written by Brandon Moore
One of the greatest philosophers of our modern age, lyrical poet Will Smith, once said “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” It’s time to answer a whole bunch of questions we didn’t really ask in Episode 7.
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
In this episode-long flashback, we start filling in some of the blanks. After the fateful crash our Mystery Power Woman, Alisa Jones, was declared dead to facilitate IGH’s illegal experiments. They successfully healed her body and even repaired her grotesquely burnt skin by editing her genes. A side effect of changing her genes was that her face healed into a different-looking face. Because comic books. Also she became prone to uncontrollable violent rages. Fives years later, when she finally comes around, she learns that her daughter Jessica was only other survivor of the crash. Jessica believes her mom to be dead and has a new family, the Walkers. Less than pleased with this, Alisa escapes the facility.
Young Jessica, meanwhile, is struggling in life as her only family, Trish, is falling back into her substance abuse just as she was finally getting over her Patsy past. The two have a yelling match and part ways. Jessica finds a kindred spirit in a bartender with dreams of opening a club. (Club Alias. I see what you did there.) As Jessica spends time being smitten and stealing her trademark leather jacket, we doubt her beau’s intentions. He might just be trying to use Jessica to get Trish’s money, or maybe he’ll sell her powers to settle a debt with some thugs. In fact, Alisa is so concerned with his intentions that she kills him in a rage when following Jessica. Jessica finds the body, is heartbroken, and returns to save Trish from her drug-addled life. Alisa, seeing how she hurt her daughter, decides to return to Dr. Malus.
Back in the present, Alisa asks Jessica to forgive her for what she did. Jessica punches her in the face. Parents just don’t understand.
This episode was…frustrating. There is some fun in seeing Jessica and Trish in their younger days, and in watching the actors flex some different emotional muscles. But all of the backstory that this episode filled in was pretty easy to extrapolate without devoting a full hour to it. Nothing particularly new or interesting was revealed. The “origins” of the name for Alias Investigations and Jessica’s leather jacket felt more cutesy than this series normally goes for. Ultimately we got a handwave explanation for why Jessica doesn’t recognize her own mother, and the show doubled down on the ideas that Alisa has rage problems and Jessica and Trish are family. As a self-contained episode it’s not bad, but it wasn’t what I wanted.
After the bombshell last episode, I was annoyed that we spent all this time looking back when it’s the future I have questions about. I mean, if we accept that Alisa and Malus aren’t inherently evil even if they’re not nice people, who is our villain going forward?
I want answers and found none. I hope the next episode has some for me.