[Review] Jessica Jones Episode 2×09: “Shark In the Bathtub, Monster In the Bed”

written by Brandon Moore

It’s really great to see the Jones women getting to know each other. Dressing bullet wounds, pulling buses to a stop, real mother-daughter bonding activities, ya know?

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Turns out our pesky little sniper was the perpetual thorn in Jessica’s side, Pryce Chang. He’s very quickly run down and knocked out by our heroine(s). They dump him in the tub to sleep it off and Jessica talks Alisa down from her very adamant position that they murder him in the night. Charming. This highlights Jessica’s dilemma. She has her mom! But her mom is…problematic. Especially with her night terrors that cause her to wake up confused and violent.

But arguing will have to wait. When Oscar’s son is kidnapped by his superhuman-hating mother, both of the Jones women jump to help. Some good old-fashioned detective work reveals that she’s taking Oscar’s son for a bus ride north to Canada. Jessica and Alisa arrive just in time to see the bus pulling away. Luckily, through an amazing display of physical strength and shoes with quality treads, the pair manage to drag the bus to a halt. Surprisingly, Jessica handles the mother with maturity and compassion. See, she can be kind and understanding when she needs to be! Alisa is inspired by their altruistic adventure. Perhaps this is what the future looks like for her and her daughter, a crimefighting team!

Meanwhile, Trish is…what’s the phrase? Crashing and burning, that’s it. She’s infuriated that the IGH investigation has stalled. (Jessica is still keeping her in the dark about Alisa.) Still puffing that damned inhaler to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay and jealous of her former British boy toy’s “important journalism,” Trish has an impressive meltdown on air about the insignificance of her own show. The good news is that this raw straight talk gets the attention of major news network CCN. The bad news is that inhaler has finally run dry. This is gonna get a lot uglier before Trish is better.

Jeri is ruminating about a future of whisking Inez away to exotic locales. Inez isn’t convinced Jeri won’t drop her when she’s done, labeling her a “user.” I have to say I share her concern. As much as I kind of love Jeri Hogarth and want to see her heart grow three sizes after her illness, I’m not convinced that she won’t still burn her relationships when her back is to a wall. Miracle healer Ryback arrives and does his thing. Jeri breaks out in tears because…she’s healed? Because she could feel it didn’t work? I’m not actually sure.

Back at Alias Investigations, Pryce finally wakes up to see that Alisa is still insistent about killing him being the best option. Jessica has to face the fact that her mother isn’t dangerous just because of her powers and rage, but because she really is a killer. With this realization as well as Pryce’s convincing, Jessica calls the cops to say the Mysterious Power Woman they’ve been looking for is there. Alisa, deflated and angry, muscles her way out, nearly killing Jessica in the process. But a moment of clarity – seeing her daughter hurt and pleading to her for mercy – convinces Alisa to actually surrender herself to the cops outside. Jessica believes that she has again lost her mom as Alisa is taken into custody and into the next episode.

We’ve hit the “middle finale” with this episode. New developments from the halfway point have been explored and come to a head. It’s the home stretch from here on out, and I truly don’t know where things may go. This episode is a well-paced and satisfying exploration of what exactly Jessica can do with Alisa. When Jessica asks Trish “When do I get to live a normal life?” it shows that she thinks a normal life could be possible with her mom. Stopping the bus shows that maybe they can be do-gooders together.

But Alisa’s moral compass is just too far off. For her, killing is always a possible solution to any problem. Jessica started this season worrying that she was a monster just like the person killing everyone. Now it’s plain that she and her mother are not the same. They may be similar on the surface, but Alisa is a darker, colder shade of Jessica. I enjoyed this character examination and I’m eager to see where the endgame takes us. I hope the other storylines – Jeri’s illness and Trish’s addiction – manage to weave back into the main thread so the show can really stick the landing.

Side note, arguing over the quality of the booze being used to disinfect a bullet wound might be the most Jessica Jones thing ever.

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

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