[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 2×05: “The Octopus”

written by Brandon Moore

Jessica is in jail and Trish is throwing up and disoriented. Apparently last night’s party was killer! It’s time to recover for Episode 5.

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

After being arrested on suspicion of murder and stewing in her cell for a day, Jessica finally busts herself out by…cooperating with the police, sharing information, and being released? Well, that’s novel. One officer lets her know that there are at least a few cops who remember how she saved everyone from Kilgrave last season and are on her side. I greatly appreciated this, both as a moment of continuity and as a break from the “everyone hates Jessica because she’s a freak” theme. On the way out, Pryce verbally assaults her because he believes she killed his buddy, but she shuts him down with the most creative swearing I’ve heard since Blade: Trinity.

Newly-promoted (without a raise) Alias Investigations associate Malcolm is babysitting former IGH nurse Inez Green. When she tries to run, Malcolm actually threatens her by saying if she doesn’t cooperate, he’ll just put the word out and use her as bait for Mystery Power Woman. Damn, Malcolm. I hope that was just a bluff. Even if it was, cold. I think Jessica’s more misanthropic traits are rubbing off on you. Before delivering Inez to Jeri to be kept in a safe house, Malcolm gets a lead on an old murder that IGH covered up and pinned on a patsy.

Speaking of Patsy, Trish manages to get past her super-soldier hangover just in time to get to an important meeting. Her dashing successful British boyfriend with perfect hair has been quietly acting very suspicious for a few episodes and now we know why. He’s lured her into his master plan…a proposal! Trish is shocked and almost immediately kicks him to curb! In her words, “I don’t want to be with Griffin; I want to be him.” That’s…actually a really fascinating personal realization. I really don’t know where, if anywhere, this whole subplot may go from here. It was all worth it, though, to see Trish slap her awful excuse for a mother. Good times.

Meanwhile, in another show entirely, Mystery Power Woman is living a quiet life in suburbia. MPW dutifully burns every shred of Jessica’s files as well as her own bloody clothes from the murder. She’s thorough in covering her tracks. She then has a pleasant morning in a comfortable, cozy home playing piano. At least until she gets frustrated, destroys the piano, and burns it too. It’s as if she’s destroying the things which remind her of her outbursts of rage, of her monstrous side. If she has what looks to be a nice simple life, it seems she’s having trouble reconciling that with her angry, powerful, “freakish” life. I see MPW as Jessica’s mirror – she is what Jessica could become if she goes the wrong way. I’m very interested to learn more about what makes her tick.

Jessica picks up the lead Malcolm got from Inez. It brings her, oddly, to an aquarium. It seems a one Dr. Karl Malus is utterly fascinated by octopi and can be regularly found admiring them there. Patience pays off and Jessica gets a few good candid photos. (Silence your phone’s camera shutter sound, dammit! You’re a private investigator!) He is joined by MPW and they seem to be…together? Before Jessica can glean anything else, Karl notices her lurking in the shadows and MPW cracks the glass of the giant tank, setting off an alarm and causing a panic. They get away and, with the entire pane about to shatter, we cut to black before the special effects go over budget.

This episode starts with Jessica sidelined in jail and feels like she stays there for most of it. This one was about letting the other characters have some time. I’m tickled to see how much it pleases Malcolm to be considered a more integral part of Alias Investigations, even if his tactics are getting a little harsher. Trish’s relationship with Griffin ended in a very unexpected way and I wonder if there will be any further payoff or if that’s really it. Then there’s Mystery Power Woman, purposely the most enigmatic of the bunch. She seems haunted, not hand-wringingly evil. This episode was quietly engaging, possibly a bit of a calm before a storm. We’re about to hit the halfway point, which is when these series normally shake things up or take a left turn.

Bring it on.

Jessica Jones is available now on Netflix. Brandon can be reached on Twitter @BluThundur.

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