[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 2×08: “Ain’t We Got Fun”

written by Brandon Moore

Dr. Malus swears he’s a cool hip dude and he’s going to wear rock and roll shirts until he convinces us. Find out if we believe him in Episode 8.

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Jessica wakes up shackled to the bed with the good doctor saying that he and Alisa really are just a happy couple in love and trying to solve her rage problem. He didn’t know she had started killing, honest! He urges Jessica to take advantage of the situation to reconnect with her mother and maybe calm her down. Jessica agrees just long enough to get unchained, lock herself in the room with Mom and call the cops. Aren’t family reunions fun?

Alisa starts to tarnish Jessica’s rose-colored glasses about her childhood. Mom and Dad weren’t happy and were secretly fighting all the time. Jessica was always abrasive and cantankerous; she can’t blame the trauma of the crash and being left alone for that. It isn’t until Alisa shares a happy memory about a Ferris wheel that Jessica softens and really considers that fact that this woman may look like a stranger, but truly is her mother. With that, Jessica decides to escape with her mom in tow. While Jessica struggles with what to do with her long-lost murderous matriarch, hilarity ensues when Alisa proves to even less of a people pleaser than sweet ol’ Jessica.

Jessica doesn’t know what to do with her new super friend, but Jeri is still trying to find hers. She’s tracked down the healer Inez spoke of, Shane Ryback. Seems he’s landed himself in jail and is awaiting trial. She visits him and offers to trade her legal services for a quick dose of miracle cure. Ryback is hesitant, saying he doesn’t do that anymore since it never ends well for him. Eventually he agrees to give her a taste to prove himself. Upon sensing Jeri’s disease, he quickly freaks out and leaves, but Jeri is convinced and elated. She immediately uses her lawyer wizardry to get Ryback’s charges dropped, and she celebrates by throwing herself at Inez. Ah, good ol’ Jeri.

Meanwhile, Malcolm pretty quickly figures Trish for the addict she is and pledges to not deal with her until she’s ready to stop using the inhaler. With Jessica missing, he dives into the investigation into Jeri’s partners. Upon finding that one of them quietly frequents gay bars, Malcolm goes to him and says he was hired by the other partner. He’s playing them off each other to take them both down! Malcolm, you have turned into one devious mofo. Unfortunately, Malcolm gets jumped by some homophobic neanderthals outside the bar. Trish finds him there and offers her inhaler to take the edge off. No, Malcolm, don’t do it! NOOO! He takes a puff and immediately loses it, running aimlessly into the night. I am not okay.

Oh, and a sniper starts peppering Jessica’s apartment and shoulder with bullets. So, next week should start with a real bang.

After last week’s non-starter, this episode has the job of trying to get the momentum going again. It isn’t a shot out of the gate, but rather a slow build. As Malus and Alisa start to move away from being villains, at least for now, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Someone must be the Big Bad; I’m just not sure who or why.

Slower episodes like this ride on the backs of the actors. When the plot doesn’t go far, their performances keep me engaged. Once again, Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri is captivating when she talks about her meager upbringing and when she smiles with relief and happiness believing she’s going to live after all. When Alisa recounts the story about the Ferris wheel, the camera focuses on Krysten Ritter’s face. It’s impressive to watch Jessica’s hard exterior soften, remember, and then decide to help her mom escape, all without saying a word. The cast is really this show’s greatest asset.

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

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