOINTED.
Read on for our review of episode 2.08.